Here are the 4 best 1-4X scopes new and experienced competition shooters are using.

These are low power variable optics great for beginners for range plinking and hunting.

Best 1-4X Scopes

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  • Best Overall
  • Best Budget FFP 
  • Best For Range
  • Best For The Money
  • Fastest 1-4X Transition

The Vortex Optics 1-4X scope is the perfect choice if you're on a budget but still want quality. Here's what makes it stand out:

First off, it's competition-ready. As an affordable 3-gun shooting scope, its one-piece aluminum build and shockproof lens really impressed me. I found it reliable and sturdy during use, which is crucial in competitive shooting.

The illuminated TMCQ MOA Reticle is a game-changer. It offers full ranging and holdover capabilities, making it versatile for both day and night use. This feature enhanced my aiming accuracy significantly, especially under different lighting conditions.

What I love most is the tool-less turret adjustment. The turret provides positive feedback and has a zero stop index point. This made it super easy for me to return to zero without losing track of the rotations - a real time-saver during fast-paced shooting.

The glass quality is top-notch. The XR low dispersion glass delivers super clean and sharp images, which greatly improved my targeting precision.

Lastly, the warranty policy is unbeatable. Vortex offers a lifetime, unconditional warranty, and they'll replace it at no cost if it breaks. This gave me great peace of mind, knowing my investment is protected.


  • Magnification: 1 4X scope
  • Objective Lens: 24mm
  • Focal Plane: SFP
  • Tube Size: 30 mm
  • Eye Relief: 4"
  • Click Value: 0.5 MOA
  • Reticle Type: TMCQ MOA
  • Turret Type: Capped
  • Length: 9.7 inches
  • Weight: 16 oz
  • Tactical Turrets

The Bushnell AR optics line are the best in quality and price for any new and experienced shooter. One feature we liked the most about this one is the first focal point reticle and the built in magnification lever.

Changing magnification is a breeze with this scope. The lever design allows you to adjust the magnification smoothly and quickly with just one hand motion. This is way easier than the usual twisting method and really speeds things up when you're aiming.

The tuckable throw down lever is another smart feature. It doesn't get in the way of a bolt action rifle or charging handle, and you can stow it away after use. This design makes the scope incredibly convenient and user-friendly, especially in fast-paced situations.

When it comes to clarity, this scope really delivers. It's fully coated with anti-reflective layers, providing high-contrast images. Plus, it's fog-proof in cold environments, which was a huge plus for me during chilly morning shoots.

The first focal plane (FFP) reticle stays accurate across all magnification power settings, so I could trust my shots at any range. This feature alone makes the scope incredibly reliable and precise.

Lastly, the 500-yard capability is impressive. The illuminated reticle is calibrated for 5.56 NATO and works perfectly with the accurate first focal point design. I found this extremely helpful for long-range targeting.


  • Magnification: 1-4X
  • Objective Lens: 24mm
  • Focal Plane: FFP
  • Tube Size: 30 mm
  • Eye Relief: 3.5"
  • Click Value: 0.5 MOA
  • Reticle Type: Illuminated BDC
  • Turret Type: Tactical Turrets
  • Length: 9.4 inches
  • Weight: 18 oz

I recently tried out the Athlon Talos scope and found it's a fantastic choice, especially for those on a budget. It reminds me a lot of the Vortex Viper PST, but what really stands out is its superior eyebox performance. This makes it an excellent 1-4X scope for target shooting.

First off, this scope is great for plinking. Whether I'm using airsoft, 22LR, or 223, it performs exceptionally well. The 1X eyebox is fairly generous. It's illuminated, feeling almost like a red dot, and provides great visibility even in low-light conditions. What I appreciate most is the flexibility it offers in head movement without needing to adjust my cheekweld position too much.

Another feature that impressed me is how the reticle design, with its four arrows, quickly draws the eye to the center. This makes aiming fast and intuitive. At 4X magnification, I noticed that while the image details remain sharp in the center, there's a slight blur around the edges. But this isn't a deal-breaker for me.

The reticle clarity is another high point. The closed center crosshair is really noticeable and makes targeting under a cloudy sky much clearer. And let's talk about the turrets – every click aligns perfectly, giving me a lot of confidence in my adjustments.


  • Magnification: 1-4X
  • Objective Lens: 24mm
  • Focal Plane: SFP reticle
  • Tube Size: 30 mm
  • Eye Relief: 3.5 - 6"
  • Click Value: 0.5 MOA
  • Reticle Type: Illuminated BDC
  • Turret Type: Tactical Turrets
  • Length: 9.2 inches
  • Weight: 18 oz
Primary Arms 1-4X24mm Illuminated Rifle Scope, Black PA14X

I recently chose a prism scope from Primary Arms, and I'm thrilled with it! Here's why: Primary Arms stands out in producing top-notch prism scopes. They use aircraft-grade aluminum, which speaks volumes about durability and quality. I got their 1-4X scope, a real steal under $150. What I love most is the reticle system - it's incredibly useful.

Now, about the illuminated reticle. It has an illuminated duplex dot, perfect for point-of-impact, point-of-aim shooting. This isn't your average BDC reticle; it's more user-friendly and precise.

