2020 Optic of the Year: Leupold Freedom RDS

by
posted on May 27, 2020
freedomdred.jpg

At the end of every year, American Rifleman staffers sit down and discuss the products introduced in the past year and bring up contenders for our Golden Bullseye award categories. At the end of 2019, in anticipation of awarding our 2020 Golden Bullseye awards, staffers zeroed in on one of the newest offerings in the Leupold Freedom riflescope lineup. This collection offers affordable optics for shooters on a budget while still retaining many of the elements that make Leupold's line of optics as popular as they are. However, until 2019, something had been missing from the company's collection.

“A moderately compact, non-magnifying red-dot optic for carbines and other long guns had been absent from its portfolio,” we wrote of Leupold in one review. “That omission was rectified by the recent release of the Freedom RDS, which, while not nearly as small or light as pistol-purposed sights, nonetheless fills a critical market demand for a red-dot optic suitable for rifle, carbine or shotgun applications where magnification, variable power and complex reticles are not necessary.”

“The RDS is an unmagnified red-dot optic with a 1-m.o.a. reticle adjustable through eight brightness settings. It is built on a 34 mm body tube with moderate bells at its objective and ocular ends that lend it the appearance of a truncated riflescope. An included one-piece mount straddles the machined center section, on which are mounted the windage and elevation turrets—each capable of 80-m.o.a. adjustments in 1/4-m.o.a. increments—in their traditional locations,” wrote our reviewer.

“Owing to its stout build quality and reasonable price, the Leupold RDS is a welcome addition to a crowded marketplace—particularly since it comes from a household brand renowned for its high-quality, American-manufactured products,” he wrote. “It is likely to serve well for many years in a variety of roles for users of long guns who require a simple, durable red-dot optic of moderate size and weight.” That combination of simplicity and affordability led us to name the Leupold Freedom RDS Optic Of The Year.

Latest

S&W Model 350
S&W Model 350

S&W’s Model 350: The ‘Mild-Mannered’ X-Frame

The 350 Legend-chambered Model 350 represents quite a departure for S&W’s family of X-Frame revolvers, but it is no less capable of taking medium-size game—and it’s a lot easier to shoot and keep fed.

Product Preview: Infinity X1 Hybrid Power Flashlight 5000 Lumen

We are currently experiencing an arms race among flashlight companies, with each seemingly trying to out-lumen the competition with increasingly powerful models.

The Armed Citizen® Feb. 6, 2023

Read today's "The Armed Citizen" entry for real stories of law-abiding citizens, past and present, who used their firearms to save lives.

New For 2023: Bond Arms Stinger 22LR

Following the success of the company’s lightweight Stinger derringers in several centerfire chamberings, Bond Arms has developed what is certainly the most easily shootable derringer in the bunch with its .22 Long Rifle Stinger.

Australia’s Lee-Enfield 'Jungle Rifles'

While the British No. 5 Lee-Enfield “Jungle Carbines” are well-known guns, the Australian No. 1-based jungle rifles have languished in obscurity. They never went beyond the trials phase and are commonly faked. Here’s the real story on what are likely the rarest versions of the World War II Lee-Enfield.

Suppressor Ownership Growing in Popularity

The number of applications for a National Firearms Act (NFA) tax stamp—federally required for lawful ownership of suppressors, short-barreled rifles and similarly configured shotguns, among others—has more than doubled in the past four years.

Interests



Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.