Best 1-6x Scope [2018 Real Views+Video]

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.

Best 1-6x Scopes
Best 1-6x Scopes

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

Here’s my favorites across a couple of price ranges.  All with real views and videos through the scopes.

3. 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

I was ready to move up from my 1-4x Burris Tac30 ($240) I used for a year and that was losing me time after my local rifle competition introduced ~400 yard targets.

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.  And the magnification ring was easily turned for speed since it has a protruding fin.

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

Here it is in action (some range sounds):

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

Runner-Up Budget 1-6x
Vortex 1-6x Strike Eagle

Vortex 1-6x Strike Eagle

Recommended Accessories:

2. Primary Arms 1-6x ACSS

My new recommendation for the best budget 1-6x scope is the PA 1-6x with ACSS Reticle.

PA 1-6x Closeup
PA 1-6x Closeup

I’ve always heard of Primary Arms having affordable optics that perform great.  Now I’m finally a believer after using their 1-6x and 4-14x scope that they sent me for testing.

Primary Arms 1-6x and 4-14x with Mounts
Primary Arms 1-6x and 4-14x with Mounts

It’s the same price range as the Strike Eagle at under $300.  But if you purchase directly from Primary Arms you get free rings or a discounted single-piece mount.

So far both have held zero admirably…although a little heavy.  I’d opt for the single-piece over the rings since it’s much easier to take on and off without losing zero.

Primary Arms 1-6x with ACSS
Primary Arms 1-6x with ACSS

Now…how does it look through the glass compared to the Strike Eagle.

Primary Arms at 1x, ACSS Reticle
Primary Arms at 1x, ACSS Reticle

Less distortion at 1x.  And much clearer at 6x.

Primary Arms at 6x, ACSS Reticle
Primary Arms at 6x, ACSS Reticle

Here is the Strike Eagle at 6x again:

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

I also like the ACSS reticle a lot more.  It has a single arrow for precise work but also the bigger bold circle for hosing targets.  The BDC also worked well for several hundred yard shots.

ACSS Reticle
ACSS Reticle

I haven’t shot the PA as much as the Strike Eagle but so far so good.  Zero has held for several range trips but I’ll report back if anything changes.

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

For under $300 to get decent glass and a free mount (although heavy)…you can’t ask for anything better than that.  Plus PA offers a lifetime warranty.  I had a damaged red dot and they took care of it quickly & easily (Best Budget Red Dots).

Note that PA’s stock goes in and out since the 1-6x sells like hotcakes.  I also dig the simple reticle of the 1-6x KISS model.

Editor's Pick Budget 1-6x
Primary Arms 1-6X24 ACSS

Primary Arms 1-6X24 ACSS

What do you think of the PA 1-6x with ACSS?

Readers' Ratings

4.99/5 (69)

Your Rating?

1. 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.  I saw it at SHOT Show 2017 and had to buy it as soon as it was available.

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.

Recommended Accessories:

Honorable Mentions

There’s 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…

Editor's Pick Premium 1-6x
Vortex 1-6x Razor HD Gen 2

Vortex 1-6x Razor HD Gen 2

The highest end Vortex has a much more forgiving eyebox and better glass while still having the daylight bright illumination.  My favorite for a future upgrade.

Lightweight and awesome describes the Kahles.

Daylight bright and awesome glass you can expect from the name Swarovski.  If money were no object.

Conclusion

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

My go-to recommendation for a budget 1-6x scope is the Primary Arms.

Editor's Pick Budget 1-6x
Primary Arms 1-6X24 ACSS

Primary Arms 1-6X24 ACSS

Runner-up is the Strike Eagle 1-6x that has served me well and will still live on in a backup competition upper.

Runner-Up Budget 1-6x
Vortex 1-6x Strike Eagle

Vortex 1-6x Strike Eagle

And my best bang-for-the-buck optic is Vortex’s Viper PST II.

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.

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Jeff Bonar
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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 1×6 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.

Mike Bottoms
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Mike Bottoms

How are you going to review a bunch of 1-6x scopes and not mention the Atibal XP6 1-6×24? 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.

Connor H
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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.

Connor H
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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.

Sabre22
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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

ChrisL
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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… Read more »