I have never shot the official l three-gun competition, but I have shot three-gun cowboy action style. For the most part, it is a bit more advanced than the standard modern weapon three-gun shooting. Therefore I can base much of my choices here on the fact that I get the idea of three-gun and for the most part have shot a variant of the gun game on my home range when testing product, and also on the cattle town set of the Black Hills Shootists LLC.
In the case of selected modern weapon systems and three-gun, the primary direction of this review will be directed toward the scopes used on the AR platform weapon as almost always selected for the three gun shooting events. Being the AR is a short platform receiver weapon the glass sights being the concern here need to fit the task and also the weapon. The three-gun match is a fast fire deal and the scope needs to do several things for the shooter. The scope needs to be set up for fast target acquisition, retains good weapons balance when brought to the firing position, keep weight at a low point, and be built tough as the gun will get bounced around a bit from time to time.
As the military has found the best selection of combat scopes for squad level troops is the 3X6 chopped bell housing rifle scope. These short scopes cut weight, use enough magnification for the longer shots, and can be built Tiger Tank tough.
Best 3-Gun Scope Reviews – New Products Updated
1. Trijicon VCOG 1-6X24
This is the first example of a workable if not ideal 3-gun rifle scope. This scope by Trijicon, being a manufacturer that arrays some of the top-end sighting equipment known in shooting sports offers this 3-6 power glass sight in the chopped version being short length and now forward bell housing.
This scope uses the green horseshoe reticle and is matched to the 308 175 grain bullet. This is a manufactured standard, but adjustable for use with 5.56 NATO. Blackout or other related cartridges.
The scope is set up n the FFP, again sniper grade but three-gun workable. In my opinion, the SFF would be the best for these kinds of shooting events, but it is a small point that has many differences of opinion among shooters.
Waterproof to 66 feet, military scale tough, and used by special operations and contributors this is a professional grade sight and can pass the test as a top-of-the-line three-gun sighting system.
Mounts built-in for Weaver-style application on the AR-15, and the mount is a quick-release system.
2. Trijicon VCOG 1-6X24 Green Horseshoe Dot
This scope is much like the first scope reviewed in fact almost a copy of that glass sight. However, now the sub-tensions reflect the exact ballistics of the .223/5.56 NTO round and as such get more attention by more three-gun shooters. This scope is field tough totally waterproof. Built like a bank vault and mounts to the Weaver rail system found on AR’s. The power housing is forward of the mount and access is easy if the change is required. However, the power lifeline on this scope being a light reticle is almost forever.
Again this is military grade and in terms of three gun shooting the power settings are correct, the sub-tensions fit the task, and the size is very workable as applied to the short receiver models in the AR platform rifles.
3. Bushnell AR Optics 1-4X24
This scope retains the 1-4x magnification workable for three gun events, which also has a short tube size less the forward bell. A fast control arm for power setting change, and carries fully coated lens surfaces for scratch and dust protection.
The scope is a base grade and a very good choice when starting out in this type of competition in that the price is very workable when compared to the professional scope models.
Bushnell uses a good grade of glass with positive light transmission abilities. This scope has external turret adjustment for windage and elevation when required. However, in this event, the fix settings are most likely to be addressed.
4. Bushnell Drop Zone 1-4X24mm
This scope carries the heavy 30mm tube being military standard. The scope is power to 1-4x making it workable in three gun events. This scope is fully multicoated for scratch protection, carries a good grade of glass for easy target lock on, and the 223 BDC reticle the scope is factory set up for three-gun and the AR-15 rifle. Sub-tensions are matched to eh .223 55-62 grain bullets.
Target turrets use the 0.1 clack adjustments for ultra pinpoint zero alignment for target shooting events.
The turrets on this scope are target grade and exposed for fast changes that may be required during an event.
5. MONSTRUM ALPHA Series 1-6X24 FFP Rifle Scope.
Here we have a rifle scope designed for tactical applications and as such fits the needs of the three-gun shooter. This scope makes use of the 30mm main tube for strength and a heavy turret housing. The scope uses external adjustment for windage and elevation. Built-in the FFP and set up in MOA hash marks, the scope is again military style to the core.
Built of 6061 Aluminum and coated with a hard anodized finish the scope is field ready. This scope requires an additional set of mounts and rings, or a unit type mounting system.
