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A Deep Dive on the Swarovski Z8i+ 1-8×24 BRT-I LPVO

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The Swarovski Z8i+ 1-8x Low Powered Variable Optic (LPVO) is one of our favorite general use optics. But there doesn’t seem to be a lot of information about it online. This could be because it is on the pricier side of optics options or just that the information is hard to find.

So we decided to put more information out there about this amazing optic in order to help you know your options when selecting your next rifle scope.


Like most LPVOs, the Z8i+ is long and heavy when compared to normal red dot sights while providing a consistent platform for magnification. But instead of letting you paw through the technical data from Swarovski’ here’s a quick table of what you should know about the scope.

Magnification 1-8x24mm
Field of view 150 feet (1x) to 18.6 feet (8x) at 100 yards
Eye relief 3.74 inches
Light transmission 93%
Windage and clicks 72 inches at 100 yards with 0.36 inches per click
Length 11.9 inches
Weight 21.1-21.9 ounces
Tube diameter 34mm/1.34 inches
Battery and operating time 3 volt: C4 2032, approximately 1400 hours (on medium)



At the end of the day, every scope and LPVO is a tube with glass in it. But what makes each one different from another is the features built into that particular tube full of glass. So we are going to break down each section of the Z8i+ to see what makes it different.

Optical Tube

The main tube of the Z8i+ is a standard 34mm which makes it compatible with off-the-shelf scope mounting options. This allows you to choose the mount you want, not the mount you have to have.

The tube houses the magnification lenses and is extremely durable. Through our own experience with the legacy scope and that of other end users, we have yet to hear of a Z8i or Z8i+ failing from the bumps and impacts.

The Z8i+’s durability is a major benefit, especially at the optic’s price point. If you are using it on a  general purpose rifle or a rifle set up for competition, the Z8i/Z8i+ will retain zero and survive the fast paced environments you put it into.

Despite not being an LPVO design with the military in mind, the Z8i+ owes its lineage to a long line of dangerous game optics. This often puts it in rough environments where the chances of heavy impacts are much higher than the average range day.

Windage/Elevation Turrets

The Z8i+ has two low profile turrets,  the traditional, capped windage and elevation turrets. The scope has 72 inches of adjustment to allow you to zero your optic easily.

Each click of the turret is 0.36 inches at 100 yards which is one standard milliradian or mil. This makes it easier to dial in, especially if you are used to the mil system. Due to how the Z8i+ is employed, you will mostly deal with the turrets during zeroing only.

Having low profile turrets may not seem like much, but it does cut down on potential damage to the scope. High standing turrets in dynamic environments can snag and break the scope if you are not careful (ask how we know).


The magnification of the Z8i+ is 1-8x with a base true 1x magnification that greatly reduces the fishbowled image that’s normally associated with low magnification optics.

This fishbowl effect is always going to be slightly present on any LPVO since there are many pieces of glass that’s stacked within the optics tube.This can be overcome with practice but is still worth noting.

As for the lenses themselves, they are high quality treated lenses. Swarovski states that they can transmit 93% of light with good optical fidelity. This means colors are more vibrant instead of being washed out in a very clear image.This clarity allows for better target acquisition and general observation.

Like most magnificent scopes, the Z8i+ has to be adjusted for your vision and includes a diopter adjustment ring. For adjusting magnification, the sight has another adjustment ring just passed the buttons that control the reticle brightness. It includes a scale to determine which magnification level you are on and has 180 degree movement.


The BRT-I is a simple mil based reticle. It features three major stadia lines below the central crosshair separated by mil dots. Each line has holdover hashes. The central crosshair also features illumination which we will cover in the next section. For general use, this BRT-I reticle is vastly superior than a traditional mil dot reticle when it comes to quick elevation and wind holds.

The Z8i+ is a second focal plane scope. This means the reticle will not change as you increase magnification, creating a consistent sight picture. Combined with it using mils instead of MOA, and you have a reticle that is set up for easy use.

For a general use do it all optic, we personally do not recommend a 1st focal plane since the low power 1x the reticle is dependent on the illumination being on and legible in the specific lighting conditions. Meaning that if the illuminated point washes out on the 1st focal plane while on low power it’s extremely hard to aim with.

Since it is in mils, the scope is “ammunition agnostic”. This means that it does not have to be paired with a specific load, velocity, or barrel length like a true Bullet Drop Compensator (BDC). You will have to zero the scope to your ammunition and test it out, but it won’t be as tied to your ammunition.


Illuminated reticles are one of the major sticking points for any LPVO, especially when it comes to battery life. The Z8i+ takes a number of steps to rectify just how short the battery life can be.

