Best Low Light Rifle Scope – Top 10 Reviews with Buyers’ Guide, FAQs & More

low light rifle scopes

Table of Contents

Finding a low light scope can be a task. It’s not easy to find one without some help, but no worries. Today, we’ll be reviewing the best low light rifle scopes that will help you in making the right decision.

This article will walk you through on the scopes that work great in low light conditions, the features they offer, their pros and cons and our favorite picks from our thorough review of the scopes. 

In the end there is a buyers’ guide that will help you know what are the things you need to keep in mind while buying a hunting scope and an FAQs section for further clarity.

Winner

UTG 3-9X32 

With its dual illumination the scope has a lot more to offer. Its high light transmission, durability and allows a large field of view. This scope is an all in one. 

Runner Up

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 1-inch Tube

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The runner up is not bad at all. We love everything that this scope has to offer and we hope you are intrigued as much as we are.  

Also Great

ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20x

This scope is a top notch one. It digitalizes the shooting experience and it makes it easier for you to carry out your shooting endeavors. 


Best Low Light Rifle Scope – Top 10 Reviews


#1. Best Night Vision Rifle Scope under $1000 – ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20x Review


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The ATN X-Sight II’s optical system offers incredible light transmission and can transmit up to 98% light. It allows you to execute low differentiation and low light-based hunting. 

Additionally, its HD resolution allows you to take your shots with clarity and with no blurry images whether it’s the day or the night. 

Certainly, you’ll like its smart rangefinder that permits you to follow up with your target even if it’s at a great distance. The rangefinder will tell you the distance of a target from the point you are seeing.

We were amazed by its 3D Gyroscope and E-compass. The E-compass will help you in navigation and show you your heading. And the gyroscope will feature a consistent and blur-free target imagery.

However, if you are looking for a top aiming optic in the market, this one might just intrigue you and it will also come within your price range as it’s one of the great ones under $1000.

Features of ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20x 

  • 3-14x magnification
  • Smart Rangefinder
  • Ballistic Calculator
  • Day/Night mode
  • ATN Laser Ballistics 
  • 3D Gyroscope and E-compass
  • Wi-Fi Streaming
  • E-Zoom

Pros

  • Well built
  • Durable
  • Shockproof
  • Waterproof
  • Fogproof
  • Wide field of view
  • Night vision
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Pixelated magnification 
  • Does not zero well

Best Night Vision Rifle Scope under $1000

ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20x is a great night vision scope under $1000 because it provides a blur-free target imagery and can prove to be a vital asset for you.


#2. Best Night Vision Rifle Scope under $500 – Vortex Optics Crossfire II 1-inch Tube Review


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The Vortex Crossfire II provides high performance while being economical. Its V-brite illuminated MOA reticle will provide you with an incredible performance and magnification in low light, giving you an advantage while shooting in the dark.

It is equipped with the second focal plane (SFP) reticle which allows your target to be seen in the same size regardless of the change in magnification. Moreover, its dead-hold BDC makes it an ideal one for hunters and shooters shooting at various ranges. 

However, if you are looking for top hunting scopes under $500, this is something that will surely intrigue you.

Features of Vortex Optics Crossfire II 1-inch Tube

  • 3-9x Magnification
  • 50mm objective lens 
  • 3.9 inches eye relief
  • MOA reticle
  • Multi-coated lens
  • MOA clicks
  • V-Brite reticle
  • Nitrogen purged
  • Single piece tube construction

Pros

  • Long eye relief
  • Waterproof
  • Shockproof
  • Fogproof
  • Anti-reflective 
  • Fast focus eyepiece 
  • Usable in low light 
  • Well-built 

Cons

  • Does not zero well
  • Crosshairs are off

Best Night Vision Rifle Scope under $500

The top high performance scope under $500 is the Vortex Crossfire II 1-inch Tube because it works incredibly well in low light conditions and provides great focus.


#3. Best Low Light Scope for Competitions – UTG 3-9X32 Review


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The UTG 3-9×32 Bug Buster hunting scope does not see that whether you are an amateur or a professional, its eyepoint would accommodate you to aim down your sights with ease. It’s built in such a way that it can withstand the harshest of conditions since it’s waterproof and fog proof.

