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Best 1-4x Rifle Scopes – Buying Guide and Reviews

How to find the best rated 1-4x riflescopes

Whether you want it for hunting or tactical shooting, a 1-4x riflescope would go a long way. At 1x, it can act in a way similar to a red dot sight by allowing for faster and more accurate aiming. And on 4x, they’ll help you land tricky shots at distant moving targets.

How to find the best rated 1-4x riflescopes

Unfortunately, the market is full of a lot of awful optics. It’d be absolutely disappointing if the scope becomes foggy or gets scratched in the middle of the action.

No worries, though. In this article, we’ll review the best 1-4x riflescopes that actually deserve your hard-earned money.

What Is a 1-4x Best Used For?

1-4x optics are favored by hunters and marksmen in situations where they need to balance between speed and accuracy.

When used at the maximum power of 4x, this optic will allow you to hunt big game situated at around 300 yards. Theoretically, it can be squeezed just a bit further, but you’ll probably have some issues with windage and elevation.

When you bring it down to the lowest power of 1x, it’ll act just like a red dot sight with a wide field of view. In fact, this is a controversial topic that has sparked a lot of debates between hunters and tactical shooters.

1-4x Scope vs. a Red Dot with Magnifier

In the world of firearms, there’s no one simple truth. We can’t agree that a 1-4x scope will be indefinitely better than a red dot with a magnifier. This depends on a lot of factors that vary significantly between users.

Cost

If you’re concerned about the budget, then a 1-4x scope might be better. As you’ll see later on, most of these optics cost around $200. It’s possible to find pricier stuff, for sure. But that baseline can be more than enough for hunters and tactical shooters alike.

We know that some of you might argue that a red dot with a magnifier can cost far less. And technically, that’s true. But would it be equally convenient? Heck no!

If you are to purchase parts that would actually compare to a powered scope, you’ll end up paying between $350 and $400. If you’re interested in that option, then go for the Sig Sauer Romeo5 1x20mm Red Dot Sight and the Juliet or the Vortex VMX-3T Magnifier.

Weight

Expectedly, the weight varies between different products. Some brands are well known for using aircraft-grade aluminum, which cuts down tremendously on the optic weight. However, a red dot and a magnifier would generally weigh about 10 ounces less than a scope.

If you checked the gear we suggested earlier, you’ll find that they’ll add about 11 ounces to your firearm. A scope, on the other hand, ranges around 15 ounces. But that’s not it. You still have to buy rings to mount the scope. Their weight can be similarly variable, but they oftentimes range around 5 ounces.

Therefore, a red dot and a magnifier will be more convenient in close-range hunting and tactical shooting.

Versatility

Without a doubt, a 1-4x scope would be more versatile than the other setup. You can effortlessly flip between magnifying powers by turning the power ring. It’s possible to do that on-the-go if you can take a momentary cover.

This isn’t necessarily the case with a magnifier. In the gear we suggested, the magnifier has a flip-to-side mount. This way, you can flip it to the side to use the red dot alone on 1x. However, some models don’t have this feature. These magnifiers can’t be taken off without a screwdriver.

That’s why you want to consider using a scope for hunting deer, coyotes, hogs, etc. You’ll never know when you need close range or long-range capabilities.

Turret on rifle scope for easy and precise adjustments

What Are the Basics of a 1-4x Rifle Scope?

Alright, if you decided you’ll go down that road, you can proceed to the next step. How to choose the right 1-4x scope. In this section, we’ll highlight the most important criteria that you have to bear in mind.

Lens Quality

Since a 1-4x scope is used for distances up to 300 yards, lens quality is crucial. You want to get something that would block the excessive light, especially if you’ll primarily use it for hunting. Similarly, it has to prevent glares and similar issues that would reduce clarity. 

You don’t want a lens to overdo this job, though. Otherwise, the light transmission will be negatively impacted, leaving you with an awfully dark field of view.

For that matter, we always prefer multi-coated lenses over single or normal coating. Multi-coating means that all the scope’s lenses are coated with more than one layer of light-filtering substances.

Windage and Elevation

As a rule of thumb, all the 1-4x scopes come with two turrets. The top one adjusts elevation, while the one on the right side is intended for windage.

Ideally, you should get a scope that adjusts with audible and tactile clicks. This way, you can fine-tune it without having to take your eye off the eyepiece. 

For the best accuracy, get a scope that accepts adjustments in 0.25 or 0.5 MOA.

If you’re unfamiliar, MOA means a minute of angle. At 100 yards, 1 MOA will shift the bullet about 1 inch. At 200 yards, this becomes 2 inches, and so on.

Therefore, a 0.5 MOA scope will accept adjustments of about 1.5 inches at a 300-yard distance. As a result, your shots will land with maximum accuracy.

Field of View

The field of view (FOV) is how wide you can see when you’re looking through your scope. Ideally, 1-4x scopes should offer about 100 feet at the 1x setting. Expectedly, this value will drastically decrease when you increase the magnification. At 4x, it should show about 25 feet.

As you might already guess, FOV is directly related to the size of the lenses. 24mm scopes would definitely have larger FOV than 20mm gear.

Surely, a larger FOV is favorable. It’ll enable you to track your prey easier if they decided to run for their lives.

Eye Relief

You should never get a scope before making sure its eye relief conforms with the recoil of your firearm. If you’re unfamiliar, eye relief means the distance range that you can place your eye inside without impacting the image quality.

If you put a scope with short eye relief over a rifle with high recoil, you’ll have to constantly adjust your head between shots. If you’re unlucky, the rifle might even hit your face.

It is always recommended to go for a 3-inch or a 4-inch relief, just to be on the safe side.

Fixed Power RIfle Scope

What Are the Best 1-4x Scopes?

How does the scope perform? How is the reticle designed? And how accurate is it? These are some of the questions that’ll answer in each of the following reviews. Let’s see!

Bushnell Optics 1-4x24mm Drop Zone-223

For the first recommendation, you can’t find a lot of scopes that are better than this one. The Bushnell Drop Zone-223 balances well between performance, durability, and most importantly, price.

However, it’s not a compact or lightweight scope. Without the mounting rings, it weighs around 17 ounces with about 14 inches in length and 4 inches in width. On the bright side, the heavier construction mostly correlates with better durability and enhanced performance.

Performance and Design

The Drop Zone-223 features a classic duplex reticle with a couple of markings to give it some sort of a BDC advantage. The lenses are made of superior quality, giving optimal clarity and light transmission.

If you prefer illuminated scopes, you can opt for the updated version. As a plus, that one features a foldable handle connected to the power ring. When you want to change the magnification, it’ll be a lot faster to grip that handle instead of the ring itself.

In the 1x setting, the field of view measures around 90 feet. On the maximum power, it still maintains acceptable value with up to 23 feet.

Turrets

This scope doesn’t feature the regular MOA system found in most gear. It works via the mil system instead. When you turn the turrets, they produce audible and tactile clicks. It would be a solid improvement if the increments were smaller. Right now, they change by 6 mils, which shifts the bullet about 21 inches at 100 yards!

Pros

  • The lenses are clear with excellent light transmission
  • Accurate and simple reticle design
  • Affordable

Cons

  • The reticle isn’t illuminated
  • The turrets’ increments aren’t convenient
  • It’s a bit heavy and bulky

Trijicon TR24 AccuPoint 1-4×24 Dual-Illuminated Riflescope

The Trijicon TR24 is one of the oldest scopes you can find in the market. It should be great for people who like to opt for old-school gear that doesn’t have too many features.

This scope measures around 10 inches in length and weighs about 15 ounces without the mounting rings. These values make it way lighter than most of the powered scopes.

With an illuminated reticle, the TR24 can be used in most hunting situations where you have to chase your target after the sunset. It does that in a battery-less manner via the embedded tritium vial.

Performance and Design

If you like to have freedom with the reticle design, you’re in for a treat. The TR24 comes in three versions: a triangle post, simple duplex, and German #4 crosshairs. Regardless of the design, the reticle is always in the second focal plane. This means that it’ll keep its original size even at a 4x magnification.

In action, the TR24 has an eye relief of about 3.2 inches. This makes it suitable for rifles with medium to high recoil.

In terms of clarity, this scope can’t get any better. Trijicon is generally known for using Japanese multi-coated lenses in their products, which provides optimal performance. When brought in the 1x setting, nobody complained from edge noise or fish-eye effect.

