U.S. Optics TS-12X Scope Review: Affordable & Compact Optics Choice
There is something to be said about being able to put a bullet smack dab in the center of a target at range. It’s immensely satisfying. Unfortunately, precision shooting can be a pricey hobby, but I was pleasantly surprised by how affordable and easy it was to do some precision shooting with the TS-12X scope from U.S. Optics.
I’ve been swapping it between various AR-15 rifles and even a bullpup for the last nine months, and it has left me with some unique impressions after more than 1,000 rounds that were a mix of M855 Green Tip, PMC Match, and a host of budget steel-cased ammo. Here’s what you can expect if you pick one up for your own use.
I want to start by offering a carrot before we get deep into weird numbers and focal planes. For a 12x scope, this thing is noticeably tiny, lightweight, but still offers a nice eye relief. I was immediately struck by the compact nature of this optic given its magnification capabilities from 3-12x. The TS-12X scope came to me as a first-focal-plane optic, but there is a second-plane option.
Clarity has been solid, with no noticed fogging as I transitioned between summer and fall shooting outdoors. My last group was actually shot with rain coming in over the range. The light transmission was positive through the glass even with rain clouds covering the range. Is it the clearest glass I have ever seen? No, but it was better than most I’ve tested over the last two years.
Moving on to some specs, here’s how the optic breaks down:
There is no illumination for the reticle. On the one hand, that does leave you working with no illumination when it is dark. But it keeps the optic light with a wide objective lens for natural light. Adjustments are positive, with 1/10 mil adjustments for elevation and windage.
Your field of view at 100 yards is a fairly generous 30 percent at the 3x magnification. For hunting and target scanning, the optic is short, lightweight, and generous for the view.
I’ve been bouncing this optic between multiple ARs over the last few months, and I can say that I appreciate how easy it is to zero. With some minimal effort and a quick 10-shot zero, the optic was more than capable of eating the heart out of playing cards at 50 yards, and it served well on a penetration test using M855 ammo on a 1990s ballistic plate at 100 yards. The plate did not hold up well, but the rifle and zero were great.
So far, I have seen consistent sub-MOA groups across more budget-friendly guns like the Smith & Wesson Volunteer and a competition-ready Caracal Versus rifle. The reticle itself allows for some great adjustments without needing to spin dials. The light transmission has provided a nice outline of the reticle for both morning and mid-day shooting. The only issue I saw was when I tried to pick up the reticle on a dark background in low light.
The optic is light, which is great, but the weight that it does bring is compact and keeps the balance of my gun back by the magazine well. At just 9.6 inches long, the 12x power is impressive.
Clarity & Reticle
I’ve now tested this through a late-Wisconsin winter, spring, summer, and fall. I have not noticed any fogging issues, and I keep the gun and optic in my car overnight before shooting. I am a near-sighted shooter. There was a time when I felt like that was a big deal, and I always kept my glasses close at hand. However, modern optics have allowed me to adjust most rifles so I can shoot them well with or without my prescription glasses – with eye protection, naturally. The clarity on the TS-12X is quite sharp, and I only got a hint of bluing from it while on the range. If I pull back to the 3x position, I can run it much like a red-dot or prism optic.
There is, however, one big issue that you will notice in low-light conditions. The optic transmits light well, but there is no battery-powered illumination. So, don’t expect this to be a tactical pinker at night. I say that more as a warning because we did actually take this optic on some barricade drills at 50+ yards, and it slayed steel just fine. The light transition was solid for early and mid-day shooting. But I could see it being a bit limiting as you move into the evening.
Zeroing the optic with each of these guns required a simple 10-shot zero to confirm the original bore sight. The process was fast and easy, which was aided by the locking adjustments for wedge and elevation. I do wish there was a zero stop for the optic, mostly so I could say there was one, but I personally tend to set my zero and then work off of Kentucky windage as I shoot with no adjustments.
As a tactical optic – minus illumination – this scope has been fine for me. But as a precision shooter, it will get the job done. Just know you will need to spend some extra brain muscle tracking adjustments. That said, adjustments can also be made without unscrewing a bunch of caps, and you can just pop up the turret to adjust elevation and windage.
I would put this at a practical, but not advanced, level for an optic. If you are a dial spinner, then you will need to make some calculations and track them carefully with a logbook. If you are someone who sets a sight and adjusts with the reticle and wind calls, then it is a pretty solid choice.
From my shooting off a simple sandbag, it can split a match at 50 yards, but you will need to do your part. Also, it is a very tight fit for a flat-top AR. This thing is as low to the bore as you can get a scope, and that is fantastic…but you will need to measure your rings to make it fit.
Pros & Cons
I cannot stress this quite enough, but I will before I dive into a summary of pros and cons. This is a lot of optical power in a short and light package. I would love to see some illumination, but I cannot say it has impacted my ability to constantly nail the targets I wanted after zeroing the optic.
So, to break it all down, here are my top pros and cons for the TS-12X:
Compact & light
Nice eye relief
Good light transmission
Requires a close-fitting mount
Does not come with a mount
I would not strap this on my elite sniper team’s rifles, but they could probably make it work just fine. I was personally happy and impressed with what I could pull off with this scope. The abuse was mostly in the realm of round count, and it never lost zero for me.
I have no idea if this will survive a 200-yard tumble down a rocky mountain. But it will shoot a fly off a long nose at 100 yards. At a price below $1k, that is hard to beat in such a small package.