In a Nutshell:

Delightfully well made and functional, the Barska Blackhawk line is a wonderful mix of high quality and affordability. Recommended for anyone.

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Overall Rating

* Brand Reliability is a measure of the strength and longevity of the brand, which by extension, is a measure of the level of support you can expect.


  • Roof prisms for improved image quality
  • Waterproof design with sealed O-rings
  • Dry nitrogen-purged lenses prevent clouding and fogging
  • Coated lenses for improved clarity
  • BAK-4 or BK-7 prisms for image clarity
  • Limited lifetime warranty


  • No Porro Prism options in the Blackhawk line
  • Models may not be a good fit for everyone
  • Some models have limited field of vision
  • Limited variety in monocular options
Barska WP Blackhawk AB11850

Recommended For: Anyone. A wonderful mix of high quality and affordability.

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Are you an avid birdwatcher? A hunter or outdoor enthusiast? Or do you have some other hobby that requires the use of high-quality binoculars? If so and you haven’t found exactly what you’re looking for yet, you’re going to love what you read in this—our Barska Blackhawk binoculars review.

Barska is one of the titans of the sport optics industry. Their product line includes not only a wide range of binoculars but also microscopes, telescopes, rifle scopes, and even ancillary products like biometric safes. They’re a name you can trust, with an excellent reputation for both quality and post-sales customer support.

In the sections that follow, we’ll take a detailed look at the company’s spectacular Blackhawk line of binoculars, describing what sets each model apart from the others in the lineup and letting you know the weaknesses and limitations of each. That way, you’ll have everything you need to make an informed buying decision right at your fingertips. 

If that sounds good to you, read on, and let’s get started!

Binoculars Basics

There are two things we need to point out before we look at the particulars of the Blackhawk line. If you’re already familiar with binoculars, you can safely skip this section, but if you’re buying your first pair, these are details you’ll want to note.

When you’re shopping online, you may see binoculars described as “clamshell” (sometimes just “clam”) or “box,” and you may be thinking that there’s some kind of fancy engineering difference between these two. In fact, Barska and many other manufacturers underscore this idea by giving their “box” and “clamshell” models different model numbers.

A rectangular clear plastic clamshell packaging on a white table

Don’t be fooled. It’s all about packaging. Clamshell binoculars come in a plastic clamshell, and box binoculars come in, well, a box. That’s it. That’s the entire difference, so if you see two different products that look identical but have different model numbers, one’s almost certainly a box and the other a clamshell. 

The second thing to be aware of has to do with the prisms. There are two flavors here: Porro and Roof.

In Porro prism binoculars, the objective lens tubes are offset from the eyepieces. In roof prism binoculars, they’re not—you get two straight tubes. This difference means that roof prism binoculars tend to be more compact, so if size is an issue and you’re looking to go small, the roof is probably what you want.

An illustration of how the light passes through in Porro prism binoculars
An illustration of how light passes through in roof prism binoculars

On the other hand, Porro prism binoculars tend to offer less light loss and better overall image quality, but they are physically larger than their roof counterparts. 

Note, too, that some models may come with a “reverse Porro system,” which changes the prism offsets in such a way that the total size of the binoculars can be reduced by about a third.

At the end of the day, there’s really no right answer here. It all depends on what your needs and requirements are, but you’ll want to keep the prism type in mind as you’re evaluating your purchase options. And with those two points out of the way, let’s take a look at the Blackhawk product line.

Barska Blackhawk Binoculars Overview

Barska Blackhawk 10x42 with black rubber armor, non-slip grip, and central focus knob
Barska Blackhawk 10x42 with camo finish, rubber armor, anti-slip grip, and a central focus knob

The first necessary step in conducting a thorough Barska Blackhawk binoculars review is to list everything the line has to offer. We’ll summarize the products in the Blackhawk lineup in table form just below, so you can use it as a quick reference guide:

Model #MagnificationObjective Lens (mm)Prism GlassOptical CoatingFocus SystemField of ViewWeight (oz)
AB11840 Model of Barska Blackhawk 10x42AB1184012x42BAK-4Multi-CoatedCenter275/8425
AB11842 Model of Barska Blackhawk 10x42AB1184210x42BAK-4Multi-CoatedCenter344/10524
AB13434 Model of Barska Blackhawk 10x42AB1343410x42BAK-4Fully Multi-CoatedCenter283/9819.2
AB11852 Model of Barska Blackhawk 10x42AB118528x42BAK-4Multi-CoatedCenter330/11024
AB11844 Model of Barska Blackhawk 10x42AB1184410x25BAK-4Multi-CoatedCenter303/10113.9
AA13638 Model of Barska Blackhawk 10x42AA1363810-30x50BK-7Fully CoatedEyepiece198/6615.16
AA12132 Model of Barska Blackhawk 10x42AA1213210x40BK-7Multi-CoatedEyepiece344/1054.8
AA12130 Model of Barska Blackhawk 10x42AA1213010x25BK-7Multi-CoatedEyepiece331/10115.2

In all, then, we’re looking at eight different models, though, as we mentioned in the last section, there are technically sixteen. You’ll find both an AA121130 and an AA12131 in the Barska catalog—the same exact monocular but the AA12130 comes packaged in a box, while the AA12131 comes in clamshell packaging.

