In today’s shooting world, there is no doubt that long-distance shooting is surely impressive.
What about close-range shooting?
Close-range shooting is its own skill and requires its own equipment.
A high-powered optic meant for long-distance shooting won’t be able to help you in short-distance shooting the way a low-powered optic (LPVO) would.
So here, we have a rundown of the best 1-6x scopes for plinking, hunting, competition, and home defense.
- The Best 1-6x Scopes & Low Power Variable Optics (LPVO)
- Why Use a 1-6x Scope?
- What to Look for When Buying the Best 1-6x Scopes
- What Is a Low Power Variable Optic?
- LPVO vs. Red Dot Sight + Magnifier Combo
- How to Take Care of 1-6x Scopes
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Summary of Top Picks
The Best 1-6x Scopes & Low Power Variable Optics (LPVO)
1. Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-6×24 Riflescopes
Vortex Optics is a trusted manufacturer in the world of scopes and firearms. They are known for their top-of-the-line quality service and excellent scopes.
The Vortex Optics Strike Eagle lives up to the stellar reputation of Vortex Optics.
- Fully multicoated lenses
- 11 adjustable brightness settings
- Extreme durability
- Ample eye relief
- An affordable price
The true 1x magnification on the Vortex Strike Eagle makes it easy and quick to adapt on the field or range. It can help make even point-blank shots even MORE clear and precise!
This is mostly thanks to its BDC reticle that allows for quick and precise holdover adjustments up to 650 yards.
The illuminated second focal plane reticle is etched clearly, thus allowing for precise and accurate shots even at a distance. With this type of reticle, the reticle stays the same size regardless of how much or how little you zoom in.
This reticle stays focused throughout the full magnification range with the fast focus eyepiece.
Something unique about the Vortex Optics Strike Eagle would also be that it has a fish-eye effect at close quarters, allowing for a wide panorama.
While this scope needs very few adjustments to achieve zero, you can make precise adjustments quickly with the throw lever on the magnification ring. It even lets you see magnification indicators without moving or changing your gun position.
On top of all this, the Vortex Strike Eagle is made of aircraft-grade aluminum. It is also nitrogen-purged and OP ring-sealed for top-tier performance even in extreme conditions.
It even has a spare battery compartment that you can access through the easy-release windage cap.
Best of all, you get all of this at a very reasonable price.
- Great for low light situations
- Generous eye relief
- Good field of view
- Very durable
- Lifetime warranty
- Heavy and bulky
- Can take up too much rail space
2. Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II Riflescopes
Here we have another Vortex Optics scope that can suit you well in close range.
The Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II is a mid-range 1-6x scope that doesn’t disappoint.
It features the signature Vortex Optics quality and a wide range of features at a price under $1,000.
- Adjustable parallax
- CRS zero stop
- Generous eye relief
- Fully multi-coated lenses
The Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II has true 1x optical performance that allows for clear and precise shooting.
You are guaranteed the highest possible resolution and true color transmission with the extra-low dispersion glass. This extra-low dispersion glass allows for enhanced light transmission, producing clear and crisp images.
The reticle of this 1-6x scope is situated on the second focal plane to ensure a consistent image regardless of range, wind, or holdover.
Speaking of reticles, the illuminated glass-etched reticle is available in both MOA and MRAD.
It also has the ArmorTek Ultra-Hard, scratch-resistant coating to protect against dirt, oil, scratches, and fingerprints.
One thing to note is that this is better than the Vortex Strike Eagle in terms of image quality.
In terms of durability, the Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II is O-ring sealed and argon gas purged for the best performance even in extreme conditions.
And, with the Precision Force Spring System, Precision Glide Erector System, and fast focus eyepiece, you can be assured of precise, accurate shots every time.
Best of all, it comes with the Vortex Optics No Questions Asked Lifetime Warranty.
HOWEVER, at 14 inches, it can be a little too long. It can also be a bit heavier than other scopes.
All in all, the Viper PST is a great scope for hunting, competition, and tactical purposes.
