Vortex Optics Solo R/T 8×36 Monocular Review: Great, If You Can Do the Math


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Vortex Optics Solo R/T Monocular is a very popular model. The 8x magnification is just right. The size and weight are just right. The price is just right.

But is this recon / tactical (R/T) monocular just right for you?

I’ll take a look at the details here to help you decide.

If you are already quite certain you want the Vortex Solo R/T, you can check the availability and pricing at Amazon using the link below.

Vortex Optics Solo R/T 8×36 Monocular

If you would rather dig into the details first, read on. You can skip to a certain section of particular interest by clicking a link in the box below.

What Are the Specifications of the Solo R/T Monocular?

The table below spells out the main specifications for you. I’ll comment on a few of them.

Eye Relief 18 millimeters
Exit Pupil 4.5 millimeters
Linear Field of View 393 feet at 1000 yards
Angular Field of View 7.5 degrees
Close Focus 16.4 feet
Length 5.3 inches
Width 2.3 inches
Hand Grip Width 2 inches
Weight 10.2 ounces

The eye relief of 18 millimeters is pretty good. You should be able to use the Solo unit even if you have glasses on.

Linear and angular field of view (FOV) are two ways to measure the same thing. If you multiply the angular measurement by 52, you get the linear FOV.

7.5 x 52 = ~393

393 feet is quite good for an optical device that only has a 36 millimeter objective lens. You should be able to find your target easily and quickly enough.

The close focus of 16.4 feet isn’t the shortest, but it should be just fine. If your target is that close to you, you probably don’t need to use the Solo R/T in the first place.

The reason the hand grip measures slightly less than the width of the unit is that the width measurement is taken at the widest point along the barrel. Due to the contours of the monocular body, the place where you normally would grip it is narrower than the overall width.

At just 10.2 ounces, the Solo R/T will feel like almost nothing in your hand, on your wrist, or attached to your belt.

The Solo comes with what is called a carry case, but it’s really more like a wrap. It doesn’t encase the whole unit. You can easily see parts of the monocular through the “sides” of the “case”.

If you want something that completely covers and protects the monocular, you’ll have to buy or make something else. That’s not hard to do, just necessary.

What Are the Features of the Solo R/T Monocular?

As most good optics have these days, the Solo R/T comes with rubber armoring to protect the barrel from the occasional drop on the ground or bang against a solid object.

There is a rubber eyecup that flares to keep out unwanted light near the eyepiece lens. You can rotate it or fold it down according to your preference to make it rest easily against your eye.

There is a utility clip on the side so you can attach it to your belt or vest or wherever is most convenient for carrying when not in use.

The internal pieces are also protected with O-ring seals and nitrogen purging. These features make the unit both waterproof (to what depth, I’m not sure) and fogproof. You can safely take your Solo R/T out in virtually any weather.

The lenses are fully multi-coated, giving you the best light transmission for the best picture of your target currently available.

Inside there is what Vortex Optics calls a “ranging reticle”, but it’s not a ranging device in the most common sense of the term.

The reticle uses mrad (milli-radian) lines that you can use for ranging your target and determining holdover and windage corrections for shooting.

This kind of ranging requires that you know either the size (height or width) of your target or of a nearby object.

You focus the Solo R/T monocular on this known object and see how many mrad lines it spans. Then you use a formula to calculate the range of your actual target (in yards or meters).

Here are the formulas.

  • Target Size (Yards) x 1000 Measured mrads = Range (Yards)
  • Target Size (Inches) x 27.8 Measured mrads = Range (Meters)
  • Target Size (Meters) x 1000 Measured mrads = Range (Yards)

There is a focus wheel on top of the Solo for adjusting the reticle inside. There is a second focus wheel on the bottom for giving you a clear image of target objects.

Watch this video to see the Solo R/T in action.

See your Solo R/T 8×36 at Amazon now.

What Is the Verdict on the Vortex Optics Solo R/T 8×36 Monocular?

If you want a “ranging” monocular of high quality and don’t mind doing a little math to make it work, then the Solo R/T will work very well for you.

The Solo R/T is obviously made for recon, tactical, and hunting, but you certainly are not limited to those purposes. Here is what one user had to say about this.

I bought this monocular for hunting, but I can see myself using this anytime I am out in the field for training or fun.

An owner, who is probably a hunter since he mentions the time of day, compares the Vortex Optics monocular favorably relative to other brands.

The Light transmission is top notch allowing me to see at dawn or dusk just as well or better than some of the high-end binoculars I’ve used from Leupold, Swarovski and other big names that cost 10 times more.

If the Solo isn’t really what you had in mind (or you really hate doing math), check out these other monoculars. I think you’ll find one somewhere in the list that suits your purposes better.

However, if the Solo R/T 8×36 seems to be just right for you, check it out now at Amazon.

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