Many of us prefer to buy locally when possible. Supporting industry and businesses in our local area and the USA is a wise decision. When it comes to shooting, we are mostly aware of those companies that produce firearms in the USA. There are bigger questions about shooting accessories. The second most expensive part of many shooters’ kit is the rifle scope, leading us to the question. What rifle scopes are made in the USA?
Like so many questions that seem simple on the surface, the underlying answer gets more complicated. To really understand that question, we must investigate exactly what the label “Made in the USA” means and what variants you may encounter. As simple as it sounds, “Made in the USA” is much more complicated.
Is Made in the USA Really Made in the USA?
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulates the labeling of products in the US. There are published rules that manufacturers must follow to use the Made in the USA label on their products. In the words of the FTC:
For a product to be called Made in USA, or claimed to be of domestic origin without qualifications or limits on the claim, the product must be “all or virtually all” made in the U.S. The term “United States,” as referred to in the Enforcement Policy Statement, includes the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories and possessions.
Taking this FTC rule at face value, we can assume that any product, including riflescopes, that bears the label “Made in the USA” has been assembled in the US from parts substantially created in the US.
So, Which Rifle Scopes are Made in the USA?
Examining the websites, advertising, and product information from various rifle scopes reveals some interesting information. Many manufacturers have a mixture of rifle scopes with different labeling, including:
- Made in the USA
- Made in the USA with parts from (insert a country here)
- Assembled in the USA
- Manufactured in the USA
All these labels have a slightly different set of rules about the content of the product and where the final assembly takes place. Overall, it is safe to assume that if the rifle scope carries the label “Made in the USA” substantially, all parts were made and assembled in the United States.
Made in the USA Rifle Scopes
The following manufacturers all have rifle scopes in their product lines labeled as Made in the USA. However, don’t assume that any manufacturer makes all their scopes in the US. Some may assemble their scopes in the USA using parts manufactured overseas. Some scopes may be made almost entirely overseas and shipped to the US for final assembly. Doing your due diligence when shopping for a scope is necessary.
These are the manufacturers we found who have at least some products Made in the USA.
EOTech is renowned for its holographic sights. Since 1996, EOTech has led the industry in the innovation and development of holographic sights. The fact that their manufacturing and assembly are all done in the US is another source of pride for EOTech.
The EOTech website proudly proclaims that their products are “Made and Assembled in the USA.”
EOTech also markets the VUDU line of traditional rifle optics. If you examine the technical specifications of these rifle scopes, you will find that the country of origin is Japan. This is clearly not a Made in America product, but the EOTech website still carries the banner “Made and Assembled in the USA” label even when viewing VUDU rifle scopes.
The Final Findings
Examining the EOTech website leads us to conclude that the EOTech holographic rifle sights are Made in America. The manufacturing plant in Ann Arbor, MI, is the location for the actual production of the EOTech holographic sights.
However, the other products in their line, especially the VUDU rifle scopes, appear to be either manufactured totally outside the US or assembled in the USA from components manufactured overseas.
Again, to be sure where a product is manufactured, you should do a bit of detective work and learn all you can about the company that is selling and manufacturing a rifle scope.
Ask almost any rifle shooter for their top three choices of best rifle scopes, and Leupold is more than likely to be one of those three choices. Leupold has a long history of producing some of the finest optics in the world. Leupold makes it plain on their website that their scopes are
“. . . all designed, machined, and assembled in our Beaverton Oregon manufacturing facility. We do not have any other riflescope manufacturing facilities or offices anywhere in the world.”
Leupold also markets various other optical shooting accessories such as spotting scopes, binoculars, range finders. Like many other manufacturers, the upper tier of their product line may well be Made in the USA, but their less expensive product lines may have significantly different origins.
For example, the Leupold RX200i rangefinder is manufactured in China. However, looking at the Leupold website, finding the country of origin for this rangefinder is difficult. The technical specifications do not list the country of origin or the FAQ on the web page.
The Final Findings
As far as we can determine, Leupold’s riflescopes are Made in the USA. There is some question about where the optical glass Leupold uses in its scope originates or if Leupold sources lens blanks from overseas and then grinds the lens in the US or purchases complete lenses from foreign manufacturers.
The other Leupold products, such as binoculars, rangefinders, and spotting scopes, are, by and large, produced overseas. Leupold maintains that the research and design are done in the USA. Leupold also reports that their quality control and standards are managed in the USA as well.
In our opinion, you are safe in assuming that a Leupold scope is indeed Made in America. However, the origin of the glass in those scopes is vague, and the other products in the Leupold line are likely to be of foreign manufacture and assembly.
