Steiner Optik is a widely trusted brand of premium quality sports optics, particularly binoculars, riflescopes, and spotting scopes. Founded after the end of WWII, Steiner has been producing binoculars for military, marine and personal use ever since, and therefore, maintains a rich history of producing top-quality optics products. The company’s headquarters is located in the town of Bayreuth in Northern Bavaria, Germany. As of 2021, Steiner Optik is the 7th most popular sports optics brand in the world. Steiner’s commitment to premium quality and unprecedented optical performance is the reason behind this honour.
While a riflescope is a relatively newer invention compared to binoculars which date back to the 16th century, it has certainly become one of the most useful devices for hunting and sport shooting as well as military and law enforcement. Seeing the true potential of telescopic sights, some optics producers in Europe began producing civilian-grade riflescopes during the 1900s.
The company was originally founded as a small workshop by Karl Steiner in 1947. At the time, many countries, including Germany were still recovering from the devastations caused by the Second World War and cameras were still an innovative product. Steiner took advantage of the opportunity and pledged to make optical products of unparalleled quality, which took the company from being a small workshop to a 50-worker factory in only six years. The swift achievement furthered the company’s commitment to quality and innovation. In 1955, Steiner changed its focus towards binoculars.
Steiner started producing military-grade binoculars for the German Bundeswehr in the 1960s. During this time, the company received several complaints about internal fogging in binoculars, which would later contribute to mould development inside the optical cavity if not taken care of. Of course, this problem affected devices from all optical brands and not just Steiner products. To solve this constant problem, engineers at the company thought of purging the internals of optical devices with an inert gas. This revolutionary idea was put to practicality in 1973 when Steiner products were offered with pressurized Nitrogen in the sealed optical barrels. This technique was later adopted by numerous optical brands.
After nearly 65 years in the binoculars business, Steiner introduced riflescopes for military and hunting purposes in 2012 and like binoculars, their riflescopes have gained significant popularity among armed forces and law enforcement agencies as well as avid hunting professionals in a relatively short time. The company’s long heritage of producing high-quality binoculars is often attributed to this speedy accomplishment.
Steiner Optik officially launched into the US after acquiring Laser Devices, Inc. in 2012 and Sensor Technology Systems, Inc. in 2015. With the acquisition of these opto-electronic brands, Steiner has captured a significant market share of opto-electronic equipment and laser devices in North America. Steiner Optik produces a large number of products in Germany and all German-made products are marked with “Made in Germany” branding to provide a sense of assurance. While military and law enforcement-grade scopes are unavailable for purchase by the general public, Steiner does offer M-series military-grade riflescopes for enthusiasts.
Berretta Holding Group
Steiner Optik was acquired by the elite Beretta Holding Group, an Italian holding company in 2008. The Berretta Group is considered one of the largest weapons manufacturers and reserves direct and indirect stakes in more than 32 arms and sporting brands around the world, including Berretta, Benelli, Stoeger, Burris, and Sako. Since becoming a member of the group, Steiner products have been made available in more than 65 countries worldwide.
Steiner riflescopes are mainly produced in both Germany and the United States. While some entry-level binoculars are outsourced to countries with cheap labour, the company has chosen to keep the manufacturing of riflescopes under strict surveillance to maintain the standard of quality and optical performance.
Bayreuth, Bavaria, Germany
Steiner Optik was established in the form of a small workshop in the small town of Bayreuth in 1947. Since its conception, the main production facility has remained in Bayreuth. Over the years, the factory has gone through several expansions and renovations to become the factory that exists today. The production floor and research and development department are located on the ground floor of the main building, while the floors above house offices of management, supply chain, and other important departments. A service department on the ground floor deals in after-sales services, such as warranty claims and repairs.
Materials and Manufacturing
Maintaining a high standard of quality requires not just the appropriate grade of raw material, but high-tech machinery to transform it into superior products that are made to last a lifetime. The production floor at Steiner features a series of computer-numeric-controlled milling and lathe machines that are capable of making optical housings to tight design tolerances. Since optical equipment always requires precise dimensions, the housings are passed through a quality control check to separate any non-conforming housings for rework.
Lens Manufacturing and Coating
While housing is an integral component, lenses play the leading role in riflescopes and other optical devices, therefore precise care is required for manufacturing and handling of glass components. Glass is ground using hi-tech grinding machines, and resulting lenses are then passed through a 9-stage cleaning process before the coating process. Steiner’s in-house nano-coating procedure uses a mixture of rare minerals and compounds to enhance the light transmittance in Steiner riflescopes.
