The Terrapin X Rangefinder; Updated

Safran Vectronix is a world-renown name. This Swiss company produces high-tech target locators and observational systems that are mission-oriented. Today I’m covering their Terrapin X rangefinder, which a few of you may have heard about because it launched in 2018. From what I know, this rangefinder is currently Vectronix’s only item marketed to civilians. Even though it isn’t brand new to the market, I recently got one and thought it review-worthy due to the recent updates to its Bluetooth connectivity and compatibility with popular ballistic apps that most long-range shooters already use. These apps include Hornady 4DOF, Strelok Pro, Trasol, and (likely) more to come. Most serious shooters also use Kestrel Weather Meters, which the Terrapin X connects to through Kestrel LiNK. Oh, and don’t forget Garmin devices, which it will connect to as well. The Terrapin X also has a few modes that will give the user more information than just distance to a target, which I will discuss later on.

The Terrapin X is worthy of being part of your standard long-range shooting kit.

Usability

I have had my Terrapin X for just over 6 months, using it extensively. I’ve even carried it around in sub-zero temperatures while hunting through December in Idaho, where it performed flawlessly. After spending all this time with the unit, I can tell you that the 8x magnification was nice to have and that the image is crystal clear, being pulled close enough to make this rangefinder also useful for target location. The interface is a single button on top, and as you can imagine, is how you range, switch modes, turn the system on, etc. This single button makes the Terrapin X simple to use in a way but is not intuitive. If you forget that switching modes requires three quick presses of this button, you likely won’t figure out how to do this without reading the manual again. Once you’ve figured out how to navigate the device, it makes blind operation very easy to do though.

The Terrapin X features diopter compensation on the eyecup, allowing the user to adjust for a crystal clear image optimal for them. This compensation is available for vision defects of up to +/- 3 diopters. The Eyecup can also be folded back, allowing for use with glasses on. Other quality of use features include two eyelets for neck strap connection points and a 1/4x20UNC threaded stud for mounting to a tripod.

The 1/4x20UNC standard camera mount allows the attachment of all sorts of floor plates, making the Terrapin X easy to mount to a tripod.

Operation and Settings

The Terrapin X is navigated using a single button on top, as mentioned previously. The user manual is very concise and clear with its instructions on how to change modes, measurement units, power on the device, and more. I’ll run through the basics anyway:

To power on the rangefinder, you simply press the button once. When you do this, a reticle will appear and a Bluetooth symbol will be seen to the lower right (if turned on). If you power the rangefinder on and see “LO” the rangefinder is telling you that it has a low battery, but will still be useable for a few more distance measurements. This battery is a 3V lithium CR123.

The CR123A battery is loaded into the front of the device, protected by a water-tight thumb screw.

To take a measurement, simply press the button while the reticle is on your target of interest. The button can also be pressed and held for about 2 seconds, enabling the scan mode. In scan mode, a measurement will be made every 0.5 seconds. Once a measurement is taken and displayed, click the button a second, a third, and a fourth time to cycle through the range, equivalent horizontal range, elevation angle, and azimuth, respectively.

To connect the Terrapin X to the Terrapin X app, ballistic apps, or to a Kestrel Weather Meter, you will need to change the Bluetooth settings. This is done by triple tapping the push button, and then cycling through the Bluetooth settings with a single click each. These settings consist of OFF, KEST, APP, and TDH. KEST allows the Terrapin X to communicate with a Kestrel, APP is for connecting to a smartphone and the Terrapin X app, and TDH allows the device to communicate with other external devices, and for connecting to ballistic apps. To save the settings, triple tap the push button again and four dashes appear to show that the settings are saved.

The Terrapin X app can be used for some functions of the rangefinder, but for ballistic solutions, it must be communicating to any of a few ballistic apps that it is compatible with.

Use with Hornady 4DOF and Kestrel

I mainly use Shooter and Hornady 4DOF for ballistic solutions in the field. Shooter does not work with the Terrapin X, but 4DOF does! In 4DOF, I found that I was able to connect to it through the TDH mode. In the app, simply go to “pair meter”, turn the Terrapin X on, refresh the device page on the app and select your rangefinder. Once it is paired, simply range targets for yardage, azimuth, and shooting angle, which will then update in the app. Unique to this app, I really enjoyed the range-card functionality. In 4DOF, you have the ability to make a range card: range a number of targets with the Terrapin, name, and organize these targets on the card in the shooting order you desire. You can also pair a Kestrel to the Terrapin X, allowing you to forgo ballistic apps on your phone, getting ballistic solutions for the range you get with the rangefinder directly off the Kestrel itself. To do this, go to Bluetooth settings on the Kestrel, change it to “device” and pair your Terrapin X to it. That easy.

