Are you looking for the best tactical scopes for the money? There are many scopes out there to choose from, and I rounded up the top 3 for you to consider.
What most people don't know:
A tactical scope is technically defined as military hardened to take a beating, and still perform under the most critical of situations. Therefore, a true tactical scope is one designed for law enforcement and combat situations.
Something to consider:
There are some cheaper companies out there that put the word tactical in their product name to try to sell more scopes, but those scopes are not built for these type of situations.
With that in mind...
In this article, we are going to review the different important criteria that you should look for in a tactical scope. Then we are going to look at some tactical scope reviews to help you decide which one you should get.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, where I make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Best Tactical Scope Comparison Criteria
The biggest factor of a tactical scope is how well it is designed and built.
The scope should be able to be thrown, dropped, banged up, and even worse, and still be able to perform well.
This kind of durability requires key things to be done in design, and it takes much higher quality manufacturing to pull it off.
That is why these type of scopes are very expensive. You are paying for all of the knowledge and labor that goes into making them so well.
NightForce and U.S. Optics make some of the best on the market.
Another factor is magnification, because in most tactical situations where an accurate rifle is being employed is typically at a longer distance.
Now there are many different sources of distortion that start to add up when you use a magnification above 10x. Problems in the optics as well as the parallax effect can destroy your accuracy.
The best way to mitigate these problems is with high quality optics and coatings, as well as an ability to adjust for parallax.
You need a high performing scope to give you the advantage in a tactical scenario. The design of the optics through the knobs and reticle all come together to create great results.
1. NightForce 5.5-22x50 NXS
When it comes to pure tactical scopes, one of the best companies is NightForce. The NightForce 5.5-22x50 NXS is a magnificent choice.
The scope has a 5.5-22x mag range with a 50 mm objective lens. It has over 100 MOA of internal adjustment for elevation.
The reticle is the MOAR that has 1 MOA windage and elevation markings for ultimate precision.
The reticle is a second focal plane, which means that the reticle stays the same size through the magnification changes, and you need to understand the math involved to use the reticle properly.
This scope is built to last. Check out the video below to see the kind of torture tests that NightForce puts their scopes through.
NightForce also has some great videos on their website.
2. U.S. Optics LR-17 3.2-17x44
A slightly more expensive option is the US Optics LR-17 3.2-17x44.
You can gain more short range with this scope with its 3.2-17x mag range. It also has a 44 mm objective.
This scope has 77 MOA of internal adjustment for elevation.
It has a MIL GAP illuminated reticle with mil hashmarks in a very clean display.
This scope's reticle is first focal plane, which means that the reticle changes size with magnification and remains true to its markings so that the shooter does not have to do math to figure out hashmarks.
U.S. Optics is another company known for their ultra high quality scopes. If you doubt the quality, check out the video below where the scope is literally thrown down range and still continues to perform.
3. Leupold Mark 4 LR/T 8.5-25x50
If you are tighter on budget, consider the Leupold Mark 4 LR/T 8.5-25x50. This scope is from the Leupold long range tactical product line.
It has a 8.5-25x mag range with a 50 mm objective lens. There is 70 MOA of elevation adjustment on this scope.
The reticle is a mil dot with elevation and windage markings. This scope's reticle is second focal plane.
Leupold is known for their quality, and this especially goes for their tactical line of scopes.
In summary, we discussed why tactical scopes are so expensive.
The true nature of a tactical scope is extreme performance under the worst of conditions. A tactical scope needs to be able to hold up to a lot of abuse and still hold zero and perform.
It turns out that it is hard to make a scope that is capable of being truly tactical. That is why there are only a few companies out there that can make their scopes perform at this level.
We must remember that durability of the scope is a matter of life and death in combat.
We also talked about magnification and why it is important. There are distortions that can wreck the image you see through your scope at higher mag, so it's important to get a scope that counters these problems.
Performance was another important factor, and this comes down to the design and manufacturing of the scope.
The top choice is the NightForce 5.5-22x50 NXS. It has the features, durability, magnification, and performance that you need at that critical moment.
If you need more of a technology boost, consider how awesome a night vision scope can be.
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