Marine snipers upgrade from WWII era M49 spotting scope

Steve Johnson
by Steve Johnson

Defense Industry Daily reports that the Marines are getting a new spotting scope called the Scout Sniper Observation Telescopes (SSOT). The SSOT is a variant of the Horus Vision Leupold spotting scope system designed specifically for snipers.

Horus Vision Leupold spotting scope

I was amazed that the M49, the standard military spotting scope, was designed during WWII!

Picture of M49 from War Department manual TM 9-1556 published in 1944.

In my personal opinion, optics are one of the two major improvements in firearm technology since WWII (the other being ammunition component improvements). While I am sure the current M49’s exceed the mil specs from the 1940s it is only 20x in power and has no reticle.

UPDATE: According to Allen, a Marine vet and analyst at The Columbia Group, The Marines will be using a standard Gen II Mil-Dot reticle, not the Horus reticle described below.

The Horus Vision Leupold, as the name suggests, is made with Leupold optics, and offers 12.7-38.1x zoom. Its main feature is the reticles. Unlike standard mil-dot these show a 2d-grid which allows for precise calculations of holdover and, in the case of a spotter for a sniper, calculating speed of moving objects.

Horus H36 reticle.

This promotion video shows how it works. The video is showing the Horus line of rifle scopes, not the spotting scope, but the idea is the same.

Defense Industry Daily has more info and details of the contact awarded to Horus.

Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson

I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!

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2 of 5 comments
  • Dan Dan on Feb 19, 2009

    Wow, I obviously have not been paying enough attention to the optics market. That is outstanding.

  • Brian Brian on Nov 19, 2011

    i m-49. Oh yeah, i just got one off of a guy today. i'm so jacked about it i just had to share the news. shure would like to get my hands on an old