You have a great gun, and you want to make sure that you have a great scope to go with it, and the great news is, that as well as having great scopes that come from companies who really understand hunting and shooting, you also have some companies that are experts in optical technology.
There are some great pistol scopes out there on the market, that range from those which have a few less bells and whistles but which, are super reasonable price-wise, to those which cost a little more and have more features.
As with any purchase the first thing you need to know is what you are buying the sight for, because that is going to affect some of the criteria for what makes it the right sight for you. Are you going to be mainly using it for hunting, or is this something that you want to use for target shooting?
We look here also at some of the features that you need to have with your pistol scope - if it can’t handle the recoil of your gun, then it is not the right scope for you. Obviously some of that is going to be determined by using it to see if it fits an it it stands up to repeated usage, but we want to give you something to think about here.
Aiming with a handgun is obviously not the same as aiming with a rifle or larger gun, so the scope has to take that into account. You are lucky because most of the companies that manufacture these scopes are hunters and shooting enthusiasts themselves, so they know what you are looking for from a scope, and they provide it.
You want something durable, something that improves your accuracy, and something that is available in the price range that you are looking at. Below you will find some great examples which check those boxes.
Best Pistol Scopes Comparison ChartsBelow is a simple guide to each of the sights.
What To Look For In A Pistol Scope
Here are some of the features that you want to be thinking with when buying your scope - they will help you to judge whether or not is right for the gun that you have, and whether it is intended for the purpose for which you are buying the gun.
Is your scope built of durable materials that will withstand the shock of the recoil when you fire your handgun? Will it disperse that recoil energy effectively, or is it going to start to suffer because of the strain put on it? This can affect the lifespan of the scope, but is also going to slow you down if it affects the settings you have put in place, that something like Posilock can handle.
Does your scope have good eye relief? How far away from your eye can the sight be, and still be effective for aiming? This isn’t just for people who like to shoot with their eyes open, but also a feature of using a scope with your pistol, and an important thing to consider.
Field Of View
How large is the area you can see through when looking through the scope? Are you hunting or target shooting with it? When target shooting this is not so important, when you have to sight a moving target you want to be able to find it easily, and a good field of view is vital to that.
Caliber And Action
Your caliber and the action of the gun is going to affect which scope you need, and larger guns will need a scope with the ability to handle more recoil. A lot of gun manufacturers are going to let you know how rigorous their recoil testing has been, and even what guns they used. You need to also look at the action of the gun to see if the scope is going to be usable.
Are you looking for fixed or variable magnification? Some of this is going to be determined by the next question. Variable means the pistol can be adjusted better to your shooting situation, and the fixed option makes for a more rugged scope.
Target Shooting Vs Hunting
If you are hunting you need a good field of vision, but with target shooting this is not as important. If you want to do both then you are going to need for a scope that has a degree of flexibility in this regard, and then the thing to make sure of is that the flexibility does not impact in how durable it is, and whether that may make it more prone to damage from recoil.
Review of The Best Pistol Scopes
1 NcStar 2-7X32 Pistol Scope/Blue Lens/Ring (SPB2732B) Black
The first scope that we are going to look at comes from NC Star, a great company that started up in Southern California in 1997 with a mission to provide people with quality optics that were available at an affordable price, and this a great example of that.
The scope is great value, and it is designed to make it easy to use. This starts with the one-inch aluminum Weaver mounting rings that are going to make it super simple for your to attach the scope to your favorite gun.
The long eye relief that it provides makes it perfect for extended mounting capability.
You have multi-coated blue lenses which with the 32-millimeter objective means you get distortion-free clarity, which together with that eye relief makes it super versatile. You get a 14-to-4.5-foot field of view at 100 yards which is going to help with your hunting.
2 Leupold FX-II Handgun 4x28mm Duplex
The next scope that we are looking at comes from Leupold, who have been making scopes for over a hundred years. It is family owned, by hunter and shooters, and the name speaks to quality.
This scope is a good looking piece of equipment, but that wouldn’t mean anything if it idn’t do the job you want it to do, and it does.
You get the Twilight Max Management System that is going to give you an extra 20 minutes of shooting light, while reducing the glare you might get with some scopes. This means that image quality is amazing.
