US Optics or Nightforce Scopes: Who Won The War?

Last Updated on May 11, 2023.

As you stare down at your prey in the distance, you need to factor in the amount of available light, the strength of the wind and other conditions before taking a shot with your rifle. Even the elevation you are at plays a factor in where you shot goes. That is why most hunters use telescopes from companies like US Optics and Nightforce

These two companies represent two of the top manufacturers of rifle scopes. Scopes can help you compensate for the factors and conditions that might make your shot go wild and miss that buck right in front of you. We want you to find the best telescope for your next hunting trip, which is why we ranked the top products from both Nightforce and US Optics.


Nightforce 12-42x56mm


US Optics vs. Nightforce

Illuminated Reticles

US Optics easily wins this comparison because the company includes an illuminated reticle on most rifle telescopes. These reticles often feature up to 12 different settings too. Nightforce does not include an illuminated reticle on all its scopes.

Second Focal Plane NX8 F2 | Photo by Nightforce Optics


If you spend a lot of time hunting in the mountains, you’ll likely prefer US Optics telescopes over those from Nightforce. US Optics products usually come with an EREK feature that lets you make between 90 and 110 clicks per revolution to accommodate for your current height. With Nightforce products, you may need to figure out your elevation and adjust it in different ways to compensate for your location.

Tube Length

TS-12X | Photo by US Optics

When it comes to tube length, Nightforce just narrowly edges out US Optics. The company makes telescopes with a tube length of up to 34mm. Most of the products from US Optics have a tube length of just 30mm or less.


US Optics and Nightforce both make rifle scopes that weigh a little less than the telescopes from other companies do. Both weigh just under two pounds.

We give the nod in this comparison to Nightforce because its weigh as little as 30 ounces. Those models won’t add so much weight to your rifle that you have a hard time holding or using it.

US Optics Picks

US Optics ER-25

US Optics ER-25 | Photo by rabidwarrior88

The ER-25 MDMOA FFP Illuminated Reticle 5-25x58mm is the best model the company makes. It has an erector repositioning elevation knob, or EREK, that lets you turn the dial to up to 110 clicks with each revolution that you make.

Its reticle also lets you adjust the angle of your shot to compensate for high winds and other factors.

Capable of using the natural light that surrounds you for added clarity, this rifle scope offers red illumination to zero in on your target, and you can select from 12 intensity levels when using this feature.

The anodized shell has a larger tube on one end and is bulletproof to keep you safe in the wild. This rifle telescope offers all the clarity necessary for day and night hunting.

B17H102 3.2-17 x 50 mm

This B17H102 3.2-17 x 50 mm with Horus H102 Reticle, rank among the top models in terms of focal plane. That focal plane reduces the risk of your view becoming blurry, even if you turn up the magnification to a higher level. 

Turrets on the scope itself lock in place, which stop you from accidentally adjusting the dials.

When you hunt in the cooler seasons, you’ll wear gloves to keep your hands warm, and it allows you to hit the illumination button and turn on the light without taking off your gloves.

 A zero stop counter makes it easy to restore the factory settings and go back to zero too. It is also suitable for both right handed and left handed users.

MR-10 Horus Vision 

Affordable and useful, this MR-10 Horus Vision H425 FFP Illuminated Reticle 1.8-10x37mm can help you every time that you head out on a hunting trip. 

It has an elevation knob that performs up to 90 clicks in a single revolution and a Horus Vision reticle. This reticle uses red illumination that can help you identify and zoom in on a target far away in the distance.

Thanks to its front focal plane construction, you’ll never again worry about missing a shot because you changed the magnification setting.

This construction allows it to retain the target you settled on as you zoom in and out. It also features the bulletproof anodized metal case that you expect from this company.

MR-10 Mil GAP

Even if you hope to save money on a rifle scope, you should give some serious thought to investing in this MR-10 Mil GAP FFP Illuminated Reticle 1.8-10x37mm, which is one of the more affordable rifle telescopes manufactured by the company. 

It has the same erector knob found on the more expensive scopes, but this knob lets you click through 90 times per revolution. With 12 settings to choose from in its illumination feature, you can always see your prey with the clarity that you need.

Easy to attach to your rifle, it has several dials on the top and sides that work with features like a reticle that can display sub tensions and other details.

