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One Eye or Two? Is Less More?

March 2, 2024
Scott Jessen
Spoiler Alert:

The Vortex Solo (S836) monocular does an excellent job of bringing distant objects close, even in low light, in a small, lightweight, affordable package.

The main drawback I found was eye fatigue/blur from using it too much. This is a problem with the use of any monocular for me, not just this particular one, because I must close my other eye. If you don’t glass extensively or can use it without closing your other eye, this monocular is a great option.

I used it in 101˚ (heat index) and 15˚ (wind chill) temperatures with no water intrusion, fog, or functionality issues.

The Script:

I was looking to shave a few ounces and a little bulk from my saddle hunting setup, so I thought I’d try something different. I substituted a monocular for my binoculars. While it does save weight and bulk, I soon realized that I do more glassing in the saddle than most people. That means that the amount of time I have to keep one eye closed, along with my aging eyes, make for more eye fatigue/blur than I anticipated.

As I was discussing the issue with my hunting buddy, he asked if he could try the monocular. He loved it. He does not glass as much as I do and his eyes are not as old as mine, so the bulk and weight savings are well worth it for him. He also noted the advantage of it being quicker to get eye(s) on target compared to binoculars because you don’t have to adjust the distance between two barrels to match the distance between your eyes.


1.     Relatively (second cousin, twice removed) Small – Approximately:

a.     Length, eyecup extended = 5 ¼”

b.     Length, eyecup retracted = 4 ⅞”

c.      Width, with clip = 2 ¼”

d.     Width, without clip = 2”

2.     Lightweight – Approximately:

a.     Bare monocular = 8.8 oz

b.     Clip w/ two screws = 0.5 oz

c.      Neck strap (lanyard) = 0.2 oz

d.     Total = 9.5 oz

3.     8X Magnification with 36mm Objective Lens

a.     Clear, close-up views

4.     Other options available

a.     10 X 36mm

b.     8 X 25mm

c.      10 X 25mm

5.     Quality Glass

a.     Sharp, clear image, even in low-light conditions

6.     One-handed Operation

a.     Frees up other hand for other important tasks

7.     Rubberized Grip

a.     Non-slip, even with sweat and rain

b.     Adds extra protection

c.      Uniquely shaped body with soft-grip “fins” on top

8.     “Twist and Lock” Eyecup

a.     Allows for use of eyeglasses

9.     Unlimited Lifetime “VIP” Warranty

a.     Unlimited, unconditional repair or replacement


1.     Neck Strap (Lanyard) with Quick Detach Clip

a.     Keeps unit close at hand without fear of dropping/losing it

2.     Removable Clip

a.     Provides attachment options for transport and gear organization

                                              i.     Requires 3mm hex key wrench to remove two screws

b.     Limits hand gripping positions

c.      Not included in 25mm versions

3.     Case

a.     Keeps it snug and cozy when you put it to bed


My main grievance is inherent to the use of any monocular, not the product, itself. Since I tend to glass more than others while in a tree stand/saddle and must close the other eye, I was not able to get past the eye fatigue/blur issue.

I could only find two issues with the actual product.

One was that the focus knob was difficult for my short ‘n’ fat right hand to turn without using both hands. But, my buddy, with average-sized hands, had no problem. Due to the shape of the body, the knob was easier to turn with my left hand.

The only other issue was with the clip. It would be great if the clip could be removed/installed without tools.


Even though I prefer binoculars over a monocular for hunting, the Vortex Solo (S836) would be a great choice for many others; as my hunting buddy discovered.

I think this monocular would be ideal for certain sporting events that don’t require its use for extended periods; such as golf, archery tournaments, track and field, hiking, curling (just kidding), and just about anything else when you want a quality product to bring distant action up close in a small, lightweight package.

Other people who may find it handy might include those with an issue with one eye, an issue with one hand, and/or those who cherish weight and bulk above all else.

If you’re one of those people, I recommend trying a Vortex Solo monocular. ~ Scott Jesson


Just in case you’re curious about which binoculars I use when saddle hunting:

Scott Jessen
Scott is a liberty/responsibility minded, retired enlisted military dude who is relatively new to the benefits of being involved in firearms, hunting, self-reliance/defense, and politics. As such, his understanding of how these things interrelate and strengthen every American is constantly evolving. These experiences fuel his passion for not just "gun rights", but for ALL rights and what it takes to defend them.

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