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Tiny and Mighty: Vortex Optics Razor HD Spotting Scope Review

This mini Vortex Optics Razor HD is a backpack hunter’s dream.

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Spotting scopes are an incredibly useful tool to have in the field. They help us reach out and see things way farther than a set of binoculars can do.

The problem with spotting scopes is the extra weight and bulk in your backpack. For a backcountry hunter, ounces matter and spotting scopes are not light. The new 13-39×56 Razor HD from Vortex Optics breaks that mold and sets a new standard for lightweight spotting scopes.

In short: The Vortex Optics Razor HD Spotting Scope gives your glassing sessions a leg up without a massive addition to your pack weight.

13-39×56 Razor HD Spotting Scope


  • Magnification 13-39x
  • Objective lens 56mm
  • Weight 28.6 ounces (angled); 29.5 ounces (straight)


  • Lightweight
  • Compact
  • Clear and crisp image


  • The angled version doesn’t have the twisting ocular lens feature like others in the Vortex lineup

Vortex Optics 13-39×56 Razor HD Spotting Scope Review

Vortex Optics 13-39x56 Razor HD Spotting Scope
(Photo/Josh Kirchner)

The 13-39×56 Razor HD is the next generation to the original 11-33×50 Razor HD. This new version is also almost an exact replica of its bigger brothers, the 65mm and 85mm Razor HD spotting scopes. You can acquire the “Mini Razor” in either an angled or straight scope, and both options come equipped with an Arca Swiss foot for mounting on a tripod.

Just like on the 65mm and 85mm, the magnification adjustment is located near the ocular lens, and the focus dial is located on the main body of the spotting scope. Of course, this spotter is backed by the Vortex VIP Lifetime Warranty as well.


Vortex Optics Razor HD Spotting Scope
(Photo/Josh Kirchner)


The weight of the 13-39×56 is nothing short of glorious for hunters looking to cut ounces from their backpacks. An angled Mini Razor will tip the scales at 28.6 ounces, and a straight model will gain you 29.5 ounces.

For comparison’s sake, an angled 65mm Razor HD weighs 56.8 ounces, and an angled 85mm Razor HD weighs 65.6 ounces. That’s a huge difference when you’re counting every ounce.


Another major perk of the newest addition to the Razor spotting scope lineup is the size. This optic was made for packing and doesn’t take up much room at all in a backpack.

The straight version is a shade over 11″ long, and the angled is 10″ to the angle and 4″ to the end of the ocular lens. Not only will it not take up a ton of room in your backpack, but it’s also incredibly easy to handle. It’s tiny and mighty.

Improved Ocular Lens

Vortex Optics 13-39x56 Razor HD Spotting Scope
Author glassing with both Vortex binos and the new Razor HD Spotting Scope; (photo/Josh Kirchner)

One of my biggest gripes about the previous version of this little Razor HD was the rubber eyepiece on the ocular lens. It was a bit difficult to look through for more extended periods of time and gave off a tunnel vision effect.

This new version mirrors the 65mm and 85mm Razor HD ocular lens. That rubber piece is gone, and the tunnel vision is also gone. A welcomed feature that hunters of all walks will appreciate.

My Experience

Vortex Optics 13-39x56 Razor HD Spotting Scope
(Photo/Josh Kirchner)

This is undoubtedly one of the gear items I was most excited about for 2023. Being an avid backpack hunter, weight matters, and space in my pack matters. With that said, I will sacrifice both of those for efficiency. My go-to spotting scope in the past was always the 65mm Razor HD. Now, things are changing with this new Mini Razor.

Upon first handling this spotting scope, it felt like home, honestly. It is quite literally a mini version of the spotting scope I’ve grown to know so well. I knew how to operate it right off the bat, and it felt just as sturdy as its big brothers despite its smaller size.

As far as the glass went, it was clear and crisp. Dialing the magnification and focus was smooth without a hiccup. The real test, though, would come in the mountains.

The Mini Razor came along with me on a backcountry spring bear hunt in May 2023. It’s one of those hunts where I try to cut as many ounces as possible due to the ruggedness of the terrain, so this fell in line perfectly. On our first evening, I got to dial up deer, elk, and a mountain goat in the 13-39×56. And that was in lower light before dark.

I also want to point out that this spotter held up well. It got thrown around every which way, dropped, the whole nine yards. Still, in the end, it was perfectly fine. Lightweight is often lumped in with a lack of durability. That doesn’t seem to be the case here in the least.

What’s Wrong?

In terms of potential downsides, there is only one I’ve found, and it is with the angled version specifically. The larger angled spotters in the Razor HD line can twist while mounted. This means that you can adjust that angled ocular portion to one side or the other when sitting down and glassing. This allows you not to have to change tripod height or your seating position.

On the angled new Mini Razor, the twisting feature is not there. I could see this possibly taking away some of the versatility for folks in the field, which is why I went with a straight spotter.

Vortex Optics 13-39×56 Razor HD: Closing Thoughts

On demanding backpack hunts where you’ve got what you got, gear does in fact matter. There needs to be a level of trust there in order for something to make the cut. I’m happy to say that this Mini Razor has won my heart and a place in my pack.

I think it’s the perfect balance between less weight, packability, and efficiency when glassing. The 13-39×56 from Vortex Optics is a whole lot of spotter in a very small convenient package. Two thumbs up here.

Josh Kirchner

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