The best 1-4 LPVO isn’t just a fad that will soon be gone and recently has been making a noise in the firearms and scopes world. And if you’re an AR rifle user or thinking about buying one for yourself, you might have heard of it, too.
There is just a lot that 1-4x rifle scopes can do, so it is becoming the popular choice for the military, competitive shooters, and tactical shooters.
A 1-4x LPVO combines power, downrange accuracy, and speed, and it can be used for a wide range of applications from short to long range solutions in hunting, defense or 3-gun competition.
LPVOs are also more simplified than magnifiers or red dot combos. It offers a cleaner and more compact look as well as flexibility with only minimal adjustment. And definitely, they are more affordable than ACOGs.
In today’s buying guide, I’ll review the best 1-4 LVPO rifle scopes and their features and possible drawbacks. Before that, let’s talk about what makes a low power variable good.
What Makes a Good 1-4x Scope?
A 1-4x scope as the name suggests is a rifle scope with a magnification range from one to four times (1-4x). Its maximum magnification is four times, meaning that an image will be magnified four times than its actual size with the naked eye.
Scopes in this range are also called low power variable optics (LPVOs), which are rising in popularity among shooters of all levels because of their plenty of benefits, such as fully multi coated lenses, fast focus eyepiece, and optimal light transmission.
They also feature durable materials like aircraft grade aluminum construction, some brightness settings depending on the model, generous eye relief, and fog proof performance.
It also combines the efficiency of red dot sight and magnifiers but in a smaller and more compact package. Shooters can go from a red dot in CQBs and take mid range shots without having to switch scopes.
LPVO for CQBs are perfect for close range shots and mid range shooting applications but not for long ranges.
But if you don’t have a lot of experience buying a 1-4x scope, you’ll find it challenging and overwhelming to differentiate a good from an average 1-4x scope because most scopes offer almost the same functions.
One of them is magnifying the image and making it easier to see, allowing you to get on target faster with precision.
A good 1-4x rifle scope, either affordable scopes or high end rifle scopes, will have a great reticle design and/or an illuminated reticle, which both aid in target identification and acquisition, while helping you separate your target from all the other elements in the shooting environment.
In range shooting, you’d hear most shooters would say that quality lenses that work in low light conditions and offer good light transmission, are nitrogen purged, and are fully multi coated optics matter.
Quality low power variable optics will have excellent lenses, or else, you will not see a bright and clear image. This can compromise the results you’ll get using your scope.
A quality 1-4x tactical scope and other scopes in the LPVO ranges will not only have an illuminated reticle and a rifle scope made of aircraft grade aluminum, but will also offer an all-weather performance. It is resistant with the elements and can deal with the changing temperatures and weather, offering a fog proof and waterproof performance.
Things to consider when buying a 1-4x LPVO
Now that you know what makes a good LPVO 1-4x rifle scope good, we’ll discuss the factors to consider when comparing your options to help you arrive at a sound decision.
This is the primary reason that we’re buying a 1-4x scope, anyway. We use it for a clear sight picture and fast target acquisition. A LPVO scope can help us see more clearly than with our naked eye. Check that the scope has fully multi coated optics to ensure super low dispersion.
Also, see that such an affordable scope, if you have a limited budget, lets you shoot in low light, dusk, or dawn and offer optimal light transmission. And then, you must check the objective lens diameter. This should be smaller in a 1-4x scope, typically 24mm objective lens diameter, than what you’ll find in higher magnification scopes.
High quality scopes will also have fully multi coated lenses, which work well in low lighting. However, I suggest you also check if the 1-4x scope is fog proof and waterproof to ensure that it will work in any weather condition.
What about the design of the reticle of the 1-4x scope? You’ll find a lot of them, including a mil dot reticle, duplex dot reticle, BDC (bullet drop compensation) reticle, and illuminated reticles, which matter in terms of quality, whether you’re buying an entry level scope or a high end one.
Aside from the reticle style or design, like a bright reticle, think about the type of it.. The 1-4x scope is to be either a first focal plane reticle or a second focal plane reticle. Typically, SFP reticles are common for low power variable optic.
