Which Nightforce Scope Should You Buy?
Nightforce is one of the country's premier suppliers of hunting and shooting optics. They're custom-engineered with proprietary designs to give shooters the absolute best in terms of light diffusion, color correctness, visual sharpness, magnification, and more.
In fact, Nightforce has become so good at creating scopes specialize in these areas that they have multiple products in half a dozen product lines that all offer some mix of the qualities mentioned above.
(Plus, they have a few high-tech scopes that you can use through your phone.)
So if you're a hunter or a hobby shooter looking for a Nightforce scope, what should you choose?
On this page, we'll lay out the different Nightforce product lines, discuss where they excel, and offer a recommendation for which scope from that line to purchase.
- Nightforce ATACR
- Nightforce BEAST
- Nightforce NX8
- Nightforce NXS
- Nightforce SHV
- Nightforce Competition
- Nightforce Benchrest
- Nightforce Accessories
To learn more about Nightforce before getting into the scopes themselves, watch this quick video.
Video: Nightforce Scopes & Product Lines
Now, let's check out the product lines in alphabetical order.
Product Line 1. Nightforce ATACR
Pros: Professional-grade riflescopes for anyone who is (or wants to shoot like) a pro.
Cons: Some of the most expensive products that Nightforce sells.
The Nightforce ATACR line of riflescopes is designed for military and law enforcement use before all else. That means these scopes are engineered for the absolute best of all possible worlds, including light dissemination, color perfection, and — of course — accuracy.
As a result, the ATACR scopes are also some of the most expensive that Nightforce sells. This is because the level of quality in these scopes is significantly higher than many others on the market.
Still, the main advantage of this product line is that you get to use the scopes that professional shooters use. If you're a military veteran or retired SWAT tactician, you may even recognize a few of these scopes from your time in the field.
Recommended Nightforce ATACR Scope: Nightforce Optics 5-25x56 Riflescope
The Nightforce ATACR 5-25x56 riflescope represents some of the absolute best that you can find in rifle optics.
Again, this is one of the priciest scopes from Nightforce, but the quality speaks for itself.
With incredible zoom settings, a weatherproof body, side parallax focus, quick adjustment turrets, a lightweight body, and a surprising level of durability, it's no wonder why this scope is demanded so highly by professional shooters.
Product Line 2. Nightforce B.E.A.S.T.
Pros: One of the most advanced scopes on the market. It does everything but pull the trigger for you.
The Nightforce B.E.A.S.T. product line is named because "it was a beast to engineer."
That's because B.E.A.S.T. scopes ("Best Example of Advanced Scope Technology") were made as an attempt to combine all of the best qualities of riflescopes into one compact product. That's also why there's only one product in the whole line!
The amount of features and capabilities on this scope is almost ludicrous. It has a unique i4F elevation controls with a 360 degree brake, flip-switch elevation adjustment, 1-mil radian for extreme precision at extreme range, proprietary ZeroStop technology to make it easy for you to return to your previous zoom setting, and more.
With all of this in one scope, it's no wonder why they didn't have to make a second one (or how it compares to the ATACR series).
Recommended Nightforce B.E.A.S.T. Scope: Nightforce Optics 5-25x56 F1 i4F Riflescope
The Nightforce B.E.A.S.T. is everything we mentioned above and more. A few variations of the scope exist so that you can choose from one of six different reticles.
Otherwise, the scope is exactly the same, engineered to a borderline-insane standard of quality and power that puts most other scopes to shame.
You're 100% going to pay for this quality. But if you're the kind of person who wants quality and power over everything else, you probably won't care what it costs for one simple reason.
You'll have the best of the best.
Product Line 3. Nightforce NX8
Pros: Durability and accuracy over long distances and in extreme conditions.
Cons: Nothing noteworthy; it's just not the best.
The Nightforce NX8 riflescopes are the newest line of optics in Nightforce's catalog.
These new-age scopes evolved from the NXS line (which we'll discuss next) that have spent decades in the hands of distinguished shooters in military, hunting, and professional circuits.
The NX8 scopes are designed first and foremost for durability. They're stress-tested under some of the most extreme shooting conditions to provide razor-sharp clarity with impressive zoom capabilities.
Recommended Nightforce NX8 Scope: Nightforce Optics 4-32x50 F1 Riflescope
The Nightforce NX8 4-32x50 riflescope is a middle-of-the-road option (by Nightforce's standards) that offers a handful of premium features without going "all out."
This scope makes it easy to track and target over long distances with a 4x zoom. This is ideal for someone looking for versatility above all else because it'll allow you to track nearby targets successfully while giving you the chance to make an accurate shot hundreds of yards away.
Weighing under 29 oz. and measuring just over a foot long, the amount of power, clarity, and precision that you get from this scope is shocking, to say the least.
If you want a scope that is worth the money and gives you a wide range of shooting options, this is your buy.
Pros: Extreme durability and decades on the market.
Cons: Missing some of the other beloved Nightforce features.
The Nightforce NXS line of scopes is the "old reliable" classic in Nightforce's catalog.
These scopes have been around for decades, and they're used in so many applications that you can safely buy one for just about any need you have without doing much research on them.
In short, scopes from this product line only make it to market if they can withstand damage testing that would shatter other riflescopes.
