The Best Lightweight & Compact Rifle Scopes in 2024

Scopes Field is reader-supported. When you buy through links on my site, I may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more >

Today I’m going to show you the top 4 best lightweight rifle scopes on the market right now.

The best part?

I’ve sorted the scopes by use. So whether you’re looking for a lightweight hunting scope or a budget-friendly compact optic, you’ll find it here.

Let’s get started!

Best Lightweight & Compact Rifle Scopes Reviews

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

  1. Leupold VX-5HD 3-15×44: Best Overall Lightweight Scope
  2. Vortex Optics Razor HD LH 1.5-8×32: Best Short-to-Medium Range Scope
  3. Swarovski Z5 3.5-18×44: Best Hunting Scope
  4. Leupold VX-Freedom 2-7×33: Best Lightweight Budget Scope

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

The Leupold VX-5HD is the best overall lightweight scope on the market.

In fact:

I’ve used it for hunting, precision shooting, and even plinking.

Best Lightweight Rifle Scope

What makes it so versatile? Everything, starting with…

Glass Clarity & Reticle

Leupold VX-5HD 3-15x44mm has one of the clearest images you can find on a rifle scope

The lens is made from high-quality, high definition glass which dramatically sharpens your view.

LEUPOLD VX-5HD scope glass

The defining feature of the lens is the Leupold Twilight Max HD Light Management System. This technology reduces glare while maximizing the transmission of red and blue light.

LEUPOLD VX-5HD rear view

As a result, low light conditions become much brighter and clearer. It works so well that you can actually add about 30min to your shooting time at dawn and dusk!

Leupold offers five reticle options for this model:

Duplex, Illuminated FireDot Duplex, Wind Plex, Boone and Crockett, and Impact-29 MOA. 

LEUPOLD VX-5HD firedot reticle

Each reticle has a matte finish and offers a little something different to fit your needs as a shooter. For example, the Illuminated FireDot Duplex option is an illuminated red dot with 7 brightness settings, perfect for use in waning sunlight.

Eye Relief & Eye Box 

Eye relief on the VX-5HD 3-15x  is a roomy 3.7 inches at the lowest magnification and 3.82 inches at the highest magnification.


The eye box is really generous. So you will have plenty of wiggle room when positioning your eye behind the lens. This really comes in handy for uphill shots and awkward angles.

Durability & Weight

Everything about the VX-5HD 3-15x shows how highly Leupold values durability. This thing was built with the rugged outdoors in mind.

In fact, all of the Best Leupold Rifle Scopes are built like this.

LEUPOLD VX-5HD side view

The tube is 100% waterproof and made from extremely tough 60/61 T6 aircraft aluminum (like my Aimpoint Pro red dot). 

It’s completely shockproof. You can step on it, drop it, or even fall down a hill with it — your scope will not lose its performance or it’s zero setting.

LEUPOLD VX-5HD waterproof

T6 aluminum is also very lightweight. At 19.2 ounces, the VX-5HD 3-15x is lighter than most other opticals of its caliber. 

This is definitely the scope you want to pack when every ounce matters.

The durability doesn’t just stop at the tube design. The lens is also crafted to take on the tough stuff. It’s dirt-resistant, scratch-resistant and fingerprint resistant! You couldn’t muck up this lens even if you wanted to.

LEUPOLD VX-5HD anti-fogging

The hydrophobic guard-ion coating causes it to repel all water. No streams, water droplets or even fog can form on the lens. 

Elevation & Windage Turrets

The turrets on the VX-5HD 3-15x are easy to finetune and large enough to be comfortable for most hands.

The side windage adjustment is capped to prevent accidental changes to your setting.

LEUPOLD VX-5HD zeroing1

Elevation adjustment is located on the top of the scope and features a twin bias spring erector system. This ensures the scope will track well and then return to zero. 

LEUPOLD VX-5HD zeroing

Say you want to make faster adjustments? Well, with the press of a button, you can dial the elevation up by 2 turns.

Leupold also offers a coupon for 1 free custom zero lock elevation dial.

LEUPOLD VX-5HD custom turret

Once you receive your scope, simply send in the required specifications and they will manufacture a dial specific to your rifle and ammunition.

Each custom dial will come equipped with the Custom Dial Zero Lock 2 (CDS-ZL2) system.  This allows the dial to remember your zero and lock in place when you turn to it.  

