Monstrum Scope Review [Hands-On]
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Some optical brands are household names — Leopold, Vortex, Bushnell, and Trijicon are all jump to mind when thinking of new glass.
Monstrum is not one of those companies.
They were founded in 2008 with one goal — make gun parts affordable to the typical person. They’ve done just that, and now Monstrum has expanded their product line to many other firearm accessories, including rifle scopes and optics.
Many of their scopes attempt to offer features that high-end $1,000+ scopes provide, with varying degrees of success. Not surprising considering most of Monstrums scopes are under $250. Naturally, that focus on price point often brings into question the quality of their products, and rightfully so.
Are Monstrum scopes worth buying, or should you save up and purchase a more expensive one? We dive deep into the top-selling Monstrum scopes to see if this wallet-friendly brand is worth your consideration.
In This Article
Monstrum Scope Comparison
Below is my review of various Monstrum scopes. I list the best choices in terms of scope style, performance, design, and cost.
Click on the name to head to the product page, read reviews and check prices or skip ahead to the list of scopes.
Best Prism Scope
Budget LPVO Pick
Best Red Dot
Why You Should Listen to Us
I’m a guy who hates throwing stuff away. Growing up, my family didn’t have much money, so we made do with what we had, which usually meant buying entry-level hunting and shooting products.
These products worked fine and did what we needed them to do most of the time. However, other times purchasing the less expensive product would backfire.
I hate the feeling of wasting my hard-earned money on a product that doesn’t deliver what it promises, and if I can help others avoid that kind of frustration then I’m doing my part.
When Monstrum reached out and asked us to test their products I was intrigued, as prior to this article I had no experience with their products, and I’m always happy to put a new brand to the test.
Monstrum Scope Reviews
1. Best LPVO: Monstrum G3 1-6×24 FFP Rifle Scope
2023 Awards & Rankings
The G3 surprised me. There are certainly Monstrum products that I wouldn’t recommend (more on those below) but the G3 LPVO was decidedly useful.
Fit & Finish
Monstrum constructed the scope body of the G3 1-6×24 out of single-piece milled 6061 aircraft grade aluminum, nitrogen sealed for fog proof and water resistance, with all brass internals for elevation and windage adjustments which gives the G3 a durable feel and smooth adjustments.
Reticle & Adjustments
The G3F1624’s type-C first focal plane reticle is very simple, with a 100-yard center circle and dual set marks at the 3, 6, and 9-o’clock positions that remain constant throughout the magnification range.
This center array is encircled with a larger hashed circle designed for 25-yard work. The center array is where you get your illumination, similar to other types of illuminated reticles.
The magnification adjustment ring felt smooth and easy to dial in, and while there was no throw lever the unit didn’t feel “budget” at all (with the possible exception of those lens covers…). The turrets have aggressive knurling has a solid bite and a satisfying tactile “click” while making adjustments. Plus the turret locks and zero-reset give the turrets all the features you could want.
Glass Clarity & Magnification
The Optical Quartz glass, Xeres multi-coated lens helps prevents scratches, and nitrogen-charged tube means clear glass in nearly all weather conditions. I was impressed with both the clarity of the glass and lack of magnification blur — I could see the details on targets at 6X magnification with the kind of detail that didn’t feel in any way like a compromise.
The fast-focus eyepiece makes fine focal adjustments easy, although you have to remove the rear flip-up lens cover to get at it. Thankfully the covers slip right off.
With 11 levels of reticle illumination, you would think the highest setting would be bright enough for the sunniest days. However, several customer reviews wished the reticle lighting had a brighter setting for sunny days. I didn’t have an issue with the top brightness settings.
The lower illumination settings offer little advantage over the non-illuminated reticle and the reticle itself is very fine — which makes sense given the rifle scope is an FFP, but its reticle visibility is very low at 1X against a dark background without some level of illumination.
Nice to Haves
I like the flip-up lens covers because they stay on the rifle scope and don’t get lost, but if there’s one area where the Monstrum G3 feels cheap it’s the lens covers. They’re slightly wobbly and feel like brittle plastic, and while they get the job done I feel like one too many knocks in the bag or catching them on a sling strap and they’ll snap off. The included quick release scope rings and mounts are solid, easy to mount and adjust.
