When one talks about gun scopes, many would normally assume that it is attached to a rifle. Why would you even need a scope for your handgun? You would be surprised to know that a handgun scope is an accessory that is incredibly important for those who want to shoot faster and more accurately.
Buying a scope is just as complicated as buying the actual handgun. You need to find one that fits your gun properly, has the best features, weighs exactly right, and is durable. Before we look at your options for the best handgun scopes, let us go over some scope basics.
What Is a Handgun Scope?
A scope is a gun accessory made of a tube with lenses inside. It is made for magnification so a shooter can see beyond the distance that the naked eye can normally reach. This is the reason why scopes are associated with rifles as they are meant to shoot targets from a long distance.
The accessory has been available for rifles for a while now. Not surprisingly, gun users quickly realized that having a scope for other types of firearms is an essential addition if you want to become a better shooter. This is why manufacturers have started designing scopes for all kinds of firearms. Before we start looking at the top brands and models, let’s find out the benefits of using the best handgun scope.
Why Do You Need the Best Handgun Scope?
The main function of a scope is to allow you to find your target faster. The scope magnifies everything that you can see, so you can take aim and shoot at your paper target or prey faster and more accurately. Moreover, magnification is especially helpful for individuals who do not have perfect vision. All they need to do is to adjust the focus of the eyepiece and they would be able to clearly see their targets.
More importantly, it allows the shooter to see what is around the target. Thus, it increases the safety of your gun use, since you can watch out for things that you might accidentally shoot had you only been aiming with your naked eye.
If you shoot for hunting, the gun scope helps in aiming more effectively. Scopes have crosshairs that enable the shooter to shoot precisely where they want to. This feature allows you to kill your prey more humanely and ensures that you get food on your plate.
Plus, the best handgun scopes have the capability of maximizing the available light, enabling you to shoot precisely even in low light conditions. Do you want to hunt even when it is drizzling? A good handgun scope will let you do that and more. For example, if you sense an intruder on your property, you will be able to use your scope to check out the area even if there are shadows.
So, whether you are a competitive target shooter, a hunter, or a homeowner who wants to protect your property, buying the best handgun scope is going to benefit you. The key is to know what you need to look for in handgun scopes so you can buy the one that perfectly fits your handgun and your shooting needs.
What Do You Need to Look for in a Handgun Scope?
Now that you are more convinced about purchasing a scope for your handgun, let’s start looking at what you need to consider in buying the perfect model. For beginners, buying a scope can become overwhelming because of the sheer number of factors to consider.
Type of Handgun
The scope for a handgun is built differently compared to those designed for rifles. The handgun’s muzzle rise is unique because the recoil is absorbed fully by the handgun as opposed to being transferred to the shooter’s body. That being said, you need to choose a scope that is manufactured specifically for the gun you will use. Small caliber guns may not have as much recoil as their heavier counterparts, but the vibration produced by shooting will require a specific scope. Heavier guns will need scopes that are heavy-duty to withstand the extreme recoil.
The next thing to look at is the magnification. A lot of beginners buy scopes that either provides too little or too much of this feature. When checking out gun scopes, you will see that some offer 2x or 4x magnification. Simply put, if it says that the scope offers 2x the magnification when you look through it, the target will look twice closer than when you look at it with your naked eye.
What about scopes that have two numbers on them? For example, 2-6x. This simply means that the scope features a variable power option. You can adjust it from 2x to 6x the magnification. Finally, if you see a scope that offers 2-7x 32mm, do not get intimidated. It means that the scope magnification ranges from 2x to 7x and has a 32mm objective diameter.
How much magnification do you need? That will depend on what you use your handgun for. For instance, experts suggest that you go for any scope that offers up to 4x the magnification for small game hunting and for defending your home. In contrast, for large game hunting, opt for one that offers magnification that goes as high as 8x.
The objective diameter refers to the size of the objective lens. The higher the number, the crisper and clearer the target will look through the scope. However, just like with magnification, you don’t need to go so high especially when you hunt in close range. A 28mm objective lens will do in this situation. For low light shooting, it is advisable to opt for the 32mm model.
The market is full of high-quality gun scopes. Let us look at 8 of the best handgun scopes you can buy today.
1. UTG 2-7×32 1” Handgun Scope
The first in our list is a variable power handgun scope. It lets shooters choose the lens magnification from 2x to 7x. This will allow you to easily change the magnification to take a shot at objects at varying distances.
