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Best Tactical Scopes Reviewed & Rated For Quality

last updated Sep 13, 2019

The world has gotten a much more attractive place for the long-range hunter as long-range sniper rifles have grown into the market. And if you’re now able to generally shoot your rifle well into the mile's range than you’re going to need help sighting your target. And that’s where a really good rifle scope comes in. But the market is flooded and there’s a lot of information to sift through before you decide to make your first purchase. But don’t worry we’re here to help. We’re going to spend this list walking you through our list of some of our favorite rifle scopes and we’re going to talk about mounting, ease of focus, reticles, weatherproofing focal planes, all the things that you didn’t think you needed to know about rifle optics. So let’s get started with our ten favorite tactical scopes.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 15 hrs of research

icon
Bushnell Trophy TRS-25
97.4/100 our score
Effectiveness
98
Compatibility
97
Durability
98
Size
96
Features
98
Bushnell Trophy TRS-25
Why is it better?

Easily mounts on Picatinny or Weaver rails

Only weighs 6.4 ounces

This scope is waterproof, shockproof, and even fog proof

This is one of the only scopes that allows consumers to use both eyes when using the scope

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Bushnell Trophy TRS-25
Test Winner: Bushnell Trophy TRS-25
Amazon Link
Researched Sources
15
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
15000
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
15
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
16
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
Kevin Enochs
By Kevin Enochs:

Well we've found a few new products for you on this list and made sure our old choices are still available and are the best of the best.

Sorting Options
Effectiveness Compatibility Durability Size Features By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.4
Effectiveness
98 %
Compatibility
97 %
Durability
98 %
Size
96 %
Features
98 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.09.19)
Amazon Link
$51.15
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.6
Effectiveness
97 %
Compatibility
99 %
Durability
95 %
Size
96 %
Features
96 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.09.19)
Amazon Link
$37.99
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95
Effectiveness
97 %
Compatibility
95 %
Durability
93 %
Size
94 %
Features
96 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.09.19)
Amazon Link
$2,399.99
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.6
Effectiveness
97 %
Compatibility
94 %
Durability
94 %
Size
90 %
Features
93 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.09.19)
Amazon Link
$45.99
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.4
Effectiveness
95 %
Compatibility
92 %
Durability
90 %
Size
91 %
Features
94 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.09.19)
Amazon Link
$35.99
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.2
Effectiveness
94 %
Compatibility
90 %
Durability
88 %
Size
92 %
Features
92 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.09.19)
Amazon Link
$850.27
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.6
Effectiveness
92 %
Compatibility
92 %
Durability
89 %
Size
88 %
Features
87 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.09.19)
Amazon Link
$979.00
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.2
Effectiveness
88 %
Compatibility
87 %
Durability
92 %
Size
90 %
Features
89 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.09.19)
Amazon Link
$69.99
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.4
Effectiveness
85 %
Compatibility
88 %
Durability
93 %
Size
89 %
Features
87 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.09.19)
Amazon Link
$199.00
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.6
Effectiveness
89 %
Compatibility
83 %
Durability
91 %
Size
87 %
Features
88 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.09.19)
Amazon Link
$69.95

BEST TACTICAL SCOPES REVIEWED & RATED FOR QUALITY

1. Bushnell Trophy TRS-25

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.4
Bushnell Trophy TRS-25
Amazon Link
Effectiveness
98
Compatibility
97
Durability
98
Size
96
Features
98
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$51.15
Pros:

Easily mounts on Picatinny or Weaver rails

Only weighs 6.4 ounces

This scope is waterproof, shockproof, and even fog proof

This is one of the only scopes that allows consumers to use both eyes when using the scope

Cons:

Batteries last less than a year

With a Bushnell TRS-25 in your arsenal, there is nothing you can’t hit. While the CVLIFE scope in the second position had a laser as an afterthought, the TRS-25 is close to perfection.

