Nikon scopes have been frontrunners in the very profitable market of rifle scopes for decades.
However, Nikon abruptly changed its stance a few years ago, abandoning hunting, and rifle scopes, entirely.
This change has left many suppliers and loyal customers worried about the future of their products, myself included.
Let’s look at why the company chose to leave the rifle scope market.
I’ll explain what this means for Nikon’s customers and what optical products are still offered by their sport optics division.
Does Nikon Still Make Riflescopes?
As of 2022, Nikon is no longer in the rifle scope business.
Nikon wanted to distance itself from the hunting and weapons crowd, focusing on more consumer-friendly products and multi-purpose range finders.
It makes sense to discontinue their entry-level and mid-level range of scopes despite being a very profitable market.
This allows the company to divert its focus to its main product: cameras. Still, they will not leave the outdoor community entirely.
They will simply no longer carry weapon-mounted sights.
Is It Impossible to Buy Rifle Scopes?
While you can’t order Nikon’s scopes straight from the company, you can still buy any unsold models from a registered Nikon optics dealer.
Nikon migrated all their supply to third-party resellers to get rid of their current stock..
I’ve had to buy some Nikon scopes from outside sellers; fortunately, they still work as if they were brand new.
Once their supply has been exhausted, no new sniper scope will be made available.
Why Has Nikon Stopped Making Rifle Scopes?
In 2019, Nikon announced that it would leave the rifle scope market completely, selling off its remaining rifle scope line products to companies on its Focused Dealer Direct Program.
This shift in the distribution model from the traditional wholesale supply chain to the registered dealer-only program is one of two factors cited by a Nikon rep for the company’s departure from the rifle scope business.
Aside from open supply chain issues, the Nikon rep named the market itself and the fact that Nikon wanted to distance itself from it as one of the two factors that caused the company to abandon the line.
Sniping products have brought great shares to the company, but their scope lines have been making less and less money through the years as the competition grows fiercer.
The company had also received negative publicity over the use of its products in big game hunting.
This cuts into their bottom line and affects the sale of their other, more lucrative products.
These factors have led to the company’s internal decision to discontinue the production and distribution of weapon-mounted products.
How Does This Affect Current Nikon Scope Owners?
Nikon migrated their remaining stock of entry-level and mid-level range scopes to their accredited companies for reselling.
The company sees that focusing on more profitable product families makes sense.
I know I felt disappointed about this as I loved using Nikon’s scopes in the past.
Don’t worry, though. Fans of Nikon-produced optic products need not feel abandoned.
Plenty of companies still carry any needed replacement parts, and the company promises to honor customer commitments.
Still, it will take loyal users some adjustments as they look for different scope brands moving forward.
It’s unfortunate that many fans have sworn off Nikon because of this perceived betrayal.
Can I Still Buy Nikon Rifle Scopes?
The shift from the traditional wholesale supply chain distribution model to the registered dealer-only program has forced Nikon to cut its losses and return to cameras.
This, plus their effort to clean up their image and deviate from an extremely competitive industry, means that their sporting optics division (binoculars, spotting scopes, etc.) will be left without a rifle scope.
Thanks to the focused Dealer Direct Program, you can still find, and buy, any Nikon product you need!
That said, Nikon abruptly changed course without recalling and disposing of every rifle scope.
There is still PLENTY of current inventory available at any registered Nikon optics dealer.
You can find and purchase Nikon scope models and accessories through third-party sources.
If you don’t think Nikon scopes are for you, there are a lot of other scopes at affordable prices for you to check out!
Do Nikon Scopes Have a Lifetime Warranty?
While it may be impossible for hunters to look forward to a new rifle scope line from Nikon, warranty worries should be the least concern for long-time Nikon users.
The company has promised to continue offering and honoring lifetime warranties for any Nikon-produced scope.
Though Nikon does not plan on returning to the rifle scope business, it does plan to take care of any users who enjoy its extremely competitive rifle scopes.
The company announced that their rifle scopes are covered by a five-year limited lifetime warranty.
That gives me some reassurance, at least!
Fortunately, one of my Nikon scopes was still covered by the warranty, so no harm done despite the discontinuation of their scopes.
It encourages these scope users to continue using Nikon’s spotting scopes, cameras, and other shooting equipment.
Nikon Alternatives to Consider
Since Nikon is no longer in the rifle scope market, there are other brands you can turn to instead.
These brands work just as well as Nikon’s scopes, so you can’t go wrong with these alternative brands.
Leupold is known for offering rifle scopes with high durability and affordable pricing.
My experience with Leupold scopes has been nothing but enjoyable, from their SUPER clear optics and ruggedness.
You can definitely trust this brand as it’s been in the business for over 100 years! They definitely know what they’re doing.
2. Vortex Optics
Vortex is one of the newer kids on the block, but their scopes have Leupold and Nikon beat in the pricing department.
You get EXCELLENT quality with contrasting colors and you don’t have to spend a fortune!
Plus, they also come with a lifetime warranty, so you have nothing to worry about.
Bushnell is another TOP-TIER company that produces precision optics that are great for large and small game.
And it’s not just scopes!
If you want to expand your outdoor gear, you can find high-quality red dots, rangefinders, and spotting scopes
Nikon really cemented itself as one of the best rifle scope manufacturers ever.
While Nikon rifle scopes may be off the table, Nikon continues to offer its more profitable product families, whether they be cameras, binoculars, range-finders, or other scope products.