Sport shooting is enjoying a huge boost in popularity. More people are heading to the range and learning how to shoot. It is no surprise then that competitions are growing as well.
The sport of 3-gun shooting is becoming quite well known. In 3-gun shooting you follow a course that requires you to use a different gun for each stage. A rifle, shotgun, and pistol are common. Typically, the targets are mid-range and close range with the occasional target at 500 yards.
This competition requires speed and accuracy. To help increase your skills, it is a good idea to use a scope. The challenge is to pick a scope that is flexible and allows you to mount and use it quickly.
Let’s take a look at Top 10 best scopes for 3-gun shooting.
In a hurry? Don't have time for the details? Here are our best picks for 3-gun scopes:
- Vortex Optics Razor HD Gen II-E 1-6x24 Second Focal Plane Riflescopes
- Bushnell Tactical Elite SMRS 1-8.5x 24mm Illuminated BTR-2 FFP Reticle Riflescope
- Weaver Tactical 1-5x24mm 800364 Illuminated Close-Intermediate Scope 30mm Tube
- Vortex Optics Crossfire Red Dot Sight - 2 MOA Dot
- Kahles Optics K16I 1-6x24 SM1 Reticle Rifle Scope
- Trijicon AccuPoint 1-6x24 Riflescope
- Bushnell AR Optics, Drop Zone Reticle Riflescope
- Burris Fastfire III with Picatinny Mount
- BARSKA 3-9x42 Contour Riflescope IR Mil-Dot Riflescope
- EOTECH 512 Holographic Weapon Sight
- What is a 3-gun scope and why do you need it?
- Divisions of 3 Gun Shooting
- Things to Consider Before Purchasing a Scope
- Top 10 Best Scopes For 3 Gun Shooting - Comparison Table
- Top 10 Best Scopes for 3 Gun Shooting on the Market Reviews
- Which is better for 3-gun shooting-first focal plane ( ffp ) or second focal plane ( sfp )?
- Which is better for 3-gun shooting - a scope or a red dot?
- The 3-Gun Competition
What is a 3-gun scope and why do you need it?
Since 3-gun competition setups are constantly changing, you need to be prepared for any target. Some targets might be paper, others might be metal. You might even encounter clay pigeons. The point is, you have to be prepared for anything.
The scope you choose for 3-gun shooting needs to adapt to your range quickly. You might need to sight a target at a few yards or a couple hundred yards. You will not know until you begin the course.
The right scope will be versatile. It will allow you to sight at different distances. It will also be lightweight so that you won’t experience fatigue or need to re-zero your gun. You will be able to mount it quickly without effort.
The scoring of 3-gun shooting is based on accuracy and speed. Therefore, a good scope will help you score higher. Since you do not know what distance or targets you will encounter, you need to be prepared for anything. The best way to increase your accuracy score in a 3-gun shooting competition is to use a good scope.
Divisions of 3 Gun Shooting
Three-gun shooting can be broken down into five different divisions. You will be placed in a division depending on your skill level and your guns and accessories.
This is the beginner level. The equipment requirements for this division are the lightest, too. In Limited you can have one optic that’s unmagnified. It can be a red dot or iron sight. You can also not use a bipod. You cannot use optics on your shotgun either. However, the shotgun can be either semi-automatic or pump. The ammo must also be loaded by hand.
The main difference between this division and Limited is that the optics on the rifle can be magnified. Most people prefer this division.
3. Heavy Metal / He Man
To compete in this category, your rifle must be 7.62 or larger. Your shotgun has to be a 12-gauge pump. You can only use iron sights for the rifle and shotgun. The handgun has to be a .45 ACP or larger. No optics are allowed with it.
In this division your handgun magazine has to be 171.25mm or shorter. You can also use a speed loader for your handgun.
5. Outlaw Open
Anything goes in this division as long as it is safe.
Things to Consider Before Purchasing a Scope
When purchasing a scope for 3-gun shooting, you want to be sure it is versatile. It is also important to keep the following features in mind.
Magnification is a definite must. You want to get a closer look at your target before you shoot. It makes a lot of sense to get a 3-gun scope that has great magnification levels.
Ideally, the targets will be in both close and mid-range (specifically anywhere between 100 to 500 yards). So, the magnification levels should be anywhere from 1x to 8x.