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Unlimited Eye Relief
This makes all the difference in the world and allows users to sight with both eyes open. In any environment, target acquisition will be quicker without sapping your awareness.

Features and Specifications
This model features amber-bright optics which allow you to see in some of the toughest conditions. Its body is made to be waterproof, shockproof and fog proof, making this the ultimate accessory for any adventurer!

Cost and Value
For the top item on the list to be low priced is a good thing, and should convince buyers trying to make a decision. Bushnell is always a safe bet on value and has great customer service.

2. CVLIFE Optics 2.5-10x40e

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.6
CVLIFE Optics 2.5-10x40e
Amazon Link
Effectiveness
97
Compatibility
99
Durability
95
Size
96
Features
96
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$37.99
Pros:

Includes 11mm and 20mm weaver dovetail mounts

Low weight despite bulkiness

The scope can zoom-in or magnify between 5 to 10 times

The scope was also designed with a 100-yard laser

Cons:

Laser feature is an afterthought

CVLIFE brings out their best in the second position. As a package deal, this is one of the better kits in the industry.

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Free Mounts
Considering how low priced this tactical scope is, for CVLIFE to include two free mounts is amazing. An 11mm and 20mm rail mount are included with purchase, and all without making the entire package expensive.

Features and Specifications
The lenses offer a powerful 5-10x magnification so you can zoom in on animals further away. For a more accurate shot, this model features 100 yards of laser distance.

Cost and Value
The price is amazing, and it would have vaulted this scope into the top spot if the laser was more useful. But with the inclusion of two free mounts, this low power scope is incredibly valuable.

3. Leupold Mark 5HD

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95
 Leupold Mark 5HD, Best Tactical Scopes
Leupold Mark 5HD, Best Tactical Scopes
Amazon Link
Effectiveness
97
Compatibility
95
Durability
93
Size
94
Features
96
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$2,399.99
Pros:

Waterproof

Audible Click Features

Optical Zoom

Easy Mounting

Cons:

Expensive

The Leupold Mark 5HD is a really high quality, precise piece of equipment. It has some really cool features like an audible click adjustment, an easy to use height adjustment tool and reticles that will zoom when you do, making sighting and aiming that much easier. But it also has an ambient light collection system that will let you stay out in the field just a bit longer and it’s built tough. A fine piece of equipment.

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High-Quality Optics
This scope is built to withstand scratching and we’re talking this glass is built to military specs so you know it’s going to stand up to a beating. We also like that the whole casing is built to be weatherproof so it should be able to take just about anything you throw at it.

Reticle System
You’re going to love all the ways you can manipulate the reticle system on this scope. It has all kinds of settings and the best thing about it is that the reticle zooms with the scope so it makes it really easy to get a solid bead on whatever you’re aiming at.

Cost and Value
This is a pricey piece of equipment but then again this is a precision tool and in this case, you do get what you pay for. Everything about this scope speaks to the quality Leupold puts into its products. From the reticles to the scratch-proof lenses, we think this is a scope well worth the money.

4. Aipa AR15

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.6
Aipa AR15
Amazon Link
Effectiveness
97
Compatibility
94
Durability
94
Size
90
Features
93
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$45.99
Pros:

Red/Green dot is fully adjusted using electronics

Buttons in place of normal hand adjustments

Built with a 33m reflex lens aperture

Great for wide-range shooting, thanks to the bulkiness and magnification

Cons:

Bulkiest model on the list

Bulkiness is usually something that people shy away from when looking for tactical scopes. Yet when enough one of a kind features is present, it is a con that can be easily forgiven.

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Fantastic Wide Range Shooting
This is where the bulkiness comes in- magnification is at 4-12x50EG, so there is nothing you’ll miss. This is the most suitable scope on the list for wide range shooting.

Features and Specifications
With a 33mm reflex lens aperture, you get a wide range of view that you just don't get with most models. The 1/4MOA audible click windage and elevation adjustments make it easy for even beginners to adjust the focus.

