Lucid SC9 Compact Spotting Scope: Handy Size, Optimal Performance

Hauling a lot of gear to the range can be a real pain. Guns, ammo, targets, backings, tools, safety equipment (hearing and eye protection plus a first-aid kit for minor mishaps), shooting mats, rifle rests, and other support gear all takes up a lot of space. Depending on the size vehicle you drive—a compact SUV, for example—space can become rapidly limited when you add in additional shooters. Support gear needs to be kept as compact as possible. Lucid has assisted in this space-saving requirement by introducing the SC9 Compact Spotting Scope.

While spotting scopes are not necessary for most handgunning chores, they do come in handy when working to sight in perimeter defense rifles at ranges of 100 yards or more. Being able to check your shots on a public range without having to wait for a “cease fire,” combined with not having to spend time getting off your gun and walking back and forth to your target, saves a lot of valuable time—which can be better spent by firing more rounds downrange!

Weighing in at a mere 21 ounces and featuring one-piece aluminum construction, the SC9 is the most compact spotting optic that I have worked with. Featuring angled construction—which means a shorter tripod can be used when firing from prone since the optic sits below eye level (like a microscope)—the SC9 features 9x to 27x variable zoom magnification through the 56mm diameter objective lens, with a close focus of 8-10 feet through infinity. Prism material is BAK-4 (Baritleichkron) Barium Crown glass, which has one of the highest refractive indexes (1.569) and provides superior peripheral light retention. This means that the viewed image is brighter than lower-priced BK-7 optical prisms sometimes used in bargain-priced optics. The SC9’s total light transmission is 92%. Field of view is 127 feet at 1000 yards.

The SC9 is an optic that is designed for real-life, hard-use conditions in the field. That means wet conditions. The SC9 is IPX-8 waterproof-rated. It can withstand “total submersion under conditions identified by the manufacturer.” That’s top-of-the-line. (At the bottom of the line is IPX-0, which offers no special protection against water.) The SC9 is also fogproof due to its Nitrogen Purged interior.

I tested the SC9 at varying distances during what has been a rare occurrence in Ohio this year: a bright, temperate spring day. Most of our spring has been plagued by loads of additional “global warming” falling from the sky and piling on the ground. I think it used to be called “snow.” While the SC9 wouldn’t be bothered by snow or rain, I don’t much care for it during tests, which is why today was the day.

Both the zoom and focus rings are easily accessed and easily adjusted. The zoom ring is located near the eyepiece. The eyepiece can be extended by a counterclockwise turn to provide shading of the lens as well as protection. The focusing ring is on the main body. Both control rings are rubber armored. The tripod mount is located at the juncture of the ocular lens and the main body. There are simple-to-remove protective rubber caps for both lenses.

I was able to test the SC9 while it was mounted on a tripod at distances between 50 feet and approximately 3 miles, utilizing the full range of variability. At the maximum distance, observing a state route, I was able to identify the makes of vehicles moving down it (usually at a speed around 60+ MPH) and toward me at a roughly 30-degree angle. A tip for you progressive lens wearers: take your glasses off while using a spotting scope and clarify via the focus lens. You might also consider removing them when using a magnified rifle scope. You might find that your groups tighten up. It works for me.

Changing my “target selection” to closer in, I zoomed in on a neighbor’s car at a distance of approximately 100 yards, and was able to clearly read the small letter dealer markings at the rear of the vehicle. One should have no problem spotting bullet holes at any reasonable distance. The SC9 should be ideal for use with firearms ranging from .22s fired on official 50 foot targets to centerfire handguns used for “bullseye” competitions to centerfire rifles that launch rounds at extended range targets.

I was quite impressed with the SC9’s capability and its compact size. It would be my primary spotting scope were I still on a SWAT team. It would have fit beautifully in my pack. The SC9 is small enough to be used in a handheld mode, giving it potential for nature lovers who want a powerful observation tool that takes up little room in a backpack. The SC9 should also be good for some closer-range stargazing activities due not only to its power but also to the angled lens setup. I intend to try tonight if weather conditions remain clear.

The SC9 is the second Lucid Optical product I have tested to date. Their line is very impressive and is expanding. A padded zipper case is included with the SC9, as is a Limited Lifetime Warranty. As of this writing, the SC9 is only available in black, which doesn’t rate as an issue in my book. MSRP is $499, but Amazon has them for $429. There are other spotting scopes available for less money, but they also have less versatility, and in some cases less quality.

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