One of the first things we look for when we have a new rifle is a scope to go with it. Due to many influences, whether it be fads, improved technology, gaining a competitive edge, or just improving the usefulness of the tool, adding a scope to just about any rifle is an expectation in current date.
Shooters of all stripes can agree that a moderate powered scope will give shooters an advantage in most circumstances, but there is still a desire for the benefits of low-to-no power optics that will help a shooter quickly acquire and engage targets at closer ranges. Follow along as we dig into what should be considered the best 1-6x scope for your applications.
- How Does a Scope Benefit You?
- When Could Magnification be a Disadvantage?
- Wildcard Benefit!
- What to Look For in Your 1-6x Scope?
- Final Thoughts
- Our Recommendations for 1-6x Scope
- Vortex Optics Strike Eagle SFP Riflescopes
- Primary Arms Silver Series 1-6×24 SFP Rifle Scope
- EOTECH Vudu 1-6x24mm Precision Rifle Scope
- Trijicon AccuPoint 1-6×24 Riflescope, 30 mm Tube
- P-223 AR/MSR Riflescope, 1.5-4.5x20mm
- Leupold VX-6HD 1-6x24mm
- Bushnell Elite Tactical Illuminated BTR 2 SFP Reticle Riflescope
- Sig Sauer SOT61008 TANGO6 1-6x24mm with 3 Gun Reticle
- TRUGLO TRU-Brite 30 Series 1-6 X 24mm
- Monstrum G3 1-6×24 FFP Rifle Scope Illuminated MOA Reticle
How Does a Scope Benefit You?
Iron sights were the long-held standard for generations of rifles. These performed their jobs beautifully and there have been incredible marksmen that have used only iron sights over the years. Even now, a well-practiced marksman is able hit small targets at long ranges with only iron sights. As technology has evolved over the years, and scopes began to become more effective and reliable, the military started issuing scopes to their best sharpshooters which would give them an advantage when making long, precise shots.
Regardless of your application, it would seem logical that any shooter would want to have the best tool for the job at their disposal. While iron sights are effective, in today’s market filled with a wide range of options in rifle scopes, there is little reason to handicap yourself when putting your rifle into action.
If you are a competitor, making long range shots on a first attempt will save you time and points. If you are a hunter, a scope will help you make a more precise shot at your game and allow you to take that game humanely. If you are using your rifle for home defense, or if you are an armed professional, you will want every shot to count as it could mean life or death.
When Could Magnification be a Disadvantage?
While scopes have made it much easier for the average marksman to become much more accurate at range, many scopes do have a couple of downsides. When a scope is zoomed in all the way, the field of view inside the optic is narrowed drastically. This makes searching for a target much more difficult, and it greatly decreases the general awareness of the shooter. This means that finding targets at near ranges can be extremely challenging with a scope.
This is where variable power scopes with the option of 1x magnification provide an excellent option for shooters with no compromises. When you have a scope capable of 1x magnification, you have all the advantages at close range while maintaining the option of zooming in for those longer-range targets.
One benefit of using any optic in place of iron sights is the use of different reticles. Many optics today are designed with reticles that continue to make the shooter’s job easier by providing reference points, alternate aiming tools, and range estimating tools all built into the scope. Some will even help by providing hold-over marks for engaging moving targets or adjusting for wind at range.
What to Look For in Your 1-6x Scope?
With any scope, one of the first things to consider is the quality of the glass and the overall build quality. Usually if one of these is lacking, then the other will be as well. While poorly ground glass may not be immediately noticeable at lower magnification, when the scope is zoomed all the way in poor glass will show itself in the form of a blurry image, or the edges of the aperture might appear almost frosted due to poor grinding. A poor build quality will lead to issues with durability. Regardless of your application for the scope, it will have to be able to withstand recoil from repeated shots at a minimum. I have seen many cheaply made optics seemingly destroy themselves on a bench rest, while others have literally fallen from airplanes and continued to function and hold zero.
A useful reticle is another great thing to look for. In some budget or sporting scopes you are likely to find a simple duplex reticle with only crosshairs and no other information built into them. This is acceptable engagements within 300 yards, but if you can get mil or MOA adjustments and a bullet drop compensator built right into the scope, why not take the advantages?
Something that can be easy to overlook, and almost impossible to know about when shopping online, is the power ring. When using a 1×6 scope I like to be able to quickly adjust the magnification. Some scopes make that very challenging as the power ring can be difficult to manipulate. This can be made easier with the addition of a throw lever but having a smooth and easy to operate power ring is an advantage.
What’s in the Box?
Overall value is the last thing I consider. Just because a scope is priced lower than its competitors does not mean it is of poor quality, and higher priced scopes don’t always live up to their price tags. When shopping for a scope, manage your price point against the advertised quality of the scope. Also look to see what accessories come with the scope. A higher priced scope on sale might seem like a bargain, but you should consider the cost of rings or a mount if not included, or if that throw lever we talked about is included.
