MTC Optics Rapier Ballistic Laser Rangefinder
The MTC Optics Rapier Ballistic Laser Rangefinder is an interesting new device from the British company. We’ve seen it at both the SHOT Show and IWA: now it’s a shipping product.
A laser rangefinder is an essential device for the serious airgun hunter. It can also come in very useful for sighting-in and working-out holdover for the Field Target enthusiast.
With a minimum focusing range of 5 Yards, the MTC Optics Rapier Ballistic Laser Rangefinder has a claimed maximum range of 1,300 Yards. We tested it out measuring ranges in comparison to a long surveyor’s tape out to 50 Yards. The readings were spot on!
Like most laser rangefinders, the MTC Optics Rapier Ballistic Laser Rangefinder is a small, portable unit. It’s not much larger than a tin of pellets, as you can see from our photograph above.
It also comes complete with a comprehensive range of accessories. There’s a case and also an earpiece. Why the earpiece? We’ll find out later in this review…
The clamshell case can be fixed to your belt by the included carabiner. There’s also a wrist strap which can be attached to the MTC Optics Rapier Ballistic Laser Rangefinder for security.
The MTC Optics Rapier Ballistic Laser Rangefinder can be used in two ways. As a stand-alone rangefinder, or as a complete, computerized, ballistic correction system.
1. Using the MTC Optics Rapier Ballistic Laser Rangefinder as a stand alone device.
The first is to simply take it out of the box, install the battery and press the red button on top. Looking through the viewfinder eyepiece, the rangefinder immediately springs to life and records the range of the target you aim at using the reticle. If you want to select a different reticle pattern, or change measurements from Yards to Meters, this is achieved by pressing the two buttons on top, as explained by the instruction manual.
That’s it. You’re good to go!
2. Using the MTC Optics Rapier Ballistic Laser Rangefinder as a complete ballistic correction system.
While the MTC Optics Rapier Ballistic Laser Rangefinder can be used “just” as a simple rangefinder, it has huge capabilities beyond this.
To discover and use these capabilities requires you to use a smartphone – iPhone or Android. Download the free Rapier Ballistic Calculator App onto your phone and get ready for a whole new world of computerized shooting assistance!
Now, at this point, it has to be said that the printed instruction manual for the MTC Optics Rapier Ballistic Laser Rangefinder does not explain the setup well. But – once you have it running – system operation is outstanding.
Here’s what you need to know…
First it’s essential to understand that once the MTC Optics Rapier Ballistic Laser Rangefinder has been connected to the Rapier Ballistic Calculator App, the rangefinder will be controlled by the phone. Yes, you will press the red “fire” button on the rangefinder itself, but everything else will happen on your phone, including turning the rangefinder off after use.
Next, check that the MTC Rapier App has correctly downloaded onto your phone (below, left). Then you MUST go through the “Using The Rangefinder” setup steps, as described on pages 5 and 6 of the manual, even if you are happy with the way the MTC Optics Rapier Ballistic Laser Rangefinder works out of the box.
This allows you to make a Bluetooth pairing between the rangefinder and your phone (below, right). I have to say that this step is rather fiddly and not explained at all in the printed manual. However once you have done this, it’s all plain sailing from this point on. But keep your phone on and keep pressing the two buttons on top of the rangefinder.
After a few attempts (in my case, at least, you may do it faster) the phone will pair with the rangefinder. But on my iPhone, the Bluetooth settings screen (right, above) would not record the presence of the MTC Optics Rapier Ballistic Laser Rangefinder until AFTER it had actually connected and was refreshed. It continued to show “searching” even though it had actually already connected!
Having achieved Bluetooth pairing, there are some obvious setup steps that are easy to achieve.
First, you need to tell the MTC App the type of air rifle, scope and pellet you are using. The screen below left shows how to do this. As part of this setup, you’ll need to input the Ballistic Coefficient for the pellet. Time to find that from the Hard Air Magazine Ballistic Coefficients page – of course!
Repeat the same process to tell the App about the other airgun/pellet/scope combinations you will be using. (Hit the + button on the right screen, below). You can select the one you want when you’re ready to shoot.
Now for that earpiece! The App will provide details of holdover based on the sighted-in (Zero) distance and other details you fed into the phone. Obviously they will be visible on your phone’s screen (we’ll see the display screen below), but they are also given audibly as well. In a very pleasant English voice, I may add!!!
That’s a great feature, but what about if you’re hunting? Simply pair the earpiece with your phone and you can listen to the instructions. That way the prey is not spooked and you don’t even have to look at the phone to understand the holdover required. Magic!
The Audio menu can be configured to speak just the range, or any other combination of information the MTC Optics Rapier Ballistic Laser Rangefinder generates. (See below, left).
Other settings include the angular units for your scope’s reticle (above right) and the environmental settings at the time you’re shooting (screens below). As you can see, the MTC Optics Rapier Ballistic Laser Rangefinder App can even retrieve current weather automatically from the Internet if you wish!
So, finally, let’s look at the output display screen of the App (below). The range, target angle and appropriate holdover corrections are all indicated on this screen – and can be spoken to you as we discussed above.
You can also see if your rangefinder has been discovered by the App (the top bar) and the output selection you have made (next bar down). The third bar confirms the scope unit settings you selected and the one below shows the gun.scope/pellet combination profile you’re using now.
Below that is the graphic display for holdover, range, weather etc. That 10 min indicator shows the time before the rangefinder will automatically be switched off. You can change it, naturally.
If you choose to “go the whole hog” and benefit from this great App, it will take a little set-up time, of course. But the results are well worth it for the excellent, comprehensive and immediate results you will achieve when using the MTC Optics Rapier Ballistic Laser Rangefinder in the field.