Imagine taking long shots with an elevation dial made specifically for your needs.  No more guessing at holdover or trying to figure out ballistics calculations. This is the type of customer attention that keeps Leupold loyalists coming back.

Magnification & Parallax

The 3-15x magnification is great for acquiring long-range targets, like a laser range finding rifle scope.

LEUPOLD VX-5HD reticle

You get a clear field of view at every level of magnification. No contending with fuzziness around the edges at higher levels.

The side focus parallax adjustment allows you to quickly adjust for parallax from any position.

LEUPOLD VX-5HD zeroing and side parallax

All you have to do is set it for the range of your target and you are good to go.

Leupold VX-5HD 3-15×44: Is it Worth it?

If you’re looking for a lightweight scope that has all of the premium Nightforce optic features at a fraction of the price, then get a Leupold VX-5HD.

It’s got everything you need:

  • Clear glass
  • Various reticle options
  • Lightweight build
  • Audible, crisp turrets
  • True tracking

It even comes with Lifetime warranty. So if the scope ever breaks, Leupold will fix it for free. 

In short, the VX-5HD 3-15×44 is a quality investment that will serve you well.

Best Overall
Leupold VX-5HD 3-15x44 (30mm) CDS-ZL2 Side Focus Duplex Reticle...
  • Model #171714 - VX-5HD 3-15x44 Riflescope with a Fine Duplex Reticle, CDS-ZL2 and a Matte finish
  • The CDS-ZL2 (ZeroLock 2) provides two revolutions of elevation adjustment while eliminating accidental dial movement with the push-button ZeroLock system. It also features Leupold's award-winning...
  • Guard-ion is a hydrophobic lens coating that sheds dirt and water for a maintenance-free, clear, crisp image. High-definition lenses ensure incredible clarity at all magnification levels.

2. Vortex Optics Razor HD LH 1.5-8×32: Best Short-to-Medium Range Scope

The Vortex Razor HD 1.5-8×32 is the best short-to-medium range scope for the money.

In fact:

Hunters praise it as one of the best lightweight hunting scope.

Is it true?

Let’s find out…

Glass Clarity and Reticle

The Vortex Razor contains fully multi-coated, extra low-dispersion lenses that ensure brightness and clarity in your field of view. 

VORTEX OPTICS RAZOR HD LH 1.5-8×32 rear scope

The objective lens size is smaller than other scopes in the Razor family, but many hunters find the lens quality high enough to compensate for lower light transmission. 

VORTEX OPTICS RAZOR HD LH 1.5-8×32 front glass optic

The G4 BDC reticle is sleek and minimal to help draw your eye to the center point for precise aim. 

Its thick subtensions are designed for the highest magnification, so hunters can better focus their aim in low light. 

The reticle itself is not illuminated, but the extra sharp lens quality makes up for it. It’s a second focal plane reticle, so it doesn’t change in size. You can turn the ocular bell to focus the reticle to your desired resolution. 


Shooters out on the range have reported that the G4 greatly improves MOA accuracy. 

The G4 BDC reticle comes with a detailed product manual to help you measure bullet drop at varying distances and calibers.

Eye Relief and Eye Box

The 3.8 inches of eye relief is plenty enough to keep your eye in one piece after every hunt. 

VORTEX OPTICS RAZOR HD LH 1.5-8×32 Eye relief

The eye box is generous. And the lens image is clear and sharp from edge to edge, indicating ease of use and excellent field of view. 

Durability and Weight

The Razor comes in at under a pound and is about a foot long. 

You’ll appreciate this lightweight option while tracking and hunting in harsher environments. 

VORTEX OPTICS RAZOR HD LH 1.5-8×32 rear glass1

The exterior tube’s aircraft-grade aluminum coating keeps it safe from water, oil, dirt, and structural damage. O-ring seals and argon gas purging protect the lens from fogging up or getting water inside, keeping your lens clean and undamaged.


The scope holds its zero well, even with the hard recoil of a muzzleloader rifle.

Elevation and Windage Knobs

The Razor scope includes elevation and windage turrets with protective, removable caps. The turrets are set to adjust at ¼ MOA. 

VORTEX OPTICS RAZOR HD LH 1.5-8×32 turret windage elev

However, the knobs are a bit mushy in comparison to my Vortex HST and PST.

Magnification and Parallax

Magnification stays clear and sharp throughout, from its base of 1.5x to its maximum setting of 8x. 

