The best illuminated reticle scope I’ve found tend to be designed with shooting at close quarters and/or in low light first in mind. Whereas a number of best-selling optics have magnifications that crank to 11x or higher, only one of this trifecta of superb scopes goes above 4x. These are the products shooters trust when they look to acquire targets and snap off shots quickly. That isn’t to say that they can’t dial in 500 yard shots and make them look easy. However, if you really want to see their precision craftsmanship sign, drawn down on an approaching hog that has a bone to pick with you under 100 yards.
My advice? When it comes to illuminated reticle scopes, you will never go wrong focusing closely on these four criteria
- RETICLE DESIGN
Top 3 Best Illuminated Reticle Scope – Comparison Chart
|Picture||Name||Our Rating||Price||Get Product|
|Nikon P-RIMFIRE BDC 150 Rifle Scope, Black||4.8||$$$|
|Leupold 115388 Mark AR MOD 1 Rifle Scope||5||$$$|
|Vortex Optics SPR-1301 Spitfire 1x Prism Scope||4.9||$$$|
Table of Contents
- 1 Top 3 Best Illuminated Reticle Scope – Comparison Chart
- 2 RETICLE
- 3 CLARITY
- 4 MAGNIFICATION
- 5 ACCURACY
- 6 Related Video: How To Use Adjustable Objective on Rifle Scopes?
- 7 Related Posts:
- Leupold 114933 VX-HOG 1-4×20 Matte Pig Plex – As usual, Leupold comes through with simple, immaculate craftsmanship. Admittedly, I pulled my head away from lens to roll my eyes when I saw that the horizontal bar in the reticle reads “PIG PLEX” in lit-up red from left to right with its center dot in between. That little novelty does indeed make for a curiously thick set of outer crosshairs, but to my surprise, they ended up helping target quickly and never impeded my longer-distance shooting.
- Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-6 x 24 AR-BDC Reticle – I’m rarely disappointed by any aspect of Vortex Optics products, but as they say, “Never say never.” Instead of providing bright, easy-to-follow illumination, the red reticle could better be described as “washed-out.” Fortunately, the remainder of its design makes up for it handily. The reticle is glass-etched in the second focal plane for durability on par with the one-piece body’s aircraft-grade aluminum, also allowing it to maintain its ideal size at any magnification. The listed subtensions in my display wiped out any guesswork in estimating holdover, wind-drift, and range with stunning accuracy at even the highest power. Superb.
- Bushnell Optics FFP Illuminated BTR-1 – Obsessive attention to calculated details could be considered Bushnell’s hallmark, along with accuracy you could set a clock to, with or without a bench rest. The illuminated reticle in the first focal plane and its counterpart bar reticle both come with 11 brightness settings and an ingenious Power Charge Level (PCL) for instant power boosts. Its caliber-specific calibration is optimized for 5.56 rounds with pinpoint-accurate Ballistic Drop Compensation (BDC) hashmarks out to 500 yards.
BEST RETICLE: Bushnell Optics FFP Illuminated BTR-1
HONORABLE MENTION: Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-6 x 24 AR-BDC Reticle
- Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-6 x 24 AR-BDC Reticle – Were it not facing off with a phenomenal Leupold scope and the trademark brightness of Bushnell, the Vortex’s rare “true 1x” clarity from 20 feet outward would put it head-and-shoulders even above such vaunted craftsmen as Leupold and Bushnell. Like Bushnell, Vortex Optics uniformly champions fully multi-coated lenses that render reflection nearly non-existent and maximize light transmission to such a degree, you will wonder why every manufacturer doesn’t go that small, inconsequential extra mile for peak brightness. Unfortunately, I have to wonder whether the minor “fisheye” distortion at close distances is a consequence of inexplicably not using the XD glass popularized in the brand’s highest-end scopes. However, it is still a gorgeously clear picture.
