The 3 Best Handgun Scope [2020 Update]

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Not sure what scope to get for your handgun?

Look no further.

I’ve tested ALL the best handgun scope (plus handgun scope mounts and accessories.)

By the end of this guide, you’ll find the perfect optic for your handgun.

Let’s get started!

The 3 Best Handgun Scope

If you’re pressed on time, here’s a quick list of the best handgun scope:

  1. Leupold VX-3 2.5-8×32: Best Overall
  2. Burris Handgun 2-7×32: Best Handgun Scope for the Money
  3. Athlon Argos BTR 1-4×24: Best AR Pistol Scope

1. Leupold VX-3 2.5-8×32: Best Overall

There’s something to be said for having a different scope for each of your firearms.

Sometimes though, it’s nice to have just that one perfect scope that does it all and fits on everything.

The Leupold VX-3 is the perfect pistol scope, scout rifle scope, and just all-around scope that I’ve had the pleasure of owning.

I’ve used it on a variety of firearms but right now it’s sitting comfortably on my Ruger Super Redhawk.

If you’re looking for a scope for your pistol to go hunting, or just to keep varmints off of your property then look no further.

If you don’t feel like sharing and want a scope specifically for your pistol, check out these AR pistol optics.

Otherwise, keep reading and I’ll tell you why you need the Leupold VX-3.

Glass Clarity & Reticle

The glass on this scope is crystal clear.

Leupold uses a wavelength-specific lens coating to maximize light transmission.

That means that even at dawn and dusk, this optic provides crisp, super-bright visuals.

It’s made my life so much better when it’s come to getting rid of wild hogs on my property.

The reticle is a standard duplex.

Nothing fancy, but it gets the job done without the frills.

Combined with the fast focus eyepiece, the duplex reticle makes target acquisition a breeze.

Eye Relief & Eye Box

The eye relief is an incredible 15 inches.

That’s one of the biggest things that makes this scope so perfect for any kind of firearm you’d think to put it on.

In addition, the eye box is extremely generous.

From scout rifles, to hunting rifles, to .44s I’ve never felt cramped or wished for more room with this scope.

If you’re looking for a scope specifically for an AR-15, take a look at these optics.


This thing is insanely durable.

It’s also surprisingly lightweight at only 10.9 oz.

It’s made of a solid piece of aircraft-grade aluminum and the design is Punisher tested by Leupold before it’s signed off on.

It’s nitrogen purged, waterproof, and fog proof.

I’ve had my rifle strap break dropping my rifle with this scope into a river and it came out in the exact same condition it went in.

It’s been banged around, dropped, and dragged through brush and it’s never lost zero once.

To top it off, it handles whatever kind of recoil I’ve thrown at it.

I’ve mounted it on a .308 and it stood up to the recoil like it didn’t exist.

If you’re concerned about durability, look no further than Leupold optics.

I’ve never had one let me down yet.

Elevation & Windage Knobs

The Leupold VX-3 has ¼ MOA adjustable turrets.

They’re super smooth and easily turn with fingertip pressure and audibly click.

Both the windage and elevation can be adjusted, and are both easily returned to zero.

Sighting it in was a breeze at 100 yards, and it only took me 3 shots.

Since then I’ve shot over 500 rounds and it hasn’t shifted from my zero once.

Parallax & Magnification

It’s got a magnification range of 2.5-8x with a 32mm objective lens.

The zoom is super smooth thanks to the fast-focus eyepiece, and it’s still crystal clear even at 8x zoom.

I haven’t had any issues with parallax, and it’s made using my .44 a viable option at mid-long range.

Mounting & Rings

It doesn’t come with any mounting or rings, so you’ll need to pick some up.

I’m a big fan of the Leupold Quick Release Rings.

They’re easy to install, sturdy, and reliable.

Plus they’re covered by the same outstanding warranty as the scope.

Is the Leupold VX-3 2.5-8×32 worth it?

This is an extremely high-quality and versatile scope.

