Last Updated on March 29, 2021
Searching for a good low light rifle scope can sometimes feel like a fool’s errand. And we know this because there was a time, we were wearing your exact same shoes. Boy oh boy, you don’t know the number of times we felt like throwing in the towel. Of course, we did our due diligence before investing in some but… let’s just say the hassle wasn’t worth it.
Lucky for you, you’ve got us. We learned the hard way, but you don’t have to. So if you’re looking for some of the best low light scopes in the market, below are our reviews of the best of the best.
|Best Overall||Vortex Optics Crossfire II Riflescopes||
|Best Value||Monstrum 2-7x32 AO Rifle Scope||
|The OpticGuru ATN X-Sight-4k Scope||
|UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope||
|Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9X40mm Riflescope||
Other than the most obvious factors that you need to take into consideration when buying a scope, you also have to think about these three: affordability, reliability, and simplicity.
The Vortex Optics Crossfire II Riflescope checks all those boxes, and that’s part of the reason why it takes the top spot. What are the other reasons? Just take a quick look at its single-piece body and the multi-coated lenses, for example. The body offers extra strength and doesn’t seem fazed whenever it’s exposed to shock. And the lenses are scratch-proof, ensuring light is efficiently transmitted through the system.
You’ll also find an adjustable parallax and an adjustable objective system that pledges to deliver accuracy. These two features are there to eliminate any stumbling block that might prevent you from acquiring and staying on a target that’s miles away.
The 4-12×40 is the perfect magnification range. It will certainly cater to all your needs whether you’re a close-range shooter, or a hunter who’s more into stalking prey. Does it provide a quick shot placement? As a matter of fact, it does. And you have the Dead Hold reticle to thank for that. Also, that reticle has subtensions for hold-over, and it’s located at the SFP.
Unlike some scopes, re-indexing this scope’s turrets is very much possible. They’re fully resettable, and have been capped to make certain that they’re well protected.
For fine-tuning, the clicks adjustment graduation will be ¼ MOA. For windage and elevation, you’ll get a maximum adjustment of 50 MOA. And 15 MOA will be your travel per full rotation.
Even though we were offered VIP warranty, we were rather disappointed to learn that the scope hasn’t been designed with an illuminated reticle. Of course, it‘s still the best scope in the market if we’re talking about shooting at low light, but that’s an important feature to leave out.
Why’s this our second choice? Well, that question will quickly change to “why is it not the top choice?” the minute you realize it’s the best low light rifle scope for money.
From the description alone, you can tell the Monstrum 2-7×32 AO Rifle Scope has a magnification range of 2-7x. And now that we’ve established it’s a variable magnification scope, it’s safe to assume it offers versatility. With a magnification of 2x, you’ll certainly feel comfortable using it in close range and freehand shooting. And should you feel the need to make adjustments all the way up to 7x, the finer details of any image will become more visible even in low light conditions.
We’ve been in this industry long enough to know very few scopes have the ability to help users land a target accurately from 400 yards and beyond. And is one of them. If you honestly know how to handle a rifle, landing such a target will feel like an absolute breeze. Also, it comes with an adjustable objective, a feature that’s been tasked with ensuring you get bright images. Not to mention, you’ll never have to deal with issues related to parallax, since it knows how to get rid of all of them.
The construction material here is top grade 6061 aluminum. Its body is durable and can withstand any amount of pressure you throw at it. Including the shocks generated by the recoil. The inclusion of nitrogen was definitely a nice surprise. We could tell the scope didn’t collect any form of moisture that could corrupt its entire system.
Its adjustable reticle illumination is the reason why this scope performs so well under the cover of darkness or in low-light situations. The brightness setting has 5 levels, allowing for better reticle visibility. To top that off, you can switch between green and red depending on your preference.
And here comes the million-dollar question: Where did it drop points that could have landed it on the number one spot?
The thing is, we realized the turrets didn’t lock. The company keeps marketing the product as one that has windage and elevation adjustment dials designed with locking turrets, but our experience was just different. In addition, we noticed the scope’s focus was a tad bit weird at times.
But other than those two, we loved all the features including the Monstrum Tactical Medium Profile scope rings. If your rifle is equipped with a flat top Picatinny rail, they’ll easily mount to it.
This ATN X-Sight-4k model is yet another variable magnification scope. The magnification power ranges from 5x to 20x, and it offers a decent field of view. Of course, the FOV reduces as you increase its magnification, but you’ll be glad to know it still provides a wider view at 20x, compared to most scopes.
