Are you looking for the best tactical scope that can match your rifle and shooting needs? We have selected and reviewed some of top tactical scopes in the market to make your search easier.
Continue reading to find out more…
Finding and choosing a good tactical rifle scope for your specific needs might be a difficult task for you as a newbie or professional shooter because there are so many rifle scopes out there to choose from.
Aside from the numerous options out there, another reason you might get confused is due to the fact that you want to get a high-quality optic that can offer you precision, durability, dependability, and repeatability.
Finding all these features in a single optic is not an easy task; the only easy way out is if you’re willing to break the bank to get the most expensive tactical scope, which may be out of reach for many shooters. Also, you are not guaranteed full satisfaction from this kind of scope because it might have all the best features of a tactical scope and still not match your specific need.
The only exceptions are experts and survivalists whose lives depend on having a perfect tactical scope. If you fall into this category, you should be ready to spend considerably more on getting a tactical scope.
Anyone seeking a high-quality tactical sight within their budget has lots of options. Before we go into the options, we need to understand some things that make a scope tactical.
- How Can You Spot A Tactical Scope?
- What are tactical scopes?
- Tactical Scopes: How Do They Work?
- What Qualities Define a Good Tactical Scope?
- How much magnification do you require?
- What is the distinction between a hunting and tactical scope?
- What is the distinction between a target and tactical scope?
- Buying a tactical scope: Factors to consider
- Is a Red Dot Sight or Laser Sight Required?
- Best Tactical Scope Review
- 1. Vortex Optics Viper 5-25×50 PST Gen II Scope
- 2. NightForce NXS 5.5-22×50 Tactical Scope
- 3. Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 4-24×50 Scope
- 4. Leupold Mark 6 3-18x44mm FFP Scope
- 5. Trijicon AccuPoint 5-20×50 Tactical Scope
- 6. Vortex Razor Gen II
- 7. Nightforce ATACR 7-35x56mm Scope
- 8. Vortex Optics Diamondback Tactical 6-24×50 FFP Riflescope
- 9. Athlon Optics 6-24×50 Tactical Riflescope
- 10. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 6-24×50
How Can You Spot A Tactical Scope?
One of the major features that makes a scope tactical is that it has a tactical or exposed turret. But there are others.
You can call a scope tactical if it fits the following criteria:
- 5x to 30x magnification
- Uncapped turrets
- Illuminated reticle
- One-centimeter clicks
- First focal plane reticle
- And a zero stop on more costly models
Here are our top 10 best rifle scope for tactical shooting
- Vortex Optics Viper 5-25×50 PST Gen II Scope
- NightForce NXS 5.5-22×50 Tactical Scope
- Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 4-24×50 Scope
- Leupold Mark 6 3-18x44mm Tactical Scope
- Trijicon AccuPoint 5-20×50 Tactical Scope
- Vortex Razor Gen II
- Nightforce ATACR 7-35x56mm Scope
- Vortex Optics Diamondback Tactical 6-24×50 FFP Riflescope
- Athlon Optics 6-24×50 Tactical Riflescope
- Vortex Optics Crossfire II 6-24×50
What are tactical scopes?
Tactical scopes are usually connected to military use. A good tactical scope is distinguished by its magnification range, which allows the shooter to extend his range far further than normal eyesight.
The tactical scopes feature exceptional accuracy, allowing you to sight targets from a long distance away. The target image will become more visible to the eyes when you adjust the scope which allows you to see it clearly even from 1000 yards away. The goal here is to strike the target and perfect this shooting accuracy by shooting a live game.
When used correctly, a decent tactical scope may greatly enhance your target shooting skills, making it an excellent addition to your personal target shooting activities.
Tactical scopes have varying lengths, distances, prices, and brands. However, the user must always pick which brand and features best meets his demands.
Tactical Scopes: How Do They Work?
Tactical scopes are used as an addition to a rifle. They work like every other firearm optic. In a way, it is a long-range scope, and it magnifies a target at a distance, bringing it closer to the shooter’s eyes.
To get the most out of your tactical scope, you must adjust it with respect to the distance between you and the target. Some experts recommend having your scope adjusted before the shooting event. This will help guarantee accuracy when you finally set out on the shooting adventure. With a properly adjusted or zeroed scope, the wind and other elements will have little or no impact on the trajectory of the bullet.
