It is often said you get what you pay for. I believe that is true more times than not, but I stumbled on an almost secret out there in the Binocular World. Real issue Russian Military Binoculars, not the usual thrown together junk I have learned to hate over the last few years.
About six months ago I obtained two samples of these Russian Military binoculars from The USSR Company, in Burdett New York. The company imports only the real issue items and prides itself on keeping the price low. The binoculars tested came right from a military warehouse. The two samples received where 8x30 and 12x50 pieces. Opening the box the first thing that came to mind was the high quality of the packaging.
The 8x30's appeared to be of the highest grade. The case was leather and well made. The 8x30 binoculars where brand new but looked like they were brand new forty-year old Zeiss binoculars. They were perfect looking. Just like Zeiss used to sell forty years ago. Looking through the lenses it was obviously a great piece of glass. Clear as I have ever used and clear all the way to the edges. The 8x30's are equipped with a Mil scale reticle. The Mil-scale is in five mils, or 18" per hundred yards, between each line. The adjustments where smooth, easy to use and stayed put in the field. Talking with company president, Mr. Don Kakretz, I found the reason the binoculars reminded me of older Zeiss design. The Russians has built these on equipment taken from the Karl Zeiss factory and improved on the original designs. These binoculars give the appearance of binoculars costing five hundred dollars. These are a best buy at $75.00.
The 12x50's where very good and looked to be built in a more modern workmanship style. They were of equal quality but the packaging was more utilitarian. The case was a hard plastic and very nice for field carry. These binoculars had the same reticle, with five mil marks. The adjustments worked fine but did not have the same smoothness as the 8x30's. These where large binoculars, but fairly lightweight. The cost is 95.00 for these and once again a great value.
Using the binoculars in the field showed just how good they really are. The 8x30's performed so well, they found a place in my Ruck, before I went to Afghanistan. Replacing my high dollar Swarovski's because of the cost difference, if I lost them. This was a good move because when I was injured, and had limited amount of gear I could carry back, the 8x30's found a new home, with someone who is still using them in Afghanistan. Seemed fitting to be in Afghanistan with Russian made binoculars. The new owner loves them and I felt good giving him a nice pair of binoculars to work with. I will replace them with identical ones from The USSR Company.
The 12x50's where excellent, but I find 12x too powerful for most situations and really prefer the 8-10x powers. I use binoculars for field scanning and the higher powers lose so much field of view that it is harder on the eyes to watch an area. These would be an excellent choice for riflemen wanting to see greater detail without use of a spotting scope. Certainly they are worth several times the 95.00 they retail for. Another very good buy.
This experience has taught me there are some good deals to be had. I highly recommend either of these binoculars.