Best Low Light Scope: Let’s Light Up the Subject!

best low light scope
Photo courtesy HockeyDad77 via flickr. Used under a CC BY 2.0 license.

There are oceans of remarkable scopes available in today’s market to accommodate various styles, caliber and target requirements of shooters. Getting the best low light scope, however, will depend on the specific needs of every individual gun holder.

A lot of these scopes provide wide-ranging descriptions of their distinct features and specifications that include magnification and light transmission levels, field of view and aperture, among many criteria.

Read customer reviews about scopes that work in low light conditions.

Low light conditions require maximum illumination for fast and accurate target acquisition.

In the US, legal hunting hours don’t normally go beyond sundown. But there may be low-light conditions — like at the range during target practice — where you wished you had the scope capable for such situations.

Here are some of the things you should be looking for.

  • Large objective diameter for more efficient light gathering capacity
  • Full multi-coated optics for outstanding light transmission performance (take note that “fully multi-coated” is superior to “multi-coated”)
  • Glass quality
  • Large exit pupil (especially useful when comparing optics with comparable quality)

Now let’s get down to brass tacks and provide you the choice picks for a low light scope to mount on your rifle.

Bushnell Elite 4200 1.25-4x24mm Rainguard Riflescope

The Bushnell Elite 4200 1.25-4x24mm Rainguard Riflescope provides you an ultra-bright riflescope that delivers an outstanding 95% light transmission at 55nm for the most light-starved and equally challenging environment.

For brighter and clearer view, the Bushnell Elite 4200 provides a dry-nitrogen filled and hydrophobic (water-repellant) lens coating that effectively prevents the glass from fogging.

With 100% water-proof and shock-proof construction, you’re assured of added stability and greater performance in extreme conditions.

Its 1.25-4x magnification and 24mm objective lens allows sighting with both eyes open and the 4A reticle with illuminated MOA dot is perfect for fast target acquisition.

The Elite 4200 is made of a strong one-piece hammer-forged tube with proven Magnum recoil-proof construction for long-term durability and reliability.

It also features a M.O.A. reticle for audible and resettable elevation and windage adjustment with a click value of 0.36 inches @ 100 yards. Exit pupil ranges from 15.2mm-6mm at 1.25x and 4x, respectively.

Field of view is 84.1ft at 1.25x and 26.2ft at 4x. The scope weighs 15 oz.

It comes with a “No Questions Asked” 1-year Replacement Warranty (U.S. only). With all the great qualities this item offers, it’s absolutely amazing that it’s still reasonably priced at less than a grand or less than half the cost of other expensive makes.

NightForce NXS 5.5-22x56mm Riflescope

The NightForce NXS Riflescope is built with sturdiness, performance, craftsmanship and innovativeness, rolled into one. It performs greatly even in extremely long-range shooting and in low light conditions.

It offers a broad magnification and range with extraordinary optical clarity, coupled with a large field-of-view of 17.5ft at 5.5x or 4.7ft at 22x for precision shooting and accuracy, while the ZeroStop version comes in handy to ensure your scope will always hold zero.

The tube is exceptionally tough and made of top-quality 6061-T6 aircraft-grade aluminum, with hard-anodized finish that makes it entirely water resistant and waterproof.

At maximum magnification of 22x, this scope really goes superbly with an equally high-performing rifle.

The 56mm objective diameter and exit pupil of 10.2mm-2.5mm are impressively generous. The scope weighs 32 ounces.

It’s no wonder then that this great piece of scope gets most of the nod from military and law enforcement personnel, although some big game hunters and shooters already have their sights trained into mounting this powerful scope on their rifle.

So, if you’re wont to grab this high-end riflescope, you had better dig deep into your pockets and shell out two crisp grand for the price of one.

US Optics LR-17 Mil GAP FFP Illuminated Reticle 3.2-17x44mm Riflescope

The US Optics LR-17 Mil GAP FFP Illuminated Reticle has a sturdy Type III hard-anodized 6061-T6 aircraft-grade aluminum body with bulletproof construction to weather the test of time.

Not only that, it boasts of a 12-position illuminated reticle system with peak optical clarity, resolution, and light transmission to ensure the best shots in low light conditions.

What’s more astonishing is its patented Erector Repositioning Elevation Knob (EREK) system with 110 clicks of adjustment per single revolution, to ensure precise reticle adjustment. Moreover, its front focal plane (FFP) assembly allows exact reticle holdovers and ranging capacities at any magnification setting.

Also, the LR-17’s 44mm objective lens guarantees the sharpest image resolution imaginable all the way through the power magnification range.

The exit pupil ranges from 13.75mm-2.5mm at 3.2x to 17x magnification. For most avid shooters and hunters, nothing could be more important than having to improve the potential power of their rifles by mounting the best scopes on them.

This awesome beauty may be too pricey at over two and a half grand, but nothing beats the quality features this piece can offer.


All these featured scopes are multi-coated and specially designed for low-light conditions. Only Bushnell, however, has fully multi-coated optics. The rest have proprietary film coatings designed for increased sharp-image resolution and projection.

The Bushnell Elite 4200 is a mid-priced scope; while both the NightForce and US Optics belong to the high-priced category of scopes.

The significant difference in all three scopes lies in their magnification and objective diameter.

While magnification does not contribute to efficient light gathering and transmission, the combination of high magnification and objective diameter is exceptional if you normally shoot in extremely long ranges.

The US Optics boasts of great optics at only 44mm objective lens diameter and 17x maximum magnification.

Experts assert that extremely large objective lenses don’t necessarily mean the best low light scope because the human eye cannot make use of so much light.

High magnification, on the other hand, may result to low light transmission. The lower the power and the higher the quality of glass a scope has, the more light is transmitted.

Find the best low light scope in 2023 on Amazon.

Originally posted 2023-01-06 10:10:31.