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Best 1-6x Scopes Reviewed
When it comes to shooting, the scope a shooter uses is vitally important for accuracy. Without magnification on distant targets, it’s tough to judge the position and size of targets to get a good hit.
Whether it’s hunting, taking part in 3-gun competitions, or just blasting a few targets at the range, a 1-6x scope covers all of the bases.
That’s why Rustic Pursuits brings you the best 1-6x scopes on the market, and what they have to offer.
The many benefits of 1-6 variable power scopes have made them incredibly popular among gun enthusiasts today. They are perfect for AR type rifles needing both short CQB and mid to long range engagement.
Like all good things, there are bargain basement scopes on the market which aren’t up to scratch. People who pick up the wrong scope never benefit from the advantages that a solid 1-6x has to offer. And, it’s easy to end up making this mistake, because there are so many different optics to research before pulling the trigger.
We delve deeper into what makes our top picks better than the knock-offs, so you can avoid making a mistake you’ll regret.
1-6x Scope Features To Consider
Finding and buying a world-class scope isn’t easy unless all the details are laid out. But what if there are too many details, and too many options to sort through? How can you parse through it all? Buyers can find themselves overwhelmed and helpless because there is an over-abundance of tactical scopes and 1-6x scopes, making the decision difficult.
With that in mind, these are a few of the things to look for regarding a 1-6x scope:
- Materials – Anyone who spends hundreds of dollars on a scope doesn’t want it to break as soon as it is out of the box. Unfortunately, plenty of them do because they aren’t built to last. One important indication of build quality is the materials used to construct the scope. Aircraft grade aluminum is a popular choice as it’s light and extremely durable, which means it can stand up to the shock of rifle recoil. Nitrogen gas is another useful material to keep an eye out for, no pun intended. Nitrogen purging is utilized for fog proofing technologies. Waterproofing is also important to prevent moisture penetration and condensation. Regardless of the weather, a well-built scope shouldn’t fail from being subject to the elements.
- Lenses – Whether the target is inside or outside, lighting will have it’s effect on the clarity of the image. Quality glass is highly desired as it allows for light transmission without distortion and darkening effects. Knock-off rifle scopes will have cheap glass that darkens the image or causes terrible glare in bright sun or indoor range lights. The 1-6 tactical scope should help transmit the clearest and most accurate image possible to give the shooter the best chance of making their shot. In today’s industry, that means mulit-coating to increase light transmission. The coating needs to let the light pass through the lens without bouncing back and causing glare. Coated lenses also don’t scratch as easily, and this can make the maintenance of your rifle scope less complicated.
- Reticle – When you look through your scope you are aiming at the target with what is known as the reticle. This can be a simple duplex style cross-hair, or a BDC reticle (bullet drop compensator) with subtensions marked for known distances. Two other common reticle styles provide ranging marks in minute of angle(MOA) or milliradians(Mrad/Mil) which can be helpful for making hits at extended distances. The MOA system uses inches as a unit of measurement while Mrad system is metric and uses meters. While the MIL system makes quick work of calculating distance, if the metric system slows you down then a MOA reticle might be more helpful in the end. Whichever you choose, the key is knowing how to use your reticle. If Mrads and MOAs confuse you, stick with a BDC or a simple cross hair reticle with a red dot. Otherwise they might be more confusing than helpful.
- Focal Plane – The focal plane has an effect on the reticle when magnification is in use. Second focal plane (SFP) reticles remain unchanged in size throughout the full range of magnification. As the target is magnified, the reticle is not. First focal plane (FFP) reticles are magnified in conjunction with the target. Meaning ranging measurements made with FFP reticle subtensions remain accurate throughout the full range of magnification, rather than one setting. In most cases, the focal plane is down to the shooter’s preference. Selecting a design you can understand and that works for you is the key.
- Comfort – With a lot of big words and facts and figures being thrown around, it becomes easy to forget the importance of using what you are comfortable with. Some shooters like the sounds of all the bells and whistles, but can easily become confused by them rather than benefiting from them. Regarding any riflescope, it’s all about what you can use efficiently and comfortably. Aside from focal planes and lens clarity, its also beneficial to look for a bigger eye-box or eye relief so that it’s faster to line up a shot quickly without searching for the target. Plus, a large scope offers a greater field of view of the target and the surrounding area when at the highest magnification. Another thing to look out for is the optimal mounting position for a scope on the rail to avoid the recoil slamming into the eyes. Gunners need to check the mount position for this reason, especially if the gun packs a lot of recoil.
