10 Of The Very Best Rifles Scopes – As Judged By An Ex Police Officer

by Ben Jackson
best rifle scopes review

Deciding on the next scope you should buy for your rifle can be a difficult choice to make. There are so many different varieties and just about as many price brackets. Buying anything online can be tricky, and maybe a little nerve-wracking verse going to a store and seeing products with your own eyes and touching the product with your hands.

Research, in general, is the best route before buying online if this is how you plan to select your next rifle scope.

The Top 6 Rifle Scopes You Should Consider

Bestseller No. 1
Leupold VX-5HD 7-35x56 (34mm) CDS-TZL3 Side Focus TMOA Reticle Riflescope
  • Model #172754 - VX-5HD 7-35x56 Riflescope with a T-MOA Reticle, CDS-TZL3 and a Matte finish
  • The CDS-TZL3 (ZeroLock 3) provides three revolutions of elevation adjustment and a precision, micrometer style revolution counter while eliminating accidental dial movement with the push-button...
  • Guard-ion is a hydrophobic lens coating that sheds dirt and water for a maintenance-free, clear, crisp image. High-definition lenses ensure incredible clarity at all magnification levels.
  • Side Focus Parallax Adjustment - For fast, easy parallax focusing from any shooting position
  • Designed, Machined and Assembled in the USA. 100% Waterproof, fogproof, shockproof, and backed by Leupold's legendary customer care
Bestseller No. 2
RIX Tourer T20 Digital Night Vision Rifle Scope for Hunting IP68 with 940nm IR
  • The T20 has an IP68 dustproof and waterproof capability, also can withstand 1500g of impact, making it will not be damaged from long-term use and suitable for the majority of firearms.
  • The T20 can be powered on in 3 seconds, enabling you to quickly start using it when you spot your prey and not miss any opportunities. Therefore, you can turn off the device when not in use to avoid...
  • Equipped with a 1024*768 resolution OLED display, the image details are rendered clearly with higher contrast and without jagged edge.
  • Supports a removable TF card, with a maximum capacity of 256GB. This allows for more videos and pictures to be stored without worrying about running out of memory. Support viewing and downloading...
  • 940nm Wavelength-Compared to the 850nm wavelength light, the 940nm wavelength light is further away from the red light, making it less likely to be detected by animals. The T20 can detect and produce...
Bestseller No. 3
Arken Optics SH4J 6-24X50 Rifle Scope FFP MIL VHR Illuminated Reticle with Zero Stop - 34mm Tube
  • Arken Products are designed to combine quality, performance and precision with tremendous value. The SH-4J raises the bar, now coming standard with Japanese ELD glass and choice of reticle (VPR or...
  • The SH4 have a simple but rugged zero stop mechanism. Fully multi-coated lenses provide superior light transmission for exceptional clarity and low-light performance.
  • AZS Zero Stop System offers an easy to set, fast and reliable return to zero. Side knob parallax adjust allows quick and easy parallax adjustments with range numbers visible while in the shooting...
  • Christmas-tree style reticle with an illuminated center dot for accurate subtensions across magnification levels, along with a fast focus eyepiece for easy reticle focusing.
  • A single piece tube constructed from aircraft grade aluminum ensures strength and shockproof performance. O-ring sealed and nitrogen purged, delivers waterproof and fogproof performance.
Bestseller No. 4
Sniper KT12-60X60SAL Long Range Rifle Scope 35mm Tube Side Parallax Adjustment Glass Etched Reticle Red Green Illuminated with Scope Rings
  • 35mm Tube Size. Scope providing crystal clear targeting at 12-60x magnification, with a 60mm objective diameter.
  • Side parallax adjustment allows fine tuning focus.
  • Reticle illumination in both red, green with multiple brightness intensities. Glass Etched Reticle.
  • Capped reset turrets are finger adjustable with 1/8 MOA clicks that can be reset to zero after sighting in.
  • Nitrogen purged scope body, completely sealed with o-ring, rendering scope Waterproof, and fog proof
Bestseller No. 5
Maven CRS.2-4 - 16X44 SFP Lightweight Hunting Rifle Scope
  • Featuring Maven's award-winning C Series glass, the CRS.2 offers an exceptionally clear, bright, and high contrast image with excellent color fidelity
  • Due to the popularity of our proprietary Maven RS Series reticle options, we tailor-fit the CRS Series with a unique version of the Simplified Holdover Reticle (SHR) to create the CSHR in 0.25...
  • For those that need that extra reach, the CRS.2 4-16x riflescope features a second focal plane, side parallax adjustment, a compact tube base, and a larger 44mm objective to grab every ounce of...
  • The Maven CRS.2 delivers high performance in a more compact configuration and easily fits the bill for eastern and western big game hunting scenarios where higher magnification is needed.
