Bushnell Corporation is an American firm specializing in sporting optics and outdoor products. It is based in Overland Park, Kansas and is a subsidiary of Vista Outdoor. Bushnell's products include binoculars, telescopes, spotting scopes, riflescopes, red dot sights, GPS devices, laser rangefinders, game cameras, night-vision and other optical equipment.
The company was founded in 1948 by David P. Bushnell, when he returned to California from his honeymoon in Japan with two crates of binoculars and sold them by mail order. Bushnell made precision binoculars affordable to middle-class Americans for the first time through a strategy of importing from manufacturers in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan, who provided optics to his patented specifications. Bushnell eventually expanded his business to include rifle scopes and spotting scopes. In 1971, Bushnell sold the company to Bausch & Lomb, and it was renamed Bushnell Performance Optics. Three years later, Bushnell retired as vice-president of Bausch & Lomb.
In 1999, Bushnell Performance Optics was acquired from Bausch & Lomb by the private equity firm Wind Point Partners through a recapitalization of Bushnell's then parent company, Worldwide Sports & Recreation.
In 2001, Bushnell acquired the Bollé and Serengeti eyewear brands and the Moonlight line of night-vision products.
In 2002, Bushnell bought the sporting optics company Tasco. Tasco is a major international distributor of telescopes. The company's line of products mainly target amateur astronomers, but has grown to include many products besides telescopes. Tasco's other products include terrestrial spotting scopes, microscopes, binoculars, and telescopic sights and other rifle accessories. Tasco sells through specialty outlets, catalogs, and online vendors.
In 2005, Bushnell acquired Michael’s of Oregon. Michael's sold holsters, scope covers, cleaning kits, and other gun accessories under and along the brands Hoppe’s, Butler Creek, Stoney Point, and Uncle Mike’s Law Enforcement. At the time of its purchase by Bushnell, Michael's earned about $60 million per year in profit. Michael's of Oregon was based in Oregon City. The deal was closed with debt and cash.
In 2007, Bushnell was acquired by MidOcean Partners, another private equity firm, which acquired it in a leveraged recapitalization. The same year, Bushnell acquired the Final Approach and Kolpin Hunting brands from Facilitator Capital Funds, a Wisconsin-based private equity firm. Both brands are well known among duck hunters.
In June 2008, Bushnell acquired the assets of Simmons Outdoor Corporation from Meade Instruments. Simmons manufactured optical goods such as binoculars and riflescopes. Simmons was Bushnell's seventh acquisition since 2001.
On Sept. 5, 2013, Alliant Techsystems announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Bushnell. Under the terms of the transaction, ATK paid $985 million in cash, subject to customary post-closing adjustments.
After ATK merged with Orbital Sciences in 2015, it spun off Bushnell and other subsidiaries as Vista Outdoor, a publicly-listed company.