Inspection and Nitrogen-Purging
All housing and glass components are checked for non-conformances both manually and using state-of-the-art equipment before proceeding towards the assembly hall. The assembly process is followed by Steiner proprietary Nitrogen-purging system, which pressurizes riflescopes and other instruments with Nitrogen gas under 14 psi pressure. High-quality rubber gaskets are used to seal the gas inside, while a two-way valve system allows Steiner products to be refilled in the case of a leakage. Assembled devices are once again passed through a series of quality control checks, including tests for extreme temperatures, gas leakage, water resistance, shock, and vibration. Defective assemblies are either discarded or sent back for rework.
Greeley, Colorado, United States
Acquired by Beretta Holdings in 2002, Burris Optics is a US-based sports optics brand that produces riflescopes, binoculars, and spotting scopes for hunting and sporting purposes. Most of the Burris products are designed and manufactured at its production facility in Greeley, Colorado. After the acquisition of Steiner Optik GmbH by the Beretta Group, the manufacturing of some Steiner products was shifted to the Burris plant in Colorado. This step helped in expanding the sales of Steiner products in American markets. When Steiner riflescopes were introduced in 2012, manufacturing operations of some scope variants were shifted to the Greeley facility.
Like the German factory, the Greeley facility uses state-of-the-art equipment for machining scope tubes from aluminum alloys bar stocks. A typical riflescope contains 170 individual components on average, of which the lenses are procured from the Bayreuth factory. After machining, metal tubes and glass lenses are sent for anodizing and coating operations respectively before proceeding towards the assembly line.
Assembly, Nitrogen-Purging, and Inspection
Steiner riflescopes are hand-assembled by trained workers and it takes approximately six hours to roll out one riflescope from the production line. Individual parts and assembled scopes are checked at every stage for any non-conformances. Assembled scopes are finally sent for Nitrogen-purging, where they are purged 24 times and subsequently checked for leakage. Afterward, samples from the lot are tested using real-usage situations to check their recoil-bearing capability. Therefore, the standard of manufacturing and testing at the Greeley facility greatly resembles that of the German factory.
Below we have classified Steiner products on the basis of their origin.
Made in Germany
The following scopes are manufactured in Germany:
The M-series riflescopes from Steiner are specifically designed and manufactured in Germany for military and Special Forces all around the world. Since shooting in combat requires precise aiming and alignment, the M7 scopes feature an impressive 7X zoom and up to 20X or 28X magnification depending on the variant. An Intelligent Firing Solution (IFS) feature is also available with this scope, which incorporates a built-in Sensor Suite and Ballistic Calculator. With the aid of air pressure, inclination, and air pressure, the IFS system calculates the bullet point of impact in real-time.
The scopes come with relatively smaller windage and elevation controls that allow an effective situational awareness of the surrounding and can be accurately adjusted at 270 cm (27 mils) for the elevation and +/- 60 cm (12 mils) for windage at 100 m. M7 scopes come in excellent shock-resistant housing which is capable of withstanding gun recoils that are up to 900G. Other specifications of the series include reticle illumination, light transmittance up to 94 %, parallax adjustment from 50 m to infinity, a robust-yet-compact 34 mm main tube, and Nitrogen waterproofing. A shorter overall length which is less than 400 mm for all variants creates additional rail space for mounting other accessories on the rifle.
This riflescope is available in the following configurations: M7Xi 2.9-20×50, M7Xi IFS 4-28×56, and M7Xi 4-28×56. All M7 series scopes are either available in G2B Mil-Dot reticle or MSR-2 reticle variants.
With a precise 8X zoom from 1X to 8X magnifications, the M8Xi riflescope is designed for close encounters to mid-range targets during combat situations. Although it comes with a smaller objective, high-performance optics account for a brilliant 94 % light transmittance and world-class images. Being a Steiner product, the M8Xi is designed using high-quality materials that are engineered for high shock resistance and are lightweight. As a result, the scope weighs a measly 750 g and has an overall length of 260 mm, which subsequently allows for the mounting of additional accessories on the gun rail.
Some other features include windage and elevation adjustment, reticle illumination, bullet-proof construction, a compact 34 mm main tube, parallax adjustment from 100 m to infinity, low-profile turret controls, Nitrogen waterproofing, and a 90 mm eye relief. The M8Xi riflescope is only available in a 1-8×24 configuration with the DMR8I reticle.
The M5Xi is the highest military-grade riflescope by Steiner that is specifically designed for the general public. Made for long-distance shooting and large calibers, the M5 series scope is equipped with a 5X zoom, enabling it to be used on distances greater than 1,500 m. In the lens department, the scope features Steiner high-performance optics that create a comfortable viewing experience in all kinds of lighting situations, thanks to 94%+ light transmittance.
