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You may think that scopes are only for rifles and they are unnecessary on pistols, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Handgun scopes are important for anyone who wants to be accurate with a pistol.
If it doesn’t fit right, or isn’t comfortable, or is too heavy, or fragile, or isn’t strong enough to pack out enough meat it can literally ruin your hunt.
And to make things harder, there are continually new packs coming on the market.
That is why we took a look at the latest packs for you, to help you zero in on the best elk hunting pack for your needs.
Vortex Optics Venom Red Dot Sight
Red dot sights give you a real tactical, military feel, and they’re pretty good to pop onto a 9mm for better visibility.
Vortex makes the best red dot sight out there for a few reasons, but the number one being the brightness levels you can adjust.
Ten different brightness levels give you a ton of variation, but the auto indicator helps you adjust to different levels of darkness without having to manually switch anything.
That’s a nice feature, which is partially what justifies the high price. Other than that, I’m a big fan of the top load battery.
You can pop it out, put a fresh one in and put the old one on the charger in about ten seconds flat. Installing it on your handgun is also fairly easy.
The 3 MOA and 6 MOA scopes cost the same, right down to the penny, so you can pick your poison without having to hemorrhage your wallet in order to get what you want.
Easy install, excellent use, and the red dot doesn’t fade (at least in the time I’ve had it).
Burris Fastfire III with Picatinny Mount
Burris was a hard pick, because it almost stole the top spot. They have an 8 MOA optic option, and while I haven’t used that one, I’ve heard it’s pretty wild.
The 3 MOA—with or without a mount—is an affordable handgun scope with some serious kick to it.
First and foremost, the brightness levels are adjustable, and variable depending on your environment.
They’ll either auto adjust, or you can set it to a locked brightness level if you wish.
One of the best features is the lightweight construction. Regardless of what pistol you’re using, this doesn’t throw off your center of gravity based on the weight.
Burris also designed this with a shockproof design, meaning all the recoil over the years of use aren’t going to damage it.
You’re going to have to try harder than that to put this through its paces.
Weaver Classic Silver Handgun Scope
I wouldn’t put this baby sniper scope on a 9mm, but on a revolver, this would give you some competitive edge.
They made this scope with a predisposed alignment set at 50 yards, so right out of the box, you’re at a perfect range.
The silver finish helps prevent dust and corrosion, but that’s not the most impressive technical feat.
The lens is fogproof thanks to the nitrogen tubing inside. Moisture will not be the reason that this scope stops working.
Waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof to help against recoil—it’s a package deal. This is a fun one to use, but not very practical for anywhere except the firing range.
If you’re looking to get a sight to help you out in being prepared for home invasions, then you’re going to need a red dot or something a bit smaller.
WEAVER created one of the best handgun scopes for high caliber pistols, so it’s a very situational scope. Works wonders, I just don’t use it as much as I would like to.
Feyachi Reflex Sight
When something is customizable, it’s a nice feeling.
I like to use every customization option with just about anything I buy, and see what the product can really do. With this scope, that’s exactly what I did.
You have four different reticle styles to choose from, and personally, the crosshair dot is probably my favorite.
Just push in the buttons on the side of the dial to switch it out at any point.
It’s a vibrant red dot, especially for the price that they’re asking.
Feyachi gives the perfect price point to finally equip your handgun with an optic, and you can even switch between a red dot to a green dot if you’d like.
But you get what you pay for, so it comes with its fair share of issues. Mounting is one of them, since the bolts are a bit too tight to unscrew them right out of the box.
The thing is, the alignment piece on the back actually gets in the way of the red dot, in my opinion.
It limits your total FOV through the sight. It’s still a good cheap sight, just not the most versatile despite its customization options.
Hammers Elite Compact Scope
Weight distribution is a big issue when it comes to handguns. If you’re putting too much weight on one end of the gun, you’re going to mess up your shots.
Sights that are too heavy and too towards the front mess with your muscle memory on how to fire a handgun.
But Hammers made a pistol scope with a brilliant 2×20 magnification that doesn’t do that.
Instead, it aligns properly with your handgun and has its own weight distribution as well.
The lightweight design, mixed with the additional features makes it well worth the modest price.
Everything here is completely waterproof, shockproof and fogproof. Fog (and moisture in general) is the number one reason that any optics get ruined.
It’s a big problem with binoculars and monoculars, which is why you’ll see fogproof properties being among the most proclaimed.
Mount is simple, tuning the range isn’t that bad either. The main issue I have is with the finish and how quickly it loses its luster.
It still functions fine and doesn’t build up any corrosion, but you only get a short time to enjoy that fresh out-of-the-box feeling.
Handgun Scopes FAQ
What Pistols can I Use a Handgun Scope on?
More and more brand new pistol lineups are being made to include the possibility of an attached optic.
If you’re bringing out some antiques, they’re probably not going to be able to have a scope mounted on them.
Part of it is the way guns are manufactured now, but another part of it is how the scopes are manufactured as well.
For many of them, the manufacturers account for handguns being finicky when it comes to receiving an attachment, so they make the mounting brackets easier to install or press onto your handguns.
Most commonly, 9mm pistols will be able to receive optics with ease. Iron sights are generally thinner and flatter on these than a new magnum would be.
To farm an entire list of every single modern day pistol that can receive an optical enhancement would be difficult to upkeep, so check for reviews and frequently asked questions for sellers on sites like Amazon to see how universal your preferred handgun scope really is.
Do Handgun Scopes Help Improve Aim?
That’s something we could argue for days.
I personally think that handgun scopes do help with glocks or other notoriously inaccurate weapons, but it actually doesn’t do anything for me on a revolver.
It depends on the gun, and on the person.
The bright side is that some optics will have infrared or glow in the dark reticles so that you can see in low visibility situations, such as if a home invader were to attack your family.
Yes, that would be a good time to have a handgun optic, if it provided increased visibility. For me, it clutters up (most) iron sights, and on the range that can really mess with my accuracy.
It comes down to getting adjusted. Your whole life, you’ve likely shot without the aid of a handgun optic.
Try it in a controlled environment, and if it works for you, then it works for you.
The main concern comes down to kickback. If you’re dealing with something that’s going to kick like a mule, then it might not be best to use a handgun optic.
Picture it pulled upward, and the bezel material eclipsing the lens of the scope. It’s just not practical in many situations.
Are Handgun Scopes Legal?
From everything available to the public, the answer is yes, it is legal to have optics on a handgun.
I haven’t been able to find anything strictly against it. Most handgun laws revolve around chambering shotgun shells or FMJ rounds, but nothing speaks strictly of optics.
To explain reasons why, just think of it like this: FMJ rounds are illegal period, but scopes are not; they’re legal for rifles.
Since a handgun, in any capacity, is weaker and less accurate than a rifle, I see no reason why there would ever be a ban on handgun optics.
Handgun Scope Demonstration Video
If you are not convinced that you need a scope on your pistol, check out this video of someone using a scoped .44 magnum revolver:
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