Tactical rifle scopes are mostly used by the military, police, or other special forces around the globe. In this comparison, we have 15 of the best tactical rifle scopes that are currently on the market, and all have to be in MIL/MIL configurations since these are mostly used by professionals.

For all newcomers in the world of sports optics, there are 2 different options in what subtensions the rifle scope ˝clicks˝. The most rifle scopes on the market have clicks in MOA, but true tactical and the most European rifle scopes have clicks in MILs. MIL stands for Miliradian which is an angular measurement, but on rifle scopes, the clicks are counted in 0.1 of a MIL. One click on a rifle scope with 0.1 MIL clicks is always 1 centimeter on 100 meters, or 0.9144 centimeters on 100 yards. Because the clicks are exact 1 centimeter, it is much easier to work with round numbers than with numbers with decimals.

In our comparison, all tactical rifle scopes have the reticle set in the first focal plane, what means that the reticle changes simultaneously when changing the magnification. This is an important feature, because all rifle scopes have Mil-based reticles, where the lines in the reticle and the clicks on the turret are matched on all magnifications. This means, if you shoot at a distance where the bullet drop is 3.5 Mil, you can make either 35 clicks, or simply go with the reticle upwards, and aim with the line which is 3.5 MIL under the center of the reticle. So, with the reticle set in the first focal plane, the user does not always need to ˝click˝ for each shot, but he can engage targets at different distances only with changing the target placement in the reticle. Rifle scopes with this feature are true MIL/MIL scopes.

Another important feature of the first focal plane reticle is that the user can make distance measurements only with the reticle. If you know the size of your target it is really easy to get the distance. You have to measure the target with your reticle, how many mils does the target cover. So if you have a plate that measures 50 centimeters in high (or in wight), and the plate covers 2 MILs in the reticle, the distance to the target is 250 meters. You get this number by multiplying 0.5 meters (target) with 1000, and then dividing with the number of mils that the object covers (2 MIL). This method works also in yards, and you always get the distance in the same units you entered for the target. So if you take the first number (target size) in meters, you get the distance in meters.

Another feature we have taken into account was the big objective lens diameter of 56 millimeters, because all rifle scopes for extreme long range shooting have big magnifications, what decreases the light transmission, and consequently the image gets darker. A big objective lens is that’s why an important feature, so the shooter can engage targets in low light conditions. Tactical rifle scopes are often used also in twilight or in the night, so every percentage of a brighter picture is desirable.

For shooting on targets at different distances at low light conditions, a good illumination system has to be integrated into the rifle scope. This means, the illumination has to be very precisely adjustable, for different light conditions. When it is dark, the illumination does not make sense if it is too bright, and the user does not see the target anymore.

Here is the list of the top 15 best tactical rifle scopes money can buy in 2018:

15. March FX Tactical 5-40×56

14. Kahles K624i 6-24×56

13. Minox ZP5 5-25×56

12. Tangent Theta TT525P 5-25×56

11. Nightforce ATACR 5-25×56 F1

10. Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25×56

9. Steiner M7Xi 4-28×56

8. Vortex Razor HD Gen. 2 4.5-27×56

7. Kahles K525i 5-25×56

6. Leupold Mark 8 3.5-25×56

5. Nightforce B.E.A.S.T. 5-25×56

4. Schmidt & Bender PM2 High Power 3-27×56

3. Schmidt & Bender PM2 High Power 5-45×56

2. Nightforce ATACR 7-35×56

1. Hensoldt ZF 3.5-26×56

Rifle Scope

Field of view
[max/min on 100 m]

Eye-relief

Approx. price in € Length [mm] Weight [g] Elevation [ MIL ]
15. March FX Tactical

5-40×56

7 m / 0.9 m 92 mm – 100 mm 3439 387 890 24
14. Kahles K624i

6-24×56

6.8 m / 1.7 m 90 mm 3000 407 950 25
13. Minox ZP5

5-25×56

7.6 m / 1.6 m 90 mm 2849 415 970 28
12. Tangent Theta TT525P

5-25×56

7.6 m / 1.6 m 90 mm 4750 425 1150 30
11. Nightforce ATACR

5-25×56 F1

5.7 m / 1.5 m 85 m – 90 mm 4752 390 1108 34.9
10. Leupold Mark5 HD

5-25×56

6.8 m / 1.4 m 91 mm – 97 mm 2769 398 850 35
9. Steiner M7Xi

4-28×56

9 m / 1.42 m 90 mm 2900 387 950 26
8. Vortex Razor HD Gen. 2

4.5-27×56

8.4 m / 1.5 m 90 mm 2819 366 1375 33
7. Kahles K525i

5-25×56

7.1 m / 1.5 m 95 mm 3300 377 970 29
6. Leupold Mark 8

3.5-25×56 M5B2

10.8 m / 1.6 m 83 mm – 94 mm 5929 406 1049 25
5. Nightforce B.E.A.S.T.

