Reviewing a Leupold optic is one of the more difficult tasks for a gunwriter. The actual testing of the product is remarkably simple, but coming up with the words is a chore, because Leupold has been making outstanding optics with nearly zero flaws for more than 100 years. How often can you say: “It functioned in a superlative fashion,” or “It’s built like a tank, but performs like an Italian sports car?” When does the reader tire of hearing about a Leupold optic’s general excellence or the fact that it passed every test with flying colors? Well, we’re about to find out what your limits for the aforementioned pablum are, because the new Patrol 6 HD functioned in a superlative fashion in testing, is built like a tank yet performs like an Italian sports car, is generally excellent and passed every test I put it through with flying colors.
As indicated in its name, the Patrol 6HD has a 6X magnification range (1-6X) and uses HD glass for remarkable optical quality. Its 24 mm objective makes it easy to mount low on a modern sporting rifle, for which it was designed. I love its low-profile, but still easy-to-use magnification throw lever, which makes switching between short- and medium-range targets or identifying a target and then zooming in a simple proposition and one that improves my ability to make accurate shots.
Also aiding accurate, fast shooting is its illuminated FireDot Duplex reticle, which consists of an adjustable-illumination center dot inside of a traditional heavy-outer-, thin-inner-post crosshair. Illumination is adjusted by pressing the Leupold “L” on the battery cover, which is where a side-focus parallax adjustment would be (but isn’t on the Patrol 6HD because parallax is not a major concern at the ranges for which this scope was designed to be used). The center dot is amazingly fast to acquire, and if you’re worried about battery life, don’t be: motion-sensing technology shuts the illumination off after 5 minutes of inactivity and automatically turns it back on when the scope/rifle is next moved, ensuring the dot comes on when you need it. And, even if your battery does die when you need to shoot immediately, you still have a perfectly good second-focal-plane crosshair with which to aim.
The 30 mm main tube helps provide enormous adjustment ranges of 170 MOA for both windage and elevation, and the turrets can be pulled up after zeroing to reset the zero-indicator so you can know exactly where you are if making reticle adjustments in the field. My only (minor) complaint about the Patrol 6HD is that the adjustments themselves lacked a truly positive click, which sometimes made it slightly more difficult to know if I moved the reticle to the correct position when shooting “the box” in testing. The adjustments worked perfectly, they were just hard to hear or feel. This is an almost insignificant shortcoming for the vast majority of us, though—once you’ve zeroed the reticle, you are unlikely to make on-the-fly adjustments at the ranges for which a 1-6X scope is best suited.
So, all in all, there’s not much more to say about the Leupold Patrol 6HD than there is about every other Leupold I’ve tested, which allows me to use the final gunwriter cliché extolling the virtues of Leupold optics: It’s a Leupold.