Nightforce Scope Review – 2021 Round-up

| Last Updated: June 2, 2021

Nightforce is popular for making some very innovative and rugged long-range scopes for civilian and military use. Which also includes some amazing night vision and spotting scopes. But their product line is quite extensive to scour for a good pick.

That’s where this review is going to help you find out the best Nightforce scopes and their qualities. So let’s check it out. 

Comparison of the Best Nightforce Scopes

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Extra large objective lens than similar power scopes
  • Allows rapid return to zero with the zeroset™ feature
  • Amazing clarity, crispness, and contrast at all powers
View Latest Price →
  • Rigorously tested for shock at 1250 G’s force
  • Titanium beta erector spring and .125 MOA clicks
  • Illuminated SFP reticle with 10 brightness settings
View Latest Price →
  • Suitable for short to medium range hunting
  • Solid 6061 T-6 aluminum body for durability
  • Can withstand severe weather conditions and recoil
View Latest Price →
  • Full HD lenses with a hydrophobic coating
  • Prism design for clarity and less eye fatigue
  • Choose between the angled or straight eyepiece
View Latest Price →
  • Short to long-range tactical and hunting scope
  • Illuminated MOAR reticle to reach out to 2000 yds
  • 1 MOA turret spacings and 20 MOA scale below the center
View Latest Price →
  • Very high variable power for ultra-long-range
  • Fast focus eyepiece & 92% transmission ED glass
  • ZeroStop™ and Hi-Speed™ adjustments are standard
View Latest Price →

Who is Nightforce?

Nightforce Optics is a U.S based company with its headquarters in Orofino, Idaho. It was established in 1992 and is a subsidiary of Lightforce Performance Lighting, an Australian manufacturer of specialty lighting products. The company is renowned for manufacturing high-grade firearm optics and has also won several military contracts. Their line of night vision scopes is also quite popular.

The optics and components for all Nightforce scopes are manufactured in Japan and assembled, tested, and packaged at their facility in Lavonia, Georgia. 

Review of the Best Nightforce Scopes

As already mentioned, Nightforce has a wide array of scopes to offer. But some of its scopes are more valued and offer a more comprehensive design to suit multiple or specific applications. These scopes being reviewed here are the best from Nightforce on some parameter or the other.

Best Overall:
NightForce SHV 5-20x56mm Riflescope

Pros

  • Four reticle choices to choose from
  • 25 yards to infinity parallax adjustment
  • ZeroSet™ helps with a rapid return to zero
  • Large objective lens projects brighter images
  • Tough, reliable design withstands heavy calibers

Cons

  • Slightly heavy
  • Should’ve been an FFP scope

NightForce SHV 5-20x56mm Riflescope Specs

  • Type of Optic: Riflescope

  • Reticle Style: Forceplex/MOAR. Illuminated or non-illuminated

  • Magnification Level: 5-20x

  • Weight: 29.1 oz

  • Objective Lens Diameter: 56 mm

  • Field of View: 17.9 - 5 feet at 100 yards

Best Uses For the NightForce SHV 5-20x56mm Riflescope

The Nightforce SHV is a multipurpose riflescope that can be used for short, medium, and long-range shooting. The very large objective size of 56 mm is more than enough to deliver impeccable clarity and crispness in images. Even under very low light conditions. This scope is best suited for hunting and the illuminated reticle variant with the MOAR reticle can also be used for dedicated marksmanship applications. 

Is the NightForce SHV 5-20x56mm Riflescope Compatible With Any Rifle? 

This scope has been built like a rock. You can mount it on any rifle regardless of caliber. Since the lowest magnification setting is just 5x, this scope can be mounted on low caliber rifles with appropriate weight and rail space. 

What Do I Need to Know About Mounting the NightForce SHV 5-20x56mm Riflescope?

The SHV 5-20x weighs close to 30 ounces and has a large 56 mm objective lens. This will require you to use a sturdy high mount to properly accommodate it on your rifle. The ZeroSet™ can be adjusted using a hex key and the detailed instructions for which have been mentioned in the instruction manual. 

The scope is very rugged and reliable so you don’t have to worry much about bumps and drops. The windage turret however has a cap that has to be removed to make adjustments.

