When choosing a scope for your gun, there are many considerations to take into account. The first and biggest decision is deciding how the scope will be used. This will determine the type, magnification and other features you should look for when making your choice. Some general things to consider are target distances, target size & speed, and the lighting conditions you expect to be shooting in.

Another consideration is the type and caliber of firearm that you’re installing your scope on. Think about the distances you’ll realistically be shooting at, and what the particular cartridge is capable of. Is it a rimfire pistol or a magnum hunting rifle? Lower power magnification is usually more suited for shorter distances and smaller calibers, and higher magnification for longer distances and larger calibers. Ideally, you’ll want to match the capability of the scope to the range of the cartridge.

If you’re shopping for a hunting scope, you’d probably consider a lightweight design that’s easy to carry, maybe with a rangefinder and a large objective lens for stalking at dawn and dusk when your quarry may be active. You’d want an optic that makes vital shot placement easy – and at the distances you expect to engage your target.

For a purpose-built carbine dedicated to urban environments, you may want to choose a fixed low-power optic. Because of the relatively short engagement distances this style rifle is designed for (usually up to around 200 meters), a prism scope is a great solution, blending its compact size with a wide field-of view to maintain situational awareness. Better quality prism scopes also incorporate illuminated reticles to aid in quick target acquisition.

For medium to long distance work on a shooting range, consider a high magnification scope with an adjustable objective. The high magnification will help identify targets farther away, while the adjustable objective will reduce parallax at given distances, and can also assist with rangefinding. First focal plane scopes are ideal for long distance shooting because the reticle grows larger as the magnification increases, making relative shot placement easier.

For a 3-gun scope, you’ll probably want an extremely versatile optic to handle everything from “door-kicking range” out to the bonus target distances beyond 500 yards. This large variation requires a scope that can quickly handle up-close-and-personal shots while moving or shooting offhand, as well as barrier-supported or prone long-range shots. A one-to-four, or one-to-six power scope with an illuminated reticle is an easy way to split the difference.

As you can see, there are many things to consider when deciding which scope is best: magnification, focal plane, weight, reticle type and more all need to be evaluated. But the most important thing is to match the scope to your own usage. Check out our full lineup of optics, red dot sights and more at

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