Have you looked at modern scopes and thought, “I wish there was something simpler”? Although we’ve shown you great choices, contemporary scopes generally do pack in a lot of features you may not need at a high cost. The solution for you is probably a fixed power scope. Let’s examine why that is, along with a look at the best fixed power scopes available.
Comparison of the Best Fixed Power Scopes
|View Latest Price →|
|View Latest Price →|
|View Latest Price →|
|View Latest Price →|
|View Latest Price →|
|View Latest Price →|
What is a Fixed Power Scope?
You know how most scopes these days offer a huge magnification range, allowing you to go from 200% to 1,600% enlargement? Well, a fixed power scope is, as the name suggests, fixed to a single magnification power. Usually, but not always, fixed power scopes also offer a more stripped-down set of features so that you can focus on shooting and not fiddling with settings you don’t need.
Basically, they are designed to appeal to minimalists who know what they like, but they can appeal to many users on a budget, too. That’s because a fixed-power scope is often a lot cheaper than a scope that has to use expensive parts to replicate an optimum view under a variety of magnifications and conditions.
That isn’t to say they’re an inferior alternative. Far from it, in fact, and you can bet we’ve rounded up some very well-made and tempting products for you in our review section.
Why Use a Fixed Power Scope?
Now that you know what a fixed power scope is, let’s look at some reasons you might want to opt for one over a variable scope.
Not having to fiddle with your magnification level means not having to fiddle with a lot of other stuff, too. You’re far less likely to have to adjust windage and elevation. Parallax? Forget it. Simplicity means more than just no hassle, as it also means you’ll be quicker to take a shot.
Because fixed scopes don’t require the complicated, moving parts in variable scopes, and because less engineering is required, it’s possible to get a very high-quality scope for a fraction of what a decent quality variable scope would run you. That said, manufacturers know this, and some try to push cheap products of mediocre quality, so read our list—and watch out!
If you guessed that less complicated parts made the scope lighter, you’d be right. If you want to stalk your prey or use a super-fast carbine, you’ll enjoy the lighter and smaller fixed scope, which are often measured in ounces!
This is subjective, to say the least, but skill goes a long way in compensating for magnification. Skill, combined with a good reticle and other factors, can make magnification relatively unimportant if you’re shooting from reasonable distances. Many hunters also believe variable magnification can become a crutch, dampening the development of other critical skills.
Review of the Best Fixed Power Scopes
Now that you better understand what a fixed power scope is and why it is a great investment, let’s take a look at the best products on the market today. To make things easier, we’ve categorized each scope according to why it belongs on the list, but be sure to thoroughly read our review to make sure you get the best item for your hard-earned money!
Trijicon’s ACOG scopes need little introduction. Most shooters are well aware of the ACOG’s popularity, both among civilians and military.
One reason for the ACOG’s popularity is its tank-like construction. Built from single-piece aluminum with a Cerakote finish, they are fully waterproof, fog-proof, and shockproof.
Additionally, since illumination is entirely from a fiber optic cable with tritium, there is no need to worry about batteries. This means the ACOG is always ready for reliable performance in any conditions.
Their functionality is just as stable. ACOGs hold zero exceptionally well and are super-accurate. Enhancing this is the ability to choose your preferred reticle. Whether you want a horseshoe, triangle, chevron, or just a basic crosshair, they’ve got it on offer, and each comes with a bullet drop compensator.
These reticles are a great boon to the ACOG’s ability to handle many ranges. At 4x magnification, it’s a great compromise between near and far. You should easily be able to shoot from a close range and your long-distance shooting will largely come down to your skill, but thanks to the variety of reticles and bullet drop compensation, there’s a lot of built-in assistance.
Overall, it is an excellent scope, and there is very little to nitpick about. You even get a lifetime warranty, as you always do with a Trijicon product. While we think it’s the best on our list, it’s not a budget solution, even though it does offer great value. We think it’s an excellent standard for a fixed scope unless you’re looking for a different magnification level or really need a budget solution.
Trijicon’s ACOG scopes are legendary for their reliable performance and durability in any environment or weather. At 4x magnification, you’ll enjoy a great, balanced zoom and clear picture no matter when or where you need it.
Those looking for a more budget solution, or perhaps just a bit less magnification, should greatly enjoy the Primary Arms 3x Compact Prism Scope.
