Looking for the best low light rifle scope to pair with your favorite hunting rifle? If yes, you are in the right place. A low light scope is an indispensable tool that every hunter should have. In most cases, the best time to pursue game is at dawn or at dusk. It is at this low light settings that most animals are actively looking for pasture and food. But at this time, the light is limited and it can be hard to pick out game with a standard scope.
To have a successful low light hunting or shooting excursion, you require a rifle scope that is built to perform under such conditions. A good low light rifle scope will give you better visuals of your targets, boost your confidence and enhance your shooting accuracy even in the most challenging light conditions.
In today’s post, we have compiled a list of the best low light rifle scopes available on the market today. We will also help you understand the qualities a low light rifle scope should possess so you are able to make the correct buying decision. Without further ado, let’s get started, shall we?
What Makes a Great Low Light Rifle Scope?
A low light rifle scope is made of multiple features and the first feature is high-quality lenses. Inferior lenses provide less resolution in low light settings, particularly near the edges. But top-tier lenses maximize resolution and color accuracy in virtually any light setting.
Secondly, the scope should have quality lens coatings. Lens coatings minimize glare and reflection that causes light loss. They also enhance transmission of light which is handy when hunting or shooting in low light. Scopes with fully coated/multi-coated lenses are the best for low light applications.
The other thing that a great low light rifle scope should possess is a large objective lens. A large objective lens collects more light to the scope and your eye. It also optimizes resolution in those twilight conditions.
Lastly, it will be an added advantage if you get a scope that utilizes a reticle that is illuminated. The illumination on the reticle will make it easier for you to line up your shot quickly and aim with ease under the low light settings.
7 Best Low Light Rifle Scope – Our Top Picks
1) Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Riflescope
The Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn is arguably the best low light rifle scope available on the market currently. It is designed to offer superb optical clarity during low light conditions of dusk and dawn, and help you becomes a better hunter.
The scope features a 40mm objective lens that optimizes light collection while maintaining a low profile. The optics are fully multi-coated to increase transmission of light and reduce glare and light reflection. This gives you the brightest and clearest image views in virtually any lighting condition.
Moreover, the rifle scope comes with a fast focus eyepiece for swift reticle focusing and 1/4 MOA fingertip windage and elevation adjustment. When it comes to construction, it has a 1-piece body tube that is built with quality materials to ensure that it last. It also has an IPX4 waterproof rating for use under any weather condition.
Above all, the scope comes with a Multi-X reticle that offers a classic sight picture and stays visibly clear from sunrise till sunset.
- 3-9x magnification range
- Fast focus eyepiece
- 1/4 MOA fingertip windage and elevation adjustment
- Multi X reticle
- Waterproof and fog proof
- High-quality optics
- Dusk & Dawn Brightness multi-coated lenses
- Durable design
- Lightweight construction
- Superb optical clarity
- Easy to use
- Short eye relief
2) UTG 3-9×32 1” BugBuster Scope
The UTG 3-9×32 1” BugBuster Scope is the best low light rifle scope for the money. It has Emerald coating on the lenses for maximum light transmission and a red and green illuminated reticle for visibility in low light settings.
This scope is built on True Strength platform. It has a rugged 1-inch body tube that is fully sealed to keep the optics moisture, dust and dirt-free. It is also shockproof to withstand rough handling and filled with nitrogen to be fully fog resistant.
UTG built this rifle scope with ease of use in mind. It has the most accommodating eye relief for rapid target acquisition, and a large field of view that make target finding a snap. Furthermore, it utilizes a mil-dot range estimating reticle for easy aiming and optimal shooting performance.
Other useful features included are premium lockable and resettable turrets, 2” built-in sunshade and quick-detachable rings that make it easy to install and detach.
- 1-inch body tube
- 3-9x zoom range
- Rain proof, fog proof and shockproof
- Premium lockable and resettable turrets
- Emerald lens coatings
- Mil-dot range estimating reticle
- Adjustable objective
- Solid construction
- Large field of view
- Great value for money
- User-friendly controls
- Short eye relief at max power
- Made in China
3) Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10x50mm Riflescope
Carrying a highly respected name, the Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10x50mm Riflescope delivers outstanding optical performance in the lowest light settings. It has a large 50mm objective lens that optimizes low light resolution and a Twilight Max Light Management System that lets you see targets in rich detail even under critically low light settings.
