Best Handgun Scopes: Top 3 Picks, and Buying Guide

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By Dennis Howard •  11 min read

If you have a handgun and want an add-on that will be the perfect upgrade, keep reading. We’ll be taking a look at three of the best handgun scopes that we’ve chosen for further review. While scopes are largely assumed to be for rifles only, you’d be surprised what kind of scopes are made for specific firearms. But nevertheless, the intent of shooting accurately is the same.

Best Handgun Scopes

With a handgun scope, you can be able to make every shot as sharp and precise as possible regardless of caliber. If you are using a pistol for target shooting, tactical applications, or home defense, you may want to consider the idea of getting a scope. Before we do, let’s dive into the buyer’s guide so you can make an easier and more well-informed decision.

Handgun Scope Buying Guide

This buyer’s guide will show you how to find the right kind of scope for your handgun. Yes, it can be hard to choose one or the other. But it all comes down to what you want in terms of performance and your personal preferences. Let’s begin with some of the features to look for:

Eye relief: The eye relief is best defined as how far you eye will need to be from the eye piece in order to see the image picture through the scope. Pistols do have a good amount of recoil and can cause eye injury if you look at little too close. A few inches of eye relief might be a good place to start if you are considering this feature as one of your “deal makers”.

Magnification: The magnification levels of a scope are very important. Especially when you want every shot to be as accurate and precise as possible. Magnification levels will vary from one pistol to the next. Plus, you’ll want to choose either fixed or variable magnification. Fixed will mean one magnification power level while variable will have a range (1x to 4x or similar).

Durability: If there is one feature that you should never compromise on, it’s durability. You’ll really want a scope that can last long and handle all kinds of shock, abuse, even weather conditions. Most of the scopes for pistols will be made from high-quality aluminum. Another thing to look for is whether or not if the the scope itself is waterproof, shockproof, or fogproof. These three words will be key in your search for the perfect scope.

Reticle: The reticle is best known as the crosshairs. This is the part where you’ll want to use them to aim at your target. Whether you are aiming at the bullseye or a vital shooting zone for smaller game, you’ll want the reticle to be in line and on target every time you pull the trigger.

Objective: The objective is the larger end of the scope. It’s purpose is to gather in as much light as possible to make the image picture more visible. On top of that, it also provides you with the view of what’s in front of you. The size of the objective will vary from one scope to the next. But a larger objective will take in more light. Because of this, larger objective scopes can work well in low-light conditions.

What To Consider?

Now that we have some of the key features laid out, you’ll also need to consider some of the additional features that will play a role in your decision. Choosing a scope based on a few factors of your own will make the process of elimination and selection a lot easier. Here’s what you need to think over:

What are you using the pistol for?

Are you using it for target shooting? Competition shooting? Hunting small game?

There are plenty of applications where a handgun scope can be used. Keep in mind though, a scope for a handgun may not be suitable for concealed carry since it would defeat the entire purpose. But, if you plan on keeping the pistol at home for self-defense, a scope might be sufficient.

Why do I need a scope for my handgun?

While your sights alone can be reliable, they are only limited to just shorter distances. Therefore, a scope will serve a purpose whenever you want to shoot at targets beyond 50 to 100 yards. A scope will help you make a precise, accurate shots as long at the reticle is in line with exactly where you want to go.

What kind of scope mounts will I need?

Scopes for pistols will be a little challenging when it comes to mounting it. So you’re probably figuring out what kind of mounts you’ll want to use. If you have never installed a scope on a pistol and want something that’s easy, scope rings will be the best mount to choose. Not only are they easy to install, but they will do a great job in keeping the scope straight.

Should I opt for a red dot sight instead?

A red dot sight could be a viable option for handgun owners. However, you won’t be able to get the same amount of effectiveness and accuracy a scope will offer. If anything, you might go slightly farther than regular iron sights (at least 60 yards at best).

If you want to go slightly longer in distance, odds are a scope will work more in your favor.

Best Handgun Scopes: My Top Three Picks

The following is a list of the top three picks for best handgun scopes. These are choices based on the best overall, runner-up, and the best budget pick. Each of them serve the same purpose, but differ in features and performance. It’s important that you take note of any features that stand out and even pros and cons as well. You’re looking for what can make the deal and what could break it.

Now, let’s dive right in and kick things off with the “best overall” choice:

Leupold VX-3 2.5-8x32mm Handgun Scope

Leupold VX-3 2.5-8x32mm Handgun Scope

Leading off is the Leupold VX-3 Handgun Scope. Our best overall choice is one of the higher-end brands among scopes. Leupold makes no bones about being the best in the business when it comes to durability.

This scope is made from high-quality aluminum. And it’s 100 percent waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof. If you are looking for a scope that will hold its own through a hundred rounds or more, then you’ll want to consider this scope.