- Incredibly durable
- Great reticle
- Built-in features for accuracy
- Too long
3. Monstrum G3 1-6×24 FFP Rifle Scope
BEST BUDGET PICK
The G3 is a monster of a 1-6x scope from Monstrum.
This great scope with reliable optics can be used by shooters of all skill levels.
Let’s see why!
- Good eye relief and field vision
- Illuminated reticle
- Waterproof and fog-proof
- Fully multi-coated lenses
- Very durable
The Monstrum G3 is a very adaptable scope that can help you make accurate shots over and over.
There’s no need for any guessing games with the turret that gives crisp clicks with every adjustment.
This first focal plane scope features a glass etched MOA reticle that offers shooters faster target range estimation and accurate holdover correction functionality.
It even allows you to see small details! This clarity of detail shows up regardless of magnification.
The illuminated reticle comes with a choice of red or green. You can use the dial-controlled knob to adjust reticle illumination to your desired setting.
However, take note that the reticle brightness is quite redundant under bright sunlight.
On the plus side, it eliminates the need for reticle illumination under bright sunlight.
That being said, this scope is great for low light and night shooting. HOWEVER, there is a bit of distortion at 1x magnification. This can be worse at 1.25x magnification.
The customer service of Monstrum, however, more than makes up for this distortion.
Durability-wise, the Monstrum G3 is made from aircraft-grade aluminum with a Mil-STD 8625 type III anodized finish that allows for water and fog resistance.
It comes with a whole bunch of features and add-ons, including but not limited to:
- Flip-up lens covers
- R scope
- Heavy-duty scope rings
- Detachable honeycomb shade
- Lens cloth
- CR2032A 3V battery
This scope also comes with a 2-year warranty.
All in all, this is an incredibly affordable scope that isn’t low quality!
- Top-notch tactical optics
- Very clear picture
- Fog and water-resistant
- Very versatile
- Many included add-ons
- High battery usage
4. Trijicon 1-6×24 VCOG Riflescope
The Trijicon VCOG (short for variable combat optical gunsight) is a legendary scope that is used and loved by the US Military.
So what is it about the VCOG that’s got the US Military hooked?
- Exceptionally solid and durable
- Fully multi-coated lenses
- Illuminated reticle
- 16 reticle options
- 6 brightness settings
The Trijicon VCOG is a great scope not only for CQB, but even for long-range.
This is mostly due to its wide variety of reticles on the first focal plane (16, in fact!).
Any of these first focal plane reticle choices offers ranging efficiency and bullet drop compensation.
They also allow for subtensions and drops to stay constant regardless of magnification.
The quality glass and lens coatings on this scope offer a crisp image without lens distortion.
It even comes with a special turret that allows you to control both brightness and parallax with just one knob. HOWEVER, as this is a unique feature on this scope, it may be difficult to get used to it at first.
Magnification range rotation is done with ease, thanks to an integrated dial fin.
Durability-wise, this is a real solid, durable scope made of a 7075 T-6 aircraft-grade aluminum alloy. It can handle all the abuse you throw at it!
The VCOG makes use of an AA battery which can be easily found and purchased. It can stay on for 1400 hours if constantly used on setting 4.
Since it has constant eye relief, no head or weapon stock position adjustments are needed.
However, while it has adequate eye relief, it is a bit less than some of the other scopes on this list.
And another thing, this is probably the priciest scope on this list.
- Flexible for both CQB and long-distance
- Insanely durable
- Very accurate
- Excellent lenses
- Quick range estimation
- Easy to mount
- No included lens caps or covers
- Joint brightness and parallax adjustment can take some getting used to
5. Trijicon AccuPoint TR-25 1-6×24 Riflescope
This is one of the highest-priced scopes on this list, but for good reason.
The AccuPoint is a wonderful scope that can work even better than other scopes at steeper price points.
Coming from a tested military background, the Trijicon Accupoint is not your standard ring and dot reticle scope.
- Zero forward emissions
- Long eye relief
- No batteries required
- Tough and durable
The AccuPoint has some of the best glass in the industry, with fully multi-coated lenses that offer incredible clarity and low light performance.
