History of Rangefinders

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Rangefinders are devices used for measuring distance between a target and its observer. Ranging devices come in different types with each applying varied technique of measuring distance. Since introduction of rangefinders, they are used for targeting objects at a distance. During world war II, the rangefinders were very important tools. Soldiers have used it for estimation of enemies’ location before attacking. Engineers have improved rangefinders working by introducing new techniques of ranging.

Apparently, rangefinders are in use in various fields such as hunting, shooting, golfing as well as measuring sites of construction among others. Previously, common users could not easily access rangefinders for purchase but they are now readily available for anyone. Therefore consumers can find and choose best hunting rangefinder or golf rangefinders easily.

Rangefinders’ History

history of rangefinder

Ranging technology has greatly evolved from when the first ranging devices were introduced. Stroud and Barr which is a Scottish Company was the first to develop a rangefinder. Initially, the device was just a basic ranging device version which with time has evolved to be essential ranging device. During those olden days, the optical rangefinders were of two types which are stereoscopic rangefinder and coincidence rangefinder.

Those days’ cameras were fitted with coincidence rangefinders for surveying and surveillance. The devices were as well equipped with prisms and lenses arrangement at the ends with the eyepiece in the middle. For the user to estimate distance, they could correct parallax position. The user could determine objects range by calculating created angles by the sight line at the ranging device ends. Small angle indicated far object and large angle showed the object was close. That’s how users used rangefinders.

Laser Rangefinders Development

laser rangefinder

During the beginning of the 20th century, most experts were already working on laser technology. The experts were looking for better ranging devices technology and have worked to evolve the first to be developed laser rangefinder since 1965. The development of laser rangefinders was among the best development as these were now capable of providing measurement perfectly as compared to coincidence rangefinders. With time laser rangefinders fully replaced coincidence rangefinders and were now used for most military applications.

Currently, laser rangefinders are used in other fields like construction, hunting, golfing among others. Laser rangefinder technique is close to radar technology. Radar technology calculates distance through evaluation of time which emitted electromagnetic waves take and the time the device takes to receive. For laser rangefinder, it emits laser beams unlike the electromagnetic waves but for distance calculation, it applies the radar technique.

Golfing Rangefinders

golf rangefinder

Golf is more of an unpredictable game. Golf game play is influenced by several factors which include slope, weather, distance not forgetting the club used. Keeping this in mind the main purpose of a golfer is understanding the field of play. It is essential whenever strategizing for best strategies to know the map of the surrounding.

Rangefinders where not common long ago but have become common lately due to improved technology as well as the ability to determine hazards, measure distances which help in choosing the best club hence improving on playtime. Rangefinders are available at even cheaper prices and give the same benefit. In order to choose perfect golf rangefinders strategies, you need to know the different types of golf rangefinders and how the rangefinders function and the features you should consider once getting a rangefinder.

Not only were rangefinders common with golfers but also hunters began using them. When hunting with a rangefinder, hunting is as easy as you can easily calculate hunting distance just from any location. The rangefinders have evolved and the current ones offer more details together with distance.

Types of Rangefinders and How They Function.

Hunting rangefinders offer advantages such as saving on time and also offer predictions for unknowns. How the hunting rangefinders function is determined by their design. The commonly used rangefinders designs are Laser and GPS.

Laser rangefinders.

Their design is binocular. Laser rangefinders function by directing in a given direction laser beams then measure the distance by determining the speed the laser beam takes reflecting on the study device. When choosing a rangefinder if laser, if it is of high quality, the rate of reflecting back is higher and the beam can go for longer distances compared to a low quality laser rangefinder. It is very easy to use as you only need to direct it facing the key object, such as a black bear for instance, then press a button.

GPS rangefinders.

gps rangefinder

They use already loaded playing course map and also incorporate technology of determining distances, it uses GPS technology. They are the best when considering only the course not considering any other characteristics. GPS rangefinders are more complicated compared to laser since they only load a given course and require you enter inputs manually and also contains additional features. Some have software that enables them enter inputs automatically, without requiring manual input. These rangefinders are cheaper compared to laser rangefinders.

Key features to consider once purchasing a hunting rangefinder.

In choosing the best hunting rangefinders also requires knowledge on the features to look for in a rangefinder as you purchase it. Such features include:

Readability and Features of the Rangefinder.

These are the key assessment points of a best rangefinder. Readability refers to the ability of the hunting finder to easily make sense. Hunting is among the daytime activities that require readability. Some of the features of rangefinders of high quality include, very clear LED display of light. Readability also considers reflective surfaces as well as angled slopes. The best range finders will add on slope to measure slope accurately and also gauge the course. Additional features to put inconsideration include, GPS, cameras and any other technology added.

Horizontal or vertical locator.

Hunting rangefinders use both or one of horizontal or vertical locator. Most of them use vertical locators as it requires one hand to use which is a hunting essential. Horizontal locators however benefit when dealing with long distances.


Magnification is an essential feature of a rangefinder. Magnification helps in bearing as it would be quite frustrating to get a very nice viewing point with your rangefinder then finally lose bearing. Magnification is an added feature in affordable rangefinders as it is considered among standard features.

Author: Christian E. Bright

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