OPTICS TALK. The Real Cost of Optics.

Elite optics.  Everyone wants them but are all these high priced products worth the cost?

We have to understand that many products started with great ideas and idealistic goals to fulfill certain objectives.  It is a supremely intensive task trying to bring a great product to market and convince people to buy it; especially when the competition heats up.  Many great products don’t make it in the market because of the costs of research, development and marketing.  Idealistic goals can get destroyed by the reality of market fundamentals.  Nobody is in business to lose money and all costs must be factored into the product price.  The advantage large, established companies have, is that they can subsidize weaker product lines through their stronger ones.  Even more so, they (or their wholesalers/retailers) can subsidize and satiate the unrealistic consumer desire for lifetime warranties, purely through volume of all product sales.

Associated costs:

  1. High administrative.
  2. High advertising.
  3. The lifetime warranties.
  4. Warehousing and distribution channel.

Remember, most of these companies are lower volume, high margin entities and LEM sales aid their survival.  Generally, if there are no military sales, the product needs to focus on the premium buyer, who will pay the higher cost for the image, brand or perceived quality (just like the auto industry).

When the ‘elite’ companies have ‘entry’ level model ranges, that means a few things.  For the consumer who just has to own that brand, it provides a lower cost ‘entry’ into the elite brand (but not elite quality).  For the company, they gain a new consumer that it can ‘work’ to become a loyal customer; one that will hopefully move on to other higher priced products.  But to protect the high end model’s high end pricing, the quality of the entry level models will not compare and it is highly likely it will be produced in Asia by an OEM company (OEMs range from low end to high end models).  That’s the reality in the current scheme of globalization, which is promoted by big business and western governments.

Now are the previously mentioned elite optics companies really that much better?  Depends on what you compare them to.  It would be an insult to compare elite optics to the ultra entry-level Asian brands, which are pretty well a waste of money – yes I’ve owned them, with their poor finish, engineering and working quality!  But, no matter the manufacturing quality and expertise, anything man-made will have failures, be susceptible to damage and a limited wear out cycle.  That’s the reality.  If man-made products lasted too long, all companies would be out of business or we’d probably be paying 100x what current costs are 😉  Everything sold needs a limited product lifespan for the consumer to have somewhat good pricing and the manufacturer to stay in business.  I don’t think you’ll want to pay $60,000 for a $600 scope, now would you?  Also, you can’t have high quality, low volume, low markup products and still have low pricing with a lifetime ‘warranty’.  All things have a finite life cycle, plus some consumers tend to break things through improper usage and blame the manufacturer; that’s the reality.

Now, to answer the question, are the elite optics companies that much better that general entry level optics?  Seriously, do you really need to ask that?  Read on…

Some of the major issue with most entry level Asian brands:

  1. Glass quality.
  2. Build quality.
  3. Optical markings.
  4. Turrets that don’t click crisply!
  5. Turrets that don’t track properly!

Now, if you just set and forget – never touch the turrets – then you may be able to get by with some entry level brands.  But once you have to adjust in the field…you’ll know why you should pay more for quality!

Really good optics still have more investment and manufacturing costs, even in Asia.  Seraphim Armoury has weeded out the Asian garbage optics and has access to optics that range from good to excellent levels of quality for the price you pay.  Key, for the price you pay.  We don’t believe that optics companies, with limited revenues can give low prices and stay in business long enough to honour a true ‘lifetime’ warranty.  That’s not realistic but it is great marketing and probably for sales too…that is until economics catch up.