Compact is a key word here and the scope is very well-designed with minimal bulk, allowing it to weigh in at about 1.5 pounds, which is a little over half the weight of many other fixed scopes, and substantially lighter than variable scopes. This makes it a premier choice for hunters who like to stay on the move as well as for sports shooting.
That said, there’s no skimping on the construction. The scope is made from aircraft aluminum and is nitrogen-purged. You’ll also get full water, shock, and fog proofing.
Additionally, the lenses are scratch-resistant and multi-coated for a very bright picture. As for the reticle, it is etched into the front lens and features 12 battery-operated brightness settings. A horseshoe with quick ranging, wind holds, and moving target, it offers a lot of guides without being terribly intrusive.
We find that the scope holds zero very well even with a lot of recoil, making it a great choice for those who will be using more powerful ammunition, such as the .450 Bushmaster or other high grains.
At 3x magnification, it’s about as good a balance as the aforementioned 4x that’s our top choice, and slightly more accommodating to shorter ranges, but this is offset somewhat by the reticle.
Primary Arms has offered the best fixed 3x power scope on the market today. Not only is it rugged and durable, but it comes with a great reticle and an unbeatable price tag.
If you have a fair amount of hunting experience, you may want to consider a higher-powered scope such as the Bushnell Tactical 10x. A fixed scope of this power can be very tricky for those who don’t have substantial experience, but for those who do, having the ability to see clearly at a distance without fiddling with all the options—or trying to hold zero—can make for much faster shooting.
When opting for such a scope, quality is critical, and this scope delivers. First off, you get a very accommodating 40mm objective lens for a super-wide view, which is highly beneficial at 10x. It also helps draw in a superior amount of light for a super-bright picture even in the darkest of conditions.
You’ll also enjoy a mil-dot reticle backed by target turrets, which are finger-adjustable and provide audible clicks.
One of our favorite things about this scope is that Bushnell has applied their proprietary RainGuard HD coating along with regular multi-coating for the lenses, which means water and fog simply will not stay on the glass. It also works exceptionally well against grease and debris.
Construction of the main body is top-notch, with an aircraft aluminum tube finished with black nitride for corrosion resistance and a stealthy black matte. Additionally, it has been argon-purged and O-ring sealed. Water, fog, and shock are no match for this fully-proofed scope, and that’s backed by a lifetime warranty.
A fixed 10x scope isn’t for everyone, but the Bushnell Tactical 10x40 Rifle Scope is perfect for the long-range hunter who wants the best set of features to achieve success.
As an all-around, solid fixed power hunting scope, we love the SWFA SS Tactical Riflescope. What’s particularly great about this scope is that while it’s a fixed magnification, which introduces great cost savings, it also offers all the features you could ask for—if you want to employ them.
For example, you get fully adjustable windage, elevation, and even parallax. You don’t need to adjust these, especially the parallax, if you don’t want to, but it’s convenient to have the option. You can rest assured it will hold zero just fine regardless of your ammunition type.
Perhaps the best feature, however, is the giant 42mm objective lens. You’ll note that this is the widest lens on our list and it’s a big part of why we think hunters will appreciate this scope. Not only do you have an unrivaled view, but also exceptional light clarity. A view this wide at 10x means you’ll find your target very, very quickly while crisp light clarity means you’ll discern features and details you normally wouldn’t be able to, getting you a perfect shot.
Of course, it is waterproof, fog-proof, and shock-proof. It features single-piece aluminum construction with a black nitride finish to ensure corrosion resistance and minimal light reflection.
As for the reticle, it is a standard mil-quad reticle, but it is worth noting that the etching is incredibly sharp. You’ll enjoy a lot of very precise aiming.
It is a bit on the heavier side, at 1.6 pounds, but you should expect that from a 10x scope, especially if it is made well and offers such a wide objective lens.
For those shooting from long ranges, a 10x fixed scope is a great choice, but add a 42mm objective lens, and you’ve got a beautifully efficient scope that will make for superior targeting and results.
If you’re looking for the best compact fixed scope for your AR-15, look no further than the CVLIFE Rifle Scope. What we really love here is how accessible it is at an unbeatable low price. At 4x, it is perfect for mid-range hunting, combat, or sport, while flexible enough to go shorter or longer when the need arises.
You’ll enjoy a glass-etched reticle with three illumination colors—red, green, and blue. This is a great feature, as in some environments certain colors are less likely to be discernable. In particular, green is often more visible during the day time. Blue is a bit unique to reticles, and we can’t say it has a distinct advantage, but more options is always a great thing.