Cost and Value
Lingering around the mid-high price point, the electronic adjustments make this scope worth it. The value will depend heavily on if you have a weapon that can comfortably fit it.

5. CVLIFE Optics 6-24x50

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.4
CVLIFE Optics 6-24x50
Amazon Link
Effectiveness
95
Compatibility
92
Durability
90
Size
91
Features
94
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$35.99
Pros:

Great low light and night use

Fog and rainproof

Due to the design, this scope offers a parallax-free view

Cons:

Bulkier than other scopes

If you’ve seen any of the marketing for this CVLIFE scope then you’re familiar with how big a deal it is. The company narrowly beat out Nikon on this list and has proven to be some serious competition.

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It’s All In The Design
Using a spherical structure design to make both the inner and outer tubes more reliable. You’ll find this most apparent when doing adjustments to the scope.

Features and Specifications
The parallax-free view from 15 yards to infinity means you can see more, including objects closer to you. It also features red and green reticle illumination to help you make the shot in less than ideal situations.

Cost and Value
This is another one of the low price models available, so it wins on that account. Anyone considering this purchase will get well worth their value with some patience.

6. Trijicon TR23 AccuPoint

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.2
Trijicon TR23 AccuPoint, Best Tactical Scopes
Trijicon TR23 AccuPoint, Best Tactical Scopes
Amazon Link
Effectiveness
94
Compatibility
90
Durability
88
Size
92
Features
92
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$850.27
Pros:

Aluminum Housing

Waterproof

Coated Scratch-Resistant Lenses

Battery-Free Illumination

Cons:

Illumination Sometimes Doesn’t Work

The Trijicon brings a lot to the table with this scope with its high-quality lenses and its battery-free illumination system. It has a lightweight aluminum build but is plenty tough and the outer casing and lenses that are weatherproof and condensation proof. It mounts easily and will keep you out in the field well past dusk hunting whatever’s for dinner.

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Quality Lenses
Not only are the lenses scratchproof, but they also have a high-quality coating that makes them scratch resistant, glare resistant and capable of gathering all available light and so you can stay hunting even as the daylight fades.

Passive Light Collection
This ensures that you can keep hunting even as the day fades around you. We see this feature in a lot of tactical scopes but it's worth pointing them out.

Cost and Value
Not bad as cost goes for a high-quality optic like this one. You’re getting a superior aluminum housing, a water-proof, weather-proof product, and battery-free illumination. What that means for you is that you’re going to be able to spend a lot more time doing what you love best.

7. Meopta Optics

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.6
Meopta Optics, Best Tactical Scopes
Amazon Link
Effectiveness
92
Compatibility
92
Durability
89
Size
88
Features
87
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$979.00
Pros:

Long Range Magnification

Meoshield Lens Coating

Etched Glass Reticle

Second Focal Plane

Cons:

A bit Hard to Focus

This simple scope is going to be a low-cost option if you want to get out and shooting without spending too much on a riflescope. It has some great features like scratch-resistant lenses and a second focal plane that will make sure you can get a solid beat on your prey. It has solid magnification but while it does lack some of the features of the more expensive entries here it’s a sold product that we wanted to include on our list.

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Etched Glass Reticle
This reticle is etched right into the lens and that’s a feature that’s routinely only seen on really high-end scopes so the fact that we’ve got one on this Meopta speaks volumes about the quality of this product. There is some talk about these kinds of reticles being weak and untrustworthy but don’t buy it, they work just fine.

Meoshield External Lens Coating
This does a few things for you. It keeps your lens from getting scratched and it is going to help draw in all available light to give you a clear view of your target.

Cost and Value
On the low end. We’re good with this because while it doesn’t have some of the high-end features on some of our other products there’s plenty here to satisfy the most discriminating shooter.

