The Best 1-4x Scopes
When most people are thinking about scopes, there aren’t a whole lot that think about low-magnification scopes like a 1-4x scope.
1-4x scopes can be very useful and in most cases, you’ll be able to keep both eyes open while shooting – making these scopes great for AR-15s and also shotguns.
In this post, we go over some of our favorite 1-4x scopes and show you the best 1-4x scopes for your money.
***Just updated for Nov. 2017***
If you are looking for a 1-4x scope on a budget, BSA Optics has you covered. This is a quality scope with a generous 4 inches of eye-relief that won’t break your budget.
This reticule is a Mil-Dot crosshair, which makes ranging fast and easy. It comes with scope rings. It’s waterproof, nitrogen purged, and has fully multi-coated glass, allowing maximum light transmission for a brighter image.
The 1x setting on this scope appears to still have some magnification, so it’s not a true 1x. It is sturdy, and will hold zero. The clicks are ½ MOA adjustments, but on a 4x scope that generally isn’t a problem.
For only slightly more money, the Monstrum Tactical 1-4×20 is a monster of a scope. Monstrum is quickly earning a reputation for quality optics on a budget. The eye relief is nearly 4 inches regardless of the magnification. The scope rings it comes with are offset, so if you are mounting the scope on a rifle where the rail is a bit too close or too far, you can make the adjustment by simply flipping the rings the other way around.
At 20mm on the objective lens, this scope is going to give you a dimmer image as the sun starts to set, but it’s great for daylight shooting. It includes a glass range finder reticle to easily gauge your shot distance, and a nitrogen purged tube. The range finder is illuminated, running on battery power. The brightness adjustment is on the extra scope dial.
Here’s a simple crosshair reticle scope made with the high quality you expect from Bushnell. It features a BDC reticule tuned for AR15 bullet drop, but you can always ignore them or figure out what ranges they correspond to on your weapon.
Sight adjustment is in 0.1 MOA clicks, so you can zero your rifle precisely at 100 yards. This makes it devastating against small targets, like rodents in your field. It’s solid, and for what you get, this is a high value scope.
Another great 1-4×24 scope from Bushnell. This one features a lighted reticle that runs off of a nonstandard battery, but luckily, there’s one included in the box. The illuminated reticle makes this scope very usable in low-light conditions, but it isn’t necessary to light it up during the day. The unlit reticle is plenty visible in the daytime.
Optics are fully multi-coated for maximum light transmission, and the bullet drop on the reticule is calibrated for a .223/5.56. 0.1 mil adjustment like the previous Bushnell, and sturdy as a rock. It doesn’t come with mounting hardware, so you will need to use your own 30mm rings. It’s a first rate-scope for a second-rate price.
Just the scope, rings not included. This reticule is a clean crosshair-and-dot design to keep you dead on target. The center dot illuminates for use in low-light. Fully multi-coated, which you expect at this price, this is one tough scope.
The crosshair is not reflected accurately on the linked Amazon page. The cross goes all the way through the center, and the lighted dot will appear over the intersection. The center dot is 1.5 MOA, which is very precise, but still large enough for use as a red-dot tube at low magnification. It runs off a CR2032 lithium battery, which can hold up for around 1000 hours on the lowest brightness setting.
It’s also available at a great price right now.
It’s no secret to anyone in the three-gun competition scene that Burris produces great, high-quality AR-15 and other rifle optics. When you’re looking for a versatile piece of glass that will boost precision shooting without sacrificing your ability to rapidly acquire nearby targets you probably will find that you’re going to be best served by a 1×4 scope. What’s the best one on the market? The Burris MTAC 1-4×24. It’s a great scope that has some contemporary features that aren’t available in competing models.
First, the scope uses technology similar to what Leupold offers in their higher-end optics. This is a vacuum sealed, nitrogen-filled scope that’s highly resistant to fogging and water intrusion. For competition shooters and people used to operating in challenging environments, the presence of this feature alone should be a make-or-break aspect of any scope. Second, the scope sports an oversized 30mm tube to bring more light to the shooter’s field of view. Since most 1×4 scopes use a one-inch tube, this extra space is a welcome improvement for anyone who shoots in transitional lighting. Finally, the MTAC 1-4×24 uses a lightweight battery to power through 10 different lighting settings. These settings power a huge mil-dot scope that helps shooters acquire and adjust for targets up to 600 yards away. Odds are that you can’t outshoot this scope, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try!
The Nikon MONARCH 3 1-4×20 riflescope is purpose-built to beat the toughest shooting conditions. The scope is designed to boost performance of AR-15 and AR-10 pattern rifles while shooting at close and medium ranges. What sets this piece of glass apart? It’s tactically designed and resists the environment. It’s a very low-profile riflescope that will keep you on target, even when shooting with both eyes open.
Unlike Mil-Dot rifle scopes, the MONARCH uses a German #4 reticle. It’s a clean design that is ideal for competition shooting because it keeps the shooter’s field of view uncomplicated, clean, and focused on the target. The scope also has ½ MOA adjustments for both windage and elevation. Unlike cheaper models, the Nikon makes an audible click that you can feel whenever you are adjusting your scope. When you can’t afford to remove your eyes from your target, this is a vital feature.
The VX-2 rifle scope is a Leupold product that is a primary offering of the storied optics maker’s catalog. Leupold remains one of the best regarded American optics companies around. In constant, uninterrupted operation for five generations, Leupold is known for producing world class glass that is backed up by a lifetime warranty.
Just like the MTAC, the VX-2 uses a beefy one-inch tube to capture as much light as possible. With bigger tubes and greater light penetration, shooters enjoy higher degrees of clarity and fidelity. That’s a great feature for a scope that allows for ¼ MOA adjustments that make razor-sharp shooting possible at medium and close ranges. As a non-illuminated offering, the VX-2 is a great option for someone who is shooting in predictable environments and lighting conditions that do not demand background lighting or supplemental illumination.
Looking for a competition grade 1-4×24 rifle scope that supports extremely low light shooting at ranges of up to 500 yards? The Vortex Viper warrants some serious consideration because it sports a hefty 30mm tube to capture huge volumes of light, is designed with proprietary extra-low dispersion glass to bring out colors like few other scopes can, and is replete with an illuminated reticle.
What else makes this such a great competition scope? It’s windage and elevation adjustments support changes of up to 220 MOA. When compared to an industry standard of just 100 MOA, that makes it clear that this scope is for shooters who mean business. Elevation and windage adjustment knobs are firm and that means you’re not going to shake your scope off your target with heavy shooting. Just how robust is the optic? It’s rated to withstand the punishment that a 50 Beowulf can dish out and remain true.