Monocular- A monocular is for one eye use. That is what the mono means in fact; one. This could fall into an everyday carry category. A monocular is simple, compact, and easy to carry. Often they are inexpensive compared to “binos” or a “spotter.” I carry one often just in case I see a bird off in the distance. A monocular takes up almost no space. As much as I would always love to have binoculars to use, but that just isn’t always feasible.
The monocular could even be a life saver like that in the event of the “Rescue of Bat 21 Bravo.” You soon learn just how important one optic can be in an emergency or dangerous situation. The National Museum of the Air Force in Dayton, has the monocular Lieutenant Colonel Iceal E. “Gene” Hambleton used to escape and evade capture after being shot down during the Vietnam War. The story of his rescue is also featured on an episode of Mysteries at the Museum. I used to carry one on my external body armor carrier in a tourniquet pouch. It is a handy piece of kit to have.
What to look for when buying a monocular or binoculars. The price will be a starting point. Cheaper optics have cheaper build, lower quality glass, and the coatings on the glass (lots of beginners don’t know about the coatings on glass). Anything higher than a 10x magnification will be tough to handhold without seeing a lot of shake. Some people may only be able to hold an optic with 8x power stable. Lastly, the front lens is also a key. The bigger the front lens on a monocular the better. Why? It’s a bit of physics and math, but the bigger the front lens, the more light it collects and passes through to the human eye.
A 10×36 on an optic means power and front lens size. A 10x means it will magnify things by 10 times. The 36 is the front lens size in millimeters. The math of this goes like this: 36/10 means that the light will exit from the back of the optic at 3.6mm. This is how large the circle of light and image entering your eye will be. A smaller front lens would mean smaller light and image passing through. For example: 10x25mm lens, 25/10 = 2.5mm. So while it doesn’t seem much smaller, there is a lot less light being passed through and a much smaller exit pupil.
That is a pretty basic start on the monocular. I carry mine often, again, I would rather have binoculars always, but it just isn’t possible all the time. If you are interested, I highly recommend Vortex’s Monoculars. Vortex Monoculars can be found here. They have a lifetime warranty (which I have used). The image quality is sharp and clear. So try them out.