You might recognize Athlon Optics as one of the many USA-based sports optics brands that deliver a wide range of high-quality products.
However, like any US-based optics manufacturer in the market, their goods are NOT made in the United States.
I’ve had my share of Athlon products, and like with other popular scope brands, I can’t help but wonder where these scopes are made.
I eventually gave in to my curiosity, and learned a lot new things!
- Where Are Athlon Scopes Made?
- About Athlon Optics and Their Rifle Scopes
- Athlon Scope Recommendations
- How to Choose the Best Athlon Scope
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Thoughts
Where Are Athlon Scopes Made?
So, where are Athlon scopes made exactly?
Athlon scopes are made in Japan and China according to technical specifications provided by the American company and adhere to their product standards.
If you didn’t know, sourcing and assembling rifle scope components OUTSIDE the country is the norm in the United States sports optics industry.
Most scopes are built in this manner because of the significantly higher cost of labor in the US than in other countries, which the buyer would then shoulder.
Simply put, you would be purchasing your rifle scope at a MORE expensive price had the components been sourced and assembled in the United States.
Athlon Optics, in particular, offers reasonably priced products for the remarkable features that they come with, so I can’t really complain!
I understand the desire to support rifle scopes made in the USA, but I would honestly be hard-pressed to find a wide selection of products for shooting enthusiasts and pros.
You could, of course, choose to do so, and that’d be awesome!
Just know that your options will be limited as most rifle scope brands outsource their components and labor.
Does Manufacturing Location Really Matter When It Comes to Quality?
For reasons that are out of this article’s depth, there is a belief that consumer goods made in Japan, China, or the Asia Pacific are of inferior quality.
This belief is LARGELY unfounded, especially when it comes to rifle scopes.
I think I speak for a lot of scope users who enjoy their scopes whose components are sourced from and assembled abroad.
In fact, most of the time, I don’t even think about where it’s from!
Sure, you can easily find a cheap and poorly-made rifle scope from facilities in those areas, but you can just as easily find high-quality optics that perform exceptionally!
In my experience, more often than not, it’s the latter.
As far as their rifle scope options are concerned, those that are available from Athlon’s licensed retailers have gone through rigorous testing and quality assurance.
In my opinion, a reputable brand’s stamp of approval is what really matters more than the location of its manufacturing plants.
The Asia Pacific has shown that they are more than capable of producing high-quality optics and scopes, with standards and procedures that are comparable to plants in Europe and the US.
Just in case you run into any trouble with your Athlon rifle scope, they offer some of the best warranty coverages on the market.
About Athlon Optics and Their Rifle Scopes
Athlon Optics is a US-based optics manufacturer. Their headquarters are located in Olathe, Kansas.
The Athlon brand creates not only rifle scopes but also red dot sights, spotting scopes, binoculars, rangefinders, and accessories for these.
There is a WIDE variety of Athlon rifle scopes available out there!
You can find some with a first focal plane reticle or a second focal plane reticle.
These have varying optical configurations, primary features, and unexposed or exposed tactical turrets that you can play around with to suit your needs.
They have fully multi-coated optics with etched glass reticle illumination and variable magnification if this is something you need or prefer.
Within their rifle scope line, you have some that have aircraft-grade aluminum alloy construction, so you can be sure your rifle scope will LAST!
Target shooting, mountain hunting, long-range hunting, etc., are ALL POSSIBLE with rifle scopes and other Athlon Optics products!
If you want a good quality rifle scope, check out our recommendations below and Athlon’s official website for the full range of their products.
Athlon Scope Recommendations
Athlon Optics offers high-quality scopes that I would consider to be some of the best rifle scopes from a US company.
Depending on your budget, scope features from Athlon’s range can go from the basic primary features for beginners to advanced and very technical.
This section will find our suggestions for different shooting styles.
1. Athlon Cronus BTR Scope
The Athlon Cronus scope is a VERSATILE first focal plane scope with multiple high-tech features that will work EXCELLENTLY for many people.