- Bushnell Optics FFP Illuminated BTR-1 – When it comes to clarity, Bushnell is nearly unmatched. Chalk that largely up to their commitment to fully multi-coating their optics and perfecting possibly the industry’s finest fog-proofing and waterproofing nitrogen purge process. Sealing every scope from the inside with an unyielding O-ring not only keeps every iota of moisture at bay but also every trace of dust, dirt, and debris. Consistency is an artform to their engineers and their scopes are indeed consistently the brightest, sharpest-contrast I’ve ever peered through.
- Leupold 114933 VX-HOG 1-4×20 Matte Pig Plex – Nothing compares to the sharp, bright clarity of Leupold glass. No gimmicks needed. No proprietary coatings. No added illumination really required at all. It is simply the clearest, cleanest material in sporting optics. I have never sighted down on a target as fast as this 20mm-objective scope’s high-definition picture allowed me to take aim.
MOST CLARITY: Leupold 114933 VX-HOG 1-4×20 Matte Pig Plex
- Leupold 114933 VX-HOG 1-4×20 Matte Pig Plex – This is a curious category. Both Leupold and Bushnell maxed out these particular scopes at relatively low 4x magnification. Despite not being a true 1x, its lowest power targets with incredible speed for such a low magnification and its 4x is perfectly usable out to maximum 5.56 distances. It’s a scope built for fast, close action but more than capable of dropping distant varmints with ease.
- Bushnell Optics FFP Illuminated BTR-1 – I could make this simple and just say, “See, Leupold.” However, that doesn’t quite do justice to just what an impressive scope Bushnell makes. It is easily on par with Leupold’s finest low-power scopes and maintains immaculate balance at every magnification. There’s no wrong range for shooting this scope.
- Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-6 x 24 AR-BDC Reticle – To my surprise, the Strike Eagle takes this category simple based on having more overall power and the convenience of a true 1x magnification to offer. There’s nothing quite like a scope you can accurately aim with both eyes open. It’s obvious that Vortex took the strengths and realities of the AR platform closely to heart and I appreciate their thoughtful consideration for what suits that immensely popular family.
BEST MAGNIFICATION: Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-6 x 24 AR-BDC Reticle
- Leupold 114933 VX-HOG 1-4×20 Matte Pig Plex – It’s almost unthinkable that I’m not handing Leupold this criterion’s highest placement. However, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with it, as I’ve established. I snapped right to one target after another and drilled them dead with shot after shot. It’s a small scope made with the .30-06 in mind and both cartridge and scope complement one another to a “T.”
- Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-6 x 24 AR-BDC Reticle – Like the Leupold, there isn’t a single flaw in the Strike Eagle’s accuracy. Thankfully, the etched crosshair offsets the underwhelming illuminated reticle. Furthermore, I didn’t expect easily lining up shots on the fly using the halo to be remotely as much fun as it was. Nor can I say enough about the luxury of this easy-to-zero scope’s locking turrets when it comes to finger-rotated adjustments.
- Bushnell Optics FFP Illuminated BTR-1 – As quickly as I acquired targets with the Leupold and Vortex scopes, I snapped onto them just a hair faster with the Bushnell. Each shot I fired validated the pinpoint-precise .1 Mil-click turrets’ adjustments. Every target I perforated exactly where I had sighted it validated that its 500 BDC is absolutely bankable. Having shot a few first-focal-plane reticles that drowned out their targets with magnification adjustments, I took great satisfaction just taking in the way this scope’s reticle appropriately adjusts itself at every power. Typical Bushnell perfection.
MOST ACCURATE: Bushnell Optics FFP Illuminated BTR-1
You have to hand it to Bushnell: producing the best illuminated reticle scope of this short-list showdown proves that you don’t necessarily need to re-invent the wheel with every product. If you give your customers an uncompromisingly consistent standard of quality your brand has conditioned them to expect, you will have fans for life. Bushnell hits every mark I could hope piece of sporting optics could check off, from durability to brightness and accuracy.