But to give you an idea, the first focal plane simply means that the reticle changes in size visually as you zoom in and zoom out a 1-4x scope. In the case of a second focal plane, it means that the reticle remains the same in size regardless of the magnification chosen.
Going back to the type or style of a reticle, whether it’s a duplex dot reticle or a v brite reticle, this actually boils down to personal preference and shooting type you plan to use your LPVO 1-4x scope for.
Generous eye relief
The tactical 1-4x scope you should be getting must have a long eye relief, which can be at least 3.5 inches or up to 4 inches. This can protect you from having a scope bite especially if you’re using a heavy recoiling firearm.
Definitely, price is one of the primary factors when shopping around for a 1-4x scope because it is an investment. Prices vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and the features of a low power variable optic.
A budget-friendly scope may not have all the features to find in a high end or a more expensive scope. You might have to compromise on some of them like aircraft grade aluminum construction and fully multi coated optics.
Still, there are quality budget-friendly LPVO scopes that can have a fast focus eyepiece and fully multi coated lenses.
Nevertheless, you must find a 1-4x scope within the budget range you are willing to spend for it.
It’s not enough to consider only a fast focus eyepiece, adjustable brightness settings or a type of reticle like a crosshair reticle or a rangefinder reticle when shopping around for a 1-4x scope, but it also matters to check on the compatibility and flexibility of the scope you’re buying, whether it’s an advanced scope or an entry level rifle scope.
First and foremost, your sighting device must be compatible with the firearm you’re mounting it onto. The scope you’re buying may come or not come with mounting rings, like medium profile scope rings. In case it doesn’t come with one, you should buy it separately.
When getting 1-4x scope rings, make sure that they’re compatible with the tube size of your rifle scope for short or mid range targets.
Many of the best 1-4x LPVOs fit an AR rifle. However, it pays off to also check whether it’s going to work with your rifle scope. So if you’re a newbie, it might be best that you choose a scope that already comes with scope rings.
Aside from durability and weather performance, you must also check for other things like an illuminated reticle, fully multi coated lenses, fast focus eyepiece, materials and accessories.
Does it come with flip up lenses or lens covers? Can it withstand bumps and drops? Is it made of steel or aluminum? How many brightness settings does it have? Is it a true 1x scope when you use the lowest magnification?
Does it have the reticle design that you want? Does it have a long enough eye relief and generous eye box? How about the operation? Is it beginner-friendly (if you’re a newbie)?
A good 1-4x scope will be argon purged or nitrogen purged for moisture resistance and fog proof performance. It will also have adjustment turrets for windage adjustments and elevation adjustments. The adjustment dials or knobs should also work smoothly.
The best 1-4 LPVO will also be MOA precise within your ranges. The adjustments should also be easy for different targets.
5 Best 1-4 LPVO: in-depth reviews
1. ELCAN SPECTER 1-4×32 (Best 1-4×32 LPVO for AR 15)
The Elcan Specter 1-4×32 is the best in class 1-4x powered scope with 32mm objective lens diameter. It’s been chosen by shooters of all levels for its amazing features that they can rely on for applications like 3-gun competition, tactical work, and hunting.
The combat optics is particularly a favorite among 3-gun competitors because it is durable and well-designed for the purpose. Let’s talk more about it here.
One of the primary reasons to buy a rifle scope is to aid our shooting eye to be able to see targets far away and even in low lighting conditions. It is one that also offers optimal light transmission.
To be able to achieve this, we need an LPVO scope that has superior glass clarity and good reticle design.
This Elcan Specter scope is one of those that meet standards, although it is not an affordable scope I must tell you. It has superior quality glass that you can depend on in all situations and weather.
Ruggedness and dependability for all weather conditions and shooting environments also matters when choosing a scope for your rifle. This Elcan Specter 1-4×32mm scope is a tough scope to deal with bumps, shocks, and drops.
There is no doubt that the brand has put much thought in the long lasting performance of this scope. They designed and manufactured it using hard anodized aluminum. This is a known material among standard quality rifle scopes.
It can deal with the changing outdoor conditions and elements as well as has been tested to withstand heavy use and abuse. I find it one of the most durable scopes in this category.
I’d also like to note that this scope is designed for waterproof performance in that it can be submerged up to 66 feet for two hours.
