Review: Leupold VX Freedom AR Riflescope

Leupold's iconic gold ring on the bell of the riflescope

A few months ago, Leupold introduced the VX Freedom line of riflescopes. Leupold is a quality maker that offers first-class riflescopes. Leupold is a big name in the market—perhaps the biggest—with excellent performance being the norm. Few makers would risk their reputation on a cheaper product. If it offers a quality but inexpensive riflescope, this is a good trick. The Freedom line is basically a simplified Vari X. Leupold’s iron-clad warranty applies to this line. The riflescopes are made right here in the United States. 

Bob Campbell shooting an AR-15 rifle topped with a Leupold Freedom AR riflescope
Firing off hand, the AR scope gave good results.

The Vari X Freedom scope is available in a number of configurations including the popular 3x9x40, 4x13x40, and 3x9x50, among others, and an AR-specific sight.

The basic specs of the scope I chose for this test run are:

  • Magnification: 3X-9X
  • Objective Diameter: 40mm
  • Field of View at 100 Yards: 33.7’/ to 13.6’
  • Tube Diameter: 1”
  • Eye Relief: 4.17”/3.66”
  • Exit Pupil on 9X: 4.7mm

The Freedom scope features a nicely finished tube and trademark gold ring on the objective lens. The turrets are large and easily adjusted, and they move with a positive indent. The ocular lens may be unlocked and adjusted to keep the reticle in focus. The power adjustment ring isn’t difficult to adjust between three and nine power. It isn’t too tight and is quite positive in operation. I like this system; it is easily adjusted, but the ring isn’t going to move out of place.

The power adjustment ring is easily controlled due to the grooved knob. Even in the dead of winter when wearing gloves this system works well.

Close up of the turrets on a VX Freedom riflescope
It isn’t difficult to properly sight in this riflescope.

I tested the VX Freedom AR 3x9x40 with the Tactical Milliradian Reticle (TMR) reticle. I used the Leupold AR mount. This is a strong, solid mount that offers excellent rigidity. Mating it to the scope was easily accomplished. A good-quality riflescope is much easier to zero than the low-end jobs. The click adjustments are positive, offering exactly the same movement time after time.

I have been privileged to use a good many Leupold scopes over the years, and the Freedom line operates as well as the others, simply without the same features. Today’s economy optics are as advanced or more so than truly expensive scopes of a decade ago, while the expensive scopes today provide incredible performance. Adjustments are repeatable and exact.

I initially sighted in the rifle for the SIG Sauer Elite .308 Winchester loading, mounting the scope on my Ruger SR762 rifle. It wasn’t difficult to get the rifle sighted in using the box method. I like to sight the rifle to strike a little high at 100 yards.

VX Freedom TMR Reticle

Leupold Freedom Ar 3x9 reticle
The Tactical Milliradian Reticle (TMR) expands on existing mil-dot types, by using hash marks rather than dots for greater precision when holding over at long range.

The TMR reticle is well suited to all-around use. The Tactical Milliradian Reticle expands on existing mil-dot types. The TMR uses hash marks rather than dots for greater precision when holding over at long range.

Both windage and bullet-drop compensation are possible by a trained shooter. Each mil is 3.6 inches at 100 yards, and the hash marks are .5 mil apart, or .2 mil spacing on outer edges. Once you understand mils and target measurement, you may use the mils and the scope to estimate range closely, providing you have a good approximation of the target’s size. This did not come into play in my firing test, as this is a preliminary workout, but the concept is interesting and has proven quite effective.

I found the Leupold fast on target with excellent clarity. Firing from standing and from a braced firing position, the scope, rifle, and ammunition combination proved a good match. After firing more than 100 rounds of SIG Sauer Elite ammunition, I was confident of my zero and went on to test this remarkable rifle. But that is another story.

Does Leupold’s VX Freedom TMR reticle with hash marks instead of traditional mil dots change the shooting game in your eyes? Why or why not? Share your answer in the comment section.

About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.

Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Rifle Magazine
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns

Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (4)

  1. There is no such thing as a “good” or even an “accurate” review on anything online or even in print magazines these days!
    What exactly did you take away from this “review”?
    The brand, it has a gold ring on it..and the tube size and magnifying level of the scope. To me, that was it.
    As most AR platforms sold are .556 how did it preform with that loading?
    With a rifle that you have that you know is accurate, how did it perform at different distances? How repetitive was the turrets? What is the cost of the unit? Etc, etc..??
    These are nothing more than written endorsements for manufacturer’s these days, that I believe even THEY would be disappointed in. With the half assed butt kissing of this so called “review” I placed in my digital trash can!
    But then, that’s just MY opinion. However, like most of you, THAT is the only opinion that matters these days!

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