12 Best Handgun Scopes Worth the Money (2021)

So you just got a new handgun and want to have some “range fun,” but you miss a proper scope? You are in the right place. It’s not that difficult to get good accuracy at close range, but it gets difficult to maintain accuracy past ~40 yards. For that, pick the best handgun scope for your budget. Let’s dive in.

Top options

Best handgun scope

Leupold FX-II

Best red dot

Vortex Venom

Best budget option

Burris Handgun Scope

Best handgun scope

1. Vortex Venom 1x26.5mm Red Dot Handgun Scope

The Venom Vortex handgun scope is equipped with a 26.5mm objective lens and comes with a 1x zoom. This red dot sight comes with a bright and large reticle. There are 10 different brightness settings you can use based on the light conditions you are working in. It is by far the best pistol scope in terms of utility and convenience. 

The controls for illuminations and power are very easily accessible and user-friendly. You can conveniently make adjustments according to your needs without altering your position. Most of the pistol scopes reviews talk about the lightweight features and design, but there is so much more. 

You can easily mount the battery from the top and don’t need to remove the scope from your pistol. These scopes are pretty rugged and can take heavy recoils from your handgun. The tough aluminum chassis of this small pistol scope and hard anodized finish makes it a long-lasting product.

What we liked

  • Operable in a wide temperature range from -22F to 122F
  • You can use it for both rifle and handgun 
  • Lens finish features Armortek for sturdiness
  • Fully water and shockproof
  • Multi-coated glass lens
  • Elevation and windage adjustments with 1 MOA click
  • Red illuminated reticle

What we didn’t like

  • Buttons of these scopes for pistol are really small
  • No tactical zeroing adjustment

Magnification: 1x
Lens diameter: 26.5mm
Field of view: 50 feet at 100 yards
Eye relief: 2.7-inch
Reticle: 3 MOA Red Dot
Length: 1.9-inch
Weight: 1.1 oz
Features: Fully multi-coated, single-piece chassis, parallax-free

2. Burris 2x20mm Handgun Scope

Burris is the best handgun scope that features a 20mm objective lens with 2x magnification. These scopes pistols come with a Plex reticle and feature a 2nd focal plane that allows you to shoot far away targets accurately. 

These pistol scopes come with a tube diameter of 1-inch. So you can gather most of the light from its surroundings. Apart from that, these 2x pistol scopes come with an exit pupil of 10mm, so you can view brighter images even in low light. This Burris 2x pistol scope comes with a border FoV of 21 feet at 100 yards. 

Handgun scope reviews tend to forget that such a scope also needs good eye relief. This 2x pistol scope comes with an eye relief of 10-inch and weighs only around 7 oz. 

The Burris 2x handgun scope doesn’t come with an illuminated reticle, which is a shame but the scoped pistol tries to make it immense with the help of Hi-Lume coating for sharper and vivid imaging. 

What we liked

  • Long pistol scope eye relief ranging from 10-inch to 24-inch
  • The exit pupil of 10mm for brighter results
  • Nitrogen purged for fog and waterproofing
  • 2nd focal plane for better shooting at longer ranges
  • Aluminum construction 
  • Plex reticle for quick target acquisition
  • 0.5 MOA clicks for elevation and windage adjustment 

What we didn’t like

  • These Burris handgun scopes come with non-illuminated reticle
  • This Burris handgun scope has a narrow field of view
  • Plex reticle is a bit too fine

Magnification: 2x
Lens diameter: 20mm
Field of view: 21 feet at 100 yards
Eye relief: 10-inch to 24-inch
Reticle: Plex
Length: 8.9-inch
Weight: 7 oz
Features: Fog and moisture-proof, 2nd focal plane, wide exit pupil

3. Leupold FX-II 4x28mm Handgun Scope

The FX-II handgun scope comes with a 28mm objective lens and a 4x zoom. The one-inch tube diameter of this 44 mag pistol scope ensures a maximum amount of light passes through, so the results are brighter and clearer. 

