Vortex is somewhat of a household name in the sports optics game. They have some really excellent products, from their riflescopes, to their rangefinders, monoculars and binoculars. Even though that’s somewhat of an indication of quality, it also means that any product they make has quite a reputation to live up to.
What we’ll be taking a look at today is the Vortex Recon R/T monocular, in its 15×50 configuration. Even though it’s available in a 10×50 as well, we find that the 15 times magnification will be a bit more useful, as it does get you a bit closer. Aside from the magnification, eye relief and field of view, the scopes are more or less identical. Without wasting any more of your time, let’s see what the Recon R/T is, how good is it, and who it is for.
What is it?
As Vortex themselves say, the Recon R/T was made as a lightweight monocular best suited for range estimation and field surveillance. It’s small and can be easily tucked away in a jacket, making it much more convenient than a binocular. It does cost quite a bit, but you’re getting a no-compromise device with Vortex’s best coatings, so the price is actually justified.
Starting things off with the numbers, you have a 15 times magnification and a 50mm objective lens diameter. This is a good combination, as you will definitely get plenty of light for a bright and sharp image. The magnification is excellent for estimating range at longer distances, as well as for general observation. You have a field of view that’s 215 feet at 1000 yards, which translates to an angular field of view of 4.1 degrees. That should cover quite a bit of ground. There’s also 16mm of eye relief, as well as an exit pupil diameter of 3.3 mm. In terms of numbers, this should be a great monocular. But it’s not all about the numbers, is it?
The Recon R/T has lenses that are made of Extra-low dispersion (ED) glass, which quite frankly, is as good as it gets. There’s no quality loss or blurriness on the edges of the image, instead you get a consistently sharp and bright picture. To add to that, there are XR anti-reflective coatings as well. Even in low light situations, you can be sure that the Recon R/T will gather plenty of light.
On the outside, you have a stiff, quality construction, and a textured rubber armor to hold on to. This will both give you a better grip, and will provide some shock absorption in case of a drop. The lenses, on the outside, have ArmorTek coatings. This guarantees that they won’t get scratched up easily, and makes them resist oil and dirt fairly well.
While we’re discussing the outside, we should mention the focus adjustment. There are two of them on the Recon R/T. One is a large focus wheel, which lets you get a rough focus. Since making precise adjustments is difficult with such a large ring, you also have a smaller reticle focus. This is what allows you to fine tune focus, and get it set up just right for your eye. If you’re wearing prescription glasses, this is also what lets you leave them at home. You don’t have to, though, we already mentioned the generous amount of eye relief.
The last thing we’ll discuss in terms of specs is the weather resistance. When you’re paying this much for an outdoors product, you want to make sure it will be suitable for use in any scenario. The Recon R/T is excellent in this regard. It is completely waterproof, as well as fog proof, making it very versatile.
How good is the Recon R/T?
We already mentioned that the Recon R/T has a reputation to live up to. According to our findings, it more than manages this. For starters, the image quality through the monocular is excellent. There’s no discoloration or fringing, and the entire image is very sharp, edge to edge. This isn’t the case with many monoculars, even ones that cost more than the Recon R/T, which makes it a great pick.
The reticle is also an important thing that we didn’t discuss in the specs. With the Recon R/T, you get a hashmarked ranging reticle. It uses subtension lines that are MRAD (milliradian) based for holdover, ranging, as well as windage corrections. The milliradian system lets you calculate range easily. All you need to do is compare the reticle to an object you know the dimensions of. If you are familiarized with your surroundings, this shouldn’t be an issue, and you can take advantage of the reticle.
Wrapping things up – who is it for?
The logical conclusion would be “certainly not for everyone”. The price will be out of reach for many, and we understand that anyone but serious hunters will find it hard to justify spending this much. The 15 times magnification also won’t work in every environment – sometimes you just need a wider field of view.
On the other hand, if you’re able to invest in the Recon R/T, you won’t regret it. It’s built like a tank, with a rubberized outside and ED glass with anti-reflective coating on the inside. You will get image quality that’s right up there with the top contenders in the monocular world. You get an excellent reticle that lets you range your target easily, too, which is always welcome.
At the end of the day, people who will use this monocular as a tool, won’t see its asking price as a problem. If you’re one of them, you won’t be making a mistake by going for the Recon R/T, provided the field of view works for you. If, however, you find the price hard to justify, know that you’re missing out on an excellent piece of optics.