There’s also no auto-off or battery-saving feature — I burnt through 5 CR2032 batteries testing these scopes. You’ll need to turn it off every time you put it away.
The G3 1-6×24 FFP Rifle Scope is for shooters who want a close-range scope with some flexibility for medium-range performance, and this LPVO is great for getting on target quickly but provided you’re keeping your scope range under 400 yds, making it a solid fit for the AR platform.
2. Monstrum G3 6-36×56 FFP Rifle Scope
The G3 6-36×56 FFP Rifle Scope is a long-distance rifle scope with a custom Type-H reticle. It comes in two colors, black, and Flat Dark Earth. The windage and elevation adjustments lock into place with the locking turrets, so you don’t have to worry about trying to prevent slippage.
Fit & Finish
The scope is very large but surprisingly light in hand. The black MIL-STD hard anodization is smooth and consistent, making the G3 feel like a more expensive product.
The illumination is nice, and while the FFP feature of the G3 6-36×56 is designed to give the rifle scope better reticle visibility at long distance, the reticle notches are very slight at 6X and wash out on light backgrounds. Plus, illumination ghosting is very noticeable at 30X magnification and beyond
Glass Clarity & Magnification
At higher magnifications, the reticle is usable without illumination but the intended target gets decidedly blurry & impossible to focus sufficiently. I was really thirsting for sharper contrast and felt the glass just wasn’t up to the task at the higher end of the spectrum.
It would really benefit from better light transmission given its focus on long distances.
Reticle & Windage Adjustments
I do like the reticle, which is very usable at low to mid magnification, and the adjustable objective knob, which is really a large fin shape that’s easy to find and make adjustments quickly.
That said the adjustment ring has a lot of tension and it can be a challenge to adjust quickly. Windage knobs are the same locking style as the G3 1-6×24, good tactile feel and easy to adjust.
Nice to Haves
The G3 6-36×56 FFP comes with the same type of lens covers as the G3 1-6×24, just sized up for the larger tube along with a detachable honeycomb filter sunshade and a lint-free cleaning cloth. Same quick release scope rings too, which I liked, but a single piece mount would probably be preferable for a 6-36 given the additional stability they offer.
The G3 6-36×56 is for long-distance shots, so if you don’t shoot longer shots than 500yds, this is not the scope for you, If your goal is 1,000+ yard accuracy then — while budget-friendly — I’d recommend saving up for a Nightforce, Leupold, or Schmidt and Bender.
3. Blackbird 1.5×20 Prism Scope
The 1.5×20 Blackbird Ultra-Compact Prismatic Scope is ideal for rapid short-range target acquisition because of its fixed 1.5x magnification.
It boasts of three-inch eye relief, but some customer reviews say the eye relief isn’t as reliable as other scope brands. I didn’t have an issue with it.
Fit & Finish
The Blackbird has a sturdy, compact feel, if somewhat bulbous when it comes to the illumination knob. The knurling on the windage adjustment caps is less aggressive than other Monstrum products but still easy enough to remove and replace.
The caps also feature raised tabs that slide into the adjustment dials, similar to the Vortex Spitfire 3x Prism Scope, so you don’t have to worry about having a coin or screwdriver on hand.
The glass is nice and clear due to the prism optical system with an adjustable focus lens. I never had an issue getting a nice, clear focus — but we’re talking about a pretty limited degree of magnification. The nitrogen-sealed tube means the Blackbird is fog and water-resistant, so the glass should stay clear in most conditions, including low light.
Reticle & Magnification
The prism reticle is billed as a 2 MOA Circle Dot, but it feels larger than a 2 MOA dot to me. That said it’s clear and easy to see, despite being a little large for precision work. Tha 1.5 magnification is an interesting choice, as you’re not really getting the benefit of much magnification despite having to line up your sight picture & eye relief to get on target. I’m more of a 3X magnification fan, personally. Same amount of additional work but with some actual magnification benefit.
The red and green illumination is engaged through a left-hand adjustment dial, which has 5 brightness settings for each. The illumination is nice and bright, and easy to see in daylight with both red and green.
