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. There are physical limitations that are not manufacture or design errors. The location of the scope in relation to the shooter’s eye is not the same. The long eye relief of a pistol scope compromises the exit pupil because of light gathering capabilities. Without the whole-body support afforded by a rifle, the movement of a hand gun increases. 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. Use a shooting stick or the rail of a stand when in a hunting blind over bait or from a stand for optimal performance. A benefit of the scope is its magnification. Hunters assess and judge animals in their sights better with scopes. There is an increase in shooting ability from longer ranges. Target shooters also shoot more accurately with a pistol scope. The scope provides a more precise sighting system. Check manufacturer information to ensure the scope you choose is compatible with your pistol, the intended use, and the recoil. You will also have to make sure that you can mount a scope on your pistol in the first place. The arrangement of scopes described here is by price from the most economical to the most expensive recommendation. Included are the retail prices and features of the scopes. 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 with a price of approximately $44.99. It features a long eye relief that satisfies just about any hunter’s needs. Professional marksmen and target shooters appreciate this scope. Any platform, requiring long eye relief, benefits from its optimally designed function.
The Duplex reticule of the AIM Sports pistol/scouting scope, with an approximate price of $58.50, has a built-in Red Laser. This scope takes plenty of heavy recoil. Milled aircraft grade aluminum is the material used in the manufacture of the scope. It is purged and charged with nitrogen, to make it fogproof. The one piece design gives the scope its ruggedness. A sealing process makes it weather resistant. Users choose between green and red reticules.
The BSA pistol scope sells for $59.99. The simple scope is effective. Elevation and windage settings are ¼ MOA. Nearly instant target acquisition is available from the multi-coated optics that yield a clear sight picture. The versatile scope is useful as a scout scope also. The eye relief is a generous range from 11 to 20 inches.
Simmons has a rugged and reliable scope for pistols, priced at $119.99-$169.99. The scope 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. The expanded eyebox is superior to many scopes. Elevation and windage dials stay accurate. No deviation occurs in the adjustment range. Images are sharper, flatter, and wider thanks to the Simmons Aspherical Lens Technology. The lens has a high transmission coating. There are four Simmons pistol scopes that have ¼ MOA adjustments. They are shockproof, waterproof, and fogproof.
The Swift Reliant pistol scope has an asking price of around $140.50. It comes in a matte black or silver finish. The one-piece design of the monobloc tube ensures shock resistance and strength. Multi-coated optics provides the brightest, four-power magnification images. The reticule 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. The elevation and windage have micro adjustments. A lens cover completes the package.
Nikon has built a scope, selling for $189.99-$299.99, with extended eye relief and shockproof optics. This scope takes the recoil from the most powerful pistol calibers. Maximum brightness from sunup to sundown is possible because of the Ultra ClearCoat optical system. Make an on-the-fly adjustment with the quick-focus eyepiece. The reliable Nikon scope is fogproof and waterproof. It is available in trajectory-compensating and patented Nikoplex reticules.
Target shooters and pistol hunters, especially those having large-caliber firearms, appreciate the Bushnell pistol scope, with a price of $299.99. Target acquisition is easier with the 20” constant eye relief. The one-piece construction absorbs the pounding big revolvers dish out.
Serious hand gunners often choose the Burris scope that retails between $229.00-$349.00. Burris was first to build the variable configuration. They also initiated adjustable parallax and target knobs. These scopes take a pounding when necessary. The Posi-Lock construction absorbs shock from the recoil that plows into the pistol and scope. A Ballistic Plex reticule is available on some models. The calibration is for short magnum cartridges. 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 that costs from $277.95-$342.49. The accuracy of this scope is reliable and repeatable. The rugged piece of equipment handles a tremendous revolver recoil of 1,000 rounds. They have lengthy eye relief that allows efficient use of the firearm at arm’s length.
The Leupold pistol scope, priced at $399.99-$599.99, handles the crushing recoil of the magnum and big-bore pistols of today. The scopes are available in variable and fixed configurations. 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. Having a pistol scopes sometimes proves to be very beneficial. Overcoming the lack of trigger control is relatively easy with practice. Repetition of the movement makes it become a reflex. A scope emphasizes mistakes, making correcting them easier. Accuracy improves by approximately 20 percent with proper trigger control mastery.