The UTG handgun scope also features a comfortable 25-inch eye relief. This means you can take a more comfortable shooting stance and not feel cramped while aiming.
This scope has an illuminated reticle to help you shoot even in low lighting conditions. Therefore, you can still see it clearly even at twilight or during rainy and cloudy periods.
The build is pretty stable, consisting of one main tube with an O-ring seal. The UTG 2-7×32 is also waterproof, fog proof, as well as shockproof. Hence, if you are looking for an affordable scope with variable power and clear optics, the UTG scope comes highly recommended.
- Easily adjustable lens power
- Comes with Accushot rings and lens caps
- Good eye relief
- Cross-hair becomes blurry at 5x and up
- Field of view grows limited at 5x and up
2. BSA PS27x32 Edge Series
Here is another variable power scope, providing 2-7x magnification. It uses good quality optics that deliver crisp sights picture in different lighting conditions. Its manufacturer designed it so the individual shooter can conveniently customize it based on his or her magnification preference.
Users claim that mounting the scope onto your handgun is pretty straightforward. Durability is not a question either with the BSA PS27x32. The manufacturer used aluminum to craft its single main tube. The scope is rugged and can withstand high recoil. Additionally, it looks small and very sleek. Despite its appearance, it is quite heavy compared to other handgun scopes, as it weighs about 17.6 ounces.
The BSA PS27x32 offers a 32mm objective diameter and is very affordable given that feature. It allows you to shoot more accurately even if your target is a long-distance away.
- Clear optics
- Adjustable magnification
- Solid and durable construction
- Mounting is straightforward
- Sight picture is sensitive to wobbles
- Heavier than average
3. Leupold FX-II Handgun 4x28mm
The brand is popular worldwide and has been manufacturing scopes for many years. That alone tells you that many consider the Leupold FX-II one of the most sought-after handgun scopes today.
The scope model offers the clearest sight picture and offers a fixed 4x magnification. Additionally, it has superb light gathering ability enabling shooters to aim at targets in a variety of lighting and weather conditions. It is completely waterproof and fog proof.
The lens of the handgun scope has Leupold’s trademark DiamondCoat. So, this makes the lens abrasion and scratch-resistant. Also, the view is free of distortion.
Need to aim very quickly? The Leupold FX-II allows shooters to get on target quickly with its open eyebox and significant eye relief. Plus, it is very light, coming in at only 7 ounces. You would barely feel it mounted onto your handgun.
It only offers 4x magnification. However, if you are shooting at something only a short distance away, you do not need a variable handgun scope. This is sufficient magnification for over 25 yards.
- Incomparable image quality
- Good sights even in low lighting conditions
- Durable construction
- Quick and easy focusing
- Fixed magnification
- More expensive than the other brands
4. Bushnell Trophy Handgun scope
Experienced gun owners tout the scope from Bushnell as a practical buy because of its quality and price. It offers clarity and up to 91% light transmission. Add to that its design, a shortened main tube. The result? Clear and bright sight images even during a cloudy day.
Even if it is raining, you don’t have to worry about getting the scope wet because the lens has Bushnell’s proprietary HD lens coating. As a result, it will stay clean no matter what the weather condition is.
Its 20-inch eye relief makes it very versatile to fit any type of shooter. It can handle recoil coming from 44 Mag guns comfortably.
The Bushnell Trophy handgun scope features a Multi-X Reticle that is easily configurable for better focus. Additionally, it has a side parallax adjustment so you can adjust for your zero basing on the range of your taken shots.
As a bonus, the company backs up its product with a lifetime warranty. They will replace your handgun scope with no questions asked. So, if you are looking for a practical buy, then you can’t go wrong with the Bushnell Trophy series.
- Extremely stable
- Offers great sight image in any weather
- Long eye relief
- Quick focusing
- Lifetime warranty
- No lens covers
5. Weaver Classic Silver Handgun Scope
If you are using a high caliber handgun, the Weaver Classic Silver Handgun scope may be the best choice for you. This gun scope is known for its reliability and ruggedness. The use of high-quality materials in its construction makes it an ideal scope for use in even the harshest outdoor conditions. Also, the scope can withstand the recoil from the most powerful caliber handgun.
