Guide to Rifle Optics & How to Choose the Best Rifle Scope

Scopes makeup for about 50% of the rifle’s performance. They can either make or break a shooter. A poor scope can compromise target acquisition speed and accuracy. A good scope, on the other hand, lets you get a clearer view of your target by making it appear closer than it is.

No matter how good your eyes are, they can’t compensate for a scope that offers a great range and incredible precision. Besides, they are not as expensive as you think they are. Most riflescopes are affordable, or they wouldn’t be used by practically every shooter in the world.

Today, shooters enjoy a much higher quality of vision and reliability in their scopes. And while they are certainly not perfect, they are evidently the best yet.

The most common types of riflescopes

Every activity calls for a different scope. Here’s your chance to feel like John Wick by choosing the perfect scope for your rifle.

· Red dot scope

Range: Close to moderate

Red dot scopes use a red dot as the reticle. The colored dot is projected on the target to help the shooter focus on the object. Because of their ease of use, these scopes are excellent for beginners.

Since they are only for close to moderate ranges, red dot scopes do not have a magnification option. So, they are generally found in shorter-range rifles and pistols. Besides, they either run on battery or use the external light, such as fiber optics, to operate.

Despite the name, the dot isn’t always red. Since the scope usually adapts to the available light, it may project a green or blue-colored dot, as well.

· Tactical scope

Range: Close to moderate

Owing to its name, this scope is used in tactical or military training. With a 40x scope, tactical scopes have a range that transcends the shooter’s open sight. While a tactical scope maintains a low magnification of 4x, you still get a wide view of the field and it does not obstruct your performance.

A tactical scope is easy to operate due to its simpler adjustments and it is perfect when you require a more focused view of the target. But the best part about this scope remains the fact that it is extremely durable, so you don’t have to bother yourself with a new one any time soon.

soldier with rifle looking in scope

· Sniper scope

Range: Moderate to long

Used to shoot at long distances, sniper scopes are mainly used by snipers. Since they work with specific rifles, they can’t be attached to any equipment to enhance the vision.

A sniper scope also requires tremendous practice and training. You need to learn about its operation for several years before perfecting the use. This is also why most shooters prefer to opt for other high-quality scopes with lower optics.

· Hunting scope

Range: Close to moderate

As the name suggests, these scopes are used for hunting activities. They are sturdy, so they don’t get affected by trees or other elements that may damage the equipment while hunting.

Hunting scopes come in both fixed and variable scopes, which means you can use them from specific or a variety of ranges. These scopes can be incredibly versatile depending on the shooter’s preference.

6 things to consider when choosing the best rifle scope

Try stepping out to buy a decent scope for yourself and you will be flooded with options – each claiming to be better than the other. The problem is that the entire subject has been so overly complicated by the experts that the beginners are left playing catch-up.

Scope is just short for ‘telescope.’ It is literally a miniature version of the latter that helps you get a sharp view of your target.

With the optics technology growing, there is a lot in store for shooting enthusiasts, including better vision and ease of operation. So, whether you are just starting out or looking for a switch, here are a few easy-to-remember things you should consider when buying your riflescope.

1. Light

Will you be using your scope during the daytime or at night? Depending on your requirements, you should check for the light transmission in your scope. A good scope will reflect the light well enough to give you a decent sight of your target.

2. Lens coating

Riflescopes have come a long way since the 90s. Today, you get to enjoy the same features in the affordable variants that were offered in the expensive ones back in the days. Scopes with better lens coating allow more transmission of light to your eyes, creating better optics. But they offer more than that.

Lens coating protects your scopes against dirt and keeps the water damages at bay. No matter how much it’s pouring outside, you will still be able to keep your scope safe for a good amount of time. Also, a good lens coating will also allow you to keep the moisture from fogging your view. So, that’s something to look out for.

3. Reticle

When buying a rifle scope, you must ensure that the reticle suits your preferences. Most entry-level scopes have a thicker reticle that proves to be inaccurate whereas a thinner reticle provides you with immense precision, so you can be right on target.

man with sunglasses looking through rifle scope

4. Magnification

All shooters magnify. So, if you think it’s okay not to bother yourself with this feature, you might end up regretting your decision. Even a scope with as low as 2x magnification can do wonders for your performance. Since magnification is correlated with the versatility of the scope, classified into fixed and variable scopes, make sure you go with a variant that matches your activity. 

5. Weight

Another characteristic that depends on the type of activity you wish to carry out with your scope, you must consider the weight of the equipment you buy. This is very important because a heavy scope might affect your agility if you are using it while hunting whereas that won’t happen if you are shooting from a fixed position. 

6. Affordability

It is easy to get carried away when choosing your scope. The primary reason for it is that each option you come across is more tempting than the previous one. So, it all comes down to whether or not you can afford the equipment.

Regardless of what you choose, ensure that it suits your budget. The market is packed with cost-effective scopes. Explore enough to find one that not only checks out all your boxes but also lets you keep your money in your wallet.