VORTEX OPTICS RAZOR HD LH 1.5-8×32 Magnification

You may find that the base setting is identical to a true 1x, as other shooters have observed. 

The scope has a fixed parallax setting of 100 yards, so there’s no need for a side parallax turret.

Vortex Razor HD LH 1.5-8×32 Review: Is it Worth it?

If you’re a hunter looking for a light, sturdy scope on a budget, the Razor HD Light Hunter is the way to go. 

It won’t ever burden your load or slow you down. 

In fact:

It’s designed to survive all weather conditions and won’t nick or crack if dropped or handled roughly. It’s the only choice if you plan to hunt larger game at short to mid-range distances.

Best of all, it maintains the image quality and focal accuracy of a riflescope beyond its cost of under $500.

Best for Short to Medium Range
Vortex Optics Razor HD LH 1.5-8x32 SFP Riflescope G4 BDC MOA
  • The Razor HD LH 1.5-8x32 is an ultra-sleek, lightweight hunting scope. High density, extra-low dispersion lenses and premium XR coatings combine to produce razor sharp resolution from edge to edge.
  • A highly forgiving eyebox gives generous eye relief. The locking ocular focus ensures your reticle always stays sharp and crisp.
  • 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: Best Hunting Scope

Many scopes and red dots are flooding the market with lots of gizmos and gadgets stuffed into them.

It creates a scene of overweight, fragile tubes that you can’t take into the field. However, if you search hard enough, you can find dependable and reasonable options. 

One of those options that you cannot ignore is the Swarovski Z5 3.5-18×44.

This is an impressive hunting optic. It’s fully loaded with features and tech that will make your hunting 10x easier.

Let’s take a closer look… 

Glass and Reticle

Swarovski uses their unique swarovision technology in the glass.

Which equates to a clearer image and less color fringing. It also provides more color fidelity than regular glass. Or in other words, a sharper image with a more vibrant color definition.

SWAROVSKI Z5 3.5-18×44 front glass

Along with the crystal-clear glass, it comes with your choice of two reticles: 

The first is a basic plex reticle. This features a simple crosshair with thicker peripherals for the more traditional shooters. 

SWAROVSKI Z5 3.5-18×44 PLEX reticle

The other option is the 4W reticle. This uses a set of hash marks for the horizontal line and a solid vertical line to make the crosshairs. The hash marks are at 2 MOA apart for easy windage adjustment.  

Take note that the reticle in this optic is fixed. So, if you decide that this is the scope to go with, make sure you buy one with the reticle you want.

Eye Relief and Eye Box

The eye relief sits back at a comfortable 3.47 inches. This is nice if you are shooting while wearing glasses.

SWAROVSKI Z5 3.5-18×44 eye box1

The exit pupil on this scope ranges from 2.4 to 10mm depending on the magnification you use.

SWAROVSKI Z5 3.5-18×44 eye box

This is all capped off with a 35 to 44mm objective lens. Which means you have a nice full field of view and a clear image no matter what distance you’re shooting at.        

Durability and Weight

This is one area where the Z5 really shines.

The weight comes in at a light 15.9 oz. and the length stretches to 14.29 inches. The tube is an inch in diameter, making it nice to mount lower if that’s your preference. 

Speaking of mounts, if you need a scope mount for your AR-15, check out my guide on that.

SWAROVSKI Z5 3.5-18×44 scope

This optic is waterproof in up to 4 meters of water. The turrets are also waterproof even when the caps are removed.

This is perfect if you are out hunting and get caught in the rain or need to ford streams or rivers.

The real gem of its durability is the Swarovski patented spring system.

SWAROVSKI Z5 3.5-18×44 4 spring

Most scopes use a leaf spring to keep themselves adjusted. This optic uses a 4-point coil spring system that helps keep it zeroed even when it’s been bouncing around.

It’s an ideal feature for hunting, walking over rough terrain, or using on larger caliber rifles. 

Overall, this scope is a resilient optic that is made to withstand being tossed about. The dependability is an impressive feat considering some of the techier features. 

Elevation and Windage Turrets

This is where some of the more futuristic features come in. This scope has a ballistic turret that can be set at 4 distances. The way this works is simple…

First, go to Swarovski’s website to access their ballistic calculator

Then, enter information such as caliber, ft. per second, distance, etc. This will generate the adjustments you need to make to the scope. (You can print this out for convenience). 

On the elevation turret, there are three color-coded dots. Each dot can be clicked to the appropriate distance using the adjustments from the website.

