Top 10 CQB rifle scopes of 2018

In this review, I want to present you the top 10 CQB (Close Quarter Battle) rifle scopes, which I sorted depending on their features, build quality, weight differences, and some other special features that are unique in some rifle scopes.

In this representation are only tactical wide-angle rifle scopes that were designed for close quarter combat and similar scenarios, where units have to engage targets in buildings or vehicles. Because of the short distance, the magnification has to be very small, and that’s why all have the minimum magnification of only 1x, or some models 1.1x. Sometimes the units have to engage targets also on longer distances, so the bigger the maximal magnification the better. All rifle scopes except one in my top 10 list have the maximal magnification of 8 times, what is plenty to engage targets to even 600 meters or more.

What I have taken into account is a very good reticle which is well visible at all magnifications, especially on the smallest magnification the reticle has to have a well visible dot in the middle, which can be illuminated. The illumination has to be very bright, so even on sunny days, you have to see the red dot in the middle.

If you want to engage targets at longer distances, you need also bigger magnifications. All rifle scopes, except one, have a maximal magnification of 8 times, and only one rifle scope has the maximal magnification of 6 times, the Vortex Razor HD. The maximal magnification is important if you want to shoot with this rifle scope also on longer distances, but the reticle has to be good visible so you can compensate for the bullet drop at different distances.

Only two of our top ten have the reticle placed in the second focal plane, so it has the same size at all magnifications. Other 5 rifle scopes have a first focal plane reticle, which is small at low magnifications and thick at big magnifications. This is a common feature in most tactical rifle scopes for long range, but for CQB rifle scopes the reticle has to have a thicker center that will always be well visible. Because this is a weak point in an FFP CQB rifle scope, 3 manufacturers produce rifle scopes with dual focal plane reticles where the central dot is in the second focal plane so it has the same dimensions at all magnifications, but the reticle is in the first focal plane, so you can use it for ranging and bullet drop compensation at all magnifications.

For me personally, the design of the turrets was not such an important feature so long it has a locking function or if it’s capped for protection against accidental movement, since mostly no one clicks for bullet drop in such a rifle scope.

And here is the list of top 10 CQB rifle scopes what are available in 2018:

10. Steiner M8Xi 1-8×24

9. March-F Tactical 1-8×24 FFP

8. IOR Tactical ELIMINATOR 1-10×26

7. Schmidt & Bender PM2 High Power 1.1-8×24

6. Leupold Mark 8 1.1-8×24

5. Vortex Razor HD Gen. 2 1-6×24

4. Nightforce ATACR 1-8×24

3. Schmidt & Bender PM2 Short Dot CC 1-8×24

2. Minox ZP8 1-8×24

1. Schmidt & Bender PM2 Short Dot Dual CC

 

Rifle Scope

Field of view [max/min on 100 m]

Eye-relief

Approx. price in €

Length [mm]

Weight [g]

10. Steiner M8Xi 1-8×24

32 m / 4.5 m

90 mm

2700

274

750

9. March-F Tactical 1-8×24 FFP

35.3 m / 4.4 m

86 mm – 98 mm

2209

258

560

8. IOR Tactical ELIMINATOR 1-10×26

29 m / 4 m

82 mm – 90 mm

2387

297

822

7. Leupold Mark 8 1.1-8×24

30.8 m / 4.7 m

82 mm – 90 mm

3355

305

666

6. Schmidt & Bender PM2 High Power 1.1-8×24

35.3 m / 4.9 m

90 mm

2799

293

650

5. Vortex Razor HD Gen. 2 1-6×24-E

38.4 m / 6.8 m

102 mm

1699

257

610

4. Nightforce ATACR 1-8×24

32 m / 4.4 m

95 mm

2362

256

595

3. Schmidt & Bender PM2 Short Dot CC 1-8×24

35.3 m / 4.9 m

90 mm

2889

293

631

2. Minox ZP8 1-8×24

37.5 m / 4.8 m

90 mm

2499

295

695

1. Schmidt & Bender PM2 Short Dot Dual CC

35.3 m / 4.9 m

90 mm

3011

293

655

 

10. Steiner M8Xi 1-8×24

On the 10th place, I ranked the completely new Steiner M8Xi 1-8×24. It has a very nice design, and all functions are easily reachable, but even if this rifle scope was introduced at the beginning of 2018 on Shot Show and IWA Outdoors classic, it still has fewer features then many rifle scopes that are on the market already for a couple of years.