You can find out more about HOW TO SIGHT A RIFLESCOPE.
A tactical riflescope has three adjustment settings in total. You can use the knobs to fine-tune the scope. Every turn produces a click sound, indicating an increase for each adjustment. Aim at a target by looking through the eyepiece.
Increase the magnification level of the scope until you can clearly see your target. Tactical scopes have a mark known as crosshairs reticles. These are lines seen in the viewfinder, and they are found on the horizontal and vertical axis. These lines show how far the target is with respect to the center.
What Qualities Define a Good Tactical Scope?
A superb tactical scope is one that allows you to clearly see and shoot a target. A quality tactical optic allows you to focus quickly without having to fiddle with the adjustments too much. A top-notch tactical scope features the fundamental technologies you’ll need for shooting. Despite technical improvement, tactical scope materials and adjusting mechanisms have gotten increasingly sophisticated.
With all these complexities, it is critical to remember that the top rated tactical scope is one that fits flawlessly with your firearm. This scope must be simple to operate and have the appropriate magnification for your shooting range requirements.
A good tac scope should be built of long-lasting materials. Some shooters choose weatherproof scopes so that the weather would not restrict them. A great tac scope for some shooters is one that has a clear viewfinder, easy to adjust, and is resistant to glare so that you can see well from a long distance.
How much magnification do you require?
One of the most crucial factors to consider when purchasing a tac scope is magnification. Remember that the target size does not change, it is the perspective that does.
Almost every sight has a standard designation which would appear as 3-9×40. Take note that the magnification is written as 3-9, which means that it can be adjusted. A scope could also have a 9×40 designation. In this case, it is a fixed magnification. Usually, fixed magnification scopes are more durable than adjustable magnification scopes. The drawback of fixed scopes is that you are locked with just that magnification.
A variable magnification scope is better for tactical situations because the target distance would vary for every shot. Most tactical scopes come with magnifications ranging from 4x – 25x, making them suitable for distances of 1000 yards or greater.
What is the distinction between a hunting and tactical scope?
A hunting riflescope is a scope made specifically for hunting, but a tactical scope is designed for use in any critical or tactical situation. Hunting scopes have a lower magnification range, allowing hunters to use them in low light settings. A tactical scope, on the other hand, has a magnification range that is on the higher end of the magnification scale.
Turrets and reticle location on tactical scopes and hunting scopes
Most hunting scopes have a second focal plane reticle because of the short-distance shooting they are used for; on the other hand, tactical scopes have a first focal plane reticle because they deal with more distant targets.
Hunting scope turrets are usually capped low-profile turrets because they are not used often, but tactical turrets are uncapped because they are used often.
What is the distinction between a target and tactical scope?
As previously stated, the tactical scope’s function is to help a shooter in tactical circumstances, while target scopes are intended for precision shooting. A target scope has a higher magnification than a tactical scope.
Target scope and Tactical scope reticle location
A tactical scope has a first focal plane reticle, whereas target scopes have a second focal reticle. Tactical riflescopes are only ideal for tactical shooting due to their features (the major one is the FFP reticle).
Read more about FFP and SFP reticle
Buying a tactical scope: Factors to consider
Before purchasing your tactical optics, there are various factors to consider. These include the lens and its coating, the material used for durability, and price. Let’s look at some of the factors in detail.
Before purchasing a tactical scope, examine the firearm you will be using. Your sight should perfectly match the size of the gun. Any optic that is smaller or larger than the rifle may have an impact on your shooting. And it might not even fit the tactical rifle, so you will not be able to mount it.
It is also good that you check the lens coating on your scope. Lens coating can help decrease glare, especially when shooting in direct sunlight. It also protects your lens from scratches. Multi-coated lenses improve clarity and anti-glare performance. A nicely coated lens will allow more light transmission. You can go for a single or completely coated lens.
As previously stated, the reticle is a crosshair symbol that appears on the viewfinder when you gaze through the scope. Choosing the right reticle may go a long way in enhancing your shots. Some reticles are circles, while others are dots or other symbols. It is critical to select a reticle that would be easy to read and identify even at 1,000 yards.
