Riflescopes: Illuminated vs Non-Illuminated

A riflescope does you no good if you can not see the reticle against your intended target.

Illumination is one of those riflescope features where the cons associated hold a grain of truth but shouldn’t deter you from choosing the minor upgrade. You’ll hear it often; “Illumination adds more weight due to batteries, an extra knob and light internals.” This is true, but the amount of weight is negligible – a few ounces at most. You may have also heard, “Extra components means more things that can fail.” This is also true, but do you know what you have when your reticle doesn’t light up? A reticle – you still have a reticle.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a non-illuminated reticle. It used to be the standard, but it’s easy to think of a few scenarios in which a little bit of illumination would help make an ethical shot easier. Imagine a buck in front of some dark timber while the sun is setting behind him. The scenario plays out with dark shadows facing your direction making the reticle blend into the earth tones your eye picks up. Adding a tiny bit of illumination will help contrast your reticle with the target to ensure you don’t lose sight of it when it matters most.

We believe an illuminated reticle is worth having even if you need to spend a few extra dollars to acquire. As usual it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.


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