Last Updated: June 25, 2020
Viewing Configuration: Angled
Power Variability: Variable
Adjustable Eyepieces: No
Eyepiece included: Yes
Objective Diameter: 50 mm
Close Focus Distance: 16.4 ft
Length: 11 in
Weight: 22.4 oz
Field of View: 191-89 ft/1000 yards
Eye Relief/Exit Pupil: 19.1-17.6 mm/4.5-1.5 mm
Optics Coatings: Fully multi-coated
Focus System: Center/Single
Digiscope adaptable: Yes
Best Uses: Hunting, For the Range, Tactical Use
Barska 11-33X50 WP Tactical Spotting Scope Review
Nearly every optics user has owned or at least handled a budget-buy before. This Barska scope falls right into that category, and while it's definitely not the best ranging spotting scope available, it's the cheapest you're going to find.
So, what compromises are you making, and what pleasant surprises await you for a scope under 200 bucks? Let's find out.
The good. It's a lightweight and compact scope with the versatile angled design. You have decent eye relief of 19mm max, fully multi-coated optics, and the entire body is rubber armored, waterproof, and nitrogen-purged for fogproofness. The weatherproofness is definitely not a feature you see in a budget spotting scope, so two thumbs up here.
The compromises. It's subjective but the focus mechanism comes in the form of a side focus knob. You may or may not appreciate this feature, but it does have its advantages. BK7 prism glass is the only option here, and is inferior to BaK-4 glass but not by much. With a large field of view, wide field of view, and fully multi-coated optics, it won't pose any problems for the user.
The reticle is mil-based in the second focal plane. Some users might not like that, but keep in mind it does cost less than $200. FFP spotters cost a heck of a lot more. The unfortunate thing is that defective reticles seem to be the source of the main complaints from buyers. Barska does offer a limited lifetime warranty on the optic, so keep your proof of purchase if you end up needing repairs or a replacement.
- Mil-based reticle
- Fully weatherproof
- Fully multi-coated optics
- Defective reticles
Barska Tactical 11-33x50mm WP Q&A:
What are the advantages of a side focus on a spotter?
The major benefit is the fact that you can use the focus knob with instant ease since it's located on the side of the scope body. It may be easier for the user since you might not have to leave your sight picture to locate the focus ring or touch multiple rings to correctly identify the focus ring.
What does second focal plane and FFP mean?
Second focal plane (SFP) means the reticle is located behind the magnifying lens assembly and so can only provide accurate ballistic data at max magnification. The reticle stays the same size and thickness as you change magnification and this causes subtension to constantly change in relation to your target.
FFP stands for first focal plane and the reticle is located in front of the magnifying lens assembly. This allows you to use the reticle for accurate holdovers at any magnification. Subtension remains the same as the reticle increases and decreases in size and thickness according to magnification.
For more on this, see our "Reticles Explained: Subtensions" article for a quick run-through.
What is BK7 glass?
This type of highly-reflective crown glass is used in many sport optics. While it's a high-quality and very common crown glass, BaK-4 superior and is often the standard type of glass used. The major concern with BK7 glass is the squarish exit pupil that can obstruct part of the field of view in an optic. However, many factors can work for or against this feature, and in this case, the BK7 glass is a non-issue. To see what we mean about BK7 vs BaK4, see our "Glass 101" guide for a better understanding.
Is this Barska Tactical 11-33x50 Spotting Scope a Value Buy?
If you want a ranging spotting scope for the lowest price possible, you're looking at it. We're really not kidding when we say you won't be able to find a cheaper one in the market. Ranging spotting scopes aren't very common, and it's typically the big brands that specialize and manufacture them. When you're looking at $1800 plus for a ranging spotting scope, this one costs pennies in comparison.
As far as functionality and value, it works well for the majority of buyers who find the SFP reticle useful for close ranges like 600 yards and less. It really depends on your expectations, how extreme your long-range shooting will be, and the need for precise accuracy.
Does the 11-33x50 Tactical Barska Spotting Scope come with Accessories?
The tactical spotting scope comes with additional accessories that includes lens covers, mini tripod, and a soft carry case.
Is Barska's Tactical spotting scope tripod adaptable?
As a spotting scope, of course it is. However, with such low power of 11x, you should be able to use it as a handheld device if you wanted to. Going up in power will cause any slight hand movements to produce shaky image quality.
- Lowest price possible for a tactical ranging spotting scope
- Mil-cross reticle in second focal plane
- Fully weatherproof and nitrogen-purged
- Side focus for easy and fast focusing
- Barska's Limited Lifetime Warranty
Our Verdict on the Barska Tactical Spotting Scope
The scoop on the scope is, the Barska 11-33x50mm WP Tactical spotter isn't going to be your lifetime buy. But, to get you started, it will do at a very affordable price. It has all the right features as a spotting scope to be used either free-hand or on a tripod. But, make sure you play around with the reticle in case it's a defective one and it needs replacement right away.
If you're willing to spend a little bit more, the Bushnell Legend T-Series 15-45x60 spotting scope is your next jump up. You can expect a leap up in quality with another mil-cross reticle.
However, the best tactical ranging spotting scopes are going to cost far more than this. If you want mid-level prices for high-end quality, you have to check out the new to 2017/18 Burris Signature HD 20-60x85 spotting scope. It's jam-packed with features and it exudes the type of quality that establishes itself as premium optic to stand apart from the rest.
Barska is there for the buyer who wants decent optics for as little cost as possible. There's always bigger and better available, but when you're okay to get a budget-buy when you have a tight budget to begin with, you can count on Barska.