By Brian Jensen
Leapers / UTG
Many of you out there are familiar with the company known as Leapers or UTG. They are well known for selling firearm accessories such as mounts, lights, and optics. This year they came to SHOT with more gear than ever, taking up quite an amount of space in the hall. I was looking through it, and there is something for everybody.
What you may not know about Leapers, is that they are all American owned, and continue to transfer ever growing amounts of manufacturing here to their Livonia Michigan address. Any work done outside the US is in Taiwan, and is completely owned by UTG / Leapers. Their people make it and inspect it. And above all else, I’ve found these products to be quality made, and at a substantial savings. (My police department even uses their gear on our issued rifles, and has been very pleased.)
I spoke to David Ding, the owner, and he gave me his “why” as to why he became interested in the business of making firearms accessories. Ding was the station chief for the police in Taipei from 1978-1984, where he fought organized crime, and learned the importance of tactics and good equipment. He moved to the US in the mid 1980’s with his wife, and began “tinkering” in his garage. While he didn’t know much about gun accessories and how to make them, he soon learned as he built up manufacturing, first in Taiwan, now in Michigan. While his products were initially for the civilian market, they now branch into law enforcement and military markets as well.
One thing that David Ding seems to get, and he said it himself, is that, hunting and shooting sports are a positive thing here in America, and should be appreciated.
What also got my attention was how the group looks at product development, it is highly end-user driven, with countless modifications made at the customers’ input to improve their products.
So, what is UTG Leapers bringing to SHOT this year, well it was a lot more than I can put in one small article, but I’ll try.
The first thing they noted, was that new for this year, many of the scopes are equipped with a 36-color scheme illuminated reticle. Tom Zhu, of UTG said this was developed to better adapt to those who may have difficulty seeing certain colors in the reticle, allowing them to switch through the colors until they find one that sticks out for them. This is standard on a number of their new scopes for this year.
One of their new scopes, the Accushot Tactical Series is an ideal setup of an AR or similar style rifle. This 30 mm tube scope has an illuminated reticle in either red or green, and has either a circle-dot or mil-dot reticle. What’s more, if the battery dies, the reticle is still visible as black. The scope has a 1-4 power, or a fixed 4 power setting. These scopes are parallax preset for 100 yards, have an extended eye relief of 5 inches, and come with mounts included. The MSRP for these is just under $115.
UTG Leapers also has a large line of red dot scopes able to fit any need. These SWATFORCE Dot Sights are compact and range in size from2.6 inches long, to a 6.4 inch tube. All come with an illuminated red and green dot without magnification. They all come with mounts included, and all are magnifier compatible. (Leapers also sells a separate 3x magnifier that can go with the optics.)
While everyone is making a weapon mounted light, I found Leapers was doing so as well. Their new ELP123 uses an LED light that puts out 120 lumens. The light was nice, but will not likely fit any current holsters as it is due to the light affixing with a cam lever on the side. The light was bright enough to light up a dark hallway, and would serve well as home defense gun light.
Another new item is a new twist on the weapon mounted laser. Many times, the small dot of red light put out by a laser is hard for the shooter to see. UTG Leapers decided to address this by their new expanded laser dot of their Buckshot Laser, which makes the laser light that’s being projected expand, so at 10 yards it’s 2 inches, and easily picked up. For hunters in the brush, it expands to 5 inches at 30 yards, or 8 inches at 50 yards.
One added note, all of UTG’s AR mounting rails as well a good portion of the other rail systems are being made in the US, and are proudly marked as such. These mounting systems are excellent quality, very sturdy, and well made. In fact, all of their products I saw at SHOT were quality, looked very durable, and are sold at a great price point.
Use them on airguns with no complaints. 95% of the time if they don’t fail the first month they will last you a few years at least. (goes for almost everything) So give them a rigorous initial test. If they fail be an adult and send it back. at that price point its a very cheap gamble with almost 0% drawback IMHO. The people that are mad are the people that spent 3x, 4 x this and don’t see a noticeable difference in the results. The results are what matters gents not the name brand on the side.
The idea of you get what you pay for in the firearms world is gone. Don’t be fooled by these keyboard commandos. I spent 17 yrs as an operator in the Army and have used/tested many weapons systems. One reason Eos, ACOGs and Aimpoints are more expensive is because they have a government contract and we all know that DOD has to spend the $ and the civilian sales have to reflect same money (learned this as team/crew procurement officer for 2 years). I’m not saying that Bushnell, UTG etc. are on par with the above mentioned brand but I will say the price difference doesn’t justify the quality difference. I’m not trying to be a know-it-all but I have just a little experience with many different types of weapons platforms and sure every company out there puts out a lemon. 1400.00 Colt 1911 lasted two magazines before safety and plunger ejected, $225.00 FEG P9M shoots better than my $1000.00 FN Browning HI-Power, RIA 1911 many times more reliable than my Les Baer even after 2000 round break in period. So all I’m saying is don’t judge a book by its price it’s like when my wife tries to tell me her $200.00 pair of jean are better made than my $35.00 Carharts. Same type argument right guys and I don’t know of any real man that would side with my wife???????? Oh one more and I’ll shut up….1500.00 Kimber rifle outshot by Savage Axis same caliber same scope same shooter. Thank You.
I agree with you. UTG is winning market share so they must be doing something right. Product quality is based on design, materials and build not just the MSRP (retail price). I think Leapers (UTG) absolutely knows what they’re doing.
Not a company or product quality I would go for…optics are of horrible quality and their lights/lasers do not stand up well to rough use.
im uh, actually looking at the bottom of my leapers scope and it says made in china…not usa….which actually broke on me twice….just sayin
Some of UTG’s stuff is great. Some of it is not.
Most of their basic accessories are of good quality and a great value. I have a set of their A2-style AR iron sights, love ’em. They work great and are indistinguishable from the higher-quality offerings as far as function and overall quiality.
Leapers, on the other hand.. I hope UTG greatly improves the optics manufacturing process. I bought a Leapers 3-9×40 compact scope, around 2006, which was made in China. I believe this was made before UTG acquired them. The scope externally is good looking, well-made and functional for a Chinese product. But, the optics show too much glare, bending around the outer edges of the reticle, etc.
UTG can still be a bargain brand but produce quality products. “Made in USA” is a huge attractive quality that can bring them much more sales if they promote themselves as a US brand. Frankly I was surprised to learn that UTG was even a US company. I think they need some serious PR put out into the gun world, and let us all know that they are bringing jobs back to America to make an affordable product.
They sell a lot of UTG at the Cheaper Than Dirt store where I live. I always muttered to myself why we were giving the Chinese the manufacturing capability. Looks like I was wrong. I will definitely include the UTG brand as I pimp out my guns.
I’ve purchased many products from UTG and have been happy with most of them. The only thing I’ve ever bought that didn’t work was a set of scope rings which had one machined wrong and wouldn’t attach. However it was easily replaced from CTD, in fact I didn’t even have to send back the defective set which left me one good ring for a backup. I currently have Leapers rings on every scope I own. I don’t need $70 rings when I can get all the sets I need for that same $70 from Leapers.
I think Leapers UTG products keep their prices low by using heavier component materials and generally simpler manufacturing processes. For most of us, does an extra ounce or two make a difference on a gun? I have a UTG quadrail that is solid and works great. It cost $140- $200 less than a similar one from YHM or DD. And yes, I trust it to work every time.
I’m happy to hear UTG is building in the U.S. The best part is that they may improve on their quality while at the same time create jobs for Americans. I’ll continue to support them.
