4 Best 22 Pistol Scope [2020 Update]

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Today I’m going to show you the best 22 pistol scope.

In fact:

I’ve hand- tested over 10 scopes alone for this review.

The best part?

I’ve sorted the scopes by use. So whether you’re on a budget or need the best red dot scope for a 22 pistol, you’ll find it here.

Let’s dive in!

The 4 Best 22 Pistol Scopes

If you’re pressed on time, here’s a quick list of the best 22 pistol scopes:

  1. Leupold FX-II Scout 2.5×28: Best .22 Pistol Scope
  2. Leupold VX-3 2.5-8×32: Best Variable 22 Pistol Scope
  3. Burris Handgun 2-7×32: Best for the Budget
  4. Trijicon 1×24 Reflex Sight: Best Red Dot Scope for 22 Pistol

1. Leupold FX-II Scout 2.5×28: Best .22 Pistol Scope

Why would I ever mount a scout scope on a pistol?

Lethal accuracy, crystal clear clarity, and ease of use — just a few reasons why I choose the Leupold FX-II Scout 2.5×28 as the best .22 pistol scope.

How does it do it? Let’s find out.


Glass Clarity & Reticle

To me, glass clarity is the most important quality when I’m choosing a scope and it’s really where the Leupold FX-II Scout 2.5×28 shines.

Literally.

It has great light transmission and crystal clear glass.

The duplex reticle is even better.

The crosshairs meet in the center and flare out toward the edge of the glass. Since I’m scoping from further away, I like the thinner lines which guide my eye to the center.

Overall, the reticle is a clean, sleek design that allows me to focus on the target.

There’s no red dot and it’s not illuminated. Instead, look here for the Best MCG Red Dot Sight.


Eye Relief & Eye Box

The FX-II has a 1.4” of eye relief.

It might seem small, but with some adjustments to my shooting stance, I haven’t had any issues seeing through it.

Now, when you’re scoping with a pistol, every inch of eye relief counts. It’s better to use a pistol without much recoil, or else you might need a helmet.

The Leupold FX-II Scout 2.5×28 advertises a 9.3 in eye relief which is enough for a .22 pistol with little to no recoil.

In fact, I know a guy who mounted this on his crossbow and had no issues with the recoil.

Weird? Maybe. Effective? Definitely.

If you’re still worried about getting a black eye from the recoil, here’s a pro tip I learned from Skeeter Skelton that lets you scope with higher kicking pistols:

Move your eye close enough to the scope to align the crosshairs, then back off to a normal shooting position so you don’t get a face full of scope.

This is a great technique when you’re first testing out a new scope and handgun combination, so I recommend it regardless of your setup.

If you’re looking for hand-tested AR optics, you can check out The 4 Best Optic for AR Pistol Reviews in 2020.


Durability

I’m rough with my guns.

I need them to be durable for all the hiking (and falling) I do to get a good hunting position.

The Leupold brand promises quality, and this scope is no different.

I’ve used it in the nastiest weather and can personally attest that the scope is waterproof, weatherproof, and never fogged up. On top of that, it’s shockproof and impact tested.

No matter the situation, I always have a clear shot.


Elevation & Windage Knobs

When it comes to no-fuss simplicity, you can’t beat having one capped turret.

The elevation and windage adjustment are both 110.0 MOA.

As nice as it is to scope without fussing over turrets, my biggest complaint is that there is no adjustable diopter correction.

Instead, adjustments will have to be made to your own shooting position, which basically means more shooting practice. Doesn’t that sound terrible?


Parallax & Magnification

The magnification on the Leupold FX-II Scout is fixed at 2.5x.

When it comes to scoping a pistol, I prefer fixed magnification. At 2.5x, I’m still getting the aide in accuracy but I don’t have to sacrifice my reaction time with adjustments.

The parallax is also fixed to 150 yds. I’ve had this scope for a while and I can say that it performs its best anywhere from 50-200yds.


Mounting & Rings

No mounts or rings are included with the scope, which is fine because I needed an adjusted setup for my .22 pistol.