Nice to Haves
The Blackbird is fully sealed and IPX7 completely waterproof, so it’s a decently solid little prism scope. That said the Type-III Hard Anodization coating doesn’t feel as durable as the G3 scopes, with some of it coming off the knurling with just a few uses.
The mount is also decidedly lower profile than my Sig Romeo5 red dot and some other optics I own, which means a significant portion of my thumb occupies the bottom portion of my field of view with the Blackbird when using a C grip.
The Blackbird 1.5×20 Prism Scope is for anyone interested in a low magnification scope or who wants an inexpensive backup optic.
4. Raven Ultra-Compact 3×32 Prism Scope
The Raven P332-R is the most compact 3x scope in the Monstrum line-up. It’s a CQB scope with a circle dot reticle and has the same type-III hard-anodized finish as other Msontrum scopes in the black or flat dark earth.
Fit and Finish
The Raven uses a lot of the internals as the Blackbird but with 3X magnification and a more, uh, futuristic package. There’s a load of cuts and hard edges, which may appeal to some folks but I found it to be an odd little package. It’s light though.
Those sharp edges have the downside of creating areas where the anodized finish can easily be worn off, which I have seen in multiple places on the Raven.
I’d put the Raven’s glass on par with the Blackbird, meaning it’s nice and clear. Getting a clearly focused sight picture is a snap.
Reticle & Magnification
Another area where the Raven and Blackbird share internals is the reticle — it’s the same 2 MOA Circle Dot, which, while not breaking any new ground, is easy to use. The 3X magnification is nice and offers a little more range than the Blackbird.
The etched black reticle means you don’t have to turn on the red or green illuminated reticle to use it, but having that option is nice when using it against darker backdrops or in very bright conditions.
Illumination on the Raven is — you guessed it — exactly the same as the Blackbird, with the exception of the illumination dial placement, which rides on top of the unit. There is a very slight degree of light bleed around the edges of the FOV when using the brightest illumination settings in dark spaces.
Nice to Haves
The eye relief of the 3×32 Raven compact prismatic scope is wide enough for clear targeting with both eyes open.
The Raven Ultra-Compact 3×32 Prism Scope is a step up from the Blackbird in terms of magnification and would make a solid low magnification scope provided you can live with its tendency for marring and dings.
5. Monstrum 1-4×20 Tactical Scope
2023 Awards & Rankings
The Monstrum Tactical 1-4×20 is a Second Focal Plane scope for close to mid-range shooting. This scope has an illuminated Rangefinder reticle for quicker range estimation and holdover correction.
Fit and Finish
The 1-4×20 Tactical Scope has smooth finish, similar to the G3 1-6×24 FFP scope, but in a lighter, smaller, more compact package. The windage knob covers are less aggressive but the magnification throw lever makes adjustments smooth and quick.
Glass was clear through the magnification range, which isn’t particularly impressive given we’re talking about a 1-4, but there was no side distortion and the picture was always well lit.
Reticle & Magnification
The rangefinder reticle is a straightforward BDC-style, with 200, 300, 400, and 500-yard hash marks. Given this is an SFP scope the reticle remains consistent throughout the magnification range, and rolling from 1X to 4X is smooth and the throw lever makes it both easy to find and provides additional leverage.
The reticle illumination is selectable green or red and actuated with an illumination dial mounted at 11-o’clock.
The lower illumination settings aren’t particularly useful, and once you crank up to 4 or 5 there’s a considerable amount of light bleed around the eye box, which is rather distracting in dusk/dawn settings.
Nice to Haves
The black-etched reticle is always visible without illumination, or it can be lit red or green for better reticle visibility at night or in low light conditions. The Monstrum scope comes with quick release scope rings, a detachable throw lever, lens cloth, CR1632A battery, and lens covers.
The Monstrum 1-4×20 is a fair-priced, entry-level tactical scope that would work for anyone looking to outfit a rifle with a low-priced LPVO for close or mid-range shooting. If you plan on taking longer shots or need to consistently use an illuminated reticle in low-light settings I would look elsewhere.
6. Monstrum 1×20 Vader Red Dot Sight
2023 Awards & Rankings
The 1×20 Vader Red Dot Sight is a close-range electronic sight for fast and accurate target acquisition. It has ten brightness settings on the illumination dial.
