When it comes to hunting optics, there are numerous options available, from scopes you can mount directly to your firearm, to handheld devices such as binoculars, monoculars, and rangefinders.
We’re going to take a closer look at the Razor HD and Ranger 1800, two of Vortex’s best options for handheld optics.
Comparing the specifications
The laser capabilities of both the Vortex Razor HD and Vortex Ranger 1800 are incredibly similar. To start, they both have a Class 1 Eye Safe laser. They have metering limitations that differ wildly, however.
The Vortex Ranger 1800 has metering range capabilities of 9 to 900 yd (8 to 822 m) for deer-sized targets, and 9 to 1800 yd (8 to 1645 m). This gives it a reasonably long range for a small handheld rangefinder. The accuracy of the laser is 9 to 900 yd (8 to 822 m): ±3 yd (2.7 m). This makes it slightly less accurate than the Razor HD, but not by much, and if the accuracy resolution doesn’t need to be that high, it may not be a deal-breaker for you.
The Vortex Razor HD has a metering range of between 5 and 2200 yd (4.57 to 2011.68 m) for deer-sized targets, 5 to 2500 yd (4.57 to 2286 m) for tree-sized objects, and a massive 5 to 4000 yd (4.57 to 3657.6 m) for reflective targets. This gives the Razor HD far greater range than the Ranger 1800. The accuracy of the Vortex Razor HD is 5 to 199.9 yd (4.57 to 182.79 m): ±0.5 yd (0.46 m), 200 to 1000 yd (182.88 to 914.4 m): ±1 yd (0.91 m), > 1000 yd (914.4 m): ±2 yd (1.83 m).
Magnification is a category where these two don’t differ much at all. The Vortex Razor HD is a great tool for hunting, and the Ranger 1800 can do nearly as well in the same conditions. With a magnification of 7x on the Razor HD, and the Ranger 1800 having a magnification of 6x, they are more or less on even footing when it comes to bringing the far, and near.
They are also fairly close in lens size, with the Vortex Razor HD having a 25mm objective lens, and the Ranger having a 22mm. This means if your choice comes down to the size and bulk of the unit, this likely won’t be a deciding factor, as 3mm of glass isn’t going to add much weight, and the image quality between them is going to be close as well. The exit pupil diameter is 3.6mm compared to 3.7, so the Ranger 1800 may produce an image that is larger by a barely noticeable amount.
The field of view is a pretty large difference, however, with the Vortex Razor HD having a much wider field of view at 1000 yd. The Vortex Razor HD has a field of view of 341.25' @ 1000 yd (113.3 m @ 1000 m), while the Vortex Ranger 1800 sees 315' @ 1000 yd (105 m @ 1000 m).
When it comes to eye relief, again, both models are incredibly close. The Vortex Razor HD needs you to be one-tenth of a millimeter close, at 16mm, compared to the Ranger 1800s 17mm eye relief. This is so close that the difference is unlikely to matter to most people. Those with corrective lenses, however, may need the extra room if all other things are considered equal.
There are a few differences between the Vortex Razor HD and the Vortex Ranger 1800, starting with the body style and how they are used. You use one eye to look through the Razor, as it is a monocular, while you look through both eyes with the Razor binoculars.
The Vortex Razor HD and the Vortex Ranger 1800 both use a CR2 battery to power their functions. These are commonly available wafer batteries that are lightweight and usually simple to replace. This means you aren’t adding battery weight to your pack.
The display of the Vortex Razor HD is LCD. This lets you easily configure the unit to your needs. The Ranger 1800 does not include any screen, so any options or functionality needs to be done purely by button. The LCD on the Razor will help display vital system information.
When it comes to being able to measure the potential slope of a distance or run, there is a clear difference between the two models. The Vortex Razor HD is able to measure angles of inclination of ±70°. This makes it much more adept at planning long-distance hunting shots, when a ballistic scope may not be available.
When you’re shopping for new optics, design plays a big role in what you choose.
The Vortex Razor HD binoculars have a “True Open Hinge” design, making these really comfortable to use one-handed, which can come in handy whether you’re bird watching or hunting.
The Ranger 1800 has an ergonomic, compact, and lightweight design that allows it to be carried on a lanyard around your neck, keeping your hands free.
Weather protection is important, as you don’t want to ruin your new optics. The good news is that both of these options are waterproof, with the Ranger having an IPX7 rating, as well as a fully rubber-armored body for added protection.
Both of these optics can be used in hot weather. Cold can be a challenge for the Vortex Razor HD, as it can only be stored down to -13°F and operated as low as -4°F, while the Ranger 1800 can be stored down to -25°F.
As far as size is concerned, both the Vortex Razor HD and the Vortex Ranger 1800 are fairly compact and won’t take too much space in your gear. The Razor weighs just 9.9oz and the Ranger weighs 7.7oz. The Razor is 4.49 x 1.34" and the Ranger is 3.9 x 3".