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Leupold Compact Spotting Scope Review: GR 10-20x40mm (For Free-Hand Glassing)

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Leupold GR 10-20x40 Compact Spotting Scope in Shadow Gray Color
Image Credit - Leupold

Viewing Configuration: Straight
Magnification: 10-20X
Power Variability: Variable
Adjustable Eyepieces: No
Eyepiece included: Yes
Objective Diameter: 40 mm
Close Focus Distance: 5.5 feet
Length: 7.5 inches
Weight: 15.8 ounces
Field of View: 199-136 feet/1000 yards
Eye Relief/Exit Pupil: 18.5-17.2 mm/4-2 mm
Optics Coatings: Multi-Coated
Glass: Not Listed
Focus System: Focus Knob/Single Focus
Waterproof/Fog-proof: Yes/Yes
Digiscope adaptable: No

Best Uses: Hunting, For the Range, Birdwatching

Leupold GR Compact Spotting Scope

The GR 10-20X40 Compact spotter has multi-coated optics, is fully waterproof and fogproof, and has an extremely wide field of view.

At the time of writing, there aren't any consumer reviews on this specific model online. But, its exact and discontinued brown counterpart has a near perfect rating from a handful of reviews. I take it, since these are the exact same spotters, that the gray version should be deserving of the brown version's ratings as well.

To be honest, it was a tough pick to decide between this 10-20X40 model and the 15-30X50 model. The feature that won out is the higher reviewer base of the 10-20X and it's slightly cheaper cost. But, don't worry, we'll see a little more of the 15-30X in this review yet.

So, to get started on comparisons between the two most compact scopes, let's get right into the Q&A!


  • Fully weatherproof
  • Compact
  • Lightweight
  • Hand-held device
  • Easy to use


  • Price

GR 10-20x40 Compact Spotting Scope Q&A:

What makes this GR 10-20x40 compact?

The first thing that tells you it's a compact scope is the low magnification and small objective lens size - for a spotting scope. In fact, these numbers are comparable to a set of extended long range, zoom binoculars.

The other size components are the length and weight of the scope. It's only a very short 7.5 inches in length which is very comparable to a set of full size binoculars.

It weighs 15.8 ounces, again, very comparable to a set of binoculars.

All in all, this is going to be a very nice, hand-held unit that's exactly what its name implies - compact.

Why should I buy the Leupold GR 10-20X40 Compact instead of a pair of binoculars?

Okay, so the size dimensions probably now have you thinking about a pair of binoculars instead of a spotter. But, take a look at top-notch brands like Zeiss and Swarovski and tell me what you don't see?

A pair of zoom binoculars. I wonder why?

Well, I don't because I know why. Zoom binoculars are practically impossible to provide the exact same image quality on the same level of magnification because of the two individual optics. That's where spotters come in.

Spotting scopes equal more "reach" or more power, zoom capabilities, thanks to the single telescopic body, and the ability to hone in on fine details needed to accurately identify your targets.

Plus, it's even better when it comes in a nifty, compact package like this one.

Should I throw my binocular out when I buy this GR 10-20x40 compact spotting scope?

No. This GR 10-20X40 spotting scope will make an excellent supplement optic to your hunting pack.

It gives just a little more reach than your binoculars, it's lightweight and compact to stow and tote, and you mightn't even need to mount it at all.

Being a hunter on the go, it can get tedious having to pull out, set up, and pack up tripods, monopods, and all the other "pods" out there just to get some decent, long-distance glassing in.

This is an excellent supplement to your binoculars and to your full-size spotter, not an alternative.

Can I use Leupold's GR 10-20x40mm spotting scope free-hand most of the time?

With the low magnifications, the ability is certainly there. After about 15X power, you'll want to steady your glassing arm against your body or a tree or something of the sort to help stabilize the image.

Although it's considered a hand-held device, it shouldn't instantly mean "image stabilization". The compact GR still has the capability of high zooming power, and you shouldn't forget that when you're on max power.