Runner-up:
NightForce 12-42x56mm Precision Benchrest

Pros

  • Thicker tube than other riflescopes
  • Large objective lens for bright images
  • Rigorously tested for recoil and impact
  • High magnifying power for an extra-long range
  • Fine .125 (⅛ MOA) turret calibrations for precision

Cons

  • Bulky and small eye box
  • Second Focal Plane Reticle

NightForce 12-42x56mm Precision Benchrest Specs 

  • Type of Optic: Benchrest Riflescope

  • Reticle Style: Red Illuminated NP-R2/2D 

  • Magnification Level: 12 - 42 x

  • Weight: 36 oz

  • Objective Lens Diameter: 56 mm

  • Field of View: 2.3 - 6.7 feet

Best Uses For the NightForce 12-42x56mm Precision Benchrest

This is a precision benchrest shooting scope that can be used for competitions and tactical marksmanship. It’s use for hunting stands quite limited because the minimum magnification offered by this scope (12x) is suited for very few game targets. However, this scope is very well suited for long-range PRS style matches due to the fine reticle, ⅛ MOA turret adjustments, and high magnifying power. 

Is the NightForce 12-42x56mm Precision Benchrest Compatible With Any Rifle? 

This scope will work best with long-range precision rifles only. Its magnifying power, size, and weight are all significant deterrents to use it now assault or low caliber rifles. The minimum shooting range for this rifle is 250-300 yards.

What Do I Need to Know About Mounting the NightForce 12-42x56mm Precision Benchrest?

This scope is 17 inches in length and weighs 36 ounces. Plus a large objective lens of 56 mm. Which calls for a sturdy high rise mount/ring to accommodate this scope. The scope works amazingly in low light conditions. But you might want to increase the brightness settings in broad daylight. Since lower settings (up to 3) are quite fine and may limit visibility. 

Pros

  • Good eye relief of 3.6 inches
  • Reasonably priced for what it offers
  • Exceptional build quality and design
  • Balanced magnifying power to suit many uses
  • Large 56 mm objective lens for bright and clear images

Cons

  • Doesn’t have a zero stop
  • Included lens cap is flimsy

NightForce SHV 4-14x56 .250 MOA Riflescope Specs

  • Type of Optic: Riflescope

  • Reticle Style: Forceplex/MOAR illuminated/non-illuminated

  • Magnification Level: 4-14x. 

  • Weight: 28 oz

  • Objective Lens Diameter: 56 mm

  • Field of View: 24.9 - 7.3 ft

Best Uses For the NightForce SHV 4-14x56 .250 MOA Riflescope

The SHV 4-14x is best suited for hunting and benchrest shooting. It has a balanced variable magnification that allows it to be used for short and medium range. The good build quality lets you carry it through woods and bush without any damage. This is a second focal plane scope which isn’t an issue as the turrets are already very easy to use. 

Is the NightForce SHV 4-14x56 .250 MOA Riflescope Compatible With Any Rifle? 

The scope will work with low and high caliber rifles. From plinking M14’s to shooting .338 Lapua bolt actions. This scope will suit most rifles if they can accept their weight and length. 

What Do I Need to Know About Mounting the NightForce SHV 4-14x56 .250 MOA Riflescope?

As already mentioned, the weight and length of this scope are on the higher side. Which calls for apt care when using this scope on the field. Since it will be used for hunting, that is somewhat a drawback. The 56 mm objective needs high scope rings/mount. However, the eye relief is enough to let you make adjustments for cheek weld/position. 

Best Nightforce Spotting Scope:
NightForce TS-82 20-70x Xtreme Hi-Definition

Pros

  • Quick release bayonet mount
  • Amazing clarity on all magnifications
  • Available in an angled or straight body
  • Comes with a well-organized carry case
  • Waterproof housing and hydrophobic lens

Cons

  • Front lens cover may feel flimsy

NightForce TS-82 20-70x Xtreme Hi-Definition Specs

  • Type of Optic: Spotting Scope

  • Reticle Style: NA

  • Magnification Level: 20 - 70 x

  • Weight: 63 oz

  • Objective Lens Diameter: 82 mm

  • Field of View: 48.7 - 123.1 ft at 100 yds

Best Uses For the NightForce TS-82 20-70x Xtreme Hi-Definition

Being a spotting scope, the best use for it is long distance sightseeing. The 70x magnification allows you to see objects over 2000 yards. This scope is best suited for birdwatching, spotting targets at long range, stargazing, and wildlife observation and photography. You can also strap over your camera on the eyepiece to capture stunning images with exceptional clarity. 