6. Leupold FX-II Ultralight 2.5X20mm
This is a great scope for shooters using light rifled with sort receiver platforms. The scope is a single power, but fast to mount and shoot. The tube is aluminum and is of a Leupold grade regarding product quality. The turrets are capped for fixed settings after zeroing, and this is correct when balanced to the power setting of the glass sight.
Weighing in 0.94 pounds the scope is very lightweight and can be discounted as a system that will slow down a shooter.
With the low power, the shooter needs to select events with care, but the quality and construction of Leupold optics will carry the mail downrange with ease.
7. Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II SFF
This is the Vortex introduction to the world of three-gun and it is a dandy to be sure. This scope uses capped turrets to fix zero setting at the general range used in three-gun. The scope weighs in at 3 pounds making it a big of a little paperweight on the receiver, but the core of this scope is a heavyweight also built to take a pounding.
Tube construction is aluminum, lens quality is high grade and well-liked by shooters to be sure, turret sub-tensions are laser cut and etched into the reticle, and also offers detailed hold points for fast target acquisition. The glass in this scope is treated and protected from scratch and dust conditions that are found on a rifle range and in this case a three-gun closed area with close range dust cutting targets.
8. Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6X24
Here we have a tactical-level glass sight that is advanced in design, carries great glass, retains a full cantilever mount, an etch reticle ( laser ), and is set up for correct eye relief right out of the box. If I were to invest in a scope for thee-gun I would consider this scope as a real possibility.
The sub-tensions are illuminated and the scope retains eleven different light color settings. The scope changes power range depending on available light automatically.
Total weight 6.5 ounces. Mount high above the rail is 6.7 inches. Designed and fitted to the AR-15 tactical weapon or competition rifle.
9. TruGlo TRU-BRITE 30 Series
Here we have a red dot scope by TruGlo that is power at 1-6X24mm, carries a dual color setting and comes shooter rading with weaver-style rail mounts. The scope uses tactical-style open turrets for fast elevation or windage changes, and uses a large power adjustment lever for quick changes in settings on the fly.
Adjustment settings are in ¼ MOA which are ample for the style of targets used in three-gun shooting. The quality of the product is good. I shoot several of these products in both scopes and head-up display HUD-assist secondary sight systems.
The scope uses fully coated lenses, and in the turrets double leaf spring adjustment internals. This scope can be obtained in 24,40, and 30 mm. A flexible sight system to be sure.
10. Sig SauerTango6T 1-6X24mm
This hellfire-illuminated scope is combat styled and copied after the new military-adapted Sig combat scope for use at squad level. This is outstanding glass and is a scope that can take on any angle on a three-gun shoot bar none.
The scope retains a large 30mm tube, set up in .2 MRAD sub tensions and is fully illuminated. This scope is historical in that it is replaced ACOG systems on combat rifles and as such it is a no-brainer when selecting this scope as a competitive masterpiece for the three-gun competitive situation.
I have run through the glass sights here but and have not gone into the added HUD units and secondary sighting systems often used by three-gun shooters. This is an area set aside all by itself, and as such requires its own evaluation. The rifle sight in glass as applied to this shooting game is all very much alike in that the requirements make it that way. The big thing is price and features in the tube as such. Shop hard and ask questions when selecting a sight for this kind of shooting application. (1)
What is 3 Gun Competition?
For those of you new to the sport, take a look at our article on “what is 3 gun competition?“. We cover the basics of the sport and explain how you can get started.
More Reading: Designated Marksman Scope
If you’re looking for more, check out our article on the top designated marksman scopes money can buy.
- Bryce M. Towsley, Choosing a 3-Gun Scope. Retrieved from https://www.shootingillustrated.com/content/choosing-a-3-gun-scope/
I have been writing firearms and outdoor material for over 50 years to date. I have hunted across the world, including Russia, and a great deal of time professional hunting in Australia. I currently live in the American West and hunt all across the Black Hills of South Dakota and the Big Horn Mountains. I have specialized much of my work as a load developer in shotguns and rifles. I have run a small company that builds suppressor barrels of my design and load tests for writing purposes and consulting. My commercial names include Ballistics Research & Development / Metro Gun Systems TM.
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