8. AR15 4-12x50EG

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.2
AR15 4-12x50EG
Amazon Link
Effectiveness
88
Compatibility
87
Durability
92
Size
90
Features
89
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$69.99
Pros:

The red laser reaches up to 100m

Lightweight and non-bulky

This specific scope is waterproof, shockproof, and even fog proof

Cons:

Has some issues with Picatinny rail slots

AOTOP takes its products seriously, and with all of the upgraded features of this scope, it seems to have paid off. For a small price, users can get one of the better scopes in the industry without leaving a dent in their wallets.

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A Great Warranty
The company firmly stands behind this scope and offers an 18-month warranty. That’s six months more than the leading brands on the market.

Features and Specifications
This scope was designed to be waterproof, shockproof and fog proof, allowing you to take it through the toughest environments. The red/green multi-X 5 level reticles give you clear shots no matter what the lighting may be.

Cost and Value
AOTOP priced this scope in the low-mid price range so it’s the most affordable high-end scope you can get. With the right mount, it will be the best accessory you can purchase for your weapon.

9. Vortex 4-12×40

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.4
Vortex 4-12×40
Amazon Link
Effectiveness
85
Compatibility
88
Durability
93
Size
89
Features
87
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$199.00
Pros:

Will be in your arsenal for years due to heavy construction

Solid 4-12×40 performance on all applicable weapons

This scope includes a Precision-Glide Erector System

Great for any weather environment

Cons:

Longer ranges can get a bit blurry

The Diamondback is built tough for customers that tend to ding up their equipment. You can count on this model to still be around even years after the original purchase.

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Built To Resist The Elements
Built from aircraft-grade aluminum, it can not only handle heavy use but is also resistant to recoil from a magnum. The Diamondback is also waterproof and fog proof for superior all-weather performance.

Features and Specifications
The precision-glide erector system, allows you to easily and quickly attach or detach your scope whenever the need arises. It also features a dead-HOLD BDC reticle which gives you precise aiming every time.

Cost and Value
Sitting at the midrange price, buyers will feel comfortable using this as a long-term scope. And with a little ingenuity, the few flaws it has can be fixed by the user.

10. Monstrum 3-9×32

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.6
Monstrum 3-9×32
Amazon Link
Effectiveness
89
Compatibility
83
Durability
91
Size
87
Features
88
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$69.95
Pros:

Picatinny and Weaver rail ready

Lens cap and battery included

This product comes with something knowing as reticle illumination, which helps maximize visibility

Cons:

Customer service is below average

When a customer shows off their Monstrum Tactical equipment, it is always with pride. Available in both black and flat dark earth, there is a lot to appreciate about the way this tactical scope was made.

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Great Brightness Levels
The reticle illumination on this product comes in 5 brightness levels so that you can get adjusted pretty quickly. There is less to worry about when in specific environments and more room for sight comfort when needed.

Features and Specifications
This model provides you with 3-9 times magnifications with an illuminated reticle to ensure that you can see clearly no matter what the light situation may be. It is made from aircraft-grade 6061 aluminum scope body to ensure incredible durability.

Cost and Value
At the low price, the scope is being offered, you can’t really go wrong. But if you’re a beginner, be wary of the customer support that won’t be much help if a technical issue arises.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Effectiveness

One positive is that you don't have to be a scope expert to purchase, own and use one. It doesn’t take too much to get the feel of how a scope and hunting optics operate. However, tactical scopes can be fairly complex, so there are a few things that you should know going into your purchase. An understanding of how the systems work can only benefit you and your performance. Here are a handful of critical things to consider before purchasing a tactical scope:

Tube Diameter
The tube diameter on your scope affects the weight. Over the past few years, a larger tube has become more popular because it has larger inner components that better manage light. However, larger size equals heavier weight. If you are hunting in an area that requires more movement or hiking, look into 1-inch scope models.

First Focal Plane Options
An FFP scope, or first focal plane scope, arranges the reticle and the target lenses of the optical system so that they are affected equally when the magnification changes. Deciding whether this type of scope is right for you depends on a handful of factors.

But when it comes to purchasing an FFP scope, your budget might be the driving decision. They can be considerably higher priced than other models. Also, if you are looking for more flexibility or looking for a scope that can be moved from one rifle to another, a second focal plane scope may suit you better than an FFP.

Compatibility

Picatinny and Weaver mounts are going to be the two supported options once you get a new scope. Before deciding on a scope for your gun, make sure that it supports your current mount.

While the profile of both systems is almost identical, the difference between the placements of the recoil grooves leads the customer to prefer one over the other. Then there are also customers that purchase their gun without any knowledge of the mounts, only to find out later that the scope they bought is incompatible.

Because of the similarities between the two, a lot of scope manufacturers support both out of the box. Consider this a benefit in case you want to switch sometime in the future and don’t want to buy new equipment all over again.

Durability

Durability is always going to be questionable since their most important parts are also the easiest to break. Once the glass on one breaks, then a lot of things break down right after it. This includes fog protection, clarity, and even the reticle accuracy if there is a crack across it.

So once the glass goes, the scope needs to have its warranty called in or you need to buy a new one. It wouldn’t have been fair to order the list based on durability since that is more of a user care issue. Taking proper care of your scope will guarantee the glass to be in top condition years after you purchase it.

The only time durability was a big factor on the list is when comparing the hardiness of the materials enclosing the lens. Sometimes having a little extra protection on the outside keeps the knobs/dials on the scope from getting too much wear on it from repeated use. So only in specific circumstances in the top ten was durability a major factor in determining the position of a scope.

Size

We wanted to offer choices on the list that had good eye relief and weren’t too bulky, so the lighter options are closer to the top than the bottom. A heavy scope can throw off your aim by a lot, and when you factor in recoil it can lead to faster fatigue while using. Wrist fatigue is a real thing, so a bipod can be helpful in that situation.

Bulky scopes are a different situation altogether, and they throw off the balance of a gun when you’re trying to focus. Unfortunately, a bipod can’t help curb the disadvantages of using a bulky scope. Users that ‘use too much scope’ will also notice that the larger lens is not as friendly for fast shooting as a smaller model.

Even if it offers high magnification, you’re sacrificing a lot more to take advantage of that extra real estate than it is worth. With some bulky scopes, the tradeoff can be worth it if you need a killer feature not available on another model. But more than likely you can find the same features on easier to manage scopes that aren’t half the size of your gun.

Features

When grouping the picks based on features, BDC dials took greater priority over BDC reticles. This is due to the many options available for the dials that can’t be imitated with a reticle. The list was organized so that if a scope with similar features but different BDC technologies was offered, the BDC dial version would get top billing. That doesn’t mean that BDC reticles are pushed far down the list, as you’ll notice they have a prominent position in the top ten.

This just goes to show that although BDC dials offer more customization, the reticles are still the standard and their scopes continue to offer a larger set of features than their dial counterparts. There are also a lot more choices to go through when comparing BDC reticle models, which is an added benefit even if they lack customizations. Still, there is even a higher upside to owning both and enjoying the benefits that they offer professionals, hunters, and hobbyists.

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expert tips icon
Get A Lens Cap!

For all tactical scopes that don’t come with a lens cap, make sure to purchase one. If the glass gets scratched or damaged in any way then it loses a lot of its effectiveness. Treat tactical scopes like you would any good high-end camera. Keep it free of dust, and if there are electrical components make sure to take the batteries out if sitting for long periods of time.

Avoid Over Adjusting

Over-adjustment can cause more perception issues with rifle scopes than any other issue you may run into. A great way to prevent this is to simply avoid over-adjustments altogether. Having a scope with a lot of internal adjustment seems like a great thing, however, it can make for poor mounting technique. Bore-sighting is a common service that tends to crank the turrets into place without keeping track of adjustments. The best outcome of this is that the scope might not be as clear as it should be and the worst case is that it cannot function at all. If you can opt for a live-fire sight-in if you can.

Choose Reticle Wisely

Both hunters and shooter are drawn to the easy use and accuracy of ballistic reticles that match the round used in the field, however, this can lead to a lot of confusion regarding reticles and their capabilities. Because of this confusion, it pays to educate yourself. The Mil-Dot reticle, or a ballistic reticle, is designed around the ballistic curve of a given round, which makes it best as a range-finding reticle. The first thing is first: figure out what exactly you want the scope to do for you and your gun and understand what the implications are of your choice of reticle before diving in.

Other Factors to Consider

Protection

Not all of the scopes on the list come with caps that protect the lens, and since it is easy to purchase them on your own, we didn’t give priority to the models that offered them out of the box. Protection of the lens should be your top priority, so if a model on the list doesn’t provide it, get the size needed from the manufacturer or from a third party that sells quality covers.

An included cover doesn’t improve the overall quality, nor does it give it better value than a scope that doesn’t include one. Even flip covers can be purchased for a low price, and in many ways are more advantageous than flip covers that can’t be removed from a scope. Now where some decisions were made on placement came when scope cases were introduced.

Although rare, some companies offer cases for your scope just in case you handle multiple scopes per trip. This isn’t common, and usually, once a scope is attached it is rarely removed. But for the people that swap scopes out on a consistent basis, having a scope case that fits your specific model is like hunting a needle in a haystack. It’s not a common need, so the rarity of these cases and their quality are always in question. Even for non-conventional uses, having the case handy so you can store your accessories for a long trip is a great option to have.

Value

Sometimes things can go wrong during the ownership period with your scope, and that is where having a company with top-tier support can make a big difference in who you purchase from. With a little bit of luck, it will be a problem that occurs within your warranty. Like other products that depend primarily on optics quality, a scope needs to be immediately served when the glass becomes an issue.

Letting a small problem linger with the lens can turn into something big, and ultimately something with a slower turnaround period. Big companies like Nikon and Bushnell are regarded as having the best support and warranty programs available. Their warranties are ironclad, their support is fast, and most of all they are dependable when it comes to customer service. Bad service in this area can turn customers away, and it was a huge factor in how we ordered the list.

Some scopes with incredible features were left off the list due to a company’s bad reputation for support. And when a very strict warranty was imposed on a scope, it led to red flags that also kept some key products off the list. Finding that balance between a quality scope, support and warranty was hard but well worth the effort. It’s always nice to be able to depend on a company when your top accessory is giving you a little bit of a problem.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: Is a bulky scope a bad purchase?

a:

It depends on your weapon of choice and what you’re looking to do with it. Some of the bulkier models on this best tactical scopes list provide some great sighting features that can’t be found on smaller models.

q: When should you change batteries?

a:

Lithium batteries are used for the majority of scopes on the list that requires them. Some are rechargeable, but most are single-use. The good news is that they last for years, and in many cases will last the lifetime of the device.

A commonly used battery in scopes is the CR2032 and can be found everywhere. If your scope doesn’t come with a low battery indicator and you notice essential functions like brightness starting to slow down, then you can always swap out the battery with a newer one. It’s rare that you’ll do this often, so there is no need to have a backup battery on hand.

q: How durable are tactical scopes?

a:

Extremely tough, and some of them are even made from military-grade material. They will turn out to be one of the hardest to break accessories you purchase.

q: How important is the glass?

a:

The glass is the engine of the scope, and without quality glass, you will face a lot of problems when trying to get the most out of your purchase. A common rule of thumb is that more magnification is not always beneficial, and can also be a good way to spot cheap glass.

When you say an inordinately high magnification number on a very cheap scope, then chances are the glass is not up to the standard of quality products. A good glass gives a performance advantage for both short-range and long-range shooting. You’ll also find that it is quicker to target with a good glass than a low-quality one.

q: Is changing the reticle possible?

a:

Yes, but isn’t cost-effective. Most scopes have nitrogen sealed tubes to prevent fogging, while also offering other improvements. The reason a buyer would want to change the reticle could be many reasons, from small things like changing the crosshairs to wanting a reticle with more clarity.

