Most gun owners I know have a respectable sized stable of firearms at their disposal. Few enthusiasts it seems, are single firearm owners. With many guns comes many accessories. Slings, scopes, magazines…. the costs add up quickly. While the most used (and abused) rifles may find themselves adorned with the most expensive optics the shooter can afford, it’s hard to justify shelling out top dollar for every rifle around. This is especially true if somewhat less expensive optics are performing nearly as well as their “gold-ringed” counterparts. This was just the situation I found myself in when I first came across Lucid Optics shortly before I was able to review their P7 4x optic. Now, enter the Lucid MLX.
Lucid’s MLX is a 4.5-18x riflescope, with a glass-etched mil-based reticle in the first focal plane (FFP). The turrets are lockable, re-zeroable and adjust in 1/10 mil increments. The reticle has 5 mils of hold-under, 10 mils of hold-over and 5 mils of windage in each direction. The internal adjustment range is 20 mils, both vertically and horizontally. The glass is coated for 92% light transmission as well as being fog, shock and waterproof. At ~14″ long and 26 ounces of heft with a 30mm tube, the MLX is fairly petite given its spec sheet.
The MLX scope feels well crafted. The turrets have distinct clicks and rotate smoothly, unlocking and re-zeroing the turrets is quick and intuitive, given the “lift turret to unlock and adjust, lift further to re-zero” mechanism. The magnification ring spins with little stiffness, not requiring knobs to grab on to for leverage. The reticle is clear and distinct and offers plenty function without being cluttered.
This is my first experience with a first-focal plane scope in the civilian market. I really think if someone is using a mil-based reticle (which allows for range estimation), they should use one with the reticle in the FFP. With a second focal plane (SFP) reticle, it won’t change size when you zoom in or out. It’s only functional for ranging (and drop adjustments!) at a certain, manufacturer specified magnification. Every other magnification, mils aren’t mils! With a FFP scope, the reticle grows and shrinks as you zoom in and out, staying the same size regardless. No matter what magnification you want to range at, mils are always mils with first-focal plane reticles.
I like having 15 mils worth of drop adjustment available even at max magnification. While my AR (which this scope was first mounted on) is used from 0-300 yards, my bolt-action .308 is routinely used from 500 to 1000 yards for long-range practice. If I zero said bolt-gun using the top dot instead of the center dot, that gives me 15 mils of holdover without touching the turrets. 15 mils with Federal Gold Medal Match 168gr rounds at 2608 fps gets this rifle past 1100 yards with no adjustments. While this method isn’t optimal for every setup out there, it sure is fast on a dedicated long-range gun.
In usage, the MLX quickly feels like you’ve had it for years. I attribute that to the smooth control inputs and intuitive layout. The scope passes the “box test”, returning to zero after numerous adjustments made in all directions.
If we take the saying, “you get what you pay for” at face value, we should assume there’s a reason something like Leupold’s Mark 4 runs ~$400 more than the MLX. Similar magnification (MLX has more), similar features. Both have a warranty… The differences? The Mark 4 is 4 ounces lighter and has ~5% better light transmission. Also, the MLX is a little pickier on having the side parralax knob adjusted just so. If that’s worth $400 to you, fire away. I think spending that $400 on more ammo to practice with would benefit nearly every shooter immeasurably more than 5% light transmission.
What Lucid Optics is offering is rare… a first focal plane scope with 4.5-18x magnification at a reasonable price. The MLX is well made and functions flawlessly. For the precision shooter be it professional, recreational or competitive, the Lucid Optics MLX is certainly worth checking out. MSRP is $649, street price is ~$529.