I'd really like to get a 1-4 for hunting, or maybe a 1-6. I use an Aimpoint T1 now and it works extremely well, but occasionally on the longer shots, I'd prefer a variable power optic. More for the reticle than anything. Out to 300 meters, I'm content with 1x or 2x, the reticle makes more of a difference for me. Most of my hog hunting is done at close range and we usually kill more than one at a time, so the red dot has been extremely effective. I'd think a 1-4 would work pretty much the same but have the added benefit of precision at distance.I use a 1.25-4 Leupold VX-R and think its a great tool for close-up work out to 2-300 yds. But then again, mine is used for hog hunting.
Strictly self defense/target shooting? Red dot, no question about it.