Athlon vs. Vortex Riflescopes – Which One is Best?

Athlon vs. Vortex Riflescopes

LAST UPDATED: April 4th, 2022

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Budget riflescopes are nearly unheard of in today’s market. Riflescopes are so highly-priced that shooting or hunting enthusiasts often have to forgo their dream. Luckily, there are two manufacturers offering incredible products at a price tag that seems too good to be real.

But how do you make the choice when the two are to comparable? And in a market where products are so highly-priced, are affordable products really any good, to begin with? As always, we’re here to answer all your questions. To settle the Athlon vs. Vortex riflescope debate and recommend some of their best products, we’ve put together this guide for you. We hope this helps you venture into the world of riflescopes before having a hole burned in your pocket!

Athlon vs. Vortex Riflescope Comparison

As you can see, both companies produce extremely high-quality products with unbeatable value for money. So which one should you opt for? Let us go feature-wise to help you make an informed choice!

Price Point

Price points are an important deciding factor, as it should be. What’s great about both of these companies is that they give you top-notch products at prices that seem too good to be true. 

Both Vortex and Athlon’s most expensive scopes carry price tags that just about graze $2000, whereas if you were to purchase scopes with similar features and quality from other manufacturers, you would have to shell out a sum upwards of $5000. These companies have really comparable price points. 


Coated optics is a basic yet very important feature in scopes. As you have seen in our list of recommendations, both Vortex and Athlon offer multicoated optics. These coatings help the scope transmit and gather light better, thus increasing the quality and clarity of the image it delivers. 

From our reviews, you can see that 2 of the Vortex models recommended come with Armortek coating. This coating is stronger than the ones offered on the Athlon models. 

If you are looking for really high-quality glass, these two Vortex models would be more to your liking. However, glass is just a small portion of your purchase.

Eye Relief

As for eye relief, Vortex has better performance. The eye relief on Athlon scopes tends to be narrower, whereas the Vortex gives you more wiggle room with your angles. 


Both companies have high-quality reticles with models that offer illuminated reticles too. Whichever type of reticle you may prefer, both companies give you the option to choose from several types. 

Weight and Dimension

Both of these manufacturers make scopes that come in comparable dimensions and weights. If you are concerned about packing the scope for trips, they will take up similar space and have similar weight.

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Athlon Riflescope

This US-based company, since its inception, has never disappointed in terms of quality and functionality. What makes them even better is the fact that their products usually come at a price tag that seems too good to be true. It further cements the fact that expensive products are not by default the best in the market. 

Products from this manufacturer come with the best quality optics. They are coated with different materials that improve image quality by using light, transmitting light more efficiently, and reducing inconvenience like color fringing. 

They are also extremely durable. Many of their models make use of features such as argon purging or XPL coating to keep the riflescopes protected both internally and externally. To see what other features make Athlon riflescopes so great, let us look at the recommendations we have for you. 

Recommended Athlon Riflescope to Buy

Athlon is one of the first names that come to mind when we speak about value for money. Beginners and experts across the budget spectrum can enjoy the three models recommended below. 

Athlon Optics Argos BTR GEN2 6-24X50 First Focal Plane Riflescopes

Athlon Optics Argos BTR GEN2 6-24X50 First Focal Plane Riflescopes

The first product on our list is perhaps one of the most value-packed riflescopes on the market. It has specs and features that you are likely to find on riflescopes that are three, if not more, times the price of this product. Users agree unanimously that this is one of the best scopes for the price – and we couldn’t agree more. 

To begin with, the scope features multicoated optics. This contributes to the scope in two ways: it reduces reflection and helps transmit light more efficiently. As a result, the image becomes clearer and brighter than it otherwise would be. A good quality lens also helps prevent color fringing. 

In order to make viewing more enjoyable, the scope features a specially designed reticle which enhances the zooming capabilities of the gadget. Additionally, using the scope is poor lighting or even complete darkness is made possible by the precision zero stop system. 

XPL coating also ensures that the exterior lens stays safe from scratches, dirt, and oil. To boost the durability of the scope further, it has been argon purged. This inert gas, in scopes, helps to keep the internal part free from moisture and maintain thermal stability. The scope can survive being submerged and harsh weather. 