SWAROVSKI Z5 3.5-18×44 turret _ parallax

This means that if you need to adjust your distance, you have preset markers on your turret to turn to. No more trial and error or self-adjusting! 

Pretty cool, right?

Magnification and Parallax

This optic’s magnification goes from 3.5X to 18X. 

This wide range allows for more variation at different ranges. Whether it’s 75 yards or 600 yards, you have the power to adjust to the needed magnification.

SWAROVSKI Z5 3.5-18x44 reticle

This scope also has an adjustable lateral parallax turret on the side. This works at longer distances and has a mark at the 100-yard point.

So, if you are taking those long-distance shots with 6.5 Creedmoor caliber, you’ll still be able to clearly see the target. Plus, the 100-yard marker makes it easy to reset when needed. 

So, with all these features, durability, and versatility, it begs the question…

Swarovski Z5 Review: Is it Worth It?

This is a hunter’s optic through and through.

First, it’s rugged and lightweight.

The unique 4-point coil system ups the ante when it comes to keeping the scope zeroed. Add the fact that it’s waterproof and you have a resilient optic. It is made to be hoofed around mountains, through rainstorms, and into any environment you wish.

Second, it’s high-quality.

Glass clarity is not sacrificed for the ruggedness. If anything, the glass quality is more enhanced than your average scope. You get an HD grade optic that you can depend on. In addition, you get reticle options and an online ballistic calculator. Just because it can survive a rainstorm doesn’t mean you can’t see clearly.    

Lastly, it’s versatile.

When you see that deer, it won’t always be at 100 yards. Switching through preset distances allows for quicker shots and less guesswork. This is super handy while in the field. While being convenient, it is also easy to set these distances. You also get the magnification and parallax you need to really stretch this scope and your rifle to the max. 

For the moderate price, the Swarovski Z5 is a competitive option for hunting. It will reach several distances, provide clear images, and work when you need it to.

Best for Hunting
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 VX-Freedom 2-7×33: Best Lightweight Budget Scope

You don’t need to spend $500+ to get a quality compact scope.

You can get similar quality for ⅓ of the price.

Enter: Leupold VX-Freedom 2-7×33.

Best Budget
Leupold VX-Freedom 2-7x33mm Riflescope
111 Reviews
Leupold VX-Freedom 2-7x33mm Riflescope
  • Leupold Model #174178 - VX-Freedom 2-7x33mm with Duplex reticle and Matte finish
  • 100% Waterproof, fog proof, & shockproof
  • Made with 6061-T6 aircraft quality aluminum and punisher tested to a lifetime of performance even under harshest recoil

Here’s why it’s the best budget lightweight scope…

Glass Clarity and Reticle

If you asked any hunter what they loved best about the VX-Freedom, they’ll say it’s the lens quality. 

It’s the clearest, sharpest glass you’ll get for its price range ($200-300). 

This is, in part, due to the Twilight Light Management System, developed by Leupold. It’s a special lens coating that gives you the best possible field of view in any lighting condition. 

It brings in a greater amount of light and adds an extra 15-30 minutes of hunting time before dawn or dusk. You get better colors and contrasts throughout the day, so you won’t ever mistake a branch for an antler.

It also keeps your vision free of glare, water, or fog, so nothing gets between you and your target.

Eye Relief and Eye Box

The 2-7×33 model’s eye relief is 4.17 inches at its lowest magnification and 3.7 inches at its highest. 

Whichever magnification you choose, you’ll be able to avoid getting hit in the eye from the scope’s recoil. 

The eye box is wide, so you’ll maintain a full, clear field of view from edge to edge at all times.

Durability and Weight

This scope can brave the harshest recoils and all types of environmental damage. 

It weighs only 11.1 ounces, measures under a foot long, and has a one-inch diameter tube. 

It won’t slow you down or get in your way, whether you’re carrying a .44 magnum or a lever-action rifle. 

After glass clarity, this will be your favorite thing about the VX-Freedom.

Elevation and Windage Turrets

The elevation and windage turrets have removable protective covers. 

They’re adjusted at ¼ MOA with a maximum setting of 75 MOA. The turrets do feel a bit mushy (since it’s made of plastic). This may not concern you if you’re a hunter sighting in for your best effective range.

Magnification and Parallax

You can adjust magnification from 2 to 7x. 

At 2x, you get a field of view of 43.8 feet per 100 yards. At 7x, you get a field of view of 17.8 feet per 100 yards. 

