Where are Nightforce scopes made?
I understand that people have many reasons to support and buy scopes made in the USA.
Quality can also be different based on where they’re manufactured.
At the same time, I understand the apprehension behind scopes made or manufactured in China.
To ease your mind a little bit, I will dive deeper into the scope company Nightforce Optics and see where their scopes are made.
- Where are Nightforce Optics Made or Manufactured?
- About Nightforce
- Brief History of Nightforce
- Who Makes Nightforce Scopes?
- Explaining the Different Riflescope Models
- Nightforce Scopes Product Recommendations
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Which Nightforce Scopes Are Made in China?
- Which Nightforce Scopes Are Made in the USA?
- Who Owns Nightforce Scopes?
- Are Nightforce Scopes Better than Leupold?
- What Advanced Scope Technology Is Nightforce Using?
- What Is the Solid Bar Stock in Nightforce Optics?
- Where Are Nightforce ATACR Scopes Made?
- Which Riflescope Model Does the US Military Use?
- Is Buying Nightforce Buying American-Made?
- Why Is It Important to Know Where a Product Is Made?
- What Makes Nightforce Scopes So Good?
Where are Nightforce Optics Made or Manufactured?
Nightforce riflescopes were initially made in Japan, according to requirements by the founder.
However, assembly facilities and the factory headquarters are now in Orofino, Idaho. The riflescope parts are assembled in the USA.
This doesn’t mean all of the parts are manufactured in the USA. In fact, the glass on the optics of Nightforce Scopes is still made in Japan.
Nightforce Optics is a well-known sports optics manufacturer that produces scopes for different purposes, including:
- Competition shooters
- Armed forces
- Law enforcement agencies
- Tactical shooters
- Precision benchrest shooters
I’ve met people from all these field and they all use AT LEAST ONE scope from Nightforce!
In fact, Nightforce has at least one military contract that I know of to have their scopes on guns used by various branches of the military.
In addition to its riflescope sales business, Nightforce also sells spotting scopes and other optical accessories that complement its main products.
Next, I’ll discuss how a company producing lighting products created products like an advanced tactical riflescope.
Brief History of Nightforce
The subsidiary of Nightforce Optics in the USA was previously called Lightforce Performance Lighting.
It was started in Seattle, Washington, in 1992 by founder Ray Dennis.
Nightforce was a rifle optics manufacturing company aimed to take on the North American market.
Changes to the Type of Products Made
Initially, the Australia-based company manufactured a range of lighting products like spotlights and flashlights for night-hunting applications.
Dennis wanted to sell these products in the USA.
However, these products weren’t as popular in America because of the low-light hunting experimented with at the time.
Therefore, the riflescope products sold more.
This led to the US division headed by Dennis focusing more on riflescope production.
The scopes were initially sourced and manufactured in Japan, but increased demand moved the manufacturing of some models to the USA.
Lightforce needed to change its name to Nightforce Optics due to a legal confrontation with a California-based lighting company, also called Lightforce.
Nightforce moved from Seattle, Washington, to Orofino, Idaho, in 1998. The next step for the company was to secure military contracts.
They participated in multiple bidding wars and finally secured a $25.8 million contract in the early 2000s.
The contract was for sniper-grade rifle scopes and would be used by various branches of the US military branches.
This financially BOOSTED the company, which ventured into making multiple scope types, like hunting and competitive shooter scopes.
Who Makes Nightforce Scopes?
All Nightforce scopes are made in Japan, while some are assembled in the USA.
First, let’s talk about the difference between “made in” and “assembled in” or “tested in.”
Why Made in Japan?
Nightforce is one US-based brand among many others that sources their glass from Japan. Most US brands don’t produce their own glass.
The company has an agreement with an optic glass production company in Japan, meaning they order a specification of glass cut to strict standards.
There are also other components used in optics that are made in Japan.
IMPORTANT NOTE: No official or genuine Nightforce scopes are made in China or the Philippines. If you see any, they are likely knockoffs or fakes.