5-25×56

5.7 m / 1.45 m 85 mm – 90 mm 6285 390 1162 34.9
4. Schmidt & Bender PM2

High Power 3-27×56

13 m / 1.4 m 90 mm 4499 395 1128 26
3. Schmidt & Bender PM2

High Power 5-45×56

7.8 m / 0.9 m 90 mm 4659 434 1106 27
2. Nightforce ATACR

7-35×56

4.6 m / 1.05 m 93 mm – 91 mm 5519 406 1113 27.3
1. Hensoldt ZF

3.5-26×56

10.1 m / 1.4 m 85 mm – 95 mm 5591 360 1300 40

 

15. March FX Tactical 5-40×56

 

On the last, 15th place we put the March FX 5-40×56. This rifle scope has an 8 times zoom factor, with a big maximal magnification of 40 times. It has a very good field of view at the smallest magnification, but only 0.9 meters view at the biggest magnification. The field of view decreases with bigger magnifications, but if we compare it with the Schmidt and Bender at 45 times, the FOV is the same, despite the smaller magnification.

As most tactical rifle scopes, also this one has a 34-millimeter big main tube. The one disadvantage of this rifle scope compared to the other 14 is the small elevation and windage range, which is only 24 MIL. It is very much, but nowadays shooters push the boundaries of each cartridge, and here this elevation is definitely not enough.

The turrets are low-profile, what is in our opinion very good, but they don’t have a good visible and tangible turn indicator, just lines under the turret for each revolution. Because of this, the user can’t see the lines in a darker environment.

But, despite the big zoom range and big maximal magnification, this rifle scopes still comes in a pretty light-weight package of only 890 grams.

14. Kahles K624i 6-24×56

 

The Kahles K624i was a long time on the top of tactical rifle scopes, but because super zoom rifle scopes with even a better glass quality are constantly coming on the market, Kahles did lose some positions. In our comparison, the Kahles got the 14th place, what is still good for a 4 times zoom factor rifle scope.

With this rifle scope, Kahles entered the prestige line of tactical rifle scopes, and it was their first breakthrough on the market against other well-known manufacturers. The big novelty was the parallax wheel, which Kahles still produces on the same way on their new rifle scopes. This is also the main advantage over other manufacturers, because it is easy to reach for left and right-handed shooters. This parallax wheel has also markings for different distances, which are very close to the actual distance.

Also some advantage over other manufacturers is the windage turret positioning. The buyer can decide if he wants to have the windage turret on the right or on the left side of the turret.

The main disadvantage of these rifle scopes is definitely the small magnification range, because of only 4 times zoom factor. The smallest magnification of 6 times is pretty big, what makes it difficult to engage targets at small distances which are moving. Also, the maximal magnification with 24 times isn’t as big as some competitors, so you don’t have the advantage to see more details against other rifle scopes with bigger magnifications.

The parallax is adjustable, and like said, the ring under the elevation turret is very precise and on the perfect position for right and left-handed shooters. But, the parallax is adjustable only from 50 meters upwards, so on closer distances, the user can not focus on the target.

The price is also quite high with 3000 euros for a 4 times zoom factor rifle scope.

13. Minox ZP5 5-25×56

 

On the 13. place we put the Minox ZP5 5-25 rifle scope. This one is made in Germany and has some patents of the premium rifle scope manufacturer Premier Reticles, which closed the production line before a couple of years. The Minox comes in a magnification range where they have the most competitors, 5-25×56. For this magnification range, Minox has a very good field of view, because it has no tunneling effect even at the lowest setting, not like the Schmidt & Bender PM2 5-25×56 for comparison.