This short-to-medium range works well if you’re sighting in no further than a couple of hundred yards. 

If you do need to bring your scope up to its highest power, you’ll still get a crisp and clear image of your target.

If you don’t want to adjust parallax yourself and risk a sighting error, the scope’s already set at 100 yards. It always keeps your aim in line with your point of impact, but this feature works best at low magnification.

Leupold VX-Freedom 2-7×33 Review: Is It Worth It?

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly lightweight optic, then get the Leupold VX-Freedom 2-7×33.


  • Durable
  • Clear glass
  • Lightweight
  • Generous eye relief
  • Short-to-medium range magnification

In short:

The VX-Freedom is a simple, sturdy design without all the bells and whistles of more expensive models. It fits well on any type of firearm you choose, including AR, muzzleloader, and rimfire.

Best Budget
Leupold VX-Freedom 2-7x33mm Riflescope
111 Reviews
Leupold VX-Freedom 2-7x33mm Riflescope
  • Leupold Model #174178 - VX-Freedom 2-7x33mm with Duplex reticle and Matte finish
  • 100% Waterproof, fog proof, & shockproof
  • Made with 6061-T6 aircraft quality aluminum and punisher tested to a lifetime of performance even under harshest recoil

Now It’s Your Turn

I hope you enjoyed my best lightweight riflescopes guide.

Now I’d like to hear from you:

What scope are you going to use from this list? Or perhaps you have a question about one of them.

Either way, let me know by leaving a quick comment down below.

Written By

Richard Douglas

Hello, I’m Richard Douglas, a Firearms Instructor, Tactical Advisor, National Defense Security Consultant, and the voice behind Scopes Field.

4 thoughts on “The Best Lightweight & Compact Rifle Scopes in 2024”

  1. I’m not young, I’m not old, I’m 60. I’ve hunted with many different brand names of scopes. I wanted to branch out and try different scopes because I mostly have Leupold. Well long story short I have bought 6 Leupolds in the last 4 years.
    My criteria is related to Big Game hunting, deer and larger. The first thing I look at in a scope is FOV@100yds on low power. Anything less then 38′ goes off the list. I prefer 45 or better. The second thing I look for is eye box. When something comes a slipping through the woods you may only have a second or two to get on target. Not the time to be trying to get your eye lined up with a finicky scope. Third thing edge to edge clarity. Every time I review these items in search of a new scope I end up with a Leupold. A few years ago I bought a few of the VXR Firedots and found I’m not a fan of the BDC recitals, to damn busy. The turrets are the way to go! I don’t use them any more. Everything has been replaced with the Leupold VX-5HD 2-10×42 with the exception of one VX-5HD 3-15×44 on a 257 WBY Mag. I have only one VX-6HD 1-6×24 on a BLR 358 Winchester. In my opinion the VX-6HD’s are not worth the big jump in price for what you get. The VX-5HD 2-10 had got to be one of the best medium price range Big Game scopes ever. The busy recitals are one of the reasons I don’t go with the Vortex, they are also a bit heavy. If you know your cartridge path, and the substension values of your scope crosshairs at all the power settings you don’t need BDC recitals or Turrets.

  2. Good article. Was the Leupold VX3 1.5-5×20 CDS tested? I have this scope mounted with Talley rings on a NULA chambered in 284Win. Total weight 5lb 12oz. I have a Savage in 308 Win (modified 30-06 sporter barrel rechambered and cut to 21″) with a Leupold 1.5-4×20 and it weighs in at 6lb 10oz and will shoot 1.5″ groups at 200 yards. The VX Freedom in 3-9×50 is another light and good value scope and I have mounted on a 7mm-08 Improved and it has taken elk at 490yards and deer at under 50 yards. I am currently building another lightweight rifle around a Defiance Machine action and I will put a Leupold VX3 HD CDS ZL 2.5-8×36 on it. Estimated weight is 6lb 3oz. I have 3 rifles (300WM, 30-06 Improved, and 25-06) with VX3 3.5-10×50 scopes and have found 10x is not really needed for big game. Has anyone used the Leupold FXII 2.5×20 (6.5oz and $300)?

  3. I’ve had the 2-7×33 for several years. I love it! I picked up a VX-1 4-12×40 with fine duplex cross hairs. They only had a limited run, but its been! as good as my vx-2 and vx-3 in most situations.


Leave a Comment