Nightforce SHV 3-10x42mm Review – A 2022 Guide

Nightforce is a formidable competitor even for the most renowned and well-established brands of firearm optics. The SHV line of scopes from this company was specifically designed for hunters and competitive shooters.

One such piece from this line is the SHV 3-10x scope and it will be at the center of this discussion. Let's discuss the pros and cons, any other in’s and out’s, and why should you consider it. 

  • Good adjustment range and side parallax setting
  • Durable 30mm tube construction and 3-10x power
  • Illuminated MOAR reticle offers precise estimations
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  • Turrets With Zero Stop Feature
  • Comprehensive Warranty Coverage
  • Extremely Durable Design 
  • Illuminated Reticle With Hash Marks for Windage and Elevation
  • Objective Size and Eyepiece
  • Big Objective Size for Clarity and a Fast Focus Eyepiece


  • Expensive Compared With Similar Scopes
  • Heavier for a 3-10x Scope

Nightforce SHV 3-10x42mm Specs 

Eye Relief: 3.5 inches

Adjustment Options (Parallax, windage, elevation): W - 80 MOA, E - 90 MOA, P - 25 yards to infinity

Type of Reticle: Illuminated Forceplex/MOAR

Magnification: 3 - 10 x

Focal Plane: Second Focal Plane (SFP)

Objective Lens: 42 mm

Field of View: 34.9 - 11 ft at 100 yds

Weight: 22.1 oz.


Looking at the specifications of the SHV, it seems to be an amazing hunter’s scope. The magnification, objective, FOV, and eye relief metrics are great. But let’s concentrate on the best factors that make it an ‘amazing’ scope. 

Illuminated Reticle

An expected and desperately needed upgrade to the older version is the illuminated reticle. You get two reticle options: the Forceplex reticle and the MOAR reticle. The Forceplex is a basic crosshair design with a fine illuminated red cross. Whereas the MOAR is for more deliberate uses due to its detailed hash markings for windage and elevation adjustments. The illuminated reticle has now made the scope usable in very low lighting conditions.


The SHV features a tough 30 mm single-piece tube. This tube has been constructed using reinforced metal layers to offer exceptional durability on the field. The innards will stay protected and flawlessly functional. The scope has good glass and holds up very well under recoil. There’s a small crush area in the cell housing that works as an extra space to protect the lens from impacts. 

Zerostop Turrets

The turrets feature caps and the anxiously awaited zerostop has been added to the SHV 3-10x scope. The caps prevent the turret settings from shifting under any circumstances. The maximum adjustment range of 80/90 MOA is fair enough for the scope of this magnification. The 0.25 MOA adjustments also suit the specifications of this scope. 

This scope also allows adjustment for parallax, which is a great feature for scopes with variable magnification. The parallax is adjustable from 25 yards to infinity and greatly improves the overall accuracy of your rifle. One small drawback, however, is that you need a coin/tool to adjust the turrets.

Objective Size and Eyepiece

The SHV 3-10x features a large 42 mm objective lens. A lens of this size collects enough light to create a bright sight picture in the most unforgiving low light conditions. That’s a definite plus with this scope. Also, the fast-focus eyepiece helps with finding and aiming at targets exceptionally quick. The 3.5-inch eye relief is also a fair deal for this level of magnification. 


The Nightforce SHV 3-10x is covered by a limited lifetime warranty, which is transferable. So it doesn’t matter whether you purchase a new scope or acquire it from someone. The warranty will still be in effect. 


The SHV 3-10x is an ultimate scope for its class. No doubt about that. But it is still prone to a few shortcomings, or we may also call them drawbacks. Let’s learn about some cons of this scope and how they affect the overall use. 


Paying close to a thousand dollars for a low variable magnification scope may not seem to be the brightest idea. This scope is mostly not surpassable in terms of durability, clarity, and quality in its class. But it is still an expensive piece to mount on your rifle.

So if you are dedicated to choosing this scope, you should ensure it will be appropriate for your intended applications. Additionally, you won’t find parallax adjustment on most cheaper scopes. 


A scope with 3-9 or 10x magnifying power is expected to weigh around 13-17 ounces. That’s where most of these scopes fall in weight. However, the SHV weighs 22.1oz or 1.38 pounds. That’s a significant amount of weight to add on the top of your gun and may create handling issues with ultra-lightweight rifles. While not a deterrent, it is something to keep in mind. 