Altogether, you would be hard-pressed to find such an amazing product at this price tag. Durability, functionality, and aesthetics all come packed into this scope— we are certain you will love it just as much as we do.


  • Multicoated optics to reduce reflection
  • Argon purged
  • XPL coating
  • Great value for money
  • Very accurate turrets


  • Short eye relief

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Athlon Optics Helos BTR 6-25×50 First Focal Plane Riflescope

This next model from the same manufacturer is yet another great product that comes with a miraculous price tag. Without burning a hole in your pocket, you can enjoy this extremely high performing riflescope and all of its features. It is a great pick for beginners who want to enjoy a good scope without spending too much.

First and foremost, the model comes with a great first focal plane reticle, making the zoom function better. The reticle expands and shrinks as you zoom in and out. Moreover, the reticle in this model is also illuminated. This gives you great visibility in the poorest lighting conditions, setting it apart from other riflescopes. 

Purged with inert argon gas makes this riflescope extremely durable too. Because of this feature, the riflescope stays moisture-free inside and has great thermal stability. Rainfall, sunshine, or snowfall, your riflescope will always stay safe. 

This riflescope’s optics are also multicoated. Single coated lenses deliver blurred images with possible color fringing. The multicoated lens gives the riflescope the ability to better transmit light and fight flare and reflection. As a result, you get images that are clear, bright, and free of color fringing. 

With this kit, you will also get an Allen wrench, battery, and instruction manual. Altogether, it is a complete kit for anyone looking to purchase riflescopes. Do not let the price fool you – you can get this model as an upgrade for higher-end riflescopes too.


  • Locking feature for wind age and elevation
  • First focal plane reticle
  • Multicoated optics
  • Argon purged
  • Illuminated reticle


  • Short eye relief

Athlon Optics Ares ETR UHD 4.5-30×56 First Focal Plane Riflescopes

For our last product, we are moving further up the price range. However, do not let the price tag scare you – this model, not unlike the first two, provides great value for money. You are still set to enjoy features and specs that you would be likely to find in much more expensive products. Let us see what those features are. 

First of all, this model is equipped with extra-low dispersion glass. This feature helps to reduce chromatic aberration so that the image remains completely sharp and clear, free of any noise or blur too. In conjunction with this, the multicoated lens also contributes by helping use light efficiently and deliver bright images.

The product also comes with XPL coating, which gives the exterior lens extra protection against common inconveniences such as scratches, dirt, dust, and oil. This boosts the durability of the riflescope several folds. 

Additionally, a first focal plane reticle functions flawlessly regardless of the power setting the scope is on. It also expands and shrinks with the target as you zoom out and in and has an illuminated center. The feature makes visibility in poor lighting conditions very great. 

This scope is also equipped with a precision zero stop system, making it a really great choice for those who shoot on long-range. Even though this model is more expensive than the previous ones, we can still vouch for the incredible value you get for every dollar! 


  • UHD glass for true color representation
  • Multicoated lens
  • XPL coating
  • Zero stop system
  • Great value for money


  • Not argon purged
  • No flip up cap or lens protection

Vortex Riflescope

Vortex is another manufacturer that is highly regarded when it comes to riflescopes. Two great things about this brand are that their top-notch products are fairly affordable to purchase and to maintain. Vortex’s affordable models often rival high-end products, making it one of our favorite companies.

Their products are mainly known for outdoor hobbies such as hunting, bird watching, and other recreational activities. 

However, that’s not all. They even produce items for law enforcement, which speaks volumes for the quality and reliability of their products. This brand is often favored even by experienced hunters who want reasonably priced gear.

Great image contrast, despite lighting conditions, is one of Vortex’s biggest selling points. This is a very important feature as it becomes difficult to tell your target apart from the surroundings in low contrast photos. They are also very durable and provide great value for money, making them very competitive in the market. 

Recommended Vortex Riflescope to Buy

Recommended below are three Vortex riflescopes that we think are worth keeping on your radar. As always, these models meet all of our requirements, and we are very excited to recommend them to you!

Vortex Optics Strike Eagle Second Focal Plane Riflescopes

To kick off this list, we are introducing to you a budget-friendly option that will surprise you with its features. The main selling points of this model are its speed and versatility. You can use it in many different settings and still engage your target very rapidly, even in the long-range. 