If you have an older Nightforce scope, you might see that it says “Made in the USA.”
However, this had to be changed due to a new regulation by the Federal Trade Commission.
The FTC and other government agencies ensure that products are correctly labeled with their Country of Origin tags.
It gets complicated when parts are produced in another country but are put together in the USA.
The new regulation dictated that the Country of Origin must be where most of the parts were made or sourced.
This is the reason why you see some products that claim that they’re assembled in the USA but also say things like “Made in China.”
Nightforce had to update their Country of Origin tags to match the new regulation; therefore, most scopes now say “Made in Japan.”
How Does This Affect Quality?
I understand that many consumers like you value buying products made in the USA because you want to support American workers.
Being made in the USA also reassures many consumers of HIGH-END quality. However, there are a few things to consider.
The batch gets rejected and sent back if major defects are found in the imported glass from Japan.
Each scope model that Nightforce produces is tested thoroughly, whether purely made in Japan or only containing manufactured parts from there.
If small defects are found, they are either discarded or sent back to be fixed and corrected to the proper spec.
This means that American workers are the ones testing and assembling these products in factories within America.
You can be fully assured of the quality of these products because, ultimately, if they don’t pass the tests done by American engineers, they won’t sell them.
To give you some reassurance, know that the military is still using rifle scope models made by Nightforce through the contract mentioned earlier.
Nightforce only has one manufacturer in one country (Japan) because they use sophisticated CNC machinery and a proprietary bonding agent.
These are confidential procedures that the Nightforce brand would prefer not to share with a manufacturer that works with another brand in the sports optics industry.
Modern rifle scopes contain up to 100 individual parts.
The precision of each part needs to have extremely tight allowances because even the smallest mistake can mean an inaccurate scope.
All these parts are in constant contact with each other, especially the parts in a variable scope like the glass and turrets.
These need to be machined to the EXACT specifications.
Top-tier components need to be used, especially for the glass to have superior image quality. The same goes for rifle scopes and spotting scopes too!
Many optic brands manufacture their glass in Japan because they’re known to have top-tier components and have been producing top-tier glass for a long time.
Explaining the Different Riflescope Models
Since Nightforce produces many riflescopes with different product lines, we’ll break down what each one specializes in.
Some are meant for mid-range, others for long-range. Others work in either range due to the variable scope zoom levels.
Other scopes are more suited for military or law enforcement use but are also sold to civilians who are serious about getting accurate.
Each model is also built in different places, though the GLASS on all is sourced from Japan. I’ll also tell you the country where each one is made.
Nightforce SHV Rifle Scope Series
The SHV riflescope series is made in Japan. SHV stands for Shooter Hunter Varminter, with four different power options.
Each power option also has four reticle options.
I’ve been able to use this scope for multiple activities, such as hunting and target shooting at different ranges, making it a great all-purpose scope.
Nightforce NX8 Rifle Scope Series
The NX8 riflescope series is also marked as made in Japan. This mid-range focused rifle scope is an UPGRADE from the previous SHV.
If I need power and accurate glass, I can confidently turn to this scope. Its upgraded features are hard to miss!
If only I could personally thank the designers for not compromising accuracy at night, thanks to the low-light focused technologies built in.
My images were a lot BRIGHTER too, thanks to the wider tube which allowed more light.
It has three power configurations and four different reticle options for each power.
The cherry on top is the illumination capability! I can clearly see my targets in low-light environments.
Nightforce NXS Rifle Scope Series
This rifle scope series is made in Japan but assembled in the USA.
The NXS riflescope models lean toward military and tactical applications and are aimed at long-range shooting.
Its long-range shooting capabilities are TOP-TIER; I completely understand why it is commonly used in tactical operations.
To this day, the NXS series is still in use by many military branches and law enforcement agencies.
Nightforce BEAST Rifle Scope Series
The BEAST riflescope series is made in Japan but is developed, assembled & verified in the United States.