1-6x Scopes Comparison Chart
Best 1-6x Scopes
The Primary Arms 1-6X24 with ACSS Reticle is a bit of a mouthful to say, but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the most effective tools in the industry. The innovative ranging capabilities of the patented ACSS reticle has been applauded by firearms enthusiasts and even adopted by military contractors.
The ACSS reticle, or Advanced Combat Sighting System, is in the second focal plane so the reticle stays the same size regardless of the level of magnification. Whether it’s set to 1 power or zoomed-in to 6 power, the reticle appears no different. And with the magnification set at 6x, the maximum power setting, it provides the user a clear view of the target and accurate ranging features.
The ranging features make the scope quick and efficient to use at ranges out to 800 yards. The ACSS reticle also provides shooters with bullet drop compensation, wind holds, moving target leads, and range estimation. This makes the optic remarkably useful and when shooting short range, or out in the open where wind and weather conditions effect the path of the bullet.
Primary Arms 1-6X24 Specs:
Weight: 16.9 Oz
Length: 10.04 inches
Focal Plane: Second
Eye Relief: 3.3 in – 3.5 in
Reticle: ACSS Standard 5.56 / 5.45 / .308
Field of View @ 100 yds: 1x=110ft / 6x= 19.3ft
Another feature which is a big plus for competitive shooting and hunting is the tough durability. The waterproof and nitrogen-purged 6063-aluminum body is super rugged, so it will have no problem standing up to recoil or being quickly dumped during 3-gun competition. Not only that, but nitrogen is an excellent fog-proofing agent, which makes this scope fog and moisture resistant in a wide range of temperatures. Gun owners never have to miss a shot again due to condensation on the lens.
It’s lightweight, it’s reasonably priced, easy to carry, and very fast to use. And should there be a problem, there is a lifetime warranty which will repair or replace the scope. If you need a great 1-6 optic, we recommend you check out the Primary Arms 1-6×24 with ACSS reticle.
- Second focal plane ACSS reticle designed for 5.56 \ 5.45 \ .308
- Improved ACSS reticle features a chevron center providing an infinitely small aiming point
- Red illuminated with 11 brightness settings powered by included CR2032 battery
- 6063-aluminum scope body has multi-coated lenses and is nitrogen purged, fog resistant and IP67 waterproof
- Lifetime warranty - for defects due to materials, workmanship or normal wear and tear
Here is a video on Primary Arms 1-6x24mm Riflescope:
Vortex makes their riflescopes to rival any other on the market. As far as reliability is concerned, the Vortex Strike Eagle is a good choice for hunters, target shooters, and competitive shooters from here to Timbuktu.
Essentially, it’s designed to be as streamlined as possible with speed and versatility in mind. When it’s time to engage targets, be it at a distance or close quarters, the 1-6 power magnification is on hand to make the job easy.
The lenses themselves are of a high-quality and fully multi-coated to deliver a clear, crisp sight picture which is perfect for even low light conditions. Anybody who doesn’t want to struggle with changing light and weather conditions should consider the Strike Eagle for affordable performance.
Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6X24 Specs:
Weight: 17.6 Oz
Length: 10.5 inches
Focal Plane: Second
Eye Relief: 3.5 in
Reticle: AR-BDC (5.56mm)
Field of View @ 100 yds: 1x=116.5ft / 6x=19.2 ft
The BDC reticle is another benefit in quickly acquiring the target at extended distances. With 11 brightness settings for illumination, the shooter can change the settings depending on the circumstances and lighting needs. There’s also space for a backup battery inside the windage cap in case the original fails and you need an extra during a 3-gun stage, or a predator hunt. That’s really a nice added feature to have in a 1-6x scope.
This scope is waterproof, fog proof and shockproof to add to the overall reliability. The simplicity of the scope makes it easy to use from the moment you pick it up. The glass-etched reticle subtends with popular 5.56 mm cartridges and the large center halo promotes fast shooting. It’s straightforward to follow, and offers a clear, crisp picture of the target. What more are we really looking for?
Vortex stands behind their products, and will repair or replace your Vortex product in the event it becomes damaged or defective at no charge to you.
- The Strike Eagle 1-6x24 is defined by speed and versatility. Adjust to six power when you need to engage targets at a distance
- High quality, fully multi-coated lenses deliver a clear, crisp sight picture and optimal low light performance
- The illuminated, glass-etched BDC reticle features 11 illumination settings to accomodate for changing light conditions. An extra battery can be stored in the windage cap and easily released
- The fast focus dial on the eyepiece ensures that your reticle is always sharp
- Waterproof, shockproof, and fogproof ensures reliability in all weather conditions
Here is a video on the Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6×24:
The SWFA SS HD riflescope is our premier review of a 1-6x scope with a first focal plane reticle, or FFP. Like other SWFA SS HD optics, this rifle scope sports high-end Japanese HD glass. SWFA scopes are quite a specialist piece of kit, in that they can stand up to the rigors of seriously hard use.