Moreover, the resettable turrets on the scope give off an impression of being of premium quality and they are lockable also. You can consequently make fresh and exact windage just as elevation alterations consistently. 

Besides, the scope allows you to set up its measurements to your liking so that you can pursue your targets without having to adjust it time and again. 

You can modify the wide-angle font objective lens of the scope and have a parallax-free view from only 3 Yards and up to Infinity. It’s among the hottest hunting riflescopes currently in the market and is of high quality.

Features of UTG 3-9X32

  • 3-9x magnification range
  • 32 inches objective lens diameter
  • Dual illumination 
  • ¼ MOA click adjustment 
  • Mil-dot reticle
  • 1 inch tube
  • Resettable Turrets 
  • Nitrogen filled 
  • Open lens cap 
  • Range estimating Mil-dot reticle

Pros

  • Strongly built 
  • Accommodating eye relief
  • Parallax free
  • Waterproof
  • Shockproof
  • Fogproof
  • Large field of view
  • Easily mountable 
  • Fast focus
  • Illuminated reticle

Cons

  • Diminishes image at large magnification 
  • Does not resist well to high caliber rifles

Best Low Light Scope for Competitions

UTG 3-9X32 is a great low light scope for competitions because of its unmatched and clear shots even in dim light like in dawn or dusk. All thanks to its illuminated reticle.


#4. Best Rifle Scope for Low light Conditions – Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Review


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This Bushnell riflescope has the Multi-X reticle that is your commonplace duplex style cross hair, without any interruptions. Now and again, this is exactly what a hunter needs.

Unfortunately, this one does not come up with a parallax adjustment feature. To us that seemed to be a downside with this scope among numerous ones we have examined and reviewed. 

However, this top-quality hunting scope seems to be one of the most popular and economical one available in the market. There aren’t many scopes under $500 out there that provide so much.

Features of Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn

  • 3-9x magnification
  • 40mm objective lens diameter 
  • Dust and Dawn Brightness (DDB) multi-coated lens
  • Multi X reticle 
  • Dry Nitrogen filled
  • Fast focus eyepiece 
  • ¼ MOA fingertip adjustment

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Shockproof
  • Fogproof
  • Large field of view
  • Great low light performance 
  • Long eye relief 
  • Lightweight
  • Precise shooting

Cons

  • Unleveled crosshairs 
  • Does Not zero well

Best Rifle Scope for Low light Conditions

Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn 3-9X 40mm is a great scope for low light conditions as it features great low light performance, and will not betray you in dark.


#5. Best Affordable Night Vision Scope – Vortex Optics Crossfire II 3-12×56 Review


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This one with its fast focus eyepiece and fully multi coated lenses provides you with a longer  eye relief. Without a doubt, the quality and features of this one tends to encompass other scopes.

Its lens gives a picture center and parallax removal to the shooter while being anti-reflective, and gives you a bright and clear line of sight. Moreover, the dead-hold BDC reticle is useful for taking shots at different ranges, and in different weather conditions where holdover estimation might come as a concern.

Besides, its second focal plane ensures that even at high magnification the size of the reticle is retained. Once you go through the features it offers, you will see why for hunting scopes under this price range as it is a top notch low light eye catching scope.

Features of Vortex Optics Crossfire II 3-12×56

  • V-brite illuminated reticle
  • Nitrogen purged
  • 3-12x magnifying power
  • 56mm objective lens diameter 
  • Second Focal Plane
  • Dead-hold BDC reticle
  • O-ring sealed
  • Capped reset turrets 
  • Multi coated lens

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Fog proof
  • Fast focus eyepiece
  • Anti reflective
  • Strongly built
  • Great optics
  • Long eye relief
  • Changeable batteries 
  • Illuminated reticle

Cons

  • Has trouble focusing and zeroing on the target
  • Is not resistant to the shock of recoil

Best Affordable Night Vision Scope

The top affordable night vision hunting scope is Vortex Optics Crossfire II 3-12×56 because it contains a bunch of features and provides long range hunting as well. Also, it works great in any light conditions.


#6. Best Scope under $300 for 7mm Rem Mag – Nikon Buckmasters II 3-9×40 Review


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The Nikon Buckmasters II is a scope that will assist you with your shooting skills. Regardless of its price the rifle scope comes with advanced features, and also comes well within one’s price range.

