There are many fine rifle scopes on the market for an affordable cost, but you’ll be limited to your use once the sun begins to set. If you’ve considered upgrading to an illuminated scope, we compiled this review of the best illuminated reticle scopes available. We’ll let you know which one we think everyone should enjoy at the end of the article.
Of course, there are two negatives to consider when buying an illuminated scope: one is that the scope will be heavier and the other is that it will be more expensive. The good news is that there’s a lot of reasonably priced scopes online. Choosing an illuminated reticle not only gives you the ability to hunt at night or before/at dawn, but it also acts as a defensive tool. If you’re out at night alone, or you want to stay hidden while you keep an eye out, utilizing your illuminated reticle can be a real life saver.
Materials — This one inch illuminated rifle scope is constructed of aircraft grade aluminum, which has been anodized in an all black, matte finish. The entire piece has been purged with nitrogen to be fog proof and water proof. There is also an o-ring seal to keep out moisture. The 50mm objective lens is fully covered with multiple anti-reflective coatings for protection as well as high-grade light transmission. The V-Brite reticle is a red dot that is visible during night and low light. Magnification levels range from 3x to 9x, and there are two turrets available for adjusting windage and elevation. Vortex Optics offers a VIP unconditional lifetime warranty.
Performance — The Vortex Crossfire II is the cheapest rifle scope within this review, so it’s a great start for anyone who wants to upgrade to an illuminated scope without breaking the bank. The standard one inch tube style makes this an easy choice that is accommodating with nearly any set of scope rings you mount it with. There’s nothing too fancy or out of the box with this one, which is absolutely fine. Although the seller page suggests a large amount of eye relief, we wouldn’t go so far as to agree with that. You still get a few inches; but, compared to the other illuminated reticle scopes within this review, you’re getting the least. With a lifetime warranty included, this is a fantastic starting point for buyers.
What we say – This is the best illuminated scope for buyers on a tighter budget or who only require the basics. You’ll be getting a durable rifle scope with a great picture, and it can be attached to essentially any rifle you choose.
- 50mm lens
- Lifetime VIP warranty
- Lowest cost in review
- Not as much eye relief as other illuminated scopes
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Materials — Bushnell’s illuminated reticle scope is housed in aluminum alloy, which is finished with an anodized coating in matte black. This 24mm lens is fully coated and purged with nitrogen for a fog proof and water proof sealing. The magnification range is 1x-4x. The first focal plane is illuminated with a ballistically calibrated reticle, which has 11 brightness settings. The throw down PCL lever makes it easy to quickly switch between powers. The adjustment turrets provide 1 millimeter clicks for pinpoint precision. Attach this illuminated scope to your AR platform rifle for one of the best targeting experiences you’ll have.
Performance — As we move on to smaller objective lens, you’ll find illuminated scopes that are more ideal for AR style rifles, like this Bushnell one. The compact size provides excellent eye relief (obviously better for your high recoil firearms), and it hardly adds any weight to the top of your rifle. Bushnell Optics makes a really durable illuminated scope that will be very shock proof. However, that factor will also depend on how well you install your mount rings. The magnification range can be very helpful for mid range shooting, but we find it a little odd that the adjustment turrets have such a precise click value. It seems nice at first, but it might take a little extra time to make your adjustments in such small increments.
What we say — This is the best illuminated reticle scope for anyone using an AR rifle for mid range shooting. If you want you adjustments to be ultra precise, and you need that extra bit of help when locking in on a target, then this is a worthy option to look into.
- Compact size and weight
- Plenty of eye relief
- Resistant to string recoil
- Adjustments can take extra time with such precise click value
Materials — This illuminated rifle scope from Primary Arms is another 24mm lens with a 1x-8x magnification. The patented ACSS reticle with bullet drop compensation is illuminated on the second focal plane. There are twelve brightness settings to utilize, making this scope perfect for any type of lighting. You’ll get the best target acquisition when using up to 300 yards, but the sight remains precise up to 800 yards. Included on the scope are adjustment turrets with covers. There are also attached covers on both ends of the scope. Primary Arms includes a lifetime warranty with your purchase.
Performance — The Primary Arms 24mm scope is similar to the Bushnell one in size, but that’s about it for similarities. This option has a wider magnification range as well as an additional brightness adjustment level. This is also the only option that comes with all the covers for both the lens, eye piece, and turrets. The covers for the turrets may be in the way for some shooters, so our suggestion is the just leave those pieces somewhere safe if you don’t want to use them. A BDC reticle is going to heighten your hunting game or any other target acquiring abilities. Like the first choice, this one also comes with a lifetime warranty. There isn’t too much to complain about here!
What we say — This is the best illuminated reticle for shooters who like the greater eye relief and don’t need a wide viewing range. There is a lot of adjustability available without completely depleting your wallet.
- 12 brightness levels
- Eye relief and small size
- Covers for lens, turrets, and eye piece
- Turret covers can get in the way or are easy to lose
Materials — The ACOG line from Trijicon is some of the best illuminated reticle scopes on the market. The forged 7075-T6 aircraft grade aluminum alloy construction houses a 32mm objective lens that is fully protected from water, fog, and dust. This is a fixed 4x magnification scope. The battery free illumination is powered by a red fiber optic, which automatically adjusts the brightness based on your lighting. Choose from ten available reticles, including crosshairs, horseshoes, triangles, and doughnuts. Reticles include bullet drop compensation and turrets for adjustments. This illuminated scope comes fixed to a rail mount, so no additional rings or pieces are required to purchase.
Performance — Ah, here we are with the best of the best. If you have the cash, and you want to seriously invest in an illuminated scope that will accommodate your needs, then look no further than the Trijicon ACOG scopes. Foremost, the ability to choose between your choice of reticles when buying is a wonderful feature. Using a fiber optic instead of battery power is also a great feature, since it will automatically adjust with the lighting. That means less work for you to do. With the rail mount already attached, you don’t even have to buy any additional accessories. We believe 4x is the perfect fixed magnification to have with rifles, so it’s hard to go wrong with this choice.
What we say — This is the best illuminated reticle scope for shooters who want options and absolutely zero guess work with the quality in their purchase. If you can afford it, you’ll be very happy with the Trijicon ACOG optic.
- Choice of reticle
- No batteries needed
- Mount comes attached
- Most expensive option
Our Favorite Illuminated Reticle Scope
Our favorite illuminated scope in this roundup was the Primary Arms Scope! This choice beat out the others for a handful of reasons, but they all add up to one main point: it offers a little bit of everything and he best of both worlds. For one, the magnification range of 1x – 8x is very ideal, more wouldn’t make much sense. You can go beyond mid-range shooting without having an unnecessary power or too much added weight. The very slim 24mm lens and tube is compact and perfect for installing on top of just about any rifle. This option also offers some of the best versatility with brightness level adjustments without relying on exterior lighting working in tandem with a fiber optic (like the Trijicon choice). All the turret covers can be annoying to some, but the solution is to just leave them at home or in your pocket. We wouldn’t complain about having extra protective layers for a fragile accessory like an illuminated scope. You should definitely check this one out.