However, what really makes it stand out, is the tritium phosphor and fiber optic technology that eliminates the need for batteries while still providing illumination when needed.
The Advanced Fiber Optics Technology can automatically adjust brightness levels to optimize reticle visibility in all conditions.
This battery-free illumination also means that you don’t need to worry about being unable to see in even the poorest light conditions.
Best of all, it has the patented Fiber Optic Post Reticle, one of the fastest reticles for sight acquisition.
If you don’t want to use the Fiber Optic Post Reticle, it comes with a Triangle Post Reticle. While the triangle reticle may take some getting used to, its got the trust of many shooters.
HOWEVER, the tritium dot can be quite small and hard to use.
Take note as well that the eye relief is quite good at the lower ranges, but can be quite challenging at higher magnifications.
- Comfortable eye relief
- No need for batteries
- Perfect for three gun competitions
- Can withstand even extreme conditions
- Impressive glass
- Can take some getting used to
- Dot can be too small
- Reduced eye box can be a problem at 6x magnification
6. Primary Arms SLX 1-6×24 SFP Riflescope
Primary Arms is a trusted brand in the shooting industry.
Their SLX 1-6×24 continues their legacy of quality and success in the world of LPVO scopes.
This is one of the best-selling optics of Primary Optics.
- Clear glass
- Illuminated etched reticle
- Super lightweight
- Generous eye relief
If you want a scope similar to the Strike Eagle, this is the one for you.
The big differences between the Primary Arms SLX and the Strike Eagle are really the warranty and ACSS reticle.
However, one thing to note is that the warranty of Primary Arms is not as good as Vortex Optics.
And, unlike the Strike Eagle, this Primary Arms scope uses an ACSS (Advanced Combined Sighting System) reticle.
The ACSS reticle has four features to help with your shooting success:
- Bullet drop compensation
- Range estimation
- Wind holds
- Moving target leads
Just like the Strike Eagle, the Primary Arms SLX also has no tunneling and distortion in its sight picture.
It has very crisp and reliable turrets that make precise adjustments for the perfect shot.
The Primary Arms SLX also holds zero really well.
While it isn’t the best scope out there, it’s definitely one of the best 1-6x scopes within the price range and a great dupe of the Strike Eagle.
See our full review of the Primary Arms 4-14×44 scope!
- Great dupe of the Strike Eagle
- ACSS reticle
- Not as bright at 6x magnification
- Aluminum alloy is not as durable as other models
Why Use a 1-6x Scope?
1-6x scopes are commonly used for:
- 3-gun competitions
- Tactical situations
- Game hunting
These are good for close-range shooting up to 600 yards.
1-6x scopes are best for use on AR-type firearms!
What to Look for When Buying the Best 1-6x Scopes
How do you know that you’re getting the right 1-6x scope for you?
Here are some things to look out for:
The reputation of a manufacturer is a huge factor in how much you can trust the scope you select.
Some manufacturers have been in the market for decades and have consistently put out high-quality scopes backed by years of experience.
If you are a new shooter or are on a tight budget, it may be best to go for scopes from trusted manufacturers such as Vortex Optics, Trijicon, or Primary Arms.
In addition to having stellar optics, these companies are usually established enough to be able to provide good customer support in case anything goes wrong
Material is directly tied to the DURABILITY of the scope.
While it is important for the scope to be durable, it must also be LIGHT ENOUGH for you to carry around on long trips.
When choosing a 1-6x scope, look for those made of quality aircraft-grade aluminum.
This type of material allows for durability and the right weight.
Be sure, as well, that the material and build used can deliver waterproof and fog-proof performance.
There’s (almost) nothing worse than spending hours trekking and scouting out the perfect prey, just for water and fog to enter your scope and render it useless.
The true mark of a good scope is a high-quality lens that offers a bright sight picture. This makes all the difference when it comes to shooting!
Look for coated lenses that ensure maximum light transmission while reducing glare.
Proper coatings can also help your scope when it comes to low light conditions.
