Vortex RAZOR 1-6X vs NightForce ATACR 1-8X [Comparison Review]

Getting the best low power variable optics is pretty simple – but how do you know if you’re getting the right stuff before you spend your money?

Many people are comparing the Top 2 LVPO’s Nightforce ATACR 1-8X vs Vortex RAZOR HD 1-6X. One has 8X and the other has just 6X, one is a bit more expensive, and the other is cheaper.

Which one would you pick?

At the end of this article, you will know if the NightForce ACTAR is for you or the Vortex RAZOR.

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NightForce ATACR 1-8X vs Vortex RAZOR HD 1-6X Comparison

2 BEST Low Power Variable Scopes

Optic
Vortex Razor HD GEN 2
Our Best Pick
NightForce Atacr
Vortex Optics Razor HD Gen II-E 1-6x24 SFP Riflescope JM-1 BDC
NightForce NX8 1-8x24 F1 Riflescope w/Zerostop, PTL, 30mm Tube.2 Mil-Rad, FC-Mil Reticle, C598
Magnification
1-6X24
1-6X24
Focal Plane
SFP
FFP
Weight
25.2 oz
17 oz
Rating
5/5
5/5
Optic
Vortex Razor HD GEN 2
Vortex Optics Razor HD Gen II-E 1-6x24 SFP Riflescope JM-1 BDC
Magnification
1-6X24
Focal Plane
SFP
Weight
25.2 oz
Rating
5/5
Our Best Pick
Optic
NightForce Atacr
NightForce NX8 1-8x24 F1 Riflescope w/Zerostop, PTL, 30mm Tube.2 Mil-Rad, FC-Mil Reticle, C598
Magnification
1-6X24
Focal Plane
FFP
Weight
17 oz
Rating
5/5

The best LPVOs I would get in my opinion right now in 2019 are the Vortex Razor HD GEN 2 1-6X and NightForce ATACR 1-8X.

The Nightforce ATACR scope with 0.2 Mil adjustment is about $1700, a bit cheaper than its 0.1 Mil model.

I think most people can find the Vortex by far the best product for right around $1300.

Amount these two scopes the biggest difference in them is the weight, which NightForce ATACR is way lighter.

So if you compare the Vortex with an RDS with a magnifier, we’re not even quite doubling the price point, and what we’re getting out of this is the ability to double the platform.

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Why LPV Scopes

Low power variable scopes are the future in the gun World. For law enforcement and military applications, shooters can take long shots and close range with the same weapon setup.

FACT: US SOCOM just acquired the NightForce ATARC 1-8X to be the designated squad-variable power scope.

It’s very likely for soldiers and police officers to engage firefights in places like streets, schools and grocery stores and many other places that have areas and hallways that stretch up to 200 yards.

Tube profiled scopes were usually reserved for a designated marksman or snipers for the military.

Low power variable scopes have the capability of a 1X and up to 6X, so you are getting the best for both worlds.

Misconception About Slow Speed With LPV

The misconception in the firearm training industry is people assume using LPV Optics is slow.

However, that’s not true. Usually, it comes from people who only have experience with one or another.

You really need to have both experiences to decide what’s best for you!

3 Gun With LPV Scope

This is just not true at all if you had proper training and picked the right scope. Most people who trained on the LPV never had to change their standards for shooting in regards to speed.

Generally speaking, people need to acknowledge the fact that the true one power scope with the daytime illuminated reticle has changed this whole game and it’s a growing trend among shooters.

Advantage of 1X Magnification 

Leupold LCO X95 POV

The advantage of using a 1x reflex sight is the use of a single plane of reference for aiming.

Unlike iron sights where you have 2 planes of references to align, which makes aiming little more difficult.

It gives the shooter unlimited eye relief, faster target acquisition and a wide field of view.

And it’s much easier shooting at modified positions at close range targets.

The Disadvantage Without A Low Power Variable Scope

The disadvantage to that is that its difficult to perform positive identification( PID) at longer distances because shooters can’t really do that with their naked eyes.

