I Tested the Best Low Light Rifle Scopes of 2023: Here are my Findings

Low light conditions present unique challenges for hunters and shooting enthusiasts, making it crucial to have the right equipment to ensure successful target identification and aiming.

Low light rifle scopes enable shooters to perform at their best even when visibility isn’t optimal, such as during twilight hours or in heavily shadowed areas.

Factors I Considered When Testing Low-Light Rifle Scopes

Rifle scopes come in various styles, but for low light conditions, it’s essential to consider factors like objective lens size, light transmission, and overall durability. The larger the objective lens, the more light it can gather, providing a brighter image even in darker conditions.

High-quality lens coatings and materials also play a crucial role in ensuring maximum light transmission, minimizing reflections, and improving image clarity.

I also looked at the type of reticle, magnification range, and overall build quality. A well-illuminated reticle with adjustable brightness can make target acquisition quick and easy, even when ambient light is fading.

Having a magnification range that suits the shooter’s desired range is essential for precision and accuracy. A durable and reliable build ensures the scope can withstand various weather conditions and maintain performance regardless of any bumps or knocks it might endure.

After careful consideration of these factors and countless hours of research, I’ve narrowed down the top low-light rifle scopes that cater to various needs and situations, ensuring the best experience hunting or shooting in limited light conditions.

Best Low Light Rifle Scopes

I have compiled a list of the best low light rifle scopes for you to enhance your hunting and shooting experience in low-light conditions. Check them out below!

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 3-12×56 Hog Hunter

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 3-12x56 Hog Hunter

I believe this riflescope is a fantastic choice for low-light hunting situations, providing excellent performance and reliability.


  • Exceptional low light performance
  • Durable and high-quality construction
  • Clear, bright, and easily adjustable optics


  • Slightly heavy for some users
  • Illuminated reticle might be too bright for some
  • Potential for minor debris inside the focal plane

Having used the Vortex Optics Crossfire II 3-12×56 Adjustable Objective Hog Hunter, I can confidently say that it excels in low-light conditions. The V-Brite illuminated reticle and oversized objective enabled me to make shots confidently even when in heavy cover or during dusk and dawn.

The adjustable objective offers me an image focus and parallax removal, while the anti-reflective and fully multi-coated lenses provide crisp, clear views. I find it easy to acquire targets quickly due to the lengthy eye relief and ultra-forgiving eye box. The fast-focus eyepiece allows me to focus on the reticle speedily, which is beneficial in the field.

As for build quality, the single-piece tube made from aircraft-grade aluminum assures me of its strength and shockproof performance. It’s O-ring sealed and nitrogen purged, so it’s waterproof and fogproof, ensuring the scope works in all weather conditions. The capped reset turrets are finger adjustable with MOA clicks and can be reset to zero after sighting in.

The Vortex Optics Crossfire II 3-12×56 Adjustable Objective Hog Hunter riflescope is an excellent investment for hunters seeking optimal low light performance. Its durable build, clear optics, and thoughtful features make it a reliable accessory for any hunting enthusiast.

Swampfox Arrowhead Tube Riflescope

Swampfox Arrowhead Tube Riflescope

I believe the Swampfox Arrowhead Tube Riflescope is an excellent purchase for those seeking good performance in low light conditions and versatility in magnification.


  • Wide field of view without sacrificing eye relief
  • User-friendly push/pull locking turrets and zero resettable feature
  • True 1x sight picture with 13 red reticle illumination brightness levels for low light compatibility


  • Fuzzy image around the edges of the glass
  • May require minor adjustments after initial zeroing in
  • Manufactured in China, despite being an American company

When I used the Swampfox Arrowhead Tube Riflescope, I was impressed by the state-of-the-art optical design that offered a wider field of view without losing eye relief.

The true 1x user experience provided a flat, fast-sight picture and an excellent eye box and brightness even at full magnification.

With 13 red reticle illumination brightness levels, including 2 that are super low light compatible, I found that this riflescope performed well in darker environments.

The push/pull locking turrets made it super easy to lock in any position to prevent unwanted adjustments without using tools. I could simply use a coin or screwdriver to adjust the zero resettable feature. In addition, the package came with an included throw lever that bolts directly to the magnification ring.

However, I did notice some downsides. The image appeared fuzzy around the edges of the glass, which slightly hindered my view when I was targeting at higher magnifications. Though it was easy to install and zero in, it may require minor adjustments after initial zeroing as I went further distances. Lastly, despite being an American company, the Swampfox Arrowhead Tube Riflescope is manufactured in China, which might be a concern for some buyers.