If you are looking to improve your pistol accuracy, go for this handgun scope. This scope for a handgun is extremely lightweight and won’t weigh your sidearm down. Leupold pistol scopes are the best pistol scope for hunting and are completely fog and moisture-proof, so it can perform well in different weather conditions. Cheap pistol scopes don’t have such features.

This compact pistol scope also comes with a twilight management system to provide you with brighter images. With the duplex reticle, you can quickly aim where you desire. The 44 magnum pistol scope also comes with a 2nd focal plane to make sure you can take out targets at longer ranges. 

What we liked

  • 2nd focal plane for better target management at a distance
  • Duplex reticle quickly acquires the target
  • Aluminum alloy 6061-T6 construction
  • 0.5 MOA adjustment for elevations and windage
  • These best pistol scopes come with water and fog proofing
  • This 4x pistol scope comes with an extended eye relief 
  • Extremely lightweight construction

What we didn’t like

  • These revolver scopes don’t come with a wide field of view
  • No illuminated reticle 
  • Doesn’t come with any accessories 

Magnification: 4x
Lens diameter: 28mm
Field of view: 9 feet at 100 yards
Eye relief: 18-inch
Reticle: (Duplex
Length: 8.4-inch
Weight: 7 oz
Features: 2nd focal plane, punisher tested, twilight management system

4. Burris FastFire III Red Dot Reflex Handgun Sight

The FastFire III Burris scope for pistol is among the most versatile of handgun sights on the market. You can conveniently mount it on your favorite handgun or shotgun with ease. These scopes for revolvers come with a 21mm objective lens and a magnification of 1x. This scope is very close in construction to a Nikon pistol scope.

The pistol scope comes with a wide FoV of 190 feet at 100 yards, so you will have better situational awareness of your target. These scopes for pistols come with a Picatinny rail mount, so they are pretty easy to install and come with great revolver optics.

With a wide operable temperature range (-10F to 130F), you won’t have to worry about what the weather is. The best revolver scope comes with waterproofing and features a 3 MOA Dot reticle for quicker target acquisition. This handgun, with a scope, doesn’t come with long eye relief, but the scope is parallax free.

What we liked

  • These scopes for handguns feature 3 MOA Dot reticle 
  • Picatinny rail mount for quick installation
  • 1 MOA clock value for elevation and windage adjustment  
  • Wide FoV of 190 feet at 100 yards
  • Wide operable temperature range 
  • Fully water-resistant 
  • Versatile design

What we didn’t like

  • Doesn’t zero in entirely

Magnification: 1x
Lens diameter: 21mm
Field of view: 190 feet at 100 yards
Eye relief: 2.7-inch to 2.9-inch
Reticle: Red dot reflex
Length: 1.8-inch
Weight: 0.9 oz
Features: Waterproof, parallax-free, Picatinny mount

5. Vortex Viper 1x24mm Red Dot Handgun Sight

The Viper handgun scope comes with a 24mm objective lens and 1x magnification. It features a 6 MOA reticle for clear target acquisition. These Vortex pistol scopes also ensure the background colors that you receive are clear and vivid. 

These pistol hunting scopes come with separate controls for illumination and power adjustments. It means you can easily make adjustments to your setting without dismounting your scope from your pistol. If you use a handgun with cutout slides, this scope will be an ideal option for you because it mounts pretty low. 

This revolver scope comes with a hard-anodized finish over an aluminum chassis and you can adjust elevation and windage with 1 MOA click. The scope for handguns comes parallax free and features fully MC lenses. One of the best features of this Vortex pistol scope is its long battery life. 

What we liked

  • This target pistol scope features Armortek lens coating for sturdiness
  • Water and shockproof
  • Wide operable temperature range  
  • Very effective for long range handgunning
  • Multi-coated glass lenses
  • Aluminum alloy chassis with hard anodized finish 
  • This handgun scopes for hunting comes with multiple accessories

What we didn’t like

  • Narrow field of view
  • The sight has to be removed for a battery change

Magnification: 1x
Lens diameter: 24mm
Field of view: 18 feet at 100 yards
Eye relief: 2.7-inch to 2.9-inch
Reticle: 6 MOA Dot
Length: 1.8-inch
Weight: 1.1 oz
Features: Fully multi-coated, aluminum alloy chassis, parallax-free

6. Leapers UTG 2-7x32 Handgun Scope With PDC Reticle

The Leapers UTG handgun scope comes with a variable magnification that ranges from 2x to 7x. It also comes with an objective lens of 32mm. Therefore, you can use it for your shotgun as well as a rifle. 

