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Best 1-6x Scopes & LPVOs [Real Views]

Best 1-6x Scopes
1-6x scopes are perfect for almost anything. We have some of the most popular in-hand and tested through years of competitive use. Find out our best picks through several price points.
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    The 1-6x scope can do almost anything.

    Close-up shots at 1x is almost the same speed as a red dot. And 6x allows you to hit targets out at several hundred yards easy.

    I’ve bought and used a bunch of 1-6x scopes for competition and plinking over the past few years.

    Find out my favorite Low Power Variable Optics (LPVOs) across a couple of price ranges. All with real views and videos through the scopes.

    Why a 1-6x Optic?

    Like I mentioned above…if you choose the right LPVO and reticle, you’ll be almost as fast as a standard red dot.

    But should you go with a 1-6x over a red dot and magnifier combo?

    Romeo5 with Juliet 3x Magnifier
    Romeo5 with Juliet 3x Magnifier

    Pros & Cons of an LPVO over a Magnifier Combo

    • A range of magnification instead of either 1x or 3x (mostly) which makes it great for competitions
    • Etched reticle doesn’t require a battery and is clearer for folks with astigmatism
    • Better reticles for distance shooting
    • Not quite as fast as a red dot
    • Illumination usually isn’t daylight bright

    If a magnifier combo seems like a better idea right now…check out our Best 3x Magnifiers.

    Now let’s get to our picks!

    THE QUICK LIST

    1. Best Bang-For-The-Buck 1-6x

      Vortex PST Gen II 1-6×24

    2. Editor’s Pick Premium 1-6x

      Vortex Razor HD Gen II 1-6×24

    Best 1-6x Scopes & LPVOs

    1. Primary Arms SLx 1-6x with ACSS Reticle, Gen IV

    My current recommendation for the best budget 1-6x scope is the Primary Arms SLx 1-6x series with ACSS reticles.

    For many years I used the Gen III, which is affordable with crisp glass, nearly daylight-bright illumination, and a great zero hold, even taking it on and off rifles.

    PA 1-6x Closeup
    PA 1-6x Gen III Closeup

    It’s survived the desert heat…

    Testing the PA 1-6x ACSS
    Testing the PA 1-6x ACSS

    And I LOVED the ACSS reticle

    It has a single arrow for precise work but also a bigger bold circle for housing targets. The BDC also worked well for several hundred yard shots.

    ACSS Reticle
    ACSS Reticle

    The magnification ring is also easy to manipulate, but the illumination shown at the beginning of the video is only useful for dusk/dawn.

    Plus, if you use our link you’ll get the option for a free mount in one of the dropdowns.

    Primary Arms Free Mount
    Primary Arms Free Mount

    The good news is that it’s still being made and for a great price…see the full review of the Gen III here.

    $289
    at Primary Arms

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    But now the Gen IV is out, and we’ve been busy testing!

    Primary Arms SLx 1-6x24mm Nova turret
    Primary Arms SLx 1-6x24mm Gen IV

    It’s still insanely affordable for the specs.

    And in the new model, they’ve made the glass better…and the dot is finally daylight bright!

    Primary Arms SLx 1-6x24mm Nova red dot distance
    Primary Arms SLx 1-6x24mm Gen IV Dot

    Check out this short video of it at 1x and turning on the illumination:

    We opted for the Nova variant of the ACSS line, which has some great features for both ranging and holds.

    Primary Arms SLx 1-6 Nova Reticle holds
    Primary Arms SLx 1-6 Nova Reticle holds
    Primary Arms SLx 1-6 Nova Reticle ranging
    Primary Arms SLx 1-6 Nova Reticle ranging

    While the magnification knob from 1-6x was a little stiff, it feels like it will loosen up a little over time. Here’s a quick video of it zooming:

    Again it comes with a free mount in the dropdowns and is well worth the slight price increase over the Gen III for the daylight bright reticle.

    Primary Arms SLx 1-6x24mm Nova shoot right
    Primary Arms SLx 1-6x24mm Gen IV, Shooting

    See the full review of the Primary Arms SLx 1-6x Gen IV here.

    $339
    at Primary Arms

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    What do you think of the Primary Arms SLx 1-6x with ACSS series?