Turrets

The TR24 comes with the usual 2-turret design. It’s possible to adjust the windage and elevation with increments of 0.25 MOA. After everything is set, you can cover the turrets by their aluminum caps to avoid accidental movement in speedy combats. 

The only downside is the price. This scope is insanely expensive, given that it doesn’t have any special features.

Pros

  • Excellent glass quality
  • Different reticle designs
  • Generous eye relief
  • Distortion-free 1x setting

Cons

  • Notably expensive

Burris MTAC 1-4×24 Scope with Fastfire

If you want something that balances well between short and mid-ranges, you should love the Burris MTAC. This amazing scope comes with a red dot sight mounted on top.

The best thing about this scope has got to be the price. It’s among the most reasonably-priced optics in today’s market. The second best thing is the weight. It weighs around 18 ounces with the rings and extra sight!

Performance and Design

The MTAC comes with a second-focal-plane illuminated reticle. But unlike the Trijicon, it depends on CR2032 batteries. Of course, if the battery dies on you, there will be no illumination. But even then, the etched reticle can do a pretty good job.

Toward the left, there’s a turret that controls the illumination in 10 settings. Between each level, the illumination turns off, which can be absolutely handy in tight situations where you want to quickly adjust settings.

One of the most unique features about the MTAC lies in the reticle design. The Ballistic CQ reticle has 3 T-shaped figures drawn around a central dot. This way, you can lock your target in place extremely fast.

With a 4-inch eye relief, the MTAC provides great value. This makes it suitable for a wider range of rifles.

Turrets

If long-range shooting is important for you, then you might want to consider another scope. The Burris MTAC accepts adjustments of 1 mil. This equals about 3.6 inches at 100 yards. Also, the turrets don’t produce a loud or audible click.

Pros

  • 10 levels of illumination
  • Attached red dot sight
  • Generous eye relief
  • Reasonably-priced
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Low accuracy

Hi-Lux Optics CMR Series 1-4x24mm

If you’re tight on budget, the Hi-Lux Optics CMR can be your best bet. It certainly won’t be as efficient as pricier models, but it gets pretty close.

The first downside is found in the weight. This 10-inch scope weighs around 16 ounces without the mounting rings. This might limit its use in feisty close-range encounters.

Performance and Design

Whenever there’s an affordable scope, you instantly doubt the image clarity. Most of the time, these scopes are annoyingly distorted, which would ruin your shooting regardless of how skilled you are.

Thankfully, this isn’t the case here. The CMR features extra-clear multi-coated lenses with special attention for fog resistance.

The reticle design is another feature that makes the CMR stand out. In the middle, a 1-MOA dot and a small circle will draw your focus with their illumination. There is a bigger circle surrounding this for locking on torso-shaped targets.

Both vertically and horizontally, there are BDC lines marked in mils in the reticle. With this design, it can provide amazing performance in both short and long ranges.

Turrets

The turrets on this scope accept adjustments of 0.5 MOA, which is absolutely great. However, since the turrets don’t have a locking mechanism, they can be accidentally moved without you noticing.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Clear lenses
  • Affordable
  • Accurate reticle

Cons

  • The turrets don’t lock in place

Mueller Speed Shot 1-4 x 24mm

As the name implies, Mueller optimized its Speed Shot scope especially for situations that need fast responses. This includes CQB, competitions, and big game hunting.

This scope is categorized among the thinnest optics. It measures about 10 inches in length and less than 2 inches in width and height. Without the mounting rings, it lies around 17 ounces.

Performance and Design

The Speed Shot offers amazing performance with its illuminated reticle. On the left side, there’s a knob that controls the light intensity with 11 settings. On the highest intensity, the central dot remains clear enough, even during sunny days.

However, when the sun goes down, you might want to install another scope. Unfortunately, the lens coating is thicker than usual. As a result, it gets notably dark in situations with limited lighting.

Also, Mueller decided to make the central dot larger than usual to allow for easier target acquisition. To be fair, the 4-MOA dot does this job perfectly. However, it might completely obscure targets placed at distant ranges. This dot will cover about 4 inches of targets placed at 300 yards, for instance.

Turrets

Since this scope is equipped with capped turrets, you don’t need to be careful with accidental turning. Whenever you need to adjust something, simply unlock the cappings and rotate the turrets. With increments of 0.5 MOA, this scope should be accurate enough over large distances if you don’t mind the large dot.