The scopes also have to maintain their precision after testing to ensure nothing broken or bent gets sold.
This includes the lenses. The glass and metal in this scope hardly touch at all, and they're buffered by a layer of Nightforce's proprietary Mil-Spec blend. This reduces shock, breakage, and the metal-on-glass contact that is responsible for the destruction of so many other scopes.
Recommended Nightforce NXS Scope: Nightforce Optics 3.5-15x50 Riflescope
If you're looking for a scope that can deliver excellent precision while resisting extreme damage (at least as far as riflescopes are concerned), then the Nightforce NXS 3.5-15x50 scope is your best bet.
This riflescope is waterproof and fogproof with two focal panes and tactical MOA turrets. It alos has an illuminated reticle to make it usable in low light conditions.
Otherwise, there's not too much that's remarkable about this scope aside from how well it can stand up to punishment.
Incidentally, this also makes this NXS scope the perfect gift for someone who is a beginner hunter or hobby shooter, but they have a habit of mistreating (and breaking) their optics.
Product Line 5. Nightforce SHV
Pros: Versatility and price (as far as Nightforce is concerned).
Cons: They don't do anything great, but they don't do anything poorly either.
The Nightforce SHV riflescopes are made for versatility first and foremost. This makes them ideal for targets, hunting, varmint shooting, and a whole lot more.
This versatility means that the scopes themselves don't do anything exceptional. Instead, they're good all-arounders that you can use in a number of different scenarios to get decent results.
In a nutshell, SHV scopes are jacks of all trades — masters of none.
Recommended Nightforce SHV Scope: Nightforce Optics 5-20x56 Riflescope
The Nightforce SHV 5-20x56 riflescope offers an excellent combination of quality visuals, price, and versatility.
This scope comes with all of the standards that Nightforce fanatics love — weatherproofing, tactical MOA turrets, and maximum light diffusion.
In addition, it has two focal panes and a non-illuminated MOAR reticle.
Altogether, that means this scope is great for daytime use in hunting or sport shooting. It's not going to do well in early morning or after sunset, so make the most of your daylight hours while you can.
Still, it's a great choice for anyone who loves one gun and wants to use it for multiple purposes. You never have to change out the scope.
Product Line 6. Nightforce Competition
Pros: Ideal for competitive shooting.
Cons: Not ideal for anything else.
Nightforce Competition riflescopes might be the most straightforward products in their catalog.
These scopes are made for competitive shooting — and literally nothing else. If you're a competitive shooter who wants the best that Nightforce has to offer, then you don't need to look any further than these two products.
The key difference in Competition scopes is their accuracy over extreme range and in semi-controlled conditions. This makes them great for shooting competitions, but pretty lackluster for hunting in your state's gamelands.
Recommended Nightforce Competition Scope: Nightforce Optics 15-55x52 Riflescope
The Nightforce Competition 15-55x52 riflescope is the gold standard of their comeptitive shooting line.
This scope comes with everything you need in order to line up and take the perfect shot. Tactical turrets allow you to adjust for wind and other external variables, while a second focal plane keeps your reticle the same size regardless of zoom.
You can easily make side parallax adjustments and snap the perfect shot form hundreds of yards away.
With all of that in one scope, this is an excellent product for someone who knows they will be shooting targets — especially stationary targets — over long distances in controlled outdoor environments.
Product Line 7. Nightforce Benchrest
Pros: Ideal for competitive shooting with a distinguished product history.
Nightforce Benchrest riflescopes are one of the company's oldest product lines with a distinguished history behind them. According to Nightforce itself, these scopes have won more competitive shooting matches and set more long-range shot records than any other scope from any other brand.
That kind of history speaks for itself. With that backing these scopes, you barely need to know what you get with them — you already know they're perfect for competitive settings.
You'll pay for that history, too. These are costly scopes, but they have the accuracy and clarity to support that cost.
If you want a scope that has one of the best track records in the professional shooting industry, Nightforce Benchrest is your choice.
Recommended Nightforce Benchrest Scope: Nightforce Optics 12-42x56 Riflescope
The Nightforce Benchrest 12-42x56 scope is the pinnacle of the Benchrest product line.
This riflescope was designed from scratch to provide near-perfect shooting in competitions, and its reputation has made it a classic in the shooting community.
In fact, this scope has the distinction of being labeled as "ultra-long-range" optics by the vendors who sell it.
With an infinite adjustable objective, weatherproofing, and an illuminated reticle (among dozens of other features), this is simply one of the best scopes in the world of competitive shooting.
Bonus Products. Accessories
In addition to riflescopes, Nightforce also manufactures its own line of accessories to mount, clean, and otherwise get the most out of their products.
Most of the time, this includes things like accessory platforms and lens caps. It's probably nothing that you haven't seen before, but it's nice to have these accessories knowing that they're compatible with Nightforce scopes.
Recommended Nightforce Accessory: Nightforce Optics Scope Mounting Toolkit
If you're picking up a Nightforce riflescope for the first time, cover all of your bases with a scope mounting kit.
This kit comes with everything you need to ensure your scope is securely attached to your rifle.
You may not think you need it — but it certainly makes things easier if you plan to swap out scopes on the same firearm.
Which Nightforce Riflescope Should You Buy?
Are you ready to pick out the scope for your favorite firearm?
Pick from our list today!