The combat-ready M5 riflescope comes with a robust 34 mm main tube that is capable of enduring gun recoil shocks of up to 900G. Other specs include reticle illumination, 60 cm windage and 260 cm elevation adjustment, waterproofing up to 10 meters, parallax adjustment from 50 meters to infinity, and a DuoScale display for height adjustment.
Steiner M5Xi riflescopes come in the following configurations: MX5i 5-25×56 and MX5i 3-15×50. Reticle options for the 5-25×56 variants are G2B Mil-Dot, MSR-2, Tremor 3, and B4I-BE2. For the 3-15×50 model, only G2B Mil-Dot and MSR-2 reticle options are available.
Steiner S Prism Scopes
As the name suggests, the S-series prism scopes use a prism to focus light and create target images of exceptional quality, which makes them significantly lighter and shorter in length than conventional riflescopes. Generally used when the target is on the move, the S-series scopes are specifically designed for automatic and semi-automatic rifles and can be used to target objects at distances up to 800 m.
Depending on the model, the S-series scopes either come with a 3X or 4X magnification. Other specifications include Nitrogen waterproofing up to 10 meters, a longer 80 mm eye relief, and a larger eye box for comfortable viewing. The field of view for the 3X variant is 14.1 m, while for the 4X variant, is 11.8 m.
Two variants of S-series battle sights are being offered by Steiner: S332 3×32 and S432 4×32. Both versions further come in either CAL 5.56 or CAL 7.62 variants.
Made in the US
These riflescopes and prism scopes are produced in the United States:
The Ranger series from Steiner is crafted for providing the ultimate hunting experience in virtually all types of terrains, lighting, and weather conditions. Available in 5 exciting variants, the Ranger 4 incorporates several high-end features, such as 4X zoom, high-performance optics with multi-coating, elevation/windage adjustment up to 85/55 cm, 90 % light transmission, the spectacular field of view, parallax adjustment from 50 meters to infinity, reliable mechanics, long 90 mm eye relief, and a robust-yet-lightweight construction.
Other features include reticle illumination with multiple brightness levels for day or night hunting, multi-coated optics, Nitrogen-filled waterproofing up to 2 m in depth, and non-slip controls for windage, elevation, and dioptre adjustments.
Ranger 4 series riflescopes are available in the following configurations: 2.5-10×50, 1-4×24, 3-12×56, and 6-24×56. All five variants come with a 4A-I reticle. If you are looking for a reliable hunting scope with 4X zoom, the Ranger 4 is the perfect choice in this price range.
The Ranger 6 series riflescope offers an exciting 6X zoom for precise stalking as well as long-range shooting. The hunting scope is packed with many of the same remarkable features, such as 92%+ light transmission, multi-coated ED lenses, parallax adjustment from 50 meters to infinity and a large field of view. The Ranger 6 scope also incorporates Steiner Zeromode, a zero-stop technology for long-distance shooting.
Relatively lighter weight of 754 g makes it easier for hunting enthusiasts to carry their rifles on day-long excursions. Additional features include an illuminated reticle with multiple brightness levels for day/twilight/night hunting, long 90 mm eye relief, pressurized Nitrogen-based waterproofing up to 2 meters depth, and an overall length of 338 mm, which allows mounting of additional accessories.
Ranger 6 series riflescopes are available in two configurations: 1-6×24 and 3-18×56, both of which come with a 4A-I reticle. With many riflescopes around from various brands, the Ranger 6 from Steiner stands out from the crowd thanks to its compact, lightweight construction, a multitude of hi-tech features, and a suitable price.
The T-series riflescopes are made in the United States for trained professionals in tactical and combat situations, especially for law enforcement and border patrol. Combat situations require highly reliable optics and there is minimal tolerance for error, therefore specialized devices are recommended by experts. By incorporating high-performance optics and sturdy metal constructions, the T-series riflescopes promise high accuracy, consistent optical quality, and impressive mechanical performance throughout their lifetime. Never-Lost turrets, a trademark feature of Steiner tactical scopes, automatically change the numbers after the first 120 (MIL) clicks to keep the shooter from getting lost during action scenarios.
The specifications sheet for T5Xi includes 5X zoom, elevation, and windage adjustment, parallax adjustment down to 35 yards, dioptre locking, constant eye relief at all magnifications, low-profile turrets, front focal plane, 34 mm main tube, and Nitrogen waterproofing up to 33 ft. For an easier and non-slip grip, the adjustment knobs for windage, elevation, dioptre, and parallax on the riflescope are intentionally kept large.