Pros

  • Optimized for close combats
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Sturdy construction

Cons

Monstrum G2 1-4×24 First Focal Plane FFP

So far, we’ve only covered second-focal-plane scopes. If you’re interested in the other variant, we recommend the Monstrum G2.

With a basic weight of 16 ounces, this scope will fit nicely with hunters and tactical shooters. It also measures less than 10 inches, which makes it suitable for a wide range of rifles. In addition to the conventional black, the G2 comes in a stunning beige/black design for sandy terrains.

Performance and Design

Second-focal-plane scopes are convenient. Most of the time, you don’t have to hassle with magnification and focus. However, their reticle spacing is only accurate on the maximum magnification. Therefore, if you want to make use of the lower powers like 3x and 2x, it’s better to opt for a first-focal-plane.

The only downside in the latter type is that the reticle gets incredibly tiny at 1x. This gets especially true for the G2 because it features a 1-MOA BDC German #4 reticle.

On the bright side, this scope offers a generous eye relief of up to 4.5 inches. You can try to compensate for the small reticle with a powerful rifle without worrying about the recoil. 

Turrets

The G2 accepts adjustments as small as 0.5 MOA. The turrets produce prominent clicks that can be felt and heard.

Last but not least, Monstrum presents the best value for money through some extra accessories. It sends a set of mounting rings, a set of flip-up lens covers, drawstring carrying bag, lint-free cleaning cloth, and one CR2032 battery.

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Excellent value with the extra accessories
  • Lightweight and compact

Cons

  • The reticle gets tinier with lower magnification

Simmons Whitetail Classic 1-4×20

If you’re absolutely restricted in your budget, then it’s not really possible to find anything better than the Simmons Whitetail. Surely, it doesn’t beat a more expensive optic in performance, but it still offers acceptable results.

Since the Whitetail doesn’t have a premium construction, Simmons was able to cut down on the weight. Without the mounting rings, it weighs about 13 ounces with around 10 inches in length.

Instead of the classic smooth black finish, the Whitetail features a BlackGranite texture. This can be quite attractive, especially if you like to participate in competitions.

Performance and Design

Despite being unique on the outside, the Whitetail features a simple duplex reticle with no BDC. As a result, it won’t provide enough accuracy in long ranges. However, with FOV of 24 feet at 100 yards under 4x magnification, you can compensate for the low accuracy with your skills.

As you might’ve guessed, the wide FOV also brings a generous eye relief of 4.5 inches and an exit pupil diameter of 10 mm at 1x.

Turrets

The turrets adjust with 0.5 MOA while sounding a prominent click. Almost no users had any problems with how well this scope holds zero, which is great at this price point.

Pros

  • Highly affordable
  • Attractive BlackGranite texture
  • Lightweight
  • Wide FOV, eye relief, and exit pupil diameter

Cons

  • Not that durable
  • The reticle doesn’t have BDC or illumination

Nikon Black Force1000 Matte Illuminated Speedforce 1-4×24

Nikon makes some of the best riflescopes in the market. Its gear is generally known for having excellent lens clarity with optimal illumination. The Nikon Black Force1000 is probably the best example.

But you can’t really expect good quality alongside illumination without putting on some extra ounces. This scope weighs about 17 ounces without the mounting rings. They managed to limit its length to 10 inches, or else it would’ve been a lot heavier.

Performance and Design

The Black Force1000 features the unique second-focal-plane SpeedForce reticle from Nikon. This comes as 2 horseshoe shapes with 3 dots in the middle. This can be incredibly helpful in adjusting your shots to land them perfectly.

In terms of lens clarity, it can’t be any better. The multiple coatings do a great job in blocking excessive sun rays without negatively affecting the visibility at night.

To make things even better, this scope has an illumination knob on the left side. It gives 10 levels of light intensity with an “off” setting between each level. This way, you can easily turn off the illumination without having to turn the knob all the way.

Turrets

The windage and elevation turrets are well-made with an amazing texture that allows for effortless turning. Each click results in a 0.5 MOA adjustment. And since the turrets are capped, you can be certain that they won’t turn by mistake.