As we jump into the list of the 10 best 1-6x scopes you should take the above notes into consideration with me. Some of these scopes are great for their value, some are great for their overall quality, and some are great for a specific application. It is impossible to narrow down one perfect scope for all applications, but these are the scopes that I recommend for anybody trying to improve the effectiveness of their rifle.
Our Recommendations for 1-6x Scope
Vortex Optics Strike Eagle SFP Riflescopes
This scope makes the list early due to its incredible value at under $500. While this scope might not be proven in military use, it is of a higher grade than most consumer grade optics on the market; pro-sumer if you will. Extremely rugged, and incredibly clear glass are common praises received by this scope. This is a second focal plane scope, so the reticle is easy to acquire at any magnification. The reticle offers a large ring for fast acquisition at short ranges, and a bullet drop compensator to help adjust the point of aim at range.
Some might not like the thickness of the reticle as it can reduce accuracy at long ranges, but inside 300 yards is where this scope really shines. With the capped turrets, it is clear that this scope is not designed for extreme long ranges. The reticle is also illuminated which is a nice touch. This scope can be purchased with or without an included cantilever mount and throw lever; both are great values when included and help the shooter immediately mount the scope to an AR platform rifle, which appears to be what this scope is best suited for.
Primary Arms Silver Series 1-6×24 SFP Rifle Scope
Another pro-sumer level of scope, the Primary Arms Silver series 1-6x scope offers great value for those who don’t mind paying for a quality scope but still need to keep it under $500. This scope offers a smooth operating power ring that moves easily, but not so freely that it might make unwanted adjustments. The glass on this scope is very clear and offers exceptional clarity, even at full magnification. The turrets on this scope are covered and are not meant to be adjusted after the scope is zeroed.
The reticle in this scope is in the second focal plane. This means that the reticle will remain the same size as you move through the range of magnification, and that can be a benefit for those who plan on engaging targets at close range as first focal plane scopes can have reticles that are small and difficult to see at lower powers of magnification.
Speaking of reticles, this scope offers the famous ACSS reticle. This reticle has been referred to as the best combat reticle available by many in the industry. Whether you agree with that lofty claim or not, you will find that the reticle makes target acquisition and adjustment of shot placement very easy and intuitive. This reticle offers a ton of information to the shooter with a clean and easy to use design.
EOTECH Vudu 1-6x24mm Precision Rifle Scope
They say that you get what you pay for. This is the 2nd most expensive scope on the list, but if you are willing and able to pay for this scope, you will get the highest grade product on the list. It will be up to you to determine if the value is there or not.
The glass on this scope is incredibly clear and has coatings that help mitigate fog and scratches. There are several options for reticles in this scope, but they will all be kept in the first focal plane. Being the first scope with a reticle in this plane, it allows for accurate hold-offs using the mRAD marks in the reticle at any magnification. While the reticle will appear smaller at lower magnification, you will find that the reticles were well thought out and remain effective and easy to acquire even at the lowest magnification.
The scope is unashamedly rugged and is sure to withstand even the worst abuse you might be able to put it through, and this is backed up by a lifetime warranty from EOTech.
The scope will not come with any accessories or mounting method, so it will be up to you to choose your rings or mount after you’ve paid for the scope. Either way, this scope will be at home on a hunting rifle, a sporting rifle, or in the hands of an armed professional.
Trijicon AccuPoint 1-6×24 Riflescope, 30 mm Tube
Trijicon is famous for its battery free illuminated reticles and military grade durability. This scope meets both of those criteria, and then some. Impressively clear glass and a true 1x zoom at minimum magnification with no distortion are boasted on this scope.
Trijicon scopes use a fiber optic device to collect light, as well as some proprietary materials, to ensure that the reticle on this scope is always lit for the shooter. The reticle can be ordered in red or green to suit your preference and will be found on the second focal plane of this scope. The reticle is the triangle shape that Trijicon is known for which allows for very precise aiming at any magnification, even on the smallest of targets.
This scope is among the most expensive on the list as well due to the military grade construction and components, and the unique battery free illumination, so you will need to determine the value for yourself. You will also need to find your own mount or rings for this scope.
P-223 AR/MSR Riflescope, 1.5-4.5x20mm
A familiar name in the hunting optic market makes this list for the incredible value. Nikon is known for its high-quality glass, and this scope is no exception. The reticle is no-nonsense and simple; it is a duplex reticle with bullet drop compensation built in.
This scope will not be as rugged as some of the others on this list, nor will all the extra features be present. Some of the concessions were made to keep this scope very affordable. The lowest magnification on this scope is an honest 1.5x so this will not be a great option to co-witness with iron sights, and the reticle is not illuminated like most of the other options on this list.
This is the lightest scope on the list at less than 14 ounces. With the light weight and low cost of this scope, this might be the best hunting scope option in the list.
Leupold VX-6HD 1-6x24mm
If you want features on your rifle scope, look no further. This scope is the most feature-rich on the list. The reticle is illuminated, the turrets are externally adjustable, this is one of the only scopes on this list with parallax adjustment, it can be ordered with 1 of 7 different reticles to your choosing, and it has a lifetime warranty.