The turrets are exposed tactical and are not lockable. Whatsoever, the clicks are nicely defined and are audible. They are low-profile, and don’t stand much out of the scope. The whole build quality is superb, as well as the glass quality. The entire elevation range is 28 MIL, and in one turn the turret makes 15 MIL. So the turret has a double turn design, what is perfect for tactical operations that you can not get lost in too many turns. When you get in the second revolution, 2 small white dots appear under the turret so the user sees that he is in the second revolution. Unfortunately, this rifle scope has no tangible indicator, what is a small disadvantage.

The magnification ring has a small throw lever for easier and quicker magnification change during stressful situations. The diopter is adjustable and can be locked into the desired position.

12. Tangent Theta TT525P 5-25×56

 

Tangent Theta rifle scopes are – like Minox, made from patents of Premier Reticles rifle scopes. That’s why these two are quite similar in all aspects, just the outer design is different. Also Tangent Theta rifle scopes have some unique features like the tool-less re-zero system for both turrets. This allows the operator to shoot-in the rifle scope and adjust the zero without any tools. Because of this feature, the turrets are a little bit higher compared to the Minox.

The entire elevation range is 30 MIL, and the turret is double turn. The elevation turret has also a second turn indicator, which pops out between 14 and 15 MIL of elevation. Because of that, the user has a visible and tangible turn indicator.

The clicks are very nice audible and have the right tension between the clicks. The magnification ring has also a small throw lever for easier magnification change, and the diopter is adjustable and lockable at any adjustment.

On the left side is the parallax turret with a smaller illumination control turret. This is almost the same like on the Minox, only the finish is a little bit different. The illumination has 11 intensity settings, all designed for use in low light.

The main difference between the Tangent Theta and Minox is whatsoever the price, because you have to pay almost 2000 euros more for a very similar optic.

11. Nightforce ATACR 5-25×56 F1

 

Nightforce is known for the high quality of their products, and especially for the superb glass. The elevation turret on the Nightforce ATACR 5-25×56 F1 is exposed tactical for quick elevation or windage adjustment, but the windage turret is capped for protection against accidental movement. The elevation turret of this Nightforce is also the first disadvantage, since it is not lockable and you can easily change your adjustment if you hit with this turret is some obstacle. The elevation turret has also no MTC (More Tactile Clicks) feature, and the turret has no tangible turn indicator, only lines that are visible when the turret travels upwards into the second revolution.

The parallax is on the left side of the scope, and goes very precise to adjust. On this turret is also the illumination knob, which can be adjusted only with pressing the knob and then the illumination brightness gets brighter, and when you get to maximal, then the illumination gets with every press darker. Altogether the scope has multiple brightness settings, and only Nightforce scopes have illumination in red and green. We have to say that the green illumination is one of the best currently on the market, since it is very well visible in the dark, without disrupting the target you are aiming for. Interesting on all Nightforce ATARC rifle scope is the magnification adjustment, since it is a completely different design than rifle scopes from other manufacturers. When changing the magnification, the entire ocular turns around, and not only 1 ring than usual.

The main disadvantage of this rifle scope is whatsoever the price. For 4752 euros, you get any other 5-25×56 magnification range rifle scope and mostly you will still have the money for a mount and other accessories.

10. Leupold Mark 5HD 5-25×56

 

Leupold Mark 5HD rifle scopes are completely new on the market and were introduced this year on Shot Show and IWA. This rifle scope has a capped windage turret for protection against accidental movement, and a unique lockable elevation turret, which is locked only on the zero adjustment. The turret can be adjusted after pushing the button on the front, which is very intuitive and easy to use. The elevation turret has also a turn indicator. When you get in the second revolution, the small button which locks the turret gets flush and doesn’t stand anymore out. When you get in the third revolution, the button goes inside the turret so you have a small hole, and additionally, a small pin pops out on the upper side of the turret.

A big advantage of this rifle scope is the big elevation range of 35 MIL, what is more than enough for any caliber for shooting long range. They gained such a big elevation range with a bigger main tube diameter of 35 millimeters. The elevation turret has a multi-turn design with maximal 3 turns, and in each turn, you get 10 MILs of adjustment.

The parallax turret is on the left side like on most rifle scopes, but there are two models available – with illumination or without. If you decide to get a rifle scope with illumination, the parallax turret gets an additional illumination turret with numbers for different illumination brightness settings.