Pros

  • Excellent lens clarity
  • Powerful illumination with a convenient knob
  • Wide FOV, eye relief, and exit pupil diameter

Cons

  • A bit heavy

Athlon Optics Talos BTR 1-4×24 Second Focal Plane

The Athlon Optics Talos BTR scope is one of the best affordable options that maintain a high level of brightness and clarity. That’s why it’s favored by many hunters who like the thrill of nighttime.

Since it’s designed for lurking inside the bushes waiting for your prey, it’s made with a bit heavy construction that weighs 16 ounces without the mounting rings. However, Athlon was keen on keeping it compact to avoid blowing your cover. That’s why it only measures 9.5 inches in length and 2.5 inches in height.

Performance and Design

As mentioned earlier, this scope excels in environments with low lighting. The reason behind this lies in the special coatings used over the lenses. Also, since it was purged by nitrogen, it would be absolutely rare to experience that annoying fogging while you’re aiming at your target during winter.

The Talos BTR doesn’t feature an MOA reticle, which might be a bit annoying for some shooters. On the center, there’s a 1 mil cross with 1 mil hash marks extending for 8 mils horizontally and vertically. Surely, there are black lines all-around for easier target acquisition.

Turrets

The turrets on the Talos BTR are well-constructed with amazing audible and tactile clicks. Each click adjusts the value by 0.2 mils. This might feel annoying at first but you should find it equally convenient later on.

Pros

  • High clarity and excellent light transmission
  • Audible and tactile turret clicks
  • The insides are purged with nitrogen to fight the fogging

Cons

  • It doesn’t have an MOA version

Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4x 20mm

Leupold is well known for making high-quality products with unique, premium designs. And don’t worry, this doesn’t necessarily skyrocket the price.

The Leupold VX-Freedom is among their best mid-price gear. It looks absolutely stunning with the small golden ring toward the objective lens. In terms of weight and size, it falls around 9 ounces with a total length of 9 inches. Surely, this makes it more than suitable for shooters who value agility.

Performance and Design

The reticle on the VX-Freedom isn’t illuminated. But it’s still sufficiently clear thanks to the multi-coated lenses.

The reticle is designed as a simplified Pig-Plex with a small central ring, hash marks, and black lines. To be honest, this design won’t be suitable for tactical shooting. But it should be perfect for hunting big game, especially hogs.

Since the lowest magnification here is 1.5x, the minimum field of view is estimated at around 74 feet. However, the maximum FOV is way higher than the other featured products at about 30 feet. The eye relief is also generous with about 4 inches.

Turrets

The windage and elevation turrets are provided with aluminum caps to avoid accidental turning. Every click adjusts the respective value by 0.25 MOA, which makes it incredibly accurate for distant targets.

Pros

  • Premium design with an attractive finish
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Wide FOV at the maximum power

Cons

  • The reticle design won’t be suitable for tactical shooters
  • It doesn’t feature illumination
  • It doesn’t offer a 1x setting

The Verdict

We hope this roundup helps you find the best 1-4x rifle scope. Let’s reiterate some of the top picks in guess you’re not sure yet.

For the maximum accuracy, you should consider the Trijicon TR24 AccuPoint. Its turrets accept adjustments of 0.25 MOA, allowing you to fine-tune your long-range shots. Furthermore, the fact that it can come with 3 different reticle designs makes it suitable for a lot of tactical shooters and hunters.

If you want the best value for money, you should love the Burris 200437-FF MTAC. It comes with mounting rings and an extra red dot sight for close encounters. And don’t worry, this doesn’t make it bulky or heavy. With a total of 18 ounces, it actually is a lot lighter than most of the recommendations.

If you’re short on budget, consider the Simmons Whitetail Classic. Unlike other affordable gear, it’s equipped with wide and clear lenses. As a result, it has a generous eye relief of 4.5 inches and a large exit pupil of 10 mm at 1x.

Last but not least, Monstrum G2 should be perfect if you prefer first focal plane optics. With that technology, the reticle markings will be always accurate, regardless of the magnification power you’re using. Although this helps you land more accurate shots, it makes the 1x reticle super tiny.

All in all, 1-4x riflescopes offer greater value than a red dot sight with a magnifier. Their enclosed nature is guaranteed to provide superior resistance to fogging and moisture.

How to find the best rated 1-4x riflescopes
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