An optic, whether as part of a recreational adventure, a trip to the range, and a whole lot of military and public safety-related activities is often an afterthought. A good optic, and investment in something that will perform with as much effectiveness as time spent on weapon platforms, first aid and tactical appearance – is even more though. We see this regularly in training. One, that someone grabbed a dusty pair of binoculars (AKA bins, AKA glass…) because they may be needed, or got signed up for a night driving or tactics course only to say “… we don’t have any.” It’s understandable. Priorities go to life-essential equipment, and tasks that we perceive as primary. But how many of those tasks and assignments would be more effective with a solid optic?
I will admit, while my team and I usually had access to a pair of relatively good bins, and I always carried a cheap set for “just in case”, I didn’t know what Meopta Sports Optics had to offer until I saw the press release. The market is dominated by big names and loud slogans, most of which carry their own weight, but probably at some additional expense to the consumer. In the military, unless your have a smaller, more specialized tasking or team assignment, chances are you will be issued what is available, and make it work. I did not know what a really solid pair of bins were until I spent some time with the Meopta Optics.
I requested the MeoStar B1 Plus 8×42. By specifications, I did not want an end of the line pair, because chances are it will not be something that most end-users look for. Additionally, if a mid of the line pair performs at a respectable level, all variable being equal, the top expectations are similarly appropriate.
While the specifications, such as field of view, eye relief and interpuppilary distance can take up a whole separate article to properly explain, what most end users want to know is which end do I look into and how much will it magnify what I am looking at. Well, also maybe how hard can I accidentally drop them and still not worry about them working. Most of us will never need to field strip or fix a pair of binoculars, nor are most of them designed for field repair. The B1 I field-tested is 8×42, and so it magnifies objects 8 times, with a 42mm lens. Instead of waiting until the end to give all of the other specifics, I will say up front that the cost of the B1 is right around $1400. While it may seem like an investment – it should. A good optic, whether a red dot, rifle scope, or binos, is just that. It’s something that an end-user should be able to rely at any time and use instinctively without question. At that price, most people familiar with optics will probably agree that it is not high, as far as good glass is concerned.
I tested the B1’s in work environments, on surveillance, targeting at the range, recreational hikes, and in weather from -15 Fahrenheit to 50 Fahrenheit. The first feel of the Meopta Sports Optics B1 Plus is that it’s truly comfortable and simple to use. The first impression is probably how user friendly and ergonomic they are. It’s one piece, durable design, with comfortable finger grooves feels natural. One point adjustment eliminates looking for knobs and dials, and instinctively directs the user to acquire the target as naturally as possible. The oversized adjustment wheel is not only instinctive, it is easy to acquire and manipulate with hands that are wet, frozen, or gloved. I was surprised how light the B1’s feel. My last experience with a performance pair of binos still has the muscle memory of a heavy object, which doubled as a weight for range cards and paper targets. The B1s feel substantial, yet comfortable. The one piece aluminum, rubber-wrapped design can be held for as long as needed for your particular tasking, without arm fatigue if there is no suitable rest available.
A key performance assessment is how a set performs going from one environment to the other. From a clear cabin to a foggy deck, from a warm office to cold field, or from a vehicle to outside. I was amazed that not in one work or play application, did the B1 Plus fog up or resulted in a distorted image. I went from dropping them in the snow, to going inside a warm house and everything in between. It was a joy to use. The one piece, locking diopter is genius for long surveillance or hunts, where the distance tot he target and your hide may not change for a while. With only an occasional and basic common-sense wipe and maintenance required, the B1s are zero maintenance. In my use, I did not even wipe the glass, because there were still no spots or dirt to be an issue. I also used the B1s to site targets from a low light environment of the observer, to a variety of target lighting. The image was crisp, with no functional reflective signature on the opposite end. Of course, may things could be accomplished in the filed to minimize the appearance of an observer even more. For this T&E, we mostly focused on the general end-user.
The Meopta Sports Optics B1 consistently performed beyond expectations. The image was crisp without fail, with easy and comfortable objective lens, amazingly comfortable and secure grip, and fast target acquisition. This performance was consistent in all environments where I used the B1 Plus. In fact, people who have picked up this pair after knowing little about optics and nothing about this model, have repeatedly told me how impressed they are. It’s not surprising that out of the several options, the Meopta Sports became our first go-to.
The B1’s come with a pair of lens covers on the front and a one piece lens cover on the user-end, which can be integrated with the adjustable padded neck strap. The felt, padded case comes with a belt loop, and has a singe large cover with a button snap. The case can also be made to use the binos neck strap, utilizing two small clasps which quickly move and secure it from one to the other. Also included is a lens cloth and an easy to follow set of instructions. The lens covers are heavy duty rubber. The front ones have a wire which leaves no doubt that they will remain secured and the rubber “nose” piece on the user end of the lens covers is not only heavy duty, but has enough flex to not end up in the mud on your next hike. I would like to see the same heavy duty rubber on the lens cover part which attached to the strap, as most users are likely too carry it which the covers off and handing on the strap all together, or secured in the case. I can’t get over how smooth, comfortable and esthetically friendly the MeoStar is. It is as much a pleasure to hold and use, as it is to see what you’re looking at. The smooth look and solid design speak volumes for the longevity of the product.
Meopta Sports is an international company, with their USA optics devision headquartered in Trinity, Florida, with the B1’s made is Czech Republic. They come in attractive field green, further minimizing the need for most camouflage. Meopta Sports Optics has many models and many other optics, and are worth your consideration whether for a travel and adventure, or deployment and range time.
I give the B1s a 5 out of 5 on every category, including value. Not just for the price point alone, but for the fact that if a different model is desired, the company has options within a different price range. Durability, accessibility and customer service have been outstanding, and as always, our team at Spotter Up has received these for a review and with no monetary or alternate incentive.
- Comfort (if applicable)
- Overall Rating
The scale is defined as:
- Poor/unacceptable: Worse than expected, or desirable; of a low or inferior standard or quality.
- Fair: In conformity with reasonable expectations, but in comparison to competitors is may be deficient
- Average: Common item; item neither lacks from or is superior than a competitors item.
- Good: The item is desirable and has qualities that excel in comparison to a competitors item
- Excellent: Outstanding, possesses superior quality; remarkably good
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