To review its got:

  • 15” eye relief
  • Duplex reticle
  • Insanely durable
  • Great low-light visibility
  • Handles recoil with ease
  • Waterproof and fog proof
  • Versatile enough to work on multiple guns
  • Coated lenses for maximum light transmission

As if all of that wasn’t enough, it’s also backed by Leupold’s Lifetime Warranty. If anything goes wrong with the optic they’ll replace it.

I could go on all day about how great this scope is, but you should probably just go check out the Leupold VX-3 for yourself.

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

2. Burris Handgun 2-7×32: Best Handgun Scope for the Money

The .44 is a timeless and versatile weapon that deserves a quality, all-occasion scope.

The Burris 2-7×32 handgun scope keeps you on target on the range or at home–should the need arise. It’s a durable and affordable scope for the handgun owner who knows their weapon isn’t a toy. I put this optic on my Redhawk and couldn’t be happier.

Want to know why?

Read on…

Glass Clarity & Reticle

The Burris has bright and clear visibility, even in low light.

With a Magnum scope, my eye needs as much ambient light as possible to get a clear shot. Some marksmen swear by a red dot scope for pistols like these, and I respect that preference.

I prefer glass etched reticles, so I’m sticking with the Burris. Glow sights may help you see your front sight posts, but it’s all for nothing if you can’t find your target!

The Burris handgun scope has a High-Lume® multi-coat on the glass, which means your eye receives the maximum light possible. Think of it as a “No Photon Left Behind” program.

The Ballistic Plex etched reticle accounts for the bullet drop of a pistol. No need to try and estimate an angle on the fly. All you need to do is point and shoot as you would with iron sights and let the optic take care of the rest.

Eye Relief & Eye Box

This scope has eleven inches of eye relief.

Unless you shoot with a selfie stick, I think that’s adequate. The eye box is wide enough to accommodate shooting with both eyes open, which is my preferred technique for a Magnum or other pistol.

Even with a semi-auto, you are in the clear with eleven inches of eye relief. That said, if you are in the market for M&P Shield sights, I have some suggestions for those as well.


This scope is hardcore durable.

The aluminum frame shock absorbent. Don’t let the 13 ounces fool you; Burris scopes are lightweight but hard working.

The nitrogen-purged tube is fully weather-proof. Fog, rain, snow, no problem. It operates fuss-free in any climate, just like you.

The thick, multi-coated glass is scratch-resistant and durable.

Elevation & Windage Knobs

The Burris has small, quarter MOA turrets for a precision adjustment that won’t change in the field.

My standard zero-check for handgun optics is to backhand my gun into a steel fence post. Harsh as it may be, I need a weapon, not a toy. The Burris did not disappoint.

Even after my stress test, it held zero like a Devil Dog holds a hill. That’s because of the

Burris Posi-lock system. Thank you, German engineering!

Parallax & Magnification

The Burris 2-7×32 guarantees precise and fast target acquisition for shots up to 100 yards.

The parallax is fixed for 100 yards, so you won’t have to adjust it.

If you are looking for long-range optics for an AR or other carbine, have a look at these red dot magnifiers.

Mounting & Rings

This scope mounts with any one-inch ring.

I prefer to get all my parts from the same place, so I used these Burris pic rail mounting rings. The choice is yours, in any case. If you prefer a riser or a weaver mount, any one-inch rings will fit.

Is the Burris Handgun 2-7x32worth it?

Burris means business, and this scope is a beast.

If you want a fancy toy with lights and BlueTooth, keep shopping. If you want a quality optic for your weapon at a reasonable price, you want the Burris Handgun 2-7×32 scope.

Let’s review the quality engineering features…

  • Lightweight
  • Posi-lock turrets
  • Weather-proof and shock-proof
  • Patented High-Lume glass coating
  • Specialized handgun bullet drop reticle

Best of all, Burris believes in their product quality, so their standard no-fault forever warranty backs this optic.

Whether you are a target shooter, survivalist, or have a “just in case” Smith and Wesson under your pillow, The Burris Handgun 2-7×32 scope is the best performing scope for your dollar.

3. Athlon Argos BTR 1-4×24: Best AR Pistol Scope

Finding the best AR pistol scope can be challenging, but the Athlon Argos BTR 1-4×24 is a great choice.

