Best Illuminated Reticle Scopes: Top 4 Picks Reviewed for 2022

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

By Dennis Howard •  10 min read

Illuminated reticle scopes are a relatively new phenomenon in the market. The advances in technology, the introduction of better batteries, and LED light sources have increased the number of scopes available with illuminated reticles. The challenge facing many shooters who want to move to an illuminated reticle scope is how to choose the best solution for their needs.

When someone asks what I look for in an illuminated reticle scope, my answer is always the same.  Look for the things you want in any great scope, and then worry about the illumination. Above all, you want a scope with the best possible optical glass, the greatest clarity, reliability, and ruggedness to perform. Illumination on the reticle should not be a primary concern.

In this article, I will look at the 4 best scopes that include an illuminated reticle. These scopes all meet the requirements that I use to judge any optic and have an illuminated reticle. Remember that the other criteria are the most important in choosing a scope. An illuminated reticle is a benefit, not a necessity.

My Favorite Illuminated Reticle Scopes

The Best Overall – Vortex Optics Crossfire II 6-18×44 V-Brite Illuminated MOA Review

I believe you can’t do better on a cost per feature basis across the board than Vortex Optics scopes. Vortex has forged a solid reputation for building quality scopes at a reasonable price for almost any shooting application. This reputation is true for Vortex Optics illuminated scopes as well.

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 6-18x44 AO, 1-inch Tube, Second Focal Plane...

Vortex Optics Crossfire II scopes are well known to both hunters and competitive target shooters. These Vortex Optics scopes are among the most popular scopes in the Vortex line. The Crossfire scopes have an illuminated reticle that adds to their attractiveness to shooters across the board.

You won’t get shorted in the features department by choosing a Vortex Optics Crossfire II scope. 

Technical Specifications

Pros

Cons

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 6-18x44 AO, 1-inch Tube, Second Focal Plane...
  • The 6-18x44 Adjustable Objective Crossfire II riflescope is one of many configurations in the...
  • The adjustable objective provides image focus and parallax removal to the shooter while...

Last update on 2022-11-27 at 13:02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Vortex builds great scopes. Add an illuminated reticle, and great becomes even better. You won’t be disappointed in the quality or performance of the Vortex Optics Crossfire II rifle scope. 

The Ultimate – Nightforce ATACR 5-25x56mm Fi ZeroStop .250 MOA Scope Review

If the price is no barrier and you want the absolute best in construction and performance, you must consider the Nightforce ATACR 5-25x56mm illuminated reticle rifle scope. Nightforce brings to the table a reputation for impeccable quality and engineering. 

NIGHTFORCE ATACR 5-25x56mm F1 ZeroStop .250 MOA DigIllum PTL Moar Reticle...

The attention to detail in design and engineering has earned Nightforce a place with many military and law enforcement long-range shooters. The same technology these professionals employ is available to civilian shooters. The Nightforce ATACR 5-25x56mm riflescope can meet the needs of the most demanding shooter.

As you would expect in a scope of this quality and price, the feature list is rich and long.

Technical Specifications

Pros

Cons

NIGHTFORCE ATACR 5-25x56mm F1 ZeroStop .250 MOA DigIllum PTL Moar Reticle...
  • ED GLASS - Fully multi-coated ED glass for excellent light transmission, bright images, and color...
  • ZEROSTOP TECHNOLOGY - It gives you an easy return to your zero point, no matter how many elevation...

Last update on 2022-11-27 at 17:02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Nightforce ATACR riflescope with illuminated reticle is pricey and large. It does make a statement when mounted on a rifle. However, if you can get around the cost and the weight, this is a rifle scope with an illuminated reticle that will outperform almost every other scope on the market.

The Budget – Primary Arms Classic Series 4-16X44mm SFP Rifle Scope Illuminated Mil-DOT Review

Primary Arms is often overlooked by many shooters when choosing a rifle scope. Overlooking Primary Arms is a mistake in my book. The riflescopes’ quality and performance from Primary Arms offers some of the best features for the price available in the market today.

Primary Arms Classic Series 4-16x44mm SFP Rifle Scope - Illuminated MIL-DOT

The Primary Arms Classic Series 4-16x44mm SFP Rifle Scope with illuminated Mil-DOT reticle is one of the best examples.  This scope may look simple and may seem on the cheap side, but nothing could be further from the truth. The Primary Arms scopes’ functional performance is above par, and the quality of construction leaves nothing lacking.

As far as features go, you won’t be disappointed by what Primary Arms offers.

Technical Specifications

Pros

Cons

Primary Arms Classic Series 4-16x44mm SFP Rifle Scope - Illuminated MIL-DOT
  • MIL-DOT RETICLE: The second focal plane design keeps the simple, unobtrusive mil-dot reticle the...
  • PARTIAL RETICLE ILLUMINATION: Powered by a common CR2032 battery, the center mil-dot section...

Last update on 2022-11-27 at 10:42 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

As an entry-level illuminated reticle scope, the Primary Arms Classic Series 4-16×44 SFP is my pick. This riflescope won’t break your bank but will provide great service and exceptional value. Don’t discount Primary Arms if you are looking for value and performance. 

AR-15 – Bushnell 1-4X24 AR Optics Illuminated Reticle Rifle Scope Review

Choosing a scope for an AR-15 platform has some special considerations. By and large, the AR-15 s not a rifle with which you will be taking 1000 yard plus shots. The AR-15 is also a lightweight rifle platform. You want to tailor the size of the scope to the rifle. 

Bushnell Optics, FFP Illuminated BTR-1 BDC Riflescope with Target Turrets...

Bushnell steps into the arena with a scope that fits these criteria perfectly. The Bushnell 1-4X24 AR Optics Riflescope illuminated BTR-1 FFP scope is an ideal match for your AR-15. With this scope, you get all the reputation for quality and performance that comes with Bushnell products and a scope designed specifically for the AR-15 platform.

A look at the features of the Bushnell BTR-1 scope should answer all your questions.

Technical Specifications

Pros

Cons

Bushnell Optics, FFP Illuminated BTR-1 BDC Riflescope with Target Turrets...
  • Fully multi coated optics with 1 4 x magnification
  • Illuminated first focal plane illuminated bar reticle with 11 settings

Last update on 2022-11-27 at 17:33 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

You can spend more on an optic for your AR-15, but I don’t think you will find a better balance of price and features. To be honest, this is not a combat-proven illuminated reticle scope. In truth, most of us aren’t headed for a combat situation. The Bushnell 1-4X24 scope will do the job most of us require.


What’s the Story on Reticles?

There are as many variations on reticle design as there are rifle scopes. It seems as if each scope manufacturer has its take on reticle design. These differences can cause a lot of confusion among shooters when choosing a scope for their favorite rifle. What do you need to know about choosing a riflescope reticle?

In general, the way you use your riflescope should determine the type or style of reticle you choose. If you are a hunter after North American big game, you should choose a reticle designed for that purpose. Competitive shooting brings different needs and requirements. Many manufacturers offer specialized reticles for different types of hunting or shooting. You can find reticles designed specifically for

No one scope reticle style fits every need. You need to consider the rifle on which the scope is mounted, the style and type of shooting you do, and your personal preferences when choosing the reticle style. 


What’s the Difference between MOA and Mil-Dot Reticles?

It is important to understand that MOA and Mil-Dot are not measurements of linear distance. Both identify a measurement of angles. MOA stands for Minute of Angle. Mil stands for milliradian.  If you want to convert to a linear measurement such as feet or yards, the Mil or MOA must be paired with a distance.

For instance, one MOA at one hundred yards equals 1.047 inches. A good reference for this is a red dot scope in which the red dot measures 2 MOA. At 100 yards, the red dot in the scope will cover an area of 2.094 inches. A Mil will cover an area of 3.6 inches at one hundred yards.  

Overall, an MOA scope tends to be slightly more accurate for most shooters. It may also be the easier of the two to use. Remembering that I MOA at 100 yards equals approximately 1.5 inches makes adjusting windage and elevation easier.


In the End, We Can Advise But You Must Decide

At the end of the day, we can advise you and help you better understand what to look for in an illuminated rifle scope, but it is your decision to make. I hope that the information in this article helps you make that decision.

If you found this article helpful or have experiences or suggestions you would like to share, please use the comments section below. Anything you can add will surely add to the community and may help someone else as well. Shoot safe and have fun.

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.