Since this is a scout scope with an extended eye relief, it can’t be mounted over the receiver like a normal scope. You have to mount it further forward.

For rings, I recommend the Leupold Rifleman Scope Rings.

Pistols have a tendency to get roughed up. Since this scope is a bit of an investment, I would definitely recommend a lens cap.

I’ve had good luck with the Monstrum Rubberized Flip-up Rifle Scope Lens Cover (31-36 mm). It gets the job done without the hefty cost.

Monstrum Rubberized Flip-Up Rifle Scope Lens Covers
  • Rubberized flip-up rifle scope lens covers that conform tightly around your rifle scope tube, protecting your lenses from dust and abrasion
  • Spring-loaded flip-up mechanism pops open effortlessly when needed and securely tightly when not in use
  • Each package includes one Rubberized Flip-Up Lens Cover

Is the Leupold FX-II Scout 2.5×28 worth it?

I love having the Leupold FX-II Scout 2.5×28 on my .22 pistol for small game hunting. It’s a great setup to give me added accuracy without the fuss of too many turrets.

Here’s what this scope does right:

  • Clear glass
  • Duplex reticle
  • Lightweight design
  • Military grade durability
  • No questions asked, lifetime warranty

In short, the Leupold FX-Scout will give you the added accuracy you need without the hassle, and at a reasonable price.

Of course, it costs a pretty penny and doesn’t work with every pistol. It’s not for everyone.

But if you’re looking to dramatically improve your shooting with a .22 pistol, this scope will get you the results.


2. Leupold VX-3 2.5-8×32: Best Variable 22 Pistol Scope

The Leupold VX-3 2.5-8x32mm Pistol Scope is the best variable 22 pistol scope around.

In fact:

I’ve used it for self-defense, tactical shooting, and even large game hunting.

But is it worth the money compared to other scopes?

Let’s find out!


Glass Clarity & Reticle

When I first began looking for a new pistol scope, I thought I’d have to sacrifice excellent clarity and durability to stay under my $600 budget.

But once I purchased the Leupold VX-3, I found I didn’t have to.

In fact:

It significantly increased the accuracy of my aim and the range of my visibility — even from 200 yards away.

How?

The Twilight Light Management System. It balances light transmission, glare, and image contrast to maintain a clear image, no matter the conditions.

What’s even better is the duplex reticle.

It’s a simple set of plus-shaped wire crosshairs.

At 100 yards, I hit the center of the target. At 200 yards, it was still dead-on. Everything worked as intended.

The best part?

The reticle is just the right dimensions — not too thin or thick — making it easy to see through the scope.


Eye Relief & Eye Box

The Leupold VX-3 has an entire 13” of eye relief!

This makes it ideal even for high caliber pistols with powerful recoil. I also didn’t experience any eye fatigue or shadowing.


Durability

The Leupold VX-3 is very durable, with a solid aluminum tube and Diamondcoat 2 multi-coated lenses.

It’s completely shockproof, fogproof and waterproof.

Best of all:

It weighs only 10.9 ounces.


Elevation & Windage Knobs

The precision ¼ MOA finger click adjustments on the elevation and windage knobs make it fast and easy to adjust settings, giving an audible click as you turn the turrets.

It only took me six rounds to get to zero, and the scope maintained zero even after heavy use and a drop onto my concrete garage floor.


Parallax & Magnification

The 2.5x-8x magnification range is generous, allowing for decent versatility and an accurate shooting distance of up to 200 yards.

As I got closer to the 8x setting, I began to experience a bit of parallax.

Unfortunately, it has no manual parallax adjustment to fix reticle drift. But again, I didn’t have to use the full 8x magnification.

To improve your accuracy even more, especially at longer distances, I recommend investing in a red dot sight. Both the Burris Fastfire 3 and the Vortex Venom are quality options.

If you end up having difficulties with the red dot sights, it may either be the product, or your eye itself. For more help on how to fix the problem, refer to this article on how astigmatism affects the use of red dot sights.


Mounting & Rings

The Leupold VX-3 doesn’t come with rings, so I’d recommend the Leupold Integral Rail Mounting System.

