In the camera world, the name Nikon carries a lot of weight. It’s easily one of the biggest camera and lens makers in the world, one used by a lot of professionals.
However, Nikon also makes optics for firearms. A lot of them.
Well, that’s probably not correct. What I meant to say is that they used to make optics for firearms.
Nikon is withdrawing from the rifle scope business, according to a number of reports from retailers and vendors involved in the American firearms trade.
While the manufacturer will continue to produce other sport optics such as binoculars, rangefinders and spotting scopes, production of Nikon’s line of rifle scopes will be (or has been) discontinued – meaning that once current stocks are gone, they will not be replenished.
That’s according to reports that have, apparently, been confirmed by Nikon’s advertising agency in the United States.
The news first came courtesy of a story on Nikon Rumors. “This rumor is coming from vendors: Nikon is supposedly slashing production of some of their sport optics product lines. Apparently they’re being told that all scopes and red dots are discontinued.”
This was seemingly corroborated by gun website The Truth About Guns. “One of our intrepid readers who’s in the retail end of the gun business told us of notification he received from one of his distributors. They were letting him know that Nikon will be exiting the rifle scope business and that once current inventory is gone, it’s gone.”
Much of the speculation on why Nikon decided to do this revolves around the company’s financial position. They’re apparently in a bit of trouble and this move is believed to be an effort to consolidate their lines.
That is certainly possible.
However, I can’t help but wonder how much of this is out of fear that the firearms industry is bad optics of a different sort.
Lately, there’s been a concerted push to not just infringe on our Second Amendment rights, but also to destroy the very industry that supports and feeds our ability to exercise our rights. It’s difficult not to imagine some of that taking place here as well.
Of course, that’s just idle speculation. Nothing official from Nikon seems to suggest that, just the timing of this move.
The other hand will also note that while Nikon is a big name, it wasn’t a go-to name for many when it came to rifle scopes. Those are usually names like Burris or Leupold or other brands. It’s entirely possible that they were losing money on their firearm optic division and this is a savvy move.
It doesn’t really matter in the long run. What does matter is that the days of the Nikon rifle scope are at an end. That means fewer choices for those looking for glass, but it’s not the end of the world.
It bears watching to see what Nikon says about the move going forward. If they treat it purely as a business decision, that’s likely all it is. If they start making a big deal out of being done with the gun industry, though, then it’s something else entirely.