Is the NightForce TS-82 20-70x Xtreme Hi-Definition Compatible With Any Rifle? 

Since it is a spotting scope. Compatibility with any rifle is seemingly out of the question because it will work anywhere you have to sight targets. Even for rifles with a very long shooting range. You can use it for PRS competitions with medium to heavy caliber rifles for distances greater than 400 yards. 

What Do I Need to Know About Mounting the NightForce TS-82 20-70x Xtreme Hi-Definition?

This spotting scope features a quick-release bayonet mount that can be quickly attached or detached with a tripod. Make sure you use a sturdy tripod with this scope because of its heavy weight. Plus, you’d not want such an expensive scope to get a bruise because of a faulty low-cost tripod. It comes with a very good quality soft carry case along with several other inclusions for maintenance.

Best Nightforce Hunting Scope:
NightForce NXS Tactical Riflescope

Pros

  • Offers 100 MOA of internal adjustment
  • Quick target acquisition in all conditions
  • Tough and virtually indestructible design
  • Illuminated reticle and large objective lens
  • Zerostop helps with an instant return to zero

Cons

  • Pricier than similar scopes

NightForce NXS Tactical Riflescope Specs 

  • Type of Optic: Tactical riflescope

  • Reticle Style: MOAR

  • Magnification Level: 5.5 - 22x

  • Weight: 31 oz

  • Objective Lens Diameter: 50 mm

  • Field of View: 4.7 - 17.5 ft at 100 yds

Best Uses For the NightForce NXS Tactical Riflescope

This scope is best suited for tactical applications where engaging the target quickly is of prime importance. The MLR reticle is excellent for long-range shooting since it offers ample holdover. This scope is perfect for hunting and engaging targets in tactical operations at quickly varying ranges. 

The magnifying power offers a mix of applications for short to medium range. The reticle is illuminated and coupled with the large objective, which allows for low light shooting. 

Is the NightForce NXS Tactical Riflescope Compatible With Any Rifle? 

The scope works best when mounted with .223 and .308 caliber rifles. The 4x zoom ratio and the 5.5-20x magnification are best suited for medium caliber rifles. Due to its size and rugged design, the scope is also compatible with high caliber rifles that create a heavy recoil. 

What Do I Need to Know About Mounting the NightForce NXS Tactical Riflescope?

Mounting and zeroing this scope is very easy. The turrets are fairly low profile and prevent the scope from snagging or hindering naked eye visibility. The included instruction manual is very descriptive and will guide you about setting the zerostop. 

Durability is not an issue with this optic and you can toss it in your truck without worrying about damage or even zero shiftings.

Best Nightforce Long Range Scope:
NightForce Competition 15-55x52mm Riflescope

Pros

  • Amazing clarity and brightness
  • Fast focus European style eyepiece
  • Considerably lightweight despite its power
  • Turrets quickly adjust to switch among settings
  • Very high magnification for extra long-range shooting

Cons

  • Low eye relief and small eye box

NightForce Competition 15-55x52mm Riflescope Specs

  • Type of Optic: Ultra long-range riflescope

  • Reticle Style: CTR/FTR/DDR

  • Magnification Level: 15 - 55 x

  • Weight: 27.87 oz

  • Objective Lens Diameter: 52 mm

  • Field of View: 1.83 - 6.91 ft at 100 yds

Best Uses For the NightForce Competition 15-55x52mm Riflescope

The most justified and appropriate use for this scope is competitions. Nightforce designed this scope, especially for competitions. The high magnifying power, turret caps marked with big numbers, fact focus eyepiece, and astounding clarity are what make it suitable for ideal precision at the farthest ranges. 

The zerostop™ and hi-speed™ turret adjustments are other extra factors that add to its function for long-range accuracy. 

Is the NightForce Competition 15-55x52mm Riflescope Compatible With Any Rifle?

Buyers have been using this scope successfully with rifles as low powered as the .22lr and as heavy as the 50 BMG. The rugged design does not limit the use of this scope. But yes, the 15x magnification is not a comprehensible setting for all applications. 

