Arken Optics SH4 4-16x50mm Mil Reticle

While walking around SHOT Show this year, I passed the Arken Optics booth. The name had come up in a discussion with a coworker talking about a lower cost option for newer long range shooters. I stopped in to check out some of the different models. After talking with the guys in the booth, I ended up ordering the SH4 Gen2 4-16x50mm and 34mm Combo kit to use on a .308 16” gas gun. 

Accessory Kit with Rigid Precision Mount

The scope came in a box with the included sunshade and bikini lens covers with lots of foam to protect everything. The 34” Combo Pack allows you to select either Halo Rings at low, medium or high or their Rigid Precision Mount with 20 MOA of elevation built in. I opted for the Rigid Precision Mount for use on the AR10. The Combo pack includes a bubble level, throw lever, Flip Its lens covers, squeeze bag and some swag. It also has all the required Allen wrenches for each accessory. The bubble level has a cool metal peak design for quick visual recognition/confirmation. The throw lever is sturdy and lightweight. I had to make some concessions for the way I run my scopes when I was trying to find the best position to mount it. The SH4 magnification is reversed from all the other scopes I own. Meaning that the magnification increases when dialed counter clockwise. Took me a few times to get used to it when I was adjusting the magnification. Not a problem, just new and different. I ended up mounting the throw lever so at max magnification, the lever was in the 3 o’clock position and 9 o’clock position at minimum magnification. The Flip Its lens covers are the rubber and plastic combo similar to other brands and function the same. Objective lens opens 270°, laying flat against the bell and out of the way. The ocular lens cover is capable of opening up to 270° but has a stiffer spring and the rubber is long enough to prevent accidental focus adjustment. Both have a tight fit with the rubber staying in place and secure close with the plastic covers. The Rigid Precision Mount and the scope tube are marked with the appropriate torque specifications for proper mounting to prevent damage during installation. It is a cantilever design with 2.5” of forward extension to provide for maximum eye relief while still being mounted to the upper receiver.

L) Flip It Lens Covers M) Throw Lever R) Bubble Level
Rigid Precision Mount with torque specs printed on it

The scope itself is a matte black finish with clear white markings on the turrets and adjustment areas. The turrets are in 1/10 MILs for both elevation and windage with 8 MILs per rotation. The elevation turret features the Arken Zero Stop (AZS), which allows you to set after you zero and slip your turrets. Both turrets have a distinct and tactile “click” for each 1/10 MIL adjustment. There is a possibility of tightening the AZS to the point of preventing any movement of the turret. I had to back it out until I relieved the tension enough for dialing up and still stopping on zero. After zeroing I ran a quick diagnostic tracking drill to see how the turrets tracked (of note, it was single shots instead of groups). It was a 5×6 MIL tracking target and they tracked square only deviation I really saw was 5 MILs up (and then on the way back down), both shots were a little higher than the other hits. The only other tracking test I ran was dialing 4 MILs in each direction and then back to zero to check a return to zero. After each adjustment the scope returned to zero. I used the tracking target to compare the measurements of the VPR MIL reticle. Visually they matched and appeared square. 

VPR Mil Reticle with illuminated center

 The reticle is a MIL tree with ½ MIL stadia lines on the vertical and horizontal crosshairs and ¼ MIL dots on the horizontal stadia lines below the center. The center has an adjustable brightness, illuminated dot and open crosshair for finer aiming point. The illumination knob has 6 settings with off in every other click, so you can turn it off in one click from your current setting. The SH models are made with Chinese glass versus the clearer Japanese ED glass used in Arken’s more expensive EP models. I found the glass to provide a clear image even during overcast conditions. I did observe some chromatic aberrations on the outer portion of the lens at some magnifications. It appeared as a darker ring with some haze. It was only noticeable while adjusting the focus or making sure I was properly aligned behind the scope. It did not distract me while shooting. 

SH$ 4-16 mounted up on M5 Aero Precision build

Final Thoughts: At a price point of $299 for the scope and $211 for the complete accessory package (or just $65 for rings or mounts) you are definitely getting a better scope than you are paying for. This scope has the features you want, at a quality that far surpasses its price point. The lifetime warranty is for a failure to perform as advertised not if you break it, they will repair or replace it. 

By the numbers:

Comfort – 3/5 The eyebox on this scope is very short and will cause a little time to get properly aligned behind it during positional shooting for hunting or competition.

Durability – 4.5/5 The scope appears to be comparable durability to similar scopes (I did not drop test this one) the turrets felt sturdy and the set screws havent walked out on me. The Rigid Precision Mount is made from aircraft grade aluminum. The accessories felt like they would withstand regular use. This is mounted on a lighter weight .308 gas gun and I will likely leave it for field use. All of Arken Optics are rated for 50 BMG and are fog and waterproof. If it does break, they do have a lifetime warranty.

Functionality – 4/5 It has most of the features you want in a scope, but I’m a little confused as to the reason for the magnification rotation being opposite of all my other scopes. It will mess with me every time I first get behind the scope. The chromatic aberration does create some haze on the outer portion of the lens.I like the AZS and tactile clicks on the turrets, the off position between every light setting and point in the level bubble.

Weight – 5/5 The SH4 comes in on par with other optics in similar price points and slightly higher at 35.6 oz

Value – 5/5 As stated above, this scope far exceeds the features and quality for the price point especially if you buy their accessories. Great value scope for the average shooter.

Overall rating – 4.3/5 The SH4 Gen2 is a good scope with features and quality that far exceed it’s price point allowing newer shooters to get in the game without breaking the bank.

I received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer via Spotter Up so I could test it and give my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based on my personal experience with the product.

*The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Spotter Up Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

By Brook Bowen

Brook Bowen has more than 21 years as a federal law enforcement officer and has been instructing for the last 18 years. He has developed and delivered firearms and tactical courses to local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, foreign law enforcement and military units. He has 13 years of combined operational experience serving in special operations units in both the military and federal law enforcement. Brook currently instructs federal law enforcement officers at a national training center in multiple disciplines. In addition, Brook owns Two Bravo Training Solutions, a firearms and tactics training and consulting company.

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