One of the most important features what is missing is the locking function of the turrets. The turrets on the Steiner are freely rotatable, and there is no option to put a cap over to protect them before accidental movement. For a rifle scope in this price class, this is a must-have feature.

The reticle in this rifle scope is in the first focal plane, and like we all know the reticle changes simultaneously with the magnification. This means, if you want to have a normal thick reticle on the highest magnifications, the reticle has to be very thin on the lowest. This is the biggest issue of the FFP reticle, especially in a CQB rifle scope, because it is barely visible. Steiner tried to solve that with a thick dot in the middle, which will be visible also on the lowest setting. Now the dot has a normal size at 1x magnification, but when you crank the magnification up, the dot gets so thick, that it covers a big middle section of the view. The dot has a diameter of 20 centimeters on 100 meters, what is really a lot! With such a big dot engaging human-sized targets at longer distances is almost impossible, so what can you do if the target gets smaller?

The field of view is 32 meters, what also isn’t very much, if I am correct, only 2 rifle scopes on the Top 10 list have less than the Steiner. The last drawback, in my opinion, is the weight. It is the second heaviest rifle scope on my top 10 list, weighing heavy 750 grams.

Steiner M8Xi 1-8×24 rifle scope

09. March-F Tactical 1-8×24

March is a well-known company in the world or rifle scopes, especially in the F-Class and benchrest competitions. In the last years, they are trying to break through also in the tactical rifle scopes competition, and this wide-angle model is one of their better successes.

The March-F Tactical 1-8×24 is the lightest rifle scope in this top 10 list, what is a very nice feature when you have to carry a rifle the whole day in your hands. And not that it is the lightest, the weight difference is quite big, from 35 grams to even 190 grams against the Steiner M8Xi. This difference is huge, and you notice it immediately when you have both of them in the hand.

You can choose between 3 different reticles, and all 3 are in the first focal plane, so they are thin at the lowest magnification setting and thick on the highest. March solved this problem with a different design than many other competitors, so the reticles don’t have a full dot in the middle but just a circle around the center, so you see where the lines come together. With this design, the circle on the smallest magnification works like a dot for easier and faster engagement on closer targets. On the maximal magnification the whole middle section of the reticle gets visible, so you can easily compensate for bullet drop or wind deflection at longer ranges.

What is interesting is that this rifle scope has a parallax adjustment turret. Normally wide-angle rifle scopes have a fixed parallax at 100 meters or more, but this rifle scope is one of the 2 exceptions in my top 10 list. The eye-piece is lockable with a counter ring on the outside, so you can’t accidentally change your diopter setting. The turrets are exposed and have a tactical-style design, what in my opinion isn’t the best option for a tactical wide-angle rifle scope since you can easily hit some obstacle and consequently change the elevation or windage setting. Because of that, you can easily miss some targets that are further away if you don’t look at the turrets before the first shot.

March-F Tactical 1-8×24 rifle scope

 

08. IOR Tactical ELIMINATOR 1-10×26

 

On the 8th place, I’ve ranked the IOR Tactical ELIMINATOR 1-10×26. This rifle scope has the biggest zoom rate on this top 10 list. With its 10 times zoom this rifle scope can be used for close range CQB, to medium and even long-range target shooting. The Romanian company is already a veteran in tactical rifle scopes, and they made a really good job also with this ELIMINATOR.

This rifle scope features an unusual 35-millimeter main tube and a 26mm objective lens diameter. With the bigger objective lens the rifle scope should be a little bit brighter against the competition, and because of the bigger main tube diameter, I think it is one of the most durable rifle scopes currently on the market.

The turrets are tactical and feature a zero-stop. On the elevation turret is also a second zero indicator, if you change the ammunition or want to use this scope on a second rifle. A big downside, in my opinion, is the missing locking function of the turrets. For such a rifle scope, which is in use in stress situations, this is a must-have. In stress, the user can easily hit the turret and accidentally change the setting without knowing it.

The reticle in the IOR Tactical ELIMINATOR is a dual-focal plane, what means that the dot in the middle is in the second focal plane, and the ranging reticle in the first focal plane. With this feature, you have a clear red dot with the same size at all magnifications and still can use the reticle for ranging and bullet drop compensation at big magnifications. The red dot has a diameter of 0.25 MIL at 100 meters and has an adjustable brightness setting for day and night time use. The ranging reticle is also illuminated, but with green color. The reticle and the turrets are matched since both are in MIL adjustments.

