Handguns in most cases are close-range weapons except when taken up by hunters as a primary field weapon against everything from rabbits to big game animals. When this happens it is time for a basic sight upgrade. In many cases and that means glass sights are moved up to the center of the discussion.
Handgun scope must meet several different requirements from those of a standard rifle scope sight. The handgun scope needs to be subcompact in size, lightweight, and make use of a very long eye relief.
Because these scope sights mount directly to a rail ( Weaver-style ) on the handgun barrel, in most cases the standard mounts are again Weaver style clamps.
My Picks for Handgun Scope
- Burris Handgun Hunting Scope 2X-7X32mm Silver Nickel
- Leupold VX-3 2.5 – 8 X 32
- UTG 2-7 X 32 One Inch Tube Handgun Scope
- Hammers ELITE Compact Handgun Scope
- BSA 2X20 Edge Series Pistol Scope
- TRUGLO 30mm Dual Color Dot Sight
- NcStar 2-7X32E Red Illuminated Pistol Scope
- Leupold FX II
- Predator V2 Reflex Sight A Combat Vet Owned Company
- Best Handgun Scopes On The Market
- 1. Burris Handgun Hunting Scope 2X-7X32mm Silver Nickel
- 2. Leupold VX-3 2.5 – 8 X 32 Handgun Scope
- 3. UTG 2-7 X 32 One Inch Tube Handgun Scope
- 4. Hammers ELITE Compact Handgun Scope.
- 5. BSA 2X20 Edge Series Pistol Scope.
- 6. TRUGLO 30mm Dual Color Dot Sight.
- 7. NcStar 2-7X32E Red Illuminated Pistol Scope.
- 8. Leupold FX II
- 9. Predator V2 Reflex Sight A Combat Vet Owned Company
Best Handgun Scopes On The Market
1. Burris Handgun Hunting Scope 2X-7X32mm Silver Nickel
This first example of a hunting scope on a handgun is the Burris introduction into this market. At a mid-range price point, the scope is designed to take the recoil of heavy hunting handguns shooting large-caliber cartridges. I shoot a 454 Casull and with the heavyweight Hornady 300 grain XTP bullets, I can wreck a cheap scope in a few rounds.
This Burris is built well, I shot it on the Remington XP 100 for several years in the 22-250 Rem as an open ground prairie dog hand gunning system.
The scope makes use of a 2x 7x magnification allowing for the long-range calibers as well as heavy hard hitting bear harvesting loads as well. The field of view is 27 feet at 100 yards, and the eye relief that is so critical here is a strong deep 10-21 inches.
Remember eye relief is massively important because of both scope positioning on the handgun being well forward, and also the need for space between you and that scope ring in terms of high recoiling weapons. Hold my 454 in a loose grip and close to your head and you are in real trouble when that stick of pure raw explosive goes off ahead of your face.
This scope retains a weight of 12.26 ounces and measures 9.7 x 3 x 3 inches. The scope uses ¼ MOA windage and elevation adjustments, carries a tough bright exterior surface plating for tough weather use, and has coated lens surfaces for again weather and materials protection.
2. Leupold VX-3 2.5 – 8 X 32 Handgun Scope
This scope is again a heavy recoil absorbing and shockproof glass sight. The Leupold makes use of the Duplex reticle, carries a matte finish, is 100% waterproof, and makes use of the ¼ MOA click adjustments for windage and elevation.
This scope repeats the zero position well with excessive numbers of click turns and then returns to zero settings. The scope is expected to last a lifetime even under extreme field conditions and heavy-caliber handgun shooting.
The scope uses the Leupold Twilight Max Light Management System. This controls light early in the morning and late in the evening when deer and other critters tend to make their move out onto open ground.
This scope uses the full one-inch tube, but it is ultra-light in terms of mounting on a handgun. The scope is available in both blued dull black and bright stainless steel coloring. Eye relief measures 15 inches and leaves enough room to fight off recoil. I recommend this scope for heavy calibers as in the 454 Cas, 50 Smith, 44 Rem Magnum, and 45-70 Government.
3. UTG 2-7 X 32 One Inch Tube Handgun Scope
Sold at a lower price point and in my opinion usable for cartridges like the 223 Rem, and smaller due to recoil effect, this scope is workable in several areas without breaking the bank in the process.
The UTG scope is listed as waterproof and shockproof in terms of construction. The scope will give off up to 25 inches of eye relief and has a ballistic drop indicator installed in the reticle.
The scope measures 12 x 3 x 3 inches and carries a weight of 1.1 pounds. Using a one-inch main tube the standard rifle rings can fit this scope. In most cases, the Weaver-style rail and bases will tie the whole unit together. The scope is offered with a complete set of its own adjustable rings. This scope also has an illuminated reticle in three colors red, green, and black. This system is operated by the use of a side-wheel system at the turret housing.
This is a very affordable system with some add-on features that are in the final product mix.
4. Hammers ELITE Compact Handgun Scope.
Here we have a very modestly priced scope that would do well as mounted on something like a Ruger Standard auto or one of the new Ruger’s set up with Weaver rails for handgun glass sights.