To complement the superb optical performance, the scope also has a robust housing that is virtually indestructible. It has a sturdy aircraft quality aluminum housing designed to survive impacts, shock and recoil. For all-weather reliability, the scope is fully waterproof and fog proof. It is also built to perform from -40℉ to 160℉.
The best part about using this rifle scope is the lightweight design. It weighs just 1.4 pounds so you will have an easy time maneuvering with it in the field. It also features precision 1/4 MOA finger click windage and elevation adjustments and a DiamondCoat2 ion-assist lens coating which enhance light transfer while offering the greatest level of abrasion resistance.
- Duplex reticle and matte finish
- Twilight Max Light Management System
- Fully waterproof, fog proof and shockproof
- Aircraft quality aluminum housing
- 1/4 MOA finger click windage and elevation adjustment
- 5-10x magnification range
- DiamondCoat2 ion-assist lens coating
- Outstanding low light performance
- Solid construction
- Lightweight design
- Wide and clear field of view
- Generous eye relief
- Turrets lack a zero stop
- Does not come with mounting rings
4) Primary Arms SLX 1-6×24 SFP Rifle Scope
If you are looking for the best low light rifle scope for hunting at close quarters on this forested areas, this is it. It is designed with coyote and hog hunters in mind and it has a moderate 1-6x optical power which is suitable for short and medium range hunting.
Featuring a dual red and green reticle illumination, the scope provides accurate aiming points in dismal environments. The reticle is placed on the second focal plane and it features auto-ranging based on a 10-inch circle for rapid acquisition of targets.
Further, the scope features superior craftmanship to ensure that it withstands regular wear and tear. It is crafted from 6063-aluminum and the external surface is coated with a Type II hard anodized finish which makes it rust proof and scratch resistant. On top of that, it is nitrogen purged to prevent built up of fog internally and with the IP67 rating, it is fully waterproof and dust proof for all-weather reliability
To top it all, all the lenses are fully multi-coated to maximize light transmission from dawn till dusk for bright and clear image views.
- Variable 1-6x magnification
- ACSS predator hunting reticle
- IP67 waterproof, dustproof and fog resistant
- Dual red and green illumination
- Fully multi-coated lenses
- Type II hard anodized finish
- 6063-aluminum body
- Reticle illumination with 5 brightness settings
- Lightweight design
- Easy to use reticle
- Great glass quality
- Image brightness drops significantly at 6x
- Smaller objective lens
5) ATN X-Sight-4K 3-14x Pro Edition Smart Day/Night Hunting Rifle Scope
Next up is the ATN X-Sight-4K 3-14x Pro Day/Night Hunting Rifle Scope. This scope will give you a digital hunting experience and change how you hunt for the good. It offers reliable performance in all weather and lighting conditions, day and night.
The scope is powered by a dual core processor with a low light 4K sensor which offers unmatched image clarity no matter the lighting condition. The IR illuminator included improves your visuals at night and in low light settings so you can shoot more accurately. Also, the scope comes with multiple reticle pattern and color options for optimal visibility in different light settings.
With the included record video, you can use the scope to record videos in full 4K HD. Better yet, there is a recoil activated video that makes video recording a breeze so you are able to capture high-resolution videos of your entire hunting trips no matter the lighting condition.
With this digital hunting scope, you also get a ballistic calculator, smart range finder and an electronic compass, all of which help make your hunting expedition simpler and more rewarding. Above all, the scope will perform reliably under any weather as it is designed to be weather resistant.
- Standard 30mm mounting rings
- 3-14x magnification
- Dual core processor
- IR illuminator
- ATN ABL laser range finder
- Quick detach mount
- Recoil activated video
- Ballistic calculator
- Dual day and night functionality
- Long eye relief
- High resolution and fast viewing
- Numerous accessories included
- Long battery life
- High cost
- Larger in size and heavier weight
6) Trijicon TR22 AccuPoint 2.5-10x56mm Riflescope
Another best low light rifle scope on our list is the Trijicon TR22 AccuPoint 2.5-10x56mm Riflescope. It is designed with battery free illumination which guarantee clear views of targets in all lighting conditions.
One thing that makes this rifle scope shine is the ruggedized design. It is built tough to stands up to extreme hunting conditions. On top of that, it is designed to be weather resistant for use under various weather conditions and has a hard anodized finish that protects the external surface from scratches and corrosion.
The variable 2.5-10x zoom is ideal for hunting game at varying ranges while the large 56mm objective lens collects a large amount of light into the scope for bright image generation. Also, the scope is made with superior quality lenses which are multi-coated to enhance light transmission and provide exceptional image clarity with zero distortion.