Also:

I recommend the Monstrum Rubberized Flip-up Riflescope Lens Cover (E: 33mm & O: 30mm), as it is budget-friendly and protects the objective lens from wear.

Monstrum Rubberized Flip-Up Rifle Scope Lens Covers
  • Rubberized flip-up rifle scope lens covers that conform tightly around your rifle scope tube, protecting your lenses from dust and abrasion
  • Spring-loaded flip-up mechanism pops open effortlessly when needed and securely tightly when not in use
  • Each package includes one Rubberized Flip-Up Lens Cover

And if you want to reduce hearing damage and slightly improve accuracy, I’d attach a firearm suppressor.


Is the Leupold VX-3 worth it?

If you’re a short to mid-range shooter or plan to use your scope in various conditions, then I highly recommend the Leupold VX-3.

Besides the slight reduction in clarity and parallax at higher magnifications, it’s got:

  • Clear glass
  • Generous eye relief
  • A light, durable build
  • Easily adjustable turrets & knobs

Let’s put it another way: when you pay $600 for a scope, you’re paying for high reliability and quality. And this scope blew away my expectations.

Plus, with a lifetime warranty, you really can’t go wrong.

So if you need a powerful variable pistol scope that is reliable, go for the VX-3.

Sale
Leupold VX-3 2.5-8x32mm Handgun Scope, Matte, Duplex (67825)
  • Leupold Model #67825 - VX-3 2. 5-8x32mm with Duplex reticle and Matte finish
  • 100% Waterproof, fog proof, & shockproof
  • Precision 1/4 MOA finger click adjustments for wind age and elevation offer absolute repeatability and dependability over a lifetime of extreme use

3. Burris Handgun 2-7×32: Best for the Budget

The Burris Handgun 2-7×32 is the best handgun scope on a budget.

It has clear glass. Generous eye relief. And a solid reticle.

In fact:

I’d go as far and say that the Burris Handgun performs just as great as optics twice its cost.

Here’s why…


Glass Clarity & Reticle

The glass clarity is great for a budget scope.

Due to its multi-coated 32mm objective lens, I’ve had a clear shot most of the time.

And the reticle?

It’s a Ballistic Plex reticle set in the second focal plane (SFP). Which means your target will stay consistent with zooming in and out.

However, it’s a non-illuminated reticle.

So you have a limited amount of light to work with.


Eye Relief & Eye Box

The eye relief is a generous 11-21 inches at low magnification…

…and 10-14 inches at high magnification.

Which means you’ll have more than enough space to aim more precisely. Also, the eye box is quite generous and forgiving. I didn’t experience any eye fatigue.

Durability

The Burris Handgun 2-7×32 is built strong.

It’s shockproof, waterproof, and fogproof.

And due to its solid 1 piece outer tube, this scope is able to absorb heavy shock and vibrations from the heaviest recoiling calibers.

But this aircraft grade aluminum durability comes at a cost:

The Burris Handgun weighs a whopping 13 oz. In comparison to the other .22 pistol scopes on this list, this makes the Burris 2-7×32 one of the heaviest and bulkiest.


Elevation & Windage Knobs

The turrets lock firmly in place and remain set, exactly how you adjusted it.

Due to Burris’s PosiLock system, the turret adjustments are locked in place with a retractable steel post and adjustment springs.

This provides better security for shooting a large caliber handgun with a lot of recoil.


Parallax & Magnification

The magnification may be 2-7x, but you can still precisely hit your targets.

Due to its low magnification, this scope offers fast target acquisition and a larger field of view.

Also, this scope has parallax and holds zero. In fact, I fired 300 rounds after zeroing and it held well.

Even when I removed the scope several times, the zero remained.


Mounting & Rings

Due to this scope mounting on a handgun, I recommend using rings no more than 1-inch.

So I mounted this scope using the Burris Signature 1″ Zee Rings. They’re durable, holds zero well and quite affordable.

While you’re at it, I’d recommend getting Monstrum Rubberized Flip-Up Rifle Scope Lens Covers (Eyepiece: 37-42, Objective: 31-36) for added lens protection. These tight-fit rubber lens covers will help keep your lens in pristine condition.

