The 3 Best 3 Gun Scope [2020 Update]

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Today I’m going to show you the best 3 gun 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 3 gun rifle scope, you’ll find it here.

The 3 Best 3 Gun Scope

If you’re pressed on time, here’s a quick list of the best scopes for 3 gun:

  1. Vortex Razor HD Gen II-E 1-6×24: Best Overall
  2. Trijicon ACOG 3.5×35: Best for AR-15
  3. Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8×24: Best Budget 3 Gun Scope

1. Vortex Razor HD Gen II-E 1-6×24: Best Overall

Let me start by saying that the Vortex Razor HD Gen II-E 1-6×24 is the best overall scope.

In fact:

I’m making this bold statement because this scope provides the highest levels of clarity, color accuracy, and resolution out of many rifle scopes I’ve tested.

Want to know how? Keep reading, starting with…


Glass Clarity & Reticle

The Vortex Razor HD Gen II-E has some of the clearest glass I’ve scoped through. It does this through a lethal combination of HD lens elements, optically indexed lenses and plasma tech.

Let me break that down for you.

The Premium HD (High Density) extra-low dispersion glass gives the scope its vibrant clarity while delivering true 1x imaging. And this clarity goes edge to edge with nearly no distortion.

Meanwhile, the optically indexed lenses optimize image sharpness and brightness from edge to edge. Cutting edge plasma tech is applied as a coating to the lenses for enhanced durability and performance.

All lenses are fully multi-coated with XR plus anti-reflective coatings to increase light transmission without compromising your position.

Scopes tend to be one size fits all, but everyone’s eyes are different. The fast focus eye ring on this scope helps focus the reticle to your eye giving you crisp clarity no matter your astigmatism or prescription.

This scope comes with three reticle options to choose from: the JM-1 BDC, the VMR-2 MOA, or the VMR-2 MRAD. I’ll be focusing on the JM-1 BDC since that’s what I used and it’s the most popular option.

The JM-1 BDC reticle is a Vortex exclusive with input from the world-renowned competitive shooter, instructor, and gunsmith Jerry Miculek.

That fact won’t be on Jeopardy, but it does explain how intuitive the reticle’s design really is.

Zeroed out at 200 yards, the hashmarks provide accuracy within 0-3 inches of aiming points for most popular rifles and loads. Regardless of your setup, I always suggest testing your holdovers.

With the illuminated center dot and thick edge-lined outer crosshairs to direct your eye, it’s definitely a reticle designed for rapid and accurate shooting.

All three reticle options are second focal point, meaning that the reticle stays the same size throughout magnification, facilitating shooting from point blank to 600 yards.

It’s my favorite feature for fast target acquisition and hunting. At 6 power, the reticle dot is .5 MOA, and 3 MOA at 1 power.

Finally, we come to the scope’s illumination feature.

A low-profile, side adjustment turret cycles through 11 levels of brightness with off positions between each setting. The adjustments are tactile and lock easily.

I’m hardly impressed anymore when a scope offers ten or more illumination settings. More isn’t always better.

However, the Vortex Razor HD Gen II-E changed my mind.

At 11, the scope is absolutely daylight bright. I actually ended up turning it down to the 9th setting when I was shooting on a clear, sunny day, it’s that good.

As far as optics come, the combination of glass clarity, reticle design, and versatile illumination make this scope absolutely lethal.


Eye Relief & Eye Box

This scope comes with a very generous 4 inches of eye relief and a forgiving eye box. Together they promote fast target acquisition while still maintaining optimal monitoring of the surrounding area.


Durability

This scope is a tank, built to withstand punishing recoil and severe environmental conditions.

It’s completely O-ring sealed and argon purged to ensure that the scope stays waterproof and fog proof no matter the weather.

And the 30mm, aircraft-grade aluminum tube is ready to withstand whatever you throw it against. It’s also hard-coat anodized with a low-glare matte surface to help camouflage your position.

Your external lenses are also protected from scratches, oil, and dirt with an Armortek lens coating. I still recommend using the included lens cap just in case.

If you’re wondering what the difference is between the Gen II and the Gen II-E, it basically boils down to weight.