I say versatile because I’ve successful long-range AND short-range shooting sessions with it!
In fact, I say this scope is up to par with some of the most POPULAR brands that are even pricier than the Cronus BTR.
Every image I see through the scope is sharp and clear, thanks to the extra-low dispersion lenses.
I can shoot at any time of the day, even at night! This is made possible with its adjustable illumination.
The best part? I don’t have to worry about scratches as the XPL coating protects it from outside damage!
If you want Athlon’s top-of-the-line rifle scope, you will find it in the Cronus BTR series; available on their website is the second generation which is more impressive than the last.
Where are these scopes made? In Japan, specifically the LOW Factory (as in Light Optical Works, not low quality).
- CRONUS BTR GEN2 UHD 1-6×24 (ATSR2 SFP IR MOA)
- CRONUS BTR GEN2 UHD 4.5-29×56 (APRS1 FFP IR MIL)
- CRONUS BTR GEN2 UHD 4.5-29×56 (APRS6 FFP IR MIL)
- CRONUS BTR GEN2 UHD 4.5-29×56 (APLR5 FFP IR MOA)
Visit Athlon’s website for the full list of specs of each rifle scope.
2. Athlon Ares ETR UHD
The Athlon Ares series has two generations.
The first was introduced as a rifle scope for short to long-range hunting, while the second is great for mid to long-range shooting.
The second generation, known as the Ares BTR GEN2 HD, is more affordable than its predecessor but is no less impressive in its optical configurations.
I find that the Ares ETR UHD is great for tactical shooting because of its fully multi-coated optics that gives maximum light transmission.
I also appreciate the exposed tactical turrets that lock in place, removing the hassle of dialing back unintended adjustments in elevation and windage.
This product line has three optical configurations, namely Mil/MOA, 3×9, and 4×16, if you were wondering about the options for these scopes.
These first focal plane scopes are for sure some of the most advanced and sophisticated ones available on the market.
I find that many enthusiasts and experts agree with this opinion!
The Athlon Ares ETR line is made in China according to Athlon’s technical specifications and product standards.
- ARES ETR UHD 1-10×24 (ATMR2 FFP IR MOA and ATMR3 FFP IR MIL)
- ARES ETR UHD 3-18X50 (APLR6 FFP IR MOA and APRS6 FFP IR MIL)
- ARES ETR UHD 4.5-30×56 (APLR2 FFP IR MOA and APLR5 FFP IR MOA)
- ARES ETR UHD 4.5-30×56 (APRS1 FFP IR MIL and APRS6 FFP IR MIL)
Visit Athlon’s website for the full list of specs of each rifle scope.
3. Athlon Argos HMR
If you need an outdoor companion, I cannot recommend the Argos enough!
I’ve taken this scope to the mountains and in heavy rains; the scope came back home with no harm done!
It is a compact yet heavy-duty scope that is optimized for outdoor use. It is waterproof and argon-purged to prevent fogging.
Its etched glass reticle works great as backing support for the sophisticated reticle design.
This feature makes long-range shooting especially EASY and ENJOYABLE!
Do not be fooled by the smaller size of the Argos HMR line!
It also has a wide field of view that works excellent for tactical shooting and going at a more stealthy pace.
This series of rifle scopes is perfect for shooters on a budget as it is significantly lower in price compared to \Athlon’s more high-end scopes.
Unlike the two previous series, it has a second focal plane reticle, making it perfect for PRECISION shooting from either short or long distances.
Athlon’s Argos HMR series is made in China and also strictly follows Athlon’s technical specifications and product standards.
- ARGOS HMR 2-12×42 (AHMC SFP MOA, BDC 600 SFP MOA, and BDC 600A SFP MOA)
- ARGOS HMR 4-20×50 (AHMC SFP MOA, BDC 600A SFP MOA, and MIL DOT SFP MOA)
Visit Athlon’s website for the full list of specs of each rifle scope.
