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Spotting Scope or Laser Range Finder: What's More Important?

Spotting Scope or Laser Range Finder: What's More Important?
With the advancement in technology, optical devices have become crucial in any hunting adventure. You just have to have some optical devices for an enjoyable hunting day. The devices make your hunting easier. You’re able to see the animals more clearly without moving too close.
You obviously need an optical device to see the animal clearly and distinguish it. You probably need a spotting scope or binocular in this case. However, you also realize you need to measure the distance from your point to the animal. Distance helps you calculate the bullet trajectory so that you can shoot at the right spot. This also requires a laser rangefinder.
It seems like you need more than just one optical device to hunt properly.  So, why are manufacturing companies not making something the fills this gap? While you can buy both devices, carrying them both can be quite bulky. This is considering you also have to carry your rifle, food and other accessories. Besides, most optical devices are pricey and buying both can be costly.

Consider Your Options: Spotting Scope or Laser Rangefinders

Some companies are actually trying to create spotting scopes with a rangefinder. However, most are just crappy and will not measure distance accurately. You just have to decide what best suits your needs between a spotting scope and a laser rangefinder. There are big differences between a spotting scope and a laser rangefinder.
Spotting Scope Meaning: A spotting scope is a small and portable telescope with optics to bring erect images of objects close. The device is basically used for watching and spotting as the name suggests. They are used by bird watchers and naturalists for closer observation of birds and nature. You can also use them for target shooting. They are basically used to spot animals that are in the long-range.
Laser Rangefinders: A laser rangefinder is another optical device that uses a laser beam to measure distance. It measures the distance from the device to a certain target helping you determines the bullet trajectory. They are also used by golfers to calculate the distance to the flag for accurate ball swinging.
Now that we know what each device does, let’s look at the suitable one. The best of the two depends on your specific needs. Let’s compare the two under different categories and decide on the best.


The first scenario is when hunting. Hunters need to view the game from a distance and distinguish it before taking a shot. They also need to calculate the exact distance to the game before taking a shot. For a clean and precise shot, the hunter needs to measure the accurate distance to the game and know the bullet trajectory. It clearly seems that hunters will need the two devices. However, carrying two bulky devices is not a good choice since others need to keep moving. Unless you’re hunting from a stationary, then carrying both is not a good idea.
When hunting on short distances, you can forgo the two and just go with a riflescope. This is because the bullet trajectory on short distances is straight. However, the bullet trajectory when shooting in long ranges is quite different. In such circumstances, you have to decide between spotting the game and measuring the distance. However, if you can spot the game at a distance through naked eyes, then a hunting rangefinder is all that you need. You can also use the rangefinder to spot the game and measure its accurate distance.
Here, a rangefinder is an obvious winner. Spotting scopes are preferred for bird watching where you don’t need to shoot anything.

Target Shooting

Target shooters either for sports or fun usually shoot from a stationary position. This gives them the freedom to carry heavier and bulkier optical. You simply need to drive to the range, unpack and you’re ready to shoot. Target shooters know the size and object they are shooting but need the correct distance to the object. This takes away the need for a spotting scope.
However, a rangefinder is a must-have for you to hit the target accurately. You need to measure the target distance and know the bullet trajectory. This is the only way to hit the right spot and score some points.


Spotting scopes tend to a little heavier and bulky as opposed to laser rangefinders. Most tend to require a stand for easy use. This adds to more weight which is difficult to carry around. However, the work perfectly when bird watching since you will be in a stationary position.
Rangefinders are easy to carry and work without a stand. They are also lightweight and can be carried around your neck like binoculars.

Advantages of Spotting Scopes

Spotting scopes come with a wide array of advantages. The scopes allow hunters and naturalists to watch different games without becoming disruptive. Below are some of the main advantages of spotting scopes:
  • Finding animals in a large group/herd
  • Locate animals that are hidden
  • Distinguish animals of different species
  • Identify animals that look the same
Generally, spotting scopes are a great way to hunt and observe wild animals without disturbing their movement.

Advantages of Laser Rangefinders

A hunting rangefinder can be the difference between a clean shot and a miss. It calculates the accurate distance from your rifle scope to the target. This way, you get an accurate bullet trajectory. Basically, a hunting rangefinder eliminates guesswork from your hunting. You know the exact point the bullet will hit and the time it will take to hit.

What Is More Important?

As you can see, both devices are crucial in the field for high accuracy levels. You can have both or choose one depending on what best works in your situation. A laser rangefinder will offer you accurate distance and high precision shooting. A spotting scope with extra features might provide you with a wider field of view, speed, target size, and wind drift correction.
If you’re just beginning, then a laser rangefinder is a great choice. However, for expert hunters, a spotting scope with extra features is a better option.