Scopes are essential optical devices that enhance accuracy and precision in shooting sports, hunting, and other outdoor activities. There are various types of scopes available that cater to different needs and preferences. Here at OpticsForce we distinguish ourselves from others by not only specializing in high-quality optics and accessories from specific brands, but also by having extensive knowledge about each product they offer.
Scroll along as we explain all 10 types of rifle scopes and then give you insider info on the most popular scopes.
The 10 Types of Rifle Scopes
Here are ten most common types of rifle scopes.
- Fixed Scope, which offers a fixed magnification level. This type of scope is popular for its simplicity and reliability. It is ideal for shooting at closer ranges and provides a clear, uncomplicated sight picture.
- A Variable Scope allows users to adjust the magnification level according to their requirements. This versatile scope is suitable for various shooting scenarios, allowing for flexibility and adaptability.
- The Night Vision Scope is a game-changer for those who enjoy hunting in low-light conditions. Equipped with technology to amplify available light, this scope enables you to spot targets in the dark, greatly enhancing visibility.
- Tactical Scope, as the name suggests, is designed for tactical applications. With features like illuminated reticles, bullet drop compensators, and parallax adjustments, this scope enables precise aiming and quick target acquisition.
- Long Range Scopes are specifically designed for shooters who engage targets at extended distances. Equipped with high magnification levels and bullet drop compensation reticles, these scopes ensure accuracy even over vast distances. Check out the Vortex Optics Viper HSLR Scope
- Hunters can benefit from a specialized Hunting Scope that typically has a wide field of view and low magnification range. These scopes are designed to provide a clear and bright image, making it easier to track moving targets in various terrains.
- Competitive shooters often opt for a Competition Scope, which typically offers high magnification and special reticles tailored for precision shooting. These scopes enhance accuracy and assist in achieving top-level performance in competitions. You will enjoy the Leupold 120372 Gold Ring HD Scope.
- Sniper Scopes are engineered for military and law enforcement snipers, focusing on extreme long-range shooting and target identification. They offer highly precise adjustments and often incorporate features like rangefinders and mil-dot reticles. Check out the Sightmark Solitude at an unbeatable price.
- Scout Scopes are a good option for those who prefer scout-style rifles, featuring long eye relief and low magnification. These scopes are designed to provide enhanced situational awareness and quick target acquisition. The best versatile, practical, and overall the coolest, will be the Vortex Optics Crossfire 2 Scout
- Red Dot Scope is popular for its simplicity and ease of use. These scopes feature a non-magnifying illuminated dot as an aiming point, allowing for quick target acquisition and increased accuracy. You can’t go wrong with the 70 years of experience put into building the Leupold Freedom Red Dot Sight
Most Popular Types of Rifle Scopes
Fixed Magnification Scopes
If you're looking for a scope with a set magnification level, a fixed magnification scope is the way to go. These scopes are straightforward and easy to use, without the complexity of adjusting magnification levels. They also tend to be more sturdy since they have fewer moving parts. However, the downside is that they lack versatility. Fixed scopes limit your range of view, which can be challenging if you need to switch between different shooting environments.
If you're planning to shoot with calibers like the 350 Legend, 450 Bushmaster, or 45-70 Gov this hunting season, the Neos scope can help you extend your range. With its 40mm objective, the scope is designed to reduce the weight of your rifle while improving light transmission through the use of special lens coatings and high-quality glass that are not usually found in scopes at this price point.
These scopes are a fantastic option for those looking for more flexibility in magnification levels. With the ability to adjust the magnification, you can hone in on your target and improve your shooting accuracy. While there are downsides such as a dimmer image and shakier vision at high magnification, the benefits outweigh the cons.
Variable scopes come with different calibrations to help with sighting, making it easier to aim at objects at close to medium range. Whether you're hunting or competing, a variable scope is a great investment. Examples of variable scopes include the 5-20x56 scope which can magnify objects from 5X to 20.
The adjustments are accurate and responsive, with increments of 1/4 MOA. The reticle in the second focal plane is straightforward and easy to use. Additionally, an illuminated Hellfire reticle is available as an option (SOW43002). The optical design is exceptional, providing a magnification range of 4x.
Tactical scopes are built to withstand tough conditions and are designed for quick target acquisition. They have specific reticles that aid in easy sighting and target engagement. These scopes are ideal for military and law enforcement operations and hence are built to endure harsh conditions. However, they are usually quite expensive, so they may not be the best option for beginners or those on a tight budget.
Tactical scopes are designed for a specific shooting purpose, and they are helpful for military or self-defense operations due to this specification. Expect a magnification as low as 4X on this device. However, they come with reticles that are designed for the task at hand, making it easy to aim at objects at close to medium ranges.
