We first saw the innovative Minox ZP8 1-8x24mm variable magnification riflescope – toghether with the other Minox tactical riflescopes - at the 2015 Shot Show, when the German manufacturer introduced the fruit of the strategic alliance with Optronika, a Biebertal (Germany) based riflescope specialist, announced at the end of 2013.
The Minox ZP8 1-8x24mm riflescope joins the competition in a niche of the market, the one made of optics featuring an 8x zoom ratio optical scheme, that counts very few high end products offered by the the world's very best optics manufacturers.
There are, however, some specific features in the Minox riflescope that makes it rather unique: in example, the Complete Combat Reticle (CCR) concept, that combines both a First and a Second Focal Plane illuminated reticle.
The reticle in the Second Focal Plane is essentially just a very sharp illuminated red dot, that can be dimmed in 9 different brightness levels, that activates automatically once the magnification is set between 1x and 2.5x; the First Focal Plane reticle is a traditional glass-etched mil-based reticle that has the central portion that illuminates once magnification is set past the 2.5x mark, while the SFC dot turns off.
The 1x magnification is absolutely true, so it is possible to actually use the ZP8 riflescope as if it was a reflex red dot scope (the FFP reticle basically is invisible at this setting), aiming with both eyes open for typical CQB engagement distances, while the 8x magnification allows to aim very accurately at longer distances. The parallax is fixed at an unusual 200 meters, instead of the standard 100m of most other similar optics.
The zero-stop elevation and windage turrets are quite large (42mm of diameter), at the same time are low profile, so they do not interfere with situational awareness ("looking around" the scope); both are lockable - actually, un-lockable: ideally, during use, both turrets would be locked, by pushing them down, on the zero position, and, using the MR10+ reticle (which we recommend vs the other two available reticles, the MR10 and A8-D) all bullet drop adjustments shooting at different distances can be quickly made using the holds and hash marks of the reticle. The turrets can be locked only in the "zero" position, and will not lock at any other.
The single-turn elevation turret offers a 10 MRAD adjustment range, with 0.1 MRA clicks; however, internally the riflescope has a whopping 30 MRAD total adjustment range available for zeroing the scope. The third turret, with the same 42mm diameter, is only used for housing the battery and the reticles brightness adjustment knob. Nine levels of brightness are available, and between each level there is an "OFF" position. This turret can also be locked, but it is done in exact opposite as the other turrets, so to lock it it must be pulled out, rather than pushed in. The reticle turns itself off after 6 hours of inactivity, thanks to an accelerometer.
The Minox ZP8 1-8x24mm variable magnification riflescope weighs just a tad less of 700 g and is quite compact, being 295mm long; the extremely tough maintube diameter is 34mm.
We had the chance to live fire test this interesting riflescope at the Schießanlage shooting range in Philippsburg (Germany): we mounted the Minox ZP8 riflescope on a SIG-Sauer 516 CQB semiautomatic rifle with a 10” barrel chambered in .223 Remington, testing the weapon and optics combination on shooting distances ranging from 15 to 200 meters. We used GECO and RWS ammunition for all tests. The riflescope was mounted on the Picatinny rail interface using an excellent Spuhr mount.
We have been impressed with the the wide angle of the field of view, almost amazing at all magnification settings.
We are not going to delve into the optical quality of this riflescope, since it is absolutely on a par with the best of the commercially available, state of the art 1-8x riflescopes in just about every aspect, such as definition, chromatic and geometric aberrations, resolution and brightness.
Of course, we did find some trade-offs: compared to a "real" reflex red point aiming system, with the ZP8 we have to get used to the eye relief once we dial down the magnification to 1x; however, this is common with every single variable magnification riflescopes that feature a true 1x setting.
On the other hand, the exit pupil at 8x magnification is very small (3mm), making the shooter's head position and cheek weld very critical; in other words, the so called eye box is very small.
To obtain the best results, a very good and consistent head position must be maintained shooting at longer ranges - nothing new, here.
In a sense, we've been initially put off by the turrets that can be locked down only when they are in the zero position, however they have been conceived that way so that the special holds and hash marks included in the MR10+ reticle can be easily used for BDC, (a concept similar to the reticles offered by Horus Vision), since thay have been designed to work when the riflescope is zeroed at 100m and the turrets are on zero.
The Minox ZP8 1-8x24mm variable magnification riflescope has a MSRP of 2700 euro on the European market.