Optics, like everything else in our world, are in a state of turmoil. On the one hand, you can now pay close to $4,000 for a riflescope or a spotting scope and $3,000 plus for a binocular, while on the other hand there are riflescopes and spotting scopes selling for $400 and $300 that are better than anything you could buy at any price 20 years ago. Yet on the third hand we now have optical devices that did not even exist 20 years ago, such as laser rangefinders, range-compensating scopes, and good red-dot sights.

And if you’re to spend your money on any of this gear, you will quickly become confused, and your confusion can take on ugly notes of fear and panic. “What is one to do?”, you will bellow, and your dog will wet the carpet in terror.

Not to worry. You can simply spend $19.95 on a new book by Tom McIntyre called the “Shooter’s Bible Guide to Optics,” which will make all things clear. It’s not only a guide but a catalog as well, printed on good paper that resists much handling and streams of drool. Tom does the judging for Field & Stream’s “Best of the Best,” feature in the optics department. He knows everything about the subject, has worlds of hunting and shooting experience, and is a brutal and relentless tester. When I want to explain something that’s complex, involves glassware, and requires that I actually know what I’m talking about, I quote him.

Buy the book. It’s the only way you’re going to make any sense out of all this.