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There are few weapons more versatile than the pistol. Whether you’re hunting or concealed carrying or you need a weapon for home defense, a pistol is usually the answer. But while pistols are incredibly versatile on their own, when you’re looking to get the most out of them, you need a top-notch scope.
But while the right scope can take your pistol to the next level, the wrong scope can have your pistol failing you when you need it most.
That’s why we took the time to review the best pistol scopes on the market. Whether you’re looking for a scope for hunting or home defense, we’ve got you covered.
|Best Overall||Feyachi RS-25 Reflex Sight||
|Best Value||HIRAM 1x22x33 Holographic Reflex Scope||
|Premium Choice||Leupold VX-3 2.5-8x32mm Handgun Scope||
|NcStar 2-7X32E Red Illuminated Pistol||
|UTG 2-7X32 Handgun Scope||
If you’re looking for the perfect sight to improve your target acquisition time without sacrificing performance or eye relief, the Feyachi RS-25 Reflex Sight is an outstanding choice as a red dot reflex sight.
Moreover, there are four different reticle patterns, and the 11 brightness settings mean you can see your reticle on the brightest days.
Of course, the most significant drawback of this reflex sight is that it only offers 1x magnification. But if you’re looking for a way to improve your iron sights for short-range applications, this is easily the best handgun scope available.
Just because you want to upgrade your iron sights with a top-notch scope doesn’t mean you need to spend a bunch of cash. The HIRAM Holographic reflex scope is proof of that and one of the best pistol scopes for the money.
Not only does it have a holographic red dot sight, but it also has an attached laser sight that is extremely easy to use. The holographic sight itself has four different reticle colors to choose from, giving you plenty of options.
However, like all reflex sights, it only has a 1x magnification, and the optics aren’t the crispest. The laser sight on this scope also isn’t as bright compared to dedicated laser sights, but it’s still an excellent choice for the price.
If you’re not worried about how much your new scope costs, the Leupold VX Handgun Scope is the best handgun scope that you can have for target shooting and hunting. This scope comes in two different color options, and the Twilight Light Management System is great if you’ll be shooting in low-light conditions.
This scope has a generous 15″ of eye relief, regardless of magnification levels. This is a big deal because the last thing that you want to do is change your shooting position when you up the power. Like all Leupold products, this scope comes with a lifetime warranty from the trusted brand.
Keep in mind that this scope does not come with a 1x magnification option, but it’s a great choice if you need a little added range with your pistol.
An affordably priced pistol scope is the NcStar Red Illuminated Pistol Scope. It also offers a great magnification range, starting at 2x and maxing out at 7x. If you’re looking for a scope for target shooting or hunting, this is an excellent choice at a great price.
Even better, this scope has an illuminated reticle that makes it easier to use in low-light conditions. Keep in mind, though, that the eye relief is a little harsh on this scope, especially at higher magnification levels.
More importantly, this scope does not always provide a parallax-free view, so keeping your technique in mind with each shot is extremely important. For this price, however, it’s still a great choice.
An excellent choice for your pistol is the UTG Handgun Scope. It’s one of the best handgun scopes for target shooting or hunting, since it has a magnification range from 2x to 7x. But one of the top perks of this pistol scope is the extremely generous eye relief at 25″.
Additionally, it has an illuminated reticle with three color options that you can cycle through, and the optics themselves are extremely clear. The scope itself is American-made, but it is a little bulky and will lose zero on pistols with a ton of recoil.
The CenterPoint Duplex Scope is an affordable option that offers plenty of eye relief and is easy to use. The 20″ of eye relief is among the best for a magnified scope, and the optics are extremely clear.
However, this sight isn’t at the top of this list for three different reasons:
In fact, if you’re trying to see through your scope at dawn or dusk, you likely won’t be able to at all.
The BSA Edge Series Pistol Scope is an outstanding choice for a smaller pistol that doesn’t generate a ton of recoil. The 2x to 7x magnification range is excellent for target shooting and hunting, and this scope comes with a 1-year warranty.
The eye relief does change drastically depending on your magnification level, but it starts at 20″ before narrowing down to a sharper 12″. It’s a great lightweight scope, but two fatal flaws sent it plummeting down our list.
First, like we already mentioned, it can’t handle a ton of recoil without losing zero. Second, it doesn’t have the best clarity. It’s not terrible, but you’ll likely find yourself wishing for a crisper image.
Don’t let the name fool you: The Hammers Long Eye Relief Pistol Scout Scope does not have tons of eye relief for a pistol scope. In fact, it has 9″ to 9.5″, depending on your magnification level.
This scope does offer a great magnification range, starting at 2x and maxing out at 7x. Even better, when you’re cycling through power levels, you can quickly refocus everything with the quick focus ring, and the entire scope itself is extremely easy to mount and use. It’s a good choice for your pistol, but not a great one.
The Hammers Elite Compact Lightweight Handgun Revolver Pistol Scope has an affordable price and clear optics but only has a 2x magnification level.
The eye relief is a bit sharp at 12.5″. Also, it simply isn’t bright enough to use in low-light conditions. It does come with the mounting rings for a weaver mount, but they aren’t the best, and you’ll be better off if you replace them for a more secure fit.
When you’re trying to find the perfect scope for your pistol, you’re bound to have a few questions. Reviewers and experts throw tons of terms around, and it can be challenging to figure out what matters.
That’s why we came up with this comprehensive buyer’s guide, to walk you through everything that you need to know to find the perfect scope for your pistol.
