There’s been a major breakthrough in the world of AR rifle scopes. In fact, it’s been over 100 years since we’ve seen anything of this magnitude in shooting optics.
Special Forces members of the United States military went in search a different kind of scope, a scope that would allow the shooter to adjust the zoom and field of view without taking a hand off the weapon or eye away from the optic. In coordination with a team from Sandia National Labs, that’s exactly what they developed.
A traditional rifle scope with a varying-zoom capability allows the shooter to zoom from a near to far target by simply rotating a ring or knob on the optic. The new RAZAR (Rapid Adaptive Zoom for Assault Rifles) scope eliminates the need to take one hand off of the weapon to adjust the magnification when transitioning between multiple targets. The RAZAR emulates the human eye by varying the focal length of the optical elements. Its optics can deform—that is, change the degree of their curvature—growing flatter or rounder depending on the need, much as ocular muscles press and pull on our eyes’ lenses to focus our vision to various distances. This “liquid-lens technology” allows the shooter to simply press a button, similar to the buttons you may use to turn on a floodlight or IR laser, and within a tenth of a second, the scope will adjust the zoom.
One major question that arose from the shooting community was, would the clarity be compromised when adjusting the zoom? Typically when adjusting magnification of a scope, the view may become distorted or the reticle seems to “float on the glass,” which is corrected by adjusting the scope’s parallax. The RAZAR is reported not to have this issue, and can adjust as the human eye adjusts when looking at a near target, and then immediately looking at a far target. The scope is just about as close as you can get to mimicking the human eye.
The optic will perform around 10,000 actuations on just two AA batteries. If your batteries happen to die out on you, the RAZOR will still perform as a regular rifle scope.
Sandia hopes that this technology will find its way not just to the battlefield, but to a variety of civilian uses as well—from consumer-grade adaptive-optic binoculars to long-range sports photography.