Tactical scopes feature many types of adjustments. When you want to adjust for wind, you’ll turn the knob at the right side and the one at the top when you want to adjust for a drop. If you’re new to tactical shooting, then a capped adjustment will suffice. Exposed turret adjustments are used in other sophisticated tactical scopes. You may alter the elevation and windage before shooting with your turret adjustment knobs.
Eye relief refers to how far you distance your eye from a scope to achieve optimal alignment. Your eye must be comfortably positioned to take a more accurate shot. You might not get a clear view if you do not align properly. When buying a tactical scope, it must have a good eye relief so that you can reduce the strain on your eyes.
Convenience and simplicity
Aside from pricing, shooters think about simplicity and ease of operation. You will not be able to fire precisely and accurately if you’re not comfortable with the optics you are using.
How Important Is Brightness?
Brightness is not a big deal if you’re usually shooting during the day. However, most hunters will set out at daybreak and maybe stay until nightfall. When illumination is limited, the brightness adjustment on a scope may make a significant impact. Most of the finest scopes we reviewed here feature various brightness levels for you to pick from, enabling you to see the reticle in low light circumstances.
Finally, some scopes have night vision capabilities, and others do not. While this greatly improves visibility at night, be cautious to verify local rules and regulations before hunting or target shooting at night.
The pricing is the final consideration. If you want to get a sight for leisure shooting, it doesn’t have to be expensive. There are tac scopes that are inexpensive and of great quality.
Is a Red Dot Sight or Laser Sight Required?
If you want to engage in close-range shooting, then a red dot sight and a laser sight will make things easier. So, whether you’re a beginner or want to rapidly identify a target, a laser or red dot sight might be an excellent alternative.
However, if you start shooting farther targets, you’ll need to learn how to use a standard scope.
Best Tactical Scope Review
1. Vortex Optics Viper 5-25×50 PST Gen II Scope
The first scope we would consider on our list of best tactical scope is the Vortex Viper scope. This scope has raised the bar as a result of its outstanding performance and solid features. Users who crank their turrets often to adjust for wind correction will love the laser etched turrets of this scope. The reticle provides extremely functional and detailed hold points while remaining uncluttered.
What is it that makes this Vortex Viper scope the number one among the most popular tac scopes on the market? The answer is simple; the reticle is one of the best features in this scope.
The Vortex PST scope features a highly intuitive reticle with precise hold points, and it is not cluttered. The scope has exceptionally clear glass, which sets it apart from the competition. It provides shooters with an excellent visibility for long range shooting.
Another feature that a good tactical scope must be able to offer a shooter is a smooth and fast target transition. With this Vortex Viper scope, transitioning or switching between targets is quick and simple. This scope also has a great light transmission capacity – many scopes may struggle to gather enough light to illuminate a distant object you want to target.
When you’re looking at a thick and dark vegetation, and you need every single brightness the scope can gather, the Vortex Viper delivers in this situation. Other scopes may not be able to distinguish targets beyond 200 yards, especially when contrasted with a bright or extremely dark background.
Targets in lighted environments (such as wide open fields) were simple to sight, and so also were targets in dark backgrounds and thick vegetation. This makes the Viper PST an excellent hunting scope for all lighting conditions.
This Vortex scope has stunningly transparent glasses, and the image is bright and clear at various magnifications. The scope has Armortek coatings that protect the lenses from oil, scratches, and dirt. This optic is argon purged, and O-ring sealed, making it fog proof and waterproof. The one-piece, aircraft-quality aluminum construction also ensures its durability.
The downside of this scope are that some users would have preferred additional eye relief, and the windage screws may also give a shooter some trouble when the scope is still new because it would be a little fickle.
2. NightForce NXS 5.5-22×50 Tactical Scope
The next most popular tactical rifle scope is this NightForce NXS model. It is not just one of the most popular tactical scopes on the market, but it provides everything a professional shooter requires.
This scope is an embodiment of quality construction and can be used in any setting.