    Readers’ Ratings

    5.00/5 (3223)

    Your Rating?

    2. Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6x

    I was so happy when the Strike Eagle came out.

    Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6x
    Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6x

    This is a view of 1-4x for comparison aiming at 100-yard steel plates:

    Burris Tac30 4x

    There were some 1-6x scopes out, but they were expensive. The Vortex Strike Eagle made it accessible for normal folks at around $300 (just a little step up from 1-4x scopes).

    It had everything you needed with decent glass. Very minimal side distortion on the sides at 1x.

    Vortex Strike Eagle at 1x
    Vortex Strike Eagle at 1x

    And acceptable clarity at 6x.

    Vortex Strike Eagle at 6x
    Vortex Strike Eagle at 6x

    The illuminated reticle is also not daylight-bright. Fine for dusk/dawn, but don’t expect it to be a red dot at other times.

    I’d knock the reticle a little bit…I prefer a dot or cross for 1x shots. But the bullet drop compensation (BDC) marks did help for the couple hundred yard shots.

    It held zero for the 2 years I used it as my primary rifle competition optic. The magnification ring was easily turned for speed since it has a protruding fin.

    Strike Eagle 1-6x
    Strike Eagle 1-6x

    We also have a full YouTube video review:

    And a full written review too.

    At the end… this was my runner-up recommendation for a budget 1-6x scope. With Vortex, you also get a transferable lifetime warranty.

    Runner-Up Budget 1-6x
    $249
    at OpticsPlanet

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    Recommended Accessories:

    $61
    at Amazon

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    3. Vortex Viper PST II 1-6x

    If you want to spend a little more to get a much better glass and a day-time bright red dot. I would heavily recommend the Vortex Viper PST II.

    It’s my current competition rifle optic.

    Testing Vortex Viper PST II
    Testing Vortex Viper PST II

    Forgiving eyebox (how specific your eye placement needs to be) and little distortion at 1x and 6x. When you’re actually on the rifle it’s like having a thin black circle and a floating reticle.

    Hard to replicate that through a cell phone camera!

    PST II at 1x
    PST II at 1x

    And here it is at 6x.

    PST II at 6x
    PST II at 6x

    I also really like the reticle because of the red dot. I’ll try to get a better picture of it later since it was a super sunny day. It even washed out the reticles in my Best Holographic Sights article when they were fine to my eyes.

    Zero has held well in the Aero mount, and magnification ring manipulation is fine too. I’ve been putting off on getting a scope lever since my competition stages usually require only one change.

    Vortex Viper PST II 1-6x
    Vortex Viper PST II 1-6x

    My current recommendation for the best bang-for-the-buck higher-end 1-6x scope.

    Best Bang-For-The-Buck 1-6x
    $499
    at OpticsPlanet

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    Recommended Accessories:

    Honorable Mentions

    There are a lot of scopes out there…and these honorable mentions are for the higher-end ones. These are the ones I’ve shot at ranges or borrowed a fellow competitor’s rifle for use on a stage.

    When a slight edge in performance is worth a few hundred (or thousand) more dollars over the PST II…

    Clearest 1-6x Glass
    $1,499
    at OpticsPlanet

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    The highest-end Vortex has a much more forgiving eyebox and better glass while still having daylight bright illumination. 

    Here is my favorite for a future upgrade. Daylight bright and awesome glass you can expect from the name Swarovski. If money were no object, this would be it.

    $2,299
    at Amazon

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    If you’re not looking to drop that kind of money though, maybe the Primary Arms 1-8x SLx might be what you’re looking for.

    PA 1-8x

    Check out the hands-on review for a lot more info!

    $389
    at Primary Arms

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    Final Thoughts

    Scopes have come a long way in the last few years. Quality glass for plinking and competition doesn’t have to break the bank now (but always can).

    Bunch of 1-6x Scopes
    Bunch of 1-6x Scopes

    Let us know if we missed any that we should try out in the future. And for more of our favorite guns & gear…check out our Editor’s Picks. Or for more optics…check out From Red Dots to Magnified. Want to learn more about scopes? Read up on first focal plane and second focal plane scopes in our guide.

