Meade has done an absolute horrible job with Redfield, Weaver and Simmons, so any type of change has to be better than what has been happening. ATK once owned Redfield, Weaver and Simmons so they do have some experience and they seem to be more motivated. ATK did greatly deteriorated the Simmons name prior to selling it to Meade and I hope they do not plan to just use the Weaver name to market China made optics at inflated prices then sell Weaver again.
It appears that ATK started to market their own brands off the contacts they gained when they initially bought Redfield, Simmons and Weaver years ago, but their own brands Intensity Optics and Nitrex Optics have not done very well because they lack name recognition. Perhaps purchasing the Weaver name will fix this, but the name has lost much of its value since Blount, ATK and Meade lowered the quality of the product and provided poor customer service.
I strongly feel that while these well known companies are buying, selling and regrouping that the small owner operated companies are sneaking in and taking their market little by little. Current generation shooters and hunters do not have the respect for Weaver and Redfield like their fathers once did. The current generation and coming generation are better educated in regards to value and do not rely solely on name brands recognition. This generation is also buying full size Toyota pick up trucks instead of Ford or Chevrolet. Now that Redfield and Weaver are no longer USA made they have lost much of their appeal to the older generations and the current and future generations don’t really care about where something is made, they only care about quality and value. The only way ATK will be able to be successful is if they have at least a five year plan to re-establish the brand through quality products, excellent customer service and offer the product at a fair price
Leupold’s move to purchase Redfield has everyone puzzled. Leupold is the exception in the industry because they are the last large optics company that is still family owned and operated and has not been run into the ground by investment banker style business practices. They have a large advantage in the market because all older generations no longer have a choice if they want to buy a scope from a legacy brand because Redfield and Weaver died a long time ago.
If you read Leupold’s official statement it does not tell us much but you can tell that they care about the historical significance of the brand.
Everyone’s motivation is money when you take away all of the smoke and mirrors. Redfield has always been Leupold’s largest threat and Leupold tried to purchase them the first time they went up for sale in 1998. A quote from Sun-tzu is appropriate in this case, “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.”
No one knows the dollar amount that was paid for Redfield or Weaver independently but it has been published that they sold for a combined $8 Million dollars. If we assume that the brands have an equal value then it would be appropriate to guess that Leupold paid $4 Million dollars for Redfield. This could be recouped by Leupold in a relatively short amount of time by not losing any market share to Redfield as a competitor. I am confident that Leupold would not attempt to compete against them selves by selling a similar product at a similar price point as it would not achieve anything. They will most likely use the Redfield name to sell in a market that they are not already selling in, perhaps a market that they did not want to enter with their own name because they did not want to damage their well established brand. The Redfield name has already been hurt, so this gives Leupold a prime opportunity to compete on the lower end of the market with an imported product. The public would love to see a return to the golden days of Redfield and see the company resurrected and once again offering U.S.A. made scopes, but I do not see that happening as long as Leupold is the owner because it would be a conflict of interest.
There is a lot of instability in the world of scopes these days. Redfield, Weaver, Simmons and Tasco are rapidly disappearing. Hakko’s bankruptcy and poor quality also affected the market, their reincarnation as J.O.L. has yet to get off the ground. Schmidt and Bender also sold and after the sale the engineers went to Optronkia. Kahles and Swarovski have stopped sharing ideas and are operating independent of each other. Leica is scheduled to enter the scope market possibly this year too. Once thing is certain, things are changing in the sports optics world.....whether its good or bad is yet to be seen.