The bulletproof design of it also features a 30mm tube, and it has a front focal point construction for better clarity.

LR-17 Mil GAP

No matter how far you walk or climb on a hunting trip, you’ll be glad you packed this LR-17 Mil GAP FFP Illuminated Reticle 3.2-17x44mm, which has an elevation knob that helps you adjust for the current elevation. 

This knob offers an impressive 110 clicks with each revolution too. Made from anodized metal, it is rugged enough for using in the rain or the snow and is bulletproof.

A red illumination feature actually illuminates the area directly in front of you where you want to shoot to help you see that animal clearly, and this feature has 12 different intensity settings.

It also has a focal plane construction that lets you magnify at different settings without the view becoming blurry.

Nightforce Picks

Nightforce 5-25x56

If you need the best of the best and want to invest, the best model for you is the 5-25×56 ATACR Series. This is easily the top choice from the manufacturer because it is an enhanced telescope that will come in handy as you hunt in bright conditions as well as in the middle of the night. 

Designed to mimic the telescopes used by the military, it will help you shoot cleanly every time.

An illuminated reticle that allows you to zoom in and out is just one of the top features of it. You’ll also love the the side and top knobs that let you make the adjustments you need while still keeping your eye on a target.

The model features a 34mm tube that is larger than those available on other models.

Nightforce 8-32x56 NXS

Designed for use on rifles of different sizes, this 8-32×56 NXS is so easy to install that you might use it with all the guns in your collection. 

It has a matte black finish rather than the glossy finish used on other models to keep light from reflecting off your rifle and letting others see you. It comes with a 30mm tube that uses hard metal for added safety.

One of its best features is its zero stop turrets that let you move the scope back to its factory settings and go back to a zero setting on those features after moving to a new location.

It also has an illuminated reticle that is useful when hunting at night and in lower light conditions.

Nightforce 12-42x56mm

Are you tired of using a telescope that has so many knobs and buttons that you never know quite what to do? Models like that are ones that you toss in your closet or gun case and never use, but the simple design of the 12-42x56mm BR Benchrest Series may make it your go to hunting telescope.

This is a type of long range telescope that works best at greater distances, and even calls it an ultra long range model because it works at distances that other models cannot handle.

Its adjustable objective lets you zoom in so closely on a target 25 yards away that you’ll feel like the target is feet in front of you, but it can work at distances of more than 100 yards too.

It has zero turrets for switching back to zero settings after making adjustments or taking a shot.

Nightforce SHV 5-20x56mm

Though you might assume that cheaper scopes aren’t as useful as the more expensive models, this SHV 5-20x56mm is one of the cheapest ones on the market but will still meet all your needs when hunting.

Instead of providing you with an illuminated reticle, this company gives you a more standard reticle that does not offer any light, which makes it one of the best telescopes for daytime hunting.

With an eye relief of more than three-inches, it can also reduce stress and fatigue in your eyes and face.

Weighing just over 30-ounces and coming in a compact shape, it won’t add a lot of weight to your rifle and won’t get in your way either.

It comes with several internal adjustments too that you can use based on your current elevation and the wind whipping around you.

Nightforce 5-20x56 SHV 

Another inexpensive rifle scope from this company that is suitable for hunting during different times of the day is this 5-20×56 SHV. Despite its low price, it comes with an illuminated reticle with multiple settings and two settings for adjusting it based on wind conditions and elevation.

With its zero set turrets, you can easily return to zero on all settings before taking another shot.

Eye relief is important because the closer you sit to the telescope, the more pressure you put on your eyes, but this SHV model has an eye relief of more than three-inches that reduces the strain you put on your eyes.

At just 6.5-inches long and just over 30-ounces in weight, it will give you complete access to your rifle and won’t weigh you down.

Who Wins the Battle?


Nightforce 12-42x56mm

The one thing that might be on your mind when shopping for a rifle scope is price, and if cost is the main factor that will determine which model you buy, you’ll go with Nightforce.

This company makes some of the most affordable choice on the market. You may like models like the 12-42x56mm BR Benchrest Series for distance or long range shooting too.



For all other hunters though, we highly recommend the model from US Optics. While a little more expensive, these  models have features like an illuminated reticle with up to 12 intensity settings and a bulletproof tube.

Many hunters prefer spending more on a US Optics scope than saving money on one from Nightforce.