By Christian Swann, The Shooting Channel
Its 6:40am, that time of the morning when the sun isn’t quite up and the dark not quite gone. Normally a beautiful time of day, however in the deep South the sweet wet humidity feels like a steam bath you didn’t want for any reason, much less the review of a new scope, the MINOX ZP8.
It’s also the day we are working on hitting that 1,000 yard mark. I couldn’t think of a better way to put this optic through its paces than to employ the use of one of my very special students. The student prefers not to be mentioned, we’ll simply call him ‘Jim.’ Jim has been in the Army for better part of his life and fighting PTSD for almost 10 years. He hasn’t fired weapons with any great regularity since he returned from Afghanistan.
We’ve been working for the past few months on getting back out there, a concerted exercise in returning to normalcy. In other words, this time the shooting is for fun, not survival. It’s competitive shooting and the perfect setting to test this optic wonder.
Jim is an extremely good shot at close range, however, we identified that he had to increase his speed to reset to target. Over the past few weeks, we have worked on distance with just iron sights, which is how I was taught and think is critical when learning to reach out to these distances. Far too many times I’ve seen competitors drop out of a competition because their optic broke or battery died. My instructor was an ARMY Sniper, 3 Gun and long-range competitor. So I value his methods and honor him by passing them along.
Christian Swann sights in for a long range shot using the MINOX ZP8
Last week, we shot out to 300 & 600 yards and with great success. Today, we are going to do it all over again. Practice makes perfect and all that, only with shooting, practice is imperative. However, today we are going to change it up a bit and have 3 stages set up for pistol and rifle. The goal is to increase his heart rate as if he had just done an extremely hard workout, all while retaining his composure and a still mind. It’s harder than it sounds.
I handed Jim a CORE15 TacIII Keymod ARwith the MINOX ZP8 1-8x24mm. I wanted to see his initial response, reaction and how quickly he could figure it out without ever having laid eyes on it. I’ve been testing the MINOX ZP8 for the past 3 months and have fallen in love with this particular glass. I found it to be the best 3-gun optic that money can buy. Don’t get me wrong, there are some good ones out there and I will always love my Trijicon ACOG. But the ACOG is only great out to 500 yards. So you do have to make choices.
Jim will have to make choices as well. He won’t have time to prepare for the stage and he won’t know what obstacles he will face. All he knows is that he has 3 miles to run with gear and he has to excel at whatever unknown challenges or adversity he may face.
Oh, and to toss in an outlier, he has new gear that he’s never seen before, including the new MINOX. No, this isn’t the norm in competition, but it does happen more than you think. It’s match day, you feel exuberant. Then your rifle breaks or your optics falls off. Do you walk away or do you beg, borrow and plea. Well, let’s get real, we are competing. We beg and we borrow as an art form.
I wanted to test my theory on Jim, who has been an avid user of the Schmidt & Bender, which Is a direct challenger and a great comparison.
Both are dimensionally the same in size and weight at around 12” long and 24 ounces.
The turret controls of the ZP8.
MINOX USA introduced the ZP8 at 2015’s Shot Show as their newest tactical line of optics. MINOX is a very old and storied German optic maker and has recently acquired Optronika, the German company that engineered the 3-15×50 Scout Sniper Day Scope for the US Marine Corps. The new Minox ZP8 1-8x24mm is the finished development of an Optronika design. I do believe you will start seeing this brand enter the US Market soon as the go-to optic for 3 Gun competition.
Unlike most of the German/Austrian optic companies, MINOX has no problem with making tactical optics for the US market. An interesting feature of the ZP8 is that it has a fixed 200meters parallax instead of the more common 100m/yd setting found on most of the short and medium range tactical scopes. [This is of little consequence for short-range work but significantly reduces possible parallax errors at longer ranges.]
The MINOX ZP8’s 34mm tube size body is made from CNC machined aircraft-grade aluminum. Since it’s a German scope, it uses SCHOTT glass extensively. As soon as you hold this scope in your hand, you instantly recognize its German quality and workmanship. From the laser engraving on top to all of the quality and features it’s easy to tell that this is definitely a premium scope.
