I am often asked by others what’s the best 1-4x tactical scope on the market. For me, one of the very under-rated 1-4x optics is the Meopta MeoTac ZD 1-4x22mm RD. On the high-end of their product lines, Meopta offers the optical performance that matches many well-known German and Austrian brands. Meopta is significantly more affordable and in some cases half the cost. The Meopta 1-4×22 tactical scope features the same German SCHOTT optical glass for their lenses.They are equal in many respects to Euro optics brands and of course Meopta products are built in Europe also, more specifically in the Czech Republic.
For those that don’t know, Meopta is an OEM maker of lens and optical components for other big name optic companies such as Zeiss, Leupold and Aimpoint. Some completed Meopta optics are also being re-branded by Nightforce, Zeiss and by Cabela’s as their in house Euro Instinct line.
The MeoTac ZD 1-4×22 RD model is the tactical variant of the Meopta MeoStar ZD 1-4×22, aka the Meopta K-dot, which is a mature design that’s been in production for about 10 years. The improvements to the tactical model includes shortening of the total length to 9.6 inches, a new tactical reticle with BDC, tethered turret caps and a more efficient power management system that doubles the battery life. The optical element have also been upgraded with 3% higher light transmission and 2.8 feet wider field-of-view (FOV) at 4x.
I used the the American made Weaver Tactical SPR 30mm optics mount for testing the Meopta MeoTac ZD 1-4×22 RD.
From the start, the Meopta 1-4x model has offered some very nice premium features that most 1-4x scopes lack. The Meopta is one of the very first 1-4x optics that features a distortion-free true 1x magnification. Even today the majority of the 1-4x scopes on the market are not true 1x at the low-end. Meopta’s true 1x together with its very bright daylight visible dot reticle illumination allows it to be used like a red-dot at close range. The Meopta’s illumination control features off positions between each of the 7 illumination settings. Its 5.24 degree field-of-view at 4x with no edge distortion or lost resolution is also very impressive. That gets close to the FOV of some prism sights.
The Meopta K-5.56 reticle is optimized for 5.56mm NATO or .223 REM ammo. The center dot’s size is 2-MOA at 1x and 0.5 MOA at 4x. There’s a 3-MOA drop between the center dot and the first chevron. Each of the chevrons is 2-MOA tall with 2-MOA of space between them. If using a 50-yard zero with the center dot with the 62-gr 5.56mm load fired from a 16-inch barrel, the three chevrons would give the hold-overs for roughly 300, 400, and 500 yards. The Meopta manual recommended a 100 meter zero for the center dot and that will equal the 300m, 400m and 500m hold-overs for the three chevrons.
Since the BDC chevrons are not labelled so they can be used for other calibers as well. If the Meopta is used for the 7.62x51mm NATO round fired from a 18-inch barrel, the three BDC chevrons would be good for 331, 431 and 535 yards holdovers.
The Meopta K-5.56 reticle is located on the 2nd focal plane and it stays the same through out the zoom range. I don’t consider a 1st focal plane reticle design a necessary feature for a low-magnification optic such as a 1-4x scope. Most of us won’t use the 1x magnification to shoot at distant targets.
While the Meopta 1-4×22 has not been officially adopted by the military, it has been used in combat by soldiers and military contractors (PMC) via private or individual unit purchase. The common field modification for the original K-dot model is hacking off the 2-inch plus of its front tube. The actual optic part of the Meopta 1-4×22 is about 9-inches long. Even on the newer shortened MeoTac tactical model there’s still nearly an inch of sun shade. From what I hear, the Meopta has no problem holding up in combat in the current environment of Afghanistan.
There’s more to the Meopta 1-4x on why it’s being used by some PMC and military units, and that has to do with the development and the adoption of the Schmidt and Bender CQB Short-Dot 1.1-4x20mm scope by the U.S. military. You can read about it on former SOF/well-known trainer/TacTV host, Larry Vicker’s S&B Short Dot information page. While the original Meopta 1-4x K-dot was designed as a hunting scope, it offers a similar daylight visible dot illumination, plus it matches the optical performance and durability of the S&B Short-Dot. That’s an achievement in itself. The Meopta 1-4x was acquired by some of those heading to the sandbox as a more affordable and easier to obtain alternative to the S&B Shot-Dot.
In some areas the Meopta 1-4x scopes have even surpassed the S&B Short-Dot, such as offering true 1x magnification at the low-end and a wider field-of-view on higher magnification. The field modified K-Dot and the new MeoTac tactical model are shorter than the S&B by an inch. I also prefer the Meopta’s simple capped adjustment turrets to S&B’s fancy “Pull-up” locking adjustment turrets. Although the S&B Short-Dot CQB 1.1-4x20mm has the advantage of weighing slightly less, it’s a 1st focal plane design with BDC and has a better power system with a longer battery life. The updated Meopta tactical ZD 1-4x22mm RD model addressed two of these with its K-5.56 reticle and improved power management system featuring battery life of up to 150 hours.
Some TFB readers may think the Meopta MeoTac ZD 1-4×22 RD’ price of $999 is expensive, but it’s actually a bargain for a premium Euro optic that’s built with German SCHOTT glass and has features and optical performance that rivals the top German and Austrian brands. In comparison, the Schmidt and Bender CQB Short-Dot is priced at $2750. The simplified S&B Short-Dot 2 Zenith version with the 2nd focal plane reticle, larger objective and capped turrets is closer to Meopta ZD in design but it still costs $2400. The closest Zeiss has is the Zeiss Victory Varipoint 1.1-4x24mm, which costs $2700.
Meopta MeoTac ZD 1-4×22 RD Specification:
Tube size: 30mm
Length: 9.6 inch
Weight: 18.6 ounces
Field of View @ 100 yards: 28 ft / 5.24 degrees
Eye relief: 3.46 inch / 88mm
Power: single CR2032 3-volt lithium battery