Riflescopes: 4 Terms You Should Understand



The perfect kill shot on a white-tailed deer requires a steady hand, quiet stalking and good vision. The first two factors require repetition and a commitment to getting better with experience. The latter can be greatly improved with the right equipment. A type of scope you ultimately choose will come down to the type of firearm it’s attached to, what type of shooting you’ll be doing and of course personal preference.

An old rule of thumb is that you should pay about half the amount for the scope that you paid for the firearm. Red dot sights and scopes are perfect for beginners and veteran hunters alike because unlike iron sights, they lower the error margin significantly when aiming. They also magnify the target, making scopes an excellent addition to any firearm for older hunters or anyone with less than perfect vision.

There are a few details to consider before investing in what will become an important part of all your future hunting experiences.


There are two types of scopes as it pertains to magnification: fixed and variable power. The previous magnifies all images by a set amount, whereas the latter have ranges of magnification power. The numbers tell you the power and the objective lens size.

The Leupold Fixed Power Riflescope, as listed on the Cabela’s website, has either 2.5x or 4x magnification capabilities. The target will thus look two-and-a-half times larger though the scope than with the naked eye, or four times larger with the other option. Variable scopes provide a range of magnification. Thus a 2-4x scope can be adjusted to magnify objects anywhere from twice its size to four times its size.

The last number in the series, for example 3-9×50, tells the diameter of the objective lens. The larger the objective lens, the more light that enters the scope, which in turn produces a clearer image. Most deer are harvested at 25 to 40 yards, so a lower-powered fixed scope is perfect for this purpose. Those plinking prairie dogs and rabbits from 200-plus yards could benefit from a variable, long-range scope.


Simple reticles, also called crosshairs, were one of many invention of 17th century biologist Robert Hooke. Today there are several types of reticles, and the one you choose will depend on where and what you’re hunting, along with personal preference.

Duplex reticles are the most common and universal. These are the typical horizontal and vertical lines that intersect in the center to form the “target.” European-style reticles with the thick outer lines are particularly useful when dealing with shadows.

Mil-Dot reticles were originally developed for Marine snipers. The crosshairs have dots spaced one millimeter apart to help determine the distance an object is from you. A mil means mil-radian, or 1/6283 of a circle. It takes practice to quickly calculate distance based on the number of dots your target is touching through the scope, but gets easier with time. Illuminated and BDC reticles are two more advanced, and more expensive options.


The optical illusion created from the apparent movement of the reticle as it relates to your target is known as parallax. An easier way to describe parallax is looking at the hands on a clock from an angle other than being right in front of it. While the time may actually be 12:10, it may look like 11:55 to you while looking at it from a side view.

High-magnification scopes typically come with adjustable parallax. The more powerful the scope, the more margin for error there is when it comes to accuracy. Lower-powered scopes have error margins small enough that it doesn’t effect accuracy much. These scopes will come with pre-set parallax. Further, as long as the shot is right through the middle of the crosshair, parallax has little to no affect on the end result.

Twilight Factor

The accuracy of a scope in conditions where light is low is its Twilight Factor. This number is calculated by taking the square root of the magnification times the objective lens diameter. For example, a 10×40 scope has a Twilight Factor of 20. The higher the number, the better quality image you’ll get in dim light conditions.

Some veteran hunters question the validity of Twilight Factor and dismiss it as a mere marketing ploy. That’s because a cheap 3-9×50 scope has the same Twilight Factor as a $1000 3-9×50 scope. The quality of glass used in the lenses, and the manufacturer, are much stronger indicators as to how your scope will perform in dark conditions than the Twilight Factor alone.

Once you decide the type of scope you need and want, the best advice is to spend a little more on the next one up the ladder. It’s best to overdue than under-due with scopes, and you’ll thank yourself on your first hunting trip with it.

Crossbreed Claims Patent Infringement

It appears that MTC Holsters, LLC, (doing business as CrossBreed Holsters, LLC) has begun the process of going after other holster manufacturers for certain patent infringements.

Read the rest of the article: http://concealednation.org/2014/11/holster-industry-shakeup-crossbreed-goes-after-hybrid-holster-makers-claiming-patent-infringement/

Defense Distributed’s Ghost Gunner

When Cody Wilson revealed the world’s first fully 3-D printed gun last year, he showed that the “maker” movement has enabled anyone to create a working, lethal firearm with a click in the privacy of his or her garage. Now he’s moved on to a new form of digital DIY gunsmithing. And this time the results aren’t made of plastic.

Wilson’s latest radically libertarian project is a PC-connected milling machine he calls the Ghost Gunner. Like any computer-numerically-controlled (or CNC) mill, the one-foot-cubed black box uses a drill bit mounted on a head that moves in three dimensions to automatically carve digitally-modeled shapes into polymer, wood or aluminum. But this CNC mill, sold by Wilson’s organization known as Defense Distributed for $1,200, is designed to create one object in particular: the component of an AR-15 rifle known as its lower receiver.

That simple chunk of metal has become the epicenter of a gun control firestorm. A lower receiver is the body of the gun that connects its stock, barrel, magazine and other parts. As such, it’s also the rifle’s most regulated element. Mill your own lower receiver at home, however, and you can order the rest of the parts from online gun shops, creating a semi-automatic weapon with no serial number, obtained with no background check, no waiting period or other regulatory hurdles. Some gun control advocates call it a “ghost gun.” Selling that untraceable gun body is illegal, but no law prevents you from making one.