This series only has one model, which comes in 5-25×56 long-range shooting aimed at the civilian, military, and law enforcement market.
BEAST stands for Best Example of Advanced Scope Technology. After trying this scope myself, I can say it really lives up to its name!
It has some of the BEST lenses, clarity, components, and technology of all the scopes in any Nightforce line.
This means the main tube on this riflescope is MASSIVE.
It has to pack in all of these features and have more optical glasses due to the variable zoom feature too.
Nightforce ATACR Rifle Scope Series
Nightforce ATACR models are made in Japan but developed, assembled & verified in the United States.
The ATACR models are a tier above the BEAST models and are the top-of-the-line, “professional” scope line.
ATACR stands for Advanced TACtical Riflescope.
The main tube is quite large on this line because it houses a lot of advanced technologies and needs to have variable lenses that reach a longer range.
However, it’s not as large as the one on the BEAST.
In terms of usage, I can tell Nightforce went ALL OUT with this model. In my opinion, it has the best glass and lenses of all the other Nightforce models.
It comes in EIGHT different power options with four reticle options.
I learned that this scope is commonly used in the military, and it’s not hard to see why.
The combination of technologies and the variable range it can engage targets at should make it a top contender in anyone’s purchase list.
Nightforce Bench Rest Rifle Scope Series
The long-range Benchrest rifle scope line models are made in Japan, and the glass and other components are also sourced from Japan.
The target market of this line is for precision-based competitive bench rest shooting.
It only comes in 12-42×56 and 8-32×56, making it a long-range option due to the magnification levels.
These numbers give me a lot of reassurance that this scope can handle long ranges. The large objective diameter of 56 mm allows a lot of light in as well!
However, the main tube size on this rifle can be too big to fit regulations in some competitions, which is where the next product line comes in.
Nightforce Competition Rifle Scope Series
The Competition riflescope line is assembled and made in Japan.
It’s an alternative option to the Bench Rest series for those competing in events with class weight, scope weight, main tube size, and ocular bell size restrictions.
They have the same clarity and glass quality but are made with tighter restrictions on size. This rifle scope line comes in two models, a variable 15-55X52 scope or a fixed 4.5X24 scope.
Nightforce Scopes Product Recommendations
Now that I’ve answered the question “Where are Nightforce scopes made?”, I can give recommendations for different use cases and budgets.
1. Nightforce ATACR 5-25x56mm F1 ZeroStop Rifle Scope
This riflescope is one of my favorites because of many factors, such as:
- Variable zoom lenses
- High-end ED glass and coatings
- Multiple reticle options
- Smooth operation on windage turrets
- Top-of-the-line materials.
The variable lenses allow for engagement at any range, and the high-quality glass allows for a clear sight picture.
The unique ZeroPoint technology lets me quickly return to zero even after multiple windage adjustments.
I’ve been able to enjoy BRIGHT and CLEAR image quality, thanks to the high-end extra-low dispersion glass, which is also multi-coated!
Color contrast also improves with this glass!
However, I’m not sure if people would pay a hefty price for this scope, which comes at around $3000.
However, the NO-COMPROMISE performance of this rifle scope should satisfy anyone who picks it up, and it is worth the price tag!
2. Nightforce SHV 4-14x50mm F1
A cheap price doesn’t equate to a cheaply-built scope!
This Shooter-Hunter-Varminter scope is one of the cheaper Nightforce models out there. However, the quality is still great for the cost!
It includes a variable scope and reticle options between a MOAR reticle and a Mil-R one.
It surprisingly carries over the ZeroPoint technology found in the ATACR.
Although I’m still not a fan of the pricing (at around $1200), it is definitely cheaper than the ATACR, but may still be quite expensive for some.
Luckily, this is by no means a cheap feeling scope, as you get high-quality glass and extra features!
The value of this scope is great!
3. Nightforce 2.5-10x42mm NXS Scope
The NXS 2.5-10x42mm is a great scope for LOW-LIGHT. You might say it’s the best one in Nightforce’s line for low light.
