How to choose a laser rangefinder that is most suitable for you

I am John Lewis, a blogger, survivalist and outdoor enthusiast. You can follow me over at Epic Wilderness by clicking here.

As a hunter, rangefinders are one of the more complex devices which you will own. This means that you need to put in more effort in your research for the best rangefinder for you.

There are so many reasons why you need a rangefinder and this includes allowing you to better understand your surroundings and improving your accuracy. By utilizing a rangefinder, you can get immediate feedback on the shots you made which allows you to find out why you missed a shot or help you identify factors for accurate shooting. Do keep in mind that there are many other items you may need to improve your accuracy, especially for hunting.

For a golfer, you would not need to get out of the green just to know where your ball land! This immediate feedback mechanism is one of the main reasons why I think this tool is really useful.


General Idea of How a Rangefinder Works

Almost all laser rangefinders work by applying the same concept, with little twerks here and there. They would emit laser beams where it would bounce off the surface of your target, and the high-speed clock in the rangefinder would calculate the total amount of time taken for the beam shot to leave your gear and return back to your unit.

The beam would travel in the speed of light; hence, a simple time measurement method can be used to measure the distance travelled by the beam. By understanding this, it also shows that there are many factors which can potentially interfere with the reading. Anything in between your unit and your target can affect it, be it heat waves or even the reflective properties of your target.

Also, the discussion below would be a general discussion on rangefinders, where I would state the distinction between a hunting rangefinder and a golfing rangefinder if I find it is appropriate. The important aspects are summed up below.


Operating Modes

Rangefinder often come in two modes, namely the First Priority Mode and the Second Priority Mode. It is this aspect which makes the distinction between hunting rangefinders and golfing rangefinders.

For the First Priority Mode, this mode is ideal if you are ranging in a situation where there are no obstacles between you and your intended target which is more suitable for golfing. As for Second Priority Mode, it is made for situations where your view is momentarily obstructed by different things, and the range is not just based on the first thing your beam touches. This is more suitable for hunting because you may meet many obstacles when you hunt.


Size and Weight

Rangefinders are great for you to bring along because they are lightweight and small in size. Also, most rangefinders are durable. However, because rangefinders come in different sizes and weight, it would be pertinent to discuss this aspect as well.

When you are looking for a rangefinder, keep in mind that you may need to hold it for a long period of time, depending on how long you plan to hunt. Also, make sure that it is convenient for you to hold it with one hand because there may be situations where you need to spot your game while aiming. By taking into considerations of your hunting practices, you can reflect on this aspect and find a suitable rangefinder.


Types of Reticle Display

The reticle display of your rangefinder is important because it determines whether you can see in different conditions. You may want to find a reasonable reticle, where it can withstand the glaring sun or allow you to aim even in the night. Hence, a reticle is important for you to “aim” your target.

Usually, you can choose between LCD or LED reticle displays. For LCDs, it would be harder for you to aim at objects which has a dark-colored surface, or the object is in a badly lit background. If you like to hunt in low light conditions, a rangefinder with a LED is ideal because it would be difficult to distinguish between different objects with an LCD in a low light condition.

LEDs are different because they are usually lit up, but some of them may not withstand a glare or bad lighting. One option to have the best of both worlds would be getting adjustable, backlit LCD displays. You would be flexible and be capable of ranging in most situations.


Beam Dispersion

This is one important aspect for rangefinders, if you would like your beam to reach a far target. Basically, the further the target, it would be better for the beam to have a greater dispersion rather than it being focused.

Keep in mind, that there are pros and cons relating to it. If there is a smaller beam divergence, you can get a greater level of ranging precision.

This would affect the maximum range as well, determining how well your rangefinder can accurately measure the distance of your target although it is relatively far away. The maximum range would usually be stated by the manufacturer, but it is usually for situations where the target has a highly reflective surface and there are almost no obstructions between the unit and your target.



After choosing the best rangefinder, it is time you start learning how to use it! Some common mistakes you may want to look out for include the possibility of focusing on a wrong target because after a certain power of magnification, the laser beam from your unit may be pointed elsewhere. Also, ensure that there are minimal blockages when you are ranging so that there is minimal interference with the reading.

Also, it would be wise for you to invest in a good carrying case. Do not underestimate the importance of optic care because a rangefinder is a rather delicate gadget! If you have any ideas you want to share, please comment below!

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