The magnification ring has a small throw lever for easier magnification change, and the entire rifle scope has only 860 grams, what is the least from all rifle scopes with the same magnification range from 5 to 25 times. The clicks feel very good, but they don’t feature MTC (More Tactile Clicks) for a quicker adjustment in a dark environment.

What we don’t like on Leupold is the price, which is without illumination already very high with almost 2800 euros. With illumination the rifle scope gets even more expensive, with a Tremor 3 reticle the price jumps up to almost 3900 euros. This is in our opinion a big minus point since almost all other manufacturers have their rifle scopes already with illumination for a quite lower price. The only price change with other manufacturers is mostly when you choose to have a Horus Vision reticle.

 

9. Steiner M7Xi 4-28×56

 

A completely new rifle scope, introduced on Shot Show 2018 in Los Angeles and IWA Outdoors classics in Germany. Steiner is well known for their superb military rifle scopes, the M5Xi. With the new series, Steiner got a little further and designed an 7 times zoom factor rifle scope. Because of the bigger magnification range, this scope can be used for close range to an extreme long range at once.

The turrets have a completely new design to the older models, and also the turn indicator is now also tangible and not just visible like on the older models. This one pops now out on the upper side, so the user can feel the pin in the dark.

The parallax and illumination adjustment is very similar to the Tangent Theta and Minox ZP5 rifle scopes, the difference is just that the parallax wheel has numbers for distances, so you have a mark for a quicker parallax correction. The illumination has also 11 intensity setting, the difference here is that the first 6 settings are for low light use, from 7 upwards, on the other hand, the settings are for day-time use. The magnification ring has a small throw lever for easier magnification change.

Total elevation of this rifle scope is 26 MIL, what is a little bit less than some competitors. The advantage of this rifle scope is definitely the price, for 2700 euros you get a European made rifle scope with a big magnification range. The Steiner scores also with the weight (950 grams) and with the length (387 millimeters).

If this still isn’t enough, you can get also the more expensive model with electronics build inside, which help you to hit the target in different environments and temperatures. This model is called Steiner M7Xi IFS 4-28×56. The electronics show you in the field of view the most important pieces of information like temperature, air pressure, inclination and wind drift (if programmed). The bad thing about this version is the price. For the electronics, the user has to pay 2000 euros more, so 4800 euros.

 

8. Vortex Razor HD Gen. 2 4.5-27×56

 

On the 8. place, we have put the Vortex Razor HD Gen. 2 4.5-27×56, simply because it has all the features someone can imagine in a tactical rifle scope. This rifle scope is on the market already for 4 years and is very popular among many shooters. With its robust and very short design, it is a perfect scope when someone wants to use it with a night vision or a thermal attachment. The one and only downside is the weight. With 1375 grams it is the heaviest tactical rifle scope in our comparison, and that’s why we put it on the 8. place and not further, despite all the features. If you have 2 different rifle scopes in the hands, you notice a big difference in weight. The same is when you put it on a rifle, it gets much much heavier.

The turrets are one of the best against all other 14 rifle scopes, because like previously said, they have all the features a tactical shooter could need. The turrets are lockable with a push and pull design, but not like some cheaper rifle scopes where the entire turret has to be pulled up and down. On this Vortex only the outer ring is movable, so you have to pull the ring up, and then you can adjust your clicks. This turret has a multi-turn design, with a total elevation of 33 MIL. The clicks are very audible, and the feeling is just perfect. Vortex has a slightly different design than other manufacturers since this turret has a total of 3 revolutions and not 2 like most of the competitors. With this design, they made the clicks a little bit further away from each other, and that’s why you have a very positive feeling. Under the elevation turret is a smart turn indicator, which pops out when you come in the second revolution. When you get in the third revolution, the pin pops even more our, so the user can easily see and feel in which revolution he is. The windage turret is the same than the elevation turret, also with the locking function.

The parallax turret is on the left side of the rifle scope and is adjustable from 32 yards (30 meters) to infinity. The parallax wheel has also numbers on, so you can focus on the target quicker if you know the distance. In the parallax turret hidden is the illumination control. With this design, Vortex made even the illumination control lockable. You have to pull the small wheel out and then adjust the brightness of the illumination. You have a total of 11 adjustments, all for low light use.

Another difference against other rifle scopes is the unusual dark brown color. The Vortex can be ordered only in this brown color, not black like most rifle scopes.