Although I don’t think that we’ll have to submerge it, waterproof ability in a scope is still important knowing that it can deal with water and offer consistent performance even if it gets wet.
Part of its durability is its shock resistance. I appreciate that this rifle scope is able to deal with heavy recoiling firearms and calibers.
Although it is a bit heavy, I don’t associate it with something negative because this scope is one of the best that money can buy. The added weight is also just enough for the AR 15.
When it comes to its reticle, this one is equipped with a ballistic crosshair reticle that also offers night vision capabilities. The reticle comes with VSOR rangefinder, a ready red dot, and area fire circles.
The entire reticle can illuminate if you want to when used in a low lighting scenario. It is also a precise red dot that is easy to use as well.
I find the reticle very useful especially its crosshairs that are designed thicker on their edges and thin towards the middle. This works perfectly when it comes to getting on target in seconds, allowing for quick target acquisition.
I also liked the different brightness settings of the illumination that I can quickly access and adjust based on my needs. The illumination is powered by a CR2032 battery, whose lifespan depends on the level of illumination you always use.
Zeroing the sighting device is no hassle. Even beginners would be able to do it in a cinch. The zero locking system is quite good and I have tested this several times before adding it to this review. Its zero can stay steady and it can get back to zero fast.
The rifle scope has a throw lever that works just fine. Using only a flip of it, I can get four times the power.
I also liked the eye relief that remains the same in any magnification.
What is this scope good for? Shooters can rely on it for getting precise sight picture from 0 to 500 yards, making it my go-to scope for CQBs and mid range shooting. This is also why I recommend it for three-gun competitors and AR-15 users alike.
In terms of the parallax, I don’t feel and notice any distortion at all, which is one of the fine features of this rifle scope.
How about the windage and elevation adjustments? The elevation and windage adjustment range are ½ MOA that can be adjusted to a maximum of 120 MOA. The clicks are accurate, so no problem in this department.
This scope also comes with a picatinny mount, so you can easily mount it on your firearm. However, take note that it’s not adjustable, so you may need shims to mount it correctly depending on your rail.
The eye relief is not that generous for this scope, but it is not a major issue. With all the benefits that the rifle scope can offer, it is definitely not something that can cause one to turn away from making this scope as one of the best options for an LPVO scope.
Overall, the ELCAN SPECTER 1-4×32 scope deserves attention when shopping for a great 1-4 LPVO with superior glass and nice reticle design. It is also built to deal with the test of time.
It is for users looking for a versatile scope that has the features of a red dot sight and magnifier combo. While it is not that affordable, its features surpass most standards. You might want to check it out yourself.
- Superior quality glass
- Night vision compatible
- Quality aluminum construction material
- A favorite for AR 15s
- Picatinny mount included
- Not so generous eye relief
2. Burris 200437 MTAC 1-4 x 24 Illuminated Scope (Best 1-4×24 Illuminated Scope)
This scope has an illuminated reticle that makes it useful even in a low light situation. It is also why the tactical scope is used for tactical operations, surveillance, and military work. An MTAC scope is available in a Ballistic AR reticle or Ballistic CQ reticle.
I can rely on this LPVO rifle scope for close-quarter battles and 3-gun competitions. It is also for shooters, hunters, and civilian users that want a reliable scope that is easy to use and can help them get on target in seconds for quick target acquisition whether the target is man size or the small size of a squirrel.
It is also ideal for big game stalking, short range hunting, and dangerous game.
The Burris Optics 1-4x24mm rifle scope is a compact, robust, and accurate optics system in one package. It is not bulky or too light, either. I can depend on it for a true 1x performance and mid range precision.
Without switching from one scope to another based on application, I can use a sleek and dependable rifle scope that has all the features that makes it a true CQB and mid range scope for 200 yards or more.
The full-on tactical rifle scope gives me the tactical advantage for its precision especially in the areas of target acquisition, fast tracking, and moving target leads as well.
This rifle scope is also built to last through the years. It is designed and made with fully multi coated optics, delivering optimal visibility and image clarity in virtually all shooting conditions.
You can depend on it in any weather because it can still perform consistently whether it is foggy or rainy. The glass remains clear no matter what, and that’s impressive. It is also something to look for when shopping around for a good scope.