Unsure of what those terms regarding coated lenses mean? Here’s a quick guide:
- Coated: At least one glass surface has one anti-reflective layer
- Fully coated: All glass surfaces have one anti-reflective layer
- Multicoated: At least one glass surface has multiple anti-reflective layers (light transmission > 75%)
- Fully multicoated: all glass surfaces have multiple anti-reflective layers (light transmission > 85%)
There are many types of reticles to choose from.
Before delving into the different types of reticles, let’s look at the two main types of reticles:
- First focal plane reticle: The reticle size increases with the target as you change the magnification. First focal plane scopes are ideal for longer-distance targeting.
- Second focal plane reticle: The reticle stays the same size regardless of magnification. Second focal plane scopes are ideal for those who prefer one specific magnification level. Second focal plane reticles are usually cheaper than FFP reticles.
Let us now look at the various reticle choices:
These are the most common reticles found on small-caliber firearms.
Due to how simple they are to use, crosshairs are preferred by beginner hunters. They are ideal for varmint hunting but aren’t exactly the best for tactical or defensive situations.
Mil-Dot & MOA
These are great for small-caliber arms such as the 0.22.
These are ideal for hunting situations that require the right bullet drop.
TAKE NOTE: These are not suitable for high-powered weapons.
Illuminated reticles are ideal for hunting and defense applications in low light conditions.
The best scopes with illuminated reticles usually have multiple brightness settings. However, not many 1-6x rifle scopes have this option.
These are the other reticles that come in various shapes such as circles, hash marks, dots, circles, etc.
#5 Eye Box & Eye Relief
Eye relief refers to the distance you can position your eye from the scope. The eye box, on the other hand, is not an actual box.
Rather, the eye box refers to the area behind the gun wherein you can comfortably see the sight picture without any vignette effects.
Both of these are important for quick target acquisition.
1-6x scopes tend to be a bit reserved in terms of eye relief and eye box.
The average eye relief for your shooting comfort is 3-3.5 inches, which usually gives a forgiving eye box.
More eye relief ultimately means more safety.
#6 Adjustment Systems
There are currently two methods to change the settings of a rifle scope: MOA and MRAD.
- MOA, which is short for Minute of Angle, is the more precise adjustment system when achieving a zero setting. At 100 yards, 1 MOA is 1 inch. Most MOA systems have increments of 1/4 inch. This allows for accurate and precise adjustments, making it suited for targets up to 300 yards.
- MRAD, or milliradian adjustment, is better for adjusting. At 100 yards, 1 milrad = 3.6 inches. MRAD is better for medium to long-range shooting.
Be sure to use the adjustment system you’re more comfortable with. You can read our tutorial on how to adjust a rifle scope to help you out!
Parallax usually manifests itself in the inability to focus on a target. Thankfully, low-power variable optics can usually handle parallax up to 100 yards.
Just to be safe, it is best to find a 1-6x scope with a knob for focus parallax adjustment.
#8 Mounting System
The mounting system determines how firmly your scope stays attached to your weapon.
This is key to keeping your scope accurate, as it means that the scope will not move around regardless of how many shots you put through it.
Look for a sturdy mounting system that is compatible with your weapon.
While the most common mounting systems include Picatinny rings or mounts, there is a rising popularity in QD (Quick Detach) mounts.
QD mounts keep your scope sturdy and secure on your weapon, but can easily be detached if needed.
When it comes to scopes, there is no doubt that what you get is what you pay for.
Expensive scopes usually come at that price point due to added features and ensured durability.
However, don’t force yourself to get an expensive scope if you can’t afford it. There are some quality 1-6x scopes out there that come at affordable prices.
It may be better to get these scopes and work on your skills rather than become too reliant on all the features of more premium scopes, especially if you are a beginner.
If you are a more advanced or experienced shooter with the money for it, however, then, by all means, go for more premium scopes.
Warranty refers to the company’s willingness to repair or replace the product free of charge in case of any issues.
A good warranty shows the company’s faith in the product.
There are many warranties out there, including, but not limited to, lifetime warranties and VIP warranties.