An experienced tactical shooter will not be bothered about the product’s quality, toughness, and ability to work in any condition. This is because the scope’s design was focused on the demands of the United States Military. They needed an optic that could withstand everything thrown at it and yet perform across long firing ranges. This high-quality optic was the solution.
This NightForce optic has a variable magnification range of 5.5 to 22x. It comes with an objective lens diameter of 50mm and a 30mm tube.
It measures about 15.1 inches in total length and 6.6 inches in mounting length. Having the Nightforce Optics on your rifle means you are adding 31 ounces to the weight of your firearm. The scope has a high-quality Second focal plane reticle, and it offers a click adjustment value of .250 MOA.
The Nightforce Optics has a total adjustment range of 100 MOA in elevation and 60 MOA Windage adjustment with a ZeroStop function, The parallax of this scope is fixed at a range of 50 yards – infinity. The field of vision at 100 yards varies between 4.7 and 17.5 feet. The exit pupil range is from 9.1mm – 2.3mm, and it had a fairly good eye relief of 3.7 inches.
The scope can be relied upon because of its long-range shooting accuracy. This high-quality optic is not meant for just any shooter or short-range shooting; rather, it was designed with serious, proficient long-range shooters in mind.
How far can it get? With this tactical scope, highly trained sharpshooters can strike targets up to 2,000 yards without missing!
The Nightforce Optics has excellent resolution all the way up to its maximum magnification and can handle even the biggest calibers. You will get enhanced clarity whether you utilize it during the day or at night. This is due to the fact that the scope has a high-quality illuminated reticle. There are several options for this illuminated reticle scope. All of them are glass-etched and fit inside the Second focal plane scope.
Other noteworthy characteristics are the Hi-Speed turret mechanism with the previously mentioned ZeroSet. These features enable quick adjustments, zero reset, and audible-click, finger-adjustable, gloves-on turrets.
The scope is as strong and durable as tactical riflescopes should be, so it will last for a long time. The multiple-illuminated reticle option is another perk.
There are several other proven beneficial characteristics of this scope aside from its Long-distance precision and other features we mentioned here.
Some of the downsides of this scope are that it is a significantly expensive optic (but it is worth the cost). For inexperienced shooters, this scope may be difficult to handle, and it is also somewhat heavy.
3. Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 4-24×50 Scope
Want to extend your reach beyond 500 yards shooting distance? Then you have to get an optic that is a little more sophisticated in terms of magnification, something with a bit more power. The Vortex Strike Eagle scope is the answer.
Long-distance riflescopes are normally anything in the range of 5-25x, and this 4-24x Vortex scope matches that range. The Strike Eagle scope is my favorite cheap scope, and I am glad that I can always get excellent results while sighting with this scope. Asides from the affordability of this scope, you will also get Vortex’s fantastic and completely transferable lifetime guarantee.
Because the Strike Eagle optic is a second focal plane scope, the reticle remains constant in size as you increase or reduce magnification. The thickness of the reticle is ideal; it is not too thin or too thick and will not obstruct your image while aiming at your targets.
The eye relief of the Vortex Strike Eagle is about 3.5 inches and this is enough for your tactical shooting unless you’re using heavy recoil bullets. And the eye box of the scope is okay. However, you have to work a bit more to get your eyes in the appropriate location at maximum magnification.
One of the features that make this scope a tactical optic is the turret adjustments. The elevation adjustment knob was difficult to move initially, and the feel needs to be improved. The scope has a streamlined parallax adjustment knob, and it comes with 11 brightness settings illumination that is powered by a CR2032 battery.
The scope is a single-piece 30mm main tube that is ruggedly built and can withstand the impact of recoil. The nitrogen purging and O-ring seal of the Strike Eagle scope deliver a fog proof and waterproof performance.
4. Leupold Mark 6 3-18x44mm FFP Scope
The next tactical riflescope model we would consider in this scope review is the Leupold Mark 6. Having said that, Leupold is known for producing high-quality lenses, and this Mark 6 variant proves it.
Leupold has been manufacturing riflescopes for decades. This should instantly pass a message to you as a shooter that they understand the quality and functionality necessary to achieve and meet the most demanding requirements.