The Burris MTAC scope can also offer a long eye relief, which can help protect your eyes and face from the scope bite.
Aside from the laser sharp placements for its illuminated reticle, this scope in the second focal plane is also easy to use even by beginners. The reticle stays the same size whether they use the lowest or highest power. This SFP reticle is also optimized to work for 5.56 or 7.62 cartridges.
The LPVO scope also has ballistic compensation dots and an illuminated target circle with inner brackets. This feature works perfectly for compensating elevation up to 600 yards.
The MTAC scope also features up to 10 different brightness settings along with an off position between each of them. And throughout the reticle pattern, there is a casted brilliant and easy to see red light.
This LPVO rifle scope, which comes with the Burris Forever Warranty, is also made tough to deal with the pressure, abuse, and use. It is constructed with heavy-duty 6061-T6 aluminum and has a tube diameter of 30mm.
This feels solid to withstand different outdoor challenges that it will face. It is also shock-resistant and can withstand drops and bumps.
Burris also created this with a dual internal spring-tension system. I liked that it kept the scope zero even with impact and heavy recoil.
I also noticed that it has low profile windage and elevation caps, which cover the MRAD MTAC adjustments, making its use more convenient even for newbie shooters.
Zooming adjustments are also made precise and quick enough, and that’s thanks to the ergonomically designed eyepiece. It is also nitrogen-filled and o-ring sealed for an all-weather consistent performance.
However, it is not night vision compatible. Overall, this Burris MTAC LPVO is worth-having in your arsenal for its solid construction, long eye relief, and element resistant finish.
- Second focal plane reticle
- Ballistic compensation out to 600 yards
- Capped turrets, allowing resetting to zero once sighted in
- Comes with 10 brightness settings for every need
- Illuminated target circle
- Not night vision compatible
3. Athlon 215025 Talos BTR 1-4×24 Riflescope (Best for Hunting)
Most shooters would also go hunting from time to time, and a versatile scope like the Talos BTR is definitely a hit for them. This Athlon scope is available in two different configurations, namely the 4-14×44 – FFP or 1-4×24 SFP.
This model I am reviewing is the second focal plane reticle scope. The budget scope is a beginner-friendly sighting device that can be used for competitive shooting or tactical operations.
If you’re still testing the waters in hunting and you want to make your first investment in a scope from a reputable brand, then the Talos BTR scope can be for you.
One of its excellent features is the fully multi coated optics that can increase the brightness for your eyes when shooting in low light or hunting at dusk or dawn. The lenses can also provide visual clarity for a better sight picture for fast target acquisition.
Part of its performance, the optics can also reduce the glare from the reflected light, while also improving light transmission. All these things can translate to a clearer and brighter image when compared to a single coated lens system.
If you’re getting yourself ready for hunting or shooting, this is definitely something to think of when shopping around for a budget scope that has the basic features of a good LPVO for close range to mid range shooting.
The LPVO is also nitrogen filled and o-ring sealed for waterproof ability and moisture free internals.
These components in this entry level scope can protect it from even the harshest weather. They can also ensure that it will not be damaged even if you accidentally drop your firearm and scope, and it is submerged in water.
This model is also designed with the AHSR14 SFP IR MIL reticle that enables optimal performance especially in short range like 50 yards with its illuminated one (1) mil center cross along with its one (1) mil hash mark increments, which are extended up to eight mils, either on the vertical or horizontal directions.
This feature in the reticle can help you spot your target quickly without any problem, while also setting holdover positions. It can also help with leads if your target is moving.
You can also locate your target faster and have it on the center cross in seconds. And for better results, you’ll have a portion of the reticle illuminated for superior low light visibility.
This LPVO scope also has an etched reticle, which works for backing support for the complex design of the reticle, while also offering superb durability and higher recoil resistance.
The rifle scope is made with aircraft grade aluminum construction, offering more strength and resiliency to whatever pressure it would face out there. This also means that you don’t need to replace your scope sooner. Thus, you can maximize the most of your investment in this budget-friendly rifle scope.
Adding to its durability, the scope’s tube is also heat treated, enhancing its strength, while also keeping any moisture out of the internal components. The black Athlon Optics scope measures 9.5 by 2.5 by 2.5 inches and weighs 0.45 kilograms.
