Choosing Military Binoculars: A Buying Guide

The Mechanics of Military Binoculars

Military binoculars are used for various reasons including surveillance, combat, reconnaissance, hunting, and training. They boast highly detailed, field-tested designs with the best glass, coatings, and housings found in any binocular. Binoculars designed for military use boast some of the very best specifications, making them great for almost any activity. People often gear up with military marine binoculars and police binoculars for hunting or scouting simply because they provide a bright image in low-light conditions, water- and fog-proof o-ring seals, and usually offer camouflaged housing.

While offering the best glass and fully-multicoated optics, military binoculars, overall, render the sharpest, clearest images with supreme glare reduction designed for bright applications. Some of our best-selling military binoculars feature ED glass, a cleaner, more refined glass that transmits even more light to the eyes. Of course, as with any binocular, the quality of the glass and the coatings dictate how sharp and crisp the image ends up.

Many military binoculars will offer a compass, mil dot or rangefinder reticle. These features are specifically for targeting a subject, so they make perfect for hunting and scouting applications in unfamiliar locations. Military binoculars for boating will, more than not, offer water-and-fog-proof, nitrogen-purged, and o-ring sealed bodies. Some can even handle complete submersion.

Look for brands like Steiner and Vortex to get an idea of what best suits you.

Size Does Matter

Military binoculars range widely in size and shape, from compact collapsible-and-foldable binoculars that easily fit in a pocket, to mid-size and full-size binoculars that fit in the case carried on a belt or neck strap. Try tripod-mountable binoculars for extra long-distance viewing.

Compact binoculars are easy to quickly put away and store in a pocket without the worry of being weighed down when you're on the move. They won't gather and transmit as much light as a mid- or full-size, but they won't interfere with your movements, covert or otherwise.

Mid- and full-size military binoculars are some of the most sought-after models, period. They're ideal for any military application and practical for almost any activity in which a binocular is used - hunting, birding, spectating, land viewing, and stargazing.

Giant military binoculars are ideal for long-distance and even astronomical use, but you'll need a tripod. Although they're very large and cumbersome, they bring the best in optical quality and bestow very sharp land-based and celestial images.