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Which Type of Sight Is Most Accurate and Gives the Best View of the Target

Dakota Potts | Updated December 1, 2023 | Why You Should Trust Us | How We Earn Money
Cover photo for which type of sight is most accurate with a scope mounted on a gun

Let’s be honest.

Searching for the perfect sight for your firearm can be tricky as hell.

If you happen upon a good and reliable sight, great! But the wrong sight will have you missing shots and may even lead to dangerous situations.

But don’t worry…

I’ll be going over every type of sight you need to know, the good and bad of each, and how you should pick the right optic for the most accuracy and the best view.

Key Takeaways

  • Accuracy and visibility are critical factors when selecting a firearm sight.
  • There are various types of sights, each with its own benefits and drawbacks.
  • Personal preferences and shooting needs play a significant role in choosing the right sight.

Which Type of Scope Is Most Accurate?

So, which type of sight is most accurate and gives the best view of the target?

This of course can depend greatly on the type of shooting you’re doing. 

In my experience, the most accurate scopes are telescopic rifle scopes, normally just referred to as a “rifle scope.” 

Telescopic Sight

Two rifles with fixed and variable scopes mounted

The sights magnify the target, making it much easier to make long-range shots. 

It’s as if the scopes automatically teleport you so you’re about 30 feet away from whatever you’re shooting at. 

Almost too easy… 

Nowadays, the glass quality is exceedingly high, so you get a crystal clear image even from a mile or more away. 

Scopes exist up to 80x magnification. But for most “normal” people, 10x is enough to get the job done. 

For instance, my favorite sight right now is the Vortex Venom 5-25x56mm. It’s one of the best scopes out there for the 6.5 Creedmoor on the market. I’ve bagged bucks from half a mile out without breaking a sweat. 

Remember, though, that not all telescopic sights are equal. Factors like glass quality, magnification range, and objective lens diameter can heavily influence a sight’s accuracy.

Make sure to check out the guide I linked above for more info. 

“About the only gun law we have in Vermont is during deer season. If you have a semi-automatic, you can’t have more than six rounds in it.”

Patrick Leahy

Reticles

Accuracy comes from the sight’s magnification and glass clarity. 

Precision comes from the reticle. 

So yeah, you need both. 

Reticles come in various shapes and designs. Here are a few you’ll commonly see:

  • Duplex reticle: This common and simple design has thicker lines on the outer part of the crosshairs that thin out towards the center. It draws the eyes quickly to the target, making it great for hunting.
  • Mil-dot reticle: This reticle design has small dots along the crosshair lines, allowing me to make adjustments for bullet drop and wind drift. I use it for long-range shooting.
  • BDC reticle: A Bullet Drop Compensator (BDC) reticle shows holdover points on the vertical crosshair for different distances. I like this reticle for its user-friendliness in shooting multiple targets at different ranges without adjusting the scope.
BDC reticle with scope view of mountains

But bottom line.  

Choosing the right reticle comes down to personal preference and what type of shooting you’re doing. 

There are literally hundreds of reticles on the market today. It comes down to shooter preference and skill. 

Types of Scopes for Rifles

Fixed

I love fixed scopes for their simplicity. 

They’re great for consistency since you don’t need to adjust the magnification. They’re also quick as hell.

No messing around. Just point and shoot. 

They’re perfect for someone who’s going to be shooting at a fixed or more or less similar range on a regular basis. 

Plus, they’re also affordable. 

Variable

Hawke scope mounted on a hunting rifle

I’m going to be honest with you… 

The overwhelming majority of rifle scopes are variable. 

It’s what I almost always use

They’re super versatile, perfect if you’re looking to adapt to various shooting situations

(Like if you’re hunting, for instance.)

Even if you’re planning on shooting short range, I’d suggest getting some zoom. LPVO scopes are perfect for short-range or tactical situations. They start at 1x and typically top out at 10x. 

Night and Thermal

Night vision and thermal scopes are for, well… night hunting. 

Night vision amplifies the existing light and makes it appear much brighter on the screen. It’s a classic technology and is commonly used. 

Blue night vision view from a scope

However… 

Thermal scopes have exploded in popularity in the past decade. 

They pick up the radiation caused by heat and make the sources literally glow like a glowstick on your screen. 

No light needed. You can hunt in pitch black

You know those reflective vests that construction workers use? 

Imagine every animal has one of those on. They just POP in your scope. 

Needless to say, thermals have taken over the market and are the way to go for night hunting. 

Thermal scope view of a hog in a field

Short Range and Tactical

Looking for something up close and personal? 

There are a number of scopes for that too, like:

  • LPVO
  • Red dot
  • Prism
  • ACOG
An LPVO, red dot, prism sight and ACOG side by side

Each has its own advantages and disadvantages and is way beyond the scope of this article. Luckily if you scroll through the navigation bar at the top of this post, you can find write-ups on each. 

If you’re looking for a wide view and super fast point-and-shoot optic, a red dot is your ticket. 

Ever played Call of Duty? 

Just like that, point and shoot, fast and easy.

Fun Fact

The animals that people hunt in the wild are considered a beautiful source of meat as they eat a natural diet and are already complete with nutrition.
Source: squawmountainranch.com

Long Range and Competition

If you’re looking for expensive, super long-range, Chris Kyle sniper stuff, this is for you. 

Competition shooting is becoming much more popular as well. And manufacturers have responded to the demand with many options to choose from.

Anything over 10x is long-range, in my book – it’s exceedingly rare that a normal shooter is going to need anything over a 20x zoom.

Hunting

When I hunt, I use variable or thermal scopes. 

I like hunting in the 3-9x range. It’s pretty rare I’m taking a shot more than 500 yards out or so. If I see something far away, I typically stalk it to move up and get a better shot.

Bushnell 3-9x scope resting on a table by its product box

If you’re in a forest or an area with lots of brush, you’ll need less magnification, most likely. 

You also need to consider factors such as range, target size, and personal preferences to determine which sight will serve you best in each situation.

With time and experience, you learn to swap out scopes and even rifles for certain conditions. 

This is an essential skill for every hunter, but as you delve more into the world of optics, it’ll come naturally to you soon enough.

For similar reading see our write up on how a rifle scope works and how to mount a scope on a rifle without a rail.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most accurate sight on a gun?

The most accurate sight on a gun is a telescope scope. Also known as a “hunting scope” as it magnifies the field of view and provides easy-to-use reticles. 

What is a telescopic sight or scope?

A telescopic sight or scope is an optical device that magnifies the target, allowing for greater accuracy in aiming, particularly for long-range shots.

What is the function of a telescopic sight?

The function of a telescopic sight is to enhance visual aiming by magnifying the target, resulting in increased accuracy when shooting.


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