The 12 brightness settings are a game-changer. Whether I'm shooting in broad daylight or at night, the reticle is always visible. This adaptability enhances my shooting experience significantly.

Adjusting the eye piece is a breeze. I can fine-tune the ocular lens to perfectly match my eyesight. This means clearer, sharper images every time I take aim.


  • Magnification: 1-4X
  • Objective Lens: 24mm
  • Focal Plane: SFP
  • Tube Size: 30 mm
  • Eye Relief: 3.5 - 6"
  • Click Value: 0.5 MOA
  • Reticle Type: Duplex Dot
  • Turret Type: Capped
  • Length: 11.1 inches
  • Weight: 16.7 oz

I recently tried out the ELCAN, the U.S. special forces' dual role prism sight. For shooters like me who have astigmatism and poor vision, at either 1X or 4X magnification, it gave me a clear, crisp view. This classic 1-4X prism optic is perfect for tactical carbines, making it easy to switch between close range and distanced targets.

One of the coolest features is its quick switch to 4X. With just a flick of the magnification lever, I could jump from 1X to 4X target acquisition. It's super fast and really smooth.

I accidentally dropped it a couple of times at shoulder height or falling out of the case, and it didn't even flinch. It stayed perfectly attached to the rifle without losing zero. This thing can definitely take a beating, but does that mean you should? absolutely avoid it as much as you can.

The illuminated bullet drop compensator is another big plus. I used it for both 5.56 and 308 rounds, and the accuracy up to 1000 meters was impressive. Whether you're using machine guns or semi-auto rifles, this feature is a huge help.

It also comes with a quick detach mount. The lever mount is so convenient – it's easy to attach and detach without any hassle. However, there are gen 2 mount upgrades available to beef up the lever tension to clamp onto the rail.

The built-in backup sights are a nice touch but the sight radius iron sight is to small. Instead, mounting a piggyback micro red dot is recommended for faster sight picture switch. 


  • Magnification: 1-4X
  • Objective Lens: 32mm
  • Eye Relief: 2.75"
  • Reticle Type: 5.56 BDC
  • Turret : 0.5/ Click
  • Length: 6.02 inches
  • Weight: 23.2 oz

Common FAQ

Why Pick 1-4X?

1-4X magnification is great starting point for plinking, hunting and competition shooting.

It's not quite a long range scope, but it's a good entry point into the low power variable optics.

In order to PID targets better far away, we have to look at 1-6X, 1-8X or 1-10X. Check it out here

There are other factors involved:

Eye box

  • Field of view
  • Glass quality
  • Price
  • Reticle
  • Looks
  • Weight
  • Tactical turret designs

For people who have access to long distance shooting ranges and get to do cool stuff, you might consider getting the 8X, and it will be a little more expensive than the 6X as the magnification increases.

We highly recommend going to a local store and test it out first in person before making a decision. Optics are those products that you must physically try to get a sense of the quality.

Parallax Shift

Parallax is responsible for dictating how the reticle's position changes relative to the target as you shift your head while looking through the scope.

The brand name and cost do not consistently serve as reliable indicators. Parallax will also be there if aiming at a closer target. I've encountered reports from individuals who have had excellent experiences with affordable Chinese knock-off scopes that perform flawlessly. Conversely, you may come across occasional complaints online regarding expensive 1-4x scopes encountering parallax issues.

Glass Quality

I recently tried out some modern optics and was impressed by their low dispersion glass coatings. These coatings really enhanced the clarity of the images. I especially noticed this with scopes that had a large objective lens diameter. The bigger the lens, the more light it gathered, making the images appear so much brighter.

However, I realized that the clarity of the scope is limited by my own eyesight. Even though most scopes I used were crystal clear, surpassing even 20/20 vision, I did observe some blur around the edges of the glass. It's a reminder that while the technology is advanced, it still has its limitations.


Most rifle scopes today are made with high quality aerospace grade aluminum body, and most tubes are nitrogen purged and heat treated to handle shock and prevent fog to built up on the glass.

This means most scopes mounted securely on a rifle can handle getting banged on tree branches, scraped and dropped from shoulder level height.

However, since a scope has a different physical properties than a rugged red dot sight. Dropping scopes on hard surfaces is never a good thing to do. So always take care your gear. 

Mounting System

Most LPVO recommended above can go with a 30mm quick release scope mount or rings.

Other prism optics like the ACOG goes a proprietary mount.

Picking a good mount directly affects accuracy.

Check out more 30 mm scope mounts here

Tube Size Matters For a LPVO

30mm is the most common scope size in the industry, but a 34mm tube provides several performance advantages including:

  • Much wider field of view and eye box for 1X action with a LPVO
  • More adjustment clicks

Close Quarter Eye Relief VS Red Dot Eye Relief

A good eye relief for a magnified scope is around 3.5" to 4".

The eye relief at 1X on a LVPO is not exactly the same as an red dot sight. The biggest difference is that the LPVO scope shadow creeps in when the head position is almost out of the eye box.

The eye box exists for LPVO, but not a 1X red dot sight.

The eye relief distance for an red dot is unlimited, but most low power variable optic has a generous eye box.