  • Includes neoprene cover.
Bestseller No. 6
Monstrum G3 6-36x56 First Focal Plane FFP Rifle Scope with Illuminated MOA Reticle and Parallax Adjustment | Flat Dark Earth
  • High performance tactical rifle scope with 8-32x magnification for mid to long distance shooting out to 1000+ yards
  • Functionally designed first focal plane MOA reticle, with easy-to-read ranging information that remains constant regardless of magnification, for faster range estimation and holdover correction
  • Equipped with a parallax adjustment dial that allows for sharper focus of the target image, elimination of parallax, and range estimation
  • Inline dial controlled reticle illumination with multiple brightness intensities, for better reticle visibility in low light environments
  • Package also includes set of high profile picatinny scope rings, a detachable honeycomb filter sunshade, a set of spring loaded flip-up lens covers, and one CR2032 3V battery
Bestseller No. 7
Vortex Optics Diamondback Tactical 6-24x50 First Focal Plane Riflescopes - EBR-2C (MOA) Tactical Reticle, Black
  • The Diamondback Tactical First Focal Plane 6-24x50 stands at the intersection of precision and value, delivering an impressive array of features and performance.
  • Extra-low dispersion glass and fully multi-coated lenses transmit a crisp, bright sight picture. The first focal plane, glass-etched reticle keep subtensions accurate throughout the 4x zoom range.
  • The precision-glide erector system uses premium components in the zoom lens to ensure smooth magnification changes under the harshest conditions.
  • Exposed tactical turrets and a side parallax knob give shooters the tools needed for long distance precision shooting. The fast focus eyepiece allows quick and easy reticle focusing.
  • The single piece 30mm tube is shockproof, ruggedly built to withstand recoil and impacts. Strong o-ring seals and nitrogen purging waterproof and fogproof performance.
Bestseller No. 8
Match PRO 6-24X50 RIFLESCOPE (Illuminated, Illuminated)
  • [BUSHNELL] is a leading Optics manufacturer based in the USA that has been serving the outdoor and wildlife enthusiast for more than 70 years.
  • [First Focal Plane] Reticle holdovers are always accurate no matter what magnification you're on.
  • [Parallax goes down to 10 yards] Engage even the closest targets match directors throw at you.
  • [10-MIL Turrets] Simple base-10 system for fast counting and dialing on the firing line.
  • [18 MIL travel windage & elevation] Allows for a 25-yard zero with a 30MOA base on most rifles while leaving enough working travel to be successful with match ammo.
Bestseller No. 9
Night Owl Optics NightShot Rifle Scope, Digital Night Vision Riflescope with IR illuminator, High Resolution, Weatherproof, Night Vision Rifle Scopes for Hunting
  • QUALITY BUILT AFFORDABLE NIGHT VISION: Made for the hunter and shooting enthusiast who wants to see in the dark at distances further than any night vision scope priced anywhere near the NightShot.
  • NEVER TOO DARK TO SEE: Built-in infrared illuminator illuminates the darkest nights. The optional IR850-NS High-Power Illuminator (not included) can mount directly to the NightShot for extreme...
  • ANYTIME, ANYWHERE, ANYTHING: The NightShot riflescope is a weatherproof scope designed to mount to most rail systems including Weaver, Picatinny and options for Dovetail mounting. Can be used on...
  • IMPRESSIVE TOOLS AND FEATURES: 3X magnification lens, focusing distance - 3M to infinity (10ft to infinity), built-in infrared, 3 different white or black reticle types to best suit the current...
  • THE RIGHT RIFLE SCOPE FOR YOUR PURPOSE AND BUDGET: NightShot night scopes for rifles have all you look for: lightweight, polymer construction, weatherproof, easy-to-operate, budget friendly and can be...
Bestseller No. 10
Bushnell Match Pro ED 5-30X56 Riflescope - ED Prime Glass, Illuminated Deploy MIL 2 Reticle for Precision Shooting
  • 5-30X56 CONFIGURATION & 34MM MAINTUBE - The Match Pro ED now has an expanded magnification range of 5-30x and has an oversized 56mm objective lens to gather large amounts of light and give the...
  • ALL-NEW ILLUMINATED DEPLOY MIL 2 RETICLE - The Match Pro ED features an all-new DM2 reticle that's a 2/10 MRAD tree reticle, and it has illumination with 11 brightness settings and a battery-saver...
  • BOLD TURRETS, ACCURATE TRACKING - The locking turrets on the Match Pro ED have big bold lettering so you can easily see the digits quickly. A positive grip on the turrets is now achieved with the...
  • IPX7 WATERPROOF & EXCLUSIVE EXO BARRIER - The Match Pro ED is IPX7 Waterproof and fogproof, and the precision ground ED Prime glass is topped with our exclusive EXO Barrier. You've seen what a ceramic...
  • EASY-SET ELEVATION ZERO STOP & REV-INDICATOR - Getting back to your zero is fast, reliable, and accurate now thanks to the Easy-Set zero stop on the Match Pro ED. Tracking the elevation knob...