The one big benefit of this rifle scope is definitely the parallax adjustment control. With the parallax control, you can adjust your focusing from 6 meters to infinity.

Weaknesses of this rifle scope are only two, but in my opinion very important two. The first is the small field of view, which is only 29 meters at 100 meters. This is also the smallest field of view from all of our top 10 CQB rifle scopes. The FOV is small because on 1x magnification the rifle scope has a tunnel effect which goes to 1.25x magnification.

The second weakness is the weight. It is the heaviest rifle scope on the top 10 list, weighing 822 grams. For a CQB rifle scope this is really a lot, but hopefully, it is as durable as it weights.

IOR Tactical ELIMINATOR 1-10×26 rifle scope

07. Leupold Mark 8 1.1-8×24

The Leupold Mark 8 1.1-8×24 rifle scope is the first of only 2 rifle scopes in the list, that does not have a true 1x magnification. Because of the 1.1x magnification, it is a little more difficult to look through the scope with both eyes open compared to other rifle scopes with 1x magnification.

The main tube is 34 millimeters thick, and because of the big main tube diameter, this rifle scope features 50.9 MIL of elevation. This is the most of any rifle scope in this list, and I doubt that anyone will ever need such a big elevation range on a CQB rifle scope. But, it is always better to have too much elevation than that it runs out. This Leupold is also the longest in my comparison, if I am exact, 49 millimeters longer than the shortest one on the list, the Nightforce ATACR.

The parallax is fixed at 150 yards, and the reticle is set in the first focal plane. Leupold offers 4 different reticle options for the end user, and all are illuminated with 8 intensity settings with off positions between each setting. The one big drawback of this rifle scope is the big price difference for 2 reticle options. The price of this rifle scope is 3.355 euros, but if you choose the Front Focal H-27D or the CMR-W 7.62 reticle, the price jumps to 4.230 euros.

The turrets are tactical with a zero-stop and a locking function. These are one of my favorite turrets on the market, because those auto-locking pinch and turn turrets are easy to operate and are always locked when you don’t have your fingers on. So are any accidental movements prevented when you using the scope. The user can order also matched BDC rings, which fit the trajectory of your specific load.

The fast-focus eye-piece is also lockable, so you adjust the diopter setting once and can forget about it. The magnification can be changed by turning the entire eye-piece, and not only a magnification ring like on all European made rifle scopes.

Leupold Mark 8 1.1-8×24 rifle scope

06. Schmidt & Bender PM2 High Power 1.1-8×24

The Schmidt & Bender PM2 High Power 1.1-8×24 rifle scope made it on the 6th place on my top 10 list. Like all the Schmidt & Bender rifle scopes, also this one features a very nice and slick design. It is the second rifle scope in my top 10 list which has a 1.1x minimal magnification. As mentioned by the Leupold Mark 8 1.1-8×24 rifle scope, because of the 1.1x magnification it is more difficult to aim with both eyes open then with rifle scopes with a true 1x magnification.

The entire rifle scope is made of metal, with no rubber parts on it. The main tube diameter is 30 millimeters thick, and the objective lens diameter is 24 millimeters. The fast focus eye-piece is designed for usage with the Tenebraex flip-up covers, that fits directly on the adjustment ring.

The turrets have clicks in 0.1 MRAD, and have a single-turn design. In one turn the elevation travels for 102 clicks or 1.02 meters on 100 meters. You can also choose if you want a clockwise or a counter clock-wise turret rotation. The windage turret has 51 clicks available for each direction, and a really nice feature is the stop before traveling the entire revolution of the turret, so you can not come twice to the ˝0˝. Both turrets are lockable with a push and pull design on any elevation or windage adjustment.

On the opposite side of the windage turret is the illumination control with 11 brightness settings, which are usable with night vision devices, and are bright enough even for day-time use. The reticle in this Schmidt & Bender is BR-1 and is located in the first focal plane, so it changes the dimensions simultaneously when changing the magnification. The BR-1 reticle has a horse-shoe design, and illuminated are only this horse-shoe circle around the center, and the small dot in the middle. The small weakness of this reticle is the first focal plane position because even the horse-shoe gets very small on 1.1 magnification. The parallax is fixed at 100 meters.