Overall, I liked this Athlon Optics for its affordability that suits beginners who are still getting themselves familiar on how to use a sighting device for their rifle. Although it may not have the clearest glass for longer distances, it still deserves a look for newbie shooters. You might want to check it out for yourself.
- Durable aircraft grade aluminum construction
- Versatile for different applications
- Easy operation adjustments
- AHSR14 SFP IR MIL reticle
- Pocket-friendly entry-level scope
- Not the clearest for longer distances
4. Black Spider BSO1-4X24 Rifle Scope (Best Mid-Range 1-4×24 Scopes)
The Black Spider 1-4x rifle scope is the best mid range sighting device in the category. One of its greatest features is its wide full field view offering edge to edge clarity for a good sight picture that is exactly what you’ll need for quick target acquisition.
I noticed that it also has a long eye relief that can further its performance whether in the field or at the range. This generous eye relief can also protect your eyes from the scope eye, which is a problem for scopes that lack good eye relief.
The rifle scope is also made of aircraft grade aluminum, which is tested to survive bumps, drops, and shocks. It can definitely handle whatever pressure it will receive out there.
This also translates to better durability and longer lifespan of your scope, which means more savings for you in that you don’t have to replace it sooner. This construction material is made more rugged for its hard anodized finishing.
The BSO1-4X24 Rifle Scope is also designed with three different night vision settings, which makes it extra useful for low lighting conditions.
This is why it is also the go to choice for hunters who would want to use their scope at night and hunt for game.
The illumination of this scope is provided by its CR2032 battery, whose lifespan will depend on the settings that you will often use the illumination on.
The Black Spider 1-4x scope1-4x scope is also complete with accessories upon purchase, and these include a scope coat and flip caps.
The 1-4x scope with fully multi coated optics is also reliable for its ultra clear glass and fog proof performance. I can use it no matter the weather outside and still depend on it for its consistent performance. This makes it a real all-weather rifle scope that you can use all-year-round.
This 1-4x scope with hard anodized finish doesn’t only just look great but it is also tough to deal with shocks. The shockproof performance is what we would exactly need especially when using a heavy recoiling firearm.
Other features of the Black Spider 1-4x scope is its ½ MOA adjustments and tactical fast adjustment lever. All these add to the convenience and ease of use of this sighting device, which even beginners will appreciate.
This product measures 14 by 3.85 by 3.25 inches and weighs 0.38 Kilograms. These dimensions are just sufficient for a convenient mount and easy to use scope for my rifle.
Regarding its weight, it is lightweight enough to prevent my rifle from being imbalanced. I don’t also have to worry about the 1-4x scope adding much weight in that it would be hard to carry when I am out there for long hours.
With minimal effort, you can dial it right into zero, too. I also love that it can quickly pick out a target, working as swift as a red dot. It is also dead-on precise and stays to zero quite well.
You will also appreciate its clear reticle that has brightness adjustments to choose from for the situation. If you’re looking for a feature-rich and reliable sighting unit for your rifle, you might want to take a look at this LPVO scope, although initial use can be tricky.
Overall, the Black Spider 1-4x scope deserves to be a part of this list, and it excels as the best mid-range rifle scope in the category. It is an awesome scope that is easy to install and use.
- Night vision compatible
- Lightweight and easy to mount
- Snappy adjustments
- Aircraft grade aluminum construction
- Great for mid range
- Initial use can be tricky for first timers
5. Bushnell AR Optics (Most Saving)
The Bushnell AR Optics 1-4x24mm should be another consideration when shopping around for a great LPVO scope for short and mid ranges. This optics system is one of my favorites among LPVOs aside from the Vortex Optics Crossfire II and Primary Arms Scope, and I’ll tell you why.
One of the primary features of this best 1-4 LPVO is its ruggedness for any terrain and weather. Bushnell has tested it to withstand any types of pressure and heavy abuse. This scope is not just for any type of weather, but I’ve tested it in severe weather and still performed as I expected.
The glass remains clear and consistent to provide me with a good sight picture. So whatever weather it would face outside, I believe that this AR Optics 1-4x scope can survive it all.
