A good low powered scope is a must-have for any AR-style rifle. It doesn’t matter whether you’re using it for target practice at the range, in a competition or while out hunting in the field. The best low powered scopes provide improved accuracy and precision to ensure you always nail your shots. Although 1-6x scopes were originally designed for tactical purposes, they are also an ideal choice for anyone looking to hunt with their AR. Not only will the best 1-6x scope allow for far greater accuracy and faster target acquisition than your rifle’s iron sights, but also the versatility of up to 6x magnification to allow you to quickly lock on to targets at distance.
The growing popularity of AR-style rifles has seen virtually every major optics manufacturer trying to get in on the action. This means that there is no shortage of good 1-6x scopes out there. Of course, this wide selection also means it can be hard to determine exactly which make and model is right for your needs. This guide will provide you with everything you need to know to find the best 1-6x rifle scope.
Things to Consider When Buying a 1-6x Scope
The wide range of 1-6x scopes currently on the market means there is a huge variation both in terms of quality and price. As you can easily find good scopes for anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars, it’s important to first start off with an estimated budget of how much you’re willing to spend in order to help narrow down your choices.
What to Expect in Different Price Ranges
If money is no object, you can choose between a number of top-end tactical models that provide truly world-class performance. Of course, this type of quality doesn’t come cheap. It’s all about trying to strike a balance between the level of performance you want or need and the price you’re willing to pay for it.
Like everything in life, you get what you pay for. There’s no doubt that the models at the upper end of the price spectrum provide far superior performance to those models at the lower end of the range. Still, this isn’t to say that people on a tighter budget can’t find a high quality scope within their price range. In fact, if you’re only planning on using it for hunting, there’s probably no need for you to spend $1,000 or more on a competition-grade tactical scope. There are a handful of more affordable models that should be more than adequate for most sportsmen.
Although price is definitely an important factor, it’s also important to consider the various features and overall quality of each model. There are a number of scopes out there that are highly overpriced, which you’ll want to avoid. Similarly, you can also find some great deals on low to mid-range scopes that provide nearly the same optical clarity and quality as many of the higher dollar models. Therefore, it’s always important to keep in mind the following factors, as they serve as a good way of comparing the various models side by side.
The best 1-6x scopes feature multi-coated lenses made from high quality glass to ensure optimum light transmission and reduce glare. This provides a bright, clear image that allows you to easily see your target in any light situation—from sun up to sundown.
However, while all of the top models feature multi-coated optics, the differences in the type of coating and type of glass used in each model means that there is still quite a bit of variation in terms of image quality. As you would expect, the brightest, clearest image is provided by those models at the upper end of the price range.
Design and Construction
Durability and ease of use are both important factors for obvious reasons. You’ll want to carefully consider the overall design and construction of each model you’re considering. The best scopes generally feature a one-piece main body tube for added strength. This provides the ruggedness to withstand repeated heavy recoil. Most are either made from steel or aluminum, with the latter obviously being the lighter weight option.
In this respect, it’s also important to consider how much the scopes weighs if you’re concerned about your rifle being too heavy. As well, you’ll want to ensure that the scope is fully waterproof, fog proof and shock proof. This will keep it free from damage and working for years.
Any quality scope needs to have adequate eye relief to provide a comfortable shooting position and also make sure that the recoil of your rifle doesn’t send you home with a black eye. Most scopes will leave plenty of distance between your face and the eyepiece at zero magnification. However, you might find that some models are a bit of a tight fit at the max 6x magnification.
Field of View
This might sound obvious, but the bigger the picture you see through the scope is, the easier it will be for you to quickly find and lock on to your target. For this reason, it’s always important to look for a scope with as large of a field of view as possible. Nonetheless, as with most other things, this also tends to increase with price.
You can find a wide range of different reticle options—from simple crosshair reticles to illuminated red dots and advanced tactical reticles—providing you with something for virtually any type of shooting situation. Generally speaking, your choice of reticle will most likely come down to two factors—namely the style that you’re most comfortable with and what kind of shooting you will typically be doing.
Finding the Best 1-6x Scope for the Money
After taking into account all of the above factors, we’ve come up with a list of the best 1-6x scopes for AR rifles. As you’d expect, the top of the list is dominated by the high-end models, as there’s no doubting the fact that they provide far superior performance and durability. However, we’ve also included several lower priced models suitable for anyone on a tighter budget or those of you who simply are unwilling to spend upwards of $1,000 on a scope.
1. Kahles K16I 1-6×24
Hands-down the gold standard for AR-style scopes, the Kahles K16I is a truly fantastic piece of equipment that provides a level of image quality unmatched by any of its competitors. The premium European glass and multi-coated lenses provide 95 percent light transmission, resulting in an ultra-bright, crystal-clear picture for enhance accuracy from dusk until dawn.
Virtually all aspects of this scope are outstanding, but the real reason it stands out is the world-class optics. With this scope, you not only get exceptional image quality, but also the benefit of a largest field of view currently on the market. Of course, this kind of quality comes at a high price. Be ready to open up your wallet wide or potentially max out your credit card picking this one up.
2. Vortex Razor HD Gen-II 1-6×24
If you can’t quite justify spending $2,000 on the Kahles scope, the Vortex Razor HD Gen-II is an excellent option that will cost you several hundred dollars less. The large eye box provides similar functionality to the heads-up displays found on many red dot sights. This allows for faster sighting and enabes you to scan and target with both eyes. Like the Kahles scope, this model features an illuminated red dot reticle that provides the versatility for close quarters situations and the precision for long distance shots.
3. Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6×24
Another great option from Vortex , the Strike Eagle is in the lower price range and offers a decent combination of functionality and affordability. While the optics may not be able to live up to those found on the high dollar scopes, they are still better than to be expected considering the low price.
Flip up covers are included with the scope to keep your lenses free from scratches, dirt and moisture. The scope also weighs less than most others in its class and features a rugged, shock proof housing that provides long-lasting durability making this one of the best 1-6x scopes for the money.
In fact, the only real complaint we have is the illuminated reticle isn’t as bright as on many other scopes. This means you could have issues seeing it properly under high light conditions.
4. Primary Arms 1-6×24
Like the Strike Eagle, this Primary Arms scope is a fantastic option for those on a smaller budget. The scope is fully waterproof and fog proof, and it features a strong, sturdy housing that helps shield the fragile optics from damage. This scope is seriously built tough, allowing you to enjoy the peace of mind that it won’t break while you’re out in the field.
However, the overall quality and clarity of this model leaves a little to be desired, even when compared to the similarly priced Strike Eagle.
Which 1-6x Scope Is Right for You?
The best 1-6x scope can undoubtedly improve your chances of a successful hunt, but finding the right one for your purposes does take a bit of time. Still, whether you’re looking for a high-priced top of the line model or something a bit more affordable, any of the above scopes should most definitely get the job done.