To ease the pressures of potentially making a bad decision, take a few minutes and learn a little about some of the rifle scopes on the market today by checking our best rifle scopes review.

The Rile Scope Buyers Guide: What You Need to Know

So what are the key advantages of using a rifle scope?

Magnification capabilities

One of the best advantage of using a rifle scope over traditional hunting tools is the ability to easily identify a target from a long distance and perfectly make a superb shot. Most olden hunting tools do not have a zooming capability and this makes them difficult to use when aiming at targets at a far distance.

Some animals are difficult to hunt while in a cross range and most of them can be able to smell your scent before you make an aim; the best way to hunt these kinds of animals is to use a professional scope with magnification capabilities that help you to shoot from a long-range distance.


Unlike common hunting tools, every rifle scope is designed with aiming features and customizable settings that helps a shooter to perfectly shoot on a target without a miss. Most rifles come with magnification and zooming features that enable a shooter to get the best aiming experience ever. It’s very easy to make shots on target with a professional rifle than with a common traditional hunting tool.

Fun and Enjoyable

The best rifle scopes are very fun to use once the shooter learns how to perfectly handle them. Today’s rifle scopes are very easy to mount and most of them are designed with click adjustments that enables you to free your body and not strain too much while aiming at a target.

A professional rifle scope comes with safety features that allow you to easily carry it without the worry or fearing it might go off sometimes.

Ability to Make Long-Range Shots

Unlike common hunting tools and old manufactured rifle scope that can only make shots within a particular short range distance, modern Rifle scopes can be used to perfectly make good shots on long-range targets.

Some rifles are designed with customizable features and settings that helps a user to easily make shots on air, water or land.

What is a Rifle Scope and It’s History?

In 1608, German-Dutch inventor and the earliest recorded patent holder of the telescope Hans Lippershey, and Dutch spectacle maker Zacharias Janssen, creator of the microscope, are to thank for the first refracting telescopes, which lead the way in the first studies conducted on optical shooting aids.

The idea of optical aiming aids was nothing new to the marksman. Since the advent of rifling, shooters have adopted different sights and aiming aids, but they were often primitive in design and were ineffective. Patient records of the era are scarce, but it’s known the first patient for a telescopic rifle scope was filed around 1835-1840 when New York inventor Morgan James and engineer John R.

Chapman collaborated to release the Chapman James Sight. In 1855, designer William Malcolm expanded on the Chapman James Sight by incorporating achromatic lenses and elevation and windage adjustment knobs. Two decades will pass before the telescopic sight gained its notoriety in the American Civil War.

Rifle sights were used by both the Confederacy and the Union armies, proving the design in some of the harshest battlefield conditions of its time. Over the years, warfare, sportsman, and hunters have all contributed to the growth of long-range marksmanship, which in turn led to a small industrial revolution of sorts.

To put it into perspective, some of the longest shots in history were only 600-800 yards until advancements in optics and rifling have enabled marksman to take almost impossible shots up to a mile and a half. The longest shot in history was set in 2017 by a Canadian Joint Task Force Two Special Forces operator in Iraq.

As you can see, from the 17th century to now, the concept of long-distance marksmanship has evolved, Can you still see how modern rifle scope based off these original 19th-century designs? It’s clear that modern optics are much more advanced than their predecessors.

Advancements such as higher resolution lenses, variable and fixed zoom apertures, more advanced building materials and production methods, and over a dozen different aiming reticles you can choose.

Rifle Scope Nomenclature

Before we discuss the best scopes on the market, let’s review rifle scope basics and terminology, that way you are fully armed with all the information you need to make your choice.

First up, magnification. Magnification is dictated by the first number in a series of numbers that look a lot like this “4×32”. The second number is the Objective lens size.

Magnification represents how many times the target will be magnified while looking through the scope. The objective lens is the size of the lens that is on the far end of the scope where all the light enters the optic. This is what’s called a fixed variable scope.

You may also see a number that looks like this “3-9×40.” This is the same concept; you’ll notice a second number added to the magnification variable.

The 3-9 represents the range of magnification power of an adjustable variable scope. With an adjustable variable scope, you can adjust the magnification based on the targets relative distance to the shooter by twisting the power ring knob on the rear end of the scope.