The scope is built on a shortened main tube that measures 1-inch. The tube is nitrogen sealed to ensure that the lenses are fog proof and shockproof. The lenses are multicoated to provide high clarity with no blurriness on the edges.
Additionally, it is lighter than average at 6.7 ounces. The compact and light design makes sure that it does not add any extra mass to your handgun, allowing for easy shooting.
While the fixed 2x magnification may seem too small, it is important to note that the Weaver Classic Silver scope is designed for outdoor hunting use and is best suited for close-range shooting. It may still be the best choice for you in that price range.
- Exceptionally durable and can withstand all weather conditions
- Designed to absorb maximum recoil
- Short and lightweight
- Fixed magnification at 2x
- May be too small for certain handgun models
6. Nikon Force XR
Nikon is another reputable brand when it comes to optics. The quality of their lenses is incomparable. This is why the Nikon Force XR became the scope of choice of numerous shooters worldwide.
It features the Ultra ClearCoat system which offers up to 95% light transmission. Thus, you get sight pictures so clear and bright no matter what weather condition it is. The scope is fully sealed to ensure that it stays fog proof, waterproof, and shockproof.
It offers a variable magnification starting at 2x and goes up to 8x. It is on the heavy side. This scope comes in at 11.5 ounces.
The Nikon Force is very versatile and can be used on any handgun caliber. Even the mighty S&W 500 could not shake this scope. Also, varying elevation and windage is not a problem for the Nikon Force XR because of its ¼ minute of angle hand-turn turrets. You can easily adjust the angle to keep the optics and your handgun in synch.
Some users commented that it could have used an illuminated reticle. However, if you are not going to be shooting in the dark, this handgun scope should still fit the bill.
- Offers light transmission up to 95%
- Can withstand heavy recoil
- Enables precise adjustments
- Eye relief is not sufficient at higher magnification
- Not as lightweight as the other scopes
- Does not have an illuminated reticle
7. Burris 2-7x32mm Handgun Scope
The Burris Handgun scope is another good choice that offers variable magnification. It features a 32mm objective lens that works with a high-grade optical glass. This ensures that the scope provides bright and clear optics every time.
Looking for help in shooting at a higher accuracy? This scope comes with a ballistic plex reticle. While simple in design, it is highly effective in compensating for bullet drop. Truly, the scope will ensure that your aim is accurate for every shot.
Besides its variable magnification that goes from 2x to 7x, its eye relief also makes sure that you can lay your sight easily on whatever target. It is great for any outdoor shooting situation.
The scope is compact and lightweight. Thus, you would hardly notice the added bulk, so it is ideal when you are planning to walk around as you shoot. Don’t be fooled by its size though. Even though the Burris Handgun scope is smaller than average, it is designed to absorb the recoil of a .50 BMG.
- Features high-grade optical glass and a 32mm objective lens
- Allows for a quick sighting of the target
- Solid design
- Extended eye relief
- Not easily adjustable
8. Simmons ProHunter Handgun Scope
Finally, we have another variable magnification handgun scope, the Simmons ProHunter. It is a great all-around scope that offers magnification from 2x to 6x.
The Simmons ProHunter also features the TrueZero elevation and windage system that enables you to fix on your zero and stay there with ease. It makes it a great hunting companion because you can adjust everything quite easily.
This scope is exceptionally durable. Its main tube is constructed from aluminum. It has a shock and waterproof construction; thus it is fit for rough handling. It also claims to be recoil-proof. The manufacturer designed and tested the ProHunter to withstand shooting up to one thousand .375 H&H magnum rounds.
The scope is compact and lightweight. As a result, you would hardly notice the added bulk, so it is ideal when you are planning to walk around as you shoot. Don’t be fooled by its size though. The Burris Handgun scope is designed to absorb the recoil of a .50 BMG.
Just like all the other scopes mentioned above, the ProHunter also has multi-coated optics, so you get crisp images in any weather condition. Plus, it is very affordable.
- Very durable
- Provides clear images
- Holds zero effectively
- Very affordable
- Not suitable for high caliber guns
- The silver finish may cause light to reflect
Owning just a handgun may be enough for the average competitive shooter, hunter, or homeowner. However, if you want to elevate your shooting game, adding the best handgun scope should be on top of your list. There are so many gun scope brands and models to choose from, but we are sure that you can find the right fit for your gun and your needs easily.