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Home » Rifle Scopes » Rifle Scopes - Debates » Handgun Scopes vs. Scout Scopes | Optics Trade Debates

Handgun Scopes vs. Scout Scopes | Optics Trade Debates

Hello and welcome to another episode of Optics Trade Debates. This video will focus on two categories on our webpage, handgun scopes and scout scopes. We receive a lot of questions from our clients on how they compare and what are the key differences between the two. So, let’s start!


Handgun scopes and scout scopes have very similar parametres. The most important requirement of both is the extended eye relief. A normal scope has an eye relief of approximately 70 to 90 millimetres. This is not suitable for handgun users who must put more space between them and their firearm due to the considerable recoil factor.  


Scout scopes also require an extended eye relief since they are typically mounted on the barrel of the rifle, in front of the action. Handgun and scout scopes, therefore, have an eye relief between 300 to 500 millimetres.


Another similarity is their small size compared to other scopes, handgun scopes being the smallest of the group.


Every handgun scope can be used as a scout scope because of the already mentioned extended eye relief and because it can be mounted on the barrel. The user is able to see a clear image while looking through the scope at the distance of 30 to 50 centimetres.


Now, let’s discuss the differences. Scout scopes tend to be a little bigger and heavier than handgun scopes, with a variable magnification. Some handgun scopes like the Leupold Handgun VX-3 2.5-8x32 used in the video do have a variable magnification but majority have a fixed power like the Leupold FX-II 2.5x28 IER model.


Handgun scopes have their parallax set at a closer distance of 25 or 35 metres, while scout scopes have theirs set at 91 metres (100 yards).

Moving on to the eye box. Handgun scopes tend to have a more forgiving eyebox, meaning that the user is less restricted in movement in front of the eyepiece and without compromising the image quality. This also applies to the scout scopes. The eye boxes are not too sensitive to the eye position, making them more comfortable for use than tactical, hunting, spotting scopes and the like.


Both handgun and scout scopes are recoil-proof. Rifles kick hard already but of course, there are also revolvers with the added strength of magnum cartridges.


The reason as to why scout scopes are bigger in size (compared to the handgun variants) is that they are intended for shooting at longer distances. This also explains the differences in their parallax settings. It is true that, although you can put a handgun scope on almost any rifle, problems might occur when shooting at a considerable distance because a parallax set at 25 to 35 metres is not favourable for rifle users.


Before making a purchase, we strongly suggest you prioritize the quality of the scope over the price. Cheap handgun scopes, especially when mounted on hard-kicking revolvers, will not last long. Traditional and well-established brands like Leupold, Weaver offer handgun scope options that will continue to perform after 10 or 20 years of correct use. Scout scopes are less problematic in this regard but nonetheless, the general maxim of optics still stands true. The more you’re willing to invest, the better the quality of optical instruments you’ll receive. Saving money on optics is never a good idea.

We would like to thank you for your time. In case we did not answer all the questions regarding this topic, please leave a comment below or send an email to us. If you found this video useful, please subscribe to our Youtube channel.

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