- 5-10x variable magnification
- Weather resistant construction
- 30mm body tube
- Multi-coated lenses
- Battery free illumination
- Second focal plane reticle
- Aircraft quality aluminum housing
- Zero forward emission
- Quick and easy adjustments
- Confident aiming under any light
- Excellent craftmanship
- Not budget-friendly
7) BARSKA 3-12×50 IR Huntmaster Pro 30/30 IR Cross Riflescope
Lastly on our list is the BARSKA 3-12×50 IR Huntmaster Pro riflescope. If you are looking for a low price riflescope that is quality and reliable, this is your perfect match.
The scope is built with versatility in mind. You can use it for hunting, target shooting and plinking as well. The illuminated 30/30 reticle allows for easy aiming in different light settings while optimizing pinpoint accuracy from sunrise till when the sun sets. Besides, the scope has a large 50mm objective lens and fully coated optics that increase light transmission for bright and clear sight pictures.
More importantly, the scope is durable enough to last for generations. You can subject it under the harshest hunting environments and it will still perform. Better yet, it is shockproof to stand up to mishandling and both waterproof and fog resistant for operability under any weather.
To top it all, the scope has a lightweight design for mobility convenience and it also comes with adjustable windage and elevation for precision shooting.
- Waterproof, fog proof and shock resistant
- One-inch body tube
- 3-12x magnification range
- Fast focus eye bell
- Multi-coated optics
- Large 50mm aperture
- Advanced optic technology
- Lightweight design
- Reticle illumination
- Superb low light performance
- Ruggedly durable construction
- Excellent accuracy
- Poor eye relief
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Low Light Rifle Scope
Here are the key features you should look out for when you are shopping for the best low light rifle scope.
A Scope for use in low light conditions should have a large objective lens. An objective lens which is also known as aperture is responsible for collecting light inside the scope. The larger the objective lens, the more light the scope collects and retains, and the brighter the images it produces. Most low light scopes come with an objective lens of anywhere between 32mm to 50mm.
To ensure that the images you receive are clear, bright and sharp, ensure that you get a scope that possesses high-quality and numerous layers of lens coatings. Proper lens coatings can double the brightness of the images the scope produces and enhance your shooting accuracy. The coatings optimize light transfer and reduce glare and reflection that causes light loss.
The other important thing to consider is the magnification power of the scope. Although magnification largely depends on your individual needs, it is best to get a scope with moderate optical power for low light applications. This is because high magnification reduces the exit pupil diameter which results to less bright image views.
The reticle of a scope plays a big role in providing a point of aim. The best low light rifle scope comes with an illuminated reticle. It will help with quick target acquisition and also give you better visuals so you can take the shots more accurately. Go for a scope that comes with multiple reticle illumination intensities for greater versatility.
The next thing you should take into account is the eye relief the scope offers. This is a measure of how far your eye has to be from the scope’s eyepiece. For optimal eye comfort and rapid target acquisition, get a scope with a generous eye relief of 3.5 inches or more if you wear eyeglasses.
The price of low light scopes varies from one model to the other. For the high-end models that offer exceptional low light performance, be prepared to pay more than $500 depending on the quality and the manufacturer.
But if you are on a budget, you don’t have to panic. The market offers plenty of quality yet budget-friendly low light scopes that also offer reliable performance.
Best Low Light Scopes FAQs
- What is the best hunting scope for low light?
This depends on your individual hunting needs and preference. With the many models available on the market today, it is hard to say that there is a low light scope that works for all hunters. Consider you needs and hunting styles and then focus on finding the scope that works best for you.
- Is an illuminated reticle necessary?
Yes and no. A low light scope will still do whether it has an illuminated reticle or not. But it is a handy feature to have for hunting in critically low light settings as it gives you better visuals of the target and a clearer aiming point.
- Is having a low light scope worth it?
Absolutely. A low light scope is worth having for hunting and shooting when the lighting conditions are less favorable. It will help you see targets clearly and increase your chances of placing the shots accurately.
To wrap it up, finding the best low light rifle scope doesn’t have to be a daunting, time consuming and less pleasant task. When you are activity-specific and you know the features that you need in a scope, the purchasing process will be more simpler. All the rifle scopes listed above offer the handy features you need for hunting and shooting in low light settings. Consider the features each model offers, then choose one that matches both your needs and preference.