Overall, the Swampfox Arrowhead Tube Riflescope offers a great balance of features and is well-suited for those needing a versatile low-light riflescope.

Pinty 3-9X40 Rangefinder Illuminated Rifle Scope

Pinty 3-9X40 Rifle Scope

I recommend the Pinty 3-9X40 Rangefinder Illuminated Rifle Scope for its excellent clarity, durability, and value for money.


  • Exceptional display clarity
  • Durable and holds zero well
  • Great value for the price


  • Instructions can be difficult to understand
  • Adjustments may not work consistently
  • Some units could have quality control issues

After using the Pinty 3-9X40 Rangefinder Illuminated Rifle Scope, I was impressed by the exceptional clarity of the display. The view was crystal clear, making target acquisition an absolute breeze even in low light conditions. The green and red illuminations with 5-level brightness offer versatility, and the magnification range from 3X to 9X provides ample options for various shot distances.

The Pinty scope is fairly durable and has held zero well even after multiple uses. The package comes with everything you need to mount the scope on a 20mm Picatinny or Weaver mount rail, including two 1” complementary scope rings. One thing to note, though, is that the instructions could be clearer, as they seem to be written in English but with Chinese grammar.

While I enjoyed using the Pinty scope, it is important to be aware of some potential quality control issues. The windage and elevation adjustments might not always work as expected. Also, some users noted a few units having issues with the red/green reticle illumination. It’s essential to thoroughly test and ensure the proper functioning of the scope upon receiving the package.

I believe the Pinty 3-9X40 Rangefinder Illuminated Rifle Scope is a great option for those looking for a low light rifle scope that provides excellent clarity, durability, and value for money. Although some units may present quality control issues, the overall experience with this product was positive, and I think it’s worth considering for your next low light rifle scope purchase.

ATN X-Sight 4K Pro Smart Day/Night Hunting Scope

ATN X-Sight 4K Pro

I highly recommend the ATN X-Sight 4K Pro for its impressive performance in both day and night shooting and its advanced features that make for a seamless hunting experience.


  • Cutting-edge Ultra HD 4K Sensor
  • Built-in Ballistic Calculator
  • Enhanced HD Night Vision Mode


  • Slightly grainy when fully zoomed in
  • Infrared light performance inconsistencies
  • Struggles in extreme cold temperatures

From my experience, the ATN X-Sight 4K Pro has been a reliable companion when I’m out hunting. The Ultra HD 4K Sensor with the Obsidian 4 Dual Core Processor delivers high-resolution imagery with faster optics and millions of vivid colors, making it easy for me to spot my targets in various conditions.

The built-in Ballistic Calculator has been quite useful in helping me hunt responsibly. With features such as range, wind, multiple-weapon profiles, angle to target, temperature, humidity, and more, I can ensure that my shots hit the target every time.

Moreover, the Enhanced HD Night Vision Mode made it easier for me to hunt in low light conditions. The ATN X-Sight does not let darkness slow me down, and I could continue my hunting ventures even after the sun had set.

However, I did notice that the scope becomes a bit grainy when fully zoomed in. It did not affect the overall functionality of the scope, but it’s something to consider. Also, the infrared light performance tends to be inconsistent at times, which required some patience to get it working again.

Lastly, the ATN X-Sight 4K Pro struggled in extreme cold temperatures below -30 Celsius. But let’s be honest, I wasn’t at my best in those freezing conditions either!

Overall, the ATN X-Sight 4K Pro Smart Day/Night Hunting Scope is a fantastic choice for anyone looking to improve their hunting game. Despite minor setbacks, its solid performance, advanced features, and impressive night vision capabilities make it worth the investment.

Bushnell Banner 3-9x40mm Riflescope

Bushnell Banner Riflescope

This Bushnell Banner Riflescope is great for hunters seeking a reliable, bright, and accurate scope in low light conditions.


  • Bright and clear image with Dusk & Dawn Brightness (DDB) multi-coated lenses
  • Extended 6-inch eye relief for comfortable use
  • Argon purged fog-proofing and IPX7 waterproof construction


  • Made of plastic material
  • Adjustment wheels could be better
  • Some users reported issues with the reticle

I recently had the chance to use the Bushnell Banner 3-9x40mm Riflescope on my hunting trip, and I must say, I was quite impressed with its performance. The Dusk & Dawn Brightness (DDB) multi-coated lenses allowed me to spot targets easily, even in low light situations. The image quality was bright and crystal-clear, making it easy to acquire my target quickly.