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    52 Leave a Reply

    • Commenter Avatar
      Chris Bacon

      Perhaps a better-written article would define what a LPVO is — and why it is at all significant, what its true advantages are over the best red dot sights like Aimpoint’s Patrol Rifle Optic (PRO) and Aimpoint Combat Optic (ACO), or Trijicon’s ubiquitous 4x32 ACOG.

      Right or wrong, I consider the AR-15 and its variants, chambered in 5.56mm, to be a short-range rifle (100-200 yds): I prefer an Aimpoint PRO or ACO for such short-ranges: as much as I’ve liked the 4x32 ACOG for this range, I wouldn’t purchase one because of Trijcon’s abysmal, severly-disappointing customer service. These sights, mounted on a short-barrel AR platform, seem idea for each other: the best accuracy of the 5.56mm AR-15 seems to be 1.1-1.5 MOA, and using a scope whose dot that subtends 2-3 MOA seems adequate and appropriate for short-range targets

      Using the 6.5 Grendel, 6.8 REM SPC, 7.62x51mm or .308 Win AR-10, the LPVO seems ideal for the task. For the first two calibers, I prefer the Zeiss Conquest V6 1.1-6x24mm FFP (MOA) or Vortex Razor HD Gen III 1-10X24 FFP — what I have found to be two of the finest rifle scopes made. The latter two calibers, I strongly favor the DF0VG-T265-C20 ELCAN Specter 1.5-6x, mounted with a Holosun 507C-GR-X2 which has a chevron reticle used for the short-range: I have this combination of scopes mounted on LWRC AR-10 REPR and Springfield Armory AR-10 Saint Victor rifles. Pricey? Yes, but no one ever became a rockstar playing a $25 guitar.

      This must be a very old article, as it neglects some of the best scopes out there.

      May 5, 2024 2:29 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Edward Van Natta

      I am looking for about your product place lace me a. Me message . When I post this, I am looking for more information on this. Anything else you have can help me out I would appreciate it take care of yourself and be safe out there anything on gun survival or equipment or anything after I would appreciate it very much

      January 14, 2024 7:10 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      John

      Great article but the links don't work. Looks like a tracking redirect for marketing purposes is getting in the way: "clicks[dot]trx-hub[dot]com refused to connect"

      December 28, 2023 1:39 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Alex

      Thoughts on the Burris RT6?

      November 2, 2023 10:50 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Jeff

        I absolutely love it.. it's my go to for LPVOS in the mid teir range

        December 7, 2023 1:31 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Denton

      “Best LPVOs for 2023”

      * gen 1 strike eagle is number one on the list *

      August 16, 2023 9:27 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Alan Crabtree

      What about the Sig Saure Tango MSR? Where would you put it on your list?

      September 22, 2022 12:55 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Eric

        That’s my question also!

        July 7, 2023 11:46 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Jeffrey Zeiszler

      I think other than weight it is hard to beat the Jerry Miculek simple reticle on the Vortex HD 2 1x6. Some might knock SFP but most either shoot 1 or 6 so it keeps it easy. Next review should be 1-8 vs picking up the extra 2 on 1-10 scopes. Some will argue that for the housing and body you can beat clarity of 1-6 as you push up even with larger tubes. I am most interested in a show down between Eotech Vudu 1-10 vs NightForce NX8 1-8.

      May 26, 2022 6:57 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Cain

      I bought vortex's 1-4x scope for my AR which should be plenty to shoot out to a couple hundred yards for most people but I found I enjoy being 'closer' with my optic so by the time I hit 50 yards its almost too far away from the target to hit accurately for me because my eyesight isn't the worst in the world but it's not the best in the world either as far as small details go. But vortex offers a 2x magnifier for the scope I have so im likely going to buy that and end up with a 2-8x which will help me get out to 100-200 yards hopefully

      May 24, 2022 8:50 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Stoll S.C.

      I also was considering the Vudo but the 2 year warranty on electronics kinda made me look elsewhere. Most reputable scope manufacturers these days have a lifetime no questions asked warranty. I know it's been years since eotech had issues with their scopes but they did so I'll stick with the Vortex Razor.

      October 22, 2021 7:45 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Mike Nevins

      Nice reviews. In fact I just purchased the Primary Arms LPVO! And because I went through your affiliate link I saved $60.00 on the FREE 30mm scope mount. Thanks...!

