Modern scopes have become increasingly complicated in recent years. Precision shooters have definitely benefited from many of these technological advancements. However, sometimes the average shooter is better served by something simpler and easy to use, and it doesn’t get much simpler or easier than a classic fixed power scope.
Although fixed power optics are certainly less complex than their variable power relatives, they shouldn’t be considered rustic or outdated. In fact, fixed power scopes have plenty to offer modern shooters However, finding the best fixed power scope isn’t always simple.
The market is flooded with a plethora of fixed power optics. However, some of those optics are low-quality, cheap versions that aren’t worth their weight in salt. It can also be hard to tell the difference between a quality fixed power optic and one of those cheap discount versions.
That’s where we come in. We’ve done most of the hard work for you by combing the internet and using our own personal experiences to bring you this comprehensive guide to fixed power scopes. We also have some detailed reviews of some of our current favorites.
If you’re in a hurry and don’t have time for the details, here are our best picks for Fixed Power Scope:
- Leupold FX-3 6×42
- Hawke Vantage 4×32
- Bushnell BT1040 Tac Optic 10×40
- Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn 4×32
- Trijicon ACOG 6×48 Scope
- Sig Sauer Bravo3 Battle Sight 3×24
- Monstrum Tactical Stealth Series 3×32
- Nikon P-Tactical .223 3×32 BDC Carbine
- TRUGLO 4×32 Compact Rimfire Riflescope
Table of Contents
- The Benefits of a Fixed Power Scope
- Choosing Magnification
- Best Fixed Power Scope on the Market Reviews
- Final Thoughts
The Benefits of a Fixed Power Scope
Shooters can be easily seduced by the cool bells and whistles on modern variable power scopes. There’s no doubt that modern technology has taken variable power optics to new levels of accuracy and performance. In capable hands, modern rifle scopes can help shooters achieve greater precision and repeatable accuracy at greater distances than ever before.
However, there’s something elegant about the simplicity of a fixed power scope. And believe it or not, there are plenty of benefits to opting for a simpler optic.
Fixed power scopes have fewer moving parts than their variable power cousins. That means there are fewer parts that can break or move out of place when you’re in the field.
Fewer parts also increases the overall durability of the optic. It also means that fixed power scopes will generally hold their zero better than more complex variable optics. Some fixed power scopes have been known to hold zero for decades without needing to be adjusted.
Fixed power scopes contain fewer lenses. Since small amounts of light are lost to refraction each time light passes through glass, fixed power scopes typically provide brighter images. This can be a serious advantage when shooting in low light conditions.
With fewer power changing lenses, fixed power optics have shorter eyepieces than the average variable power optic. The shorter eyepiece means you can usually mount a fixed power scope farther forward on the action. That forward mount can save your eye from the harsh recoil of heavy-hitting cartridges like .338 Lapua. It also makes a fixed power scope a solid option for a scout set-up.
Modern variable power scopes have tons of adjustability. While adjustability makes these optics incredibly versatile, it also makes for a rather complicated scope.
Shooters have the luxury of time to adjust magnification, parallax, focus, etc when shooting from a benchrest. However, those complicated adjustments can be a liability in most hunting or tactical situations.
In snap shooting situations, simpler fixed power scopes allow the practiced shooter to achieve a good sight picture, judge the holds, and pull off a shot in a fraction of a second. He won’t even need to turn any knobs or dials to do it.
With fewer internal components, fixed power scopes are seriously lightweight compared to most variable power scopes. If you need to tote a rifle through miles of rough backcountry, a fixed power scope can make your trip much easier.
Variable power scopes can cost three to four times as much as a quality fixed power optic. This makes them a smart choice for the shooter on a shoestring budget.
Because fixed power scopes don’t offer a range of magnification so you can zoom in and out on distant targets, you’ll need to carefully consider the power of your scope. Once you have that optic mounted on your rifle, you won’t be able to change the magnification without swapping out the whole optic, so you’ll need to choose wisely.
For home defense applications or for hunting in thick woods for close range or fast-moving game, choose a scope with 4x magnification (or less). This will make your short-range shoots faster and more accurate.
If you need a scope for big game hunting in forests or mountains, most of your shots will probably be within 200 yards. In this case, a scope with 6x magnification should serve you well.
If you’re a long-range target shooter or a hunter that regularly makes shots across cropland, prairie, or open desert, you should probably opt for a fixed power scope with 10x magnification, especially if most of your shots range beyond 200 yards.
Best Fixed Power Scope on the Market Reviews
If you need some direction, here are just a few of what we consider the best fixed power scopes available to the modern shooter.
1 Leupold FX-3 6×42
This top-notch 6x rifle scope from industry leader Leupold features elegant lines, a wide easy-to-read duplex reticle, and a lockable fast-focus eyepiece.
The Leupold FX-3 is one tough scope. It features a durable housing made from machined aluminum. The optic is designed to survive a minimum of 5,000 impacts on Leupold’s recoil simulation machine (also known as The Punisher). Each impact from The Punisher delivers a force three times that of the recoil from a .308 rifle.
The FX-3 also features Leupold’s exclusive Twilight Light Management system. This system uses multiple full-spectrum lens coatings to deliver vivid, crisp target images. The sight picture of this scope has unparalleled brightness and clarity. Perfect for whitetail hunters, Twilight Light Management is designed to add an extra 15 minutes of shooting light at the beginning and end of each day when deer are most active.
2 Hawke Vantage 4×32
The Hawke Vantage 4x rifle scope is technically a budget optic, but it offers tons of value for the money. It features a 30-30 duplex crosshair reticle which provides 30 inches of spacing from post to post at 100 yards.
The glass on the Hawke Vantage is fully coated with eleven layers, providing provides stunning clarity for an optic in this price range.
