The 1-4x magnification range is popular for use on AR-15 type rifles. It’s strong enough to make life easier when shooting at longer distances, but minimal enough that you’ll be able to use to get good hits at CQB and short ranges.
1-4x scopes tend to be less finicky in terms of how things like the focal plane and glass quality affect their performance, since the tolerances of shooting at shorter ranges are a bit wider, and there’s less wind and fewer atmospheric conditions to contend with.
However, it’s still important to get a high quality optic for tactical shooting, since tactical scenarios often involve fast paced and high adrenaline shooting. So you’ll need an optic that gives you an edge, albeit a different sort of edge than you need for long range applications.
Here are the best 1-4x scopes for your AR-15:
The Vortex Optics Crossfire II 1-4x24mm is the best value for your money. It’s high performance and reasonably priced.
Best Value 1-4x Scope for AR 15
In the realm of low magnification tactical rifle scopes, the Bushnell Drop Zone line is pretty much a household name. The Drop Zone is offered in a few configurations ranging from 1-4x to 1-8x, and offers some features specifically designed to enhance performance on the AR-15 platform.
The Bushnell Drop Zone 1-4x24mm is the lowest magnification model, and is designed for fast paced tactical applications.
The reticle is Bushnell’s proprietary Drop Zone-223 reticle, which is a fairly standard duplex reticle with aiming points on the vertile post. The aiming points are specifically calibrated for the ballistics of the most common 5.56mm/.223 rounds (55-62 grain) at every one hundred yards from 100 to 500 yards.
This makes it easy to transition from short range to medium and long range shooting without fiddling with your optic.
However, there are two caveats with the reticle:
- The reticle is not illuminated. The reticle is etched into the glass for sharpness in all light conditions, but may be challenging to pick up in very dark environments.
- This is a second focal plane scope. For many 1-4x scopes, the focal plane is a non-issue since the reticle doesn’t have markings for elevation and windage adjustment. However, the Drop Zone does have aiming points for different ranges. The aiming points won’t remain true when you change the magnification without some extra calculation.
To help get the reticle into focus when you bring your rifle up and into your line of sight, the Drop Zone has a fast focus eyepiece and long eye relief, so you can shoot faster from the ready or low ready.
The Drop Zone is purged and sealed for waterproof, fog-proof, and shock-proof operation, as is standard.
For AR-15 owners, the Drop Zone is definitely the best 1-4x scope for the money, and will deliver excellent performance in any tactical shooting context.
Best First Focal Plane 1-4x Scope for AR 15
1. Xgazer Optics Certvision 1-4x24mm
Xgazer is definitely a less popular brand of optics. However, they’ve built a solid tactical scope in the Xgazer Optics Certvision 1-4x24mm. The Certvision offers excellent performance and features for a tactical optic that falls about in the middle of the road in terms of price.
Optically, the Certvision is well built, with high quality, ultra clear glass, and full multi-coatings that improve light transmission and color fidelity, as well as scratch resistance, all while reducing glare. The Certvision delivers the image clarity that you need for high-speed tactical scenarios.
For enhanced the image brightness during dawn and dusk shooting, or in minimally lit tactical environments, the Certvision soaks up light through a 24mm objective lens. This gives you excellent target acquisition capabilities even when the light is bad.
The reticle is a simple duplex reticle, with a red aiming point in the center. It’s a functional, minimal reticle that keeps the field of view clear without sacrificing any precision. You’ll be able to quickly acquire targets and line up your aiming point at all ranges.
To improve performance in low light conditions, the red aiming point is illuminated. The illumination has 11 illumination settings, so you’ll get the contrast you need no matter what the lighting is like.
Another strength of the Certvision, is that it’s a first focal plane scope. This means that you’ll be able to transition between magnifications without worrying about the reticle proportions.
Lastly, Xgazer equipped the Certvision with the expected durability features: gas purging and sealing for waterproof, fogproof, and shock-proof operation and years of use.
Although the Certvision might not come from a big name brand, this is a very durable and functional optic that will help tactical competitors and tactical professionals alike improve their performance with their AR-15.
Best Second Focal Plane 1-4x Scope for AR
Vortex Optics tops the charts once again. The Vortex Optics Crossfire II 1-4x24mm falls right in line with Vortex Optics’ reputation in the field of tactical rifle scopes.
The Crossfire is one of Vortex Optics’ most popular scopes, and comes in configurations for hunting, extreme long range, and tactical shooting. The Crossfire II 1-4x24 is the most tactically oriented model.
To begin, the most important part: the glass. There’s obviously nothing to worry about here, as the Crossfire is built with Vortex Optics’ industry-leading high density, low dispersion glass. The proprietary lens coatings enhance light transmission and color fidelity, so you’ll be able to see your target in crystal clear, high-definition in any conditions.
A 24mm objective lens ensures that the Crossfire always collects enough light for target acquisition and identification, even in bad light and low contrast environments.
The reticle is Vortex Optics’ proprietary V-Plex reticle, which is designed for tactical engagement. The V-Plex reticle is similar to a duplex reticle, but the vertical and horizontal posts stop just short of the middle, creating an easy-to-locate, floating aiming point in the center of the field of view.
The center aiming point of the reticle is illuminated. This provides the simplest, most functional aiming mechanism for low light shooting.
The Crossfire is a second focal plane scope. However, this isn’t much of an issue since the reticle has no hash marks for elevation and range adjustments. The reticle retains its ideal size and aiming point at all magnifications.
Ultimately, the Crossfire is one of the best 1-4x scopes for an AR-15 on the market, and will enhance the performance of even the most expensive AR-15 builds.
For competitors and tactical professionals alike, the Vortex Optics Crossfire II 1-4x24mm is the best 1-4x scope for an AR-15 that will enhance the performance of your rifle in all contexts. You’ll get the most performance per dollar out of this scope.
Now that you know which scopes are going to get you the best optical performance for your AR-15, head out, grab a scope, and get some shooting done!