- Best Handgun Scope Products Reviewed
- What to Look for in the Best Pistol Scopes
- Advantages of the Best Rimfire Pistol Scope
- Conclusion: Pistol Scopes Reviews
If you've just got a new handgun and plan on testing it on the range or one of your hunting trips and want to achieve the furthest distance and accuracy possible, you'll need a high-quality scope. That's because most pistols are close-range firearms, with the exception of hunters using them as their primary weapon against their targets, ranging from squirrels to large animals. If that's the case, it's time for you to get a sight upgrade and buy the best handgun scope.
After all, it's not too challenging to achieve excellent accuracy at closer ranges, but it gets significantly more challenging to retain accuracy past more than 40 yards. Mounting optics or scope on your handgun is one of the best ways to focus your eye on the target for easier aiming and accurate shooting. That's why using scopes for handguns is becoming more acceptable and common among seasoned hunters and shooters nowadays. However, because of its rapidly growing popularity, the sheer amount of options of handgun scopes available on the market can become too much for the average shopper to handle.
Here are the best handgun scopes you can buy right now, helping you achieve better range and accuracy.
Best Handgun Scope Products Reviewed
When at the range or out hunting, you'll likely look to have quick target acquisition and extended eye relief to hit your targets at long distances more accurately—and you can achieve this using the best handgun scope. You may think handgun scopes are only for rifles, but the reality is pistol scopes are crucial for anyone who wishes to achieve consistent accuracy with a pistol. It's the perfect way to focus your eye on your target, making the best pistol scope more common over the years.
However, these scopes need to meet several requirements out of a rifle scope sight. Regardless if you're using a 44 magnum scope or one for a Glock, it needs to be subcompact, light, and provides long eye relief alongside a bright objective lens for a clear sight picture, ensuring accurate shots every time. If you don't think it fits right or is too heavy, that can ruin your hunt or your time at the range. Plus, to make things harder, there are continually new scopes coming out.
That's why we featured and reviewed some of the best handgun scopes out there for you, helping you zero in the best pick for your specific needs. Here's what each scope features and its highlights.
Additionally, the small size and mass of handgun optics are mandatory, meaning you can find these with a one-inch main tube and a 20 to 30mm objective lens. With the recent boom of interest in handgun hunting alongside the industry's natural pace, scopes have flooded the market with various models, ranging from economical to the most expensive. Regardless of the trends, any of the brands we featured, like Leupold and Burris, are good scopes that can help you improve your shooting skills at the range and while hunting.
The Leupold VX-3 pistol scope helps you remove the requirement of focusing on its front sight, efficiently eliminating inaccuracy at short distances. The scope combines all years of optical technology improvements into one piece, creating a one-of-a-kind scope that will benefit all kinds of hunters and shooters. Plus, this handgun scope is one of the most durable on the market, tested to withstand different harsh environments.
- Twilight Light Management System
The scope's Twilight Light Management system is one of the top performers in the industry, delivering optimal clarity and brightness by efficiently balancing light transmission, reduced glares, and image contrast, providing crisp image quality in different light conditions.
- Fully Multi-Coated Optics
This scope uses lenses with a top-quality diamond coat, providing high abrasion resistance and edge-blackened, improving overall resolution by reducing glare.
- Fast Focus Eyepiece
This fast-focus eyepiece enables for quick adjustments while in combat at times when even a millisecond may mean the difference between submitting your tag or going home empty-handed.
- It has a long eye relief for maximum comfort.
- This one-piece helps you eliminate the inaccuracy of a handgun's short sight radius.
- It boasts an unparalleled low light performance.
The Leupold fx ii handgun scope provides top-quality and fixed power scope with the additional benefit of long eye relief, making them the ultimate functional and comfortable scopes for handguns. Additionally, the scope features a 7mm exit pupil transmitting more usable light through the shooter's eye, a multi-coat lens system, ensuring brightness and clarity even in lower lighting conditions.
- Impact Tested and Verified
All Leupold scopes feature a design that can survive a minimum of 5,000 impacts of the iconic 'Punisher,' the optics' brand's recoil stimulation machine. It can withstand three times the impact and recoil of a .308 rifle.
- Waterproof and Fog-proof
The scope underwent proprietary gas blend and seal tests up to a 33-foot depth and many pressure changes.
- It Comes With MOA Adjustments
The minute of angle or MOA denotes the accuracy of a handgun or pistol and scope combination, and the Leupold fx ii scope comes with an adjustable MOA for the best results.
- It's 100% waterproof, fog-proof, and shockproof.
- Lens surfaces are scratch-resistant, making them ideal for military use.
- It comes with 1/2 MOA windage and elevation adjustments.
