Leupold VX-1 Review

Greetings. You must be wondering if Leupold VX-1 is the right scope for you. The Leupold VX-1 has seen many upgrades and revisions after acquiring Redfield. It is now much better than its predecessor (VX-I). But will this scope fit your need? Let’s find out.

In case you want to skip all the reading, jump to Conclusion or Main features.


The Leupold brand

Leupold is a well known American manufacturer of optics since 1907. Leupold has been run by 5 generations of optics zealot.

Other than high quality and user-friendliness, perhaps the most famous thing is its full lifetime warranty, the “Leupold golden ring guarantee”.

Even though their lenses are made in Japan. Coating and machining are all done in USA. Buy a Leupold brand and get American quality!



Based on magnification power and objective lens diameter, Leupold VX-1 is available in 4 different variants :

(Numbers in front indicate magnification, 3-9x = 3x-9x magnification. Numbers in the back indicate the objective lens diameter in millimeter, 40 = 40mm objective lens diameter.)

I’ll be reviewing the 3-9x40mm as it is the most versatile and popular version of the VX-1.

That said, if you need information on other variants, click on it to see reviews from Amazon buyer.


What rifle/ammunition can the Leupold VX-1 handle?

The VX-1 is rugged, made for heavy recoil and has generous eye relief (3.7″ @ max power). So you can use any rifle/ammunition that suits your needs.

You can also use the VX-1 with muzzle loaders or slug guns. But it’s not so great with air guns due to fixed parallax. Shots under 25 yards don’t work well with the scope.


Tech Specs

Length (Inch) 12.6
Weight (oz) 11.2
Tube Diameter (Inch) 1
Tube material 6061-T6 aircraft grade aluminum
Mounting Space (Inch) 5.6
Finish Matte Black
Magnification 3-9x
Objective Diameter (Inch) 1.8
Eyepiece Diameter (Inch) 1.6
Linear FOV (ft/100 yd) – Low 34.6
Linear FOV (ft/100 yd) – High 14.6
Reticle Duplex
Wide duplex
LR Duplex
Reticle Focal Plane Second
Reticle illuminated No
Eye Relief (in) – Low 4.2
Eye Relief (in) – High 3.7
Finger Adjustable Turrets Yes
Turrets Resettable to Zero No
Adjustment Type Click
Adjustment Click Value 1/4 MOA
Elevation Adjustment Range (MOA) 52
Windage Adjustment Range (MOA) 52
Fast Focus Eye Piece No
Parallax Fixed at 150 yards
Waterproof Yes, Nitrogen purged.
Fogproof/Shockproof Yes
Lens Coating Fully Multi-Coated
Warranty Full Lifetime

Official Leupold VX-1 video


Mounting the scope

The scope tube is 1″ diameter. Make sure you get 1″ rings of appropriate height and also matching base type.

A quick note here : Investing in decent rings and mounts will save you time and money. Scopes will last longer and you will waste less time zeroing them year after year.

Also, as a rule of thumb for ring height, choose the lowest height that doesn’t obstruct other parts of your rifle for maximum accuracy.

If you are not sure which mount to use, try Leupold’s, Talley’s or Aero Precision ultra light scope mount.

I personally mounted the scope on our Remington 700 SPS with “Leupold Standard 1″ Rings” which have medium height and allow me to keep the rear sight mounted. It was easy to install and fits nicely.


Main features

Weight & Looks

This scope is one of the lightest 3-9x40mm. Weighs only 11.2 ounces and is much lighter than a Vortex or a Nikon.

This makes it suitable for long days of hiking, odd angle shooting and can also serve as a nice scope for your kids.

Matte black finish helps you camouflage while out hunting. Design is also good. It pleases the eyes and looks very similar to the VX-2, a higher end scope.



Glass is clear. Coloring is good. Chromatic aberrations are well corrected. In low light, the scope performs ok. You’ll see better than your naked eye, but not as good as the VX-2 or the Vortex Diamondback. With the higher end scopes, you will get extra 10-20 minutes during low light compare to the VX-1.