The state-of-the-art Laser Diode Optical System provides 3x the brightness and 5x the battery life of low-end LED Red Dot sights.
The Vader Red Dot is fully waterproof and can be submerged at 3 feet for 30 minutes. The UltraLux multi-layer lens coating increases light transmission and makes the sight picture super clear.
My main issue with the Vader is its problem with light bleed, which is significant. Even with lower settings, I was getting a load of red around the eyepiece, which was distracting and obviously unacceptable.
Given the price point, I’d recommend spending the additional $30-$40 and picking up a Sig Romeo5, which far exceeds the Vader’s performance on every level.
7. Monstrum Marksman 3×30 Prism Scope
The 3×30 Marksman Compact Prismatic Scope is entirely metal, including the turret caps. Which means it’s durable. It’s an excellent mid-range scope with a red or green illuminating reticle.
The adjustable objective lens helps you obtain a sharper focus on the reticle and target. The one feature I’m unsure of is the thumbscrew mount. I’ve had these types of mounts fall off of my gun before because it rattled loose from shooting and transporting, so I recommend using a wrench to tighten them, not just hand tighten them.
The Marksman 3×30 Prism Scope is for mid-range target shooters. I wouldn’t recommend shooting past 200 yards with this rifle scope.
8. Monstrum Alpha 6-24×50 FFP Rifle Scope
The 6-24×50 Alpha is a precision rifle scope for long-range shooting. It is a first focal plane scope without electronics, so you don’t have to worry about the batteries running out. It comes with flip-up lens covers and lens cloth, so you’ll need to purchase scope mounts separately.
I like that this scope comes with a no-hassle lifetime warranty. My favorite feature is the integrated throw lever, which increases the tactility and usability of the scope so you can quickly adjust the magnification.
The Alpha 6-24×50 FFP scope is for mid to long-range shooters. If your targets are 200 yards or closer, I recommend finding a different Monstrum scope.
Who Is Monstrum Tactical?
In 2008, Monstrum began designing and manufacturing handguards for the AR-15 platform at half the price of their competitors. Since then, they have expanded their inventory to include gun accessories for several other firearm platforms, including the AK-47 and shotguns.
They offer an extensive line-up of First Focal Plane Scopes, Second Focal Plane Scopes, Prism Scopes, and Red Dot Sights. Whether you need a close-range optic or a long-range scope, Monstrum makes affordable products to meet your needs.
They have stayed true to their original mission of making products at an affordable price. Monstrum is located in Southern California and is “always working to improve quality and selection while lowering prices.”
Why a Monstrum Scope?
- Price. Their prices are tough to beat. The features that their scopes offer are typically found on scopes priced much higher, but there are certainly instances where their corner-cutting rears its head — such as issues with light bleed and chintzy lens covers.
- Fair Value. Despite having affordable prices, Monstrum doesn’t often skimp on quality where it matters. I’m not saying they have the best scopes on the market — because I don’t think they do. However, I believe for the price there are Monstrum products that over-deliver. There are also products that do not deliver what you’d expect, which I have noted.
- Durability. The riflescopes are constructed of aircraft-grade aluminum, and the adjustment assemblies are brass mechanics. In my testing, these lived up to their durability claims and I think will make for a functional scope for years to come, as long as you don’t abuse it and accept its limitations. Some design decisions — such as the Raven’s sharp corners — will show wear after just a few uses. If you only spend a few hundred dollars or less on a scope and it lasts several years, I’d consider that a win.
- Versatility. Not only does Monstrum have a wide selection of scopes, but most of their scopes proved reasonably versatile, particularly their prism products which work well in low-light environments as well as bright conditions with limited to no light bleed. The standard illuminated products, however, were hobbled with considerable light bleed in my testing.
Many of their scopes offer easy adjustments from close to mid-range and from mid to long-range, so whatever situation you encounter, Monstrum has optics that should work for you, at least on paper.
Types Of Monstrum Scopes
All scopes are not created equal. Various scopes have pros and cons that make them better suited for different situations. Understanding the different types of scopes will help you make a better purchasing decision that you won’t regret later.
