Updated in May, 2020
Low range variable scope for tactical use (think AR-15 or similar):
This one is pretty easy. If you have $2k to spend, get the new FFP Vortex Razor Gen3 1-10×24. I do not know how they pulled off selling this scope for this price, but it is quite remarkable in terms of what it offers for the money.
If you prefer SFP scopes, Kahles K16 1-6×24 is really excellent.
Compact fixed power scope for tactical use (think AR-15 or similar):
Elcan Specter OS 4×32 is still my favourite in this category, although there are some new designs from Steiner I need to look at. I keep on seeing Elcan Specter DR 1x/4x under $2k. It is very compelling and I might pick one up.
Low-range variable scope for hunting use (think DGR):
Kahles K16i mentioned above is still king, Meopta MeoStar R2 1-6×24 and Vortex Razor Gen 2E 1-6×24 are quite compelling and less expensive.
All-round hunting use:
I think Meopta Meostar R2 2-12×50 is the way to go here.
Honorable mention to Leupold VX-6HD 3-18×44 that is really a very competent design.
I need to re-visit Minox ZE5.2 when I get a chance.
No changes: Meopta Meostar R1 3-12×56 and Meostar R2 2.5-15×56 take it in terms of bang for the buck in this category
Allround tactical use:
For this category I like scopes with no more than 5x on the low end. I used to hold it at 3x, but changed my mind over time. With well designed eyepieces, I can use 5x for shooting offhand fairly well and that is effectively my gating item for a general purpose scope. Still, I restrict this category to scopes that are not outrageously huge and heavy. For these scopes, I am looking for objectives in the 40 to 50mm range and reticle illumination.
This a somewhat under served category since most manufacturers have been paying attention to larger scopes, but that is changing.
Honestly, I think Burris XTR III 3.3-18×50 will be a really strong contender once the illuminated version comes out.
In the meantime, I really like the Nexus 5-20×50 from Element Optics. This is a very new company, but they have a well established parent company behind them, so I have high hopes for them sticking around. Nexus is an absolutely remarkable first product for a new company.
Tract Toric UHD 4-20×50 with PRS reticle is another excellent design. FOV is a bit narrow, but aside from that I have nothing to complain about for the price.
If you are looking to use a clip-on, the very short EOTech Vudu 5-25×50 with MD3 reticle is an excellent option.
If you are looking for track record, check out SWFA SS HD 5-20×50. It lacks a few features, but it is excellent optomechanically and extremely robust.
Long range tactical use:
My favourite scope in this category is Delta Stryker HD 4.5-30×56. Another excellent option is the rather similar Athlon Cronus 4.5-29×56. I slightly prefer the Delta reticle. Burris XTR III 5.5-30×56 should be a strong contender, but I need to spend more time with it. For now, it is here conditionally.
All of a sudden, there are some real options here. Delta Stryker HD 5-50×56 takes the cake as the best generalist in this group. Sightron SV ED 10-50×60 is better as a pure target scope owing to the advantages its dual speed parallax knob offers, however, I usually see it a bit north of $2k, so the Delta wins this one.
Honorable mention goes to Vortex Golden Eagle 15-60×52, except I wish it came with a mrad reticle.