Best 1-4X Scopes: Top 5 Picks Reviewed by Rifle Experts

Even a quick look at the number of 1-4X scopes on the market gets confusing and overwhelming.  The challenge is to find the best combination of quality, clarity, and durability.  Finding the right features at a price you can afford can add to the confusion. 

Best 1-4x scopes

To help you make a good decision, I have looked at the 1-4X scopes on the market and selected five that offer the best features.  Different types of shooting and different rifles require a slightly different set of features.  I hope my choices will offer insight into what is available and why I think these scopes are the best choices.

The Options – Traditional Reticle vs. Red Dots

There is a lot of debate about which is better, a traditional style reticle or a red dot.  For me, the decision is purely personal.  I own and operate both styles of scopes.  I find that the shooting situation is the most important factor in which reticle style works better.  These are my thoughts on reticle style

Traditional Reticles

  • Better for precision shooting
  • Long distances are easier to handle
  • Better bullet drop, windage, and elevation estimates
  • Better on big calibers

Red Dot Reticles

  • Quicker to bring on target
  • Excellent at shorter ranges
  • Can be shot with both eyes open
  • Usually shorter and lighter than traditional scopes

What I Look for in a Scope

The intended uses of the rifle drive my criteria for choosing an optic.  Beyond that, there are a few things that I look for in any scope I am considering. 

  • Quality of Construction – I want the best and highest quality of construction I can afford. I often go into some hostile and extreme conditions when toting my rifles around.  The last thing I want is a scope failure due to poor materials or poor construction techniques.
  • Clarity and Light Gathering – As I get older, my scopes’ ability to gather as much light as possible and present the clearest and most crisp image possible is important.
  • Cost – Just like most people, I operate on a budget.  I want to get the best ratio of price to features I can find.

My Picks of the Best 1-4X Scopes

Let’s move on to my list of the best 1-4X scopes.  Remember that finding the scope that fits you and your expectations is the real challenge.  What I choose may not necessarily be the best for you. 

The Ultimate 1×4 Scope – Trijicon Accupoint 1-4X24 Riflescope

Trijicon Accupoint 1-4X24 Riflescope

Trijicon tops my list as the ultimate 1-4x riflescope.  Trijicon scopes have a proven record for durability.  The innovative design of the Trijicon Accupoint scopes puts them on the top shelf.  If the price is not a consideration, the Trijicon Accupoint 1-4X24 riflescope must be your choice.

Considering what you get feature-wise and the reputation that goes with the Trijicon brand name, the price may not enter the decision.  Consider the options and features of the Trijicon -4X rifle scope.

  • Seven options from which to choose
  • Three reticle styles for different shooting needs
  • Three reticle colors for quick and easy target acquisition
  • No batteries are needed.  The unique tritium illumination system is always on and eliminates the need to change batteries.
  • Diopter eyepiece adjusts to your prescription
  • Customize your Accupoint by putting the magnification lever where it is most comfortable
  • Turrets feature quick and clear adjustment stops.
  • Capped or zero stopped Turrets for error-free adjustments. 
  • Designed to military standards for rugged and durable operations
  • Fully multi-coated lenses provide maximum light transmission
  • Edge to edge clarity means no distortion even at maximum magnification
  • Bindon Aiming Concept reticles allow both eyes open aiming

Specifications

  • Length – 10.3 inches
  • Weight – 14.4 ounces
  • Tube size – 30mm
  • Adjustment per click – ¼ MOA
  • Maximum windage and elevation adjustment – 90 MOA
  • Eye relief – 3.2 inches
  • Field of View – 94.2 feet – 24.1 feet at 100 yards
  • Waterproof to 10 feet

Pros

  • No batteries to replace or wear out
  • Lots of options to make it easy to find the best fit for your shooting
  • Some of the best construction you can find in scopes
  • Quick and easy adjustments to magnification and diopter for optimum shooting performance

Cons

  • Cost
  • Not suited for long-distance precision shooting

My Take

If money were no object, I would mount a Trijicon almost every time.  However, that is not the situation, and I understand that most people cannot afford to put a scope that costs twice as much as the rifle. I recommend the Trijicon Accupoint as a medium-range 1-4X scope for law enforcement or other professional operators.

Last update on 2020-12-01 at 04:52 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Best Overall 1-4X Scope – Vortex Optics Crossfire II 1-4X24

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 1-4X24

I make no bones about it.  I have a very high opinion of Vortex Optics.  I think that for the money, Vortex builds some of the best scopes on the market.  If you inventory my gun safe, you will find more Vortex Optics scopes than any other brand.

Vortex brings so much to the table in features and options that just choosing a Vortex Optics rifle scope can be challenging.   The options, features, and specifications of the Vortex Optics Crossfire II 1-4X24 make it easy to see why it gets my thumbs up as the best overall 1-4X rifle scope.

