Recreational shooters and handgun hunters have a list of questions to answer when choosing the best scope for their pistols:
- Will you hunt from a stand?
- What is the expected shot length?
- How long is the maximum distance of a shot?
- Will you hunt with dogs?
- How well do you see?
- Will the recoil of the pistol generate abuse to the scope of choice?
Using a scope on a pistol is different than using one on a rifle: 1) there are physical limitations that are not manufacture or design errors; 2) the location of the scope in relation to the shooter’s eye is not the same; 3) the long eye relief of a pistol scope compromises the exit pupil because of light gathering capabilities; 4) without the whole-body support afforded by a rifle, the movement of a hand gun increases; and 5) the wobbles and shakes are exaggerated when looking through a scope, especially one set on a high magnification.
Scoped pistols function best when used with a solid rest, so use a shooting stick or the rail of a stand when hunting blind over bait or from a stand for optimal performance. A benefit of the scope is its magnification, so hunters assess and judge animals in their sights better with scopes. There is also an increase in shooting ability from longer ranges, and target shooters are more accurate shots when utilizing a pistol scope. The scope provides a more precise sighting system.
Once you have determined whether you can mount a scope on your pistol in the first place, check manufacturer information to ensure the scope you choose is compatible with your pistol, the intended use, and the recoil. The arrangement of scopes described here is by price, starting with the most economical and ending with the most expensive recommendation. Included are the retail prices and features of the scopes. Overall, if you’re looking for a quality optic that you will give you maximum clarity on target, you’ll have to spend more money.
Top Pistol Scopes in Different Price Ranges
NcSTAR Pistolero has a pistol scope features a long eye relief that satisfies just about any hunter’s needs. Professional marksmen and target shooters appreciate this scope. This pistol scope was optimally designed for any platform requiring long eye relief.
The duplex reticle of the AIM Sports pistol/scouting scope has a built-in Red Laser and is manufactured with milled aircraft grade aluminum. It is purged and charged with nitrogen to make it fogproof, while a sealing process makes it weather resistant. This scope takes plenty of heavy recoil, and the one piece design gives the scope its ruggedness. Users can choose between green and red reticles.
The BSA pistol scope is a simple, yet effective scope. You can adjust for elevation and windage with finger-adjustable ¼ MOA clicks. Nearly instant target acquisition is available from the multi-coated optics that yield a clear sight picture. The eye relief is a generous range from 11 to 20 inches.The versatile scope is useful as a scout scope also.
Simmons has a rugged and reliable scope for pistols features a TrueZero™ Flex Erector System that provides non-shifting point-of-aim at all adjustment settings and magnifications. All power ranges have 3¾” constant eye relief provided by the fast focus system of the scope, and the expanded eyebox is superior to many scopes. In addition to elevation and windage dials maintaining accuracy, no deviation occurs in the adjustment range. Images are sharper, flatter, and wider thanks to the Simmons Aspherical Lens Technology, and the lens has a high transmission coating. There are four Simmons pistol scopes that have ¼ MOA adjustments, and they are designed to be shockproof, waterproof, and fogproof.
The Swift Reliant pistol scope is available with either a matte black or nickel satin finish. The one-piece design of the monobloc tube ensures shock resistance and strength necessary for use with magnum handguns. Multi-coated optics provides the brightest, four-power magnification images. The reticle is a self-centering Quadraplex that makes the scope outstanding for target shooting or hunting over 100 yards. This nitrogen-filled scope is a hard anodized, fogproof piece of equipment, and micro adjustments are available to accommodate for elevation and windage. A lens cover completes the package.
Nikon has built a scope with extended eye relief and shockproof optics. This scope takes the recoil from the most powerful pistol calibers. Its ability to handle powerful recoil is only one of its famed features; one can view maximum brightness from sunup to sundown because of the Ultra ClearCoat optical system, or make an on-the-fly adjustment with the quick-focus eyepiece. This reliable Nikon scope is fogproof and waterproof, and it is available in trajectory-compensating and patented Nikoplex reticles.
Target shooters and pistol hunters, especially those having large-caliber firearms, appreciate the Bushnell pistol scope. This scope makes target acquisition easier with the 20” constant eye relief. In addition to this feature, the scope is built with an exclusive Ultra Wide Band Coating Process to equip hunters with the ability to visualize and hone in on a target with minimal shooting light. The one-piece construction absorbs the pounding big revolvers dish out.
Serious hand gunners often choose the Burris scope. Burris was first to build the variable configuration. They also initiated adjustable parallax and target knobs. A Ballistic Plex reticle is available on some models. The calibration is for short magnum cartridges. The Posi-Lock construction absorbs shock from the recoil that plows into the pistol and scope, which is a beneficial component since the scope of a pistol needs to withstand brutal shot-after-shot pounding that today’s single-shot pistols and revolvers produce.
Weaver has a classic gloss, Dual-X scope with a lengthy eye relief that allows efficient use of the firearm at arm’s length. The accuracy of this scope is reliable and repeatable, and its reliability extends beyond accuracy; this rugged piece of equipment handles a tremendous revolver recoil of 1,000 rounds.
The Leupold pistol scope handles the crushing recoil of the magnum and big-bore pistols of today and are available in variable and fixed configurations. Whether you are shooting at a target or opt to hunt game, the noncritical, extended eye relief provides fast target acquisition. These rugged scopes are waterproof and have sight pictures with brightness, contrast, and clarity.
Reason for Pistol Scope Use
Modern pistols operate on extreme ranges, so having a pistol scopes can prove to be very beneficial. Overcoming the lack of trigger control is relatively easy with practice, especially when repetition of the movement can help you develop a reflex. Utilizing a scope emphasizes the user’s mistakes while shooting, so this provides an easy opportunity to identify and correct those mistakes. Accuracy can improve by approximately 20 percent with proper trigger control mastery, so pistol scopes prove to be a worthwhile purchase.