Optics don’t get near as much attention as they should when it comes to survival planning. This doesn’t make sense given how important vision is. One reason for this is probably because most of us take our vision for granted. A little preparation when it comes to optics will go a long way when things go bad.
If you wear corrective lenses, these will be your most important optics. If things go really bad, it could be a long time before you are able to get another pair and you will have to make do with what you have on hand. The most expensive part of eyeglasses is not the lenses, but rather the frames. In everyday life perhaps this is important, but in an emergency when you just need to be able to see, you simply won’t care how the glasses look. If you forego the expensive frames, you can purchase several pairs of glasses for a reasonable price. Once you have them, spread them around so that you always have a pair handy. Give a pair to your spouse to store, keep a pair in your auto and definitely make sure that you have a well-protected pair in your bug-out bag (BOB).
In a dangerous area, it’s important to know what you can expect to find in front of you. A decent pair of binoculars makes scanning terrain much easier and more effective. Being able to see farther than an enemy is a huge tactical advantage. At the very least it allows you to avoid trouble by searching out ambushes and other hidden trouble.
Good binos are expensive, but they are worth every penny you can afford. High quality binoculars have lenses that are perfectly shaped and free of imperfections that distort light. This allows you clear vision at great distances. If you can’t afford night vision, you can use binos as a somewhat effective substitute. Since binos gather light from a large area and focus it onto a smaller one, so things in the dark become much clearer.
Avoid the temptation of buying extremely high-power binos unless you live in an extremely wide open area such as the Great Plains, or you expect to spend a lot of time on open water. Binos that magnify less will give you a wider field of view, allow you to see better at night and generally give you an all-around better picture.
A set of optics for your rifle can add to its effectiveness. Though you shouldn’t become dependent on a scope and should maintain proficiency with iron sights, a scope can give you the ability to make shots that otherwise would have been unlikely. The better your rifle, the better the scope you put on it should be. Many professional marksmen spend a lot more on their optics than on the weapon itself. Even a $100 .22 caliber rifle can be made better with a scope. For a good marksman, if he can see it and his weapon has the range to reach it, he can hit it. A scope helps him see things that he wouldn’t be able to with the naked eye.
Just a few years back, night vision was something to which only advanced militaries had access. These days technology has changed this access drastically, and some form of night vision is available to fit every budget. Humans are adapted to daylight and instinctively go to ground at night to avoid predators better suited to the dark. When it comes to conflict, those who own the night, win the fight. Night vision will give you a great advantage over a threat that doesn’t have it and will even out the field against those who do. Just like with binos and scopes, you should buy the best you can afford, but you should at least have basic night-vision capability.
Though there are certainly items more important to survival than optics, they should be on your list. Survival is a matter of continuous preparation and improvement. Donald Rumsfeld said you go to war with the army you have, not the army you want. You also live through bad times with the gear you have and not the gear you want. Continue preparing.