What Do I Need to Know About Mounting the NightForce Competition 15-55x52mm Riflescope?

Perhaps it is obvious that the scope of such high magnifying power will require a good stable bipod for use. Especially when you are using it for competitions and benchrest shooting. The scope comes packaged with two extra turret caps with numbers marked in big and bold for quick estimations. Mounting and removing them is easy, but make sure to carry them safely or you’ll end up losing them, since the caps are not tethered.

Types of Scopes From Nightforce 

Nightforce has been selling optics for quite some time now. Over the years, the company has developed some fantastic and revolutionary scope designs and has also expanded into other types of firearm and non-firearm related optics. 

Riflescopes

This is the primary and the most extensive line of optics from the company. Nightforce is more renowned for its long and ultra-long-range precision scopes and spotting scopes. The company offers 7 different categories of riflescopes. Each is designed for specific applications and conditions. These are: 

  • ATACR™ ("Advanced Tactical Riflescope")

  • B.E.A.S.T. ("Best Example of Advanced Scope Technology") 

  • SHV™ ("Shooter Hunter Varminter")

  • Competition™ series

  • Precision Benchrest™ series

  • NX8™ 1-8×24 F1

  • NXS™ ("Nightforce Xtreme Scope") 

Spotting Scopes

Nightforce offers the TS-82 series of spotting scopes with two variations. The 20-70x and 20-60x. Apart from these two options, the company offers accessories for spotting scopes. 

Nightforce vs Vortex & Huskemaw - Comparison Overview 

Nightforce offers some of the best long-range scopes out there. But it’s still not alone and has some stiff competition. We’ll compare the Nightforce line of scopes with similar offerings from Vortex and Huskemaw to find out where it leads and lags. 

Nightforce vs Vortex

This is a hard comparison to make with only teensy differences in the quality and performance of these scopes. Both have their die-hard fan following. But for a general comparison Vortex scopes offer better affordability than Nightforce. Sometimes even with better reticle choices. 

You’ll find Vortex scopes costing above $1500 generally equipped with an FFP reticle. Nightforce however, is a bit more expensive and offers better image quality. With that said, Nightforce scopes are mostly designed for long and ultra-long-range precision and suit tactical marksmanship applications. 

Nightforce vs Huskemaw

Huskemaw scopes are simpler in design and function when compared with Nightforce scopes. The latter manufactures scopes with applications more inclined towards competitive and tactical marksmanship uses.

The Huskemaw line of scopes isn’t quite popular out there. Whereas the Nightforce is used by pro-competitive shooters and expert special forces operators. So overall, it is a more tested and reputed line of scopes. However, that comment isn’t meant to degrade Huskemaw scopes. They are a good more affordable option but with some application limitations and not-so-advanced design.

How to Set Zero Stop on Nightforce Scopes

NF scopes with zerostop™ adjustment have crowned turrets with two opposing set screws that secure the cap. You’ll need an allen key to turn screws on the zerostop™ clutch plate. Check out the video below from Nightforce to learn more. 

Conclusion 

Nightforce optics is a US-based company headquartered in Georgia and owned by an Australian optics manufacturing firm. The company has been manufacturing scopes for about three decades now and has earned a solid reputation for manufacturing high quality long and ultra-long-range scopes. While their scopes are priced way too much for budget buyers, they are not meant for casual uses either. 

People Also Ask

Let’s find out the answers to some common and uncommon queries about using, buying, or modifying a Nightforce riflescope. 

Can a Nightforce Reticle Be Changed?

Yes. You can send your scope to Nightforce and ask them to change the reticle. It usually costs around $300 - $400 and will take about 4-6 weeks to get it back. 

What is the Best Nightforce Scope For 1000 Yards?

The best Nightforce scope for 1000 yards is the NXS series 5.5-22x56 riflescope. It will help you engage targets at short as well as long-range as it has just the right amount of maximum and minimum magnification. 

Ankit has been a writer for almost a decade now and has developed a diverse portfolio. His love for writing led him to turn down his lavish and lucrative career as a software engineer, twisting the reins of his life towards being a full-time writer. He only does what he loves. His hobbies include gardening, reading, shooting, and most of all - learning new things in every context (hence why he chose to be a writer). His whimsical nature and love for writing fosters creativity in all of his work