The first thing Jim noticed were the huge turrets. The illumination control turret has the pullout lockable function and there is an off position between each of its 9 settings. The top elevation turret has a pushdown lockable feature but it’s only for the return-to-zero setting. I wish that this lockable feature were in all the turret adjustments. MINOX offers three reticle choices for the ZP8 and the MR10+ reticle is the one that I recommend. However, both are great.
The other feature that was immediately apparent to Jim was the field of view. The MINOX ZP8 offers a true 1x at the low end. The MINOX’s field of view (FOV) at 1x is wider than the S&B SD by 2 feet and an impressive 24 feet more than the Leupold Mk8. As well as the 1.5x zoom setting. I don’t know about you, but with not so perfect vision, this is awesome.
I love how the ranging and holdover features become usable at around 3. The reticle illumination lights up the center crosshair. The ZP8 is, in fact, using a dual-focal plane illumination with the center-dot illumination in the SFP and the center crosshair illumination at the FFP.
A deep field view through the MINOX ZP8.
Another feature that jumped out was located in the lower left and is the height and shoulder-width based stadiametric rangefinders for 300m, 400m and 500m [also for 600m, 700m and 800m using the inside opening of the range marks!] At the center and just under the center crosshair, is the MR10+ reticle’s group of dots in a square grid pattern. That allows rapid in reticle target correction similar to using the Horus reticle but without all the cluttering, which was fantastic.
We used the MINOX ZP8 out to 1000 yards with both his AR 10 in .308 caliber and 18-inch barrel, and my CORE15 TacIII AR-15 with 16-inch barrel. Optically, the ZP8 had no problem seeing my half torso steel plate at 1000 yards. There was no need to ever touch the adjustment turrets while the little dots sub-tension in the MR10+ reticle were great for BDC and windage correction. What Jim loved the most in comparison with the S & B was the large FOV of the ZP8. It eliminated the need to use a 20 degree angled scope mount for the long range.
The laser engraving on top reminds you that the MINOX ZP8 is a German-made premium optic. I matched the ZP8 with the American-made Warne 34mm X-SKEL 1-piece AR-15/10 style scope mount.
Jim finished the day up like a pro with only great things to say about the MINOX. Not once did he have an issue finding his way around the scope. He found the Minox to be premium to that of his 2-year-old S & B. I definitely think you will be seeing Jim in a 3 Gun competition soon, as well as, a lot more Minox Optics.
Remember, many of our troops that come home need to regain their confidence in the face of a constant villain, PTSD. 3 Gun Competition is only one way to help them to regain self-esteem, confidence and that sense of camaraderie that many of them feel they’ve lost. Helping Jim was also therapy for me.
It’s a good thing when you recognize that doing more for others than you do for yourself can be one of the greatest human virtues.
For more information on the Minox, contact:
Greg Clark @ MINOX USA Inc.
PO Box 123
03770 Meriden, NH
MINOX ZP8 1-8x24mm Spécifications:
Objective size: 24mm
Tube size: 34mm
Length: 11.6 inches (295mm)
Weight: 24.5 oz. (695g)
Eye relief: 3.5 inch (90mm)
Exit pupil: 10.3-3mm
Field of view: 1x: 123 ft@100yds (37.5m@100m), 8x: 15.75 ft@100 yds (4.8m@100m)
Windage adjustment: +/1 5 MRAD
Elevation adjustment: 10 MRAD [30mrad+ internally, so 10mrad on the elevation turret usable without canted mount] Turret Adjustment: 0.1 MRAD per click
Parallax Adjustment: Fixed at 200m
Reticle: 1st focal plane MR10+
Illumination: 1-1.5x on current production scopes daylight visible center-dot, 1.5-8x on current production scopes center crosshair.
Power: 1x CR2032 lithium w/ digital power control
Field of View: 1x: 112 ft. at 100 yds. (37.5m at 100 m), 8x: 15.7 ft. at 100 yds. (4.8m at 100m)
About the Author
Thanks to Christian and The Shooting Channel for this post. Visit The Shooting Channel – Click here to visit them now.
Christian Swann is an avid sponsored shooter, as well as, a certified edged and blunt tool instructor, NRA certified, writer and guest host of The Shooting Channel and Conversations Under The Wine Tree. Christian has recently released a series of children’s books and has a book, “On Sniping,” coming out soon. With interviews in over 32 countries and with 168 snipers from all branches, it will definitely be a must read.