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10 Best New Optics of 2020

The best part of the gun industry is the world that springs up to support it–holsters, flashlights, lasers, and, of course, optics.

9 Tested Long Range Scopes
Oh yes…we love optics!

2020 has been a big year for guns with March recording the highest sales for any one month… ever.

2020 (and technically late 2019) showed us a lot of new optics, and I’ve gathered my ten favorite new optics for your perusal. 

Group Shot of Destroyed Optics
Okay… sometimes we don’t play so nice with our toys…

These include a little bit of everything I saw at SHOT, as well as what’s come to light since. Check it out, and let us know what you think. 

Best New Optics of 2020

1. Athlon Argos 1-8X 

Low Powered Variable Optics are sweet, sweet optics that are perfect for the modern semi-automatic rifle. The ability to go between 1x to 8x with the spin of a magnification ring allows you to take full advantage of a modern rifle’s versatility. 

Argos Athalon on an airgun
Argos Athalon on an airgun

The Athlon Argos 1-8X is one of the first 1-8X LPVOs Athlon has produced, and they are bringing it out at a budget price.

It’s most certainly priced to move and by far one of the best affordable LPVOs on the market. The glass is remarkably clear, and the included reticle does allow for max versatility. 

At 1X, the three-quarter circle is brightly illuminated, large, and comfortable for the eye to pick up, and perfect for close quarter’s shooting. Once you start expanding the range, the reticle’s holdovers for both range and windage allow for precise engagements with holdovers out to 600 yards. 

Argos BTR GEN2 1-8×24 ATSR5 SFP IR MOA Reticle
Argos Athalon BTR GEN2 1-8×24 ATSR5 SFP IR MOA Reticle

It’s the perfect companion to an AR-15 and could be used for nearly anything the AR-15 could be used for. It could be used for hunting, 3-Gun, and even tactical use for a Police department on a budget. 

I absolutely love getting behind the Argos 1-8X and engaging targets, both big and small, at various ranges. One of my favorite drills is to simulate shooting at multiple ranges. I mix up big and small targets and swap between magnification levels to engage everything from clay pigeons to man-sized targets. 

at OpticsPlanet

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

2. SwampFox Blade and TriHawk Prism Sights 

You are getting a two for one here because I’m writing the article and I’m making the rules.

These optics are also very similar, both are prism sights from Swampfox, and both are brand new. The Blade is a 1X prism sight designed to replace your red dot, and the TriHawk is a 3x scope for effective engagement within six hundred yards or so. 

Ruger PC Charger and swampfox blade
Ruger PC Charger and Swampfox Blade

I’m a big fan of fixed powered prism sights and have used them successfully for years. The Blade is perfect for replacing a red dot and provides you with holdovers for close-range shooting and height over bore compensation. 

at Swampfox

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

The TriHawk is coming out in June 2020, and I got a chance to take a sneak peek at this rockin’ new optic. This thing has a BDC tuned for both 5.56 and 7.62 and goes out to an optimistic 800 yards.

It also features a reticle that is handy for both close quarters shooting and out to extended ranges. The design also allows for shooters to use the Bindon aiming concept when tracking targets. 

Swampfox Blade Reticle
Swampfox Blade Reticle

As prism sights, the reticles are glass-etched, so if the batteries die, you’re still capable of rocking and rolling. Both optics are night-vision compatible and give you a very durable and low real estate optic. Best of all, Swampfox is well known for creating high quality but low priced optics, and you can’t beat that. 

Swampfox showing off their TriHawk prism sight
Swampfox showing off their TriHawk prism sight

They are helping raise the quality of mid-tier optics to near high-end levels, and for that, they have earned a solid spot on this list. 

3. Meprolight Foresight 

I could write an entire article on how impressive the Meprolight Foresight is. It’s the first augmented red dot and provides users with options we’ve never seen before. This includes connectivity to smartphones for advanced features. 

Bullpup Scorpion and Meprolight Foresight deck with a view
Bullpup Scorpion and Meprolight Foresight deck with a view

Augmented means you are getting more than just a reticle. You are also getting a compass that reads in degrees, a sight leveler, a battery meter, and in the future, a shot counter. The Foresight can contain ten different weapon profiles as well as ten different zeroes. You can also choose five reticles from a total of 20 for each profile. 

All the goodies

Multiple profiles mean the optic can be used for various weapons or multiple zeroes for the same gun. Multiple zeroes for the same weapons allow multiple shooters to have their exact zero.

