Surprisingly, when you mention Hensoldt to a majority of precision / tactical shooters in the U.S. you get a blank stare. The U.S. magnified optics market is dominated by Leupold Stevens, Night Force, U.S. Optics and to a lesser extent Schmidt & Bender, a condition exacerbated by the mystique surrounding sniper and sniper systems in Europe. European agencies have a tendency to keep military and law enforcement systems out of the public eye – Cloak & Dagger overdone I have to say. The end result is that companies, like Hensoldt, have failed to make significant inroads in U.S. markets; regrettably that includes military circles. Be it a lack of presence, and foreign currency translation, Hensoldt is not achieving its full potential in spite of the fact that they are the Rolls Royce of magnified precision optics. If one morning you wake up to a large mushroom cloud in the horizon, as you peep through your kitchen window, be sure the rifle you bring with you is the one topped in a Hensoldt. It is likely to be the only optic to survive the event and continue to provide precise adjustments to your point of impact. Yes, they are that good!
Hendsoldt became part of Carl Zeiss in 1928 and was merged with Cassidian Optronics in 2012 a wholly owned subsidiary of Airbus Defense. They’ve recently teamed with EuroOptic Ltd., Montoursville, PA as its sole U.S. distributor. You can be sure that Alex Roy, founder and owner of EuroOptic Ltd, will give Hensoldt the visibility that its products deserve.
During SHOT SHOW 2014 I had the opportunity to meet with EuroOptic and Cassidian Optronics representatives to revisit some of their exceptional weapon sights. I was very impressed by the ZF 3.5-26×56 magnified optic. Any discussion of optical quality is almost ludicrous because it’s a given. I’d call it the equivalent to discussing quality of a Hickey Freeman suit. So, the discussion is best undertaken by outlining its features. The ZF 3.5-26×56 is a first focal plane magnified optic with a 56mm objective. Its light gathering abilities are short of amazing. From a mechanical center, the ZF 3.5-26×56 provides a full 18 mrad of elevation per rotation (2 rotations), in 180 clicks per rotation, (.1mrad = 1cm at 100 meters). The overall length of the optic is 37 cm, tube diameter is 36 mm and weighs 1300 grams (2.87 lbs). The scope also comes with an illuminated reticle powered by a single 123A battery. Its magnification range and compactness lends itself to a variety of platforms, calibers and imaging systems.