Trijicon is another American company producing a wide array of rifle optics that carry the label Made in the USA. We must give Trijicon just due at this point. Trijicon makes it clear on their website where every one of the products is made. Finding this information was quick and easy. For the record, Trijicon products are, according to the Trijicon website, manufactured as follows.
- ACOG®, VCOG®, RMR®, RMR®cc, SRO®, MRO®, Iron Sights, MGRS®, CCAS®, Thermal Optics, Ventus™, Mounts, and Archery Sights are designed and manufactured in the USA of 100 percent USA sourced products.
- Accupoint rifle scopes are assembled in the USA with parts that are substantially sourced from Japan.
- Huron®, Ascent®, Tenmile®, and Credo® riflescopes are manufactured in Japan
Trijicon maintains that no matter where their products are manufactured, they must conform to the same rigid and exacting quality control standards for all Trijicon products.
The Final Findings
Our investigation concluded that Trijicon might well be the most upfront about the location of the manufacture of their products. We like this upfront and available information. In our opinion, you can easily be sure if you are purchasing a Made in America product when dealing with Trijicon.
We do, however, suspect that at least some of the components in the Trijicon lines that carry the Made in America label have at least a small percentage of parts that come from Overseas. Some of these Trijicon products require small electronic parts or circuit boards that are usually manufactured elsewhere.
Overall, the Trijicon products listed as Made in America contain such a small proportion of these products it is safe to assume that the Made in America labeling is honestly presented.
Despite the name, U. S. Optics only manufactures one series of their line of optics and red dot scopes in the USA. A quick review of the FAQ on their website produces this reply from the U.S. Optics company to the question “Where are U.S. Optics Made?”
All U.S. Optics scopes are designed, engineered, and developed by our talented engineers located in Connelly Springs, North Carolina. Our Foundation Series line of optics are domestically manufactured and assembled in North Carolina. Our TS-Series and Electronic Sights are manufactured overseas and imported to our facility for quality assurance. Each and every product, domestic and imported, go through rigorous testing prior to shipping.
This reply on the companies FAQ page clarifies that only the Foundation series of rifle scopes is Made in the USA. The balance of their product line manufacturing occurs overseas.
The Final Findings
Like Trijicon, U.S. Optics makes it clear on their website which of their rifle scopes and accessories are Made in the USA. U.S. Optics does insist that every product of foreign manufacture undergoes rigorous testing to ensure the highest quality control.
However, if you want a true Made in America rifle scope, the Foundation scope series from U.S. Optics is the only option from this company.
If you are in the market for a night vision rifle scope and want to purchase a product made in the USA, several Nightforce products currently have the Made in America label. Our research shows that the following Nightforce products are labeled as Made in America.
- Nightforce ATACR
- Nightforce B.E.A.S.T line
Other Nightforce models and accessories are sourced from Japan as follows:
- SHV series
- NX8 series
- NXS series
- Competition series
- Benchrest series
Nightforce also makes it clear that the optical glass used in their American-made ATACR and B.E.A.S.T rifle scopes is sourced from Japan. Sourcing optical glass from Japan is not unusual as sources of optical grade glass in the US are limited, if not non-existent.
The Final Findings
Nightforce is a leading contender in the night vision riflescope market. The fact that their two top-selling models qualify as Made in the USA is a bonus. The Nightforce company is open with information about the source of manufacture of their products and their parts to assemble those products.
Is Made in America Really Better?
The answer to this question is a matter of debate. Some staunchly maintain that Made in America is far better and almost guarantees a higher quality product. I feel like such a stance is a little too broad in its assumptions. Certainly, American manufacturing has a long reputation for high quality and product value.
However, to say that any product Made in America is better than a comparable product made elsewhere is opening yourself to repudiation. Consequently, I try to err on the side of caution. Certainly, I support buying Made in America wherever possible. On the other hand, there is something to be said for shopping quality and features rather than manufacturing origins.
Whatever your opinion, I hope that this article gives you the information you need about rifle scopes Made in the USA. Many smaller manufacturers produce fine scopes made in the USA, but they typically are niche market products such as reproduction vintage scopes or highly technical specialized scopes not normally used by your average hunter or competitive target shooter.
My Final Word
If I can get what I want in a scope that is Made in the USA, I don’t mind paying a higher price to support the workers and companies in the US. On the other hand, where I know a superior product is available that is made overseas, and no comparable US-made product exists, there is no reason not to get the rifle scope you want and need.