LPVO Scope Shadow 

Some Low Variable Power Optics at 1X still cast scope shadow, which means if you’re not perfectly aligned with the scope, too close, or too far, you will see the black edge bleeding over the sight picture.

This causes the shooter not able to see what they’re shooting at.

So the question is which one is right for you?

Positive Identification At Distance

The use of magnified optics enables the shooter to have better positive threat identification, especially at long distances. It gives shooter better intelligence gathering in some situations with Law Enforcement and military.

The magnified optic in low light conditions transmits the available light naturally or artificially be a white light on the guns better.

Effective Range With LPVO

For a regular RDS rifle setup, it’s realistically a 200-yard maximum, that’s if you can positively identify the target. We define kill zone shot as roughly a BC size steel target at 200 yards.

When using an RDS is very difficult at that distance or beyond.

On the other hand, when you put a dedicated magnification scope on the same gun, you can now reach 400 yards pretty easily on a human size target.

LPV Is Trending In the Industry

People who run training classes can tell you tons of people were and are using LPV.

For the price, they’re the least amount of money, you can spend for a quality product on the market right now.

People usually get surprised they’re able to sell it for the price of the sell it at. Most people believe Vortex makes high-quality products, and NightForce makes expensive scopes, however, they are leading the LPV market right now.

The only major differences between these 2 scopes right out the gate are going to the price point, and the other is the focal point difference

Read More: Check out Best Vortex Optics for 3 Gun Competition

First Focal VS Second Focal

Focal Plane Low Power Variable Scopes Difference

The focal plane is something you need to pay attention to when you’re making a scope purchase.

There are (FFP) First Focal Plane and (SFP) Second Focal Plane.

They are very important for you to understand before you buy, this feature controls the quality of the scope, capability and the price.

Before we discuss FFP ( First Focal Point), let’s briefly talk about the SFP (Second Focal Plane) first.

SFP Scope Lens Is Crystal Clear

What makes a second focal point scope lens crystal clear?

The reason being the SFP has 2 lenses less that the image is going through. So the image is coming through the objective lens back to the ocular.

So you will always get this real crystal clear picture.

If you’re an experienced shooter, you can typically pick up a scope without adjusting magnification and be on target right away due to the clarity.

The Disadvantage of Using SFP Scope For Range Estimation

For some people who use the scope reticle to do range finding, and the SFP reticle with bullet drop compensator would not change relative to the change of magnification.

In another word, the holdover reticle markings are only accurate on 1 magnification setting, usually the highest magnification power.

Basically, you could screw up your range estimation.

It’s not a big deal, a lot of people shoot fine with it, but it’s an extra step you have to remember in order to deliver accurate shots.

Advantages Of First Focal Plane LVP

The FFP scope does the opposite of SFP. The reticle is in front of the magnification adjustment, in other word, the reticle size changes relative to how you adjust the magnification.

Not only the target size gets bigger or smaller, so your reticle holdover markings are accurate on any magnifications.

For example, on an 8X setting and I mill something at 2 Mills.

If I dial down to 4X magnification, it will still be 2 Mills width. Basically, the reticle size stays the same from 1X to 6X or 8X.

Reasons To Use SFP LPV Scopes

Once you bump over 6X magnification, I think it makes sense to use the first focal point. If you’re shooting under 6X power like the Vortex Razor HD, then the second focal point scope will work just fine. Especially if you’re on a budget that’s roughly $1000 you can save.

Depend on what your shooting lifestyle is like, getting a scope way over $2000 might not be worth it. If you don’t shoot or teach classes for a living.

Reasons To Use FFP LPV Scopes

For those who are in the positions to try out the capability of an FFP scope or if you always wanted to upgrade, then you should just get it.

The benefit of using it really shines when you shoot beyond 200 or 400 yards.

By having the First Focal Plane scope I don’t have to max out my magnification, I can have any magnification settings I want to see the entire field that I need to cover and because my reticle stays true.