Built for durability, the Hawke Vantage is made with a mono-tube chassis for extra strength. Shooters will also appreciate the low-profile, no-snag fingertip turrets and fast focus eye bell (a rare feature on a fixed power scope).
3 Bushnell BT1040 Tac Optic 10×40
If you need a fixed power scope for long range shooting, The Tac Optic from Bushnell offers serious 10x magnification, which is about as powerful as you can get from a fixed power optic.
This scope is built for tactical operations, and it makes a nice addition to an AR-15 or other modern sporting rifle.
The Tac Optic is built to withstand rough use on the battlefield. It features a solid, sturdy aluminum chassis and Bushnell’s patented EXO barrier protection lens coating. This unique coating protects lenses from dirt, oil, and water. It also prevents scratching, so you can enjoy crisp clear images for the life of the scope.
4 Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn 4×32
The Bushnell Banner series contains many configurations, and we’re big fans of them all. We particularly love this simple 4x riflescope. For a fixed power scope, it’s surprisingly versatile and feels right at home on rimfire rifles as well as big game rifles. You can even use it on a dedicated slug shotgun.
The Bushnell Banner 4x scope has a refreshingly wide field of view (31.5 feet at 100 yards) and a fast and simple Circle X reticle. This is the perfect scope for targeting fast-moving game.
Hunters will also love Bushnell’s Dusk and Dawn Brightness (DDB) multi-coated lenses. Designed to minimize glare and maximize light transmission, these coatings deliver crisp clarity and brightness, even in the dusky light conditions surrounding dawn and dusk.
5 Trijicon ACOG 6×48 Scope
Trijicon is best known for its battle-proven 4x ACOG (Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight), which is the same sight used by the United States Marine Corps on their M27 rifles. This is the 6x version of the same legendary ACOG, and it offers all the same performance as the 4x version. However, you get the bonus prize of a little extra magnification, so you can accurately pop targets at greater distances.
This optic might not get you to sniper level feats of accuracy, but it will get you pretty darn close. The ACOG 6x uses a BDC reticle that will help you compensate for the standard drop of .308 (7.62 NATO) loads out to 1200 meters.
The ACOG offers reliable, battery-free illumination using fiber optic and tritium technology. This makes it perfect for use on a survival rifle, especially in a SHTF scenario.
6 Sig Sauer Bravo3 Battle Sight 3×24
Prism scopes like this one from Sig Sauer use a special glass prism rather than standard lenses like traditional riflescopes. This design keeps these fixed magnification optics compact, lightweight, and perfect for tactical applications.
The Bravo3 Battle Sight is made with low dispersion glass and a spherical lens design that delivers a flat, distortion free sight picture. It also features a practical horseshoe dot reticle with BDC marks and multiple brightness settings, including eight optimized for daytime shooting and three specifically for night vision.
7 Monstrum Tactical Stealth Series 3×32
This tough little fixed power scope from Monstrum Tactical has a minimalist design and a seriously sturdy build. Made with a rigid one-piece machined aluminum body, the Stealth Series takes up only 6 inches of rail space and weighs a paltry 15 ounces.
The 3x magnification is perfect for close to mid-range shooting, and it will work perfectly for most practical hunting distances. It also features a clean, easy-to-read illuminated ranging reticle for easy, on-the-fly ranging and holdovers.
8 Nikon P-Tactical .223 3×32 BDC Carbine
The P-Tactical fixed power riflescope from Nikon is packed with tons of high-performance features. It comes with fully multi-coated optics, ergonomic spring-loaded instant zero-reset turrets, and a fast-focus eyepiece.
Rugged and durable, the P-Tactical is made with a one-inch, aircraft-grade aluminum main tube that is nitrogen purged and o-ring sealed. This makes the optic reliably fog proof and waterproof. It also ensures the scope can easily shrug off the shock of hard-hitting recoil and still hold its zero.
This is a .223 dedicated model, making it a great option for your AR-15. For even greater feats of accuracy, the BDC Carbine reticle can be optimized with Nikon’s Spot On Ballistic Technology.
9 TRUGLO 4×32 Compact Rimfire Riflescope
This surprisingly affordable fixed power scope from TRUGLO is ideal for air rifle and .22lr rimfire weapons. It features fully coated lenses that deliver great brightness, clarity, and contrast. It even performs fairly well in low light, although you shouldn’t expect the same image quality you would get from a more expensive rifle scope.
The TRUGLO Compact Rimfire Scope is pretty rugged, too. It is built from durable aluminum and features a tough, scratch-resistant matte finish that is perfect for the woods. You can even choose to have your scope finished with the popular Realtree Xtra pattern if you want to totally disappear into the scenery.
Whether you want a low-cost alternative to an expensive modern optic or you’re just after something simple and reliable, a fixed power scope could be the answer to your prayers. Uncomplicated and easy to use, the best fixed power scope helps you get on target fast and still make precision long range shots. Although fancy, variable power optics can be alluring, especially to high-tech and gear junkies, the classic simplicity of a fixed power scope can be far more functional when it comes to real world shooting.
Mike Sexton says
I am the owner of Iron sight Inc. We repair thousands of rifle and pistol scopes each year. I myself have been repairing and designing rifle for over 30 years. McKinley has hit the bail on the head. Fixed Power scopes have less working parts and overall are more reliable than variables because of less working parts. Also the reticle being set to the center of the optical axis is more critical in a variable scope than a fixed power. I have been called at the the shop by customers wanting me to recomend a good general hunting scope and I always recomend a fixed power for those starting out. I have also found and consider this that 98% of hunters and competitors out there put there variable scope on the highest power or one power zero it and leave it there. Great Article McKinley!
McKinley Downing says
Thanks so much Mike!