December 19, 2022
By J. Scott Rupp
SIG has been in the optics game for a few years now, and it’s come out with a number of cutting-edge products in that time—the latest of which is the Kilo 10K-ABS HD rangefinding binoculars. Available in 10x42mm with a tan armor finish, it employs Applied Ballistics software and onboard atmospheric sensors to provide accurate holdover and wind hold information. And if you’re using one of the company’s BDX-capable riflescopes, this data can be transmitted to that optic, where the reticle will display the correct holdover automatically.
Setup for the Kilo is easy. Download the BDX app to your phone, pair it with the binoculars and then pair the supplied WeatherMaster wind meter with the binoculars. Input your load info in the app. You can select from an extensive bullet library complete with weights and G1 and G7 ballistic coefficients—and drag curves for some of them—or enter your own. Then either plug in the book velocity for your load or actual measured velocity from your rifle, along with such data as rifling twist, zero range, sight height and more. The manual says you can store up to 30 bullet profiles, although the SIG website says 25 is the limit. I didn’t test this, but either way that’s a lot.
You can further tweak data via the range and target cards on the app, accounting for specific distances or modifying atmospherics. It’s also possible to calibrate a particular load’s trajectory based on real-world confirmations—changing velocities or drop scale factors so the system’s results match what you’re actually seeing on your target downrange. Target modes in the binoculars include Last, First, Best, Extended-Range and Fog—the last two being new additions courtesy of SIG’s Gen II Lightwave DSP ranging system. Reticle choices are circle, duplex and square, and there’s a milling grid as well.
Ranging modes include BDX Elite, which kicks in the Applied Ballistics program and will display ballistic and hold info along with the range to target and other info. Angle Modified Range (AMR) and line of sight (LOS) modes simply give you distance data. There’s also a BDX External mode for pairing with external devices like Kestrels and Garmins. For the evaluation below, I had the ranging mode set on BDX Elite. When the wind meter is successfully paired with the Kilo 10K-ABS HD, you’ll see a symbol indicating this in the heads-up display, and wind holds will automatically update if you have the app running. If the app is not active, you’ll need to re-range a target to get updated wind holds.
Wind direction has to be entered manually in either the binoculars or the app. It’s especially simple in the app, but the menu in the binoculars works well, too. Both elevation and wind holds are easy to read in the binoculars’ heads-up display. Elevation value and an arrow indicating direction are on the left; windage value and direction are on the right. Below these readings are velocity and energy values for your chosen load at whatever distance you’ve ranged. The latter a really handy feature, letting you know whether you’ll have enough oomph to make a clean kill at whatever distance you’ve ranged.
The onboard atmospherics are a big plus, as they account for a number of factors, including density altitude, which has a major effect on bullet flight at extended ranges. The Kilo 10K has the ability to drop locator “pins” via the BaseMap app—although you’ll have to spring for the BaseMap Pro version, a $35 annual subscription, to enable this feature.
I tested it at a large local reservoir, ranging a big rock on the north side of an inlet 750 yards away. The resulting pin was recorded across the inlet on the south side, probably close to 200 yards from the spot. Next I ranged a rock outcropping 300 yards nearly straight uphill. That pin was closer than the first attempt but still about 100 yards shy of the actual spot. I don’t know if these discrepancies are the fault of the optics or BaseMap, but don’t get your hopes up if you thought you’d be able drop a pin and walk right to the exact spot where an animal was last seen. But it’s certainly good enough to navigate to terrain features, which will be handy in the field.
Ranging speed was iffy in terms of getting a reading the first time consistently. Results were much better when I was able to brace my body or support the optics so they were steady, but a competing product proved faster and more dependable in terms of first-hit readings. Still, it’s considerably faster and more convenient than pulling out a separate rangefinder. The Kilo 10K-ABS claims the maximum reflective range is 10,000 yards and 3,000 yards on deer. I can’t speak to those figures, but I was able to range antelope easily out to more than 500 yards.
One thing I didn’t care for was the SpectraCoat coating on the lenses. While it’s intended to boost low-light capability, it gives a blue cast to the image and makes things seem darker. I much prefer brighter, color-correct images. As far as low-light performance, I did test them one morning prior to sunup and didn’t feel like the coating produced a better view. Still, overall I like the system. The binoculars are fairly light, they’re comfortable to hold, and the focus wheel operates with just the right amount of tension—something I’m picky about. Further, the ranging and mode buttons are right where they should be. No shifting your grip to access them.
The binoculars’ modes are simple to use, and you don’t have to cycle through the entire menu to exit once you’ve made a change. Simply press and hold the Mode button for two seconds, and it will automatically take you out of the menu and back to ranging—saving any settings you changed. I think the app is terrific. There’s a lot of capability there, and it’s intuitive to use. While I didn’t delve into all its features, if you’re into advanced ballistics, you’ll love it. One last nice touch is the Multicam chest harness. I wore this on a lot of hikes over three months, and I found it comfortable and very handy. The SIG Kilo 10K isn’t perfect, but depending on your needs, its powerhouse ballistics system and ease of use are worth the price of admission.
SIG Sauer Kilo 10K-ABS HD Rangefiner Bino Specs
- Power/Obj.: 10x42mm
- Weight: 32 oz.
- Overall Length: 5.7 in.
- Claimed Range: 10,000 yd. max reflective; 3,000 yd. deer; 4,000 yd. tree
- Runtime: 4,000 ranges on CR2 battery
- Waterproof: IPX-4
- Finish: FDE armor
- Accessories: WeatherFlow wind meter, Multicam chest carry harness
- MSRP: $2,750
- Manufacturer: SIG Sauer