I can do my holds the same way as I could on a second focal point scope at Maximum magnification.

Feeling Slow With LPV Scope? Try These Tweaks

If you still think LPV is slow, here is a couple of things you can try.

Change where you mount the scope and train hard with it.

The clarity of the scope allows you to be a little bit forward or a little bit back sideways, and then we can still pick up that reticle again.

The biggest reason could be you just don’t have enough repetitions behind the magnified optic. Personally, I didn’t notice any difference as long as there is no scope shadow getting in the way, which I highly recommend the Vortex Razor HD.

One of the great thing about the Vortex Razor HD Gen 2 is its large eye box and great eye relief distance, so it was very comfortable when I look through the scope without any adjusting.

Mount Options For LPV Scopes

QD Scope Mounts For LPV

Having a quick disconnect mount is perfect for the LPV scope for many reasons. One is simply when anything goes wrong with the scope, you can take it off immediately.

If your scope ever gets fogged up due to humidity, shattered lens, or battery failure,  QD mounts allow fast scope removal so you can use your iron sights.

There are many great and rock-solid mounts like the Geissele cantilever mounts.

They are made with high-quality aerospace material and can resist hard recoils and hold zero very well.

They’re also the same mounts recommended for best rifle scopes for 308 and other heavy calibers.

The downside, however, is the need for tools for installation and removal.


Competition and Tactical Training with LPV Scopes

John Wick Training with LVPO

A lot of and 3 gun competition shooters use low power variable optics as their setup running shooting those stages. They run them accurately, hard, and fast.

In addition, they use offset iron sights or red dot sight to give them the extra edge for hitting close range targets without ever changing the magnification.

According to tactical rifle instructors, running LPV configured rifles through shoot houses, active shooter scenario training gave them the same edge as an RDS.

There isn’t any disadvantage beside the overall profile of the tube scope feels bulkier than an RDS setup.

Should I Use LPV Scope On My Home Defense Gun

This topic can get crazy in the gun community because a lot of people have their opinions about what others should do.

Generally speaking, having a fixed power sight and flashlight configured home defense rifle is good enough.

If I had to use one of the other in my house as a dedicated home defense gun, I will pick the RDS setup because I want it to be super lightweight and slim.

Some argue that if you train enough you can use scopes like the ACOG 4X or even low power variable scope set at 1X power.

In my opinion, a lot of people talk crap, and they don’t actually go out and train.

Home defense is similar to an indoor shoot house, a lot of tight spaces and hallways. Here we are talking about an average size American house about 2700 sq ft.

Unless you live in a mansion, please don’t make this into an argument of somehow you need to prepare to shoot bad guys ambushing you from your back yard even 200 yards away.

Because it’s pointless and not practical.

Final Verdict – RAZOR 1-6X VS ATACR 1-8X

By far the Vortex Razor HD 1-6X and the Nightforce Atacr 1-8X are the top picks among others.

For the price, I will go with the SFP Vortex Razor for its daytime illuminated reticle, crystal lens quality, and great price point. We have seen them everywhere in tons of classes and on ranges.

For the desire to go beyond 6X magnification, or get a nice upgrade, I recommend the FFP NightForce ATACR.

It’s the Lambo version of LPVO right now in my opinion!

It got everything that the Vortex can do, but it’s a First Focal Plane scope. So you are definitely paying a lot of money for that feature if you really needed.

Low power variable scopes are the future in the gun World. For law enforcement and military applications, shooters can take long shots and close range with the same weapon setup.

In fact, US SOCOM just acquired the NightForce ATARC 1-8X to be the designated squad-variable power scope.

It’s very likely for soldiers and police officers to engage firefights in places like streets, schools and grocery stores and many other places that have areas and hallways that stretch up to 200 yards.

Larry Gardner

Larry has been an active hunter and a long-range precision shooter. 7 years of long-range shooting experience and an active student even till this day. He graduated from the University of Kansas with a mechanical engineering degree and now works full time with Lockheed Martin Space in Colorado.