Another unique feature in this scope is the Twilight Max HD Light Management System. It is claimed that this scope is capable of using less light than the competitors to keep the scope tube visible to the shooter, meaning that you will be able to use your scope unassisted for up to 30 minutes later after sunset than you buddy using a competitor’s scope.
The scope also offers an included throw lever to help with quick magnification adjustments. An odd, but welcomed addition, is overly premium aluminum scope caps. The Leupold name is combat tested for durability, and this scope continues the same tradition, as well as a very manageable weight at just over 1 pound. The premium features and warranty demand the highest price on this list, and it is usually had for over $1200, and is possibly the best scope on this list for the SCAR 17.
Bushnell Elite Tactical Illuminated BTR 2 SFP Reticle Riflescope
Bushnell is a name that is well known in the hunting scope market, and this brand can often be dismissed by serious marksmen due to their budget options that can be found on department store shelves. I assure you that this scope takes a very hard turn away from the cheap hunting scopes you might be accustomed to.
The scope is built to compete with professional grade optics and offers features like an illuminated reticle, exposed turrets for first shot accuracy at range, it has parallax adjustment, and it has a throw lever built into the power ring.
Super clear lenses on this scope are also reported, and they are sometimes considered as good or better than Vortex lenses. The turret adjustments are crisp and accurate. The lowest magnification is a true 1 power which will allow for the use of back up iron sights.
The only concerns I have with this scope is that the reticle can get a little fuzzy when the illumination is used, and this is one of the heavier scopes on the list coming in at over 2 pounds. Like most of the other scopes on this list, the rings or mount will be up to you as well.
Sig Sauer SOT61008 TANGO6 1-6x24mm with 3 Gun Reticle
This scope is a competitor for best 3 gun scope. Besides boring reliability and durability that we’ve seen throughout this list, there are a couple of extra features this scope will offer the shooter.
The exposed turrets on this scope are oversized and very easy to manipulate. They track perfectly and return to zero every time. Both the reticle graduations and the turret adjustments are in mRADS, so the system works very well together.
The weight of the scope is in that sweet spot of roughly 1.5 pounds which helps inspire confidence in one’s equipment without requiring a gym membership to carry the rifle around.
There is a unique feature on this scope that we haven’t seen in any other offerings on this list. The battery life on this scope is greatly enhanced by using an auto-off, auto-on feature that is activated by a motion sensor. This allows the shooter to keep the illumination turned on if the rifle is used for home defense, or it will also save the shooter from an embarrassing situation during a competition when an illuminated reticle might be required.
One common complaint is that a throw lever, no included by the way, is almost required to manipulate the power ring. You’ll also need to provide your own mounting method for this scope.
TRUGLO TRU-Brite 30 Series 1-6 X 24mm
This scope makes the list for being absolutely jam packed with value. In the box you will get the scope, a cantilever mount, and a through lever. On the scope you will find exposed turrets, an illuminated reticle, and the reticle has mRAD graduations for on-the-fly adjustments to your point of aim. This scope also boasts a 30mm main tube which allows for a wider field of view inside the scope, and more room for adjustments with the turrets. All of this can be had for well under $200, making this the least expensive scope on the list.
At this price many people would believe that they would have to make major concessions to use this scope. While inexpensive, TruGlo is consistently rugged and able to withstand even some of the heaviest recoiling rifles or drops.
Where you will likely find something to be desired is in the adjustment. The turrets and the illumination control have a mushy feeling that doesn’t inspire confidence when making adjustments. Despite the lack of tactile clicks in the adjustments, the scope does track well and returns to zero reliably when using the turrets.
Monstrum G3 1-6×24 FFP Rifle Scope Illuminated MOA Reticle
Monstrum Tactical creates optics that are designed around the budget conscious shooter. Don’t get their competitive prices mixed up with low quality though. This scope, just like the rest of their line up come with the reputation of being rock solid and rugged. This scope also puts the reticle in the first focal plane, or FFP, which is important for those who want to adjust their point of aim with the reference points built in; in a first focal plane scope these points will be accurate at all levels of magnification.
The glass on this scope is clearer than expected at this price point, so you are sure to get a sharp, crisp image when looking through the scope. You will find that on this scope, the adjustment knobs are stiffer than competitors making fast adjustments challenging. While the adjustments may be stiff, it is nice that the scope has exposed turrets for those who want to adjust their point of aim with the scope rather than the reticle. The scope does ship with rings that will mount nicely on a sporting rifle, but if you want to mount this on an AR platform rifle, you may need to purchase a mount or your own rings.
Travis Mike is a firearm enthusiast and author passionate about all things guns. With 10 years of experience in the industry, Travis Mike has gained a wealth of knowledge on the subject. He is skilled in gunsmithing and tactical training. In addition to professional experience, Travis Mike is an avid hunter and shooter, regularly participating in local shooting ranges and hunting trips.