Our Rating: 7.8 / 10
A fan-favorite entry-level hunting scope was discontinued, and a lot of people got upset. If your impulse is to say that maybe they were upset for a reason, you'd be right. The Leupold VX-2 3-9x40mm is a must-buy scope for any casual hunter or avid hunter with a tight budget.
Leupold introduced the 3-9x40mm as an attempt to provide hunters with what they provide best: high-quality optics, extreme durability, and easy and precise control of one’s aim and vision. They succeeded, and in the process created a beloved optic.
Linear FOV (low zoom)
34.6 ft/100 yd
Linear FOV (high zoom)
14.6 ft/100 yd
Eye Relief (low zoom)
Eye Relief (high zoom)
40mm (1.6 in)
Elevation Adjustment (MOA)
Wind Adjustment (MOA)
$374.99 market, less for resale
We all know that classic phrase: good things must come to an end. Looking over other people's reviews for the Leupold VX-2 3-9x40mm, there seems to be a fairly common sentiment of grief. Amidst reviews that talk extensively of the great aspects of the Leupold VX-2, there are punctuations of people very upset that this scope was discontinued. Some of this, for sure, is probably from people who are just massive Leupold fans who are sad to see one of their favorite scopes not be up for sale anymore. But I feel like just believing that is irresponsible. There has to be something that sets this scope apart from other scopes for those people to love this scope that much in the first place. I set out to find out what it is, and we’re going to dissect that question together.
We’re going to start with the lens. People seem to genuinely love this scope’s vision generally. The lenses are well-crafted, as one can probably expect of a company as ubiquitous and standard as Leupold. But there’s more to it than that; the lenses offer an incredible and easy to maintain view. The scope is designed to channel light extremely effectively, and internal coatings ensure that it doesn’t bounce around, meaning you’re protected from things like glare or tearing. The result is a scope that has incredible vision, one which seems to take up the entire diameter of the eyepiece. You're also allotted a ton of eye relief that lets you get back a decent amount from your scope so that if your rifle happens to have a heavy recoil, you can keep yourself from getting scope bite. It also outperforms some higher-priced scopes, even in low light. In fact, I’d say especially in low light, with some reporting that the VX-2 3-9x40mm actually often outclasses higher-priced scopes with bigger objective diameters in situations where light is limited.
This standard of quality extends throughout the entire range of the scope, too. Even at the highest magnification, your view is bright and sharp without any sort of distortion or aberration. That’s something that can’t be said of some scopes that cost even twice as much as this one did at launch. This is where one of the downsides becomes evident, though. Since this scope is both older and cheaper, there isn’t a built-in parallax adjustment. This is something that’s fine given the price and age, and some don’t even like the extra bulk and visual disharmony that the parallax tuner adds. This does, however, make it hard to use your scope above about 150 yards. Additionally, some have reported that the view can get fogged up sometimes, which isn’t ideal when you’re trying to nab an important shot, but this seems anomalous and rare enough that you can somewhat downplay it.
While the optics are incredible, adjustments are a bit hit or miss for the VX-2. We’ve already mentioned how the lack of parallax adjustment can be a hindrance at a decent distance. There are some other areas where they fall a little short, which is perhaps permissible given that the scope is a little older. The scope's turrets are nice, actually: small and out of the way, with an audible click that lets you know exactly what you’re doing. Elevation and windage adjustments themselves are a breeze thanks to the tactile and crisp turrets. The scope’s tracking is excellent and allows you to easily and quickly get back to zero after making your adjustments, but the lack of a turret reset does set the VX-2 a little behind higher-priced scopes in the same niche.
Finding your target is simple and quick, thanks in part to the scope’s Fast Focus eyepiece. As for the reticle, people are split. While different reticles are available, the most common for this scope are the Duplex and the German #4. I personally like both reticles and think that they're accurate. Others think that the heavy crosshairs make it hard to see precisely. At any rate, the lack of an illuminated reticle may be off-putting to some who prefer to hunt from first light to last light, but I would give the scope a try since most people who've used it seem to love the scope in all conditions.
The build quality of the scope is insane. There are numerous anecdotes of people dropping the VX-2 from distances small as the couch to the hardwood and large as a deer stand to the forest floor, with it coming out the other end just fine. This is great because if you’re taking this thing on hunts with you, you need to expect it to take a beating. Leupold has set it up to be just that, and its waterproof and (mostly) fogproof construction make it a great choice regardless of the weather conditions. It’s also pretty lightweight compared to other scopes in the same class, so it’s not going to weigh you down.
Setting the scope up is quick and easy, and it takes less than ten rounds to get it completely zeroed in. Some say that it takes even less than five. After getting your zero, you can rest assured that the scope is going to maintain it no matter what you put it through.
Perhaps the best thing you can get with any Leupold optic, and this is saying a lot considering the quality of their optics is incredible, is Leupold themselves. Leupold is renowned for high quality customer service, and this extends to their product line. The scope is covered by their renowned lifetime warranty that covers any and all damage to the scope throughout its life, with a no-questions-asked repair-or-return policy. This warranty is also entirely transferable, so if you decide to resell the scope, it’s transferred to whoever you sell it to.
Buying this scope would require two conditions. The first is that you’re a hunter who is looking for a solid entry-level scope that will do as well or better than some mid-range scopes and that will serve you from dawn to dusk. The second is that you happen to stumble across somebody selling this scope at a price equal to or less than the original asking price. If these are true, then Yes, you should absolutely buy the scope; there are few that can stand up to it in the same circumstances.
In the end, this scope has been discontinued. As a buyer, this is great for you. Even at its original asking price, the scope offered an incredible value for the money. Now, with the secondary market being the only place to get your hands on it, this value is only getting better. Nobody is hoarding VX-2s waiting for the value to graduate, because all is said and done, they’re a medium-recognition entry-level hunting scope for people who know better than factory-bundled scopes but don’t have the budget (or time spent hunting) to justify a grander purchase. This means the people reselling this scope are old folks or veteran hunters who have found themselves outgrowing it. It retains a lifetime of value to you thanks to the incredible transferable warranty, and because of its hardiness, there’s a pretty good chance that if you get your hands on one of these, it has a long life ahead regardless. This scope is loved for a reason, and I implore you to find out for yourself what that reason is.