Best Uses For the Nightforce SHV 3-10x42mm

Understand the nomenclature of this scope to learn about its best uses. SHV stands for shooter, hunter, and varminter. That covers almost everything you’ll want from a 3-10 x magnification scope. This scope is so good in terms of quality and features that you can use it for short to medium range precision hunting competitions (obviously when you choose the MOAR reticle option). 

The illuminated reticle and fast focus eyepiece help with quickly acquiring targets even under low light conditions. The MOAR reticle has hash marks to estimate the range and windage holds almost instantly. Plus, the zerostop and cap on the turrets help with retaining the settings when shooting on-the-go or fast-moving targets. 

It will convert your rifle into a general-purpose hunting rifle. Which can be used for almost every application that’ll ever spring before you. Except for long range sniping, since the magnification doesn’t suit that. 

The scope is best for taking down varmints like coyotes and prairie dogs. Coupling the scope with IR illuminators is also a possible application. But would’ve been better if the scope has adjustable brightness. 

Is the Nightforce SHV 3-10x42mm Compatible With Any Rifle? 

The Nightforce SHV 3-10x42 mm scope is compatible with most rifles. Mostly with .223 calibers and above. Remember that this scope weighs around 1.38 pounds, which can make a lightweight low caliber rifle imbalanced. 

This scope works best with hunting rifles since it was deliberately designed for them. You can mount it on bolt actions and semi-auto rifles. The compact design also doesn’t consume much space. 

What Do I Need to Know About Mounting the Nightforce SHV 3-10x42mm?

The SHV 3-10x42mm comes with a detailed instruction manual to help you mount the scope. All the needed specifications and considerations have been properly mentioned for a clearer understanding. 

The initial consideration is to keep the scope at the highest magnification when mounting. Nightforce recommends their own scope rings and single-piece mounts for this scope. However, you may opt for any durable option available on the market. But please don’t go for cheap rings/mounts since the scope is heavy, and expensive. 

Remember to note the serial number of the scope before mounting because once mounted the scope rings will cover it. For precision shooting, the reticle and rifle need to be squared. 

The turrets have to be adjusted using a quarter or any other appropriate tool. Make sure you estimate proper eye relief before finally mounting the scope. Since it will change with the type of rifle you are using and your choice of clothing. 

What Makes the Nightforce SHV 3-10x42mm Stand Out From the Competition?

The SHV 3-10x features outstanding quality for a scope of this magnifying power. The first thing that differentiates it from its competition is the MOAR reticle. This reticle offers great intuitiveness when shooting and has extra hash marks for attaining extreme precision at long range. 

The illuminated reticle has also improved the low light usage of this scope. Which was already very favorable in the previous non-illuminated version. The durability is top-notch and far better than other low priced scopes. The side parallax adjustment, compact size, and versatile application are also notable features. 


The SHV is a hunter’s rifle scope, fit for hunting almost any game you can find walking on the face of this planet. Additionally, it is more of a general-purpose rifle scope that can play many roles. Sure you have to pay a good price for that. But with the transferable limited lifetime warranty and a high precision illuminated reticle, the investment is worth it.

People Also Ask

Buying SHV is not a quick decision to be made. It’s a good amount of money you’ll be investing, and before you do that, you should have answers to some common questions about mounting/handling this scope

What Throw Lever Will Work For A Nightforce SHV 3-10x42mm?

The Nightforce Clamp-On PTL™ will work best with the SHV 3-10x42 riflescope. It is recommended by Nightforce and also an OEM component. Hence sure to deliver the best performance under all working conditions. 

How Long Does the Battery Last on the Nightforce SHV 3-10x42mm?

The suggested battery life of an SHV 3-10x42mm scope is 720+ hours. However, if you plan on storing the scope for a long duration of time. Make sure to remove the batteries from the scope to preserve their power. 

Can I Put the Nightforce SHV 3-10x42 on an AR15?

Yes. It works great with an AR since those rifles are mostly used for hunting and tactical applications. Mounting the scope on an AR-15 isn’t a problem either and the eye relief suits that application really well.


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