I’ve taken this scope on the darkest nights and was still able to bag some successful shots!
The 42mm objective lets in maximum light without sacrificing weight and scope profile.
It also has customizable reticle options, including illumination in different colors and intensities, called the Digillum Digital Reticle Illumination.
The ZeroStop technology also returns here for precise follow-up shots in the dark.
Since this is a variable magnification scope, I definitely recommend it for medium ranges, which is usually the distance you shoot at night with.
I appreciate this added functionality when trying to hunt in darker areas.
Having the reticle lit up, and more light in the scope itself helps a lot in target acquisition.
It’s a bit pricier than the previously mentioned SHV scope at $1,600, but this will serve you well if you need to shoot in low-light situations.
4. Nightforce C450 5-25x56mm BEAST F1 Scope
Looking to stretch your shooting to the long range?
Look no further than the Best Example of Advanced Scope Technology scope for long-range shooting.
This BEAST combines all of the best technologies from each Nightforce line into one monster of a scope.
Some extra goodies that this scope has are:
- Digillum Digital Reticle Illumination found in the NXS for low light supremacy
- The best glass Nightforce offers
- ZeroStop technology for quick target re-engagement
- i4F intelligent four-function elevation control.
- This i4F system allows for quick adjustments to the windage, distance compensation, and other turrets.
I was able to engage a target at medium range AND switch to longer range in SECONDS!
This system, combined with the XtremeSpeed accurate reticle options, makes it the most lethally accurate scope for long-range engagements.
If you need a scope with nothing held back, the BEAST is the way to go!
PRO TIP: Even if the BEAST has great long-range capabilities, pairing it with a spotter using good spotting scopes can greatly improve accuracy and range.
5. Nightforce Competition 15-55x52mm Scope
The name speaks for itself. I found it to be the perfect companion for competitions.
This scope has the TOP-TIER GLASS that all competitive shooters look for!
The multi-coated ED glass works amazingly to give a CLEAR image to shoot targets at long range.
I commend the large main tube for its assistance with low-light shooting as well!
Parallax adjustment is quick on this scope, as the turrets on the main tube are easy to operate.
I remember panicking under time pressure back in the day because I had to adjust for parallax, but this scope gets it done QUICKLY!
No more worrying about time pressure!
I also love how LIGHTWEIGHT it is. It doesn’t feel like I’m carrying a large metal tube, which is a big advantage in shooting, too!
However, these benefits don’t come cheap.
At $2,400, it isn’t exactly a budget option, but you’ll get amazing value for every penny you invest in this scope.
Frequently Asked Questions
You may still have questions about Nightforce riflescopes after reading our article. We’ve tried to answer the commonly asked questions below.
Which Nightforce Scopes Are Made in China?
There are NO Nightforce scopes made in China.
I can only assume that Nightforce optics made from China are knockoffs or fakes.
Nightforce has an agreement with a specific supplier in Japan that outputs high-quality components that manufacturers will assemble in the US.
Therefore, you should be wary of a Nightforce branded scope if the country it was manufactured in was in China or anywhere in the world.
Which Nightforce Scopes Are Made in the USA?
As I mentioned earlier, the components in Nightforce scopes aren’t manufactured or made in the USA.
They have specific suppliers from Japan, currently the only country that supplies the components for their scopes.
The STANDARD in the sports optics industry is to have the individual parts made in Japan or any other country.
The parts then get shipped to America and are assembled and tested here.
While Japan makes the actual parts, including the glass, some of the scopes can be assembled in the US.
All models are also checked and inspected by US workers.
Rest assured that the quality and jobs that make Nightforce scopes are still mainly done in the US.
Who Owns Nightforce Scopes?
Lightforce Performance Lighting, which is based in Hindmarsh in the country of Australia, owns Nightforce Optics.
In Australia, they sell lighting products like spotlights and flashlights for nocturnal hunting and spotlighting.