Getting a scope with the right warranty ensures that you will be getting good customer service, so you get the best bang for your buck.
What Is a Low Power Variable Optic?
A low-power variable optic (LPVO) is a variable riflescope that has a minimum magnification of 1x and goes up to a magnification of 4x – 8x.
This is “low power” compared to other optics that can go up to 10x or even higher.
“Variable” refers to how it has variable magnification. This means that the image can be magnified to the shooter’s liking instead of being fixed at one power level.
LPVO vs. Red Dot Sight + Magnifier Combo
An LPVO shares many similarities with a red dot combined with a magnifier.
Both sighting systems allow you to make precise shots with faster target acquisition for close-range shooting.
How do you know which one to get?
A red dot has, true to its name, a simple red dot reticle.
This reticle will quickly grab your eye and pull it to the target, allowing for rapid target acquisition.
HOWEVER, those with eye issues like astigmatism can have a hard time with the red dot reticle due to distortion.
On the other hand, LPVOs offer various reticle options that allow for better accuracy.
These are especially helpful for those with eye problems or those who want to engage in long or mid-range shooting.
LPVOs can also estimate range, moving target leads, wind holds, and bullet drop compensation in one reticle.
A red dot optic is fixed at 1x. This means they are best for close-range shooting up to 100 yards.
LPVOs, on the other hand, offer variable magnification. The variable magnification of an LPVO means that they are more versatile, allowing you to see targets up to 400 or more yards away.
Learn more about fixed and variable scopes here!
Red dot sights have unlimited eye relief that allows you to keep both eyes open. This is especially useful in dangerous situations where you can’t risk limiting peripheral vision.
LPVOs, on the other hand, have less eye relief. While it’s possible to keep both eyes open with an LPVO, the head position can be quite limited due to the limited eye relief.
However, eye relief with an LPVO can be maximized by mounting the optic in the right position for your most-used head position. But this does limit your mounting options on an LPVO.
Red dots are really good at fast target acquisition at closer ranges. This means that you can take a faster shot for a few seconds at less than 100 yards with a red dot sight.
At over 100 yards, however, the LPVO is faster.
Red dots are usually small and lightweight, making them easier to see and use for extended periods.
The LPVO is usually bulkier and heavier than a red dot.
A quality red dot optic can be found as low as $100. Even the most expensive red dot optics are at around $1000.
However, note that adding a magnifier to the red dot will usually double the full price.
An LPVO, however, usually costs from $300 – $3000.
Red Dot + Magnifier Vs. LPVO: Which Is Better?
A red dot is better if you want to use your AR-15 for home defense. If you want to use it for target shooting at the range, you’ll have to add a magnifier.
For a more versatile choice that you can use for hunting, home defense, and long-distance shooting, it would be better to get an LPVO.
In summary, a red dot optic has:
- Longer battery life
- Smaller and more lightweight
- Quick target acquisition under 100 yards
- Unlimited eye relief
An LPVO, on the other hand, has:
- Variable magnification
- More reticle options
- Better FOV
- Rapid target acquisition over 100 yards
Check out our list of the best optics for your AR-15 to learn more!
How to Take Care of 1-6x Scopes
If you’re already set on buying, here are some tips on how to care for your 1-6x scope:
1. Lens Care
When cleaning lenses, start by blowing away any dust or dirt on the lens. You may also opt to use a soft lens brush.
Use lens tissue or soft clean cotton cloth to wipe away any lubricants or fingerprints. Use lens cleaning fluid when doing this step.
BE CAREFUL NOT TO USE A COARSE CLOTH.
All moving parts are already permanently lubricated.
DO NOT ATTEMPT TO LUBRICATE ANY PARTS OF YOUR SCOPE.
3. Scope Body
The body of the scope just needs an occasional wiping with a clean cloth to remove dirt and fingerprints.
4. Proper Storage
Use lens covers whenever possible.
DON’T STORE YOUR SCOPE IN HOT PLACES. This can affect lubricants and sealants.