The extended 6-inch eye relief was an excellent feature, especially during long hunting sessions. It kept me comfortable and prevented eye strain, allowing me to focus on my prey without any distractions. It’s worth mentioning that this Riflescope is made from plastic, which might not provide the same durability as metal scopes. However, it still performed well and held zero during my time with it.

While the scope was generally easy to adjust, the adjustment wheels could be a little better to offer smoother and more precise changes. I even noticed that some users reported issues with the reticle, but I didn’t face any such issue during my experience. Nonetheless, it could be a concern for some buyers.

The Argon purged fog-proofing and IPX7 waterproof construction ensured that I didn’t need to worry about my scope fogging up or getting damaged in wet conditions. It remained crystal-clear and functional throughout my entire trip.

The Bushnell Banner 3-9x40mm Riflescope is a reliable, bright, and accurate choice for a low light rifle scope. Considering its price, it performs exceptionally well in low light conditions and provides useful features like extended eye relief and fog-proofing. Just keep in mind the cons, like the plastic construction and potential reticle issues that other users reported.

Trijicon Credo HX Illuminated Hunting Riflescope

Trijicon Credo HX

The Trijicon Credo HX is a top pick for hunters in need of a reliable low light riflescope with excellent clarity and user-friendly adjustments.


  • Exceptional low light performance
  • Edge-to-edge clarity with no distortion
  • Easy windage and elevation adjustments


  • Green illumination not as bright as red
  • Could have better packaging
  • Slightly heavy

I recently took my Trijicon Credo HX Illuminated Hunting Riflescope out for a hunting trip, and I was really impressed with its low-light performance. It has user-selectable LED brightness settings, which allowed me to adapt to different lighting conditions with ease.

The fully multi-coated, broadband, anti-reflective glass provided excellent light transmission, true detail and color with zero distortion, making it easy to spot my target even in low light situations.

While using the riflescope, I appreciated the “both-eyes-open” shooting feature of the illuminated reticles, which offered a clear aiming point that drew my eye for fast engagement. The windage and elevation adjustments were crisp and precise, requiring no tools for adjustments which was incredibly convenient. The capped or zero stop adjusters also ensured no accidental shift during use.

One minor drawback was that the green illumination wasn’t as bright as the red option. If maximum daylight brightness is important to you, opting for the red version could be better. Another issue was the packaging – it could have been more secure and protected the scope better during shipping. Lastly, the riflescope did feel a bit heavy, but it didn’t hinder my overall experience too much.

Despite these minor issues, the Trijicon Credo HX Illuminated Hunting Riflescope performed exceptionally well during my hunting trip, and I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a reliable low light riflescope with excellent clarity and user-friendly adjustments.

CVLIFE 4×32 Tactical Rifle Scope

CVLIFE 4x32 Tactical Rifle Scope

The CVLIFE 4×32 Tactical Rifle Scope is an excellent budget-friendly scope for hunters who require low light capabilities.


  • Tri-illuminations for varying lighting conditions
  • High light transmission and resolution
  • Durable aluminum alloy construction


  • Not ideal for very long-range shots
  • No included instructions
  • Some users find it a bit low for comfortable use

I recently mounted this CVLIFE 4×32 Tactical Rifle Scope on my rifle and took it out on an early morning hunting trip. The first thing I noticed was the impressive tri-illuminations setting, which allowed me to perfectly adjust the brightness levels to match the lighting conditions in my environment. I found it particularly helpful during the low light times of day.

The scope itself is built from high-quality aluminum alloy, ensuring that it’s both durable and lightweight. As I moved through the woods, I felt confident that this scope could take a few knocks without any issues. However, I noticed that the scope sits a bit low, forcing me to push my cheek down onto the stock to see through it properly.

During my hunting trip, I benefited from the high light transmission and resolution provided by the green multi-layer coated lenses. Targets appeared crisp and clear in my scope, allowing me to take accurate shots. This scope might not be the best option for extremely long-range shooting due to its 4x magnification.

All in all, I am pleased with the performance of my CVLIFE 4×32 Tactical Rifle Scope. This scope offers an excellent balance of quality, performance, and affordability, making it a great option for anyone needing a low light rifle scope.