This has precise click adjustments for windage and elevation. So when the shot appears to be a bit off, you can turn the turret knobs and get the adjustment right down using ¼ MOA increments. If precision is what you want, you get it in these adjustments.

With the Twilight Max Light Management System built in, this scope will perform in low-light conditions better than almost any other scope on the market. Whether it’s rain or shine, dawn or dusk, this scope will certainly give you the best performance no matter the application.



Leupold VX-3 2.5-8x32 (1 inch) Duplex Reticle Handgun Scope
  • Leupold Model #67825 - VX-3 2. 5-8x32mm with Duplex reticle and Matte finish
  • 100% Waterproof, fog proof, & shockproof

Last update on 2024-05-25 at 07:52 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

UTG 2-7x32 1-inch Handgun Scope – Best For The Money

UTG 2-7x32 1-inch Handgun Scope

Our budget option on the list is the UTG 1-Inch Handgun Scope. This is probably one of the best possible options if you want accuracy, toughness, and reliability. If you find the Leupold a bit too much in terms of price, this might be one of the better alternatives.

It’s seal with nitrogen and proves its worth by providing 100 percent shockproof, rainproof, and fogproof ability. So it can handle any weather condition that nature can conjure up. Of course, it can also withstand abuse and plenty of shock.

The eye relief is quite generous to say the least. In fact, it can provide up to 25 inches of it. Not bad compared to other scopes that give you far less than that. This also comes with two colored reticles: red and green.

If you want some extra light for improved aim and accuracy, you can light it up using one of the two illumination options. Or you can settle with no illumination. Either way, you’ll get a pretty good performance out of the UTG and snag it at a fraction of what other high end scopes offer.



UTG 2-7X32 1" Handgun Scope, Long Eye Relief, PDC Reticle
  • Built on true strength platform, completely sealed and Nitrogen filled, shockproof, Fogproof, and...
  • UP to 25 inch of Eye relief allowing for effective Use on handguns

Last update on 2024-05-26 at 17:42 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Riflescope – Runner-Up

Burris Handgun Plex Reticle Pistol Scope

Our last choice is our runner-up option. The Burris Handgun Plex Reticle Pistol Scope is durable, strong, and provides users with an excellent opportunity to hit their targets accurately while 100 yards away. Casual target shooters or even competition shooters might benefit from this scope quite nicely.

The objective is 32mm in size, which is reasonable enough for those that want to keep their eye on the bullseye. It can gather in a good amount of light in order to enhance the image quality. If you are looking to make it count during your time at the range, this scope might be your cup of coffee.



Burris Handgun 2-7x32mm Plex Reticle Pistol Scope, Matte Black - 200291
  • Burris 200291 handgun scope
  • 2-7X32mm, plex, matte, 1 inch tube

Last update on 2024-05-26 at 17:42 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Open Questions About Handgun Scopes

Why put a scope on a pistol?

A handgun scope will make sure that you focus on a target where it is situated at distances where it can’t be reached using regular sights. It’s effective when you want to hit something at about 75 to 100 yards out.

Can you kill a deer with a handgun?

It can be quite the challenge, but it will depend on some factors. If the deer is roughly 30 to 50 yards away, it’s possible to shoot it and successfully kill it. It may also depend on the caliber you are using. A .22 could be more effective to kill a deer compared to other calibers like 9mm.

What is a 4×32 scope?

This is an example of what the magnification and objective size of a scope is. For example, a 4×32 represents the following: the “4” represents magnification power while the 32 represents the size of the objective. If you see something like 2-6 in the number, this represents the magnification range in a variable magnifying scope.

How far is a 4×32 scope good for?

Typically, a scope that is 4×32 will be able to sight through a target that is situated from 100 yards away. This will also depend on the brand of scope that you’re installing. Some scopes will allow you to go slightly farther compared to their competitors.


If you are looking for a handgun scope, one of these three will be the best option for you. But if it were up to us, we highly suggest the Leupold VX Handgun Scope. With it’s durability, easy adjustments, and the likelihood to go the distance this is the scope that can really make your handgun stand out the best.

Whether you use it for hunting small game (or if you’re up to the challenge, big game) or target shooting, a reliable scope that gets the work done will be exactly what you’re looking for. The Leupold will deliver help make every shot as sharp and precise as possible.

Once you equip this scope on your pistol, you’ll won’t want to wait any longer to give it a go. Just install it with the right kind of scope mount and take it to the range for a test drive.

Dennis Howard

A life long hunter, fisherman, and outdoorsman, after surviving a devastating tornado in his home town, he saw the effects on people's lives as they struggled to cope. He built his first bugout bag a few weeks later and has been a dedicated prepper/survivalist since that time. After a career as a fireman, Dennis opened a retail store (FFL approved) catering to the military, law enforcement, and like-minded individuals. The store built their own AR platforms. Furthermore, Dennis was also an NRA instructor in both long gun and handgun as well as a certified range safety officer. Read his full interview here.