Starting off with the basics, the central  illuminated dot is visible in the brightest conditions and adjusted by the controls on top of the scope. There is a day, night, and off switch that allows you to quickly adjust the brightness of your dot. This unique feature is a lot faster to use versus a rotary dial often found in other optics. This is extremely helpful when switching the illumination from bright lightning conditions to low light.

The brightness is also adjusted with the +/- buttons to “fine tune” the brightness. When the illumination is turned off and on again, the scope will remember which brightness setting you are on so you don’t have to find it again.

To prolong the battery life, the scope has an automatic shut off. The illumination will automatically turn off if the brightness is not adjusted after 3 hours during the day and 5 hours at night.

It also features the Swarolight feature. This automatically turns off the reticle illumination if the scope reaches a certain angle. This is 70 degrees up or down (a high or low ready position for example) or if the scope is moved laterally by 30 degrees.This battery saving feature can also be turned off, for use in extreme angle use.

All of these features combine to provide up to 1400 hours of battery life if the scope is set to a medium level of illumination. Having a higher brightness will drain power faster and having a lower brightness will drain less power.

Why We Prefer the Z8i+ 1-8×24

The Z8i+ is our go-to LPVO for AR-15 style rifles, this is because it is the best overall compromise for a scope. It is durable, has great quality glass, and can survive high end competition (round counts and stages included).

The reticle is simple to use. It gives you quick consistent holdover for both elevation and wind and so you can work your shots to the target without having to dial in anything. Which we  don’t like doing with a general use rifle anyway. Being in the second focal plane makes the most sense striking a good balance of having a reticle that is legible through the magnification range.

This optic is not geared towards precision long range shooting. This is the optic you put on a rifle that needs to reach out to around 500 yards or closer. While this is not going to be every shot, outdoors in Texas often has wide open areas where this ability is extremely useful.

The illumination is daylight bright in the harshest lighting conditions, which most LPVOs struggle with, especially on very sunny days which are common in our area. The simple day and night switch makes it much easier to tailor the illumination to whatever situation we are shooting in, instead of having to go through every level of brightness just to find the one setting we needed five minutes ago.

It also has a 1x setting with an extremely low fishbowl effect. This allows for it to be used similar to a red dot, but not at the same level. Other LPVO’s 1x settings are more like 1.1x in practice with a pronounced fishbowl which makes them less comfortable to use.

The second focal plane is consistent whenever it is used. We prefer to zero at 200 yards and use the illuminated reticle like a red dot. This allows us to use the scope at close and long ranges without a pronounced change in our offset that we are accustomed to using with a traditional red dot.

The unique mil based reticle is one of our favorite aspects of the sight. It doesn’t clutter up the scope and it is very easy to get a lead on a target without having to guess which dot is the perfect lead. The holdovers for both elevation and wind  in the scope are quick for a better effect on the clock without having to do a lot of math. Compared to a traditional mil dot reticle.

The eye relief on the scope is close to 4 inches (3.74 inches), which is very forgiving, especially when compared to the 4x ACOG. This makes it more comfortable to shoot and can help when you are in more awkward positions.

The field of view on this optic is amazing. It’s larger than most LPVOs which allows for easy scanning of areas opening up the view of the world. Being out in areas where there is a lot of ground to cover becomes a hassle with a narrow field of view. Especially for hunting and scanning tree lines for wild animals that should be there. This field of view makes it more pleasant to use while increasing performance.

Another advantage of the Z8i+ is the capped, low-profile turrets. Having capped and low profile turrets is a must in our opinion. We have broken a scope because the turrets got caught on something. We want to lessen the risk our optics take while we’re moving around and the lower the snag, the better.

Next, we have the versatility of the Z8i+ when it comes to calibers. Since it is a mil based reticle design it is not going to require you only use a specific load or caliber. You can put it on your .308, your 5.56, or any other caliber and as long as you zero it and learn your holds, the scope will work with that ammunition.

And finally the scope just looks good. While it is not as important a feature, the aesthetics of a scope can go a long way when you are selecting it. Having an ugly optic on your gun won’t impact your shooting skills, but it is nice to have something that enhances the look of your rifle.

Hopefully this has given you a better understanding of the Z8i+ and why we have selected it as our LPVO of choice. Remember your situation dictates what you need, that might mean you need a Z8i+ or it may mean you need an entirely different optic.

Go find out which it is and keep getting better.

Samuel Vester
Samuel Vester
Samuel, or "Sammy", is the Founder of Guntology and is the co-owner of several other businesses in the firearms industry. He is an avid shooter and enjoys sharing cool, new, and hard-to-find products with others through Guntology.

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