7. Kahles K525i 5-25×56

 

Another 5-25×56 rifle scope, which was introduced this year on IWA. The new Kahles K525i is one of the best 5-25×56 rifle scopes currently on the market, like mechanically so optically. From the design, this rifle scope is very similar to its predecessor, the Kahles K624i. Also the newer Kahles features the unique parallax wheel under the elevation turret, which is on the perfect place for right and left-handed shooters. Like on the previous model, also this one will be available with turret positioning. With this feature, every user can decide on which side he want’s to have the windage and illumination turret.

The elevation turret has the same design as the K624i rifle scope, so it is a double turn design with a nice red pin for the second revolution. The clicks are very nice, like on the elevation turret, so on the windage turret.

The windage turret has a new ˝Twist Guard˝ safety, so if you hit an obstacle with the turret, the turret stays at 0 and it will not turn unwanted. This is a unique solution, and we have tested it on different surfaces, with hits on different materials, and the turret never changed the adjusted value.

The illumination control is either on the left or right, depends on your needs. It has an infinitely variable illumination, without different steps in between. It is only low light usable.

With 377 millimeters in length, it is also the shortest 5-25×56 rifle scope on the market. Also in weight, it is one of the lightest 5-25×56 rifle scopes.

 

6. Leupold Mark 8 3.5-25×56 M5B2

 

On the 6th place, we have an American based company, with many years of experience in the field of optics. The Leupold Mark 8 3.5-25×56 is on the market already for 6 years, and is still the flagship tactical rifle scope from Leupold. With a 7.1 times zoom factor and a small magnification of 3.5, this rifle scope can be used for short and long-range shooting. This rifle scope is used also in the military, what confirms its ruggedness and reliability.

The turrets on this rifle scope are unique and have a so-called auto-locking, pinch & turn feature on both, elevation and windage turrets. These turrets are locked at any adjustment, so the user can’t accidentally change the adjustment when hitting with the scope to some obstacle. If you want to make some adjustment, you have to push the 2 buttons ˝in˝ on both turrets. This unlocks the locking function, and you can adjust your desired clicks. As you let those turrets, the two buttons jump out and the turrets are locked automatically. When you get in the second revolution, a small pin pops out on the upper side, so the user has a good indicator that he is in the second revolution.

The illumination control is on the same place like on all Schmidt & Bender PM2 rifle scopes, on the left side after the magnification ring. The illumination control has 7 brightness setting, with off positions in between. For users that don’t need the illumination, there is a different Leupold with this magnification, the Leupold Mark 8 3.5-25×56 M5C2 Non-illuminated. This one has a different style of turrets and is non-illuminated.

The elevation turret has a double turn design, with 10 MIL of adjustments per revolution. Here comes also the first downside of this particular rifle scope – the entire elevation user can use is 20 MIL, even if the internal adjustment is 25 MIL. It is still very much, but compared to some other rifle scopes, it is much less from 4 to even 10 MIL. Another unusual feature is the big main tube diameter of 35 millimeters. With this bigger main tube diameter, we were thinking that it has more elevation than the 34-millimeter competitor rifle scopes but were wrong. For this reason, we think that the whole tube is thicker for more ruggedness.

It is a great scope, no doubt, but the price is very high, starting at 5.929 euros. When you want a different reticle, for example, a Horus H59 reticle, the price jumps up to 6.439 euros. In our opinion, this is too much, since all other manufacturers have the same prices for all reticles, except for Horus Vision you have to pay more. But never so much more like at Leupold.

 

5. Nightforce B.E.A.S.T. 5-25×56

 

Nightforce B.E.A.S.T. (Best Example of Advanced Scope Technology) is currently the flagship model of the company Nightforce since it features all features a user could need in any situation. This rifle scope was designed after the needs of the military, to create a rifle scope perfect for the battlefield.

Nightforce designed this rifle scope on a proven magnification from 5 times to 25 times, with a big objective diameter of 56 millimeters for good light transmission. For a 5-25x rifle scope, it is very short with 390 millimeters. Because of the small length, the user can use and attach night vision and thermal attachments easier. In the magnification ring, a small throw lever can be installed for easier adjustment. The diopter is adjustable from the outside, so the entire ocular turns until the reticle is clear to your eyes. This ocular can be then locked to a position, so it stays the same even if you hit it.