  • Fully multi-coated lenses for increased light collection and transmittal
  • Anti-reflective coatings reduce glare
  • Second focal plane reticle for precise holdover, windage, and elevation estimates
  • 30 mm Tube built of a single piece of aircraft-grade aluminum
  • O-ring seals for waterproof construction
  • Nitrogen gas purged for fog-free use
  • Capped and recessed turrets for quick indexing
  • V-Brite MOA reticle with illuminated center dot

Specifications

  • Magnification – 1-4X
  • Eye relief – 4.0 inches
  • Field of View – 96.1 feet – 24.1 feet at 100 yards
  • Adjustments per Click – ½ MOA
  • Maximum elevation and windage adjustments – 100 MOA
  • Parallax Setting – 100 yards
  • Length – 9.61 inches
  • Weight – 14.8 ounces
  • Battery – CR 2032

Pros

  • One of the best and most precise dot illuminations on the market
  • Rugged construction
  • Precise adjustments with well-defined clicks
  • Crisp, clear reticle even at high magnification

Cons

  • The adjustments may not be as precise as some target shooters expect

The Verdict

The combination of price point, features, and quality make the Vortex Optics Crossfire II my pick as the best overall choice for a 1-4X scope.  The Vortex Crossfire II scope has been my choice for several rifles and has never failed to meet my expectations.

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 1-4x24, 30mm Tube, SFP Riflescope - V-Brite...
  • The 1-4x24 Crossfire II riflescope is one of many configurations in the Crossfire II line. The...
  • With long eye relief and an ultra-forgiving eye box, you'll be able to quickly get a sight picture...

Last update on 2020-12-01 at 04:52 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Runner up Best Overall 1-4X Rifle Scope – Primary Arms 1-4X24 SFP Scope

Primary Arms 1-4X24 SFP Scope

I think that Primary Arms is one of the most overlooked and underrated optics manufacturers of the day.  Since introducing their first product line to the market, shooters have found these scopes’ quality to be on par or better than the other scopes in their market range.

Primary Arms offers a range of scopes at various price points.  The 1-4X24 classic series riflescopes are by no means the most expensive scopes, nor are they the least expensive.  The features are what you would expect from a mid-range rifle scope.  These are great entry-level 1-4X riflescopes.

  • Second focal plane reticle
  • Illuminated single center dot reticle
  • Duplex center dot style reticle
  • Illuminated dot features 12 intensity settings
  • Waterproof
  • Fully multi-coated lenses
  • Fog resistant
  • Finger Adjustable turret caps
  • Adjustable diopter
  • Nitrogen purged
  • One year warranty

Specifications

  • Magnification – 1-4X
  • Adjustment per click – ½ MOA
  • Eye relief – 3.8 inches
  • Focal plant – second
  • Length 11.1 inches
  • Weight – 16.7 ounces

Pros

  • Well-built rugged construction
  • The eye relief can be as much as 4.9 inches for some people
  • Clear optics for a budget scope
  • Great entry level 1-4X scope

Cons

  • A little on the heavy side
  • Don’t use the factory mounts

Don’t Get Confused

Don’t get confused with the terms value, budget, and cheap.  The Primary Arms 1-4x scope is a value scope and a great choice for those on a budget.  Primary Arms scopes are not cheap scopes.  Cheap infers poor quality and you won’t find that with a Primary Arms scope. 

Primary Arms Classic Series 1-4x24 SFP Rifle Scope with Illuminated Duplex...
  • SIMPLE DUPLEX DOT RETICLE: The second focal plane design keeps the duplex reticle the same size at...
  • PARTIAL RETICLE ILLUMINATION: Powered by a common CR2032 battery, the center dot illuminates red and...

Last update on 2020-12-01 at 04:52 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Best Precision 1-4X Rifle Scope – Steiner P4Xi 1-4x24 Riflescope

Steiner P4Xi 1-4x24 Riflescope

If distance and precision are your goals when shooting, the Steiner P4Xi 1-4X24 riflescope is a clear choice.  Steiner is known for the quality and of its optics of all kinds, not just rifle scopes.  The P4Xi scope offers high-quality glass with the Steiner reputation for rugged durability and top-notch customer service.

The Steiner P4Xi rifle scope offers features you would expect on a premier product.  Steiner doesn’t fail to deliver.  You can also select different versions of this scope for civilian or law enforcement use.  This scope mounts on a variety of platforms, including shotguns.

  • Compact design is ideal for tactical use
  • 1X zoom factor is ideal for close quarters shooting
  • 400-yard accuracy
  • High contrast optics
  • Illuminated reticle
  • 11 levels of reticle intensity
  • One-piece 30mm tube
  • Low profile turrets
  • Waterproof
  • Fogproof
  • Shockproof

Specifications

  • Second focal plane reticle
  • Field of View – 100 – 27.5 meters at 100 meters
  • Eye relief – 4.0 inches
  • Length – 10.3 inches
  • Diopter adjustment – +2 to -3
  • Adjustment per click – ½ MOA
  • Maximum windage and elevation adjustment – 100 MOA
  • Parallax – 100 yards
  • Nitrogen purged
  • Battery – CR 2032

Pros

  • Very high precision optics for great long-range work
  • Not just a tactical scope.  Great on almost any rifle or shotgun
  • Images remain crisp and clear even at high magnifications
  • Easy to adjust.  The clicks are precise and sharp

Cons

  • Pricey
  • No lens covers provided

Steiner is one of the finest builders of optics in the world.  Very few 1-4X rifle scopes can go out beyond 400 yards reliably.  Many users of the Steiner P4Xi scope report that they routinely shoot accurate out to 800 yards.  There are some things worth paying for and Steiner delivers on those things with the P4Xi 1-4X24 riflescope.