It is pretty flexible to mount and extremely comfortable to use. The lenses of these pistol scopes for sale come with an emerald coating and ensure maximum light transmission. It means you will be presented with a clear and vivid image in a range of different light conditions. 

The variable magnification of this scope on pistol allows you to conveniently take a shot at a closer range. With the help of a side-wheel, you can make adjustments to the reticle turret for elevation and windage. 

Due to its variable magnification, you can easily access an FoV ranging from 7 feet to 19.2 feet. It also means that the exit pupil accessible with these target pistol scopes range from 5mm to 16mm. The use of nitrogen to entirely seal this gear makes it one of the best pistol scope for the money.

What we liked

  • 25-inch long eye relief pistol scope
  • Fog, shock, and moisture proofing
  • Features projectile compensation drop
  • ¼ MOA clicks for elevation and windage adjustment
  • Presents parallax of up to 35 yards
  • Best handgun scope for the money
  • Variable magnification

What we didn’t like

  • Not a very wide FoV
  • Slightly heavy

Magnification: 2x to 7x
Lens diameter: 32mm
Field of view: 7 feet to 19.2 feet at 100 yards
Eye relief: 13.8-inch to 25-inch
Reticle: PDC
Length: 9.4-inch
Weight: 14 oz
Features: Emerald-coated lenses, true Strength platform, screw-lock turrets

7. Burris 3-12x32mm Ballistic Plex Reticle Handgun Scope

The Burris handgun scope comes with a variable magnification that ranges from 3x to 12x and an objective lens of 32mm. It features a Ballistic Plex reticle that ensures fast target acquisitions. The Burris pistol scope pairs well with the one-inch tube diameter of this scope that assures maximum light transmission in any conditions.

If you are looking for a handgun practice, this air pistol scope will be a suitable option for you. It comes with an eye relief compatible for close ranges and can handle recoils pretty well from the powerful magnums. These Burris pistol scopes come with a 2nd focal plane, which is useful for longer ranges.

These long range pistol scopes come with a wide exit pupil of up to 10.6mm. But the field of view remains on the narrower wide-ranging, between 4 feet to 14 feet at 100 yards. The aluminum construction of this scope makes it light yet robust. Its glass lenses come with  Hi-Lume multi-coating that ensures proper handling of recoils. 

What we liked

  • Comes with best pistol optics
  • Full moisture and fog resistance performance 
  • Aluminum construction for ruggedness
  • 0.125 MOA clicks for elevation and windage adjustments 
  • 2nd focal plane for better long-range pistol shooting 
  • Max exit pupil up to 10.6mm
  • Ballistic Plex reticle for quick target acquisition

What we didn’t like

  • FoV is on the narrower side
  • Slightly expensive 
  • A bit on the heavier side

Magnification: 3x to 12x
Lens diameter: 32mm
Field of view: 4 feet to 14 feet at 100 yards
Eye relief: 10-inch
Reticle: Ballistic Plex
Length: 10.8-inch
Weight: 16 oz
Features: 2nd focal plane, Hi-Lume multi-coated glass lens

8. Sig Sauer Romeo1 1x30 Mini Reflex Handgun Sight

The Sig Sauer Romeo1 handgun scope features a mini reflex sight and a town mounting kit. It features an objective lens of 30mm and a 1x zoom. For quicker target acquisition, you can use this scope. 

It has a fully waterproof construction and comes with an ability to maintain a constant zero no matter how many shots you take. With the TruHold double adjustment springs, you get a zeroing system that you don’t need to lock in and still take a lot of toll from the recoils. 

As these scopes have a compact size, you can also go for co-witness mounting if you want. It is a fully fog-proof scope that is equipped with motion-activated reticle illumination. With these features, the scope can save battery and you won’t have to recharge it frequently.  The battery can last up to 40,000 hours with ease.