Exploiting the legal loophole around lower receivers isn’t a new idea for gun enthusiasts—some hobbyist gunsmiths have been making their own AR-15 bodies for years. But Wilson, for whom the Ghost Gunner is only the latest in a series of anti-regulatory provocations, is determined to make the process easier and more accessible than ever before. “Typically this has been the realm of gunsmiths, not the casual user. This is where digital manufacturing, the maker movement, changes things,” he says. “We developed something that’s very cheap, that makes traditional gunsmithing affordable. You can do it at home.”

Read the rest of the article: http://www.wired.com/2014/10/cody-wilson-ghost-gunner/

Bullet Proof Vests Don’t Always Work

Anderson County Deputy Coroner Don McCown said Blake Randall Wardell was hanging around with some other people in a garage at that location when he put on a bullet proof vest they had found.

Wardell asked the others in the garage to shoot him, and the shot from a small caliber weapon went above the Kevlar of the vest and into his heart, killing him, according to McCown.

The coroner’s office has ruled the shooting a homicide.

Read the rest of the article: http://freakoutnation.com/2014/05/14/south-carolina-man-puts-on-a-bullet-proof-vest-asks-friends-to-shoot-him-hes-dead/

I would have put a watermelon inside the vest to test it out rather than wearing it. You can always get another watermelon in the event that the vest fails, but you only get one life. A sad tragedy that could have been avoided.

9 Tips for Choosing Your Holster

Whether you are on duty or off, the kind of holster that you hold your gun in can both influence the way that you carry it and the places that you get to carry it to. Notwithstanding the kind of gun you have or where you choose to strap it to your person, there are two basic qualities that you need to look for in a holster. To begin, you holster needs to be capable of holding your pistol securely; then, it needs to allow quick and easy access to your weapon when you need it.
Stores selling tactical police equipment offer a wide range of holsters, many of them innovative designs by manufacturers trying to set themselves apart. Some of these new designs offer nothing but gimmickry. To pick the right holster, you need to be able to tell genuine innovations apart from meaningless ones. New designs aren’t really necessary, though. Holsters have been around long enough now that the basic principles of successful holster working design are established. Rather than run after every new design that holster makers come up with when you shop for a holster, you need to go for designs that deliver well on the basics.
Balance price against quality
Excellent holster designs made with quality materials aren’t necessarily expensive. A basic design by a quality brand should give you all the functionality that you need. Basic design, though, doesn’t equate to cheapness of quality. Many bottom-of-the-barrel designs have snaps that open with too little force, have rough edges that chafe the skin and don’t hold up well to exposure to moisture. The leather may swell in humid weather and may grow tight around the gun. Quality basic designs, on the other hand, have properly treated leather.
Look at the number of safety features used
Good holster designs use special retention designs to help make sure that the guns they hold never fall out by accident no matter what kind of rough and tumble they may be subjected to. Retention mechanisms also help make sure that no one is able to make a grab for the gun in the holster. Multiple retention mechanisms, though, have the effect of slowing down the speed with which a weapon is accessed. There needs to be some sort of balance between the kind of retention mechanism provided and the degree to which it slows down the draw.
In most cases, single retention mechanism designs are all that are needed. Any more than that could make it difficult for the owner of the gun to reach for his weapon in an emergency.
Look for active retention mechanisms
A button-down cover for your gun is an example of a passive retention mechanism – you need to engage it for it to work. An active mechanism requires nothing more than for you to push the gun down into the holster. Various spring-loaded devices hold on to your gun automatically. Passive mechanisms waste time and often require two hands for their operation – these aren’t a good idea. Active mechanisms are much better.
Don’t buy fanny packs or concealed-carry bags
Gun holders that are built into a handbag aren’t a good idea. In the event of a snatch-and-grab theft attempt, the handbag is the first target. Fanny pack holsters are bad idea, too – they invite the attention of thieves.
Do not buy a holster built into a tactical garment
Tactical garments – heavy-duty vests that have built-in holsters and weapons pockets – do offer great convenience when you need to carry weapons. They advertise the fact that you are armed and trained, though. Any mischief-maker is likely to take out a person dressed in this manner first.
Pocket holsters are a good idea
If you plan to carry your gun in your pocket, it isn’t good idea to simply drop the gun in your pocket. Not only does drawing not work well when your gun is in a flimsy fabric pocket, lint can jam gun mechanisms, too. If you plan to carry a gun in your pocket, you need a pocket holster.
A hip holster can offer excellent security
A hip holster places your gun in the hollow of your waist. Your elbow protects the gun from anyone interested in making a grab for it, too.  Hip holsters offer great access to the wearer, too.
Synthetic materials can be excellent
While leather has always been the traditional material of choice for holsters, modern synthetic materials – plastics and carbon fiber, for instance – can offer excellent quality at low prices. Synthetic materials have the excellent advantage that the make reupholstering easy. Leather holsters, on the other hand, usually collapse when the gun is drawn. Re-holstering can take some time.
Finally, you need the right holster for every application
In general, you can’t have too many holsters – you need a different one for every purpose – hunting, competition, concealed carrying and so on. You can become much more efficient at the activity that you’re involved in when you have the right holster for the job.

Jeremy S has owned a gun for many years now. In his spare time, he likes to blog about guns and gun safety on various websites.