Its important to remember FFP reticles increase in size along with the target when magnification is used. Meaning you might like the look of the reticle at 1x, but does it still work for you at 6x?
SWFA did a tremendous job with the reticle design in the 1-6×24 scope. With a 1x setting, the large illuminated halo makes for fast shooting, much like EOTech Holographic sights.
At 6x magnification, the shooter only sees the Mrad crosshairs as the central point of focus. You wont find a better reticle in other 1-6 tactical scopes for really nailing those precision distance shots.
SWFA SS HD 1-6X24 Specs:
Weight: 22.4 Oz
Length: 10.47 inches
Focal Plane: First
Eye Relief: 3.75 in
Reticle: Illuminated Circle/Mil-Scale
Field of View @ 100 yds: 1x=95ft / 6x= 15.9ft
It’s hard to ignore the increased price over the previous two scopes. Out of all of the scopes reviewed in this post, it’s the second most expensive at nearly $1,000. Even still, there are very good reasons for the moderate increase in price.
For one, there is no denying this scope is extremely well-built and will stand up to serious abuse. The rifle scope isn’t just waterproof, but completely submersible. Secondly, the turret system offers very accurate adjustments in 0.1 mil increments, and will return to zero with equal accuracy. That ability will not be seen in the previous two scopes. Truly accurate turret tracking simply doesn’t exist in lesser tactical scopes.
The turrets also come with threaded covers, so there won’t be any accidental movement. Uncapped windage and elevation knobs can get bumped and sometimes result in a miss, but not with the covered SWFA SS HD turrets.
As far as tactical scopes go, the windage, elevation, and illumination controls are intuitive and simple to use. The magnification adjustment is a little stiff, so we added the SWFA Switchview Throwlever which made for much quicker adjustments. For those who like easy math (who doesn’t?) the matching Mrad reticle and Mrad turrets remove the need for a PhD in mathematics.
If you are shopping the market of AR 15 optics for a first focal plane mil/mil 1-6 scope, you’ve found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Considering everything the SWFA 1-6 delivers, it comes in at a great price point.
Here is a video on the SWFA SS HD 1-6×24:
The Viper 1-6 PST Gen II is an upgrade from the first generation scope which comes with some cool new features. The Viper is made from aircraft-grade aluminum which means it’s incredibly durable and light at the same time.
Plenty of 1-6x scopes are either durable, or light, yet the PST Gen II mixes the two features for an overall enjoyable rifle scope. The strong platform also makes it a versatile piece of kit that is excellent in short and medium range situations.
This model comes standard with capped wind and elevation adjustments, and your choice of milrad or MOA reticles. The extra-low dispersion glass transmits super high resolution and color accuracy. And fully multi-coated lenses increase light transmission.
Vortex Viper PST Gen II 1-6X24 Specs:
Weight: 22.7 Oz
Length: 10.9 inches
Focal Plane: Second
Eye Relief: 3.8 in
Reticle: VMR-2 (MOA or Mrad)
Field of View @ 100 yds: 1x=112.5ft / 6x=18.8 ft
Vortex offers 10 brightness intensity levels to the reticle illumination as well so selecting the optimal brightness for your viewing conditions won’t be a problem. And in a big step forward, Vortex increased the field of view by 30 percent so the shooter will see a lot more while focusing on the target.
One negative point is that the weight has slightly increased compared to the gen I version. But at the price and with so many other tremendous features, it does seem like splitting crosshairs. Targets are clear and simple to track, the reticle is intuitive, and materials used make it impervious to the elements.
- The Viper PST Gen II takes incredible performance and rock solid tactical features to new heights. The 1-6x24 second focal plane riflescope is incredibly versatile and ideal for close to medium range shooting scenarios.
- Shooters who dial their turrets for bullet drop and wind compensation will appreciate the laser etched turrets, adjustable parallax and the RZR zero stop. A fiber optic rotation indicator ensures you can keep track of your turret position with ease.
- The reticle offers shooters highly functional, intuitive, and detailed hold points, yet remains uncluttered for optimal viewing and features 10 intensity levels with off positions between each setting.
- Extra-low dispersion glass increases resolution and color fidelity. XR fully multi-coated lenses increase light transmission. Armortek coatings protect the lenses from scratches, oil, and dirt.
- O-ring sealed and argon purged, the Viper delivers waterproof and fogproof performance while the single-piece, aircraft-grade aluminum construction gives shooters a durable platform.