How far is the GR 10-20x40 compact's distance viewing range?

This is a great mini spotter if you're intending to use it for sub-200 yard distances. You can use it clearly at the shooting range or while you're in the hunt.

You can clearly see .22 caliber bullet strikes at 200 yards, of course, that's with splatter targets to aid in positive identification.

If you want further distances, I'd suggest you look at the GR 15-30X50 or the GR 12-40X60.

What are the other models in the GR series?

The first thing you need to know about the GR series is that all the available spotters have the straight design. There are no angled Leupold GR spotting scopes.

The other models are 12-40X60, 12-40X60 HD, 15-30X50, and the 20-60X80.

How does this 10-20x40 Leupold compare with the other compact models?

Optically and build-quality, the 10-20X40 and the 15-30X50 are pretty much the exact same spotter, save for the spec differences resulting from the varying zoom levels and the aperture.

But, the 12-40X60 and the 20-60X80 are more akin to each other. The 12-40X has the same optical quality as the 20-60X and it even has the Impact Reticle.

It seems like, Leupold put the bare minimum into the $400-$600 10-20X and 15-30X, and then jam-packed everything into the $1000-$2900 12-40X and 20-60X spotters

Is there a right-handed GR spotting scope?

Honestly, the answer is sketchy on this one. According to Leupold, the focus knob is on the left hand side of the scope body. This is what prompted the question.

For those who are right-handed, it might be a little tricky trying to train yourself to adjust for the focus knob being on the left side and adjusting with the left hand.

What GR models does Leupold's camera adapter fit?

It's unfortunate that Leupold doesn't sell a universal camera adapter or one that fits the more affordable GR 10-20X40 and the GR 15-30X50.

But, they do sell a camera adapter that fits the GR 12-40X60 and GR 20-60X80.

If you want a camera adapter for your lower powered GR, you'll be redirected to a different retailer to purchase a universal one. Thumbs down.

Where does this 10-20x40 GR Compact spotting scope fall in the ranking tier?

If you're trying to decide whether this is an entry-level, mid-level, or maybe even premium spotting scope, I can confidently tell you where it belongs.

The $500 retail price and the approximately $400 price online suggest that this is a mid-level spotter, as far as standards across the board go.

But, for Leupold, and compared to all the other options they have available, this would be considered an entry-level spotting scope. The features, or lack of features I should say, also indicate that it's a pretty basic optic.

Noteworthy Features:

  • 10-20X magnification for low powered spotting
  • Extremely lightweight and compact in size; comparative to binoculars
  • Impressive field of view of 199-136 feet at 1000 yards
  • Fully fog-proof and waterproof to endure all types of weather
  • Hand-held device for free-hand glassing
  • Backed by Leupold's Gold Ring Full Lifetime Guarantee

Our Verdict On The Leupold GR Compact Scope

The scoop on the scope is, the Leupold GR 10-20X40 Compact spotter is a nifty, little unit to have in the field when you're on the go. It's simple and clean in design, and it does the glassing job just fine for sub-200 yard hunting. However, the price is pretty steep for what we consider an entry-level and basic spotting scope. Still, it's got Leupold's name under its belt, so at least you know quality is there.

Outside of the German American family brand, the Barska Blackhawk 18-36x50 spotting scope keeps it compact and tight. It's also super cheap and will win out any budget every single time.

Leupold knows how to dish out weatherproof optics with every single one of their products. With high quality and reputation behind its name, the GR Compact spotter will be your tiny glassing friend every step of the way.

Further Reading

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Simon Cuthbert - Founder

Simon is an avid outdoor enthusiast and the founder of Target Tamers. He is passionate about bringing you the most up to date, accurate & understandable information on sports optics of all kinds and for all applications. Simon has contributed to notable publications online and teaches beginners the technical side of optics through his extensive library of optics guides.

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