Where are Athlon Scopes Made or Manufactured?

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Athlon Optics is a US based sports optics provider that is headquartered in Olathe, KS. Athlon has been in the optics industry for several years, but not all that much seems to be known about the company’s origins or history. As my day job employer stocks and sells the Athlon line, one of the most common questions I am asked is where are Athlon scopes made or manufactured?

Athlon Talos 4-16 scope

Now I completely understand why that question is asked, and it boils down to two main reasons:

The preference to buy only American made rifle scopes

As a US citizen, I understand the desire to support workers in the United States by purchasing items that are made or produced in the USA, but that becomes a bit of a slippery slope when discussing rifle scopes.

I say that as there are very few, and I do mean very few, rifle scope brands who source their rifle scope components and assembly here in the U.S. Most U.S. based brands source the glass (lenses) from sources in either Asia Pacific or Europe and do the actual assembly in the U.S, or they source the entire completed rifle scope from a 3rd party optical facility in Asia Pacific.

Many U.S. based rifle scope brands will import the optic components from outside the U.S, then assemble the scope at their facility in the United States, so the government-mandated location of manufacture can and will say “made in the USA.” Keep in mind, that’s only a half-truth as the scope components are sourced outside the USA.

The mistaken belief that any rifle scope not made in either the United States or Europe is junk.

This belief seems to be tied to or attributed to lower quality rifle scopes that originate in China and is only another half-truth as the optical manufacturing facilities in both China and the Philippines have the capability to produce rifle scopes that range from very low quality, entry-level scopes up to very high-quality scopes that would compete with high-end rifle scopes in the U.S.

Most of these optical manufacturing facilities located in China and the Philippines produce rifle scope models based on technical specifications provided by the rifle scope brand (such as Nikon, Bushnell, Sightron, etc.). The scope quality is weighed against the cost to manufacture and the potential profit margins.

Both China and the Philippines have technical skillset and technology to produce high-quality riflescope models. Still, that level of scope quality costs money to build, and U.S. consumers most likely won’t pay $1000 for a rifle scope that says made in China, regardless of the quality. It’s unfortunate, but it’s the current status of the sporting optics market in America. And if you think the U.S. is semi-snobbish about where optics are manufactured, try marketing Chinese made or Philippine-made rifle scopes in Europe ????.

where are Athlon scopes made?

But I digress, so let’s get back to discussing where Athlon rifle scopes are manufactured.

Here’s a look at each of the current Athlon optics along with where they are manufactured:

  • Athlon Neos scopes – Made in China to Athlon specifications.
  • Athlon Optics Talos and Talos BTR scopes – Made in China to Athlon specifications.
  • Athlon Optics Argos BTR and Helos BTR scopes – Made in China to Athlon specifications.
  • Athlon Midas BTR, Midas HMR, Midas TAC scopes – Also made in China to Athlon’s specific specifications.
  • Athlon Ares BTR and Ares ETR scopes – Made in China as well to Athlon’s specifications.
  • Athlon Cronus BTR scope – This model is currently Athlon’s top of the line scope and is made in Japan to Athlon specifications.

Now let’s be honest here as I know there are going to be some readers who might be considering an Athlon scope but may be turned off by the fact that most of them are made in China. In response to that, I’d say the following:

  • As I’ve already stated, being made in China doesn’t automatically equate to low or inferior quality. Now that doesn’t mean I’m a fan of every Chinese made rifle scope because nothing could be farther from the truth, as some are just outright low-quality junk. But it also means that not every scope out of China is junk.
  • Athlon also offers an outstanding lifetime warranty that is as good or better than most in the rifle scope industry. Their warranty is valid if you’re the original owner or the 14th owner, and no proof of purchase is required (at least it wasn’t at the time this was written). The Athlon warranty is every bit equal to the warranty provided by Leupold and Vortex, which is saying something.
  • The optical quality, overall quality, and operational controls are pretty good in relation to the costs of every Athlon scope I’ve owned so far. Now, is the Athlon stuff as good as Nightforce for ¼ the cost of a Nightforce scope? No, not even close. But, it’s also not bad for the price, especially the mid to higher-end Athlon models.

If you’re shopping for an Athlon rifle scope, here are my favorite Athlon models:

Here are some other questions that I commonly see or hear regarding the manufacture of Athlon rifle scopes:

Who makes Athlon scopes?

Like I mentioned above, Athlon is the rifle scope brand, and the Athlon brand of scopes is manufactured in China and Japan for Athlon using Athlon provided specifications. Exactly where the rifle scope is made is dependent on the specific Athlon scope model or series.

What’s the Athlon scope warranty, and is it any good?

Also, as mentioned above, Athlon Optics offers a lifetime warranty on most all their optical products. The warranty is automatically transferred to any owner and does not require proof of purchase. I will say that there are limits to the warranty as I had a buddy who painted his scope and later sent it in for warranty work. Athlon declined the warranty service as painting the scope voided the warranty coverage.

Are all the Athlon scopes FFP models?

While the bulk of the scope models that Athlon currently offers are done in FFP (First Focal Plane), they do offer a few SFP models such as the Talos, Talos BTR, and Midas BTR models. All the FFP scopes are equipped with a first focal plane reticle.

Which Athlon scopes are made in Japan?

Currently, only the top of the Athlon Cronus BTR series of scopes is made in Japan. All the other Athlon series are manufactured in China.

I’ll add more questions and answers as I come across them.