The T5Xi riflescope is available in the following configurations: T5Xi 1-5×24, T5Xi 3-15×50, and T5Xi 5-25X56. Reticle options include the Special Competition Reticle (SCR) of either Minutes of Angle (MOA) or Mil-Dot type. These scopes are currently not sold outside of US.
The P4Xi riflescope is the newest addition to Steiner’s line of riflescopes which are designed for tactical shooting purposes. The riflescope is made specifically for semi-automatic firearms which are based on the ArmaLite (AR) platforms used for patrolling and combat situations. The P4Xi scope comes equipped with a 4X optical zoom and is rated for accuracy of 400-yard at 4X magnification. High-performance optics generate images of high clarity and contrast, which makes the scope suitable for all lighting conditions. Due to a maximum magnification of 4X, the scope offers a field of view of 27.5 meters at 100 meters, which is impressive at this price range.
The P4Xi is currently available in the 1-4×24 configuration and P3TR reticle. Additional features include windage and elevation adjustment of 100 MOA at 100 m, reticle illumination with multiple levels for day/night operations, parallax up to 100 yards, a slender-yet-rugged 30 mm main tube, low-profile turrets, constant eye relief at all magnifications, and Nitrogen waterproofing up to a depth of 10 m. These scopes are currently not sold outside of US.
GS3 Hunting Riflescope
Short for “game sensing”, the GS3 series of Steiner riflescopes are dedicated to wildlife hunting. The scope offers a captivating contrast ratio and a superb optical performance for all hunting situations, whether driven or pursuit on foot. GS3 is equipped with Colour Adjusted Transmission (CAT) lens coating, which helps identify camouflaged game in dense fields, temperate, and sub-tropical forest lands. By exposing the game, the hunter can confidently take an accurate shot without unnecessarily startling it.
The GS3 scope is fitted with an intriguing 5X optical zoom for more precise control on magnification. The riflescope is designed to suit all types of game targets and hunting rifles, whether rimfire, centerfire, or muzzle fire. Other features include windage and elevation adjustment of 48/64 MOA at 100 m, Nitrogen-filled waterproofing, robust 30 mm main tube, second focal plane, wide field of view, +2 to -3 dioptre adjustment, and Parallax-free focus from 50 m to infinity.
The GS3 hunting riflescopes come in four configurations: 2-10×42, 3-15×50, 3-15×56, and 4-20×50. Reticle options include Plex S1 and 4A. Another reticle option Plex S7 is available for the 4-20×50 variant. These scopes are currently not sold outside of US.
Steiner T Prism Scopes
Suited for use with AR-based assault rifles, the T prism scopes are made for fast-moving shooting targets or those in close range. Paired with 3X, 4X, and 5X magnifications, the T-series scopes offer an exceptionally large field of view that allows rapid targeting during combat situations. Due to the use of prisms, the overall length of T-series scopes is considerably shorter than conventional riflescopes.
Main features include fully multi-coated optics, elevation and windage adjustment up to +/-50 MOA, full reticle illumination with multiple brightness levels for day/night operations, parallax-free from 100 meters to infinity, dioptre setting from -2 to +2, Nitrogen-filled waterproofing up to 5 meters depth, shockproof up to 600 G, lightweight construction, and protective rubber armour. Three variants of Steiner’s tactical prism scopes are available: T536 5×36, T432 4×32, and T332 3×32. Only Steiner Rapid Dot reticle is available for all scopes.
Steiner Optik is a highly recognized brand of first-class sports optics that has become a household name for premium binoculars and riflescopes over the years. The company was found in 1947 to manufacture innovative optical devices, and this commitment to innovation and excellence has led the company through thick and thin. Although Steiner only started producing riflescopes in 2012, their optical performance and robust build quality have made them one of the best riflescope brands in more than 67 countries.
While the company has outsourced the manufacturing of entry-level products, which do not require intricate engineering methods and demanding quality control checks, all Steiner riflescopes are either produced in-house in Germany or the USA. The reasons behind this are the systematic manufacturing processes, high standards of raw materials, and unparalleled inspection procedures required for the production of riflescopes. Therefore, when you are buying a Steiner riflescope, you can be sure of its high optical and mechanical performance in all kinds of terrains and climatic conditions.
is an experienced author from the field of sports optics. He writes articles and reviews about binoculars, spotting scopes, rifle scopes, long range shooting and other topics for magazines like Lovec and Optics-Info.com blog. Currently, he is a member of Optics Trade team.