The Schmidt & Bender PM2 High Power 1.1-8×24 rifle scope can be ordered in 3 different colors, black, RAL8000 and Pantone7504M.

Schmidt & Bender PM2 High Power 1.1-8×24 rifle scope

05. Vortex Razor HD Gen. 2 1-6×24-E

Very high on my list made the Vortex Razor HD Gen. 2 1-6×24-E, which has the smallest magnification range from 1x to 6x. This is the lighter version of the older Vortex Razor HD Gen.2 1-6×24, which was introduced before a couple of years.

The turrets on this rifle scope are capped for protection against accidental movement, and there are only two rifle scopes on this list that feature capped turrets. Even if these turrets are capped, under the cover are low-profile tactical turrets with ½ MOA or 0.2 MIL of adjustment per click. The entire elevation range is 150 MOA (44 MRAD) what is really a lot. Like I mentioned before by the Leupold, I don’t think that anyone will ever need such a big elevation range on a CQB rifle scope.

Very nicely designed is the illumination control, which is on the left side of the rifle scope. This illumination control is lockable at any position, so you cant turn accidentally the brightness setting or even turn it off when you need it the most.

The main tube diameter is 30 millimeters, and this rifle scope features a European style fast focus eye-piece. This is also the only rifle scope that has the reticle set in the second focal plane, what is, in my opinion, a very good solution for the reticle thickness at all magnifications. The reticle is thick enough at the smaller magnification that you easily see the illumination, and on the maximal magnification, the reticle has true MOA or MRAD increments for easy bullet drop compensation and windage corrections.

Vortex Razor HD Gen. 2 1-6×24-E rifle scope

04. Nightforce ATACR 1-8×24

In my opinion, the best non-European rifle scope made it on the 4th place in my top 10 CQB rifle scopes list. This rifle scope is the shortest of all on my list, measuring only 256 millimeters. Even if the rifle scope is the shortest, it is not the lightest. It is 35 grams heavier than the March-F Tactical 1-8×24 FFP, which is the lightest on this list.

This rifle scope has – like the Vortex Razor HD Gen. 2-E capped turrets for protection against accidental movement, what is, in my opinion, a very good solution, so the user cant accidentally change the setting in a combat situation. On the left side of the rifle scope is the illumination control turret, which has 10 intensity setting. The illumination is very bright, and can be used also in the brightest days.

The reticle is placed in the first focal plane, and in the center is a segmented circle which can be illuminated. This is an MRAD reticle, and because of this also the clicks are in MRAD, so these are true MIL/MIL tactical CQB rifle scopes. The main tube on this scope is 34 millimeters thick, and all lenses are bedded and key fixed so they cannot move even after years of shooting with strong recoiling calibers.

The ocular can be adjusted for different diopters and can be locked in place at any adjustment. When this is done, the user can grab the entire ocular and turn it to change the magnification. This is very useful in stress situations, but can be a little bit disturbing when you have a flip-up cover mounted on the rifle scope because it always rotates when changing the magnification.

The one and only disadvantage of this rifle scope is the small field of view of only 32 meters at 100 meters. This is a really small FOV for a CQB rifle scope, and only 1 rifle scope in my list has less than this Nightforce.

Nightforce ATACR 1-8×24 rifle scope

 

03. Schmidt & Bender PM2 Short Dot CC 1-8×24

On the third place, we have another Schmidt & Bender rifle scope. From the design, this model is very similar to the Schmidt & Bender on the 6th place, but this one has some additional features. It has even the exact same length, but it is 19 grams lighter than the Schmidt & Bender PM2 High Power 1.1-8×24.

Also this rifle scope is made fully out of metal, so no rubber can be damaged and go off after extensive use. The main tube diameter is 30 millimeters thick, and the objective lens is also 24 millimeters like on the High Power CQB model.

The turrets have a single-turn design, and are lockable with a push and pull design at any adjustment. The turrets are in MRAD and the clicks are in 0.1 MIL. The big advantage of this rifle scope is in the reticle because it has a double focal plane design. This means, that the reticle is in the first focal plane, so it changes the dimensions simultaneously when changing the magnification. The red dot in the middle is in the second focal plane, so it has always the right dimension, what is especially important at low magnifications where the first focal plane reticles are barely visible.

