Best Tactical Rifle Scope Reviews of 2018 & Buying Guide
Buying a rifle scope can be quite an experience, even when you’re just looking for a typical scope for an everyday rifle. Unfortunately, buying a scope for a tactical rifleuser can be even more of a task, because your selection is limited to a much smaller range of products made for this specific reason.
Still, there are resources out there to help take some of the stress off your shoulders. Fortunately for you – we are one of those resources! We’ve compiled a buying guide for tactical rifle scopes and done some comprehensive research to figure out the best five rifle scopes that you can buy today.
What makes a good tactical rifle scope?
Buying a tactical rifle scope leaves you with a few options. You can buy a high end rifle scope if you’ve got the finances, but budget tactical scopes aren’t the most common occurrence in today’s market. Still, we’ve isolated this information for those with a more tactical mindset who want to figure out the best air rifle scopes for their needs.
Naturally, the first thing you’ll want to do is consider your needs. Are you…
Regardless of the type of use you’re going to get out of it, you’re going to need to assess some details as well.
All these things are important to consider because there’s no such thing as a one-fits-all tactical scope. Each one comes with their own benefits and their own detriments, and you need to completely assess your shooting style and understand your weapon before hoping to make a relevant purchase.
Types of scopes
Your first major decision is as to whether you need a fixed or variable scope.
This is why you should assess how far you’re going to be shooting. However, you might not need as much magnification as you’d think.
For those of us who plan to shoot in times other than bright daylight – which is a lot of us – it’s important to take into play the exit pupil size.
A good exit pupil allows you to find and identify whatever targets you’re seeking out in your range. In low light, you generally want to have an exit pupil of something near 6mm.
To figure it out, divide the diameter of the objective lens by the magnification – for example, a 40mm objective lens in a scope that’s set to a level of 10x magnification will give you a 4mm exit pupil, which isn’t optimal for low light. If you lower the magnification by half however, you get an exit of 8mm.
You typically have a choice between a 1 inch, 30mm, 34mm, and 35mm tube. The bigger the tube, the more adjustment it will most likely be able to provide. Unfortunately, this also means it’s going to be heavier which will offset your balance and could impede accuracy.
A 30mm tube is considered the best for general use and provides the best balance of feature and function.
You want your adjustment turrets to be clearly indicated, to make clear noises when you make any adjustments so you can be mentally aware of what you’re doing, and situated in a position that makes them easy to access on the fly.
Making the best decision
It’s important that you evaluate your needs, your intentions, and your level of skill before making a purchase. Once you’ve determined the sort of specifications you’re looking for, you may be able to think of a scope that already works for you.
Don’t leave yet, though. We’ve compiled a list of what we found to be the best tactical rifle scopes on the market right now. They combine a great balance of function, form and fashion and can be used in a ton of versatile situations. Look at these before you make a final decision.
Top 4 Best Tactical Rifle Scope Reviews
1.Burris XTR II 3X-15X-50mm Illuminated FFP G2B Mil-Dot Reticle Riflescope Review
The Burris XTR was one of the best purely tactical scopes on the market, and now the reliable and well known company has outdone themselves by refining the scope, upgrading it and providing a much slicker, more effective version – the XTR II.
It’s not a cheap model but that’s because it’s designed for serious, long range shooters who need precise aim and clarity of sight.
It’s a hefty(ish) model coming it around two pounds with a solid 34mm tube. Many of the internal parts are oversized for increased stability, as well as the tube being quite solid – adds a couple ounces, adds a couple years of reliability.
The eyepiece has a quick focus adjustment (though it tends to be a bit stiff.) Fortunately this means it won’t shift out of place after you make any adjustments, though! These, along with tactically designed reticles, ensure that you can hit targets at long range without losing any of your accuracy. This scope’s developed for low light compensation so you can use it 24/7, it’s got spring loaded shock protection and a vibration resistant body.
2.NightForce ATACR 4-16x42mm F1 ZeroHold .250 MOA DigIllum PTL MOAR Review
Nightforce has long since evolved from an intermediate contender in the scope world to one of the most reliable and efficient producers of both tactical and competition shooting.
One of the issues with NightForce scopes that people have complained about(even in glaringly positive reviews) is that their entire eyepiece rotates when adjusting the power which makes it annoying to use standard scope caps. However this discrepancy comes with the added bonus of more durability and a fewer part count! Aside from that it comes with its own customized flip cap cover lens so unless you’re overly attached to your own lens cover this won’t be much issue.
It’s got a 34mm tube with 3 and a half inches of eye relief. It’s a heavy beast shipping at 3.3 pounds altogether but it’s super durable and will last you a long time. The scope offers great optics and has been revered for working even with shooters who have bad eyesight.
3. Bushnell Elite Tactical DMR 3.5-21x 50mm G2 FFP Reticle Riflescope Review
Bushnell was never known for being developers of tactical rifle scopes in years past. They were also never known for building cheap products – but that sure hasn’t changed. The elite tactical DMR is a prime example of Bushnell’s desire to continue innovating, providing quality products, and gouging your wallet. (It’s worth it.)
The scope comes packaged with the regular instructions and a warranty, as well as a sunshade. This is one of their most respected elite models, and it offers quite a lot. The magnification can be adjusted from 3.5 to 21x and there’s a whopping 50mm objective lens so you’ll have no problem blasting targets that are really far a way.
There’s a rainguard coating to protect your viewpoint in dangerous weather or storms, and while it has awesome ability for long range shooting that doesn’t compromise its ability to target things close to you. The scope itself isn’t terribly long though it does carry a lot of weight to it (go figure, it’s got a 34mm tube – purged with argon!)
The whole device was developed by military and law enforcement professionals so you can be sure that the best minds in the business went towards the DMR’s creation.
4. Hensoldt ZF 4-16×56 FF Matte Black Riflescope Review
You might have heard of the brand Zeiss – they’re known for developing quality rifle scopes with an assurance of durability and function. Guess what? Zeiss has a military division and its known as Hensoldt
This is a top-of-the-line military and law enforcement scope that’s quite possibly the best you can get. It’s so high tech that even when ordering it on Amazon you have to go through their special sellers, and it’s going to cost you an arm and a leg. Here’s why:
- Attractive design that fits a 34mm scope over most rifles with elegance
- Large knobs for adjustments with deep turrets that stay in place when you switch them and make a nice loud click to let you know you’ve made the switch
- Elevation and Windage knobs each go up to 120 clicks
- Fully adjustable illuminated reticle with a setting that allows for continuous rotating adjustment
- Knobs all have different sizes and textures so they can be easily memorized
- Uses US army standard parts so quality is assured
There’s enough about this scope alone to probably fill an entire article but rest assured that you’re getting your money’s worth (all three grand of it) if you’re able to find one in stock.
So which one wins?
For pure function, of course, the Hensoldt ZF blows everything else away (ha.) It’s got more technology jammed into it than any of these scopes and quite possibly two or more combined and it’s made with military standard materials so you know it’s going to last a long time.