Making purchases that are made in the USA is a great way to show support to local rifle scopes manufacturers.
It is the IDEAL choice for those of us who love shooting and America.
However, I’ve found “Made in the USA” to be quite confusing and even misleading to those who want to purchase USA-made products.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has many variations of the label “Made in the USA,” which can mean a handful of different things about manufacturing.
In this article, I will answer what “Made in the USA” means, its variants, and, of course, determine which rifle scopes made in USA are WORTH it.
- Unpacking the “Made in the USA” Marketing
- Best Rifle Scopes Made in the USA: Top 4 Brands
- Are Scopes Made in America Better?
- How to Choose Rifle Scopes Made in the USA
- Alternatives to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Thoughts
Unpacking the “Made in the USA” Marketing
According to the FTC, the official body that regulates labels like this, a product can be labeled “Made in the USA” if “the product must be “all or virtually all” made in the US.“
Going by this principle, I assume that rifle scopes that have the label “Made in the USA” have been manufactured in America with components that are also from America.
In the USA optics industry, companies and manufacturers have a few ways to use the “Made in the USA” label to inform consumers about a product’s origins.
They modify the label according to how and where the products were developed and assembled that is (or should be) per the FTC’s guidelines.
Each modification follows a different set of rules to avoid being disingenuous to the market that purchases rifle scopes and other products in their store.
Rifle scopes and other shooting accessories from the USA will have the following labels:
- Made in the USA
- Made in the USA with parts from (country of origin)
- Assembled in the USA
- Manufactured in the USA
Following the words of the FTC, we can determine which products align with the purchases you want to make about your firearms accessories and whatnot.
Best Rifle Scopes Made in the USA: Top 4 Brands
After going through the online sites of the following four manufacturers, they have some rifle scopes that bear the “made in the USA” label, but NOT their entire product line.
Some are assembled in America using components that are manufactured elsewhere, or they arrive in the USA in other variations and stages of manufacturing.
You can check the models of these companies through their website to double-check their “made in the USA” label.
Let’s now go through the range of products offered by each one.
As an American shooter, I can tell you that my Leupold scope collection has some of the BEST on the planet.
The Leupold brand has a long history of manufacturing excellent riflescopes that are USA-made, which is why their patriotic consumers trust them.
On their online site, Leupold is very clear about not having links to other rifle scope manufacturers other than the one in Beaverton, Oregon.
Therefore, you can be sure that ALL the rifle scopes under the Leupold brand are made in the US, though there is speculation that Leupold might be sourcing their lens elsewhere.
In addition, NOT ALL Leupold shooting accessories (e.g., binoculars, rangefinders, spotting scopes, etc.) are made in the USA.
These Leupold products are sourced and/or manufactured, either partially or totally, in the Asia Pacific.
Here’s a quick buying guide on their best .308 scopes to get you started on Leupold!
Like Leupold, many Trijicon products are made in the US. To be quite specific, their website says:
“The vast majority of Trijicon products, including ACOG®, VCOG®, RMR®, RMR®cc SRO®, MRO®, Iron Sights, MGRS®, CCAS®, Thermal Optics, Mounts, and Archery Sights are designed, engineered, machined, and assembled at our facilities in Wixom, Michigan or Auburn, California, and are therefore 100% Made in the USA.”
Trijicon also makes great red dots for your AR-15; check out this buying guide to take your pick!
I applaud the clear advertising given by Trijicon to inform their consumers about the origins of their products.
However, among the ones listed above, only TWO are Trijicon rifle scopes. These are the Trijicon ACOG and the Trijicon VCOG series.
These scopes are definitely made in the US since they are used by the Marine Corps and US Special Operations Forces.
That information alone was enough to assure me of Trijicon’s great performance!
After owning some Trijicon scopes and thermal optics products myself, I can clearly see why our Marine Corps and Special Forces would endorse them!
However, if neither of those two Trijicon offerings appeals to you, you might be better off looking at other US-made rifle scopes.
Similar to Trijicon, US Optics only has a select line that is American-made. They call this line the Foundation Series.
Once again, I appreciate that the brand makes it easy to know the origins of their products for those who want to buy only rifle scopes made in the US.