What we liked

  • Fog, water, and shockproof for resilient performance 
  • Features HDX lens coating
  • 0.25 MOA clicks for elevation and windage correction
  • 10 different brightness settings
  • Comes with multiple accessories and a mounting kit
  • Motion-activated illumination saves battery consumption
  • Long battery life

What we didn’t like

  • Non-variable magnification

Magnification: 1x
Lens diameter: 30mm
Field of view: 18 feet at 100 yards
Eye relief: 2.7-inch to 2.9-inch
Reticle: 3 MOA Dot
Length: 1.8-inch
Weight: 0.8 oz
Features: HDX coating, motion-activated illumination, IPX7 water-resistant

9. C-More Railway Red Dot Sight

The C-More handgun scope comes with a 4 MOA red dot reticle that can easily be attached to Picatinny or Weaver’s scope. It comes with a standard railway construction with a polymer body. There is a standard switch used for controlling intensity. 

It is equipped with a 29mm objective lens and features a 1x zoom. The glass lens ensures maximum light gathering and keeps the images vivid and bright. 

The scope comes with a battery life that can last up to 1500 hours, but it runs on DL1N/3N or 2L76 batteries that are relatively hard to find. The adjustments hold zero in the toughest of conditions with elevations and windage configurations.

The scope is very versatile and can quickly attach to a range of different weapons besides a handgun. With its heads-up display, there is no obstruction in the field of view. The scope also has room for you to use size different diode modules for different dot sizes.

What we liked

  • Adjustment is not affected by strong winds 
  • Heads-up display for a better field of view
  • Use different dot sizes with interchangeable diodes
  • Quick to mount and dismount
  • Very versatile in construction
  • Decent battery life
  • Lightweight construction due to polymer electronics circuit

What we didn’t like

  • No markings on elevation or windage
  • Takes a bit of time to sight in

Magnification: 1x
Lens diameter: 29mm
Field of view: Unlimited
Eye relief: Unlimited
Reticle: Red Dot
Length: 4.8-inch
Weight: 5 oz
Features: Polymer electronics circuit, Picatinny/Weaver mounts

10. Leupold VX-3 2.5-8x32mm Handgun Scope

The VX-3 handgun scope comes with an objective lens of 32mm and features a variable magnification of 2.5x to 8x. The scope comes with a 2nd focal plane and this Leupold handgun scope will work pretty well with your pistol. This Leupold pistol scope will allow you to improve your shooting precision at different ranges. 

The best 22 pistol scope comes with extended eye relief and also features a twilight management system to increase contrast and brightness in low light conditions. The lenses it comes with are scratch-resistant. The overall tough construction of these scopes for 22 pistols ensures the scope lasts for a long time. 

These Leupold handgun scopes feature a duplex reticle that is highly responsive and acquires quick targets. And the scope also features a variable field of view that ranges from 13.7 feet to 37.5 feet at 100 yards. It also boasts an eye relief of 15 inches and is made of solid aluminum alloy 6061-T6 to ensure waterproofing and scratch resistivity.

What we liked

  • Comes with 2nd focal plane for long-range shooting 
  • Duplex reticle is quick to acquire targets
  • Variable zoom that ranges from 2.5x to 8x
  • Longer eye relief of 15 inches
  • Aluminum alloy construction keeps it lightweight and durable 
  • Scratch-resistant and moisture-proof
  • Twilight management system for better low light performance

What we didn’t like

  • Not for short pistols
  • No fog proofing

Magnification: 2.5x to 8x
Lens diameter: 32mm
Field of view: 13.7 feet to 37.5 feet at 100 yards
Eye relief: 15-inch
Reticle: Duplex
Length: 11.4-inch
Weight: 10.9 oz
Features: Aluminum alloy 6061-T6, 2nd focal plane, twilight management system

11. Aimpoint Micro T-2 Red Dot Handgun Sight

The Micro T-2 Aimpoint features a red dot sight and comes with an objective lens of 18mm. The scope is made of high-quality aluminum and features 2 MOA Dot with red illuminations. It means that the scope is pretty convenient to use in low light conditions. You also have access to 12 different brightness settings based on the conditions you are in. 