It’s lightweight but it’s tough, and does a great job of dispersing recoil energy. You need a scope like this that is shockproof, waterproof and fog proof, so you can use it in any conditions and it is going to work well.
They take into account the eye relief that you need for a scope that you are using with a handgun, and they are designed to eliminate the inaccuracy you can get with a handgun’s short sight radius. A really great scope from a great company.
3 Burris Handgun 2-7x32mm Ballistic Plex Reticle Pistol Scope, Matte Black - 200279
Burris are another great name, and have been in the industry for 40 years. So you know that when you're buying one of their products you are getting something that has been crafted by people who know what you need in scope.
This scope is designed to give you a wide flexible range.. They achieve this by giving you a 2x low end magnification which means you can acquire that target quickly, and they couple this with a large field of view, making this scope great for both hunting and shooting.
Add to this the 7x zoom that you get and it allows you to have accuracy at handgun stretching distances.
The steel on steel adjustments man that it is built for repeatable accuracy, and it also has Posilock, the Burris system that makes sure that your turret adjustments stay exactly as you set them, which is great if you are using this with a larger handgun that has a greater amount of recoil, which might cause problems on a scope without this feature.
It is durable, with its solid 1-piece outer tube, and it is waterproof, and nitrogen filled, so it isn’t going to fog up in cold or rain.
4 Weaver Classic Matte Black Handgun Scope (2.5-8 x 28 with Dual-X Reticle)
Weaver Optics are part of Vista Outdoor Inc, a company that makes products for the outdoorsman, and the shooting sports enthusiast. Having a company that understands both of these arenas is a great asset, and means that they not only understand the need for accuracy with your scope, but also durability.
They source the best quality materials, and this scope has been torture-tested (yes, torture tested!) to make sure that it can withstand the most powerful handgun calibers, so you can be assured that you are going to have no issues with this scope and its ability to handle and disperse recoil energy.
It is a 1” single piece construction that is weatherproof, and which has nitrogen purged tubes so you don’t get any internal fogging.
The multi-coated lenses give you edge-to-edge clarity, and it has a 50 yard parallax, which is going to give you the accuracy and distance you need for hunting.
This is a very solid piece of equipment, that is really going to aid you accuracy, and give you confidence that it can take more than a few knocks.
5 Burris 200261 Ballistic Plex 2-7x32mm
Also known as The Scout Scope, this is a very close cousin to the other Burris model that we looked at.
This scope has a steel on steel adjustment system with audible clicks, that couple with the Posilock feature means that you can easily adjust the settings and know that they are going to be saved properly.
The reticle is purged at least 24 times with high quality Nitrogen, and this makes it water, fog, and shockproof.
You are getting a scope that has been tested to within an inch of its life to make sure that it performs optimally no matter the amount of recoil.
The lens in the scope has a greater diameter than the competition so that it can give you those crystal clear images in any situation, so whether hunting or targetting you are are going to very happy.
You will be able to acquire your target very quickly with this scope, with both of your eyes open. It has great eye relief, gives good accuracy, and is extremely durable.
6 Bushnell Trophy Handgun Scope with Multi-X Reticle
You can’t be in the business of making high quality scopes for over 65 years and not learn a thing or two. Bushnell bring that to the table with every scope that they manufacture. As the name suggests, they are confident that you are going to be going home with the trophy if you use this scope.
Fully multi-coated optics are one of the things that Bushnel are proud of having as one of their key technologies, and here, coupled with the rain guard you are going to get 91% light transmission no matter what weather conditions you are operating in. The scope is waterproof, shockproof and fogproof.
The 1 inch one-piece tube construction with integrated saddle, not only is designed to stay out of your way, but to be super-tough, and it can handle any recoil that is generated by your handgun.
You get a fast focus eyepiece, with inch eye relief, and ¼ MOA fingertip windage and elevation adjustments, and the parallax adjustment with that makes it super easy to get the next target in your sights; no matter whether hunting or target shooting.
7 Nikon 8470 Force XR 2x20mm Pistol Scope, Nikoplex reticle, Matte
Nikon barely need an introduction, with 90 years of making top line optical products, here they bring their expertise to craft a really great handgun scope that gives you what you need across the board.
This scope has been put through some rigorous testing to make sure that it can undergo a lot of recoil, and this came courtesy of the Smith and Wesson 500, a gun that can really pack a punch. So you can be confident that this scope is recoil proof, and its rugged design is also waterproof and fogproof.