The Gen II-E is nearly ¼ pound lighter than its predecessor and weighs in at 21 oz. battery included. This means quicker transitions between targets and less arm fatigue during long range days.


Elevation & Windage Knobs

Both turrets are capped with very crisp and audible clicks. They offer 50 MOA (20 MRAD) adjustment in a single turn with zero-resettable turrets.

The streamlined zero resettable turrets track precisely and offer ample adjustment in a single turn.

It took only a few quick rounds to zero, which the scope maintained easily.


Parallax & Magnification

The Gen II-E delivers a versatile range from 1-6x without sacrificing clarity.

As I mentioned earlier, it is a nearly perfect 1x which means speedy acquisition when you’re up close and personal. Scoping to 6x maintains the crystal clear clarity this optic is known for while also aiding the shooter in identifying targets and engaging with better precision.

The magnification ring is very stiff initially. While it has loosened over time, it still takes a firm grim to adjust, a throw lever would facilitate your adjustments but I’ve been happy without one.


Mounting & Rings

No mount or rings are included with this scope’s purchase.

The 30 mm tube offers a wide variety of available ring options while your mount options depend on your weapon.

I personally like to kill two birds with one stone, so I use the American Defense AD-RECON.

Sale
American Defense AD-RECON 30 STD Riflescope Optic Mount, Black
  • Does not require proprietary tools for adjustment
  • Can be adjusted with your finger or a flat blade screwdriver
  • Lever can be configured to lock to the front or the rear

Is the Vortex Razor HD Gen II-E 1-6×24 worth it?

The Vortex Razor HD Gen II-E 1-6×24 is an incredible scope that’s daylight bright, crystal clear, and lightweight.

It’s a great investment as a speed shooting, hunting, or even 3 gun rifle scope. It’s a top-tier optical for short to medium tactical applications.

Here’s why:

  • Premium HD Lens
  • Fast-Focus Eyepiece
  • 11 Levels of Brightness
  • Unlimited Lifetime Warranty
  • Apochromatic Objective Lens

The impeccable glass clarity alone is one of the reasons why I keep coming back to this particular scope for all of my short- and mid-range shooting needs.

If you’re considering the Vortex Razor HD Gen II-E 1-6×24, you won’t be disappointed.


2. Trijicon ACOG 3.5×35: Best for AR-15

The Trijicon ACOG 3.5×35 is an incredible fixed-power optic.

In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it’s the best choice available for AR-15s.

After all, the ACOG has been the go-to optic for military and law enforcement for 30 years. After buying one for myself, I can clearly see why.

Ready to learn more? Then keep reading…


Glass Clarity & Reticle

The glass on the Trijicon ACOG is some of the clearest I’ve ever seen.

Light transmission and color fidelity are unmatched, because Trijicon fully-multicoated the scope to provide the clearest image possible while eliminating glare. This is perfect for an AR platform where target identification is as important as target acquisition. Target IDing is further aided by the low-profile reticle.

Speaking of the reticle…

Trijicon offers the ACOG with several different reticle styles, including green crosshairs, red donut, and green chevron (inverted “V.”)

I went with the green crosshairs because I find they don’t obscure my target at all. The green crosshair is illuminated (more on that in a second) and it draws my eye to the center of the reticle very quickly.

Plus, all the ACOG reticles feature ranging and holdover lines. These are really useful for longer distance shooting, and I can easily push my shots out to almost 1000 yards using this optic. Thanks to the ranging lines, I don’t have to guess the distance to my target. Just aim and fire.

Now, on to my favorite feature: the illumination.

Trijicon ACOGs use a special combination of fiber optics and tritium to illuminate the reticle in all lighting conditions.

In the daylight, the fiber optic rod on the top of the scope gathers and transmits light to the reticle. This not only means your optic is always lit; it also means that the brightness is automatically set to the light level that you are shooting in. And at night, the tritium takes over, providing a highly visible glow to power the reticle.

So no matter when you need to shoot, the ACOG’s illuminated reticle has you covered.


Eye Relief & Eye Box

Eye relief for the ACOG is right at 2.4 inches.

I find that this is plenty of room to use this on any caliber of rifle without worrying about scope bite. Plus, it works perfectly with the flip-up irons on my AR.