Another great feature in this rifle scope is the CC mode, which changes the parallax setting from 100 meters to 7 meters when you turn the magnification down from 1.1x to the CC mode on 1x magnification.

Schmidt & Bender PM2 Short Dot CC 1-8×24 rifle scope

02. Minox ZP8 1-8×24

The second best CQB rifle scope on my list in the Minox ZP8. This rifle scope is full of features and it was very difficult to decide which rifle scope should be in the first place.

The Minox is made fully out of metal, but it still has a very nice slick design. The main tube is 34 millimeters thick, and the objective lens diameter is 24 millimeters. This means that this rifle scope has a very thick housing and is very durable for the toughest use. On the magnification ring is a very nice throw lever for easier and quicker magnification change, which is big enough that you can grab it also with gloves.

The Minox features a European-style eyepiece, which can be locked in position. Also the turrets are lockable, but only on the zero position. The illumination turret can be additionally locked on any position, even between the brightness settings on the off positions. Like mentioned, this rifle scope features 9 intensity settings, and between the intensity settings are off positions so you can quickly come back to the desired intensity. Both turrets have clicks in 0.1 MIL, so the clicks and the reticle are always matched. The elevation turret has a single-turn design with 10 MIL of adjustment.

This rifle scope has a dual-focal plane reticle design, so the reticle changes the dimension when changing the magnification, but the red dot in the middle which is placed in the second focal plane stays the same from 1x to 8x magnification. Because of this feature, you have a clearly visible red dot on small magnifications, and a clearly readable reticle at bigger magnifications. Another great feature is the CCR reticle system, because the red dot goes automatically on when you go with the magnification under 2.5x. When you go with the magnification upwards over 2.5x, the red dot turns off and disappears, and the illumination in the reticle turns on. The illumination in the reticle is only for low-light use, and the red dot is very bright for daytime use.

For this rifle scope 3 reticle options are available, so the user can easily choose which one is the best for his personal needs. The last and also a very great feature of this rifle scope is the extremely long warranty of 30 years, what is very much for a tactical rifle scope of this class.

Minox ZP8 1-8×24 rifle scope

01. Schmidt & Bender PM2 Short Dot Dual CC

And finally the first place. The new Schmidt & Bender PM2 Short Dot Dual CC which was introduced this year at SHOT SHOW in Las Vegas and on IWA Outdoors Classics 2018. The design of this rifle scope is already old, but Schmidt & Bender added many new features, which pushed this rifle scope now on the first place on my list. With this rifle scope, Schmidt & Bender won also the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) tender.

This new Schmidt & Bender is very similar to the older model, the Schmidt & Bender PM2 Short Dot CC 1-8×24, since it has the same features, like the CC mode and the dual focal plane reticle. Like previously mentioned, the CC mode is that the parallax changes from 100 meters to 7 meters when you go with the magnification under 1.1x.

The dual focal plane reticle now features also the FlashDot illumination for the red dot, what makes it even brighter than in his predecessor. The reticle in the first focal plane is also illuminated with 11 brightness settings, where 3 of them are very weak for night-vision, and the other 8 are for low light use.

Also the turrets have a completely new design, now not the entire turret has to be pulled up to adjust and pushed down to lock, but only the outer ring like on their Ultra Short rifle scopes.

Schmidt & Bender PM2 Short Dot Dual CC rifle scope

Conclusion

The list I have made consist of my personal opinion and the opinion of my friends which helped me to make this test right. The decision of how the sequence from 10th place to the first is, was also made with my friends, where we discussed in detail what are the pros and cons of each rifle scope. We tested the scopes in a house and also in the field on different distances, and after all the tests were done I wrote this article.

I have to say that all of these rifle scopes are very good, and all can be used in real CQB situations. Whatsoever, the rifle scopes with the dual focal plane reticles have an advantage against other rifle scopes, as mentioned because of the reticle thickness and visibility at all magnifications. We came also to another conclusion, that Schmidt & Bender has the upper hand in this class of rifle scopes, since it offers 3 different options for any kind of use, and not only 1 or maybe 2 like the competitors.

Disclaimer

We want to thank the Optics-Trade online shop for providing and enabling us to test these 10 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.

The following two tabs change content below.

heuxbf

Latest posts by heuxbf (see all)

Written by heuxbf

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *