Leupold scopes take their name from the company that manufactures them, rather than being a specific style of scope. Leupold is the trade name of a division of Leupold & Stevens Inc., a family-run firm specializing in surveying equipment, rifle scopes, and water-monitoring instruments. Founded in 1907 and headquartered in Beaverton, OR, Leupold provide rifle scopes to a wide range of military clients, as well as to international and federal law enforcement forces. Customers include the United States Marine Corps, the Secret Service, and the Navy SEALS, as well as a significant portion of American hunters, shooters and gun aficionados.
Leupold and Stevens was set up by Markus Friedrich Leupold and his brother-in-law, Adam Voelpel, as a company specializing in survey equipment repair. The company began to build rifle scopes for the civilian market after World War II, and urban legend attributes this decision to an incident in which Markus Leupold failed to hit a deer whilst out hunting because his scope fogged over. After reportedly declaring that “I could build a better scope than this!” he promptly went home and did just that.
Legend aside, the company’s progression into the rifle scope market had been a matter of ‘when, not if’ for some time. During the war the company had helped the US Navy build and develop optical rangefinders, as well as working on scopes for the Army’s sharpshooters. Porting this expertise to the civilian market was a natural step, and by 1980 sales of scopes branded under the Leuopold name were outperforming their surveying equipment (released as Stevens Water Monitoring Systems) by almost two to one. The Stevens brand was spun off into its own privately-held business in 1998, with Leupold retaining the Leupold & Stevens name as part of its brand identity.
The company’s scopes have since become one of the most popular on the market, considered by many American shooters to be the best rifle scopes out there. Leupold scopes cover everything from .22 target shooting to big game hunting, and many are designed for multiple types of shooting. Leupold’s most successful line are the long-running VX series, which has consistently combined new innovations, practicality and an attractive aesthetic into one complete package.
Today, Leupold employs over 600 people at their principle Beaverton manufacturing facility. The company’s leadership has remained with Markus Leupold’s descendants through five successive generations, and is currently headed by Thomas Fruechtel.
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