The lens inside is a high definition (HD) lens, and it’s 50mm big. Being a night vision scope, you’d expect the eye relief to be short, but that’s not the case. With an eye relief of 3.5 inches, it’s okay to assume the ATN X-Sight-4k Scope has one of the longest eye relief distances in the game—A feature that makes it the ideal scope for tactical rifles. And if you ever find yourself in an environment that has blinding light, all you have to do is use its rubber eyecup to regulate the light transmitted.
Can the reticle be color-adjustment to the user’s preference? Yes, it can. But you should know they’re all duplex. Come to think of it, you’ll never find an ATN X-Sight-4k Scope with a mil dot reticle, BDC reticle, or any other type of reticle.
You’ll also be working with a scope that has an Obsidian Dual Core Processor and an M265 Ultra HD 4K sensor. Together, these two features are meant to satisfy your 24/7 hunting needs by delivering a system resolution of 600-line pairs per millimeter. In layman’s language, all the images produced will be detailed down to the T.
The display will have a 1280X720 HD resolution, and on it, you’ll be able to see a few items listed. At the top, you’ll see the calculated distance between you and the target. Included in that section will also be the magnification and the connectivity HUD. At the bottom, there will be the time, ballistic calculator, and the speed of the wind. The elevation and windage information will either be on the left or right.
Users are as well given the option of adjusting the contrast, brightness and gamma, in case you were wondering.
The one-shot zero feature was obviously a welcome addition, but we realized it needed re-zeroing and resetting anytime we restarted the system. We had the same experience after installing the software’s updates. They tried hoodwinking us with the ultra-low power consumption feature, but we saw right through it.
All in all, it’s a remarkable scope. They should however work on their pricing because you might have to break the bank to land this bad boy.
Any adjustable magnification scope that offers an incredibly wide Field of View at both ends of the range, is a good scope. And the UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope does just that. At maximum magnification, you’ll be able to measure an 8.4-foot view. If you reduce the power to minimum magnification, it increases to 34 feet. This feature might not sound like a critical feature for users in the sports field, but it’s critical in tactical situations.
It’s reticle is the second feature that we’d like to talk about. But before we do, we’d like to give you a minute or two to just browse the interwebs, and search for a reticle that you believe can beat the versatility offered by the UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope’s EZ-Tap illuminated mil dot reticle. Nothing? Okay, let’s move on.
This reticle comes with an illumination feature that can comfortably be adjusted, thus making it visible even in low light conditions.
Assuming you’re outdoors, you’ll have the option of setting the scope’s reticle to a darker shade. And if you’re working indoors—in a low light environment—you could effortlessly change the color to yellow, orange or whatever color you want.
The turret adjustments feature was also not a letdown. They’re stable, and hence can be relied on, thanks to the durable clutch wheel system. Here’s something else that you should know:
Most users tend to avoid scopes that come with cap-based clutches because it’s not easy figuring out how to perfectly tighten them. They often find themselves struggling to find that perfect spot, and that’s not a good thing. Especially in a market like this one, where competition is cutthroat.
Fortunately, this is not something you’ll experience while using the UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope. And because the clicks are audible enough, you won’t have to worry about accidental adjustments either.
Concerning the issue of how effective the optic is when it comes to light transmission, it’s emerald-coated lenses take care of that. They are of superior quality, and together with the wide field of view, they ensure the right amount of light gets funnels through the system.
However, seeing as it’s been designed with a larger objective lens, you might feel compelled to invest in high profile mounting rings. The ones that come with it, as part of the accessory, might not serve you well.
The Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9X40mm Riflescope isn’t just one of the best low light scopes, but also considered one of the best scopes from an accuracy standpoint. Its level of accuracy is simply unrivalled.
Being an adjustable power scope, it’s magnification ranges from 3x to 9x. And as we’ve mentioned before, the magnification aspect of a scope always influences its field of view. At maximum power, you’ll only be able to see 13 yards across. Reduce it all the way down to 3x, and that field of view increases to 33 yards across, at 100 yards.
We’ve been in this industry long enough to understand these numbers only mean one thing: With the help of the Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9X40mm scope, you can effortlessly focus on any target
What makes it one of the best scopes for dim lighting? The multi-coated lens system. And you could tell they were really thorough in construction because they also added the Twilight Light Management System, giving the lenses the ability to create images that are bright with an extraordinary edge-to-edge sharpness.
The objective lens diameter of 40 millimeters is considered the industry standard, but the bigger the better.
Big means the lens will be able to funnel through sufficient light, and that’s what’s important at the end of the day.
For starters, the scope offers more eye relief than required. Any product that delivers an eye relief of 3.5 inches or more is an exceptionally good product. At maximum power, you’ll be working with an eye relief of about 3.7 inches. And that size keeps on increasing, all the way to 4.2 inches, the more you reduce the scope’s power. This is surely more than anyone could ever ask for.
There are a few attachments that you’ll get in the package, but the most important one will be the Medium Rings Matte. They’re specifically designed for this scope, but you need to be careful not to clamp the mount too tightly. You don’t want to crash the VX-Freedom 3-9X40mm scope tube’s structure.
Is there a downside to this scope? Unfortunately, yes. The first thing that you’ll realize is, most of its reticle is covered by that thick crosshair. You’ll then be bummed to learn that the MOA scale appears smaller than usual.
By the way, just because we’ve placed this rifle sixth on the list doesn’t mean that it’s a terrible scope. The Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn riflescope is a popular scope, and you should be able to tell this considering it has the Multi-X reticle technology.
Some hunters will say this technology is just some fancy bells and whistles feature, but we disagree. We believe it makes the scope user-friendly, bearing in mind the fact that we have users out there who prefer hunting in low light conditions, even though they have visual problems.
The ‘Dusk & Dawn’ bit that you see in that name is also not a marketing gimmick—the scope has been designed with a DDB (Dusk & Dawn Brightness) multi coated lens. The type of lens that’s ready to transmit sufficient light needed in the creation of crispy, bright images.
The next feature that you’ll fall in love with is the fast focus eyepiece. It allows fast diopter settings, and what that basically means is, you can make adjustments to not only fit your reticle and eyes, but also the target’s image at the same time.
The only bummer was the magnification range and the size of the objective lens. It comes with a lens that’s only 32mm and a power range of 1.5 to 4.5x. This, in our opinion, is way below average. Of course, it’s not a bad scope for indoor shooters, but what about the guys looking to explore the wild?
To answer the question of whether the Athlon Optics Talos BTR Riflescope has what it takes to deliver an optimal performance, we’ll start by talking about the First Focal Plane reticle feature. We’re sure by now you’ve realized most of these low light scopes have Second Focal Plane reticles. Fortunately, or unfortunately—depending on what your preference is—Athlon decided not to ride that wave.
Speaking of, do you even know the main difference between these two reticles? An FFP reticle changes its size as the magnification settings are adjusted, while the SFP reticle remains the same. So the former follows while the latter stays.
Now, the advantage of working with a FFP reticle is, if you’re a long-range target shooter, you’ll have an easier time measuring the units per each hash mark. Be it Mil or MOA.
For example, assuming the scope has its horizontal line being represented by hash marks of .25MOA across, you should expect the same measurement at all magnification levels. If it shifts to .30 MOA, the magnification will shift to .30 MOA as well. In terms of speed, knowing your hash marks and values will be commensurate is also an added advantage. Hence, the reason why these types of rifle scopes are quickly gaining popularity.
The Athlon Optics Talos BTR Riflescope is a heat-treated one-piece tube. As mentioned earlier, one-piece tubes are known to be strong, and well equipped to keep out moisture. In fact, that and the nitrogen that’s purged inside is the reason why the scope is so good at keeping moisture at bay.
The illuminated reticle is what makes this particular scope the go-to scope for those looking to hunt in a low ambient light environment, or during dusk and dawn. We just wish it was as durable as most products in the market.
Well folks, we’ve gotten to the end of our review today. If you’ve been looking for the best low light scopes for your rifle, we believe this list will narrow down your search. But before we sign off, we feel obligated to remind you this:
Our top pick is the Vortex Optics Crossfire II Riflescope. It has all the features that your typical scope could provide, and then some. The Monstrum 2-7×32 AO Rifle Scope offers value for money. So, if you’re working with a shoestring budget, but still need a good scope, this is the optic for you. Last but not least, we have the the OpticGuru ATN X-Sight-4k Scope. It’s another good one, but ridiculously expensive.
Okay, now go break some eggs.
Fetured Image Credit: Monstrum 2-7×32 AO, Amazon
Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.
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