The low light rifle scopes category holds those riflescopes that are built to offer the best possible performance at dusk or dawn and when hunting during the night when the moon and the stars are the only source of light.
Low light scopes are used solely for hunting and especially in Europe where hunting in low-light situations is very popular.
Steiner Ranger 6 3-18x56 scope
What makes a low-light rifle scope the best?
Due to numerous factors, price ranges, and manufacturers always producing new scopes, it is impossible to say which one is the best. However, we created a buying guide to keep you updated on some of the best buys in each price range.
Steiner and Leica low light riflescopes
A good low light rifle scope is one that fits the user’s financial goals, brightness, and provides a quality image, nevertheless. A lower zoom factor means there are fewer lens in the design. And fewer lens result in less loss of light. The coatings are also important – if they are of higher quality, again, less amount of light is lost every time light travels through the lens’ surface.
As for the lens size, the bigger, the better. The magnification of the scope should also not be too high, as this results in a smaller exit pupil, which we do not want for low light use.
But the most important factor to be taken into account is that the scope performs best in low light if it has an illuminated reticle, preferably in the form of a finely adjustable central dot (if the whole reticle is illuminated, it covers up the image of the target).
Yes, a riflescope can be used for hunting at night, if you make use of the available residual light, such as the Full Moon or starlight, but your observation will not be ideal.
However, if you wish to hunt at night and see the target clearly, you need the help of other night vision optics, such as thermal and night vision attachments, as night vision optics collect whatever little light there is and amplify it. So, without thermal optics, you would only see a silhouette of the animals and no details.
Leica Magnus 2.4-16x56 i scope