Sometimes you need to be able to shoot at close range and longer distances with the same rifle and setup. Scopes that offer this flexibility are few and far between but many manufacturers are starting to solve this problem. The answer that many companies are coming up with is the best 1-8x scope.
Increases in manufacturing technology and lens design have made these specialized optics much cheaper, lighter, and with higher quality than ever before. They still are a specialized item but in the right hands can be a huge step up, with no compromises compared to other scopes.
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Magnification vs. Size & Weight
When it comes to having high magnification, you’re going to have to have more weight. Especially in scopes with a 1:8 magnification ratio, required to have the best 1-8X scope, you’re going to have to contend with some serious mass. Many of the scopes are increasingly heavy despite their slim appearance.
In cases where you will be shooting out to the very edge of your ballistic potential, usually around 400 to 500 yards for a carbine. You will need as much magnification as you can get without sacrificing low end magnification. This is where the 1-8X power scopes come in handy.
Do the best you can to minimize the amount of weight forward on your rifle and further away from the bore axis. Many rifles are designed to be well-balanced out of the box, but once you mount a heavy, bulky rifle scope to the exterior, you ruin the handling characteristics.
Try and mount the scope as close to your eye as possible, while keeping good eye relief, and as low to the bore axis as possible. Don’t get so wrapped up in weight distribution that you ruin the function of your gun, but take a moment to consider how the gun will handle after you have to carry for several hours.
Best 1-8X Scope on the Market Review
1 Trijicon RS27-C-1900026 AccuPower
Trijicon needs no introduction, they make some of the most rugged and reliable optics on the planet, and can be found on the rifles of sportsmen in the high country chasing elk, and on the rifles of elite military units all over the world.
While they are most famous for their tactical optics, this model inherits everything that is excellent about their high-powered rifle scopes, and combines them with the simplicity and ruggedness of their combat optics.
If you absolutely have to have the finest optic you can get your hands on, this is an excellent example of what you can get. It is an absolute bomb proof 1-8X power scope that performs exceptionally well on a carbine used for ranging out to the edge of a rounds ballistic potential.
At 8x magnification, you get a decent field-of-view and the addition of target turrets and a specialized BDC reticle make dialing in holdovers exceptionally easy. The only downside to this optic is the size, weight and cost.
It performs exceptionally well in low light with a large field of view thanks mainly to its 34mm main tube. A proprietary measurement that shall have a hard time finding mounts for outside of Trijicon’s own lineup. If you can live with the cost and bulk of this optic, you’ll have an engineering marvel that you can bet your life on every time!
2 Primary Arms 1-8 X 24mm
Primary Arms is a newer company on the market for optics but are quickly becoming loved by shooters everywhere. Mainly for their inexpensive and value driven lineup of scopes that get the job done.
This is an excellent example of an optic meant for a high precision carbine like an AR 15 that is going to be used out to the edge of the ballistic potential for the .223 cartridge. It has all the features that you want. Including illuminated BDC reticle, slim and trim design, and optical quality that leaves nothing to be desired.
What you will miss, however, is a larger field-of-view and specialized features that make nailing targets at distance easier. There’s not a lot to this scope, it is a simply designed optic to be used quickly and simply for engaging targets with a carbine.
It has enough quality to make sure that it gets the job done but will leave some performance on the table. It is a purpose made scope that is value driven and includes features that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to have at the price.
For the majority of shooters and hunters, this is going to be an excellent option. If you are competing or going on a once-in-a-lifetime hunt, or use your rifle at work, go for a higher grade optic. Maybe even the companion product that Primary Arms make from the platinum series.
3 Primary Arms Platinum Series 1-8X 24mm
This is Primary Arms answer to higher grade optics. Many people were looking for a 1-8X power scope are doing so because they need the highest performance in both close range and long range shooting situations.
This is an excellent option for people who want as high quality as they can get, but for a decent price. The only down side of this optic is that it is more expensive than other models. However, if you rely on your rifle heavily this may be the perfect optic for you.
