Review: SWFA SS 1-4×24

One of my friend Matt’s rifles. This is a great example of a RECCE or SPR setup making use of an LPVO. Also the picture is just hot

We have seen an increasing trend in the past 5-10 years away from unmagnified holographic and red dot sights in favor of Low Power Variable Optics on people’s go to rifles. LPVOs have become all the rage concerning go-to, do-all optics on AR-15’s and similar rifles in recent times, and for good reason. LPVO’s offer you an easy to use low power setting(typically 1-2.5x) with a good field of view, and medium powers to aid in target ID and actually seeing targets downrange. There’s a reason they have become the new hot shit. They work, and do different jobs pretty well(though admittedly not as well as a micro dot or medium-high power optic, depending on intended use).

My go to AR with the SS 1-4 sitting nicely on top

Range day. Rifle on the right is a friend’s SPR setup with a Viper PST 2.5-10 sitting on top.

The choices for these optics keeps growing year by year as manufacturers try and deliver to what the consumer market demands, and there is massive variety in the LPVO market to fulfill whatever niche, user specific features you may desire in an optic. This ranges from the utter shit tier of optics not worth mentioning, the budget stuff like Gen 1 Vortex Strike Eagles, which can be found sub $300, mid tier SWFA/Bushnell/Leupold/Vortex/Whatever else for $4-700, nice clear higher end glass like Trijicon AccuPowers, Vortex Razors and Steiner, and then the insane $2500+ stuff like Valdada IOR Eliminator 1-10’s or S&B 1-8 ShortDot CC’s.

Today I’m reviewing an optic from that mid tier that I mentioned, the SWFA SS 1-4×24. First thing first, let’s get the specs out of the way. The SS 1-4 is a SFP that uses SWFA’s mil-quad DM reticle which is illuminated and has built in aiming points for 100, 200, and 300 yards for most 5.56 and 7.62 rounds. It is powered by one CR2032 with space under the brightness adjustment cap for a spare. Each will give you a couple hundred hours of battery life depending on what of the 10 brightness settings you find yourself using.

The Mil Quad DM reticle, with all of the measurements broken down

My edit of the Mil Quad DM reticle, and what your holdovers are when using the reticle as a BDC with the most common 5.56 zero’s

Here is a breakdown of various holdovers when using the reticle as a BDC. I have used both the purple and orange zero with M193 to great success. As for ranging, from the owner’s manual, “The SS 1-4X24 rifle scope utilizes a Mil-based reticle and provides the shooter with accurate target distances utilizing the target ranging references. The ranging references can be used to range objects 72”, 36”, or 24” tall, as well as any object 18” wide. This gives you the ability to range objects such as human silhouette-sized targets, IPSC silhouettes, deer, hogs and even coyotes.”


I’m sure you are all familiar with that feeling you get when you inbox a brand new toy you know you’re going to fall in love with?

Coming in at about 14oz, it’s 3.5oz lighter than the Strike Eagle, and a whopping 9oz lighter than the Razor HD 1-6. At 10.2” long, It’s pretty average  in OAL with other similar LPVO’s. The SS 1-4 has 55 mils of elevation and windage adjustment, with 5 mils of adjustment per revolution of each turret, and .1 mil of adjustment with each click. The glass is pretty clear with good light transmission and the optic is rated as waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof. Lenses are fully multi coated as is the norm. FOV at 100yds is 100’ on 1x and 25’ at 4x. For all this you’re paying about $400.

Nothing too special here. You can see the magnification adjustment knob on the magnification ring here.

I have been running this on my rifle for almost a year now and have yet to be disappointed. I have consistently tracked true and I’m in love with the reticle. 1x is super usable with minimal parallax(though not as good as the AccuPower 1-8 or a ShortDot CC). I’m not gentle with my rifle, it has taken more than a few falls with this optic on it and has yet to lose zero. Part of that may also be due to the rock solid S.S.A.L.T. mount I have it in. You can take the turret caps off and set them for a new zero by simply loosening 3 hex screws around the circumference of the turret and spinning them where you want, and then tightening the screws back down.

I found out it can be surprisingly difficult to take a perfectly focused shot of a reticle using a DSLR

The SS 1-4 also has this neat built in throw lever, and ships with “knobs” in 3 heights. They screw into the magnification ring. Be advised. if you decide to loctite the knob in, use *minimal* goop, because that can leak into the ring and gum shit up.

The optic just looks good on my rifle

I have only been able to take this optic out to 400yds thus far as ranges near me that go out farther than 100 are a rarity. That said, it was no issue getting hits on 12” gongs and torso sized steel at 400 while using this. It makes it almost too easy.

Below are some 50yd groups I shot relatively quickly using this on 1x while sitting, with no rest.

50yd groups, sitting, unsupported, with wind and relatively quick shooting

And here are a couple taken at 100 on 4x, sitting, with my backpack used as rest, and me taking a bit more time between shots.Nothing stellar, but not bad for relatively quick shooting on a windy Oklahoma day.  

Shooting 1-2″ at 100yds with M193 aint half bad in my opinion. I have done better, but this isn’t bad at all

All in all, I love this optic. At $400, its value is great, and you can find them on SWFA with the S.S.A.L.T. mount for $420, which is a great deal. The only alternative I would consider in this price range would be the Strike Eagle 1-6, but limiting yourself to a BDC reticle, ½ MOA adjustments, and chinese glass when you can have the above isn’t super appealing to me. If you’re in the market for a budget range LPVO, you can’t go wrong with the SS 1-4. It can be found on SWFA at×24-tactical-30mm-riflescope.html as can the scope+mount kit.  

Just some aesthetic to wrap things up

Ethan H.

Ethan is just another dude whose knows entirely too many obscure facts about firearms and related stuff. His main focuses are on optics and the intricacies of what makes a rifle "accurate". He will be dipping his toes into the NFA world SOON™ and exists solely to rid the firearm community of bad information. Warning: may contain some subtle irony or sarcasm

You may also like...

3 Responses

  1. Can you please let me know the correct size for flip-up lens covers for SS 1-4×24? Butler Creek

    • Ethan says:

      They cap sizes are 16 eye, 02A objective, and can be found here. I got mine in a bundle with the optic when originally ordered. I hope this article was helpful.

  2. John Madden says:

    Thnx for posting the review. I compete in an entirely different venue (BPCR) – also Oklahoma but also all over the NW. Recently rekindled interest in the AR platform and built one I now need optics for. Looking at a couple of the Vortex (but not rave on supporting the Chinese economy) so had looked at the Leupold 1.5 – 4 and just now happened on this SWFA. I have an SWFA SS 12 fixed on a AR-10 but never dealt with LPVOs before. Curious if you’ve experience that would cause you to favor this over a 1-8 Vortex Strike Eagle despite the extra magnification or the Leupold?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *