The Binocular Site
Military Binoculars for Military Precision
Military binoculars are perhaps the hardest working devices in high-quality optics. Just like our soldiers, they never rest, and inferior quality is just not an option. If you want to cheap out, you need to look elsewhere. If instead you want to invest in the highest quality, greatest precision, and toughest models out there, you need to look at military binoculars.
The first order of business here is durability. Military binoculars need to be the most rugged, strongest, and have the most protective armors. Go in a store and get a feel for different sets to check out binocular balance, weight, and grip.
It will be worth your time to get a set that fit your hands perfectly, and that have heavy-duty casing. Rugged, thick armor is an absolute must. You don't want to worry about dropping your dainty binoculars in the field. Military binoculars need to survive being on the move and even being dropped from time to time. You might choose camouflaged armor as well.
Avoid Fancy Features
Because these binoculars have to be tough, you may want to avoid extra, fancy features when unnecessary. As convenient as it might be to have a digital camera built in, the extra mechanisms involved make such sets too flimsy for military use. The added weight and cost of a digital camera are simply a drawback here, so don't bother.
Furthermore, while zooming binoculars might seem like a great idea, you'll want to avoid them. Because these require specialized mechanisms on each barrel that are connected using a thin wire, they are prone to breakage and mis-alignment. Drop one of these and chances are your zoom and focus are broken for good. It'd be smarter to have a set of binoculars with interchangeable eyepieces that alter magnifications, although even then you don't want to lose tiny pieces. You might consider simply having more then one set of binoculars to avoid this.
Image stabilizing binoculars may also incur too much added weight and delicate machinery for the benefit. If you're on surveillance on the water, these might be useful. But in general, when you need something sleek, simple, and rugged, you might not want image stabilization.
Focusing also needs to be simple and efficient. Who has time to mess around with individual eye focusing when it can be flimsy? You need to check various models out and decide what focusing equipment works for you. Don't waste time fumble fingering on the field.
Seek, Strike, Destroy
What do you want in military binoculars? Look for a built-in compass or rangefinders which offer useful features with less equipment. If these functions are useful, they will be worth the added weight and not so flimsy as to cause problems. Consider looking for binoculars with reticles if you don't want rangefinders, so you can estimate distance.
While you likely won't want tripods or mounts, will it be useful to get a set that can be mounted to your helmet? Do you want to invest in night vision capabilities such as infrared illumination, or just buy big lenses to make your binoculars useful as dusk falls?
Military binoculars are an investment, but they're well worth it. Just like you, they're tough, durable, and dependable. Choose a set that will meet your needs without being prone to breakage and you've made a choice that will keep on working for a long time.