You can choose from four riflescopes within the Foundation series, namely:
- FDN 10X
- FDN FX10
- FDN 17X
- And FDN 25X.
This product line is on the expensive side of pricing, ranging from $1999 to up to $3499.
Choosing a rifle scope that is made in the US from US Optics may be a bit difficult because of the steep price and the limited options.
However, if a TRUE US-made rifle scope is what you are looking for, this is not a bad place to look at all!
Nightforce Optics has two series that have the Made in the US label, namely the Nightforce ATACR and the Nightforce BEAST.
Be aware that the lens used in these riflescopes is sourced from Japan and that this practice is typical because optical grade glass is a rarity coming from US sources.
This brand is very open about the origins and assembly of their products; you can easily find this information on their site.
In terms of options, there are quite a few rifle scopes that fall under these two lines. You will probably find something that suits you here!
I personally love their ATACR scope. It has some of the clearest image quality I’ve ever seen in a scope!
However, like the US Optics offerings, some folks have a steep price range.
These are investment scopes for sure, but you will not be disappointed if you go for them. I sure wasn’t!
Are Scopes Made in America Better?
You will find that American-made scopes come with a heftier price tag than counterparts from the Asia Pacific, for example.
Labor is not cheap in America. It is the reality felt the most by the consumers because goods made in the USA will come at an additional cost.
Many providers from the USA market outsource their labor and components overseas because it lowers production costs, allowing them to offer products at a much lower price.
However, as it has been evident not just with rifle scopes and other optics goods, a product with a lower price does NOT necessarily mean it is of inferior quality.
In fact, as a shooter from American, I am MORE THAN happy with my scopes that have been manufactured and assembled in other parts of the world!
Indeed, there are poorly manufactured rifle scopes that are not made in the USA, but having the “Made in the USA” label is not the be-all, end-all of a good quality scope.
Nonetheless, I think that “Made in the USA” is good advertising because it lets me know about the manufacturers for those of us who choose to be patriotic with our shopping choices.
What if My Rifle Scope is Manufactured in Asia?
For whatever reason, many consumers from America believe that goods manufactured in the Asia Pacific, specifically Japan, China, and the Philippines, are bad models.
Remember that before being released into the market, rifle scopes manufactured and assembled in these areas underwent rigorous testing and quality control.
When manufacturing plants put these scopes together, they do so according to the instructions and tech specifications from the company in America.
Additionally, many manufacturers in the Asia Pacific have proven to be MORE than capable of churning out a range of good quality optics products.
As their features were engineered and developed by shooters from the company in America, the core of these products is very much made in the USA.
Take the TS Series and Electronic Sights from US Optics, for example.
These scopes get good reviews across the board from competitive shooters in America, myself included, despite being made in China.
The company maintains that these products adhere to the same standard of quality as the rest of its product line and go through strict quality control.
How to Choose Rifle Scopes Made in the USA
I know America has high standards when it comes to their scopes, so it pays off to be a little picky when choosing yours.
Here are a few things to consider when choosing the best USA-made scope.
There are two main materials used in American rifle scopes: stainless steel and glass.
Steel shouldn’t be a problem since there are many high-quality steel manufacturers in the USA.
I would be aware of lower-grade steel, which is usually imported. It is also less durable and not as resistant than American-grade steel.
If you want higher-grade, stronger steel that has gone through rigorous testing, American-made steel is your best bet.
Glass is a bit more tricky.
There is a chance your current scopes have glass that is made in China. American is not as much of a giant when it comes to glass production, compared to China.
Glass companies are not as common in America, so I recommend double-checking the country of origin of your glass.
I know I talked about labeling a bit earlier, but it is just as important when considering USA-made rifle scopes.
It is standard for imported products to be labeled as “imported,” just as American-made ones to have a “Made in the USA” label.
However, there is a chance the label could be misleading if it does not comply with FTC’s quality assurance process.
It pays off to do some additional research on the product to be absolutely sure.
Look out for labels like “Assembled in the USA” as these do not necessarily mean they are made in the USA from start to finish.
It also helps to look for an American flag on the label. Sure, it’s patriotic, but it doesn’t guarantee that the product was made in the USA.