The eyepiece features a fast focus dial, which makes adjustment of the reticle easy and quick. In addition to this, the reticle is also illuminated, which contributes greatly to quick target acquisition. As for the magnification ring, it has been updated to show the magnification indicators without having to come off the scope. 

Another great feature of this scope is the anti-reflective coating used on the optics. It is applied on all air-to-glass surfaces, which allows the scope to transmit light better. As a result, you can enjoy brighter and clearer images and better performance in low lighting conditions. 

Furthermore, the scope is O-ring sealed and nitrogen sealed, and we already know how important these two features are for durability. These features make your scope waterproof, fog proof, and resistant to temperature fluctuations. You can take this scope on the harshest of terrains without worrying about it getting ruined. 

Last but certainly not least, the tube is a one-piece 30 mm body made from aircraft-grade aluminum. It is also shockproof. So, at an incredible price, you are getting a high performing scope that is truly set to serve you for many years!


  • Rapid target engagement
  • Illuminated reticle
  • Fast focus dial for reticle focusing
  • Anti-reflective coating
  • Nitrogen purged, O-ring sealed


  • Mount not included
  • No extra low dispersion glass 

Vortex Optics Viper HS-T Second Focal Plane Riflescopes

Staying within a fairly similar price range, the next model we recommend comes with even better features. This is a very but extremely versatile scope which is made constructed with a single piece tube. Target shooting, hunting, or tactical operation, this scope can do it all. 

The single tube is purged with argon and O-ring sealed. These two features help keep debris and moisture out of the internal part of the tube. Purged argon also helps promote thermal stability, making it suitable for using many different weather conditions.  

This model comes with an extra-low dispersion glass lens. They also have multiple coating and XR. So many enhancements on the lens give the image incredible resolution. It also improves color fidelity by ensuring the scope is able to make use of light efficiently in any lighting condition it is being used in.

In addition to this, the lens of the scope comes protected with an Armortek coating. This coating provides a flexible and rigid shield, which ensures that the lifespan of the lens extends exponentially. It not only prevents scratching and other damages, it also has self-cleaning properties, making this scope truly unique,

As for the zoom, the scope offers 4x zoom and parallax removal, and optimal image focus is made possible by the side focus parallax adjustment. This is truly one of the highest performing riflescopes in this price range – we simply love how jam-packed it is with value.


  • Extra low dispersion lens
  • Multicoated lens
  • One piece tube
  • O-ring sealed
  • Argon purged


  • Narrow eye relief

Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II First Focal Plane Riflescopes

Our last recommendation is perfect for those who are willing to splurge on their next riflescope. This scope has incredible tactical features, is great for both close and long-range shooting due to its versatile settings and features. Another great selling point of this scope is that it has one of the best reticles at this price point. 

The reticle is totally uncluttered – however, that does not mean it is redundant. With minimal clutter, the feature offers intuitive hold points for the shooter. Additionally, it also has ten intensity levels, giving the scope its much-loved versatility. The scope has many other great features such as adjustable parallax, fiber optic rotation indicator, etc. 

As far as image quality is concerned, the scope comes equipped with extra-low dispersion glass, XR coating, and Armortek coating. These coatings help improve resolution, transmit light better, protect the exterior lens from oil, dirt, and scratches. 

To further boost the durability of the scope, it is O-ring sealed and argon purged. This makes the unit completely waterproof and fog proof, plus prevents any debris or contaminant from getting in the unit. The scope is also made from a single tube of aircraft-grade aluminum, leaving no questions to be asked about its durability. 

Even though the price is fairly steep, the riflescope comes packed with so many incredible features. It is a steal even at this price level. We recommend it to users of every expertise level – there are truly not many riflescopes as impressive as this particular model!


  • Zero stop system
  • Adjustable parallax
  • 10 intensity level reticle
  • Extra low dispersion glass
  • Armortek coating


  • Relatively expensive


As you can see, the Athlon vs. Vortex Riflescope debate is a very difficult one to settle. Both companies offer really high-quality products at competitive prices and have unbeatable value for money. However, we hope this guide helps you make a great choice, and you end up with a product you love!

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