How to Choose the Best Athlon Scope
Choosing a rifle scope can be really daunting because of the sheer magnitude of options and customizations available within the Athlon range of products.
Not to mention, new technologies are being developed every day that can be confusing even for the most experienced users.
This guide will cover the basics of what you should look for in your Athlon rifle scopes for the easiest, most precise shooting and enjoyable experience.
Reticles are an extremely important part of rifle scopes and probably the part of the optic that you will interact with the MOST!
Essentially, a reticle is the pattern of the crosshairs that you will see when you look into the ocular lens.
It situates WHERE the target is in the field of view.
Its function is to give the user data about the shot they will take and how to adjust it accordingly so that it hits the target as precisely as possible.
Each mark in the reticle represents a distance that users will need to estimate where to hold and what to adjust to compensate for the bullet drop.
Athlon scopes have a wide range of reticles available, depending on the series you are looking at; this would typically be an etched glass reticle.
Basic Types of Reticles Found in Athlon Scopes
Choosing the best reticle for you depends on your needs and capabilities as a shooter.
If you prefer the SIMPLEST kind that provides a clear field of view and only has basic crosshairs, they have the Center X in the Neos and Talos series.
I like to keep things simple, so the Center X is my choice!
If you own a rangefinder or are shooting marked targets at predetermined distances, a BDC (bullet drop compensator) reticle would be useful and easy.
If you are a more dynamic shooter, Athlon has MOA (minute of angle) and MIL (Milliradian)/MIL Dot that requires you to do some calculations for a precise shot.
You can find these reticle types in many of the rifle scopes Athlon has to offer.
These reticles can go from really clean and simple to quite busy with many dots and hashes.
Some people will prefer the ones with fewer markings, and others will like the precision that the markings enable.
It depends on YOU which is more beneficial.
The Reticle and Focal Planes
It is important to note that choosing the best reticle for you will most likely involve whether or not the rifle scope is a first or second focal plane type.
An FFP reticle will appear to be bigger or smaller as the user adjusts the magnification of their rifle scope.
The data you need to make a clean shot is adjusted accordingly based on how close you are looking at the target.
First focal plane scopes are useful for short to long-range shooting.
Meanwhile, an SFP reticle will remain the SAME size no matter whether the magnification of the rifle scope is zoomed in or out.
This is a great choice for extreme long-range shooters because trying to range a target becomes too hard to do, and the consistency of the reticle size matters more for a precise shot.
Many reticles within the Athlon rifle scope range come with an adjustable illumination feature.
This allows users to aim at dark targets in low-light situations more accurately, creating a contrast between the crosshairs and the target itself.
I personally enjoy the ease of having an illuminated reticle, while for others, it impedes their shooting.
Eye relief is the distance between a rifle scope’s eyepiece and your eye so that you can clearly see the whole field of view.
This is important to know because guns recoil when shot.
If you are too close to your scope when you shoot, it may cause a bad injury! Ouch!
If you hunt or shoot with scopes often, it might cause a bruise around your eye simply from the repeated impact of the scope against your skin.
To choose a rifle scope with good eye relief, you must practice your natural shooting position so that you know at which distance you can put the scope closest to you.
Across the board, Athlon scopes are well-made and sturdy, even down to their smaller components like their etched glass reticle.
Instead of worrying about the durability of your purchase, your choice may simply come down to the build of the rifle scope.
Athlon’s range of products includes high-quality scopes that have lightweight and compact housing. You will find these in the Talos, Argos, and Midas series.
The company also offers heftier, more substantial rifle scopes in the Cronus BTR, Ares BTR and ETR, and Helos lines.
If you like a more compact type of scope, try checking out the products in the first category mentioned.
If you prefer something more solid and imposing, the ones in the series from the second category might appeal to you better.
A rifle scope’s elevation and windage adjustments are critical to making nice, clean shots and setting your rifle’s zero.