The total elevation of this rifle scope is 34.9 MIL, what is more than enough for shooting any caliber to extreme ranges. Also the windage turret has very much adjustment, 23 MIL if we are correct.

The windage turret has a small red button on the zero, which has to be engaged when you want to dial the turret. This red button has a locking function, so you can’t accidentally turn the turret and consequently miss the target. The windage turret is locked only at zero.

The elevation turret is packed with many new features from Nightforce. The turret has a double-turn design and has a locking function on the top. This knob on the upper side of the turret has to be turned for 90 degrees, and then the locking function is on. If you want to unlock it, make the same movement on the opposite side. The locking mechanism works on any adjustment, even in the second revolution. The entire elevation of this rifle scope is 35 MIL, so enough for any caliber for shooting long-range. In one turn the elevation travels for 20 MIL. This is really a lot for one revolution, and they achieved this with bigger click adjustment. On the MIL version, one click moves the reticle for 0.2 MIL. Because of this function, you are much faster when dialing to your desired elevation. If you need to be more precise, under the turret is a small lever, where you can always add 0.1 MIL of adjustment.

We didn’t like 3 things on this elevation turret; first is that it is very high, from all top 15 rifle scopes the highest. The second is the locking function. It’s not bad, but when using gloves, it can be a challenge to unlock it, make the adjustment and later lock it again without making any unnecessary clicks to the turret. The third and the last, the small lever under the turret is also very small, and with gloves maybe not easy to adjust. In a stressful situation, the user can also make easier mistakes than if he see’s the exact adjustment he makes directly on the turret itself.

The parallax adjustment is on the left side of the rifle scope, and in the middle is a knob for adjusting the illumination. This is in our opinion the best illumination on the market, because it is very precisely to adjust, and you can choose if you need a red or a green illumination. When the green illumination is on, it is very pleasant to look through the scope.

The price of the Nightforce B.E.A.S.T. Is very high, maybe even too high for a 5-times zoom factor rifle scope. In Europe, the price is around 6.285 euros, what is more expensive than all European made rifle scopes.

 

4. Schmidt & Bender PM2 High Power 3-27×56

 

Schmidt & Bender is the leading rifle scopes manufacturer for the military around the globe. This PM2 High Power 3-27×56 was developed as part of a USSOCOM request for proposal for shooting at extremely distant targets, and has all the features someone can imagine in a true tactical rifle scope.

The zoom factor on this rifle scope is huge with 9 times. This means, with one rifle scope you can observe a big territory on the smallest magnification, and see very good details on extreme distances, thanks to its big magnification of 27 times, and the superb optical quality. Because of the great glass quality, even with the 9 times zoom factor, the picture is still bright enough when the sun goes down. On the smallest magnification, the field of view is 13 meters on 100 meters, which is the most of all top 15 tactical rifle scopes currently on the market.

The turrets on this rifle scope are a masterpiece since they have an MTC (More Tactile Clicks) feature so every 10th click is stronger and louder, they are lockable at any position, have a very nice turn indicator and have a double turn design. You can also choose if you want to have a total internal elevation of 26 MIL or 34 MIL, which is consequently transferred to the feeling of the clicks. Namely, with 26 MIL of total internal elevation, the click have more space in between, so it is much more user-friendly to use.

The locking mechanism is a ring that is placed in the middle of the turrets so the user can engage the mechanism in every elevation or windage adjustment. This locking mechanism is nice and stiff, and you feel the quality when engaging it. There is no free space in between the turret and the locking ring, so there is no unexpected movement. When you lock the turret, you also see a small inscription in red that the turret is locked. For locking or unlocking the turret, this ring has to be pushed down or pulled up.

Like previously mentioned, this rifle scope features an MTC function of the elevation turret. This helps the user to quickly get to the desired adjustment, without looking on the turret. You simply count the stronger clicks, and then only add the desired 10th s of a MIL. The turn indicator is also very user-friendly, since the whole middle section of the elevation turret pops out so you see it and feel it. The windage turret has the MTC function only on the 0, so you don’t need to look at it, and you will easily find it.

On the opposite side of the windage turret is the parallax control wheel, which has numbers on it for easier and quicker parallax adjustment. These numbers are not exactly correct, but the difference is also not quite as big. The illumination control is right behind the magnification ring and has 11 intensity setting, all for low light use. Between each click is an off position, so you can turn the illumination off right after the brightness you want.