The Burris handgun scope features a design made explicitly for handgun shooters refusing to accept any flaws, allowing users to shoot pistols at far-away distances while maintaining ideal eye relief and durability. The scope is ideal for handgun precision aiming in the field or range, using index-matched and fully multi-coated lenses. It comes with a functional 32mm objective lens, producing crystal clear views.
- Large Sense
The scope features precision-ground lenses that are bigger than comparable scopes, promoting better light transmission.
- Third Turret for Further Adjustments
The scope comes with a 1/8 MOA per click adjustment function and a whole range of 28 MOA, allowing you to hit your intended target every time. This scope also comes with a third turret for further adjustments.
- Precise Aiming Point
This scope uses a ballistic plex duplex reticle, featuring thick posts that allow you to see clearly in low lights. The posts taper to points leading the eye to thin center hairs marked with hash marks, promoting a better precise aim.
- Its unique PosiLock system features allow you to lock the turret adjustments precisely to your specific needs firmly.
- It uses high-quality optics glass for the best brightness and clarity no matter the environment.
- It's a solid one-piece outer tube that withstands the shock and vibrations of heavy revolvers.
The 2-7x32mm Burris pistol scope offers handgun shooters with a broad and flexible range alongside 2x low-end magnification, providing quick target acquisition and a broader field of view. Its 7x zoom at the top promotes better accuracy at a handgun stretching distance.
- Posi-Lock System
The pistol scope uses the Burris system's unique PosiLock function, using a retractable steel post in addition to its regular adjustment springs, firmly locking the turret adjustments. This scope offers extra security when firing heavy caliber handguns.
- Fully Multi-Coated Lenses
The handgun scope features multi-coated optics, producing brighter and clear views with high contrasts and accurate color representation. The company engineered the scope with long eye relief essential for high-power handgun use.
- Adjustable Scope
This pistol scope comes with a 1/4 MOA windage and elevation adjustment function for better accuracy.
- The scope features a high-quality, precision-ground lens larger than other models, promoting better light transmission.
- It comes in a Burris special Hi-Lume multi-coating, aiding in low-light performances and eliminates glares.
- It uses a double internal spring-tension system, enabling the scope to withstand shock, heavy recoils, and vibrations.
The scope is a 2x scope without a zoom feature and is relatively compact and lightweight, making it perfect for any handgun application. It comes with a plex reticle designed to be classic simplicity alongside thick edges for fast target acquisition. The scope is available in black and silver finishes. Plus, it's fog-proof, waterproof, and shockproof.
- Hi-Lume Multi-Coating
This scout scope uses an optical system with a Hi-Lume multi-coated optic, providing brighter and clearer views.
- Small Objective Lens and Long Eye Relief
The handgun scope comes with a long eye relief essential for high-power handgun use. Its smaller objective enables lower mounting height, limiting the rifle's profile and preventing snags.
- Adjustable Reticle
The best pistol scope comes with one spring, allowing for flexible adjustment of the reticle, allowing you to hunt in dark environments with ease.
- Its quick focus eyepiece is filled 24 times with top-quality dry nitrogen, efficiently absorbing airborne and residual surface, making the scope fog-proof.
- It comes with a 10 to 24 inches eye relief.
- The scope boasts a lightweight aluminum alloy housing with an intricate silver finish.
What to Look for in the Best Pistol Scopes
When looking for the best pistol scopes, you need to see if it has the following features to ensure you achieve the best performance possible regardless of the optics' brand.
- Eye Relief
The first thing you need to check when purchasing a pistol scope is its eye relief feature. The 'eye relief' is the distance between the exit pupil and the eyepiece lens and is crucial. That's because the eye relief is what determines the scope's compatibility with your handgun. Ideally, extended eye relief is ideal for those going from at least 9 to 10 inches. Most handgun scopes can go up to 20 inches. In contrast, a rifle scope features a 3-inch eye relief on average. There's no 'set' number here, and the ideal eye relief will depend on your reach and shooting stance, but in general, long eye relief variations work the best.
- Exit Pupil
The exit pupil is the bright disc you can see when looking through an eyepiece from a long-distance, manifesting in the center of the field, affecting the objective lens alongside the sight picture and brightness—and the bigger the diameter, the brighter the image. For instance, a 32mm lens with 4x magnification will have an 8mm exit pupil. Meanwhile, if you have variable magnification, the exit pupil will naturally vary in size.
Optics' power or magnification is one of the most critical attributes of any scope. This feature determines the pistol's maximum range, and the higher it is, the further you can use your gun to shoot. The best pistol scope is usually those with variable magnification like 2-7X, as they're ideal for both short- and long-range shooting.
- Field of View
The field of view on a scope is how wide or broad you can see using the sight. Generally, the more field of view you have, the better you'll be able to track mobile targets, but it'll mean less magnification. However, regardless of what you are shooting at, you'll need to ensure it has a quick target acquisition.