Monstrum Rubberized Flip-Up Rifle Scope Lens Covers
  • Rubberized flip-up rifle scope lens covers that conform tightly around your rifle scope tube, protecting your lenses from dust and abrasion
  • Spring-loaded flip-up mechanism pops open effortlessly when needed and securely tightly when not in use
  • Each package includes one Rubberized Flip-Up Lens Cover

Is the Burris Handgun 2-7×32 worth it?

With most budget-friendly scopes, you “get what you pay for”. But with the Burris Handgun scope, you get more for what you pay for.

Here’s why:

  • Precise accuracy
  • Generous eye relief
  • Heavy shock resistance
  • Second Focal Plane reticle

And it comes with a lifetime warranty. So Burris will cover the cost of your damaged scope or even send you a brand new one in the event it gets damaged.

So if you’re on a budget and looking for a quality pistol scope, I highly recommend the Burris Handgun 2-7×32 scope.


4. Trijicon 1×24 Reflex Sight: Best Red Dot Scope for 22 Pistol

I’ve tested all the top brands: Aimpoint, Vortex, Meprolight — you name it.

And the Trijicon 1×24 works just as good as any of them. But it has one feature that is priceless.

I’ll cover that along with why I believe this optic is the best .22 pistol red dot sight.

Let’s dive right in!


Glass Clarity & Reticle

The glass is clear as day.

When I’m out shooting — whether it’s day or night — I don’t have to worry about the sight washing out from bright light.

I also like the reticle.

It’s a simple 6.5 MOA amber reticle, illuminated through a combination of tritium and fiber optics. No batteries needed.

Did you read that?

No. Batteries. Needed. That’s straight up awesome, in my opinion. Why? Because that’s one less thing I have to worry about — especially since this is a reflex dot that’s mounted on my .22 pistol.


Eye Relief & Eye Box

Unlimited eye relief.

Which means, I can keep my face away from the sight while still being able to draw a bead. For a .22 pistol, this isn’t a big issue as I’m not laying my face on a stock, like my best 22LR rifle.

The only con is the eyebox.

At only 1.35” wide, I have to keep my face right in line with the sight, or I lose focus. It’s not a huge issue, but I wouldn’t do a shooting routine that required me to aim and shoot quickly.

However, with practice this issue can be easily eliminated.


Durability

The Trijicon Reflex is built tough.

In fact, it’s constructed from Cast A357 Aluminium. In less fancy terms, it’s made out of military grade aluminium, and that means it’ll stand up to anything I throw at it.

I don’t have to worry about being gentle, because it’ll handle it.


Elevation & Windage Knobs

The Reflex 1×24 has no windage knobs, being a Weaver mount sight and no adjustable magnification.

However, it does come with zeroing dials to adjust the reticle. Zeroing is easy, with one dial to adjust the reticle from left to right, and another dial to adjust up and down.

I like that Trijicon made the zeroing dials flush with the sight body, so there is no accidentally knocking them out of zero.

However, the advantage offered by the flush zeroing dials is a double edged sword.

They have no edge to grip, so I have to use a fingernail or coin to poke into the dial and adjust as I want.


Parallax & Magnification

As the Trijicon Reflex 1×24 is a dual lens sight, some parallax is inevitable.

However, that shouldn’t be a problem when using the sight in close quarters.

Magnification is fixed at 1×24. So it’s meant for close range shooting. But if you want to do medium range shooting with the Trijicon, I’ll cover how in the next section.


Mounting & Rings

Good news:

The Trijicon 1×24 Reflex already comes with a Weaver mount. It’s durable and keeps a low profile, so the optic stays out of the way.

There are only two accessories I’d recommend for your Trijicon 1×24:

First, a Vortex 3x Magnifier for extra magnification. (Not needed if you’re staying within 50 yards)

Sale
Vortex Optics VMX-3T Magnifier with Built-in Flip Mount
  • The VMX-3T Magnifier and Flip Mount combo adds a 3x magnification to your rifle's red dot sight. Simple, fast, and effective, the push button design engages and disengages the flip mount allowing the...
  • The lens are fully multi-coated maximizing resolution, light gathering capability, and color fidelity. Eye Relief-2.2 inches. Field of View-38.2 feet/100 yards
  • The VMX-3T does not require any special sight-in. The dot centering screws can be used to help center your red dot image in the VMX-3T's field of view.