Pinty 3-9X40 Duplex Optical Hunting Rifle Scope Combo

Pinty 3-9X40 Duplex Optical Hunting Rifle Scope Combo

This rifle scope combo is worth considering, as it offers versatile features at an affordable price.


  • 3-in-1 tactical combo
  • Good magnification range
  • Easy-to-use rail mounting


  • Flashlight requires unusual battery size
  • Laser attachment could be tighter
  • No night vision

Recently, I had the opportunity to use the Pinty 3-9X40 Duplex Optical Hunting Rifle Scope Combo on my air rifle. I was impressed by the number of features packed into this scope. For various shooting scenarios, the combo comes with a long-range rifle scope, red dot laser sight, and torch flashlight, which provided great value for the money.

The 3-9x magnification range on the scope allowed for enhanced clarity in different environments, and I found the windage and elevation adjustment caps to be reliable in maintaining my settings. The flashlight, with an output of 120 lumens, helped illuminate dark environments. However, I noticed it required an unusual battery size, which was a bit inconvenient.

The side-mounted high-power laser pointer worked well for short-to-mid range targets, but I found the attachment to be a bit loose. It would be beneficial if the attachment could be tightened better. Additionally, this combo doesn’t come with night vision capabilities, but considering its affordable price, it is understandable.

Overall, the Pinty 3-9X40 Duplex Optical Hunting Rifle Scope Combo is a versatile and valuable package suited for airsoft, paintball, pellet guns, and even air rifles with applicable mounting systems. Just be prepared to source the flashlight’s battery and don’t expect night vision capabilities in this combo.

Buying Guide

When I’m choosing the best low light rifle scope, there are a few essential factors I consider. Let me share them with you, so you can make an informed decision for your needs.


In low light conditions, having the right magnification is crucial. A scope with too much magnification can obstruct the view, while too little might make it hard to identify targets. I generally look for scopes with variable magnification to cover different shooting distances.

Objective Lens Diameter

The size of the objective lens is another crucial aspect. A larger lens allows more light to enter, resulting in a brighter and clearer image in low light situations. I prefer an objective lens diameter of at least 40mm or above for optimal performance during dusk or dawn.

Lens Coating

High-quality lens coatings can make a significant difference. They minimize glare, improve light transmission, and protect the lenses from scratches. I always look for scopes with multi-coated lenses, as they provide better image quality in low light conditions.

Reticle Type

The choice of the reticle is a personal preference. However, in low light situations, an illuminated reticle can be beneficial. Illuminated reticles are either red or green, enabling me to see my target more easily. Choosing one with adjustable brightness levels is essential to avoid any excessive glare.

Eye Relief

A generous eye relief is essential for comfortable shooting in low light. It prevents scope eye injuries and allows me to maintain a proper cheek weld. I usually look for scopes with an eye relief of at least 3.5 inches or more.

Ultimately, the best low light rifle scope for you will depend upon your specific shooting needs and preferences. By considering the aforementioned factors, you can make a well-informed decision that enhances your low light shooting experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best low light scopes for a 308 rifle?

I find that some of the best low light scopes for a 308 rifle are the Vortex Optics Diamondback HP, the Leupold VX-R and the Nikon Monarch 7. These scopes have excellent light transmission, allowing for clear target acquisition in low-light environments. These scopes also offer unique features that cater to different hunting needs and preferences.

Which rifle scopes have the highest light transmission?

High light transmission is essential for low-light conditions. Scopes such as the Swarovski Z6i, Leica Magnus, and Zeiss Victory HT are among those with the highest light transmission rates. Though these scopes tend to be on the pricier side, their performance in dim conditions is commendable and worth considering.

What scopes provide good eye relief in low light conditions?

The Vortex Viper HS, Leupold VX-6HD, and Weaver Grand Slam all have great eye relief in low light conditions. It’s essential to keep in mind that different scopes suit different rifles, so consider your rifle’s specifications when picking the right scope for you.

Is low light the same as night vision?

No, low light and night vision are not the same. Low light scopes are designed to work in conditions with minimal natural or artificial light, such as dusk or dawn. They capture and transmit available light to provide a clear image. On the other hand, night vision scopes use infrared or thermal scope technology to detect heat signatures in pitch-dark conditions. While low light scopes are useful for hunting in early mornings or late evenings, night vision scopes are best suited for nighttime or when there’s no visible light.

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