The 4 Best Lightweight Rifle Scope [2021 Update]

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Not sure what scope to get for your rifle?

Look no further.

I’ve tested ALL the best lightweight rifle scope (plus rifle scope mounts and accessories.)

By the end of this guide, you’ll find the perfect optic for your rifle.

Let’s get started!

The 4 Best Lightweight Rifle Scope

If you’re pressed on time, here’s a quick list of the best lightweight scopes for rifle:

  1. Leupold VX-5HD 3-15×44: Best Lightweight Rifle Scope
  2. Vortex Razor HD 1.5-8×32: Best for the Budget
  3. Swarovski Z5 3.5-18×44: Most Premium Rifle Scope
  4. Leupold FX-II Ultralight 2.5×20: Best Compact Rifle Scope for the Money

1. Leupold VX-5HD 3-15×44: Best Lightweight Rifle Scope

Looking for the best lightweight rifle scope? Well, the Leupold VX-5HD just might be what you’ve been searching for.

Despite weighing just over a pound, no corners were cut. I was thrilled to find that despite its low weight, this scope still delivers with a powerful, high definition view.

Want to see how? Keep reading…

Glass Clarity & Reticle

Oh man, the glass on this scope is crystal clear. It’s lead-free glass gives one of the best sight pictures I have ever seen.

Even in low light, the view is spectacular.

I noticed the high color contrast during a recent hunt that stretched well into dusk. My buddy had a different brand of optic and gave up as the sun started to set. His view was just too dark.

The Leupold VX-5HD has high contrast lens coatings that really make colors pop.

I was able to see a buck way out at 500 yards that the rest of my group had overlooked.

With the Firedot reticle, I knew I had a sure shot, even in the growing dark.

The Firedot reticle is top in its class. The red dot is easy to see and well defined inside the reticle. With the illumination control, I can customize its brightness to suit my environment with the push of a button.

I don’t have to worry about burning through batteries out in the field either, because it has a motion control setting, I didn’t even bother with the power button.

When I move the scope around, the Firedot comes on. After being still for 5 minutes, the dot turns off.

Eye Relief & Eye Box

I really liked the eye box on the VX-5HD.

I felt like I had enough space behind it. And the 3.7 inches of eye relief was perfect.


This scope can take a beating.

I loved the different protective coatings applied to both the glass and the casing. Dirt, rain, and even fingerprints rolled right off.

I have hunted with the scope in heavy rain, and on the driest, dusty days. Nothing sticks to this scope.

The VX-5HD can take a lot of abuse. I am not gentle on my equipment. I beat this thing up and it still held zero.

Elevation & Windage Knobs

Have you ever accidentally turned your elevation turrets throwing your scope off zero?

I have, and it ruined a hunt.

I had to use critical time to correct my sight. And I missed my shot.

With the Zero Lock on this scope, I can’t do that.

There are no accidental slips or knocks. I can’t turn the turret unless I push the release button to make it happen.

I have noticed that the VX-5HD has a tactile click that I can both feel and hear. Between removing the Zero Lock, and the obvious clicks, I know when I’ve made adjustments.

I really wanted to dial-in my scope to match my favorite ammo. I sent the ballistics into Leupold and they mailed me back a custom dial.

For free.

All I had to do to install it was twist out the factory elevation dial, and place my custom one in.

I loved my VX-5HD before. Now that it is specifically tuned to my favorite round, it performs even better. If you want a rangefinder scope, look here.

The VX-5HD is easy to sight in. I was able to hit a bullseye at 200 yards in less than 3 shots.

Parallax & Magnification

The VX-5HD has a 3-15x magnification.

While I primarily use the higher power for hunting and long distance target shooting, I could easily use this scope for close range varmint hunting or target practice.

The reticle doesn’t block my view throughout the range of magnification.

I actually really like the blackened edges on the glass. This feature significantly cuts down the glare, more than most other scopes I’ve used. To my surprise, the blackened edged didn’t interfere with my field of view either.

I had a crisp, clear high definition picture any time of day, at all magnification powers.

I noticed that this scope has some parallax. There is a focus adjustment on the side of the scope. I found it really easy to reach and manipulate from all shooting positions.

Once the parallax was adjusted, I didn’t have any wobble in my view as I adjusted myself behind the scope.

Mounting & Rings

Leupold does not include any mountings or rings with the VX-5HD.

I needed to get my own mountings to match the style of gun I had.

Both picatinny

and weaver mounts are available from Leupold.

You will need 30mm rings.

But things get a little tricky as for height. I had a hard time choosing between low rings and medium height ones.

The low rings kept the scope in profile with my Weatherby .300 win mag. I could hold a consistent cheek weld. But I did find that the eyepiece interfered with the bolt action on my rifle.

The medium rings brought the scope up enough to clear my action. But now, the eye piece is too high to hold my cheek weld on my traditional rifle stock.

If you’ve been around rifles for a while, I’m sure you’ve noticed that this is a problem for more than just Leupold optics. The problem lies in traditional rifle stocks, they are made to give me a firm weld with iron sights. Not with additional optics.

The only real fix is to find an aftermarket stock with an adjustable cheek weld.

Is the VX-5HD worth it?

I am an avid hunter. Anything that can give me more time in the field is worth the expense. With the high definition, high contrast picture from the Leupold VX-5HD, I am able to hunt in much lower light conditions, giving me a longer hunting day.

It has:

  • 19 oz total weight
  • Fast-focus eyepiece
  • Ion Guard lens coating
  • CDS Zero Lock on two dials
  • Made to still hold Zero after 5000 rounds on the Punisher, Leupold’s extreme recoil simulator.

Leupold VX-5HD 3-15×44 is an awesome lightweight scope. The sight picture is clearer than crystal and beats out even heavier scopes.

2. Vortex Razor HD 1.5-8×32: Best for the Budget

Throughout the course of my life, if I can say that I’ve learned anything, it’s that—

There’s a particular art to “breaking-the-bank.”

In other words, your wallet only hurts if you’re not satisfied.

In the past, you could say my philosophy was more or less monetarily centered—and I’d be lying if I said that’s changed.

But when I first started out, an ideal scope that I could be proud of and afford always seemed just a little too far from reach.

Until I stumbled upon the Vortex HD LH.

Glass Clarity & Reticle

Not to be crude, but—

This scope is sexy.

Sleek and lightweight, the Vortex holds the perfect balance between aesthetics and usability.

As someone in the market for something that I could ideally handhold—

Seeing that the Vortex can zoom all the way down to 11x has officially raised the standard for where I put my money, forever.

The XR coating matched with the high density, extra-low dispersion lenses give me a razor-sharp resolution from edge to edge, every time.

Combined with the reticle layouts’ versatility—and an included guide that goes into depth about each one—

This scope is a powerhouse.

Eye Relief & Eyebox

Generous on the eye relief—at 3.8 inches—being able to comfortably operate this scope with my glasses on is a massive weight off my back when I find myself in harsh terrain.

The thick eyebox expertly follows my movement and always keeps me locked in a crisp full-field-of-view, on any magnification.


Featuring a one inch tube diameter, the body of the scope is composed with a thick, solid block of aircraft-grade aluminum.

Badass, right?

Even better, this scope also hosts a hard-anodizing body that ensures superior durability, and supreme scratch resistance from any damage I may or may not have inflicted myself.

O-ring seals prevent moisture, debris, and dust from penetrating the riflescope, and gas purging prevents internal fogging in whatever temperature I’m in.

Elevation & Windage Knobs

The Vortex comes with a MAX windage and elevation adjustment of 110 MOA—which allows the reticle to quickly hit zero in a smooth and seamless fashion.

Parallax & Magnification

The magnification is 1.5-8x, which makes the Vortex Razor LH HD the perfect scope for getting a quick look at birds.

With a parallax extending up to 100 yards, precision is almost unavoidable.

Mounting & Rings

With the included set of mounts and rings, I can squeeze every last penny I poured into the investment that changed my life.

Is the Vortex Razor HD 1.5-8×32 Worth It?

For those of you skipping to the breakdown—

This scope comes with:

  • Durable
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Generous eye relief
  • Versatile magnification
  • Included mounts/rings
  • 1.5-8×32

In short: The Vortex Razor HD was made to exceed expectations. I highly recommend it if you’re on a budget.

Vortex Optics Razor HD LH Second Focal Plane Riflescopes
41 Reviews
Vortex Optics Razor HD LH Second Focal Plane Riflescopes
  • The Razor HD LH series are ultra-sleek, lightweight hunting scopes. High density, extra-low dispersion lenses and premium XR coatings combine to produce razor sharp resolution from edge to edge
  • The Razor HD LH series are ultra-sleek, lightweight hunting scopes. High density, extra-low dispersion lenses and premium XR coatings combine to produce razor sharp resolution from edge to edge
  • A single piece, hard anodized tube enhances strength and durability. Armortek coatings protect exterior lenses from scratches, oil, and dirt.

3. Swarovski Z5 3.5-18×44: Most Premium Rifle Scope

I was looking for a scope that possessed great adjustment capabilities, something I could use on all kinds of terrain for all kinds of game.

When the Swarovski V5 arrived, I was not disappointed.

In fact, I doubt I will need another scope for a while yet, if at all.

Glass Clarity & Reticle

First let me start off by saying the glass, both in clarity and quality, is excellent, boasting a 44 millimeter objective lens.

The high definition optics contain fluoride, meaning color aberrations are a thing of the past, and resolution and contrast are considerably higher than your average rifle scope.

Having used it at several points over the course of a day, as well as during a very overcast day, I can honestly say that it holds up in all types of light.

As for the reticle, there are several different options to choose from, including a 4W, BRX, and BRX heavy.

Personally, I chose to go with the standard plex reticle, which proved to be very clear and precise.

Eye Relief & Eye Box

The Z5 offers a generous 3.75 inch eye relief and offers a wide field of view at 5.8 to 1.17 degrees.

The 3.5-18x magnification is surprisingly clear all the way from the lowest to highest setting, making it versatile and reliable for long range hunting of any kind.


In terms of durability, the Swarovski doesn’t disappoint with a sturdy design built to last.

Despite having a 44 millimeter Objective Lens, the scope is incredibly light (just 15.9 ounces!). It is also completely waterproof.

Elevation & Windage Knobs

The elevation and windage knobs work smoothly and are easy to adjust, moving at light touch.

Parallax & Magnification

The scope includes a lateral parallax turret, allowing for fast and easy parallax-free adjustment.

Mounting & Rings

The scope doesn’t come with it’s own mount, so I’d recommend the Vortex Hunter 1-inch rifle scope rings, which fit nicely with the V5’s one inch main tube and are both affordable and well-made.

While the scope does come with a cover, I would also recommend purchasing Butler Creek Flip-up caps to keep your glass quality in tip-top shape and avoid scratches.

Butler Creek Flip Open Scope Cover Black 1 MO30010
156 Reviews
Butler Creek Flip Open Scope Cover Black 1 MO30010
  • Truly ambidextrous silent spring hinges won't spook game
  • Instant action lids pop open at the touch of a thumb
  • Performs from 40 to 120 Degrees F and weighs less than an ounce

Is the Swarovski Z5 worth it?

I’m sure you can tell I’m a huge fan of this optic. Really, I can’t praise it highly enough, but I will admit the price isn’t too cheap.

It remains pretty stagnant across all sellers, at around $1,300. So not exactly a discount. Plus, since the Swarovski V5 doesn’t come with it’s own mount, you will have to purchase that as well.

However, you really do get what you pay for.

While the Swarovski V5 may not be the very best out there, it’s pretty damn close, especially if you’re a hunter looking for an all-purpose scope.

Overall, I’d say the Swarovski Z5 Rifle Scope is definitely worth the extra money, with the proper care it’s sure to last a lifetime.

Swarovski Z5 3.5-18x44 Ballistic Turret Plex Reticle Riflescope
8 Reviews
Swarovski Z5 3.5-18x44 Ballistic Turret Plex Reticle Riflescope
  • Light, handy and reliable scope of exquisite quality typical for Swarovski products.
  • 3.5-18x zoom with adjustable parallax and elevation for supreme precision at any range in any weather
  • Completely waterproof at up to 4 metres deep

4. Leupold FX-II Ultralight 2.5×20: Best Compact Rifle Scope for the Money

Leupold optics are legendary in the gun game, and the FX-II is no exception. It has everything you could ask for in a scope, so let’s break it down.

Glass Clarity & Reticle

As with most Leupold fixed scopes, the index-matched lens system gives a clear, easily-visible image through quality glass. The lenses themselves are protected with a diamondcoat lens coat that’s considered one of the best glass protectors on the market.

The wide duplex reticle is easy to zero and even easier to aim with, due to the light management lenses and expanded field of view. The crosshairs give me a great sight picture, while the thick posts work for low-light situations.

Eye Relief & Eye Box

With around 5” of eye relief depending on the rifle, the FX-II is perfect for any compact rifle.

The 20mm objective lens is lightweight while giving a solid picture, and the combination of that eye relief and lens makes it perfect for hunting and competitive needs.


The legacy of Leupold optics wouldn’t exist without their effort to create a lasting optic. In this case, the FX-II can endure a lot of punishment.

Tested to a depth of 33 feet in a variety of pressures, the only way this optic won’t work is if I’m deep-sea diving. Likewise, the FX-II works in temperatures from 40 below to 160 degrees, so I can use it from the arctic to the Sahara.

All Leupold scopes are tested to withstand the increased recoil of 5,000 shots, so the FX-II endures whatever conditions I put it through. It’s waterproof, fogproof, and built to work.

Elevation & Windage Knobs

Both knobs on the FX-II have ¼ MOA click adjustments, which add to the ease of accuracy and precision. I can zero my optic and stay on target for the duration of whatever I need the FX-II for.

The FX-II doesn’t have any additional turrets, but it doesn’t really need anything beyond the elevation and windage.

Parallax & Magnification

The FX-II scope comes with a set parallax up to 150 yards, making it ideal for hunting while also being effective with competitive shooting. The scope isn’t as versatile for targets beyond that range, but that’s why the magnification is fixed at 2.5x.

This 2.5x magnification provides fast, visible target acquisition within that 150 yards, and the set parallax means that you can adjust without worrying about the scope being off-target.

At the maximum range of the scope and in low-light conditions, some people have trouble distinguishing their target from the surroundings, but I avoid that combination and have no issue.

Mounting & Rings

While it doesn’t come with any mounting accessories, one of my favorite things about the FX-II is that the scope is small enough that it doesn’t interfere with a hammer, meaning it can be mounted on lever- and bolt-action rifles.

The lightweight, aluminum scope should fit most rings, but I’d recommend the Leupold rifleman scope rings. As with electronics, I usually try to match the brand.

Speaking of recommendations, the FX-II comes with rubber lens caps, but I’d highly consider getting the 20mm objective lens flip back aluminum caps.

Leupold Alumina Flip Back Lens Cover - 20mm
43 Reviews
Leupold Alumina Flip Back Lens Cover - 20mm
  • Model #59030 - Alumina flip back lens cover in size 20mm

These, also by Leupold, give my lenses extra protection so that I don’t have to think twice about them when I’m out.

Is the Leupold FX-II Ultralight 2.5×20 worth it?

As I stated before, the Leupold FX-II is designed with hunters in mind, but can also be used to a great degree for competitive shooters. Some of the best features are:

  • Affordable
  • 150 yard parallax
  • Extreme durability
  • Diamondcoat lenses
  • Crystal-clear, bright image

If all of that isn’t enough to try the Leupold FX-II Ultralight 2.5×20, Leupold rifle scopes come with a lifetime warranty without needing proof of ownership or warranty.

Basically, there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain with this superior hunting optic, so I’d strongly encourage you to try it!

Now It’s Your Turn

I hope you enjoyed my best lightweight rifle scope guide.

Now I want to turn it over to you:

Which lightweight scope will you pick for your rifle?

Let me know by leaving a quick comment down below.

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