If you have shopped for around for an optical sight for your tactical rifle lately, you may have noticed a new term being thrown around that you might not be familiar with - the prism scope. A prism scope (sometimes also referred to as a prismatic scope) is a scope that uses a glass prism to focus an image as opposed to traditional rifle scopes which use a series of lenses. This allows for a more compact design while still allowing for many of the same benefits such as a magnified image, an etched reticle, reticle illumination, and a focusing eyepiece.
Prism scopes are typically limited to lower range magnifications, from 1x to 5x.
The compact size and lower magnification range makes them well suited for AR-15’s and similar tactical rifles. They serve as an good alternative to other short range optics such as ACOG’s, Aimpoints, or red dot sights.
Key advantages of a prism scope over a red dot sight:
- Allows for magnification giving you a larger sight picture and extending your effective range.
- Features an illuminated reticle system and an etched reticle. The etched reticle can be viewed without batteries or worry about fiber optic issues.
- The prism give the user a brighter and very sharp image, giving you quicker target acquisition times.
- They feature a diapoter that can be adjusted for personal differences in vision. This makes it a good option for people with astigmatism or other eyesight conditions that make using red dot sights difficult.
Disadvantages of a prism scope versus a red dot sight:
- A prism scope has a shorter eye relief that a red dot sight. This might be an issue for shooters of firearms that require extra long eye relief.
- A prism scope with magnification has the same parallax issues as magnified rifle scopes. Optics with magnification are typically parallax free at a certain fixed distance (commonly 100 yards) with parallax coming into play at further distances. Note: the amount of parallax is negligible to most shooters and can be minimized with proper and consistent shooting position and cheek weld.
Given its attractive size, functionality, feature set, and increasingly attractive price point the prism scope is becoming a popular option for AR-15 owners looking for a middle ground between a rifle scope and a red dot sight. Monstrum Tactical offers two body styles in Black and FDE with 1x, 2x, 3x, & 5x magnification.