Steiner P4Xi 1x-4x24mm Riflescope - Compact Tactical Rifle Scope, Hunting...
  • LOW PROFILE TURRETS & ILLUMINATION CONTROLS - Our controls are less likely to hang up or snag during...
  • ILLUMINATED P3TR RETICLE - Reticle with 5 day/4 low Light/2 NV levels. An “Off” position between...

Last update on 2020-12-01 at 04:52 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Best Bullet Drop Compensated 1-4X Rifle Scope – Bushnell FFP Illuminated BTR-1 BDC Rifle Scope

Bushnell FFP Illuminated BTR-1 BDC Rifle Scope

Bullet Drop Compensation (BDC) is a hot topic, especially among AR shooters.  In short, a scope with a BDS reticle matched to the caliber and bullet weight you are shooting allows you to acquire a target easily and accurately at a known range.  In some situations, this can be a big deal.

Bushnell builds a complete line of scopes and the FFP Illuminated BTR- 1 brings all the Bushnell quality and features in a compact package designed for the AR platform.  Don’t discount the Bushnell BTR-1 FFP scope as an AR only optic.  Properly mounted on any rifle, this scope can be precise and accurate.

  • Available in two reticle styles -BTR-1 FFP and the SFP Dropzone 223 reticle
  • Exposed turrets for quick and accurate adjustments
  • Almost instant magnification adjustments with the Throw Down PCL system
  • IPX7 waterproof rating
  • Fully multi-coated optics for high light gathering and transmission
  • Bushnell lifetime warranty

Specifications

  • Eye relief – 3.5 inches
  • Field of View – 113 feet to 27 feet
  • Length – 9.4 inches
  • Weight – 18 ounces
  • Tube diameter – 30mm
  • First Focal Plane reticle
  • Maximum windage and elevation adjustment – 120 MOA
  • Parallax Adjustment – 100 yards

Pros

  • Meets IPX7 Standards
  • Illuminated first focal plane reticle
  • Compact
  • First Focal Plane reticle

Cons

  • Heavy for its size

IS BDC For You?

BDC scopes are great tools under the proper circumstances.  I have several AR platforms with BDC scopes mounted and I love them.  On the other hand, BDS scopes can be deceptive if you don’t understand the theory and practical use.  Do your homework before you invest in a BDS scope and make sure that your shooting style and needs fit.

Bushnell 1-4x24 Riflescope with Illuminated BTR-1 Reticle
  • Versatile 1-4x magnification range for short to mid-range shooting
  • Waterproof Construction for use in rugged conditions

Last update on 2020-12-01 at 04:52 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


What is the Difference Between FFP and SFP Scopes?

First focal plane scopes feature reticles that near the back of the erector assembly inside the scope. Placing the reticle near the rear of the scope and not near the front as many people believe, allows the reticle to grow and remain the same size in relation to the target.

This position gives a first focal plane scope some distinct advantages

  • The crosshairs remain easily visible at greater magnification
  • The subtensions on the crosshairs remain constant despite the magnification

First focal plane scopes are not without their disadvantages.

  • Clarity and light gathering abilities in FFP scopes can suffer
  • The reticle can be hard to see and use at low power

Second focal plane scopes are much different than FFP scopes.  The reticle is still behind the erector system inside the scope housing.  However, an SFP reticle remains the same size despite the magnification.  These leads to several advantages and disadvantages

Pros of an SFP Scope

  • Crosshairs remain easily visible no matter the magnification
  • Easier to see and use at low magnifications
  • Cheaper than FFP scopes overall

Cons of an SFP Scope

  • Subtensions don’t change with the magnification
  • Long-range accuracy at higher magnifications can suffer

What do You Want from a 1-4X Rifle Scope?

Choosing any scope is a set of compromises.  Finding the best set of compromises that fill most of your needs and wants is the key.  For me, the Vortex Optics Crossfire II 1-4X24 rifle scope does that job.  The price, features, quality, and durability of the Vortex Optics Crossfire II scope make it my choice as my mid-range variable magnification rifle scope.

I hope that this article gives you some understanding of what to look for in a mid-range 1-4X rifle scope.  If you have experiences, ideas, or suggestions, please share them in the comments section below.  Your knowledge is important to share with the rest of our shooting community.  Be safe and have fun.



Written by Dennis Howard

A life long hunter, fisherman, and outdoorsman, after surviving a devastating tornado in his home town, he saw the effects on people's lives as they struggled to cope. He built his first bugout bag a few weeks later and has been a dedicated prepper/survivalist since that time. After a career as a fireman, Dennis opened a retail store (FFL approved) catering to the military, law enforcement, and like-minded individuals. The store built their own AR platforms. Furthermore, Dennis was also an NRA instructor in both long gun and handgun as well as a certified range safety officer. Read his full interview here. Read more of Dennis's articles.

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