Another use would be changing the zero between ammo types for the same gun. You can have a zero for supersonic and subsonic rounds buckshot, and slugs, and more. 

Connecting it to your phone allows you to zero the optic very quickly, swap profiles, and apply updates as they come out. The Meprolight Foresight comes with a built-in QD mount, a rechargeable battery, and its compatible with magnifiers of all kinds. 

at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

4. SIG Sauer Romeo MSR 

The SIG Sauer MSR Red Dot was kind of a sneaky little guy. I heard nothing about it then all of a sudden its at every gun shop and an online outlet for a shallow price point. The MSR is in an exciting place for SIG, their budget Romeo 5 is a great optic, but SIG seemed to think they can drop the price a little more. 

Sig Romeo MSR on an Aero pistol
Sig Romeo MSR on an Aero pistol

This is a reliable but straightforward red dot, and the main reason it makes the list is it’s $99 price tag and its crazy good list of features. Let’s see what the SIG MSR can do…

  • Lasts 20,000 hours on a single CR1632 battery
  • 10 Different daylight brightness settings with 2-night vision settings
  • Integrated lens caps
  • Waterproof IPX7 rated 
  • Included mount allows for an absolute co-witness on AR height sights. 

Not too shabby for an optic you can get for 99 bucks at most outlets. On top of that, this optic is very compact and lightweight at only 4.9 ounces. The SIG Romeo MSR might be the best budget-friendly red dot on the market. 

The Romeo MSR, featuring the top-loading battery compartment and turret.

It mounts quickly and looks and feels like a much more expensive optic. Sure, it won’t replace an Aimpoint optic but could be a very viable candidate for a budget home defense option. 

5. Nightforce NX8 series 

The NX8 series is an evolution of the NXS series and following Nightforce’s long history of making tank-like optics for professional shooters. Nightforce optics are some of the best in the world and have long been proven optics in the Special Operations community. 

Nightforce NX8 oper8in'
Nightforce NX8 oper8in’

This series has an 8X zoom series that gives either a 2.5-20x option or a 4-32X series.

Why do we care? Because this style of optic is perfect for full-powered semi-automatic rifles in which shooters may need to transition between targets both near and far. The scopes will be offered with Nightforce’s MOAR and Tremor 3 reticles for a crazy degree of both wind and bullet drop compensation. 

Nightforce NX8 1-8x
Nightforce NX8 1-8x

The Nightforce Series optics are genuinely professional grade optics. Their durability is nearly unmatched for variable optics. Being a tank is excellent, but Nightforce optics are also so freaking clear. 

After seeing the world through the lens of a Nightforce optic, it’s hard to go back to using other optics, or just my plain old eyes. The clarity of the NX8 series is no different. All that magnification is excellent, but without this level of glass, it would be largely wasted. 

Nightforce NX8 2.5-20x50
Nightforce NX8 2.5-20×50

The NX8 delivers an excellent sight picture throughout its entire magnification range and allows you to see and hit targets way out there, as long as you have the right rifle and, even more importantly, the right skills.

Buy once cry once most certainly applies to these optics as well. 

6. Trijicon Credo Optics 

I’m a bit of a Trijicon fanboy.

I find most of their products are absolutely amazing, and the Credo line looks like it might be their new flagship variable optic line. This line is made for duty use and built to the same professional standards that made Trijicon famous. 

Trijicon Credo Scope
Trijicon Credo Scope

The Credo line might be Trijicon’s most ambitious undertaking. It includes nine different models that start at a 1-4X LPVO and ends at a 4-16X powered optic. In between, you have just about every magnification combination you could desire. 

Trijicon Credo scope mounted
Trijicon Credo scope mounted

Not to mention, the Credo series all offer two-eye open shooting capability and compatibility with the Bindon aiming concept. As you’d imagine, with so many different magnification levels, there are also tons of choices for reticles. The reticles range from straightforward, uncluttered designs for the LPVOs to more complicated long-range choices. 

Trijicon's explanation of the Bindon Aiming Concept
Trijicon’s explanation of the Bindon Aiming Concept

These optics also deliver excellent edge to edge clarity, which is a must-have when one of the big selling points for Credo scopes is their wide field of view.

Edge to edge clarity, a wide field of view, and the applicable Bindon aiming concept would make these perfect for fast-moving shooting and tracking for both hunting and tactical shooting. 

I’m excited to see this new line from Trijicon, a company that seems to drag its feet when it comes to new products. 