The battery life of this cope is pretty long and lasts up to 50,000 hours. So you don’t have to replace your battery or recharge your scope out in the field. It is also operable in a wide temperature range ranging from -49F to 160F. These are very close to a Barska pistol scope in terms of construction. 

The best part is, the scope only weighs 3 ounces, so it is the top choice to use on your pistol. It is fully resistant to water and if you like to work in broad daylight, that scope also features anti-glare. The scope also comes with a flip-up lens cover for the front lens. 

What we liked

  • The advanced optical lens system
  • Reinforced turret protection
  • Versatile to use
  • Fully compatible with all generations of night vision devices
  • The Picatinny-style mount is quick to mount/dismount
  • Long-lasting battery life
  • Anti-glare features with an anti-reflex multi-layered coating

What we didn’t like

  • Higher price tag

Magnification: 1x
Lens diameter: 18mm
Field of view: Unlimited
Eye relief: Unlimited
Reticle: 2 MOA Dot
Length: 2.68-inch
Weight: 3 oz
Features: High strength aluminum, anti-reflex multi-layer, parallax-free

12. FAB Defense Universal Picatinny Rail Handgun Mount fx-usm

This is not scope but an ideal scope mount for a handgun. The FAB Picatinny handgun scope features a Picatinny rail mount. This implies the pistol scope is very easy to install and uninstall. 

You can use it to put a red dot on Remington R1 Hunter and can fire 50 rounds through it without any issues. It can also work with any laser sight and rifle scope. 

The goal here is to keep your original sight effective all the time. It features a quick sight alignment. It is made of high-quality aluminum alloy and also an incredibly long-lasting and durable piece of equipment for your sidearm. 

The overall weight of this handguns scope mount is around 1.62 ounces and its length is 6.1 inches. The pistol scope mount comes with a matte finish anodized coating and compatible with 1913 MIL-STD. Moreover, the scope mount is designed for quick sight alignment. 

What we liked

  • Extremely durable construction
  • Hard anodized finish for extended resilience
  • Quick to mount and dismount
  • Fully compatible with 1913 MIL-STD
  • Doesn’t need any modification
  • Original sight can remain operations 
  • Features Picatinny rail mounting system

What we didn’t like

  • No night vision compatibility 
  • Doesn’t zero in quickly enough

Handgun Scope vs. Rifle Scope

Handgun scope

A handgun scope is very similar to a rifle scope in terms of working and design. But there are some differences as well. Handguns scopes are designed for pistols or your sidearms. They are equipped with some features that will allow you to shoot within 100 yards or around it. These scopes don’t come with massive zooms and objective lenses because they focus on closer ranges. 

Rifle scope

Riflescope, on the other hand, is designed for shotguns and rifles. They allow you to take your shots over 200 and 300 yards. Therefore, they have been designed for longer range shooting. These scopes come with massive zooms and objective lenses.

Similarities and differences

But they both achieve the same purpose. They both are trying to increase your range of viewing. The only difference is the rifle scopes allow you to aim for a target at a long-range, while a handgun scope is designed for aiming for a shorter range. Both of them are suitable for hunters and target shooters. The only difference is that a rifle scope works for a longer range while a handgun scope works for a shorter range. 

Target Shooting vs. Hunting

Target Shooting

With target shooting, the fun is in the shot. You are shooting at immovable objects at a far distance. You have all the time in the world to take your shot and get the best results. Plus, you are doing this so you can hunt better on the field.

Hunting

Hunting is different because the fun is in the hunt that you end with your shot. Here you are aiming at the wildlife at some distance and your goal is to make a clean hit to take the animal down in one shot. You are now using the expertise that you developed during your target shooting session.

Similarities and differences

Both these activities look similar because you are aiming and shooting at a target. But in reality, both these activities are completely different. Target shooting has a still target and you have time to make the perfect shot. 

You are practicing here so you can make a clean kill on the field when hunting wildlife. Out there on the field, you usually have to wait to make your shot in a moment and do it neatly. Target shooting leads to hunting and you need to perform well at target shooting to be a good hunter. 

How to Choose a Handgun Scope?

Caliber and action

Caliber and action are important features you must consider. The handgun scope will be compatible with your pistol’s bore, which is called caliber. Action refers to the entire process of loading, locking, firing, extracting, and ejecting a gun; this is the entire process.  

Of course, you will need to have a semi-automatic pistol in your hand if you want to use a handgun scope on it. Because there is very little action and you won’t have to mount and dismount your scope again and again after firing a shot. 

Similarly, you need to make sure the caliber of your pistol can take a handgun scope on it. Usually, you will use a .357 caliber magnum pistol for a .44 magnum. So make sure you choose the right handgun scope according to the size.

Magnification

When it comes to magnification in handgun scopes, there are two types available; fixed and variable. Fixed magnification allows you to shoot at a single range that is far from you. With variable magnification, you can explicitly aim at shorter and longer ranges. 

Variable magnification is more suitable for hunting because you never know where your target is going to be, while in target shooting, you can go for fixed magnification. With higher magnification, you will have to compromise on FOV. 

But in most cases, handgun scopes don’t come with magnification bigger than 8x. For shooting within 100 yards with your pistols, the best magnification ranged from 2.5x to 4x.

Field of view

The field of view is going to be narrow if you are going for higher magnification and vice versa. A Field of view of around 20 to 50 feet at 100 yards is better for hunting because you need more situational awareness. For target shooting, you need a bigger zoom, so even a Field of view of 15 to 20 feet at 100 yards will work just fine.  

Reticle

There are different types of reticles available and different people have different choices. Just make sure you go for an illuminated reticle to see it. Red dots are the best option but you can go for other reticles too. 

Eye relief

Handguns vary in terms of eye relief. Some of them come with long eye relief, while others come with a shorter one. If you wear glasses, you need to go with longer eye relief; otherwise, a shorter one can also work. An eye relief ranging from 10-inch to 20-inch will be quite sufficient for various shooting activities using a handgun scope. 

Mount type

Most of these handguns scopes come with a Picatinny mount that is quick to mount/dismount. Another option is a Weaver mount, which goes well with a variety of scopes and guns. They both are quite common to find on different pistols from different brands.

Weight

Of course, you are going to use the handgun scope on your pistol. Therefore, it shouldn’t weigh your weapon down. A scope weighing less than 8 ounces or less would be a good choice for you to use with your weapons. 

Frequently asked questions

What is the best handgun scope?

Overall, the best handgun scope on the market right now is the Vortex Venom 1×26.5mm Red Dot Sight Handgun Scope for its value and performance.

What is the best handgun scope for 44 Mag?

The best handgun scope for .44 mag is the Leupold FX-II 4x28mm Handgun Scope. It comes with an objective lens of 28mm and features 4x zoom. 

What is the best 22 pistol scope?

The best 22 pistol scope is the Leupold VX-3 2.5-8x32mm Handgun Scope. It features a32mm objective lens with a variable magnification of 2.5x to 8x. A pistol with a scope will improve your aim.

Can you put a scope on a pistol?

Yes, you can put a scope on a pistol but you need to keep the caliber and actions of this pistol in your mind and then go for the adequate scope for it. Make sure you go for the best pistol for the money.

Can you put a scope on a revolver?

Yes, you can put a scope on your revolver. It will allow you to see your target comfortably. A revolver scope is particularly a good option for the aging eye to see better through the scope.

Where are Burris handgun scopes made?

Most of the optics parts and assembling are done in the Philippines but a few are done in the United States as well.

What type of scope is most accurate?

The scopes with the best optics are the most accurate even though they are made for a rifle, a shotgun, or a pistol. However, rifle scopes come with the longest ranges.

What is the best hunting scope for the money?

The best hunting scope for money is the Leupold VX-3 2.5-8x32mm Handgun Scope. It is a top choice for hunting because it comes with a variable magnification to shoot at various ranges. 

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