The eye box, though, can be a little unforgiving. I definitely had to master my cheek weld to use this scope to its full potential, but that was an issue with me as a shooter more than with the optic itself.

I’ve also started practicing using this scope with both eyes open. It takes a little getting used to, but once mastered, it means you can mount this optic and still use your rifle for CQB.

If you prefer to mount your scopes in the scout style, then the ACOG isn’t for you. But for hunting and home defense, it’s a great choice. I’d even run this as a 3 gun AR scope!


Durability

The ACOG is one of most durable scopes I’ve ever handled.

The outer tube is made from forged aircraft grade aluminum for extra strength without too much added weight. Thick o-ring seals mean that it’s waterproof up to a depth of 100 meters, and Trijicon used a special dry-nitrogen purging technique to make sure that it’s completely fogproof inside.

Plus, they recoil tested it on a .50BMG, so it’s definitely shockproof.

All this durability does make the scope somewhat heavy at 14 ounces. But it’s not the heaviest piece of glass I’ve used, and I like knowing that it’s tough enough to handle anything that I might throw at it.

After all, it’s good enough for the US Military!


Elevation & Windage Knobs

The turrets on the ACOG are extremely reliable and precise.

They are hand adjustable, which is always a bonus in case you need to make adjustments out in the field. And each move produces a nice, audible “click.”

Each click gets you .33 MOA of adjustment, which allows for some really precise zeroing in. I was nailing bullseyes in about ten minutes when I went to zeo it in.

And I’ve tested the ACOG on multiple rifles (even my AR pistol) and the zero always holds true.


Parallax & Magnification

The Trijicon ACOG is completely parallax free.

This has to do with how they’ve etched the reticle into a slanted mirror. I don’t entirely understand it, but I can tell you that it works. I’ve never had any parallax issues with this optic at all, despite the fact that it’s magnified.

Speaking of magnification…

The ACOG provides a fixed 3.5x zoom.

This is fantastic for mid range shooting, and even works for longer ranges. I really like fixed magnification scopes because I find them nice and quick to use. No fiddling with the zoom; just level off and acquire the target.

Plus, the fixed magnification adds to that incredible durability I was talking about, because it means fewer moving parts.


Mounting & Accessories

The Trijicon ACOG includes a standard picatinny rail mount right out of the box.

I was able to mount it on my AR by myself with no special tools, which is always great. No trip to the gunsmith required.

I did notice that after about 500 rounds or so, the screws started to loosen a little on the mount. However, a few dabs of blue Loctite fixed that right up, and I’ve had no issues since then.

This optic also ships with a scopecoat cover to keep your ACOG safe from dirt and dust, a lens pen for cleaning the glass, and a hardshell carrying case. Everything you need to mount up and go shooting!


Is the Trijicon ACOG 3.5×35 worth it?

The Trijicon ACOG 3.5×35 is an incredible piece of optics technology.

It’s got:

  • Crystal-clear glass
  • Incredible durability
  • Fixed 3.5x magnification
  • Crosshair reticle with ranging lines
  • Tritium glow illumination for night shooting
  • Fiber optic illumination that auto adjusts for daylight shooting

With all these features, it’s no wonder that the ACOG has been the top choice for law enforcement, the military, and special forces. Plus, the whole thing is covered by Trijicon’s Lifetime Warranty.

So if you’re ready to turn your AR into the ultimate specops platform, look no further than the Trijicon ACOG 3.5×35.

Trijicon ACOG 3.5x35 Riflescopes
  • ACOG 3.5x35 scope with Green Horseshoe BAC Reticle and Target Reference System is calibrated for 5.56 (.223 cal) flat-top rifles to 1000 meters Includes flat top adapter
  • Daytime illumination is provided by fiber optics
  • With TA51 Mount

3. Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8×24: Best Budget 3 Gun Scope

If you’ve ever competed in a 3 gun shooting competition then you know how important your scope is for your success.

The perfect 3 gun scope is one that can be quickly and easily switched between your firearms.

It has to be good for each segment of the competition: up close, mid-range, and long-distance.

In these competitions that usually means you’ll be using an AR rifle, a pistol, and a shotgun.

I was thrilled to find the Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8×24.