The Mark 6 scope has a variable magnification range of 3-18x. The adjustable objective lens of 44mm and the 34mm tube diameter all contribute to the excellent light transmission through the scope. This scope was designed, manufactured, and assembled in the United States, and it meets the standard specifications. The scope is 11.9 inches long and weighs about 23.6 ounces.
At 100 yards, the linear field of vision ranges from 36.8 to 6.3 feet, with eye relief ranging from 3.9 to 3.8 inches.
This very durable optic features a sleek, long-lasting matte surface and is completely fog proof, shockproof and waterproof. It also includes M5C2 turrets and a Front Focal TMR reticle. These turrets will always lock at zero position.
This First Focal Plane reticle from Leupold works excellently for mid to long ranges. It also facilitates range estimation at all magnification levels. As a tactical shooter or hunter, you will benefit from the extra 30 minutes of illumination in low light shooting hours. This is a result of the Twilight Max HD Light Management technology, which is proprietary to Leupold. The scope also features glare reduction and edge-to-edge High Definition lens clarity.
Since you might find yourself in severe, demanding settings, the lenses of this scope have been engineered to meet rigorous military scratch resistance specifications. This high-quality scope has been tested in temperatures ranging from -40 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, and it can withstand the temperature change.
If quality, precision, and limitless usage in all situations are important to you, then this Leupold Mark 3-18x44mm scope would be an excellent choice.
5. Trijicon AccuPoint 5-20×50 Tactical Scope
We’ve moved up the pricing scale since our last evaluation. Having said that, the Trijicon riflescope provides both quality and value.
Trijicon designed this riflescope to survive any environment you may encounter. This aircraft-grade aluminum scope tube provides shooters with an all-weather optical instrument that can be used in the most extreme environments. The scope is not just designed to be shockproof, but it is also fog resistant. It has been proven to survive 10 feet of submersion in water.
This scope has a variable magnification of 5-20x, an objective lens diameter of 50mm, and a 1.18-inch tube. The scope also offers an enormous eye relief distance of 4.1-inches, so you need not worry about suffering from a scope bite as a result of heavy recoil.
This Second Focal Plane scope has a Mil-Dot Crosshair SFP with a Green reticle. The advantage of this SFP reticle is its consistent reticle size regardless of magnification level. As shooters approach greater magnifications, this allows for more precise aiming positions.
Users will discover that the sophisticated fiber optics, along with tritium aiming-point lighting, are extremely successful at enhancing target acquisition. It also increases the number of shooting hours. This is due to the built-in dual-illumination technology, which automatically adjusts your aiming-point brightness based on the lighting circumstances.
How does it respond to changes in lighting?
The efficiency of this scope is due to its battery-free lighting and the fiber optic technology used. The scope automatically adjusts the aiming point’s brightness levels based on the available light.
When the light is dim or non-existent, the tritium phosphor lamp illuminates the reticle. Another advantage is that the lighted reticle’s design provides ‘Zero Forward Emission.’ This signifies that no light is projected from the objective lens.
However, shooters are not required to rely on this automated feature. There is a manual brightness control on the scope. This function makes it simple to modify the reticle to your preferred brightness level.
The multi-coated lenses provide crystal clear views and allow enough light gathering with minimal distortion.
6. Vortex Razor Gen II
The Razor HD 4.5-27×56 scope is ideal for close-range shooting and tactical situations. The EBR-7C reticle is designed for long-distance competitive shooting and hunting. The rapid focus eyepiece allows for reticle adjustment…
The Vortex Optics Razor is, without a doubt, one of the greatest tactical scopes on the market. It is an excellent choice if you want a full-featured scope that is tried and true and allows for practically limitless adjustments to every variable, including windage, elevation, and more.
The Vortex Razor optic is reliable if you want to nail a target at 1,500 yards. The scope has superb build quality, amazingly clear glass, a nice turret feel, and a massive 56mm objective lens diameter.
It is available in six variants, each of which has superior, aircraft-grade single-piece aluminum body tubes that are argon purged and o-ring sealed, providing a fog proof, waterproof and shockproof package that will take your long-distance shooting a step higher.
7. Nightforce ATACR 7-35x56mm Scope
From a quality standpoint, the NightForce ATACR is perhaps one of the finest scope we have examined. It’s a high-quality rifle scope with pinpoint accuracy. It is durable, crystal clear, and perfectly engineered.