Whatever the reason, the cost is going to exceed that of buying the scope in the first place. This is a professional job that will void the warranty if you outsource it, so great care is needed to complete the process. Very few companies offer this service, but when they do it will be covered under your warranty. The easier thing to do would be to buy a scope with the reticle that fits your needs the most, and then work your way down to the other features.

q: Are batteries easy to locate?

a:

You won’t have a hard time finding replaceable batteries for scopes since they aren’t proprietary or rare. A lot of the scopes on the list use the same kind of battery, and for those that stray away from the norm, the company usually makes the power save setting so strict that the batteries almost last a lifetime. Even when they run out, a quick trip to the store will have you up and running in no time. The only downside to batteries is that some models included the compartment as an afterthought, so getting it off to replace can be kind of a pain.

q: How hard is it to zero a scope?

a:

There are some scopes that are easier to zero in than others, but that doesn’t automatically make them the best choice. A scope is measured by how it holds zero rather than how easy it is to set it. Having to constantly zero in your scope can really take you out of the experience, and if you own multiple weapons it can be a time assuming affair. When looking for scopes that will hold form the best, it all starts with the base and rings. This is an important step that works with a high-quality mount to ensure the smoothest experience possible.

q: What is multi-coating and why does it matter?

a:

The best way to look at multi-coating is to think of it an anti-reflective layer. It is applied to the inside and outside of the lens to provide the best effect. When it is done properly, it minimizes reflections so that you get crisper visuals. There are different levels of multi-coating, so having it applied doesn’t always mean that clarity will be guaranteed.

The best way to guarantee top quality is to check out the specific wording with these types of lens. You always want fully multi-coated lens first, and then other variations like fully coated or multi-coated. It’s a slight wordplay that separates the good products from the great products on the list.

q: Should you get a cleaning kit?

a:

Cleaning kits of varying sizes are offered for scopes, and in every way are worth the money companies charge for them. But what is found in the kits can be found around the house, and a lot of the scopes on the list come with a microfiber cloth that does the job just fine. So unless you’re getting an unusual amount of dirt on the scope, the microfiber cloth will do the trick just fine.

q: Can home repairs be done?

a:

Not by the average user, and it isn’t beneficial unless you are applying a specific modification that can’t be found on a mainstream scope. The problem with home repairs is that it invalidates the warranty, and the second part is that repairing a scope is expensive.

Even if a product is out of warranty and you want to squeeze out a few extra years, it would be more cost-effective to purchase a brand new tactical scope than to repair your old one. With all of the options available with the scopes on the list, there are plenty of reasons to go shopping for a replacement.

q: How should a scope be stored?

a:

With the glass being the most important part of the scope, storage when not in use is important to maintain its integrity. That means using lens caps when available and not putting anything heavy on top of it for long periods of time.

If you notice your lens fogging up after long periods of storage, then call in your warranty so it can be repaired. Be aware of your lens size so that caps can be purchased if they aren’t provided with the scope. This should be your top priority when making a scope purchase, with a strong consideration for a scope case if you don’t plan on keeping it mounted when not in use.

q: Are BDC dials available for purchase?

a:

For select scopes that don’t have BDC reticles, BDC dials are available. They are more consistent and provide a better overall experience for the shooter. Some companies even off custom BDC dials that fit your preferred shooting style.

All of this comes down to personal preference, so buyers that want more customizability with their scope will always go with a model that offers custom BDC dials. On the plus side, when speed is required nothing beats a BDC reticle. Having the option for both is possible for the buyer that wants the best of both worlds and wants to have the option of switching. It’s an extra expense that is worth the dollars required to get the setup you want.

Sources

  1. Tim, Sniper Rifle, Hunting Blog
  2. David Fortier , Shooting Times, Gun Site