Not to forget, the rifle scope is shockproof and waterproof. This means that it can survive water submersion at a certain depth and length of time, too.
Although of course, we don’t want to submerge it in water, but just in case you accidentally drop it in water, you don’t have to worry about anything. This means that the scope will not incur damage.
So even if the price tag of this 1-4x scope is not that high, I am delighted for its performance and durability to withstand all the pressure and elements. While this scope is slightly heavier than other scopes on the market, I think this bit of heft has something to do for its added durability.
This Bushnell Optics is one of the best I have tested so far, while also being the most saving option on the list.
One of the things I love about it is its superior quality reticle and stunning glass, which is clear from edge to edge. I am truly impressed with the fully multi coated lenses that improve light transmission and reduce glare, too.
While this model doesn’t feature a holographic sight, I am amazed by the visual clarity that this scope can offer. It is very bright and aids my shooting eye well, although this scope is not as expensive as the other scopes I’ve reviewed earlier.
In addition, I noticed its good illuminated reticle that has anti-reflective coatings that can help in reducing abrasion and glare. This means that the 1-4x scope can help with superb light transmission, especially when using it at dusk or dawn.
Its glass clarity is definitely one of its selling points, which makes it a favorite among hunters and shooters alike no matter their level. In addition, the reticle is also efficient in terms of its ability to measure the bullet drop whether for short or longer range shots.
How about eye relief? This Bushnell AR Optics has 3.5 inches of eye relief, which is just enough for a short range scope.
For mounting, you don’t need to be an expert to secure and zero this sight in your firearm. You will not have any issue with the turrets to find on this one.
Nevertheless, the Bushnell AR Optics is one of the best rifle scopes for close range shots and wild game hunting. But then, I don’t recommend it for long range shooting, though. It’s not just the specialty of this great scope.
The 1-4x scope is perfect for shooters who want minimal changes in magnification and top quality adjustments. It has all the features that an average shooter would want in their scope. This scope doesn’t have an illuminated reticle. But summing all up, this scope is one of the best I’ve tried and I am glad that I did. I am keeping it.
- Fully multi coated lenses and fog proof performance
- Ideal for short to medium ranges
- Clear from edge to edge glass
- Extra generous eye relief
- Impressive reticle design
- Non-illuminated BDC reticle
What range is a 1×4 scope good for?
The answer to this depends on the shooting ability and skills of the user. For professional marksmen, they can make long shots using a 1-4x scope when compared to beginners who are still learning the ropes.
For the most part, someone can shoot a target at 50 yards even with zero magnification as well as aim and target objects located 100 yards away with twice the magnification.
An LPVO rifle scope is flexible enough that it can be used to make farther distances than 200 yards. But then, a lot of shooters would want to use a higher power to shoot that distance.
So generally, you would want to use it for shooting targets at 200 yards distance. However, it depends on your preference and comfort level, too, because you can also use the maximum magnification of four times to hit a target at 100 yards. Really, it all relies on your shooting ability, preference, and skills.
Of course, you can always practice to level up your shooting ability to make more use out of your low power variable optic if you would buy one. If you plan to shoot longer distances, make sure that you buy a scope made of high quality glass and a scope with a comfortable reticle design to aid you better.
What LPVO Does Special Forces use?
The Special Forces have been using the best 1-4x LPVO for years and choosing it over other variable magnification scopes for its flexibility to use as a red dot and a magnifier combo.
Special Operations Forces have been using LPVOs like Razor low power variable optic systems. The US Marines on the other hand, chose a Variable Combat Optic Gunsight (VCOG) like the Trijicon VCOG. They’ve labeled VCOG as squad common optic (SCO) that is used in the new M27 IAR rifle and combat firearms.
A 1-4x LPVO scope combines the efficiency of red dot sights and fixed power scopes, but in a compact package and without the bulk. It is a versatile scope that can be used for close and mid range shots.
The good ones offer glass quality, durability, ease of operation and all-weather performance and are from reputable brands known for manufacturing reliable rifle scopes for competition, military, and hunting use.
Finding the best 1-4 LPVO will be easier and less confusing if you know what to look for in a good low power variable optic system. This buying guide and reviews should be able to assist you in making the right choice.