Product review: SWATSCOPE enables discreet intelligence gathering
The SWATSCOPE is a compact, lightweight optical device with a variable power magnification
By Harry Fitzpatrick
When we think of a periscope, we often associate it with the silent hunters of the deep. This tool allows large underwater vessels to gain visual intelligence without being exposed or detected.
On a much smaller scale, the SWATSCOPE is a variable-power periscope that is an invaluable tool for snipers in the military or law enforcement, providing a sniper with the ability to look without being exposed or detected.
The SWATSCOPE is a compact, lightweight optical device with a variable power magnification. The magnification range for the SWATSCOPE is four power at the lowest setting up to nine power. Collapsed, the periscope is 21½ inches; fully extended, the periscope measures 27¼ inches. The slide bar that raises and lowers the lens is 7¼ inches.
The SWATSCOPE ships in a hard metal case and comes with a padded nylon carrying case. Several different accessory options enhance the scope’s capabilities. A small section of picatinny rail on the scope can accommodate a flashlight. A small hook attached at the handle can clip onto a belt. There is a killflash that can be added to reduce glare off of the lens and an adapter for a PVS-14 night vision device. The accessories that come with the SWATSCOPE meet a variety of needs of the LE or military sniper.
Using the SWATSCOPE during LE sniper training
Over the past few months I tested out the SWATSCOPE in a variety of LE applications.
I participated in a stalk/observation scenario at LE sniper training, where the SWATSCOPE proved to be worth its weight in gold.
During this training scenario, my partner and I stalked into a position approximately 130 yards from the objective. Role players were actively patrolling on foot and using magnified optics to detect the sniper teams. The SWATSCOPE allowed us to remain undetected while gathering necessary intel. My partner and I were able to identify the role players and weapons they were carrying during the scenario.
Not only did I have the chance to use the SWATSCOPE in sniper training, but also for surveillance from a rooftop. As it is relatively lightweight, I could prop it up at an angle and extend the lens past the edge of the wall I was hiding behind. Set up this way, I was able to look through it for extended periods of time.
The only drawback with the SWATSCOPE is that at the maximum magnification, the field of view or focus becomes a lot smaller. The manufacturer would obviously have to make a bigger lens to address this, but then it would be much easier to spot. I found that five to six power magnification allowed be to have a large enough field of view so as not to be focused on one person.
The head and shoulders of a human being is one of the most recognizable and easy-to-spot shapes. The SWATSCOPE mitigates this by allowing the user to remain hidden behind solid objects with only a small lens exposed. The SWATSCOPE is a simple, low-tech solution that allows a LE or military sniper to discreetly gather intelligence from a position of safety.
About the author
Harry Fitzpatrick has served as a police officer in an urban police department for 14 years. He is currently assigned to a SWAT/sniper unit.