Never leave the scope in an area where light can directly enter either the objective or eyepiece.
This can damage the lenses due to the “burning effect” of the light, especially if from direct sunlight.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Far Can You Shoot With a 1-6x LPVO?
A 1-6x LPVO can shoot up to 600 yards.
This means that when you look at a target 600 yards away with 6x magnification, it will appear 100 yards away.
What Are the Downsides of Using a 1-6x Scope?
A 1-6x scope tends to result in tight eye relief.
Additionally, it also isn’t ideal for longer distances above 600 yards.
For longer ranges, you can take a look at our Buying Guide on Under $500 Riflescopes for some options.
What Is the Difference Between a 1-6x Scope and a Red Dot Sight?
A red dot has fixed power. This means that you cannot change its magnification level.
A 1-6x is a variable power scope with variable magnification you can change.
What’s the Difference Between 1-4x and 1-6x Scopes?
The biggest difference between these two scopes is the magnification range.
1-4x scopes are better for close-quarter combat. This lower magnification range also offers a larger field of view (FOV) with clearer and brighter images.
A 1-6x scope, on the other hand, can zoom in on further targets. Because of its higher magnification, however, a 1-6x scope is a bit heavier.
What’s the Difference Between 1-6x and 1-8x Scopes?
The main difference between a 1-6x and 1-8x scope is the magnification range.
The 1-8x scope has a higher magnification range than a 1-6x scope. This means that the 1-8x scope allows the shooter to see and shoot at longer distances than a 1-6x scope.
However, the 1-6x has a better FOV, allowing the shooter to be more aware of their surroundings.
As you go up to the higher magnification of a 1-8x, you can get darker images and a smaller visible area. Additionally, 1-8x scopes tend to be heavier and require more time to adjust.
Both of these scopes are on the lower power end of scopes.
Should I Get an HPVO or LPVO?
It really depends on what you’re planning to use it for.
If you’re planning to use your weapon for home and self-defense, 3 gun competitions, or hunting with an effective range of 500-800 yards, then the LPVO (low power variable optic) is the one for you.
However, if you have aging eyes that have difficulty seeing things from afar, or prefer to use your weapon for long-range shooting and hunting, then an HPVO (high power variable optic) is the one for you.
Summary of Top Picks
Best Overall – Vortex Optics Strike Eagle Riflescopes
You can’t go wrong with Vortex Optics and their Strike Eagle lineup.
You get fully multicoated lenses, 11 brightness settings, and insane durability at a reasonable price.
The true 1x magnification will also make it easy for you to adapt to the field or range.
This is our best pick that will satisfy almost all hunters and shooters!
Best Value – Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II Riflescopes
For the best bang for your buck, look no other than the Viper PST Gen II.
For under $1000, you get a true 1x optical performance, adjustable parallax, ample eye relief, fully multi-coated lenses, and the good ol’ Vortex Optics durability.
You can count on this scope for competitions and hunting!
Best Budget Pick – Monstrum G3 1-6×24 FFP Rifle Scope
Money can buy the best scopes, but that doesn’t mean more affordable options don’t deliver.
The Monstrum G3 rifle scope is the perfect example.
This scope has suitable eye relief, an illuminated reticle, fully multi-coated lenses, and is very durable for its price point.
It’s great for both beginner and experienced shooters!
Plus, it comes with a bunch of add-ons and accessories that make it even more worth it.
Having the best 1-6x scopes can greatly elevate your shooting game and experience.
Regardless of what scope you use on your weapon, however, remember that practice makes perfect.
Always keep our tips in mind to ensure you get the most out of your chosen optic.
If you are on a tighter budget, we have a list of rifle scopes for under $300 that you can refer to!
CHANGELOG: August 25, 2022 - Added 4 new article link August 9, 2022 - Added 1 new article link August 8, 2022 - Added 1 new article link June 27, 2022 - Made major updates to content and product reviews February 15, 2022 - Added 1 new article link September 30, 2021 - Added new product link options September 21, 2021 - Reviewed and updated article links, updated article title, marked 1 product as discontinued/unavailable