You get long eye relief with this scope, and the quick focus eyepiece is designed with heavy outer posts to direct your eye toward the finer crosshairs at the reticle’s center. With the 95% percent light transmission that you get with these lenses, that makes for some clear pictures and fast and accurate sighting. All part of the aptly named Spot On Ballistic Match Technology which gives you a clear field of view with a traditional crosshair, and the ability to maintain a distinct aiming point on your reticle.
Speaking of field of view, it is 20.5 ft at 100 yds, and that eye relief clocks in at 9.7-22.4 in, making this scope a real asset.
8 Hammers Elite Compact Lightweight Handgun Revolver Pistol Scope 2X20 with Weaver Rings, Black
This great scope from Hammers is designed with long eye relief in mind, so that you can use it just as effectively for target shooting and hunting. Using the best engineering to give you that needed versatility while maintaining its ability to get knocked around.
You get 12 1/2 inches of eye relief, and that is coupled with a field of view that is 15.72ft at 100 yds, which makes it fantastic for hunting and easy sighting. This makes it one of the best scopes for eye relief, and also one of the best for field of view as well.
The fine-line crosshair adds to that pinpoint accuracy, and the multi-coated optics keep that view sharp, no matter what weather conditions you are looking at.
You have very solid engineering with the 2x fixed quick focus ring at the end of tythe eyepiece, and finger adjustable windage and elevation screws.
Included is a bungee attached see-thru lens cap, and a pair of vertically split scope ring that fit onto a weaver scope base and rail.
All this comes in a compact design that is lightweight, but still durable. A really well designed and easy to use scope.
9 BSA 2-7X32 Edge Series Pistol Scope
This scope doesn't necessarily have all the bells and whistles that the other scopes do, but it is a great option if you are looking for something that is simple and great value.
BSA are the best of British industry, and they have been around for over a hundred years, so you can be confident that they know how to build you a powerful scope that is going to be both durable and accurate.
This scope is really designed for hunting, and has an adjustable scope that offers you long eye relief, and great magnification. It might be slightly edged out by the last scope because it is just a little more versatile, but reliability is just as important as versatility, and this scope is definitely reliable.
It is a solid 1” tube, and it only weighs 12 ounces. It is a pretty simple scope that helps your accuracy by using crosshairs instead of iron sights.
As stated, this sight is at the lower end of the market cost-wise, but it is very reliable, and very well made.
10 AIM SPORTS 2-7X32 Dual III. Long Eye Relief Scope with Red Laser and Rings
Our last, but by no means last, scope that we are going to look at here, comes from Aim Sports inc, who are based out of Canada and manufacture and distribute firearm accessories for AR, shotguns, and pistols. This scope is simple, but it does what you need it to.
This scope, as you might guess from the name offers long eye relief, and is great if you need to shoot with both eyes open. The laser sight can also offer you a degree of flexibility that other sights without lasers do not give you, meaning you can, if you desire, shoot from the hip using this scope.
Like the previous scope, it is in the lower end of the price range, but that just means that it is really great value. You don’t always want to spend a great deal on a scope - it might be something you are just using for fun, or you want it as a great starter scope for someone that is just finding their feet with hunting.
To help with that accuracy you also get the red laser sight. There is very solid construction on the scope and rings
As you can see, when it comes to choosing the best pistol scopes there is a lot to consider. Field of view if obviously of primary importance to hunters, and not quite so relevant to those who are using their scopes for target shooting, where you have longer to find your target and aim.
Some of these considerations may be something you can discount, if you want to use the scope for both hunting and target shooting, which a lot of people are going to be doing.
The eye relief is not just a great thing for the specific act of shooting a handgun, though that is important, it can also help if you have any issues with your eyesight as well.
You may already have your gun, or you may be shopping for both the gun and the sight as well, so knowing how well your scope handles recoil is going to determine whether you can use it with your gun, whether it is going to be usable with larger calibers, or different actions.
Budget is a factor, but before you work that out you need to have a shopping list of things that you want your scope to be able to do. The more features you want the scope to have, generally the more it is going to cost. This isn’t always the case, as some of these scopes are really great value.
Hopefully with all these great options you can more easily find that perfect sight that is going to make your hunting and target shooting experience that much better.