Currently? Well, nowhere actually. That’s right – Nikon hasn’t been in the rifle scope game since January of 2019. Why? Well, as is usual with this sort of thing, money talks. Nikon wanted to focus on (what they considered to be) more profitable optics. Namely your binoculars, your range finders, your other non-rifle scope optical products. So eventually they left the market and before you know it, the only Nikon scopes you can find are on eBay and the like.
‘Okay,’ you’re saying, ‘so when Nikon was making scopes, where did they do it?’ Well, that largely depends on timing and what particular rifle scope you’re talking about. Because there have been a fair few. Don’t worry though. We’ve got the ins and outs for each different range because we’re nice like that. Let’s start with …
The Prostaff Scopes
Nikon manufactured a few different varieties of the Prostaff scope. Initially, they produced something called the Rimfire which had two distinct generations. At the outset, Nikon built them all in China before switching their base to the Philippines. Remember that country. It crops up a lot when it comes to Nikon rifle scopes.
Then came the P3 scopes. Nikon came up with 20 different models all told, ranging from the 2-7×32 iteration to the 6x18x40. But they also came up with more specialized versions which were purpose-built for particular weapons, like shotguns and crossbows. In a somewhat familiar story, Nikon built the bulk of their P3 range in Thailand before moving all work to the Philippines.
Once the P3 had finally bitten the dust, Nikon started manufacturing the Prostaff P5. Nikon expanded on all the P3’s merits with the P5, producing 8 different scopes in all, ranging from the 2.5-10×42 scope to the 6-24×50 option. Nikon manufactured every P5 in the Philippines, by this time having moved all operations to the nation.
Much like the Rimfire set, Nikon produced two different generations of the Buckmaster range. The company manufactured the range right up until their swift exit from the rifle scope scene in 2019. Can you guess where they were produced?
The Monarch Scopes
The Monarch scopes have an illustrious name when it comes to the world of rifle scopes. Nikon first started building the Monarchs in Japan before switching manufacturing to Thailand and then eventually the Philippines. Gun owners tend to rate the Japanese iterations more than their Thai and Philippino brothers, citing superior glass and therefore optics. Nikon kept building the Monarch M5s right until January 2019 when they abruptly left the riflescope market, ranging from the 3-12×42 to the 5-20×50.
Nikon upped their game with the superior X class of Monarchs. They produced them solely in Japan and the X scopes were great value for money. The subsequent Gold-class Monarchs were the best of the bunch. Nikon maintained production in Japan but even though the Gold Monarch was a serious bit of rifle scope kit, the enthusiasts shied away. The reason? They were damn expensive. So expensive in fact that Nikon eventually pulled the range altogether. RIP Gold Monarchs.
The P-Tactical and M-Tactical Scopes
Nikon geared these particular scopes towards beginner tactical shooters who like replicating real-world engagement conditions. Namely, there’s a lot of running about, a lot of hiding behind obstacles, and a lot of low-level light situations. The P-Tactical was the first iteration and began with the Superdot which was an initially red dot model that maxed out to 4-12×40. Initially, Nikon manufactured each P-Tactical in China before shifting production to – you guessed it – the Philippines. They then started producing the M-Tactical which was an upgrade on the P-Tactical in every way. And sadly that meant price as well.
Black Force 1000
Unlike any of the other Nikon scopes, the Black Force 1000 was only ever a single model. It was a 1-4x24mm setup atop a 1-foot tube. Nikon tailored them to mainly AR Rifles and only ever manufactured them in the Philippines.
Black FX1000 Scopes
The tube for the Black FX1000 scope was identical to that of the Black Force 1000. Its first focal plane scope means it was a perfect scope for long-rate shooting enthusiasts and there were six different models to choose from, ranging from the 4x16x50 to the 6-24×50. Where do you think they built them? Yes, in the Philippines.
So Where’s Your Scope From?
Probably the Philippines. Sure, Nikon did make some of their scopes in Japan, Thailand, and China, but when it comes to Nikon rifle scopes, all roads, boat lanes and flight paths eventually lead to the Philippines. Generally speaking, the Nikon models hold up well and are generally considered solid scopes with solid reputations. But still … if you have a Japan Nikon scope, it’s no doubt an upgrade on anything that the Philippines produced for the company.