Gear Review: Nikon's Archer's Choice MAX

I've been using Nikon's Archer's Choice MAX rangefinder for the last two seasons and it's a tool I've grown to trust and rely on in the field. The Archer's Choice MAX quickly and easily ranges your intended target from 5 to 200 yards in 1/10th increments.

Nikon's ID Technology compensates for various incline or decline shooting angles, up to +/- 89 degrees, and is extremely helpful for treestand hunters. It's also a great help in steep regions of the Northeast where I hunt and of course, the mountains out west. This is where the Nikon Archer's Choice MAX and its ID Technology really shine.

Like Nikon's binoculars, the Archer's Choice MAX is finished with a rubberized coating for a non-slip grip regardless of weather conditions. The coating also makes this rangefinder quiet in the field should anything come in contact with the unit.

The unique neoprene carrying case provides a protective cover for the rangefinder body as well as a quiet magnetic front flap for protecting the optics from dirt and scratches. I really like the front flap because I'm always moving around my rangefinder and if there was nothing protecting the glass I'd surely scratch it. That being said, if front flap bothers you, simply unsnap the it and its gone. The Archer's Choice MAX also features an adjustable shoulder strap allows the archer to custom fit the rangefinder for easy access.

One feature that Nikon had good intentions with, but slightly missed the mark on is the automatic backlight in low light conditions. In the original Archer's Choice rangefinder the text on the screen was all black. At dawn and dusk the lowlight conditions made it hard to read the rangefinder and I would find myself ranging objects and then looking at the bright sky to see what was being displayed on the screen. The new automatic backlight solves this problem by illuminating the display, which turns red for easy visibility, but raises a new issue.

The illuminated display is on the bright side and slightly washes out the image in the viewfinder making it difficult to see what you're actually ranging. With no control over brightness or when the display is illuminated there are times right after daybreak and before dusk when the illuminated display comes on, but it's not yet needed.

Overall the Nikon Archer's Choice MAX is a high-quality rangefinder that's great for any bowhunting situation.