It has a magnification range of 7-35x. The massive 35x magnification means you can take this scope all out to any distance you want to shoot at.
This scope has an excellent field of vision over the full magnification range, making it simple to identify, locate, and engage targets. The scope has an unmatched repeatability, so whether you want to use it for PRS competition or for other long range shooting, this scope will provide you with unrivaled repeatability and precision.
The ATACR F1 scope takes performance to a whole new level, allowing shooters to meet and surpass the boundaries of their precision rifle system. This tactical scope would never disappoint you.
8. Vortex Optics Diamondback Tactical 6-24×50 FFP Riflescope
The Vortex Diamondback range of scopes provides shooters with many options. You may choose between 4-16x magnification with a 44mm objective lens and the 6-24x magnification range that comes with a 50mm objective lens. You may then choose between an EBR-2C MOA and an EBR-2C MRAD reticle. Prices vary depending on the model you choose, but all the scopes are considered to be excellent value.
This optic measures 9.1 inches in length and weighs 22.78 ounces. It is available in black and is composed of high-quality aluminum. This single-piece tube scope has a 30mm diameter; it is shockproof, and can withstand the impact of recoil.
This Vortex Diamondback scope is waterproof and fog resistant due to the sturdy nitrogen purging and o-ring seal.
With the low purchase price comes dependable performance and several really nice features. The extra-low dispersion glass will help shooters. This, together with the completely multi-coated lenses, results in a bright, clear-sight image.
The glass-etched reticle is simple to read and maintains precise subtensions regardless of the magnification level. Smooth and simple magnifications under all settings may be guaranteed thanks to the magnification lens’s excellent components.
Other notable features include exposed tactical turrets and a side parallax adjustment knob. These offer shooters assurance in their precision when aiming for those crucial long-distance shots. The rapid focus eyepiece enables quick and straightforward reticle focusing.
Firearm owners will also appreciate the inclusion of lens covers, a cleaning cloth, and a sunshade with their purchase.
9. Athlon Optics 6-24×50 Tactical Riflescope
Athlon Optics is another great tactical scope. It has a low magnification power of 6x and a high magnification of 24x.
The combat scope is an excellent sighting instrument with many appealing characteristics. One of its distinguishing features is the presence of a first focal plane reticle which enables the shooter to employ a customized reticle that may grow or shrink in tandem with the item or target as you increase or reduce magnification.
This scope is a fantastic choice for hunters and tactical shooters since it has HD glass, which may provide users with a better experience and the best light transmission. You will get a faster target acquisition with clearer and brighter target images.
This type also has high-tech multi-coated lenses that may decrease reflected light and improve your eyesight. Furthermore, the scope has a zero-stop feature that allows the shooters to lock down a zero and dial it back to quickly return to the zero mark.
On the downside, the scope may not be appropriate for beginners.
Athlon Optics TAC scope is a good choice if you need dependable tactical shooting equipment that performs even in the most extreme situations.
10. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 6-24×50
The last scope we would review is the 6-24×50 Crossfire II. This specific model is one of several options available in the Crossfire II series of scope, and it is one of the best scope in its family. It has a low magnification power of 6x and a high magnification of 24x.
The scope has an adjustable objective that helps a shooter with visual focus and parallax elimination while aiming through the scope.
The Crossfire II scope gives you a faster and better target acquisition because of the extended eye relief it offers. It also has a highly forgiving eye box. With a weight of 21 ounces, the Vortex Crossfire II scope is one of the lightest scopes you can buy.
Asides from being lightweight, this Vortex Crossfire II scope model has exceptional light transmission. The glass is crystal clear. This is a Vortex trademark, and it is essential for taking a clear shot at longer distances.
It also offers a fast-focus eyepiece for easy target acquisition and higher-end features, including resettable turrets and a multi-coated lens.
Mike has been shooting, reloading, and bullet casting for over 40 years. He lives in rural Indiana where he has a backyard target range. Married for almost 40 years, Mike and his wife teach adult education in their home county and have four sons with their families, totaling 10 grandkids.