Especially on lightweight rifles or an AR 15, this is a great idea, you get a true 1x power magnification setting, and the ability to go all the way out to 8X magnification. This makes nailing targets between one and 400 yards with an AR 15 type rifle extremely easy.
In addition to those features, this optic features illumination and a BDC reticle that makes holdovers and seeing your reticle in the dark exceptionally easy. You still run into the same problems of having a 24 mm objective lens, but you balance that disadvantage with the scopes exceptionally compact and lightweight design.
If you are looking for an 1-8X power scope that you won’t notice until you need it this is a great option!
4 Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-8x24 SFP Riflescope
Vortex Optics needs no introduction. They make exceptionally rugged value driven optics for sportsmen and professionals alike. This is a purpose made 1-8X power scope for the AR 15 that is an exceptional job of providing aiming references and magnification from 1-8X power.
It balances size and weight with features that make shooting at these ranges and magnifications exceptionally easy and enjoyable. The optical quality of the scope is excellent as are the other features. The entire scope is intuitive and easy to use once in the field.
Although this scope is feature packed with a BDC reticle, target turrets and is supposed together in a way that seems uncomfortable to shoot with, the scope is very intuitive and feels good once you start using it.
A perfect example of this is the reticle. It seems complicated when you first see it but once you start shooting with it, you realize that the horseshoe and dot design along with the BDC hash marks make hitting targets at long-range with this scope of pleasure. Unlike many of the first-generation BDC reticles, this one has no learning curve and once dialed in makes shooting exceptionally easy.
It comes with one of the best warranties in the industry along with superb build quality and ruggedness. You probably won’t ever use the warranty! If you do you’ll know that one of industry leaders in customer service has your back.
5 UTG 1-8X28 30mm CQB/MRC Scope
UTG is a company that has been involved in the importation of high-quality low-cost scopes for a long time. In recent years their products have become top shelf items that you can depend on in the field.
This is an excellent example, a very high-quality 1-8X power scope with a 30mm objective lens and purpose designed BDC reticle for close in and far away shots. If you’re looking for a scope that handles the 0 to 300-yard ranges that most people use their rifles for there are few scopes that offer all the features this scope does.
It balances a colored illuminated reticle with smartly designed turrets and a BDC reticle to make calling corrections and nailing targets out to the very edge of your rifle’s effective range possible.
In fact, there are so many features on the scope that there is a pretty steep learning curve to learn how to use it effectively on your rifle. Once you do, however, it becomes readily apparent that this scope can do a lot but does have a few problems. Mainly, a few inconsistencies in the optical quality in the glass that are apparent if you quickly dial in and out of the magnification range.
If you can put up with a little concession in optical quality, you can have a scope that includes every feature under the sun that will perform well enough to own the 0 to a 300-yard range that most people use 1-8X power scopes at.
Field of View Complications
The more magnification you cram into a scope, and the higher the zoom ratio, the less field-of-view you’re going to have at distance. This can be a problem for a rifle that is designed for self-defense or hunting because you lose situational awareness and run the risk of not being able to find your target in your scope.
This can be mitigated with careful planning and by making sure that you set your scope up at the optimal distance from your eye so that it always points in the correct direction.
Typically, the larger the field of view the more technology has to be engineered into a scope with high magnification and you are going to pay for that in both terms of size, weight, bulk and cost. Find out which level of each you are willing to pay for and then find the scope that matches your needs.
More field-of-view is never, ever a bad thing. Having a wide field-of-view doesn’t sacrifice any performance in any other area, as long as you get the magnification level you want. In this case, a 1-8X power scope.
If you are in the market for the best 1-8X scope you can get your hands on, you’re in luck. Manufacturers have packed more technology and features into these models than any other segment of the market and there have never been more options available to the average shooter.
Take a good look at all the options and consider which one will best suit your budget and shooting needs. You can’t go wrong with one of the five listed here! But above all else, make sure you get in the field and use it. It doesn’t do you any good sitting in your safe!