Check the Company Website
I know it can be hard to determine for yourself if the scope is made in the USA.
Another tip you can try is to confirm with the company yourself! It helps to look at the company’s official website to see if their scopes are truly made in the USA.
However, don’t be discouraged if it is not listed on the website, as companies are not required to label their products with the country of origin.
If that’s the case, chances are it is made abroad. You will likely find the “Made in the USA” label on the scope itself.
Alternatives to Consider
Not convinced about these US-made products? Don’t have your sights on any of the Leupold or Trijicon products?
Don’t worry; check out these other USA-manufactured scopes.
I should note that Leupold acquired the Redfield brand in 2008 and attempted to reintroduce it to the USA shooters and tried to expand it.
However, since 2020, the only series surviving and still available from the brand is the Revolution line.
Though, you can still purchase other series from licensed or unlicensed retailers’ links on the internet.
In my experience, their Revolution line was quite good! It’s a great beginner scope that’s not too fancy, considering its budget price point.
Redfield is manufactured in the same plants as other Leupold products.
2. DZ Arms
DZ Arms only has one model on their website: the NRA Approved Malcolm Style 8 Power Scope.
This offering teeters towards the more straightforward side of the spectrum. You will not find many bells and whistles with this.
It is not as inexpensive as the Redfield Revolution series, with a price tag of $625, but it is 100% sourced and manufactured in the USA.
Check out DZ Arm’s website for more information on this product.
3. Montana Vintage Arms
I really like Montana Vintage Arms for their old-style and classic scopes.
It makes me feel like I’m shooting with weapons I learned about from my history class!
You can set your sights on the three varieties offered on the Montana Vintage Arms website.
They replicate older-style rifle scopes that are dependable even for modern rifles through new technology.
If you are a participant in this style of shooting, you can choose from Winchester “B” Series, MVA Series, and the “A” Scope.
They are their own rifle scope manufacturers and operate from Belgrade, MT, in the USA.
Frequently Asked Questions
In this section, I will answer some more questions about rifle scopes and their origin of manufacture.
Is Vortex an American Company?
Vortex is an American company, but their products are mostly made in the Asia Pacific, specifically in the countries of Japan, China, and the Philippines.
They have ONE model of rifle scope made in the USA, the Razor® HD AMG 6-24×50 FFP.
Which Scopes Are Made in Japan?
There are plenty of rifle scopes in the USA that come from America-based brands that are of Japanese manufacture.
As a matter of fact, there are so many that I have decided to only list here the scopes manufactured in Japan from the companies listed above.
- Leupold – None. Only their binoculars have a Japanese manufacturer.
- Trijicon – All scopes from Huron, Ascent, Tenmile, and Credo series. The AccuPoint series is assembled in the USA, but elements are substantially sourced from Japan.
- US Optics – Unclear. Their website only clarifies the manufacturing origins of the Foundation series, which we know is made in the USA.
- Nightforce Optics* – SHV, NX8, NXS, Competition, Benchrest.
NOTE: They offer rifle scopes that are marketed as “assembled in the USA” but are unclear on the details of the material sourcing apart from the lens, which is sourced from Japan.
What Rifle Scopes Are Made in Germany?
European rifle scopes, specifically the ones from Germany, have a good reputation in the industry for their research, good quality, and excellent features.
Many rifle scopes come from Germany, so I will list some popular brands that manufacture mostly from their own local plants.
- Schmidt & Bender
Check out each company’s website for more information on the manufacturing origins of their rifle scope offerings.
Should you be interested, these brands also offer other products such as target sights, binoculars, etc.
You can find more data on these brands on their website as well.
I certainly understand the desire to support rifle scopes and optics products made in America, especially when it comes to military and law enforcement applications.
Still, many USA brands in the industry outsource their manufacturing overseas.
It is clear that many users of these scopes are happy with their purchases, myself included!
So long as the product passes the company’s rigorous testing and quality assurance process, you can pretty much be guaranteed that it will perform according to their marketing.
If you want a scope made in the USA, double-check the manufacturing origins on the company’s website (or even a third-party website) for more information.