One of the biggest misrepresentations I’ve seen in my experience is a person mistaking the 3-9x by putting 3x9x40, which is fine, marksman will know what you mean, but the misrepresentation could send potential buyers the wrong way, forewarned is forearmed.

The next part of the scope we will discuss is the exit pupil. The exit pupil and the ocular lens is the lens and opening closest to the marksman’s eye where the light that enters the forward objective lens exits and the image of the target is projected into the shooters eye.

The exit pupil is important because when shooting at long distances, there is a split second delay when you see the image of the target. It’s measured in milliseconds, but that could be all the time it takes to throw or land a round on target. In modern scopes, the lenses are generally shock, water, and fog proof.

As mentioned above, the objective lens is the lens at the end of the scope furthest from the shooter. The casing where the objective lens is seated is called the objective bell.

Now that we know a rifle scope is essentially a refracting telescope, we are aware that light passing through the scope is magnified into an image at the focal point of the scope, these focal points are marked by a crosshair, also known as the reticle.

Crosshairs are the sights so to speak, the intersecting points of the crosshair are where the point of impact will be on target if judicial accuracy is practiced.

There are also two more adjustment knobs that the marksman can adjust to influence accuracy, windage, and elevation. The windage adjustment alters the X-axis or the horizontal setting; the elevation adjusts the Y-axis or the vertical setting.

If your windage, elevation, or magnification setting is off compared to the relative distance you are from the target, you will experience what’s called parallax. Parallax is when the point of aim changes when the position of the shooters eye changes. Parallax is extremely common in variable zoom scopes, but with a few simple adjustments, it’s a quick and easy fix.

Reticles, or more commonly known as the crosshairs, come in a variety of styles and designs but understand, they range in complexity.  The most popular and probably the easiest reticle to use in my opinion is the standard crosshair, just a cross or T with intersecting points in the center of the optics X and Y axis.

The crosshair is the best used when engaging targets at 100 yards, anything more would require adjustments or the use of a more advanced reticle. The Mil-Dot is the most common reticle used in tactical rifle scopes, each dot in the Mil-Dot reticle acts as a unit of measurement to gauge what distance a target is at without a rangefinder.

The Mil-Dot also can be used for accounting for windage. I think this reticle has gained so much trust in professional circles because the marksman can make fast trajectory adjustments and calculations without the target exiting your point of view.

There are countless other reticle patterns, and each serves a unique purpose, many manufacturers have started introducing their own, unique reticles into the market, but the Mil-Dot is by far the preferred aperture for professional marksman due to its simplicity and precision across the board.

One final factor to consider is the size of the scopes main body, the tube. The scopes tube size comes in two sizes, 33 millimeters, and one inch, this is important because you will need to know what size mounting rings the tube will need to be affixed to the rifle.

Useful Tips on Choosing the Best Scopes For You

Nowadays in the world that we live, most of us find themselves extremely busy with long working hours and hectic activities that do not allow one to create time for a hobby or leisure activity. When you are not busy with your normal activities and want to spend some time to shop for the best rifle scope; use this tips as a guideline for selecting a good rifle.

  • Range rifle- Depending on what you wan to do with your rifle, determine whether you require a short range rifle or a long-range scope.
  • Shooting accuracy- If you are still learning how to use a rifle scope, choose the right scope because all rifle scopes shoot differently due to their characteristics.
  • Adjustment features- Check on the adjustment capability of different scopes and compare them to determine the best rifle scope that will offer you some good customization features.
  • Magnification- Check and compare different scopes magnification power.
  • Objective lens diameter- larger objective lenses provides a shooter with more light to see a target.
  • Eye relief- This represents the distance between your eye and the lens of the scope. a good scope should provide you with an eye relief of about 3.5 inches or more.


Keep in mind; there are about a million different scopes on the market today, each scope serving a specific purpose bending on the weapon, the round, where you’ll be shooting, etc.

I know it seems like a lot to digest, but trust me, once you start to get an idea of what kind of scope you need, it’s all smooth sailing from there. If I had to choose just one scope on the list, I’d have to choose the Leupold FX-3. I choose the FX-3 because the 12 times fixed magnification will always be sighted and zeroed to the distance you plan on shooting at without having to make any parallax adjustments.

The 40mm objective lens allows for greater ambient light to pass through the scope, giving you a much higher resolution without any of the fuzziness. The only downside to a large objective lens is the lack of visibility in humid and low light conditions.

You could always add a night vision scope to your optic system, but that usually costs thousands of dollars and some minor gunsmithing to attach the mount to your gun, unless it has a Picatinny rail system that is. I hope our best rifle scopes review was useful to you. As always, stay safe, shoot true, and have fun! Happy shooting!

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