Aug 092019

A few months ago I got a list of assignment from Guns and Ammo SIP (Special Interest Publications) folks, which are not all completed and as they release the magazines I post an update or two.

As I had mentioned before, writing for these guy turned out to be unexpectedly trouble free. The editing was extremely unobtrusive and was mostly restricted to grammar corrections and changes related to the pictures used. Sometimes they used my pictures and sometimes those taken by their professional photographers (it is pretty easy to tell the difference). Since I like putting references to pictures into the text of the articles as all nerdy people do, they had to remove those if they used different pictures. Aside from that, they changed almost nothing and that is the way I want it. In other words, I hope they’ll have some more stuff for me to write since this was a very enjoyable experience.

That having been said, until they come up with something else, I’ve got a couple of scope tests to finish and a few other things that are in the works.

As I mentioned earlier, I had a long list of assignments, but when we originally talked, I wasn’t planning to do anything for their Retro magazine. I had plenty of things to do, and older riflescopes is not something I know a ton about. I have some mileage with them, but not too much.

Well, I get a call from one of the editors just before the 4th of July while I am in Nevada for the Night Carbine class at Frontsight with a somewhat unusual request. It went something like this: “We need a couple of short pieces for the Retro magazine. We’ve got this picture of an old Sniperscope IR, what can you do based on that? oh, and how about the Singlepoint sight that was used in the Son Tay raid?”

Well, it so happens that I know a little bit about night vision and thermal imaging products since I work with these things for a living. Most of the stuff I have worked on will never be available to the civilian world (most of it is either in orbit or airborne a little closer to the ground), but I have worked on some small arms stuff. It was unexpectedly a lot of fun to look into the very first night vision scope which is sorta how it all started:

I have been involved with this kind of stuff 50 years later and never really gave much thought to how it all started.

Same with the Single Point Sight used in the Son Tay raid. Today, nobody cares much about these since inexpensive and decent red dot sights are everywhere. I have seen the Armson OEG and I often use regular scopes with illuminated reticles as OEG (Occluded Eye Gunsight) at close ranges, but Son Tay was really how this started.

I know how all this stuff works pretty well, but doing some light research on the history of these was a lot of fun and I should probably pick up one of Armson’s products just for the history of it.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

  2 Responses to “Guns and Ammo: Retro”

  1. That sounds like a lot of fun ILya, I bet you enjoyed doing the research. Unfortunately I think a lot of our rifles today will be “history” soon but will do my best on my part and to encourage others to keep our 2nd amendment freedoms alive. I’m not sure if you’re allowed, but would love to know more about some of those optics in orbit and closer to the ground 😉 My father worked for Lockheed’s Skunkworks from the 50’s to the 90’s when he retired. He had the pleasure of working on my favorite jet of all time, the SR-71 and he would tell me about some of the “old” tech with camera’s that could take amazing images while flying at Mach 3+ and 80,000 feet.

  2. To be honest, with all this stuff, I sorta stick to” “whatever can be found on the internet is OK to talk about”. Everything else is in the grey zone and I avoid talking about it. I worked on this thing: and on this thing when it was getting kicked off:
    and a little bit on early versions of this:
    And a few others:

    There are a few others, but I can’t find any online references to them.

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