Regarding the knobs, there is a bit of variation in the Athlon range of products.
They offer capped windage adjustment turrets plus elevation, and they also have exposed turrets, which they call tactical turrets.
Capped turrets prevent accidental adjustments, especially when shooting in a situation that is not very dynamic.
Meanwhile, exposed tactical turrets are useful for making adjustments on the fly to make a shot.
Take note that Athlon’s exposed turrets have a locking function, so there you can still avoid inadvertent and unwanted adjustments.
Again, choosing the Athlon scope for you based on the turrets will depend on your usage of the rifle scope.
The series with EXPOSED and lockable elevation and windage knobs are:
- Cronus BTR
- Ares BTR
- Ares ETR
- Argos BTR
- Helos BTR
- Midas TAC
- Midas BTR GEN2
- Talos BTR
On the other hand, Athlon’s product lines with CAPPED turrets include:
- Agos HMR
- Helos BTR GEN2
- Midas HMR
- Midas BTR
All Athlon scopes have VARIABLE magnification, as opposed to fixed power scopes that only have one magnification option.
In this regard, the best magnification for you will depend on the type of shooting you intend to do with your rifle scope.
For short to normal-range shooting, you will not need a scope that can make your targets appear much closer because this will obstruct the shot.
For long-range to extreme long-range applications, you’ll want to get a rifle scope with greater magnifying capabilities to be able to shoot precisely.
Remember that magnification can also affect your view of the reticle if you go for a first focal plane scope.
Keep in mind also that LARGE objective lens diameters will deliver a brighter picture of the field of view because more light is reflected to the rifle scope’s ocular lens.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the Athlon Scope Warranty?
An Athlon Optics scope warranty lasts a LIFETIME, making it one of the best guarantees in the sports optics industry in the US!
To make the deal even sweeter, it is transferable should you wish to sell your scopes.
Warranty is automatically transferred to any owner; this is a particularly attractive feature of their warranty.
Athlon requires NO proof of purchase or registration to avail of the warranty as well, so this removes so much hassle if you need repairs for your scopes!
NOTE: The Athlon scope warranty does NOT cover theft and loss, so be cautious with your scopes, even if they are durable and have good warranty coverage.
In addition, doing cosmetic alterations and customizations will VOID the Athlon scope warranty.
Are All the Athlon Scopes FFP Models?
No, not all Athlon rifle scopes have a first focal plane reticle (FFP).
The company’s scopes that have second focal plane reticles include models from the Talos, Talos BTR, and Midas BTR series.
Among Athlon scopes, FFP models can be found in the rest of the product lines aside from the ones mentioned above.
Those who enjoy long-distance hunting can really benefit from having an FFP rifle scope.
Who Owns Athlon Optics?
Kevin Qu is listed as the company’s president, although there is no information online regarding their board members and majority stockholders.
Athlon Optics has no parent company, and they are not a subsidiary of a bigger corporation.
Should You Buy Overseas Products?
It is up to your discretion whether to buy products made overseas.
I understand the doubts that come with buying products from China, the Philippines, or anywhere that’s not the US.
However, in the case of scopes, majority of manufacturers in the optics industry outsource their materials from these places.
As a result, their scopes have proven to be of TOP-TIER quality and at affordable prices!
However, if you want to support local buyers, there is no stopping you from choosing American-made scopes only.
Athlon Optics is a US-based optics manufacturer that provides rifle scopes, spotting scopes, and other optical goods.
Athlon scopes are made in Japan and China, and the rifle scope components are also sourced from abroad.
Nonetheless, Athlon scopes made in the Asia Pacific are NOT of inferior quality to USA-manufactured ones because they still adhere to Athlon standards.
The practice of sourcing labor from these areas actually lowers the price point of these products significantly, selling them at more affordable prices for the consumer.
In conclusion, Athlon Optics offers great quality products that give you a BANG for your buck!