3-Gun & Tactical Rifle Scopes

BY Herschel Smith
4 years, 9 months ago

In the interest of following up George’s question on rifle scopes, I currently use a Vortex Strike Eagle (although I don’t currently shoot 3-Gun).  It’s a second focal plane scope, and it’s price point is very reasonable.  I am interested in the newer Vortex Viper, but it’s price point is higher.

Here is a video that is a little dated, but still has some interesting information and perspective.

Also, Vortex explains first and second focal plane for us.

Please feel free to weigh in with comments explaining your choice of scope and why you chose it, along with price point.

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  1. On March 12, 2018 at 2:31 am, DAN III said:

    I shoot some outlaw 2-gun. Beyond that I just enjoy shooting 5.56mm platforms and the AK 5.45mm.

    In my AO a 300m shot would be long. So, 5.56mm/5.45mm suits me just fine. Especially since both cartridges have excellent MPBR (Maximum Point Blank Range) of nearly 300m. Thus I have found Trijicon’s TR24 (1-4x) and TR25 (1-6x) to suit my needs. All three have the Triangle post reticle in amber (preferred) or green. Reticle is an uncluttered field of view with no holdover or windage markings. Totally uncluttered.

    Both are 2nd focal plane (prefer 1st fp) variables. Both have ocular FOCUS ! An often overlooked and ignored feature ignored by ACOG fanboys. Both have extremely clear glass. The eye relief is a real life 4+ inches along with excellent eyebox (eye cone) at 1x. This allows for awkward shooting positions yet still find the reticle when not dead center behind scope.

    Both scopes are dual illum….fiber optic and tritium with etched reticle. No batteries. Scopes are lightweight with minimum length. The TR24 being the best IMO, for least weight, length and field of view between the two. But, giving up 2x of magnification to the TR25.

    FWIW….these and all my optics are mounted with American Defense Manufacturing mounts. The best mounts IMO.

    There are many choices out there in weapons optics. Almost too many. For me, for their intended purpose, the Trijicon TR24 and TR25 work perfectly. Simply, they are combat optics.

  2. On March 12, 2018 at 2:36 am, DAN III said:

    BTW….forgot to add price points for TR24 and TR25. $750 to $1050 approximate. Always watch for Memorial Day and Black Friday specials.

  3. On March 12, 2018 at 5:35 pm, George said:


    Thanks for posting these video links. Lots of good information there and the variety of good scopes mentioned just makes the choice more difficult, lol. That said, I still am looking closely at the Vortex Strike Eagle model that you mentioned initially. I like their choice of reticle (AR- BDC) and the price is not beyond my budget either. And… there is a Cabela’s within reasonable driving distance that has them in stock, so I can check it out in person.

  4. On March 12, 2018 at 7:04 pm, moe mensale said:

    My 20″ Colts are currently wearing Steiner P4Xi 1-4×24 illuminated 2nd focal plane variables in ADM Delta cantilever mounts. The P3TR reticle is very simple and uncluttered. Tapered crosshairs, illuminated center dot and hash marks for 2-600 yards. The tapered crosshairs draw your eye right to the center dot especially if it’s unlit. 11 position rheostat. Crystal clear glass and excellent eye relief of ~4″. The ADM mounts are the horizontal split design, not the more “fashionable” vertical split design that’s the current rage. And they’re rock solid. The Steiners cost $425 each and the ADMs $170 each.

  5. On March 15, 2018 at 11:39 pm, Pat Hines said:

    Year ago, prior to my purchase of my Trijicon ACOG, I did some research on the visibility of the three colors available; red, green, and amber.

    I found out that the research had been done in depth, that is sparing no expense, by the US military.

    They found that green was the best, followed by some distance by red, with amber the hardest to see. Don’t shoot the messenger, that’s what they found. My ACOG has green illuminated reticle, the inverted horseshoe.

    Right now, I’m looking at a scope with somewhat more magnification, not for increased range, but for increased target identification in my AO. The current production of the Trijicon RS27 fills the bill. 34mm tube, 1-8x, green segmented circle illumination in either mil-dot or MOA. Reticle is first focal plain. It does require a CR2032 wafer battery.

  6. On March 15, 2018 at 11:40 pm, Farva Arock said:

    Steiner P4Xi in an Aero Precision lightweight mount. Scope is $450 mount is $60.

    The best part? 20 oz all up.

  7. On March 16, 2018 at 12:49 am, ensitue said:

    I simply cannot see the appeal of the typical ‘3-gun’ scope. Despite good glass and the best coatings we are still talking about a 25-35mm objective lens. Once the sun drops over the horizon such optics are going to become problematic and depending on AO, useless. My AO has extended periods of low light, about six months worth in fact. I lost a shot at a nice buck because my 35mm scope could not draw enough light to make the shot. I switched to 50mm scopes and if one stays clear of those monstrous tactical scopes they can be a god-send, I have a Nikon 3-9X50 on an AR for Varmints. Quality lenses and coatings allow for the use of 40mm lenses; my 270win is a tack driver out to 800 yards w/it’s Leupold VX2 4-12X44 Firefly and my Leupold MK 6 3-18X44 are great all round units.

  8. On March 16, 2018 at 3:46 am, DAN III said:


    One thing that I find extremely annoying are descriptions of lighted reticles as “daylight bright”. If ever there was a misnomer or piss-poor description of something, visibility of a lighted, scope reticle as “daylight BRIGHT” is it !