The entire rifle scope is quite heavy with 1128 grams, but all those features have to weight something. In the length, the Schmidt & Bender measures 395 millimeters, so it is not too long for some additional equipment in front of the scope. It is also shorter than some competitors with a smaller zoom factor.

 

3. Nightforce ATACR 7-35×56

 

On the third place, we have again an American made rifle scope, the already known Nightforce. This particular model is from the ATACR series and is a rifle scope with the biggest magnification from all tactical Nightforce rifle scopes.

The turrets are the same like on the 5-25×56 F1 model, so the elevation turret is exposed tactical, and the windage turret is capped for protection against accidental movement. The ocular is also the same, so the diopter setting has to be adjusted with turning the entire outer housing of the ocular. When the diopter is adjusted to your eye, you can lock this setting with a counter nut. This is a very handy feature because mostly only one person uses one scope, and with the locking function, the adjustment never changes.

To change the magnification you have to turn the entire ocular, so this is a little bit unusual compared to European made rifle scopes. Whatsoever, it has some pros and cons. The main advantage is that you can more easily grab the entire ocular than only one ring with thick winter gloves. A small disadvantage is because of a flip-up cover – it rotates with the magnification, so sometimes it gets in the way of the bolt handle. Nightforce solved this problem partly with high-quality Tenebraex flip-up covers, which are included with the scope. They can be rotated to other direction with not much force.

The main advantage of this particular rifle scope is the big magnification and the superb optical quality. When looking through this rifle scope on maximal magnification, it is unbelievably clear and the resolution is just astonishing. You can see details that are not visible with some rifle scopes that have even bigger magnifications.

With the big 56 millimeters objective lens enough light passes through the scope so the picture is still bright enough at those big magnifications. For low light, there is the Digilum illumination system, with in our opinion the best reticle illumination currently on the market. It has a button style design, with multiple brightness settings in red and green illumination.

The complete internal elevation is 27 MIL, what is plenty for extreme distance shooting. The elevation turret has a multi-turn design, with 12 MIL per revolution.

A small disadvantage of this rifle scope is the small field of view. Because of the minimal magnification of 7 times, is the field of view also very small with 4.6 meters on 100 meters, or 15 ft at 100 yards. With this FOV it is a little bit difficult to observe a bigger area.

 

 

2. Schmidt & Bender PM2 High Power 5-45×56

 

On the second place, we have the newest Schmidt & Bender PM2 High Power rifle scope, with the magnification 5x – 45x and a big objective lens diameter of 56mm. This rifle scope was introduced on Shot Show 2017 in Las Vegas and is already the second rifle scope from Schmidt & Bender with a 9 times zoom factor.

This model is designed for shooting on even longer distances than it’s predecessor, thanks to the much bigger magnification. Also this one was developed because of the USSOCOM, now they wanted a rifle scope for shooting on extreme distant targets. With 45 times magnification not only shooting, but also recognizing targets at extreme distances is possible.

This rifle scope is the longest from all our top 15, but mostly only 2-4 centimeters longer. For such a big magnification range and such a big maximal magnification, this isn’t even so much in our opinion. Also in the weight there is no difference against other rifle scopes, with 1106 grams it is somewhere in the middle of our top 15 tactical rifle scopes.

The turrets are the same as on their Ultra Short models, and they have an ultra-flat design. The flat design is because of the big minimal magnification, so the user can mount a red dot on the mount so he sees over the turret, and he can aim without canting the entire rifle. With an additional red dot, targets at very close distances can be much quicker engaged.

The elevation turret has all the features you can imagine in a tactical rifle scope, despite its flat design. The MTC (More Tactile Clicks) work like a charm, so every 10th click is stronger for quicker adjustment without looking on the turret itself. The elevation turret has a double turn design, so you can’t get lost in the revolutions. When you come to the second revolution, a small pin pops out for a visual and also tangible turn indication. This turret has also a locking function, with a small ring around the entire turret. This ring has to be pushed down to be locked-in, and pulled up to unlock the clicks. The entire internal elevation is 30.5 MIL, so enough for extreme long range shooting.

The windage turret is capped for protection against accidental movement, but under this cap is a normal tactical turret with an MTC function only on the 0.

