Choosing a Handgun Scope
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Choosing a Handgun Scope

Choosing a Handgun Scope


Choosing a Handgun Scope

When choosing a handgun scope the hunter must consider a variety of options.


A handgun scope does not need to have high magnification to be useful, on the contrary, with the rounds being fired generally being flat point designs, high magnification is not necessary. A 2-power scope is usually all that is needed, unless you plan on using your handgun for long range target shooting. I am always amazed at how a 2 power scope on a handgun really shows how much I shake when shooting a handgun and this is at the range, when sighting in on a deer it looks like I am standing on the bow of a boat in 8 foot seas.

Red Dot Scopes

Red Dot scopes came on the market in the 1990's; they offer some benefits over other types of handgun scopes. The first benefit is that they are not affected by parallax or the apparent side to side movement of the target as the eye shifts position.

They are very easy to pick up and allow for very fast target acquisition, especially in low light conditions. The only real negatives to consider before purchasing a red dot scope is the fact that running out of battery power in the stand can be a real hassle and the large red dot from which the scope style gets its name, tends to cover much of the target. It should also be noted that most red dot scopes do not allow for magnification and are in fact 1X, but as stated above this is not a problem at the ranges that handgun hunters shoot.


We have all heard the old saying "You get what you pay for", in the world of handgun scopes this really applies. The recoil that a handgun scope has to deal with is much more severe than that of the regular rifle or shotgun scope, due to the fact that the larger mass of a rifle helps to absorb much of the recoil. If you are shooting a 32 H+R Magnum at rabbits a relatively cheap scope will do the trick. However if you are mounting your scope on your new 500 Smith and Wesson, spend the extra money and buy the best scope you can afford.

Holographic Sites

Holographic sites are fairly new to the handgunning world, the first widely available site was from Bushnell, several other companies now offer similar models. Holographic sites work by projecting the recticle on a clear plane within the shooters line of site, they are fast to acquire and offer the fastest follow up shots of any handgun scope.

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