And second, a Trijicon Reflex Tenebraex Killflash Anti-Reflection Device. This eliminates glare/flash which is very useful if you’re out in battle or hunting.

Trijicon Reflex Tenebraex Killflash Anti-Reflection Device
  • Trijicon 1x24 Reflex Tenebraex killFLASH Anti-Reflection Device
  • Fits all 1 x 24 Reflex Models (including RX01, RX06 & RX09)
  • Made to keep reflections from your sights from giving away your position

But other than that, the Reflex is good to go. It comes with a dust cover, a lens pen, polarizing filter, owners manual and a warranty card.


Is the Trijicon 1×24 Reflex worth it?

If you’re looking for a quality red dot, I highly recommend the Trijicon 1×24 Reflex.

Aside from the tight eye box, it’s got:

  • Clear glass
  • Durable build
  • Lifetime warranty
  • No batteries required

In other words:

It’s got the build quality and durability of many higher end red dots, all while retaining the simplicity of a top-mount sight. That’s why I consider this one of the best pistol sights for home defense or simple tactical shooting.

Granted, it’s expensive at around $600, and it doesn’t suit everyone’s needs.

But if you need the best sight for a .22 caliber pistol, I wouldn’t think twice before purchasing the Trijicon Reflex 1×24.

Trijicon Reflex 4.5 Moa Polarizing Filter And Dust Cover
  • Trijicon Reflex RX01NSN 4.5 MOA Amber Dot with Flattop Mount
  • Trijicon’s technologically advanced Reflex sights offer shooters the perfect combination of speed and precision under virtually any lighting conditions
  • A bright aiming point in low light, no or bright lightQuick target acquisition and pinpoint accuracyBig sight picture and realistic colorBuilt to be toughDesigned for both-eyes-open shooting

Now It’s Your Turn

I hope you enjoyed my best 22 pistol scope guide.

So as a recap:

Looking for the best 22 pistol scope? Get the Leupold FX-II Scout 2.5×23. The scope provides crystal clear clarity, a duplex reticle, and military grade durability.

What if you shoot from a variety of ranges? Then I’d opt-in for the Leupold VX-3 2.5-8×32.The scope maintains accuracy and visibility at long ranges, while providing a clear glass, and a strong build.

Sale
Leupold VX-3 2.5-8x32mm Handgun Scope, Matte, Duplex (67825)
  • Leupold Model #67825 - VX-3 2. 5-8x32mm with Duplex reticle and Matte finish
  • 100% Waterproof, fog proof, & shockproof
  • Precision 1/4 MOA finger click adjustments for wind age and elevation offer absolute repeatability and dependability over a lifetime of extreme use

On a budget? The Burris Handgun 2-7×32 is your best bet. The scope has features that allow it to perform as well as others twice its cost, including precise accuracy, heavy shock resistance, and a second focal plane reticle.

Lastly, if you’re looking for a red dot scope for your .22 pistol, then go for the Trijicon 1×24 Reflex Sight.

Trijicon Reflex 4.5 Moa Polarizing Filter And Dust Cover
  • Trijicon Reflex RX01NSN 4.5 MOA Amber Dot with Flattop Mount
  • Trijicon’s technologically advanced Reflex sights offer shooters the perfect combination of speed and precision under virtually any lighting conditions
  • A bright aiming point in low light, no or bright lightQuick target acquisition and pinpoint accuracyBig sight picture and realistic colorBuilt to be toughDesigned for both-eyes-open shooting

That said, you can’t go wrong with any of these options. All 4 scopes passed my exhaustive testing, and proved to be reliable. Additionally, they all have lifetime warranties. Just pick one based on your need and budget.

Now I want to turn it over to you:

Which pistol scope will you pick for your .22?

Let me know by leaving a quick comment down below.

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