This small scope retains a low profile on the gun’s receiver or barrel and retains an extra long eye relief as well. ( 12.5 inches .)
At a length of 8.5 inches and light eight at 1.6 ounces, the scope is operationally ready as applied to light recoiling weapons. An example would be the use of .22 caliber handguns versus the heavy 357 magnums and on up. Priced in the lower budget area almost any shooter can afford this scope.
5. BSA 2X20 Edge Series Pistol Scope.
This BSA scope is a good starter scope for hand gunners that are not dead serious about hunting with the weapon but are interested in punching some paper on Sunday afternoons.
At a low power, the scope is a closer range system and that for many is very workable for backyard shooting or even small games in heavy cover.
Eye relief is not listed, but some say it is just a bit sort for all types of work. I would tend to think based on the price point ( very low ) that this scope is not intended to be mounted on my 454 Casull, or 44 Magnum handgun.
In effect, you are getting exactly what you are paying for and this starter scope is not going to be retaining the same parts, glass, and construction as the heavyweights in the glass sight business when you’re dealing with big bore handguns.
6. TRUGLO 30mm Dual Color Dot Sight.
This is a scope, but not a scope in that it function on the red dot sighting system. I shoot this on handguns and crossbows as the eye relief is flat out forever down range. None required. This sight and the HUD Heads up display systems are great handgun sights and as a point in fact I learned on the long before there were very good standard glass sights on the market. Drawbacks are that the field of view can be smaller, batteries are required, but service life is outstanding in all areas of both basic tube construction and operational efficiency.
0,45 pounds total weight, 30mm housing, 5 MOA reticle. Shock resistant to 1000 Grams. Waterproof, fog proof, and this model has a wide field of view.
Special anti-reflective interior eliminates stray light amplified inside the scope.
Weaver-style mounting system makes for easy on/off mounting. I switch my Truglo from handgun to crossbow at will with no issues whatsoever. I have marked my re-zero settings for again a fast recovering when making the change over. My sight has survived use on my heavy magnums and I have some of the largest built today as service weapons.
This is a budget system with big money results.
7. NcStar 2-7X32E Red Illuminated Pistol Scope.
NcStar 2-7X32 is a longer-range long eye relief scope designed for handguns. As a variable powered scope, the glass sight is more flexible and clearly able to home in on those long-range targets. Military science has shown that at a power of 7X a centerfire round as in the 6.5 Creedmoor or related rounds.
This scope comes with one-inch weaver-style rings and lens caps. The scope has a tube diameter of one inch and carries an eye relief of 8.7 to 10,67 inches. In terms of click value for zero, the figure is ½ MOA. I think that is a bit overdone and should have been retained at the almost standard of ¼ MOA per full click. However, that is only my opinion here.
Scope: 14 x 3.63 x 2.63 inches. Weight 1.25 pounds.
Based on retail price, I believe this is a general purpose back yard style handgun scope. I would not use it on heavy magnums or take into massively rough field conditions. I have listed this scope in this review as I have several other budget-priced units because not everyone is a Navy Seal sniper, and needs a several hundred dollar piece of glass to have some shooting fun.
8. Leupold FX II
Leupold offers the professional hand gunner or long-range hunter using heavy caliber cartridges the chance to take up the FX-II handgun scope. This is a 4x28mm optical system mounting sub-tensions in the Leupold Duplex reticle design.
This is built tank tough in that it is designed for the 454 Casull, 500 Smith & Wesson, and 45-70 Government to name a few.
At a weight of 7 ounces, it is not out of line for a handgun glass sight. The 9.0 feet at 100 yards offers great field of view. With an eye relief is a full 18 inches there is lots of room for massive recoil.
The objective diameter of 1.1 inches will produce great light control. With turret settings that retain a full 60 MOA I adjustment, the handgun shooter can be pushing range to any level workable from a short-barreled weapon.
This scope was invented as far back as 1962 being the years I started hunting whitetail and other big games. With that track record, I rest my case on this scope. Serious shooters should check the Leupold out for sure.
9. Predator V2 Reflex Sight A Combat Vet Owned Company
This is the HUD sight as I call them. I shoot this sight in a TRUGLO MICRO and these are outstanding units due to weight reduction. Size limits for holster use, and the ability to get the job done.
The Predator illustrated here is a duel rifle handgun sight. Slip-on weaver rails or single mounts and zero in with ease.
Target is easy to acquire with the wide open sighting system through the picture window. The red dot is illuminated on the glass screen and shooting is just like watching television or a movie when the target presents itself in the sighting window.
This sight comes in two color choices in terms of the dot color (Red or green). The lighting conditions change during a hunting day. This sight will allow up to four different image dot settings as morning turns to evening in the field as well.
The mount used on this sight is an offset system. That means the Hud display glass window can be used in conjunction with basic iron sights as well.
Waterproof, fog proof, and reflective light protected. This sight is built for the lifetime of the user and carries that warranty.
The sight is battery powered with three LR44’s and three extra batteries are supplied with the sight. Sight, mount, tools, and batteries, make up the complete HUD display sight system as offered by Tacticon.
- Read also: Top 15 Pellett Pistol Reviews
I have been writing firearms and outdoor material of 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. You can find more info on me here.