ZeroTech Thrive 3-9x40 review

Review: ZeroTech Thrive 3-9×40 rifle scope

This $300 ZeroTech Thrive 3-9×40 is better than the much more expensive scope it replaced for this review and I’m a mug for returning it instead of asking if I could buy it. 

The scope I took off was a 2.5-10×50 that certainly does have some advantages, such as a slightly wider view and an illuminated red dot in a DBC reticle. 

However, in today’s money it costs more than three times as much as this ZeroTech Thrive, its daytime optical performance is no better and its low-light performance is not as good.

ZeroTech Thrive 3-9x40 review
The ZeroTech Thrive has generous eye relief, is compact and light, and suits any hunter looking for a good scope at a bargain

So if you want to know if the Thrive is more than just another cheap scope, there’s your answer. 

This light, relatively compact, dead-simple scope is one of the best buys on the market.

The fact that it was designed in Australia, for our market, probably has a lot to do with that. A huge part of our pragmatic market wants a 3-9×40 or similar, they don’t want a busy reticle, they don’t want to spend much money at all, and they expect a good, clear view.

ZeroTech Thrive 3-9x40 review
Capped turrets have 1/4 MOA adjustment increments and can be re-set to zero after sighting in

If I were going to specify a scope for high-volume sales here in Australia, it’d be just like this.

That low-light advantage I referred to is arguably the Thrive’s best point. For a mere 40mm objective lens, it’s impressive.

Yes, you will get better performance in those last few minutes of daylight from good-quality, bigger lenses but if you want to spend just $300 and get good performance, you’ve got it here. 

ZeroTech Thrive 3-9x40 review
Even on this $300 scope, ZeroTech gives you a fast-focus eyepiece

And with a hunting torch clamped on top for night work, the Thrive provided a clearer and brighter view than I expected, definitely beating my usual 50mm scope.

The Thrive didn’t display the greying I have taken for granted for a long time and gave better contrast to differentiate targets form their surroundings.

There’s no obvious technical spec for this so I can only suggest it’s the quality of the multi-coated lenses that make the difference.   

ZeroTech Thrive 3-9x40 review
The view is very clear. Note that the edge blur is a fault of the camera taking this photo; the scope is crystal clear right to the edges

During daylight, the colours and contrast are great. Seeing into shadowed areas wasn’t difficult. Edge-to-edge clarity is spot on.

Eye relief is generous and, even on 9x, not overly critical; the claimed range of 88-97mm seems about right.  

This scope has a beautifully simple duplex reticle (ZeroTech calls it a Zeroplex). There’s nothing better than a plain crosshair for practical aiming at typical hunting ranges.

ZeroTech Thrive 3-9x40 review
The Thrive 3-9×40 is about the perfect size for a sporter-weight hunting rifle

I zeroed my .223 for minute-of-fox out to 220m, which is generally further than I’d ever shoot at one, though if a decent shot at a slightly greater range came up I could confidently just hold the horizontal wire on or just above the fox’s back and know I would get a hit. 

Who needs more for a working sporter-weight rifle? If you do, maybe check out the Thrive 3-9×40 with PHR 3 reticle for $100 more. 

The argon-filled 30mm main tube allows room for 60 MOA of aim-point adjustment in both planes. 

ZeroTech Thrive 3-9x40 review
Turrets are low-profile, while the Thrive’s left side is uncluttered by any protrusions

The turrets are capped, adjustable by hand and can have their zero-point re-set after loosening the dials using a coin or screwdriver.

The adjustment clicks, which cover ¼ MOA each, are very tangible and audible, and the dials are marked in ¼ MOA increments for visual reference.

It’s very pleasing to get a fast-focus diopter adjuster on a $300 scope. 

The Thrive 3-9×40 is simple, cheap and very good — much better than its price suggests. 

I never expected much of a $300 scope but now I’ve that seen what this one can do I’ll be expecting a lot more in the future.   

It’s available in most gun shops and online.


  • Reticle: Duplex, second focal plane
  • Magnification: 3-9x
  • Objective lens: 40mm
  • Main tube diam: 30mm
  • Length: 320mm
  • Weight: 523g
  • Adjustment increments: ¼ MOA
  • Adjustment range: 60 MOA (elevation and windage)
  • Field of view: 4.0-12.9m (claimed, but it’s much more in reality)
  • Eye relief: 88-97mm
  • Exit pupil: 4.4-13mm
  • Price: $299
  • Distributor: TSA Outdoors




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Mick Matheson

Mick grew up with guns and journalism, and has included both in his career. A life-long hunter, he has long-distant military experience and holds licence categories A, B and H. In the glory days of print media, he edited six national magazines in total, and has written about, photographed and filmed firearms and hunting for more than 15 years.