I’ve been buying UTG Leapers products for some time now, from red dot sights to parts and accessories. No complaints and I am happy to see UTG move their manufacturing to the US. I particularly appreciated Guns America highlighting UTG in their blog. I’d also like to see better evaluations of the UTG/Leapers optics. These are offered at particularly good prices and if we can learn a little more about them such as how they hold up under a little stress, how long does that battery last, they could become especially popular with us AK owners and maybe even with the real AR elitists that believe only an Aimpoint, EOTech, or ACOG will work. I posted to my blog The Second Amendment http://crime-thugs-guns.blogspot.com/2012/01/ak-innovations-ar-elitism.html on this and here is an excerpt calling out to adult YouTube evaluators to take a close look at the UTG Leapers red dot scopes.
“One of the UTG products I bought was their basic red and green dot 30mm sight. It works great and I believe it has a lifetime guarantee. It cost me significanly less than $50. Aimpoints and EOTechs are $400 and up and an ACOG starts at about $900. My son, the son who was in Iraq and fought with an M-4 equipped with an Aimpoint, bought his own Leapers and put it on his $300 Saiga AK. He is just as happy as he can be. I want to make it clear that I am not saying those more expensive sights are anything less than wonderful. What bugs me are the internet warriors who proclaim they wouldn’t have anything less and how that may make people who can’t affort the elitist gear shy away or spend money they don’t have when they could have a perfectly functional and reliable UTG for one hell of a lot less.
The flaw in my argument is that the new UTG’s have not been tested up against the more expensive sights by folks like Sturmgewehr on the Military Arms Channel or Nutnfancy or the other folks that give us quality reviews. I’d like to see UTG pony up some of their models to these guys and let’s see the pros and cons and determine if they are as good a value as I think they are and are better for something than Airsoft battles.”
I have a UTG sight rail on my Romainian AKM, and there front quad rail AKM forend. Products due work, just the overall quality is ok at best. Than again didnt want to spend more on parts than the gun costs. Good job on outsourcing to the USA!!! LOL its about friggin time jobs come back to the people who deserve them, plus no one anywhere builds better guns and parts than the US!!!
I have the UTG “red dot sight” in the middle of the last pic on my ar. I had to buy a small 3″ riser also for the right height, both are very sturdy durable pieces. The sight came stock with the quick connect base, flip up lens covers, and an extra battery, which are a plus for me. My sight has 12 sight setting, 6 red, 6 green, all with the circle 4 mil dot reticle. I love it, it looks and functions awesome. Extremely easy to sight in with click adjustments. The lowest brightness setting is still too bright for night time use, but for the price you can’t go wrong with these products. Don’t wait try them now, they will need the business to stay in the US and believe me its worth it. I can’t wait to see the 36 color reticles and see what kind of long range scopes they develope.
correction 10 setting, 5 green and 5 red. also the circle around the 4moa dot is 65moa
I’ve been using Leaper scopes for years. I just had to replace a 3x9x40 after 20 years. They are well worth the money. Great products.
Leapers makes one tough product. I doubt that anyone out there gives their scopes as much abuse than my 5th grade son does. We live in a rural area where he takes care of many nuisance critters,(squirrels,rabbits,possums,etc.)He “hunts” year round,thru mud,snow and rain.His pellet rifle(.22)really gets knocked around.The Leapers scope performs flawlessly to this day(3yrs. old).We will be purchasing more for our other hunts.
Great that they’re made in the USA!
Until they’re proven, I’ll wait. I’m in Michigan and use EoTech. EoTech are made in the USA and made here, in Michigan (and God knows we need the business here!)
Good luck to UTG! I’ll be watching to see how future reviews are before I commit. I AM in the market for more optics too.
Lepers doesn’t produce a “bad” product per say , but until they actually release a line of NTOA approved accessories I’ll generally leave their items off of my rifles shotguns and pistols.
my main philosophy is : if 9/10’s of officers and soldiers don’t trust it why should I? I am admittedly a “hard sell” in most co.’s eyes but I can applaud Leapers for moving most of their manufacturing here to the U.S. and in thus crating more American jobs , they definitely need to be applauded for that.