Features and Capabilities

Barska 8x42 WP Blackhawk Binoculars with Mossy Oak camouflage finish and diamond textured cut grip

All of the binoculars in the Blackhawk line feature roof prisms. If you’re interested in a Porro Prism pair, you’ll need to gravitate to some other line of products. In addition to that, all of the binoculars in this series sport the following features in common:

  • A waterproof design with sealed O-rings
  • The lenses are all dry nitrogen-purged and sealed, which prevents clouding, fogging, and moisture damage.
  • All of the lenses are coated for improved clarity.
  • Depending on the specific model, they feature either BAK-4 or BK-7 prisms for improved image clarity.
  • The models with a center focus mechanism feature a large knob that allows for precise focusing.
  • The body is coated with shock-absorbing rubber armor with textured diamond grips, making them ideal for a wide range of outdoor activities and all weather conditions.
  • And all of the products in the Blackhawk line come with a limited lifetime warranty.

The least expensive model in the lineup is the AB11844, which features 10x magnification and a 25mm lens. If you’re looking for something even less expensive than that, note that you can get a Barska Blackhawk 10×25 monocular for even less, which makes it the perfect choice for the budget-conscious shopper.

If you’re interested in getting a little closer to the action, then you’ll definitely want to check the Barska 8×42 WP Blackhawk binoculars, model # AB11852. You’ll pay slightly more for the miniaturization, and given their smaller size, they may not be a good “fit” for you, but for the right person, they’re a solid choice.

There are two models to choose from if you’re interested in Barska Blackhawk 10×42 binoculars—the AB11842 and the AB13434. These two are quite similar in terms of technical specifications, though the 11842s have a slightly larger field of vision, so it comes down to exactly what you plan to use them are and what your specific needs are.

Also, note that there’s another variant here, the AB11850, which features a Mossy Oak camouflage design. So if you’re a hunter, these may be a better fit for your kit. Just about every Barska Blackhawk 10×42 review or user comment we’ve seen online is positive, and Barska Blackhawk 10×42 WP binoculars are some of the company’s most popular.

If you’re looking for something ultra-compact, you can’t go wrong with the AB11844, which is a lightweight 10×25 model, or if a monocular is more your speed, then the AA12130 will give you similar functionality in a delightfully small footprint.

In our view, though, if you’re looking for a monocular to do some bird watching, the best of the bunch is the Blackhawk AA13638, which offers up to 30x magnification for not much more money.


All of the binoculars in the Blackhawk product line come with a handy carrying case and a neck strap, along with lens covers and cloths for cleaning. Basically, everything you need, all in one convenient package. We love that the company includes all the little things you may not think about when you buy a pair of binoculars. It makes the purchase convenient and hassle-free.

Barska Blackhawk Binoculars Review Conclusion

There really aren’t any significant cons to talk about where the Blackhawk line is concerned. Yes, they are a little heavier than the norm, and it’s easy to find less expensive binoculars on the market, but it’s also easy to find high-end, bleeding-edge binoculars that will run you hundreds of dollars.

These are well made and well priced. If you decide to get any of the models in the Blackhawk line, they’ll serve you well and, with proper care, will provide years of reliable service, which makes them a solid investment indeed.

Comparable Products to Consider

We’d consider the Barska Blackhawk line to be entry-level binoculars, with some of their models tending toward the high end of that classification. The build quality is excellent, and they’ll serve just about any casual user well and most outdoor enthusiasts, though if you have a more specialized use in mind, you may want to upgrade to a higher-tier product.

If, after reading this Barska Blackhawk binoculars review, you decide that the Blackhawk line might not be what you’re looking for but you’re impressed with the company, here are some other options you may want to consider:

These are a bit more expensive, but if diving is your passion, then simple waterproof binoculars aren’t enough. You need something that can withstand the rigors of being fully immersed in water at depth and for extended periods. If that’s your thing, Barska has you covered.

Barska NVX300 Night Vision Binoculars

Recommended For: Anyone who wants or needs night vision capabilities.

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Baska makes these too, and if you’re more of a survivalist, a prepper, or a night hunter, these are simply invaluable pieces of gear that can do things other binoculars simply can’t.

You’ll pay a hefty premium for them, but for the right user, they’re perfect.

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