- Mount System
When it comes to attaching a handgun scope to your gun, your selection of equipment and method may have a massive impact on your success with the scope. Mounting is one of the main reasons individuals have difficulty getting the optimal sight picture in their weapons. The best brands offer slide mounts since it's easier to add to a handgun, and are provided by Nikon force XR, Weaver classic, and Simmons ProHunter handgun scope.
- Lens Resilience
This feature is how well lenses can handle foggy conditions, water, and shock. Although most modern scopes can be fog proof, waterproof, and shockproof, so you'll likely need to consider other factors instead, such as if they're multi-coated lenses. Another factor is that it should have a unique construction type like a nitrogen-filled scope or shatter-resistant build. Great optics brands include Leupold and the Weaver classic.
Although there are thousands of reticles out there, some of the most common ones you'd likely encounter are the cross reticle, marked reticle, duplex reticle, and a fully-marked crosshair. The latter is the most complex out of all them, offering distance markings alongside windage and elevation. Keep in mind that most reticles don't have simple markings, and you should always go for the one that looks better for your specific needs. Generally, the reflex sight reticle or ballistic plex reticle are excellent choices. However, go for the ones that you think suits your requirements the best.
- Recoil Resistance
Although not many people consider this when shopping for a scope, it's an essential aspect. Recoil resistance matters since even though pistols are often small and lightweight, some have tons of recoil and power like revolvers. So, you'd naturally need the best revolver scope for this. Models offering specific types of anti-recoil builds or components are ideal, such as a dual-spring loaded tensioner like the Bushnell Trophy handgun scope would be an excellent example for that.
- Size and Mass
The compact size and mass of a handgun optic are mandatory. That's why you'll notice that different brands like the Simmons ProHunter and Nikon force XR are usually found with a one-inch main tube and a 20 to 32mm objective lens.
- Light and Clarity
The best handgun scopes typically come with special anti-glare and low-light lenses, making them suitable for dark environments or places where you can get glared up quickly. Special coatings against blur like the Weaver classic is an excellent feature to have as well.
Can You Use a Rifle Scope on a Pistol?
A handgun scope and a rifle scope serve the same purpose, increasing your range of viewing. The only difference is that rifle scopes allow you to aim for targets for longer ranges, while handgun scopes are best for short ranges. Both of them are suitable for avid hunters and target shooters. The question is, can you mount rifle optics on a handgun? Thanks to optics, manufacturers are becoming more innovative in their products. Not only can you mount optics on rifles, but you also now place them on handguns.
However, its compatibility will depend on the type of handgun you're using. For instance, if your pistol is a bolt action single shot firearm with a rifle cartridge with a 14-inch barrel, then you should add a scope to it since it's essentially a short rifle without a buttstock. Meanwhile, if your handgun is a massive X frame S&W revolver, you'll likely need to use the best revolver scopes for it. Meanwhile, for holster handguns, you don't need a scope since they're not as powerful as the others, and you're making them twice as big and bulky by putting a scope on them.
What Type of Scope is Most Accurate?
When it comes to shooting handguns with accuracy, the type of 'scope' you use is crucial. Some are geared towards close-range shooting, while others feature a design intended for consistent hitting of targets at far distances with pinpoint accuracy. For close-range shooting, the best and most accurate scope is the red dot sight or scope, providing little to no magnification. When you look through this type of handgun scope, you'll see one red dot in the center of the optic, serving as your aiming point. These don't show up on your targets like laser sights and only visible inside the scope.
Red dot scopes are often used in close-quarter shootings. It's a classic favorite among shooters since its target acquisition is fast, helping you find your target faster and make more accurate shots. It's one of the best scopes for accuracy, but it isn't suitable for long-distance shooting since it has minimal to no magnification. However, if you're looking for the most accurate and general best handgun scopes for long-range shooting, telescopic scopes are your best choice.
That's because telescopic scopes can help you see clear images of your target even beyond 100 yards and is by far the most accurate aiming device available for hunters and target shooters today. It consists of a telescope, magnifying your vision, and an aiming device commonly referred to as the 'reticule' or cross-hairs. Plus, these scopes allow for less strain on your vision, providing long eye relief, enabling you to focus on your target for an extended period. These also work perfectly as a scout scope, thanks to their higher magnification capabilities.
What is a Good Scope for 100 Yards?
