Nikon BLACK RANGEX 4K Laser Rangefinder – Full Review
During the 2018 SHOT Show, Nikon released several new additions to their wildly popular BLACK line of optics. While perusing the new products at the Nikon booth during the Show, one product, in particular, the BLACK RANGEX 4K Laser Rangefinder, caught my eye. Chatting with the Nikon representative, he stated that the unit was capable of ranging objects out to 4,000 yards.
“What is your price point?” I inquired.
“The BLACK RANGEX 4K Laser Rangefinder has an MSRP of $449.95,” said the Nikon representative.
I was shocked. In my experience, such capabilities typically cost several thousand dollars.
“Can I get one for testing!?” I asked.
“Of course,” he responded.
- Measurement Range: 10 – 4000 yds
- Increment Reading: .1 yds
- Magnification: 6 x
- Angular Field of View (Real): 7.5 °
- Viewfinder Display: meters/yards
- Eye Relief: 18.3 mm
- Diopter Adjustment: +/- 4 °
- Power Source: 1 CR2 Lithium Battery
- Size (Length x Width x Height): 4.3 x 1.6 x 2.9 in
- Weight w/o Batteries: 6.3 oz
- Objective Diameter: 21 mm
- Exit Pupil: 3.5 mm
- Angle Compensation: Yes
- Waterproof: Yes
By February 1st I had a BLACK RANGEX 4K Laser Rangefinder in my gun safe, and two dates scheduled for field testing. For testing, the BLACK RANGEX would go head to head against my beloved Sig Kilo 2000. I planned to test the rangefinder in desert and mountainous terrain at different times of the day. For desert testing, I took laser readings both off-hand/unsupported and with the BLACK RANGEX secured in a PIG Saddle which was attached to a heavy duty tripod.
Desert testing was done at the family ranch in the highlands of Central New Mexico. Aside from hundreds of acres of grass and black cows, the ranch has wind. Lots of wind. By noon the wind is constant at 10 – 15 miles per hour. By late afternoon wind will increase to 20 – 25 miles per hour. These conditions, though ideal for learning the effects of mirage and studying external ballistics and its relation to the wind, can play hell with a laser rangefinder. Wind in the high desert, paired with low humidity, tends to kick up a lot of fine dust into the atmosphere. In my experience, laser rangefinders that ping a steel target at 1000 yards in the morning are useless past 500 yards as soon as wind, heat, and dust pick up.
Getting to the ranch around 10 am, my shooting partner and I stopped on a large hill that overlooks a good portion of the ranch. According to my Kestrel 5700, the wind was moving a paltry 3-5 miles per hour, and visibility was clear. From my position, standing unsupported, I was able to range a CONEX box that we store ranching supplies in at 2000 yards. I was also able to range individual cows grazing between 2,000 and 2,300 yards. Wow. I attempted the same thing with my Sig Kilo 2000, and could not get a reading off hand. When I resorted to bracing the Sig Kilo in my Pig Saddle, the best I could do was a mother cow standing just shy of 1,400 yards.
After setting up steel targets, my shooting partner (who also happened to be shaking out some gear) and I started our shoot. Shooting was done in 100-yard increments. By the time we got to the 1000 yard line, the wind had kicked up to 18 miles per hour, and there was a lot of dust in the atmosphere. Past 1000 yards, my Sig Kilo 2000 would not return a value on a cow or a steel target. The BLACK RANGEX 4K, off hand, easily pulled a range off an 18-inch steel target. Moving back to 1,600 yards, the BLACK RANGEX 4K had no problems picking up the side of the hill near our target. (The BLACK RANGEX 4K is a six power scope, and at 1,600 yards it was nigh impossible to see the small 18-inch target.) By late afternoon, the winds were holding 25 miles per hour and the dust and mirage made our 18-inch steel target all but invisible. In these conditions, I could still range the CONEX box at 2000 yards, but only range individual cows around 1,200 yards. My shooting partner and I were very impressed. As we packed up our gear, I remarked how the BLACK RANGEX 4K performed better than the high-end Vectronix units that I got to play with when I was training at Accuracy 1st.
For Mountain testing, I hiked along the ridge of the Sandia Mountains that overlook the city of Albuquerque. Walking south along the ridgeline I got a vantage point that allowed me to range into the canyons below. According to my Kestrel 5700, I had a 10 mile per hour breeze moving left to right, and the atmosphere was relatively clear. All mountain testing was done off-hand, and I did not use my tripod for support. I could range peaks and various terrain features all the way out to 2,300 yards. I had absolutely no problems ranging individual trees out to 2,100 yards. One thing that impressed me about the BLACK RANGEX 4K was how quickly I could get a reading. Nikon chalks this up to their HYPER READ Technology which touts a reading in .3 seconds, regardless of distance. This feature helps when ranging targets that are past 1000 yards. Aside from the HYPER READ Technology, the unit also features Nikon’s ID Technology which will provide the horizontal distance to a target regardless of the angle.
I have never had a problem getting a range finder to work well in the mountains or the forest. From my experience to really test a rangefinder you need to take it out to the desert and see how it does in the heat, wind, and dust. With that said, the Nikon BLACK RANGEX 4k wildly exceeded my expectations. Whether in the mountains or the desert I was able to accurately range individual cows or trees at least to 2,000 yards with calm wind and a clean atmosphere. Under the worst conditions, I was still able to range a large CONEX box at 2,000 yards and individual cows at 1,200 yards. Even at a much steeper price point than Nikon’s $449.95 MSRP, you couldn’t ask for better than that. The BLACK RANGEX 4K is a compact unit, and I found the controls to be ergonomic. The unit itself is waterproof and fog proof. My only gripe about the rangefinder is that I wish it had more magnification. Being only a 6x power, it was difficult to find my steel target past 1,500 yards. The unit I was provided was a demo unit, and I was only allowed to keep it for a week. One feature I did not get to test was the Tru-Target Technology that gives priority to large or small targets. With that said, the Nikon BLACK RANGEX 4K, at its price point, is one of the best rangefinders on the market. It ran circles around my Sig Kilo 2000, and will be available for purchase in April. Going forward I will still use my Sig Kilo for general hunting, but I plan to use the Nikon BLACK RANGEX 4K for my long range and extreme long range testing.
The Last Test
One last note. Nikon added “4K” in the naming convention of the product. Can the Nikon BLACK RANGEX 4K actually range targets out to 4,000 yards? Several hours before I dropped off the BLACK RANGEX 4K at UPS I grabbed some of my colleagues, and we took it outside to range some structures. From our position, we were able to range some of the buildings in Downtown Albuquerque. We found the big shiny buildings were all 3,600 to 4,100 yards from our position, and we were able to range a car at 3,971 yards. Yes, the Nikon BLACK RANGEX 4K can range targets 4,000 yards away. I can’t wait to order this product and add it to my long range kit.
For more information about Nikon’s BLACK RANGEX 4K, click here.
To learn more about the Pig Saddle, click here
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About the Author: Thomas Gomez is a rancher, writer, and clinical analyst by trade. Thomas holds numerous armorer certifications and has expertise in both long range shooting and the Ar-15/M4/M16/Mk-18 family of rifles. He spends his free time hiking, fly-fishing, and hunting in the beautiful mountains and prairies of New Mexico. His favorite activities are catching very big trout and shooting very tiny groups at very long range.