It is a compact and tough hunting scope with a multi-covered optical framework that assists excellent light transmission. Bullet Drop Compensation (BDC) reticle ensures better accuracy and flexibility while allowing you to shoot targets that are beyond the ideal distance. 

Not only this, it’s also incorporated with a zero-reset turret and is integrated with a spring-loaded knob that will give you a wide, straightforward and clear field of view. 

Moreover, this model comes up with an adaptable sunshade feature that would allow you to shoot despite the excessive sunlight. It’s one of the scopes that surely makes its way into the top low light rifle scopes present in the market.

Features of Nikon Buckmasters II 3-9×40 BDC

  • Bullet Drop Compensating (BDC) reticle
  • 3-9x magnification
  • 3.6 inches exit pupil
  • 1/4 MOA adjustments
  • 100 yards parallax setting
  • 40mm objective lens 
  • Ballistic Match Technology
  • Fully multi-coated
  • Anti-reflective glass
  • Positive-click reticle adjustments
  • Nitrogen purged

Pros

  • Generous eye relief
  • Optimum light transmission
  • Clear optic
  • Waterproof
  • Shockproof
  • Fog proof
  • Amazing brightness
  • High-quality resolution
  • Easy to use
  • Light-weight

Cons

  • Defective turret tracking
  • Diminished zoom

Best Scope under $300 for 7mm Rem Mag

Nikon Buckmasters II is the best scope under $300 for 7mm rem mag because it provides great resolution and is not complicated when it comes to use.


#7. Best Night Vision Scope for the Money – ATN X-Sight 4K Pro Review


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The ATN X-sight 4K pro is arguably one of the hottest scopes present in the market. It has many advanced features and falls well within one’s price range. Trust us, it will not disappoint you.

This one allows Wi-Fi connectivity and lets you stream videos in HD quality. Moreover, its great night vision mode will not let you down and allow you to hunt even at night.

You’ll love its ballistic calculator that tells the range, wind direction, and humidity accurately. This feature will help you to hunt with great accuracy and ease. Definitely, you will find this among the best hunting scopes out there.

Features of ATN X-Sight 4K Pro

  • Recoil Activated Video (RAV)
  • 5-20x magnification
  • Night Vision Mode
  • Ballistic Calculator
  • Ultra Low Power Profile
  • Dual Stream Video Recording 
  • Built-in RangeFinder
  • ATN Quick Detach Mount
  • ATN Battery Pack 20000mAh

Pros

  • Water proof
  • Durable
  • Fog proof
  • Variable magnification
  • Sharp imaging
  • Shock proof
  • Night vision
  • Multiple crosshairs 
  • Wi-Fi compatibility
  • Accurate rangefinder

Cons

  • Has trouble zeroing 
  • It is subject to freezing

Best Night Vision Scope for the Money

The ATN X-Sight 4K Pro is a top night vision scope for money because it offers multiple features at an affordable price and will allow you to use it in any conditions.


#8. Best Low Light Rifle Scope – Armasight Orion 5x gen 1 Night Vision Scope Review 


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The Armasight Orion 5X Night Vision Scope is a high performance compact medium to long range  scope that works very well in low light conditions and is one of the best low light scopes that are out there for a light rifle. 

It’s a cost-effective night vision technology to give you high accurate shots and its target acquisition will surely intrigue you. It provides you with a long eye relief and provides you with a large field of view allowing you to broaden your line of sight whenever you are aiming.

If you are looking for a scope that works well in low light conditions that isn’t justy for range shooting but also a hunting scope as well. At such a cheap price surely this scope is up for grabs. 

Features of Armasight Orion 5x gen 1 Night Vision Scope

  • 5x magnification
  • 8mm exit pupil diameter
  • Shock-protected optics
  • Illuminated red cross reticle
  • Simple, easy to operate controls and adjustments
  • Water-resistant design
  • Rubberized body
  • Ability to mount to standard Weaver rails
  • Variable reticle brightness
  • Detachable, long-range infrared illuminator

Pros

  • Illuminated reticle 
  • High magnification 
  • Fast eye focus
  • Waterproof
  • Shockproof
  • Fogproof
  • Adjustable objective lens and reticle
  • High performance in low light
  • Long range

Cons

  • Flickering screen 
  • Infrared emitter isn’t powerful
  • Offset mounting

Best Low Light Rifle Scope

Armasight Orion 5x gen 1 night vision is a great low light hunting scope as it features an illuminated reticle which makes it ideal to use in low light conditions. 


