Prior to the early 1980s, soldiers used hunting scopes on their service rifles without further ado, which did their job quite functionally but still had their weaknesses in this tough operational field. For example, Leupold worked with the U.S. military to develop the extremely rugged, specialized Ultra M3A 10x42 with a mil-dot reticle for the Remington M24 sniper rifle in 7.62x51 that was in use at the time. Then, from 1988 to 2014, the Leupold Mark 4 LR/T 10x40 and 10x40 M3 riflescope models were fitted to the "Sniper Weapon System" (SWS). All other mentioned Leupold optics are still in current use today. Since 1989, the Leupold Mark 4 LR/T in 4.5-14x50 has been used on the Barrett M82 (aka M107) heavy semi-automatic sniper rifle in .50 Browning Machine Gun (12.7x99). This optic, used by the U.S. Army, Marine Corps and Air Force, has to swallow quite a bit given the power of the weapon system.
Riflescopes from Leupold: fit for duty since the mid-1980s
Introduced in 2002 for the Marine Corps' MK 12 SPR (Special Purpose Rifle) semi-automatic rifle in 5.56x45, the Leupold Mark 4 MR/T 2.5-8x36 TS-30 A2 features an illuminated TMR reticle. There are numerous variations of this particular rifle and scope. Incidentally, as of 2018, this scope is also used on the M38 Squad Designated Marksman Rifle (aka HK 416) in 5.56x45. It is used by Army and Navy special forces as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. On the MK 14 EBR (Enhanced Battle Rifle) in 7.62x51, which is available in no less than eight different configurations, the units of the Naval Special Warfare Command use a Leupold Mark 4 LR/T 3.5-10x40 with Mil Dot reticle. As is well known, the EBR is built on the aged M14 gas-operated rifle, which was introduced in the U.S. Army back in 1959 and is in turn based on the classic Garand in .30-06. The M110 SASS (Semi-Automatic Sniper System) in 7.62x51 was developed by Knights Armament Company (KAC) to replace the M24 SWS. The AR-10-designed semi-automatic rifle, used by the U.S. Army since 2008, is also equipped with a Leupold Mark 4 LR/T 3.5-10x40 scope, but with a TMR reticle. Two years later, the Leupold Mark ER/T 6.5-20x50 M5A2 with Horus Vision H58 reticle was introduced along with the imposing M2010 sniper rifle in .300 Winchester Magnum featuring a modern light alloy chassis with versatile adjustable folding stock and the option of custom upgrades.
The so-called "Heavy Day Optic" (HDO) in the form of the Leupold Mark 8 1.1-8x24 CQBSS riflescope with Mil Dot reticle has been in service with the Marine Corps since 2011 on the M2 heavy machine gun in .50 BMG and the MK19 grenade launcher. The combination in piggyback set-up, consisting of a Leupold Mark 6 scope in 3-18x44 and an Aimpoint Micro T-1 red dot sight, has been used as "Enhanced Combat Optical Sight – Optimized" (ECOS-O) with non-illuminated and illuminated Tremor 2 reticle since 2013 on a whole range of weapon systems, including the M4A1 carbine in 5.56x45, by various U.S. branches of the armed forces.
The young Leupold Mark 5 HD Long Range riflescopes in 5-25x56 and 3.6-18x44 have been used on duty since 2018 not only by the U.S. military and police departments, but also by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The large Mark 5 HD, with its patented MIl-Grid reticle, is also the daylight scope selected by U.S. SOCOM for the MK22 Mod 0 (aka Barrett MRAD) multi-caliber sniper rifle in 7.62x51, .300 Norma Magnum and .338 Norma Magnum as part of the 2020 Precision Sniper Rifle (PSR) program. The smaller Mark 5 HD is also found on the already described M110 SASS (Semi-Automatic Sniper System) in 7.62x51. All of the Leupold riflescopes discussed were and are in use in crisis areas around the world, such as the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kuwait. However, Leupold red dot sights such as the LCO (Leupold Carbine Optic) for mounting on semi-automatic rifles or the DeltaPoint Pro for mounting on service pistols are also in official service use. For example, the LCO has been used by the Denver Police Department SWAT Team since 2016 and the DeltaPoint Pro has been used by the United States Marshals Service since 2019.
Growth in optics for LE agencies in 2023: the Leupold Mark 5HD 2-10x30
Weighing 680 grams, this compact riflescope with 35 mm main tube diameter and reticle in the first image plane completes the elite round of Leupold's authority optics. The further development of the Leupold riflescope for the MK12 SPR for medium ranges is optionally available with the three different reticles: PR1-MOA as well as TMR without and with illumination. A fine click adjustment, a total elevation adjustment range of 165 MOA and the patented "ZeroLock" function for zeroing and easy retrieval of selected settings are further features of the rugged Leupold Mark 5HD 2-10x30.