I used both of these methods to get amazingly accurate firing solutions out to as far as a mile, which is as far as my buddy’s private range goes. Once the range card is built in the Hornady 4DOF app, it can be saved for future reference, which is convenient for the next time I return to his range and want to shoot any of his targets from 100 yards to 1760, and all in-between. All I have to do is glance at the card and start sending the lead. I’ll close these thoughts with an honorary mention of Strelok Pro and Trasol’s compatibility with the Terrapin X too, I just don’t use them as often for firing solutions. One advantage to using Strelok Pro would be that it re-syncs to the Terrapin X when the rangefinder has fallen asleep and is woken up for another measurement. Other apps must be re-connected after it goes to sleep.

To connect the Terrapin X, you must have the rangefinder in the KEST mode and change the proper settings on the Kestrel itself. Once done, your range will be updated in real-time to the Kestrel unit, providing fast firing solutions.

The Terrapin X App

The Terrapin X app is used for updating the rangefinder, changing settings, making distance measurements as well as utilizing the survey function of the rangefinder. Everything on the app is intuitive to use, but I have a few tips to best take advantage of its functions. One of my favorite features on the Terrapin X app lives in the “Distance” tab. Here, you can select the map location icon and range whatever targets you plan on engaging. A satellite image will show your location as well as the location of the targets you ranged. Next to each target, it will say “Target 1” and whatever distance it is at. Or “Target 2” and whatever distance that one is at, etc… From here, the target can be selected and the name changed. I like to change the name Target 1, for example, to the DOPE that I have for the range. For example, if the target is 581 yards and I’m using my 6 Creedmoor, I’ll rename the target as “up 9.69.” If you know that you will have a specific order of engagement, these name tags can even be moved to one side of the screen to match this order and free up the range card from clutter.

Here, I’m just showing how you can move and modify the range and target destination to best fit your needs. On the left, you’ll see what a measurement looks like when you make one. On the right, I’ve changed the target designation to my DOPE for that point of engagement.

Specifications

  • 8x magnification
  • 5.8 degree field of view
  • 28mm objective diameter
  • 3.5mm exit pupil
  • fixed focus
  • 15mm eye-relief
  • +/- 3 diopter adjustable eyecup
  • Bluetooth 4.1 LowEnergy connectivity
  • 905nm, class 1 laser
  • 11 to 3,000 meter ranging capability
  • +/- 2 meters at 20 to 1,000 meters
  • +/- 3 meters from 1,000 to 2000 meters
  • +/- 5 meters beyond 2,000 meters
  • 1.2×0.5 mrad beam divergence
  • Automatic brightness control LED display
  • 3V CR123 battery is good for > 4,000 measurements
  • waterproof to 1 meter for 30 minutes
  • 1/4×20 UNC thread tripod mount
  • 136mm x 118mm x 49mm dimensions
  • 13.7 oz weight
  • $1,999.00 MSRP (can be found available everywhere for $1,799.00)

Closing Thoughts

Modern rangefinders are currently capable of many different things ranging from interfacing with rifle scopes, providing ballistic solutions, taking atmospheric data, stabilized imaging, and the list continues. The Terrapin X stands on the well-known reputation of Safran Vectronix and is undoubtedly rugged, reliable, precise, and convenient for putting bullets on target thanks to its Bluetooth connectivity. There are a few rangefinders on the market that I am extremely fond of and the Terrapin X definitely has a place among them. The ability to build a range card in the Terrapin X app on a satellite image, or through other apps such as on Hornady 4DOF has its own advantage in a competitive shooting setting, as well as in a law enforcement type application. I don’t see myself grabbing the Terrapin X as I head out the door for a hunting trip, mainly because of its large size. On the Flipside, it is my go-to for a day of long-range shooting with my friends whether that be competitive, or cordial. I can also see this being my first pick if I were in the business of shooting bad guys, but that’s not something I do. I’d love to hear your opinions about it in the comments.

In the Terrapin X app, this is what you see for different measurements that can be made with the rangefinder before you begin.

About the author: Riley Baxter is an avid and experienced hunter, shooter, outdoorsman, and he’s worked in the backcountry guiding for an outfitter. He also get’s a lot of enjoyment out of building or customizing his firearms and equipment. Check out Riley’s Instagram @Shooter300

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