7. Aimpoint CompM5B

Aimpoint is the premier red dot optics company, and its products have been used by shooting professionals, soldiers, hunters, and many more. The Aimpoint CompM4 is the Army’s current M68 optic, and they invented the modern red dot optic. 

Aimpoint CompM5B
Aimpoint CompM5B

The newly announced (and not yet on the market) CompM5B might be the most ambitious red dot Aimpoint has created since the original 1975 model. It’s the M5 with the addition of bullet drop compensating turrets, as wells a top-side ballistic turret that allows for instant adjustments to compensate for range. 

excited shaq
How cool is that?!

At the top of the turret is a series of numbers that coordinate with holdovers for specific ranges—aiming at a target 200 meters away? Simply rotate the turret to the correct number and boom. Got a target 400 meters away, well dial it into four and send it. 

What calibers will the turrets be set in? Well, no one seems to know just yet, but we can assume the popular calibers will be present like 5.56, .308, and .300 Blackout, etc.

Aimpoint CompM5B
Aimpoint CompM5B

Beyond this unique function, the optic is still an Aimpoint. 

That means rock-solid reliability, inherent precision, and it’s an unbeatable red dot optic. The CompM5B looks to be starting a new chapter in red dot technology. 

8. Vortex Razor Gen 3 1-10X 

Low powered variable optics in the 1-10 realm are rare, but quickly becoming the new standard. 1-10X is a very versatile magnification range, and the Vortex Razor Gen 3 premiered at SHOT to great critical acclaim. It’s one of the first high end, duty grade 1-10 power scopes, and that earns it a spot on this list. 

Vortex Razor Gen 3 1-10X mounted
Vortex Razor Gen 3 1-10X mounted

The Razor 1-10X uses their Enhanced Battle Reticle that somehow blends both a big illuminated circle with a big center dot for close-range shooting with a complicated long-range shooting reticle. It’s complete with windage and bullet drop compensating holdovers for making rapid and complicated shots. 

Vortex Razor Gen 3 1-10X down sight
Vortex Razor Gen 3 1-10X down sight

As police and military units move from bolt action sniper rifles to semi-automatic rifles, optics like the Vortex Razor Gen 3 1-10X are going to become the standard. The optic is incredibly versatile and built like a long-range precision scope in a slightly smaller body. 

The Vortex Razor 1-10X has a lot of impressive features, and a lot of them stand out, but I was particularly impressed by the fact that it weighs the exact same as their 1-6X.

That’s pretty neat, and very nice when you consider the fact this is a much more powerful optic that is just as robust without adding weight. 

at OpticsPlanet

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

9. Lucid M7 Micro Red Dot Sight

The Lucid M7 is a mid-tier red dot sight that’s brand new for a company mostly known for its fixed power prism sights. The M7 is a very small, but it’s an efficient sight that is quite robust for a mid-tier optic. It’s water and shockproof and overbuilt to allow it to excel beyond what a red dot at this tier can do. 

Lucid M7 Micro Red Dot Sight Mounted
Lucid M7 Micro Red Dot Sight Mounted

Best of all, the new M7 is 40% lighter than the older model without sacrificing any of the optic’s durability. It also uses a CR2032 battery instead of a AAA. 

The Lucid M7 red dot sight also features the M5 reticle. Red dot sights are traditionally just red dots, right? Well, the M5 reticle is a half-circle with a dot in the center and a chevron under the half-circle. 

Lucid M7 Micro Red Dot Sight on a Marlin 335 Lever Action
Lucid M7 Micro Red Dot Sight on a Marlin 335 Lever Action

The larger reticle is easier to acquire with the eye and does allow for quicker close-range engagements but still gives you the ability to accurately hit targets at 200 yards or so. The M5 reticle is more versatile and handy to me than a traditional red dot reticle. 

The mounting system is also versatile and allows shooters to mount the optic at a variety of different heights for different weapons or cowitnessing situations. The MSRP is 309 bucks, but online prices seem to be closer to around $250, making it plenty affordable. 

at OpticsPlanet

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

10. Holosun 507K 

With pistol red dots becoming the new normal, we are seeing smaller and smaller pistol be equipped with optics. For a long time, micro red dot sights were limited to the Shield RMS-c, and that was it. 

Holosun 507K rear
Holosun 507K rear (via Primer Peak)

The Shield RMS-c seems to be the gold standard, but it appears that Holosun is giving them a real challenge with the Holosun 507K. The 507K fits the RMS-c footprint but completely blows the RMS-c out of the water. 

