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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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