The French Army used a single pattern of rifle scope from 1949 all the way until 1995 – the APX L806, which was essentially a German ZF-4. It was finally replaced officially in 1995, with the adoption of the Scrome J8 F1 for use on their FR-F2 sniper rifles.
The French Army wanted a scope made domestically, and the only suitable manufacturer to make it was Scrome. Formed in 1987, this was a company that specialized in electro-mechanical systems more complex than simple rifle scopes. They built things like mortar and artillery sights, and today do a lot of work with lasers, cameras, and aerospace systems. So when the government presented them the specifications for a simple, robust, 8x40mm fixed-power telescope they had no trouble making it.
The J8 was designed with a reticle that had range finding capability and etched BDC holdovers out to 800m, the maximum effective range of the FR-F2. This allowed the user to focus on targets as much as possible, and not think about external adjustments while shooting.
From the collector perspective, the J8 has been extremely difficult to find. This was a small side project for Scrome, and they essentially only built the scopes to order, not keeping them in stock for commercial sale. In addition, legal quirks theoretically made civilian sale of scopes with military range finding reticles illegal in France until 2012. A few commercial models were made with mil-dot reticles, but even these have always been very rare.
Happily, Scrome is now making a run of military-pattern J8 scopes to take advantage of the batch of surplussed FR-F2 rifles.
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