Additionally, there are three brightness levels thanks to a battery-powered light source. Should your battery fail, however, you thankfully have a fiberoptic base which should allow for sufficient operation in many lighting conditions.
All of these features don’t mean they skimped on the construction. You’ll get a high-quality aluminum alloy with a black matte finish. The scope has been treated for protection from shock and is nitrogen filled for fog resistance.
At this price, that’s quite a steal! The picture is even surprisingly crystal clear and fully multi-coated. The 32mm isn’t a particularly wide lens, but it does get the job done at 4x, and sufficient light filters through even in dark conditions.
There’s definitely a lot to love here. Our only minor gripe would be that the construction does seem to have many components. Generally, we prefer scopes that use the most minimal build possible to ensure longevity. Given that there’s no warranty, it’s something to watch—but at this price, it’s really not a big problem.
While it’s a budget option, the honest truth is that the CVLIFE Tactical Scope is also just really darn good. You may wish to invest in a pricier alternative if you can, but just about anyone can easily pick up this scope, which offers excellent durability, features, and view clarity.
If you’ve read any of our other reviews, you may know that we love Nikon scopes by now. They’ve been in the business of making excellent lenses at a reasonable cost for many applications and their scopes are no exception. They don’t just throw out scopes because they can, either, but really pack in features that show they are passionate about making hunters happy.
Case in point is the Nikon P-Tactical, which comes in many models offering a lot of different options, most notably in magnification power and objective lens diameter. That’s pretty standard for Nikon, and we love it. For the most part, you can choose from 3 or 4x magnification.
If you’re going fixed, we recommend the 3x, but this model does have a lot of variable powers too, that are quite reasonable. If you’re mostly looking for a low price and low magnification power, they also have a brilliant 1.5-4x which may be perfect for you.
Anyway, regardless of your choice, you’ll get a heck of a lot. To start off, you get Nikon’s beautifully multi-coated lenses which offer excellent brightness even in super dark conditions. The lenses are further treated to shrug off moisture and oils. Of course, as always with Nikon, you get a waterproof, fog-proof, shock-proof, and corrosion-resistant design.
Nikon also offers their proprietary reticle, the MK1-MOA and MK1-MRAD, which are specifically designed for the .223 Rem 5.56 NATO rounds and offer superior precision at virtually any range. Hash marks are indicated from 100 to 600 yards.
You also get spring-loaded elevation and windage knobs on capped turrets. It’s often the details that Nikon really nails, and just like with their beautiful reticle, the turrets are simply beautifully detailed and easy to read, and they operate as smoothly as butter.
Like all Nikon scopes, we find it to inhabit that excellent spot between a value product and premium product. Light on the wallet but filled with attentive details that will make your life easier, this is definitely a great scope. Our only consistent issue with Nikon is that although they do include a warranty, many customers have complained about the redemption process.
We’ve yet to find a Nikon scope we don’t love, and this is yet another example of their deep understanding of what every hunter needs. With a custom-made reticle, superior protection from the elements, and an all-around smooth operation, it’s a pleasure to use.
Aspects to Consider When Buying a Fixed Power Scope
Before throwing your cash at a fixed power scope, stop to reflect on what you need from it. Fixed means fixed, so you don’t want to get stuck with a scope that isn’t designed just for you!
This should probably be your biggest concern. A 300% enlargement versus a 1,000% enlargement means the difference in being able to shoot up close or being optimized for long-range shooting. Those in the middle are a bit more versatile for mid-range shooting. If you can’t decide, it might be a sign that a variable scope is the better option for you.
Right after magnification power, you should be concerned about the lens width. The wider the lens, the bigger your picture. This is critical for higher powers. You might be able to see the smile on an ant’s face, but if you can’t find what you’re actually looking for, who cares?
While directly tied to objective diameter—the wider the lens, the brighter the picture—multi-coating and other factors determine the ultimate brightness of your picture.
Some use batteries, some don’t. If they do, you’ll enjoy an illuminated reticle, although a great scope doesn’t necessarily need it if it’s capturing light effectively. It does, however, mean that you will need to monitor how much juice it has left.
Whether you want a low-cost alternative to the expensive scopes out there or you’re frustrated with how overloaded so many variable scopes are with features, a fixed power scope is a great option. Use our guide to determine the ideal power for you and read our reviews to pick a winner that suits you.