Q: Recently, I bought a secondhand Swarovski 2.5-10×56 with an illuminated reticle, because I couldn’t afford a new one. The optics are impressively bright with excellent resolution and contrast. But it also featured an illuminated reticle – an orange circle with a dot which stands out boldly in poor light. I used it set on 4x to drop a sambar stag when it was so close to dark that the unlit reticle was hard to see. It is no surprise then that I am completely sold on this type of reticle. But it also got me to thinking how long illuminated reticles have been available. Enquiries at several gunshops drew blank stares, but most guessed at about 30 or 40 years or so. Is this correct?
A: Illuminated reticles have become widely available and very popular in recent years, but they are nothing new. I’ve traced them back 100 years to 1921 when Carl Zeiss introduced two new models of
riflescopes: the Zeldovier 1+4 20 and the Zeildosechs 1+6 31, both of which featured dual magnification settings and, as an option illuminated reticles. These scopes may well have been the forerunners of variable power scopes. Illuninated reticles saw widespread use by the military in different countries in the early 1960s but it was only during the last four decades that illuminated reticles became available in hunting scopes.