      September 16, 2021 4:34 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      BT

      Missing the mark without a Vudu 2.5 x 10 for sure illuminated and FFP too.

      July 16, 2021 5:51 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      UC

      Hello, maybe I am missing something if this scope Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6x is the runner up; however, this scope Primary Arms 1-6x ACSS is the number one pick. Is this correct?

      September 9, 2020 1:06 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      DTrain

      Why isn’t a VUDU on this? Any particular reason?

      April 28, 2020 11:30 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Jimmy hoffas body guard

        I’m
        Guessing warranty? Vortex and primary arms have some of the best.

        December 5, 2020 4:29 pm
        • Commenter Avatar
          Cody Stone

          EOTECH has a great warranty on the VUDUS.

          December 18, 2020 10:54 am
        • Commenter Avatar
          Jason

          Eotech warranty. Let's see I had an eotech red dot and when they offered full replacement value for issues holding zero, I sent mine in with nothing more than a small scratch on the housing and without question they gave me a full refund, Plus shipping. I took the money and ordered the latest EOTech red dot even though There was nothing even wrong with it. Although some claim not holding zero at extreme temperatures. Mine worked fine on the planet Mercury and the planet Uranus. I figured just because it was good for 12 years. It might not be good for another twelve years so I took advantage of the full refund and bought another EOTech. Since then I got a VUDU also and love it. Headed to Pluto now with VUDU.

          June 15, 2023 6:33 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Rudy

      On which magnification should a LPVO be sighted in?

      April 10, 2020 9:19 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        David, PPT Editor

        They can be zero'd on any magnification!

        April 10, 2020 10:31 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Puckthepainaway

        Should be sighted in in accordance to the reticle. Most of the LPVOs have BDC Reticles that will need to be zeroed at 100 yards. With that the majority of them have Second focal plane Reticles than need to be at full power for the BDC to be accurate. Something less talked about is that the magnification can be cut in half and then in turn your data on the BDC will be half.

        December 5, 2020 4:34 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Rudy

      Is there anything different one has to do to zero the LPVO or does the 25 yard zero target work?

      April 6, 2020 11:55 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        David, PPT Editor

        Zero process is the same! Check your scope owner's manual though for what zero distance should be used. The specialized reticles like Primary Arms, Vortex, and SWFA use a specific distance that depends on the exact scope. Normally I see 50 yards as the standard they use, but I've also seen 25 and 100 yards. Make sure to double-check!

        April 6, 2020 12:06 pm
        • Commenter Avatar
          Rudy

          Awesome, roger that.

          April 7, 2020 6:40 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Guy G

      What about Burris RT6 or the MTAC????
      PA is constantly out of stock!

      March 8, 2020 6:47 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Jason Greaves

        Yup, I have read a lot of great things about the rt6, and apparently is not made in China, unlike the PA and Strike Eagle. Would love to get the Pew Pew take on the Burris.

        January 3, 2021 2:40 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Ty

      Holy poors.

      January 25, 2020 10:52 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Chris

      Hey Eric,
      Thx for ur great article, I really enjoy it. For this readon I have ordered the PA 1-6x24. Which mount (Ruger 10/22) can u recommend?

      September 25, 2019 2:42 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Chris

        Besides the Aero Precision ;)

        September 25, 2019 2:43 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        David, PPT Editor

        I really like the Burris PEPR QD mount on my Ruger 10/22!

        September 25, 2019 6:15 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      acidcigarfan

      SFP vs FFP...pros & cons please. Shopping for a new optic and looking for some experienced info on the two. Leaning toward the FFP since I don't see any negative feedback.

      May 7, 2019 10:19 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        David, PPT Editor

        SFP will have a reticle that is the same size at all magnification ranges, this makes for an easy to see reticle even at short ranges but means that the BDC holds will only be calibrated for a certain magnification.

        FFP the reticle changes based on magnification, this makes the BDC holds calibrated for all magnifications but gives you a harder to see reticle at short range. FFP is also normally a decent amount more cost.

        Personally, I like FFP for precision shooting or shooting past 300+ yards. I like SFP for shorter ranges or "good enough" shooting like for 3- or 2-gun.