Holosun 507K mounted
Holosun 507K mounted

With the 507K, Holosun offers shooters numerous advantages over the Shield RMS-c including: 

  • Sideloading battery (No need to remove optic to change batteries.) 
  • Three reticle options
  • Side-mounted controls
  • 300 Dollar price tag

The 507C has proven to be just as durable as a Trijicon RMR, so I have no doubts the 507K will be well worth the money. While the 507C isn’t out just yet, I can’t wait to throw one on my P365. 

The Wide World of Optics 

These new scopes, red dots, LPVOs, and prism optics are only a small taste of a very big optic industry. These are just a few of my favorites–well, is ten (or eleven…) still a few? 

A Couple AR-15 Optics
A Couple AR-15 Optics

Tell us what new optics have you seen that are drawing your attention? Which ones have you used that you love? Best yet, does anyone disagree with a choice on my list? Let us know below. And if you’re on the hunt for something new, give our Best New Guns of 2020 list a quick peek!

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15 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar

    Here's what I want that nobody delivers.
    1) I want a 34mm outside diameter tube RDS that has ZERO controls on the sides and top obstructing the view
    2) A clear viewing path of a true 30mm from front to back. That leaves just a 2mm ring around the lens to reduce obstructing view.
    3)Circle/dot reticle with shake awake.
    4) Controls underneath the optic in the rear to reduce obstructing view
    5) Lifetime warranty and $150 (Hey why not)

    May 22, 2020 11:49 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      Romeo 7

      March 8, 2021 1:00 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Maybe not so much with this site, but people always say buy once, cry once when discussing brands and items that might be used to defend your life. Swampfox and Athlon seem like those off brands you see on Amazon. Is there a median price point for doing something on a budget that a person would also feel safe defending their life with it? For instance, it has always been said the Bushnell TRS25 was the gold standard for a budget RDS to be used for home defense. I'd really love to see a 2020 Best Budget Gear round up.

    May 22, 2020 11:11 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      David, PPT Editor

      We've tested and used Swampfox and Athlon extensively, the quality is solid. I would put them on par or above brands like Bushnell, Burris, and Vortex.

      May 22, 2020 11:25 am
      • Commenter Avatar

        Thanks for the info. I will do some more research.

        May 23, 2020 8:46 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Well I have a dozen red dots or so but none of my early purchases of TRS25 go on any of my staged home defense weapons. My minimum self defense optic is a 5xx series Holosun circle/dot with shake awake. I've bought them as cheap as $140 or so. If you want something with a bigger objective than look at Primary Arms 30mm dot that will easily last 1.5 years always on for about $130.

      May 22, 2020 11:36 am
      • Commenter Avatar

        Thank you.

        May 23, 2020 8:46 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Supra Draco

      Athlon Optics is made to the same standard as Vortex, but at a lower price point because they are not well known in the firearms community as they are in other optics. You can double the cost of an Athlon and that is the cost of a compared scope from Vortex. They have the same "no questions asked" 100% lifetime warranty as well.

      June 1, 2020 2:09 pm
  • Commenter Avatar


    May 22, 2020 9:09 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    Please show optics that the common American can afford to purchase! Most Americans can't afford to purchase these "high dollar" optics. I purchased a Bresser CondorBresser Condor 1-4x24 Rifle Scope (Optics Planet) Illuminated Reticle, Up to 11% Off w/ Free S&H — 2 models 1-4 x24 scope for $150. The clarity is superb, it has a German thick-thin crosshair, with a red dot option=

    May 21, 2020 10:50 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Travis Pike

      The SIG MSR
      The Swampfox Prisms
      And the Athlon Argos are all very affordable

      May 22, 2020 4:25 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      These post are for everyone. The author clearly included low medium and high range items as he should. And optics planet offers 20k scopes on their site so maybe you should complain to them as well for selling high quality items

      May 22, 2020 12:19 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Confused Foreign Girl

    Swampfox also released a 1-10 for a lot less. I think around $500. Really want to get it when I can finally go back to work...

    May 21, 2020 10:38 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I'm very surprised to see that the strike eagle 5-25x56 mm scope by vortex didn't make your list. It's a ton of scope with a ton of features at a price point of retail $699 which is considerably lower than most of your choices.

    May 21, 2020 4:08 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      L Little

      I agree!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      May 21, 2020 8:32 pm
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