If you’re looking for the best handgun scope, the first thing you need to decide is what you’re using it for. There are tons of different scope options out there, and they all excel at different things.
We break down a few of the most popular options and when you would want them on your pistol.
Red dot sights, holographic, laser, and reflex sights aren’t all the same thing, and there are definitely different advantages of each option. However, they all excel in the same situations: close-range encounters where you need fast target acquisition and unlimited eye relief.
That’s what each of these sights offers, even if they do it in different ways. These advantages make these sights outstanding choices for home defense and concealed carrying.
Moreover, these sights work extremely well in the dark and allow you to shoot from unconventional positions. If you get the right scope, it can give you tons of advantages over an iron sight, without any drawbacks.
However, these aren’t always the best if you’re looking for a more traditional scope that gives you some magnification.
These scopes all give you magnification, and this is ideal for slightly longer-range applications. While you’ll never be as accurate as you would be with a rifle, these sights can make it easier to hit midrange targets.
These sights come in several magnification levels and typically max out at 7x to 8x magnification. However, while these scopes help you shoot longer shots, they offer significant disadvantages for short-range shots or tactical situations.
You need to watch out for parallax and eye relief with these scopes. While that is typical for a powered scope, it can be a problem if you’re looking to use your pistol for home defense or other situations where you can’t always line up your shots with perfect technique.
Eye relief refers to the distance that you need to have between your scope and your eye to see through it. Generally speaking, the more eye relief, the better, especially with pistol scopes. That’s because if you don’t have enough eye relief, you won’t be able to line up the shot the way you need to hit your target.
But how much eye relief do you need to accurately shoot your pistol? It primarily depends on the way you shoot, but you’ll generally want at least 12″ of eye relief, with 15″ to 18″ being an even better option.
Keep in mind that sights with 1x magnification come with unlimited eye relief, so this isn’t something that you’ll have to worry about with reflex or red dot sights.
Parallax refers to the distortion that your sight can create when you’re looking through it. Most sights have a parallax adjustment built in, and most pistol sights are parallax-free up to 50 yards. However, this isn’t always the case.
If you don’t have a parallax-free sight, you’ll run into issues if you don’t line yourself up perfectly behind the scope. Even minor differences can lead your reticle or crosshairs to be off-target, so when you pull the trigger, you’ll miss your target, even if you thought that you lined it up through the scope.
There is much debate when it comes to pistol scopes about how much magnification you need. There’s no doubt that pistols have a shorter range than a rifle, and it’s the reason that many shooters recommend nothing more than a reflex or red dot sight. If you know what you’re doing, you’ll have no problem hitting your target, and you won’t have to worry about eye relief.
However, if you need a little more precision, there’s no doubt that a traditional scope can help pinpoint your target. While many pistol scopes offer magnification levels up to 8x, you should rarely need more than 5x magnification. Often, 2x is all you need to get a slightly more precise shot.
There’s no wrong choice when it comes to how much magnification you want, but remember that increased magnification won’t make up for a lack of practice. So, if you can’t hit your target with a red dot, there’s a good chance that you won’t be able to hit it with a traditional scope either.
Before you purchase a new scope for your pistol, it’s imperative to ensure that you can mount it onto your pistol. The three most common mounting options are Picatinny, weaver, and dovetail, but they aren’t the only options that your pistol might have.
Once you’ve determined what kind of mounts your pistol has, you can focus on sights that will fit.
It doesn’t matter if you get the best scope in the world or the worst, if you don’t take the time to sight it in, you’ll never hit your target. The good news is that sighting in your new scope is easy, and all you’ll need to do is take a trip to the range.
If you’ve sighted in a rifle before, it’s a similar process; the only difference is that while you usually sight a rifle in at 100 yards, you typically sight a pistol in at 20-30 yards. This will affect how much each MOA adjustment makes, but you won’t run into any problems if you make minor adjustments each time.
Just ensure that you set up your target at the appropriate distance and take your time — it’s an excuse to go out and shoot, so enjoy it!
It doesn’t matter what you’re trying to shoot; you can’t hit what you can’t see. That’s why the brightness of the optics is extremely important. If you’re looking for nighttime shooting, then you’re going to want a reflex or red dot sight.
While it won’t illuminate your target, it will make it extremely easy to see your reticle. However, if you plan on using a traditional scope, you’re not entirely out of luck. Some traditional scopes have an illuminated reticle, which makes it easy to see the crosshairs.
However, another aspect that you need to consider when looking for the best handgun scope is the brightness of the optics themselves. That’s where a sight like the Leupold VX scope excels. It brings in the most possible light, which makes it easier to see your target. If you’re going to be shooting in low-light conditions, it’s well worth the investment.
You should consider the warranty before making any purchases. That’s because a warranty is the manufacturer’s guarantee that their product will last year after year.
So, while the Leupold VX scope is more expensive up front, it’s also the last pistol scope that you’ll ever need to buy. You might be spending more now, but when you get a product with an extended warranty, you’ll likely be saving money in the long run.
While there are tons of factors to consider when you’re picking out the best handgun scope for you, hopefully, this guide can help you make your decision. If you pick a scope that matches the style that you’re looking for, you’ll be happy with your choice and never look back.
If you use any of the scopes on our reviews list, whether the Feyachi RS-25 Reflex Sight or the HIRAM Holographic reflex scope, we’re confident that you’ll hit your targets every time that you’re out on the range or field.
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Featured Image Credit: W. Scott McGill, Shutterstock
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Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.
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