        May 7, 2019 10:48 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Jebxgp1

      Burris RT6 is hands down better than PA and SE. better glass and clarity . I’ve had all 3

      May 5, 2019 7:45 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Hans

      Hey ho, whats about the TANGO6 1-6×24 by Sig Sauer? I think the US Army has chosen it as scope for the squad designated marksman rifle a year ago.

      March 23, 2019 12:19 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Timothy V Noecker

      Wow, not a single Leupold scope mentioned? I purchased a VX-R Patrol 1.25x4 powered scope ($700 msrp) for $309 on EBay dot com. Excellent quality scope for the price point. To my almost 50yr old eyes, this low-powered scope is a blessing. I took my Ruger AR-556MPR to the range and at 30yds this scope at it's maximum setting made my target look like it was only 5yds away. Definitely worth the price paid. I was cross-shopping the Leupold to the Steiner p4xi but I just couldn't justify the extra $150 for it.

      February 4, 2019 10:29 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Brian

        Because 1.25x sucks for both-eyes-open shooting.

        April 8, 2019 6:45 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Jeff Bonar

      If all I wanted was a Lifetime Warrany the PA maybe. But only being a waterproof, not fogproof, not shockproof and non NVG compatible 1x6 scope makes it inferior to the Vortex out of the gate. Glass clarity is to a point, subjective and is augued among the very best of scopes. Resistent is NOT proof. BTW Primary Arms lists the Vortex as Non NVG compatable, however, a simple phone call to Vortex for the uneducated will clear that right up.

      June 15, 2018 4:22 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Mike Bottoms

      How are you going to review a bunch of 1-6x scopes and not mention the Atibal XP6 1-6x24? Pretty sure it is the only 1-6x First Focal Plane optic on the market for under $500 (I read that in Recoil). This was a good article and you reviewed some great products, but the XP6 definitely should have made the list.

      May 29, 2018 9:50 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Eric Hung

        Looking to have that in the next version!

        June 22, 2018 12:49 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Connor H

      Woohoo! Glad to see the ACSS 1-6x finally get recognized and reviewed as the tremendous deal, and incredible reticle, that it is. I try to recommend Primary Arms whenever I can, their prices are great, customer service is well above average, and you can't beat the glass for the price.

      Their owner is also really down to earth and helpful, he's a regular forum contributed over at ARF.

      May 26, 2018 12:10 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Connor H

        Also recommend their 2.5x, 3x, and 5x fixed prism scopes. Etched reticle, similar ACSS idea, and they work for people with astigmatism, which is a major problem with traditional red dots. The 2.5x and 3x can be used both eyes open with just a bit of practice.

        May 26, 2018 12:12 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Sabre22

      What about the Shepherd scope? I realize you cannot have every scope. i just rediscovered them myself I was looking for a moderately priced 16 and did some digging and found them

      May 9, 2018 8:16 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Eric Hung

        Actually haven't seen one yet!

        May 17, 2018 10:11 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      ChrisL

      I would have loved a comparison to the Cadillac--the VCOG from Trijicon. I was so impressed that their 1-4 accupoint performed just like a red dot at 1x, true two eyes open shooting with no hassle around parallax or eye-relief, I'm really curious if their 1-6, or 1-8 accupower are as good. Also, Eotech has come out with their new Vudu in 1-6 and it has that same 65-MOA big circle reticle as their holosights. It's in first focal plane, and the dot in the middle is actually a mini bdc horseshoe, which zooms when the scope zooms so at 6x the big ring goes away and you get a cool precision aiming reticle. I'm dying to hear how that compares to the holographic sights when it's at 1x. I've tried all the cheap scopes, including the primary arms 1-6, and all of them stunk at 1x compared to a true red dot, the tube created a double image when you bring it up to your eyes already on target, it ends up being slow like a magnified scope because there are two images and your brain has to switch over to the image in the scope, which is slightly out of alignment with the image in the eye that's not looking through the optic. For me, I prioritize the 1x performance the most because, well, the in-close stuff is where you need to be able to react instantly. It's why I just couldn't ever run an acog. With longer range stuff, you have a little more time to line everything up just right.

      May 7, 2018 8:53 pm