#9. Best Low Light Scope for Beginners – Burris Fullfield II Ballistic Plex Rifle Scope Review


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The Burris Fullfield II is an amazing low light scope that is perfect for you if you are starting out with casual shooting but its a bonus that it works perfectly in low light conditions. Moreover, it’s easily mountable on a light rifle and also works well as a hunting scope. 

Besides, the low light scope is made up of durable material and will ensure that it works well for a longer period of time and also provides you with longer eye relief. Furthermore, the way its one piece construction tube ensures that it can withstand shocks from high caliber rifles

Scopes that offer easy use in low light conditions are really intriguing specially for those who are starting out with shooting let it be casual or for hunting. So we would advise you to keep a close eye on it because surely it has a lot to offer

Features of Burris Fullfield II Ballistic Plex Scope

  • 3-9x magnification 
  • 40mm objective lens diameter 
  • 13 low – 5 high (mm) exit pupil
  • Matte black finish 
  • Ballistic plex reticle 
  • Nitrogen filled 
  • Hi-Lume multi coated lens

Pros

  • Fogproof
  • Shockproof
  • Waterproof
  • Easy grip
  • High light transmission 
  • Good low light performance 
  • Easy adjustment in field of view
  • Durable
  • Well-built

Cons

  • Scope power is hard to adjust 
  • Scope adjustment has issues

Best Low Light Scope for Beginners

Burris Fullfield II Ballistic Plex Riflescope is a great low light scope for beginners because of its durable construction. It allows you to take shots, even at a large distance, via clear and high resolution lenses.


#10. Best Short Range Low Light Scope – Pulsar Trail XP Thermal Review


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The Pulsar Trail XP optical system offers incredible light gathering and transmission, and is one of a kind hunting scope that offers thermal imaging. It allows you to execute low differentiation and low light-based hunting. Additionally, its HD resolution allows you to take your shots with clarity and with no blurry images whether it’s the day or the night. 

We were amazed by its Ultra HD sensor and ballistic calculator. The ballistic calculator will help you in navigation and show you your heading. And the gyroscope will feature a consistent and blur-free target imagery.

If you are looking for a top aiming sight that operates well in low light conditions, this one might just intrigue you and it will also come within your price range as it’s one of the best scopes under $300 and is preferred for light rifles.

Features of Pulsar Trail XP Thermal

  • 2.1-8.4x magnification range
  • Long Viewing Range
  • High Resolution 640×480 Thermal Imaging Sensor
  • Fully Waterproof IPX7
  • High Shock Resistance
  • Mobile-Friendly with Remote Control and Live Internet Streaming
  • Integrated Video Recorder
  • 3 Types of Zeroing Parameters Memorization

Pros

  • Quick target acquisition 
  • Precision
  • Simple user interface
  • Waterproof
  • Shockproof
  • Fogproof
  • Wide field of view
  • Thermal imaging

Cons

  • Complicated functions 
  • Does not hold zero

Best Short Range Low Light Scope

Pulsar Trail XP Thermal is the top recommended short range low light hunting scope as it works perfectly in low light conditions and won’t stop you even in dark.


Buyers’ Guide

low light scope

What is a low light scope?

Low light scopes are the best option when it comes to low light hunting since they possess the right qualities you need for hunting at dusk or dawn. 

The first thing to look at is the clarity of the glass. You can check this by the price of the hunting scope and the layers of coating on the lens. The coating ensures lesser glare and higher light transmission improving the image contrast. 

In short, a high quality low light rifle scope will always have multiple layers of multi-coated lenses. 

What makes a great low light scope?

There are certain things that make a low light hunting scope great, but it mainly comes down to 3 things that make a scope great for low light conditions. These aspects are as follows:

  • Magnification

If the magnification of a scope is high the imagery you see through will appear brighter. In simpler terms, the higher the magnification the brighter would be the target you will see. 

One must understand that this isn’t magic in any shape or form, rather it’s the fact that if you move closer to your target physically, obviously you’ll see it in a brighter light, but in this case a higher magnification will bring you closer to your target, just not physically. 