Here is a video on the Vortex Viper PST Gen II 1-6:
At close to $2,000, the VCOG is a 1-6x scope which is on the pricey side. However, it might be tough to find a rifle scope more bomb-proof than a Trijicon VCOG.
To begin with,it has a 7075-T6 forged aluminum housing which Trijicon touts as nearly indestructible. This Mil-spec rifle scope is well-prepared to take a beating from soldiers and contractors alike. So you can know it is ready to take whatever you can dish out.
It has a LED-illuminated first focal plane reticle which is perfect for close quarters or long distance marksmanship. And because the reticle is FFP it allows the ballistic reticle to be used at any magnification.
Trijicon VCOG 1-6X24 Specs:
Weight: 23.2 Oz
Length: 10.05 inches
Focal Plane: First
Eye Relief: 4 in
Reticle: Segmented Circle/Horseshoe (MOA or MIL)
Field of View @ 100 yds: 1x=95ft / 6x=15.9 ft
Superior quality multi-coated glass is top-notch at gathering and transmitting lighting info with no distortion whatsoever. The illuminated reticle is powered by a common AA battery and provides up to 1,400 hours of run time on a brightness setting of 4.
The reticle comes in a number of different designs to accommodate .223 and .308 loads., as well as 300 Blk rifles. The general design is built around a red or green illuminated horseshoe reticle with BDC, MIL, or MOA hash marks. There is no trouble picking a reticle that suits your fancy and that can pick up targets quickly and accurately.
If shooters need to make turret adjustments, there is a full 90 MOA of windage and elevation adjustment available in 1/2 in per click increments at 100M.
At 23 ounces, it’s a little rugged for some people’s liking depending on the application. Coupled with the price, it may turn some away from this tier 1 rifle scope. However, there aren’t many tactical scopes which bring all of these features under one roof. The Trijicon VCOG does it superbly and is well worth considering.
- Green horseshoe reticle matched with 175-grain 308 loads
- First focal plane allowing the Ballistic reticle to be used at any magnification
- 700 continuous hours of runtime at setting 4 or 6 with a lithium AA battery
- Waterproof to 66 feet and its illumination electronics are mil spec tough
- Full 90 MOA of windage and elevation adjustment available in 1/2 in./click increments at 100M
Here is a video on the Trijicon VCOG 1-6×24:
As the name says, this 1-6x scope is geared toward the longer engagement requirements of a designated marksmen. All the benefits of this 1-6 scope translate into other applications, such as competitive shooting and predator hunting.
With the BDC reticle calibrated for 223/5.56 ammunition, whether the target is five yards out or five hundred, the shooter is prepared to take on the challenge. This reticle is in the second focal plane so it will remain unchanged in appearance regardless of the magnification settings.
The reticle provides hold-over marks that represent every 100 yards out to the 500 yard mark. With the help of an illuminated reticle and 11 brightness settings, there is no problem viewing the reticle at dusk. And the fully multicoated lenses ensure the view from the scope is sharp and crisp, even when light begins to fade.
Millett Tactical DMS-2 1-6X24 Specs:
Weight: 20.7 Oz
Length: 10.5 inches
Focal Plane: Second
Eye Relief: 3.5 in
Reticle: BCR-1 (BDC)
The 1-6x magnification and 24mm objective lens provide the option to operate at low power for fast target acquisition at close range. When set to 1x, viewing the target with both eyes open is very comfortable. For shooters who are accustomed to closing one eye when looking through a rifle scope, shooting at close range with two eyes is always better than one. And the Millett Tactical 1-6 scope makes this application easy.
Most tactical scopes for AR 15s won’t have great turret adjustments, so the Millett Tactical has an ace up its sleeve. This rifle scope has fairly tactile turrets that let you know where your settings are. If that isn’t enough, there is a locking mechanism at the base of each turret to prevent accidental movements.
If there is one possible negative, it’s the weight of this optic. Compared to scopes of a similar price point and build, it’s heavy. This could be due to a really rugged build quality, but we weren’t comfortable making that assessment without really beating on it. The only other changes we would make is to the reticle by replacing the dots with cross-hashing to make them stand out a bit more.
- 30mm aluminum tube, locking exposed target turrets
- 30mm aluminum tube, locking exposed target turrets
- 1-6x magnification, 24mm objective; true 1x scope allows target acquisition with both eyes open at low power
- Illuminated reticle with 11 brightness settings allows you to see your target clearly in low-light conditions
- Illuminated BCR-1 reticle is calibrated to .223/5.56 ammunition; provides hold over points out to 500 yards
Here is a video on the Millett Tactical DMS-2 1-6X24:
Hopefully this post has helped you figure out what you want in a tactical scope and how to spot a quality optic over a bargain basement rifle scope.