    When Trijicon brought out their 1-8x, FFP Accupower a year ago I ordered and received the green, MOA reticle. The “daylight bright” green reticle was far from bright except in a dark room. Doing further research I found that green was LESS visible than red. I exchanged my RS27 for the same scope with a red reticle. Upon receipt I determined it was brighter (for my eyes) than the green. However, the “daylight bright” of the red reticle, although better than green was not “bright”. It was visibly better than the green however, only marginally. I best describe lighted reticles as “daylight VISIBLE”. As there is no such thing as a “bright” reticle in a variable power rifle scope….until (allegedly) now. Courtesy of Nightforceoptics.com

    Nightforce has just released two, new 1-8x variable scopes. One in 30mm tube and the other in 34mm tube. On 1x the lighted reticle supposedly acts as a true red dot. According to the well-known firearms trainer Frank Proctor, he states the lighted reticle as being “Aimpoint Bright”. This description allowing folks to better understand how truly bright the new Nightforce optics are. Consequently, my Trijicon Accupower 1-8x is on the chopping block. Why ? Because the new, Nightforce NX8 is:

    1. “Aimpoint” bright.
    2. Weighs 17 oz vs the RS27’s 25 oz
    3. Length of 8.75″ vs the RS27’s 10.8″.

    Retail is in the $1700.00 range. However, if one is a US military veteran (with documented proof) nightforceoptics.com offers a military pricing for this and all their products. Go to their website for specifics.

    Sayonara RS27. Hello NX8 !

  9. On March 16, 2018 at 6:21 am, Ray said:

    I don’t want one, but thanks anyway. I can think of a lot of things to piss away 1200 bucks on. A scope isn’t one of them. I don’t own or want an AR. I don’t own or need anything with a “rail”. My old 3006 Mauser does just fine with a 4X Redfield(Oregon). My Garand does just fine with Iron’s . My AK has a maximum effective of 300 meters. If I can’t hit a target at 300 over irons its time to quit anyway. BTW. I can see a house cat setting on a fence 500 yards away at the top of the hill. I watched the crossbow hunter in a tree at 600 yards, the next farm over, last winter and him in a “shaggy” suit. So what advantage will over priced fadwear give me? I was infantry about a zillion years ago and don’t want anything with me or on my weapon that I don’t have to carry .

  10. On March 16, 2018 at 6:54 am, DAN III said:


    Good for you. However, I highly doubt your exaggerated claim that you can “….see a house cat setting on a fence 500 yards away….”

    You must eat a lot of carrots !

  11. On March 16, 2018 at 7:17 am, matt said:

    Get off my lawn

  12. On March 16, 2018 at 3:50 pm, Georgiaboy61 said:

    ACOGs are great, but not everyone has the coin for them. Trijicon’s design is also showing its age in certain respects.

    The ACOG has no adjustable fine focus or parallax adjustment; if the glass don’t work for you as-is, you’re out of luck – and out $1500 bucks!

    ACOG BDCs do work, but only with specific provisos – you must match your rifle/carbine to the proper model on the basis of cartridge, muzzle velocity (barrel length) and bullet weight. If you get an ACOG matched to an M4-type carbine with 14.5-inch barrel firing M855 at 2860 fps, then the BDC holdovers won’t work reliably on a longer barrel such as 20-inch.

    Trijicon’s reticles are still quite good, but not as cutting edge as they were a quarter century ago; many other manufacturers make options which are as good or better – and much cheaper. Primary Arms, for example, has their ACSS reticle, which is – IMHO – the finest reticle design of its kind available at any price. Trijicon couldn’t beat it, so they pay PA licensing fees to use it in several ACOG models instead.

    Primary Arms is one company offering well-designed optics at an affordable price; the aforementioned Vortex Optics does as well. I sold a lot of Vortex products when I used to be in the retail FA industry. They make an excellent product and stand behind it.

    An excellent option for a close-to-medium range optic is the Hi-Lux CMR 1-4x line. Available in several versions, mine is set-up for .223/.308 . The optic comes in under $400, but has very good glass, a well-designed and thought-out reticle and a very accurate BDC – which when I checked it on the range, was dead-on out to 600 yards. Cranked down to 1-2 power, it is suitable for close range and can be run both eyes open like a red-dot; at 4x magnification, the second focal plane reticle and BDC features are accurate for range-finding and other uses. A very versatile design.

    If you watch You Tube, check out the military arms channel where MAC does a review of the CMR and is quite impressed with it.

    The ACOG is still king of the hill for a lot of people – and their ruggedness and simplicity are crucial to grunts going downrange in the sandbox and other places. but the average GI has his paid for by Uncle Sam. If you are still saving up for that high-end optic by Trijicon, NF, Leupold, etc. – consider some of the more-affordable options out there. $400-500 gets you a lot more than it used to. Even today’s cheapest, most budget-priced optics are of higher quality than our boys used in SE Asia a half-century ago.

  13. On March 16, 2018 at 4:03 pm, Ray said:

    @ DANIII. My 60 year old eyes are tested at 20/15. I can see the mountain dew can setting on the gate post at that range. “Google Earth” says the range to target at that gate is 599 yards. The fence runs from north west to south east at a slight angle. Maximum visible fence ranges at 637 yards. Closest is 486. There ate three deer stands along that fence/tree line. I have a sector card.

  14. On March 16, 2018 at 4:03 pm, Ray said:

    “There are” not ate

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This article is filed under the category(s) Firearms,Guns and was published March 11th, 2018 by Herschel Smith.

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