  • Objective Lens 

An objective lens plays a vital role in determining how well a scope works in low light conditions. An objective lens allows smooth light transmission and lets light into the aiming sight. The size of the objective lens determines how bright the image will form. 

However, the objective lens has some assistance from multiple anti-reflective coatings and premium glass which determine the quality of image. The size of the objective lens should be large enough to let easy light transmission for brighter images, but not too large that it makes it bulky and heavy to carry creating problems for your movement through the woods.

  • Anti-reflection coatings

The right amount of anti-reflective coating can brighten your image almost 2 times. These coatings are made from minerals of the earth which reduce loss of light by wave phase cancellation. A good hunting scope will have fully multi-coated lenses.

What magnification do you need in low light conditions?

Whilst most scopes with 1-12x magnification range are able to do most of the work in 200 yards or less, the best configuration for low light hunting is 3-9x40mm. 3x magnification is the lowest end of scale but able to take accurate shots in a smaller field of about 100 yards. The 9x magnification maintains accuracy for long shot rounds.

In order to hit targets beyond several hundred yards, you should consider higher magnification scales up to 10x or 12x. Most hunters also prefer fixed scopes with 3x or 4x magnification as they give greater clarity for cheaper cost. 

However, these remain best suits for fixed ranges as they cannot be adjusted.

Riflescopes also come with higher magnification such as 15x but they are best for long range shooting. You should consider a higher magnification low light rifle scope for day-time shooting as it will limit effective range and transmission. The extra magnification will give you better results when it is used in low light conditions such as at twilight or dawn.

FAQs

What rifle scope has the best light transmission?

Following are the best low light rifle scope with great light transmission:

  • UTG 3-9X32
  • Vortex Optics Crossfire 1-inch Tube
  • ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20x
  • Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn
  • Nikon Buckmasters II 3-9×40

What are the top 5 rifle scopes?

The top 5 riflescopes include:

  • UTG 3-9X32 – Best Low Light Scope for Competitions 
  • Vortex Optics Crossfire 1-inch Tube – Best Night Vision Riflescope under $500
  • ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20x – Best Night Vision Riflescope under $1000
  • Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn – Best Scope for Low light Conditions
  • Nikon Buckmasters II 3-9×40 – Best Riflescope under $300 for 7mm Rem Mag

What scope should I use for 200 yards?

3-9x and 4-12x, with variable magnification, are the most commonly used scopes for 200 yards Generally, a quality 3-9x hunting scope offers better precision and accuracy compared to a cheap 4-14x scope. A higher magnification power of a cheap scope may make the image blurry while looking through the reticle.

What’s better night vision or thermal?

In our opinion, night vision is a better choice than the thermal one. As thermal optics are not capable of seeing through glass, and also extreme cold may affect the thermal image quality.

How far can you see with a night vision scope?

You can see about 30 yards with a night vision scope. Many such devices offer an infrared illuminator, like the flood light style. These are only good for close range or indoor night vision use.

What is the best cheap night vision scope?

Following are some best cheap night vision scopes suitable for your low light conditions.

  • UTG 3-9X32 – Best Night Scope Scope for Competitions 
  • Vortex Optics Crossfire II 1-inch Tube – Best Night Vision Riflescope under $500
  • ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20x – Best Night Vision Riflescope under $1000
  • Best Riflescope for Low light Conditions – Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn
  • Nikon Buckmasters II 3-9×40 – Best Riflescope under $300 for 7mm Rem Mag

What scope do I need for 500 yards?

5x magnification is the minimum level of magnification required to shoot at 500 yards. However, for most of the hunters this level of magnification is on the low side, so they go for a 10x magnification scope to take a good shot at 500 yards.

What is the best rifle scope under $500?

ProductMagnification
UTG 3-9X323-9x32mm
Vortex Optics Crossfire II 1-inch Tube3-9x50mm
ATN X-Sight II HD 5-20x5-20x

Final Thoughts

After reviewing all the low light rifle scopes in the article, surely the UTG 3-9X32 has come out on top and has blown us away with what it has to offer! 

The features it has offered were astounding and it’s really nice to see that companies are aiming to put more scopes that work well in low light conditions. We hope you were intrigued by our thorough review.

The top pick is our favorite, but you have the freedom to look at the other scopes we have discussed and get the one you want. Happy scoping!