It’s durable, crystal clear, easy to install, and its zoom delivers.

Keep reading and I’ll show you exactly why you need this scope in your collection.


Glass Clarity & Reticle

The quality of this scope is incredible.

It gives a crystal clear image without any color distortion so I can clearly see my target up to 650 yards.

The lens is a multi-coated lens with a glass etched AR BDC reticle.

That combined with the bonus that it’s an illuminated reticle makes it incredibly easy to aim precisely and quickly even in low light.

It’s perfect for a 3 gun competition because no matter what range you’re aiming for you’ll be able to see it clearly.

Its reticle was specifically designed to help shooters achieve fast target acquisition and it shows.

The transition between magnifications is smooth thanks to the optional throw lever.

Whether I’m picking off varmints, hunting elk, or shooting targets I know this scope has me covered.


Eye Relief & Eye Box

It’s got a standard eye relief of 3.5”.

It’s not the best, but it works great for what it is.

The only time I’ve had an issue with the eye box being too narrow and crowded was when I was all the way up to 8x zoom.

Even then it was manageable although not optimal.


Durability

This scope is a bit hefty at 17.6oz, but that allows it to be extra sturdy.

The single-piece 30mm tube is made of aircraft-grade aluminum and coated in a matte anodized finish.

When I’m hiding in the brush waiting for a target it really helps camouflage my position.

Plus it’s coated in Armortek scratch-resistant coating, it’s nitrogen purged, and it’s water, shock, and fog proof.

It’s protected against pretty much anything you could throw at it.

Trust me, I’ve thrown a lot at it.

In a 3 gun competition that means you don’t have to worry about knocking it against things or scratching the finish while you’re rushing to move it between guns.

The peace of mind that Vortex offers with its products is definitely worth the price.


Elevation & Windage Knobs

The Vortex Strike Eagle has low capped turrets that turn easily with minimal resistance with just finger pressure — just like the Leupold VX-R.

The turrets audibly click, and you can feel it as well.

Sighting in at zero was a breeze and I’ve had no issue returning it to zero when needed.


Parallax & Magnification

It’s got a magnification range of 1-8x with a 24mm objective lens.

This is one of the few scopes that I’ve used that has advertised 1x power that’s actually been true.

Usually the closest I seem to get is 1.5x, but this one is dead on at 1x.

That’s fantastic when you’re running a course that requires up-close target shooting.

It comes with a thread in throw lever that makes zooming in and out fast and easy.

I haven’t had much of an issue with parallax, but the few times I have it was easy to adjust.


Mounting & Rings

No mounts or rings come included, so you’ll need to purchase that separately.

I used a Burris Optics PEPR mount on my AR platform and it’s fantastic.

Burris Optics P.E.P.R. Scope Mount, Includes Both Smooth and Picatinny Ring Tops, 30mm, Standard Attach, BLACK (410341)
  • The Burris P. E. P. R. mount is perfect for mounting your scope forward on your personal protection rifle.
  • The Proper Eye Position Ready (P.E.P.R.) mount provides 2" of forward scope positioning room which will allow you to obtain proper eye relief and maintain a proper shooting position.
  • Provides optimum eye relief and full field of view helping to improve your accuracy

It does come with a flip cap and lens cloth though, so make sure you use them to keep your glass in perfect condition.


Is the Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8×24 worth it?

If you’re looking to do some 3 gun shooting then absolutely. I don’t leave home without it.

Let’s review the highlights:

  • Super durable
  • Nitrogen purged
  • Fog, shock, and waterproof
  • 1-8x mag, with a true 1x mag
  • Perfect for 3 gun competitions
  • Multi-coated crystal clear glass
  • Horseshoe reticle for easy target acquisition

It’s got a ton of features in one durable package.

On top of everything else, it’s backed by the Vortex Lifetime Warranty.

No matter what happens to it when they’ve got you covered and they’ll fix or replace it.

Don’t take my word for it though. Check out the Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8×24 for yourself and see what you think.


Now It’s Your Turn

I hope you enjoyed my best 3 gun scope guide.

Now I want to turn it over to you:

Which scope will you pick for your gun?

Let me know by leaving a quick comment down below.

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