Pros and Cons: The key advantage of a tactical scope is that it is designed for specific situations and tasks, making it an ideal choice for military or self-defense operations. On the downside, tactical scopes are often limited in their magnification range and might not be suited for longer-distance shooting
The Burris XTR II scope is intended for skilled and meticulous shooters who aim for long distances. It boasts a five-fold zoom system, precision reticles on the front focal plane, tall knobs with zero click stop technology, 11 brightness levels, and a battery-saving option between each setting. The illuminated SCR MOA reticle is ideal for long-range shooting and allows for targeting in low-light conditions with an extended illumination area.
Night Vision Scopes
Night vision scopes are designed for shooting in low-light conditions. They are also ideal for night hunting since they feature a built-in infrared illuminator to improve visibility at night. These scopes use different technologies to make them more functional. A traditional one can feature optoelectronic image enhancement to sense small amounts of infrared light reflected off-targets. You may also find a modern one with digital image enhancement technology that illuminates images in full-color displays.
Pros and Cons:
Night vision scopes have the advantage of allowing you to shoot in low-light conditions or at night. They also have built-in illuminators that can improve visibility. However, these scopes tend to be more costly than standard scopes due to the additional technology. The image quality may also vary depending on the technology being used.
We Recommend: AGM Taipan TM15-384 - TM15-384
The Taipan thermal monocular is a portable device that allows for observation in the dark. It has an infrared detector with 384×288 resolution and a 1280×960 LCOS display. The device can track the highest temperature target, measure distance, and create a Wi-Fi hotspot. Its thermal detector is highly sensitive, providing clear visuals even in complete darkness.
Hunting scopes are what you'd want to get if you want a reliable partner in the field. They are sturdy, rugged, and tough enough to withstand harsh weather elements. Because hunting demands stealth, the scopes are usually designed with a lower magnification that enables you to use them for hunting at shorter distances. They also have wider fields of view, which makes it much easier to track moving targets.
However, hunting scopes may not always be suitable for longer-range shooting, as their lower magnification may hinder accuracy at longer ranges. So, if you're looking to shoot at greater distances, you may want to look for other types of scopes.
Hunting scopes are built to withstand rugged hunting conditions and are usually lightweight, compact, and easy to carry around. They tend to have lower magnification ranges to give you a wider field of view and faster target acquisition. However, they may not perform as well in long-range shooting or tactical situations.
We Recommend: Burris Fullfield IV 4-16x50mm Hunting Scope - il-bal-e3
The Burris Fullfield IV rifle scope is ideal for hunting small animals as well as big game, especially for those who prefer long-range shooting. The scope boasts an enhanced 4x zoom mechanism, illuminated ballistic e3 reticle, 1-inch tube, and finger-adjustable turret knobs. Additionally, it has a large 50mm objective lens that allows for better light transmission. For those who prefer to use a 6.5 Creedmoor reticle, this is also available. The scope also features side parallax adjustment for added convenience.
Key Features of Rifle Scopes
Here are the key features you need to consider when selecting a rifle scope.
Magnification refers to how much larger an object appears when viewed through the scope. Scopes can have either fixed or variable power magnification. Fixed power scopes have a single magnification setting, while variable power scopes allow you to adjust the magnification level as per your requirements.
Objective Lens Size
The objective lens is the one farthest from your eye. It determines how much light can enter the scope and affects the scope's ability to gather light in low-light conditions. Larger objective lenses allow more light to enter, resulting in brighter images.
Lens coatings are applied to the glass surfaces of the scope to reduce reflections, increase light transmission, and improve image clarity. Different types of coatings, such as anti-reflective coatings and multi-coatings, offer varying levels of performance.
Reticles, also known as crosshairs, are the markings on the scope that help you aim accurately. They can be in the form of simple lines, dots, or more complex designs. Different types of scope reticles, such as duplex, Mil-Dot, and BDC (Bullet Drop Compensator), are available to suit different shooting applications.
The focal plane of a scope determines the location of the reticle in relation to the image. There are two types of focal planes: first focal plane (FFP) and second focal plane (SFP). FFP reticles change size as you adjust the magnification, while SFP reticles remain the same size regardless of the magnification.
Windage and Elevation Turrets
These are adjustment knobs on the scope that allow you to move the reticle horizontally (windage) and vertically (elevation). These turrets help you compensate for bullet drop or wind drift, ensuring accurate and precise shots.
Parallax is the apparent movement of the reticle when your eye position changes. Scopes with adjustable parallax correction allow you to eliminate parallax, resulting in a more accurate aim.
Scopes may be calibrated using different units of measurement, such as MOA (Minutes of Angle) or MIL (Milliradians). These systems help you make accurate adjustments for bullet drop, windage, and target ranging.Ready to take your shooting game to the next level? Explore our wide range of rifle scopes at Optics Force and find the perfect one to suit your needs. Whether you're a seasoned hunter or a beginner marksman, we've got you covered. Shop now and experience the difference a quality rifle scope can make!