Although 25 to 100 yards is a relatively short-range distance, it can be challenging to achieve. That's why you'll need the perfect gear on your side to help you achieve it, and in this case, a high-quality handgun scope. It allows you to achieve the target accurately, giving you a more precise and exact aiming. Moreover, these give you more accurate details of your target. Some of the best scopes you can get for 100 yards and beyond are the ones we featured, including the Leupold fx ii handgun scope and Burris scopes. Other brands like the Simmons ProHunter handgun scope and the Bushnell Trophy handgun scope are also good choices,
Generally, you should be able to see .22 caliber bullet holes in targets at 100 yards using a 9X scope. However, if that doesn't work for you, a 4x12 pistol scope is a good option, that is, if you don't plan on doing close-range woods hunting. A larger zoom range means you may see further, and bigger objective lenses mean the scope lets in more light, giving you a clearer image quality in lower light conditions at longer ranges. However, you should go with pistol optics with variable magnification for the best results, allowing you to see targets at different distances, including 100 yards and beyond.
Is a 4x32 Scope Good for Hunting?
A pistol scope will get expressed in a series of numbers like 4x32, referring to as power x objective diameter. The 'power' pertains to the magnification as a factor compared to the naked eye, meaning in a fixed power scope like the 4x32, the objective in your field of view gets magnified four times. Your target would likely appear to be four times closer than it would be using your bare eyes. That's why these types of scopes are fantastic for target shooting or hunting, allowing you to see long-range. A 4x32 would be great for hunting. However, generally, a higher number provides greater magnification, enabling you to see even farther.
Modern handgun scopes sold today are variable power such as the 3.5-10x50, allowing for better flexibility the shooter can adjust its magnification from 3.5 to 10 with infinite values in between. The 'power' you choose will depend on the type of hunting you'll be doing. For instance, if you plan on hunting in close cover, you'll want a lower-power fixed pistol scope like 4x magnification or 3.5X—or lower, giving you a wider field of view and acquiring a target faster in close cover. Meanwhile, if long-range varmint or target shooting is what you're after, you'll need a pistol scope that goes as high as 16X to 20X, allowing you to see small prairie dogs or 10-ring even at 400 yards.
Advantages of the Best Rimfire Pistol Scope
There are two types of ignition systems for ammunition cartridges, the rimfire and centerfire pistols. The firing pin in a rimfire gun strikes the cartridge's base, igniting a primer. Meanwhile, a centerfire pistol hits the center prime. The rimfire or 22lr pistol is dangerous since it possesses enough kinetic energy to enter a large animal skull and not over-penetrate, bouncing around a couple of times, turning the brain into mush. When you pair these handguns with the best rimfire pistol scope, you can get power, range, and accuracy all in one firearm, allowing you to get the most out of the weapon.
With that in mind, many handgun hunters are unaware of the benefits of a rimfire scope. If you're one who has never tried using a pistol scope with your rimfire handgun, then you should check out the following advantages that a high-quality scope features as they may help you determine if you need one or not.
- Long-Range Shot
One of the best reasons you should get a rimfire scope is that it enables you to achieve long-range shots. If you tried to aim at your hunting target as it moved around and had a hard time keeping up, you likely can't do a long-range shot without good scopes. Whereas if you have one on your rimfire pistol, then you can seamlessly aim at your target from a distance, allowing you to hit it before detecting your presence.
- Fully Multi-Coated Optics or Lenses
Most of the best rimfire scopes on the market have fully multi-coated lenses, which is very beneficial for hunters. It provides more light transmission in the main tube, improving the clarity of a downrange target. They can also reduce the gleaming sun glare effect, meaning it won't reflect a lot of sunlight, allowing you to hit your targets with ease. You'll get to achieve the best image fidelity even in low light conditions.
Unlike traditional heavy iron sights, the weight of a modern rimfire scope boasts a design that gives it perfect balance over any pistol. Most of them are lightweight and won't likely add any additional weight to the handgun, helping you shoot your target more conveniently.
Conclusion: Pistol Scopes Reviews
In most pistol scope reviews, they typically highlight factors to determine if a handgun scope can help you get the most out of your firearm, improving your pistol's accuracy, sight, and range—making it perfect for the shooting range and hunting.
When selecting a pistol scope, whether it's for a magnum revolver or 9mm pistols, you need to look for several attributes. While handgun scopes are similar to traditional rifle scopes in design, they're a part of a particular optics niche differing from your conventional gun scope alongside a much longer eye relief, mount type, zoom or magnification, and small size.
A good handgun scope should at least have a 20 to 35 inches natural long eye relief used at arm's length, and magnifications of 2X, 4X, and 6X for fixed power handgun scopes, and variable pistol scopes for the 44 mag or .22 pistols come in typical zoom ranges, include 2-6X, 2.5-8X, and 2-7X. Plus, good handgun scopes have an easy-to-use and straightforward slide mount, allowing for installation. However, it may change your pistol's balance, and it's not shockproof when used with a more powerful handgun caliber.