The parallax wheel is on the left side of the scope and has numbers for quicker and easier parallax correction. The correction goes from 30 meters to infinity. The European-style eye-piece is also easy to adjust for eyes with different diopters. For this rifle scope, few different reticles are available, from standard Schmidt & Bender reticles till different Horus Vision reticles. All reticles are illuminated with 11 intensity settings, which can be adjusted on the small illumination control near the magnification ring.

The field of view on the smallest magnification is quite big with 7.8 meters on 100 meters, so this rifle scope can be also used for observation of big areas.

1. Hensoldt ZF 3.5-26×56

 

And finally the first place. Even if the Hensoldt doesn’t have so many features as the Schmidt & Bender, it is in our opinion still the best tactical rifle scope currently on the market. The Flagship model of Hensoldt is the ZF 3.5-26×56 rifle scope, which is on the market already for years, and optically, it is still the best you can buy.

With its short design of only 360 millimeters, it is the perfect rifle scope for all personnel who want’s to use it in combination with front attachments like night vision or thermal imaging devices. Compared to the Schmidt & Bender PM2 High Power 5-45×56, it is 74 millimeters shorter, what is really a lot. This rifle cope doesn’t stand out only because of its compact size, but also because of its weight. With 1300 grams it is the second most heavy rifle scope from our top 15, right behind the Vortex Razor HD Gen. 2 4.5-27×56.

Like mentioned, this rifle scope has in our opinion the best glass you can find these days in any tactical rifle scope. With this glass quality, you don’t even need higher magnifications, because you see details that are not visible with some rifle scopes witch feature bigger magnifications. Also in the twilight, this rifle scope is very bright, and you can still see the target when other rifle scopes already fail.

This rifle scope stands out also because of its unusual main tube diameter of 36 millimeters, what is really rare in the field of sport optics. Because of this big main tube diameter, the rifle scope is more rugged, but the main benefit they got is the extreme big elevation range of 40 MIL. The elevation which you can whatsoever make with the turret is 36 MIL, what is still astonishing big. This is the biggest elevation range from all true tactical rifle scopes on the market, and with so many MILs available, you can shoot on extreme ranges even with big bullet drop calibers.

The turrets on this Hensoldt are not lockable, but the clicks are very stiff so you can’t accidentally turn the turret. They feature the MTC (More Tactile Clicks) feature, so every 10th click is harder. This is a great feature for adjusting the turrets at night, so the user doesn’t need to look at every single click he makes. On the windage turret, the MTC feature is only at zero, so you always know when you come back to zero with your adjustment.

The elevation turret has a very good turn indicator, where you have to pull an outer ring up if you want to get into the second revolution. When this ring is on the upper side, you can make your adjustments from 18 MIL upwards. When you are in the second revolution and want to get into the first revolution, you have to come back to 18 MIL, there the turret stops and you have to push the outer ring down.

On the left side of the scope, you have the parallax adjustment turret and the illumination control. These are similar to scopes from other manufacturers, just that on the Hensoldt you don’t have numbers for different distances directly written on the turret. The illumination control is freely adjustable with infinite brightness settings. Hensoldt has from all other manufacturers the biggest battery, which should work at any temperature, even in an extremely cold environment.

In the civilian Hensoldt is normally a modified Mil-Hash reticle, but other reticles can be ordered at an extra charge. The price is already very high with the standard reticle with 5.591 euros.

Conclusion

The list we made consist of 15 premium and best tactical rifle scopes currently on the market. Optically the differences are very small, but after rigorously testing, the differences are noticeable. We have tested these rifle scopes in a building, and also in the field.  We came to this conclusion after a few days of testing in different light conditions, and we observed different objects at different distances. About the mechanics, the differences are much smaller, and how the clicks feel is mostly just the personal opinion which one is better.

Shooting on extreme ranges is possible with every scope on this list, and sometimes big magnifications are not even recommended because of the mirage.

Disclaimer

We want to thank the Optics-Trade online shop for providing and enabling us to test these 15 great rifle scopes. Whatsoever, this review is not sponsored and it’s completely unbiased. This comparison was made simply because of our own interest in the optics and provides an objective opinion of tested rifle scopes.

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1 Comment

Gilberto

Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something.
I think that youu can do with a few pics to drive the message home a little bit,
butt instead of that, this is magnificent blog. A fantastic read.
I will definitely be back.

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