However, the US department branched out and pursued the manufacture of scopes and other optical accessories. The current headquarters is in Idaho.
Are Nightforce Scopes Better than Leupold?
If we’re looking only at performance, then yes.
Nightforce models generally use better components and offer more features than Leupold optics.
On the other hand, Leupold scopes are CHEAPER than Nightforce scopes and still have decent value for the price.
Leupold has more budget offerings if you’re on a budget and need a good scope.
However, if you want the absolute best performance in the world and price isn’t a major factor, then Nightforce is the way to go!
What Advanced Scope Technology Is Nightforce Using?
Nightforce scopes use multiple technologies on different lines for varying purposes.
The scopes focused on low light performance have Digillum Digital Reticle Illumination.
This technology gives the user MULTIPLE reticle options. You can change it to red or green and adjust the intensity of the illumination.
Another advanced technology is the ZeroStop technology, which allows for the sight to revert quickly back to the resting position after firing a shot.
This helps with accuracy in follow-up shots that normally would take longer to do accurately at a longer range.
Additionally, the way the scopes are manufactured employs high-tech methods. I’ll talk about this in my answer to the next question.
What Is the Solid Bar Stock in Nightforce Optics?
This piece is a solid aluminum block that Nightforce sights are fashioned out of.
The reason why it’s manufactured this way is to increase its durability without adding too much weight.
Additionally, this makes the scope look seamless.
When other brands manufacture lower-end scopes, they will sometimes bolt on different metal pieces or even polycarbonate to make them.
This isn’t as seamless or strong as making it out of a single piece of strengthened aluminum, but it’s cheaper.
Therefore, if you want a top-of-a-line build that will last a lifetime, Nightforce can help you with that!
Where Are Nightforce ATACR Scopes Made?
Nightforce ATACR scopes and some parts, like the main tube, are made in the United States, but the glass comes from Japan.
Which Riflescope Model Does the US Military Use?
The US Military uses the Nightforce MIL-SPEC ATACR 1-8×24 F1.
A Nightforce representative describes it as an over-engineered, military-grade scope with extreme endurance in mind.
It was used as the first constant variable power optic used on military rifles because previous optics only used a direct switch mechanism which wasn’t fully constant.
On the other hand, the Nightforce optic can dial in the zoom slowly from 1x to 8x, making the transition between zoom levels slower and less jarring.
This can help in the accuracy and target acquisition time after switching zoom levels.
Due to the variable magnification levels, you can use this scope at close range or medium range.
Is Buying Nightforce Buying American-Made?
Well, yes and no.
On one hand, you are buying from an American company, the same company that designed the rifle scopes and put them together.
On the other hand, the materials used to create the scope are sourced and made elsewhere, so it’s not American-made per se.
The US doesn’t have high-quality glass supplies, which is why they outsource from Japan.
I personally think since it is designed and assembled in the US, it is American-made.
Why Is It Important to Know Where a Product Is Made?
Knowing where a product is made gives additional information on the quality of the product.
For example, in the case of Nightforce, it is known that their glass comes from Japan, which is a known distributor of high-quality glass.
Knowing details like these can help customers make informed decisions on whether to purchase a product or not.
What Makes Nightforce Scopes So Good?
Nightforce is one of the most sought-out and utilized brands because of their high-quality glass, materials, and strict manufacturing guidelines.
Their scopes are subjected to multiple checks throughout the production phase to ensure all standards are met.
New regulations and confusing country of origin rules can confuse anyone about where any scope or optical accessories are made.
Today, Nightforce produces many rifle scopes that are meant for other civilian uses.
However, what’s impressive is that the US Military still chooses them to supply their variable optics on rifles.
The important thing to remember is the parts are manufactured in Japan. Rest assured, you can trust that this country creates top-tier parts.
However, they’re still put together and tested in the US.
I hope this article answers your question, “Where are Nightforce scopes made?” Hopefully, it helps inform you of your decision to purchase rifle scopes from Nightforce.