First Focal Plane (FFP)
Rather than me trying to explain what First Focal Plane means, I’ll let Monstrum describe it in their own words-
“FFP stands for First Focal Plane. The term refers to the position of the scope reticle in relation to the magnification lens. In FFP scopes, the reticle is located to the front of the magnification lens – the first focal plane. The size of the reticle grows or shrinks in relation to the magnification.”
Second Focal Plane (SFP)
When the reticle is on the Second Focal Plane, it does not change size with the magnification. So as you zoom in, the reticle will still appear to be the same size as it was when you were at minimum power.
Second Focal Plane scopes are excellent for close to mid-range shooting because you can quickly find your target and get the reticle on the target image. The farther away your target becomes, the more challenging it is to see because the reticle might be completely covering it. That’s one reason why First Focal Plane scopes are much better for long-distance shooting.
Low Power Variable Optics (LPVO)
Low Power Variable Optics allow the shooter to get on target and adjust accordingly quickly. If you’ve ever tried to find a target on high power, you know how difficult that can be, even after looking directly at it. It’s easy to get lost on high power.
That’s why using an LPVO scope is best for close-range shooting. You don’t need the extra magnification when your targets are within 200 yards than when your targets exceed 500 yards.
It’s always best to begin at the lowest power possible and then zoom in from there until your target is clearly in focus, and that’s what Low Power Variable Optics allow you to do.
Glass prism optical systems allow for better optics in smaller packages than traditional refracting lens systems commonly found in scopes. Compact Prismatic Scopes are best for close to mid-range targets because they lack the magnification power needed for long distances.
Monstrum offers red and green reticle illumination and an etched black reticle.
While technically, red dots are not scopes because they don’t magnify the targets, they look similar to prism scopes. Many gun enthusiasts love installing them on their firearms because they can quickly get and stay on target. Red Dot sights are designed for close range, 100 yards or less unless paired with a magnifier.
The Monstrum Red Dot sights are unique because they use a Laser Diode Optical System, which is three times brighter and has a five times longer battery life than some of their competitors that use LED Red Dot sights.
Important Optic Selection Considerations
When purchasing any optic for your firearms, there are several considerations that you should keep in mind,
- How will you mount it?
- And for what do you plan to use it?
How Will You Mount The Optic?
Some firearms don’t have a Picatinny rail, and some scopes require special scope rings. Make sure you have everything you need to mount the scope to your gun correctly. Knowing all of this ahead of time will save you a significant headache later.
Price often determines the quality of the product. However, you must always keep your budget in mind, so you might have to settle for fewer features than you’d prefer because it’s within your budget.
There are many scopes within the $200-$500 price points.
However, a premium scope will cost you at least $2,000. Monstrum does an excellent job of keeping prices down and incorporating features that you would have paid considerably more for a few years ago.
How Do You Plan To Use It?
You’ll need to decide if you plan to use it for close-range or long-distance shooting because you’ll need different scopes for each of these styles. You can find scopes that crossover; however, they won’t be as capable as those that focus on one specific purpose.
Price Ranges vs. Features
While scope prices vary from under $50 to well over several thousand dollars, Monstrum scopes don’t vary quite as much.
- $50-$100. You will find the Monstrum Red Dot sights, a couple of Prism scopes like the Blackbird, and several tactical SFP scopes within this price range.
- $100+. This offers the rest of the Monstrum line-up with a few SFP scopes and most of the FFP scopes, and the rest of the Monstrum Prism scopes. No scope on their website is listed for more than $340.
How We Selected Our Recommendations
Monstrum reached out to us to gauge our interest in assessing their product, which we agreed to, of course letting them know we’ll be objective. They provided 6 products, all of which we tested first-hand — mounting, unmounting, zeroing, and shooting. In addition to our first-hand experience, we checked out customer reviews on the major retailer sites.
For some of the products, we leaned on personal experience, online reviews, & discussion with experts to hone in on the best of the best.
Rather than present a never-ending list of all the Monstrum optics we reviewed those which we felt best represent the price points laid out above — giving you a solid representational list to serve as a jumping-off point for your own research (you are going to do your own research, right?)
March 13, 2023 — Following a comprehensive reassessment of this guide our current Monstrum scope recommendations stand. We’ve updated images and links where appropriate.
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