In fact, it’s one of the best all around budget scopes out there.

I use mine in place of a red dot sight and I’m confident and happy with that choice.

Why? Keep reading to find out…

Glass Clarity & Reticle

The glass on this scope is very clear, especially for the price.

Since this is meant to be used on a rifle, it has the clarity you’d expect from a quality rifle scope.

The lenses are fully multi-coated, which lets in better light and gives you a nice, bright sight picture.

This scope has an Illuminated AHSR14 MOA Reticle. It’s a little more of a complex reticle, but once you get used to it, it’s easy to use.

Plus, it’s etched on the glass, so even if your illumination fails, you can still see your target.

However, the illumination isn’t great during daylight brightness. That’s a little unfortunate, but since the reticle is etched on, you’ll still be able to get on target.

And, the reticle is FFP, so it grows and shrinks with the magnification, which is great for better accuracy on those long distance shots.

Eye Relief & Eye Box

There’s plenty of eye relief with this scope, which is why it works so well for an AR pistol.

The eye relief is 3.5 inches and that is more than enough for a standard rifle caliber, much less an AR pistol.

You’ll also get a nice, wide field of view with the eyebox.


You’ll want to know your scope can hack it, especially if you’re putting it on an AR pistol rather than a rifle.

Never fear, the Athlon Argos BTR 1-4×24 can handle anything you throw at it.

With a one piece, aircraft grade aluminum housing, this thing can take a beating. Plus, it has an XPL coating on the lenses, to protect them from scratches, dirt, grease, or anything else.

On top of that, it’s Argon purged, so it’s waterproof and fogproof, for optimal performance in any weather condition.

Elevation & Windage Knobs

The elevation and windage turrets are ½ MOA per click.

I do wish they were ¼ MOA clicks, but the turrets do have a pretty solid feeling click.

Zeroing was quick and easy and I had no trouble with the process. It only took a handful of rounds to get it dialed in.

Plus, it solidly tracks and the zero has held well for me over the past few years.

Parallax & Magnification

The magnification is 1-4x, which is a great range for close to mid range distances.

At 1x, the reticle does get a little small and hard to see, but it’s still manageable.

At 4x it’s nice and large, allowing you to make accurate shots out to 400 yards. If you need to shoot much farther than that, especially smaller targets like varmint hunting, I’d try a 1-6x scope instead.

Parallax is fixed at 100 yards and it doesn’t seem to be a problem with this scope. At least not that I’ve noticed.

Mounting & Rings

At such a great price, it’s not surprising that the Athlon Argos BTR 1-4×24 doesn’t come with a mount.

I’d suggest using the Vortex Optics Tactical Rings.

Also, if you want to put this on a rifle, you might want to get a sunshade to reduce the glare. I’d recommend the Athlon Optics sunshade.

The good news is that this scope does come with a lifetime warranty. And it even includes fixing it if you break it while you’re using it!

Is the Athlon Argos BTR 1-4×24 worth it?

This scope is a great value for the money, with all the features you’ll need for your AR pistol.

It has:

  • Clear glass
  • Rugged durability
  • Illuminated, FFP reticle
  • Fully multi-coated lenses
  • 1-4x variable magnification

If you want to put a scope on your AR pistol, try the Athlon Argos BTR 1-4×24. You won’t be sorry.

Athlon Optics , Argos BTR , Riflescope , 1-4 x 24 Second Focal Plane (SFP) 30 mm Tube, Illuminated AHSR14 MOA Reticle ,
  • First focal plane reticle stays valid at all power settings allowing you to fully utilize the specially designed reticle that shrinks or grows along with your target as you zoom in or out.
  • Advanced Fully Multi-Coated lenses gives you better light transmission to bring optimum brightness and true color across the entire light spectrum.
  • Reticle etched on the glass that provides excellent backing support for complex reticle design and offers great durability and much higher shock resistance to recoil

Now It’s Your Turn

I hope you enjoyed my best handgun scope guide.

Now I want to turn it over to you:

Which scope will you pick for your handgun?

Let me know by leaving a quick comment down below.

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