Friday, November 30, 2012

Vortex Solo R/T - a compact option for taking a closer look

There are many times when I need to take a closer look at something that is far away, but I rarely have my binoculars or my spotting scope with me unless the specific situation calls for it. There are also times when I need to know the range to an object or target, but again, my laser rangefinder only accompanies me on certain occasions, and I'm sad to say that my Kentucky Windage isn't always spot on. The primary reason that I don't carry all of that equipment is that it's just too heavy and bulky to have with me all of the time, but I've always been on the lookout for an optic that could fill all of those needs, be small enough to carry everywhere, and not break the bank. When I was first shown the Vortex Solo R/T monocular, I was pretty sure I had found the answer I was looking for. When I first put it to use in the field, however, I was positive - this optic was the answer to my magnification and rangefinding needs.

The Solo monocular is right at home in the hunting field, and it's so
small and lightweight that you won't be tempted to leave it at camp.

Vortex makes some excellent optics, and they are priced for just about every budget. The Solo R/T (Recon/Tactical) is no different, with a price tag around $120.00. What makes the Solo so handy is not just its size and weight, but also its rugged reliability. My Solo has ridden around on my gear, been beat up in a pack, used in the rain and snow, and even dropped a few times. Yet it still maintains the same clear picture that it had when I first got it, and I'm never tempted to leave it behind due to size or weight. The Solo R/T is also waterproof, shockproof, and fogproof, with multi-coated glare reducing glass. The metal clip works perfectly to attach the optic to a belt or MOLLE compatible gear, and the R/T model features a specific "reticle focus" in addition to the objective focus, which assists in getting the clearest picture possible as well as cuts down on the eye fatigue so common with monocular optics. The 8x magnification is sufficient for my needs, and if you feel you need more, you can always check out the Recon R/T models, which include a 10x and even a 15x model. I wouldn't recommend a higher power monocular, however, as holding an optic steady enough with just one hand is tricky enough with an 8x - anything more than that would need a very steady rest, in my experience.

The Solo also fits well into the tactical and sport shooting arenas, as it clips easily to
MOLLE gear, is rugged and reliable, and uses the milradian system for rangefinding.
What really sets the Solo apart from other monoculars, though, is the reticle. Instead of a simple open sight, or a non-standard rangefinding reticle, the Solo uses the tried and true milradian system, also known as MILs or MRADs. This enables me to use the same rangefinding techniques with the Solo that I apply with my precision shooting platforms and other similar optics, and the math is quick and easy to do. There are also a few preset torso target rangefinders built into the reticle so that it is a quick and easy process to gauge distance on torsos from 300m to 600m.
The Solo reticle features enough milradians to be able to range just about any object, without
cluttering up field of view, and even includes preset torso rangefinding segments.

The only real complaints that I have against the Solo R/T are the lack of pouches available that hold it securely in place when mounted to a belt or other gear. I've had to either carry it loose or modify other pouches to work with it. I also wish there was a screw mount on the bottom so that I could mount the Solo to a tripod or similar mount to steady it when the need arises.

As with any piece of gear that I use in the field, I'm always concerned about what happens if I break it, but with the Solo that concern isn't there as I know it is covered by the Vortex lifetime warranty, which is unlimited and unconditional. Learn more about the Vortex Solo R/T by clicking here and visiting the Vortex website. You can also see a short video about it here. If you have other optics needs, such as variable scopes, tactical scopes, budget scopes, or red dot sights, take alook at some of the other optics that Vortex offers - you won't be disappointed.

Stay Aware, Stay Safe, Train Hard.

-Glen Stilson