Field of view is smaller than the Vortex Diamondback. But the VX-1 offers much better eye relief and eyebox. Meaning you can use higher caliber with safety and don’t have to be as precise placing your eyes and head to look through the scope.

Zoom ring is firm and easy to use. Image quality is good in all focus level.

The VX-1 features a lockable focus ring rather than the fast focus. It’s lower tech, but many people prefer it due to higher durability.

There are 3 reticles to choose from :

Also if you like to customize, visit Leupold’s Custom Shop for even more reticles.

I, however, recommend the no frills Duplex Reticle. With 3-9x, there’s not much point to go long range. Plus, it’s the cheapest and works great.



Both windage and elevation turrets are finger adjustable by 52 MOAs. They are covered by aluminium caps to prevent unintentional adjustments.

The knobs however are a bit mushy and sometimes don’t stop exactly between clicks. It seems that the scope is not intend for long range purpose, where you have to adjust the turrets often. It is suppose to zero in and stay there. Which totally makes sense for this scope magnification and price.

Even though the clicks are not very audible, each adjustment are quite accurate for its price. Zeroing was easy. It took me only 5 shots. And it stayed there afterwards.

The price of the ammunition you don’t waste zeroing your VX-1 makes overall costs a bit cheaper.

The turrets are not zero resettable. And there is no parallax adjustment (factory-set at 150 yards). This shouldn’t be a problem if you shoot within 50-200 yards. But if you intend to shoot long range or very short range (<50 yards), this scope is not for you.


Durability & Warranty

Leupold scopes are known for its reliability.

The VX-1 is also the case. 2-piece aircraft aluminium grade, Nitrogen purged, Waterproof, Shockproof, Fogproof, Designed for heavy recoil. Coupled with Leupold’s Full lifetime guarantee: no questions asked, transferable and no receipt needed. This makes VX-1 a very safe investment.

Tips – Lens maintenance : They should be cleaned as carefully as you would a camera lens. Begin by using a lens brush to remove dust and then pure alcohol, highgrade glass cleaner, or pure water on a cotton swab.

Tips#2 : Leupold scope has high reselling value due to this unbelievable full lifetime guarantee.



It certainly is not the best scope in the market. But for the price you pay, this is one value scope. If you’re tight on budget and don’t want to buy “junk scopes”, VX-1 could be the perfect fit for you.


Scope Comparison

  • Compared to Vortex Diamondback (approximately $50 more at the time of this writing), VX-1 has lower FOV, lower low light capabilities but better eye relief and eyebox.
  • VX-2 has better image and low light capability than VX-1
  • The VX-1 is better than Simmons, Millett, Tasco or Bushnell at the same price point.


The verdict : What I think of Leupold VX-1 3-9×40

I think it is a durable, lightweight and value scope. If you intend to hunt within 50-200 yards, don’t care much about low light and don’t want to spend a lot of money on a scope. This is the perfect scope for you.

Pros and Cons Table

Pros Cons
✓ Lower priced. Value for the money. ✗ Could be better in low light
✓ Light weight ✗ Has only 1 finish
✓ Ok image quality ✗ Turret clicks are not very clear
✓ Durable & Reliable warranty ✗ Not for long range

Important Note

Leupold VX-1 3-9×40 is now a limited edition because Leupold no longer manufactures them.


Alternate Scope

Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12×40

For just another $50 more (vary with promotion and time), Vortex Diamondback is available. It features better image quality, durability and also full lifetime guarantee that rivals Leupold. The downside for Vortex Diamondback is smaller eye relief, smaller eyebox, heavier and has flare issues during low light facing the sun (can be fixed with a sun shade). It’s a step up from the VX-1.

If you don’t mind small eye relief and want better low light vision, try Vortex Optics Diamondback. (4-12×40 Variant is cheaper than 3-9×40 at the time of this writing, so I’ll review and link that one instead.)
Read our review on Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12×40 or go to Amazon to check price.

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