Meet the UTG 3-12X44 Compact Scope: The Best Reliable and Adaptable Starter Scope
Can it keep up with the competition?
If you are searching for the best starter scope on the market, then look no further. UTG is aiming to prove great scopes can be affordable, and I’ve found that the UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope is a shining example. Let’s take a closer look at why.
Glass Clarity and Reticle
I wasn't expecting much from this budget scope but the glass is pretty good. It’s as clear as you can get for the price. The reticle is the neat part I like on this scope. It’s a simple mil-dot crosshair but has more dots on the crosshairs. This gives you more aimpoints and thus…more accuracy. The reticle uses Illumination Enhancing (EI) Technology. This gives you 36 different color settings for your reticle! The color settings make adapting to new environments a breeze.
Plus, it’s super helpful for the colorblind. Although the crosshairs have EI Tech and more precise dots, I have noticed the crosshairs can be a bit thick. This is just a minor flaw in an overall great reticle. If you’re looking for a higher-end optic, I’d check out my 243 optic guide.
The UTG 30mm Compact sits back at a comfortable 3 to 3.4 inches. This makes it a good fit for AR platforms as well as hunting rifles. Simple and to the point.
When it comes to my optics, I want them to work no matter what. Rain and bumps don’t bother this water and shockproof scope. It’s also built with Smart Spherical Structure (SSS), making it steady and reliable. It’ll take the abuse from break barrel airguns to large caliber rifles.
I don’t know about you but I like clean, scratch-free glass. And that is why I am a fan of the flip-up lens caps that come with the scope. This reliability all comes at a heavy cost… literally heavy. The UTG Compact Scope weighs in at about 2 lbs. This isn’t ideal for hunters or anyone that is shooting on the go.
Elevation and Windage Turrets
I have found that the turrets are crisp and precise with their 1/4 MOA adjustments. Although they don’t have caps, they lock and are resettable. I was able to make a few quick changes and the turrets were solid. Whenever I mounted the UTG on my .223 rifle, I had no problems zeroing in. And it also held zero after firing tens of rounds through it.
Parallax & Magnification
With 3-12 magnification, I have plenty of power to reach out to 200 yards. The parallax is adjusted with a Side Wheel Adjustment System (SWAT). This crisp turret adjusts parallax from 10 yards to infinity. Adjustable zoom and parallax makes this scope even more adaptable to its environment.
Mounting and Rings
I am surprised that this cost-effective scope comes with rings. They can fit onto picatinny or weaver rails, giving you lots of options. These rings also have quick release. You can just twist 2 latches and pop the scope off quick and easy.
The UTG Compact Scope is absolutely worth it. On top of being reliable and precise, it’s friendly to your wallet and backed by a lifetime warranty.
The weight is a bit much and the crosshairs are a little thick. Despite this, I still say this scope is excellent for the price point and performance.
Richard Douglas is a firearms expert and educator. His work has appeared in large publications like The Armory Life, Daily Caller, American Shooting Journal, and more. In his free time, he reviews optics on his Scopes Field blog.
Image: Richard Douglas