2. Focal Plane
Most of the time, plane is a strictly personal preference. Just remember that with the first-focal plane, the reticle enlarges when you increase the magnification. When you use the second-focal plane, the reticle does not change.
3. Illumintaed Reticle
An illuminated reticle will really make a scope stand out. Such a reticle excels in a low-light environment while you are hunting. But if you are in competitions, it may also enhance your ability to hone on a target. Not to mention, illuminated reticles are not just useful in low-light settings. You can still use them during the day. They work especially well if it is rainy and the daylight is weak.
4. Eye Relief and Eye Box
If you want to be able to see through the scope with both eyes, purchase a scope with an eye box and eye relief. You don’t want to make the mistake of looking too closely at the scope. You may get the dreaded scope eye. For a 3-gun Scope, you want to find a decent amount of eye relief. Remember, you still might be wrestling with some recoil if when using your new scope. Find a scope that allows you to see a great image in every head position.
Top 10 Best Scopes For 3 Gun Shooting - Comparison Table
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Top 10 Best Scopes for 3 Gun Shooting on the Market Reviews
Vortex Optics Razor HD
We begin this review with none other than the Vortex Optics brand. If you’re serious about investing in a top scope, try a Vortex Razor. It will provide more durability than any other scope on the market. The Razor is perhaps one of the most durable scopes around. Its body is made from aircraft-quality aluminum. The materials absorb all shock and do not throw off zero settings. It's also nitrogen sealed so the lens don’t fog up, nor will any water leakage occur.
The image quality is also pretty dang snazzy. The Razor might possess one of the clearest images on the market. We even dare to say that it even gives a certain brand a run for it’s money. The magnification levels range from 1 to 6 times. So it will exceed expectations when used for some good old-fashioned mid-range shooting.
Bushnell Tactical Elite
Bushnell is another name that often comes up. If Vortex is known for its durability, then Bushnell gets the nod for reliability. The Tactical Elite is one of the most accurate scopes. Every shot counts no matter how often you pull the trigger.
You get a good level of magnification with the Tactical Elite. You will even be able to hit targets from long distances like 100 to 300 yards. To add to the reliability, the windage and elevation adjustments are easy and fluid.
You can make on the fly adjustments without too much complication. If reliability is what you want, you need to try the Bushnell Tactical Elite.
Weaver Tactical Illuminated Range Scope
Everyone wants pinpoint accuracy and precision. There is literally no reason be without it. If you are serious about tightening up your shooting groups, the Weaver Tactical Illuminated Range Scope goes above and beyond the call of duty. All of your shots will be accurate and right on the money.
In fact, this scope provides what every competitor wants. The more accurate your shots, the better your chance of winning.
As an added bonus, the Tactical Illuminated Range Scope is pretty durable and backed by a lifetime warranty. Weaver has a lot of confidence in their product to provide that good of a warranty. Try this product out the next time you are at the range.
Vortex Optics Crossfire Red Dot
This scope is better for your short range shooting. But you still get the excellent accuracy and durability as on other Vortex Optics scopes. The red dot is perfect at hitting targets within the neighborhood of 100 to 150 yards.
While the Crossfire doesn’t cover an impressive distance, it does enough to consistently put rounds to paper. The image quality is super clear. It will certainly give you the edge against your competition.
Fortunately, this scope is on par with the number of products that you can find for 3-Gun shooting. You can also regulate it to shooting at short distances without any problems.
Kahles Optics K161
Now here’s a scope that might give the Vortex Optics products a run for its money. It’s a durable rifle scope that is built like a tank. It can handle a great deal of shock. Yes, it will also resist fog, bad weather, water leakage, and what have you. It’s pretty dang rugged and probably a bit more affordable for those on a budget. You deserve sharp image quality and consistently accurate 3-gun shooting.
There is no doubting this scope’s abilities. It’s a pretty rugged beast that will even work for those just beginning competing. It might be the only scope you use for a long time. If you want a solidly-built scope that is a top affordable options, the Kahles Optics K161 might just be your huckleberry.
Trijicon Accupoint Scope
Trijicon is mostly popular for its pistols sights made from good ol’ fashioned fiber optics. You'll get that same effectiveness in this scope. Effectiveness equates to accurate shooting that is hard to beat.
If you are serious about making sure your rounds hit every time, this is the scope to consider.
Other good news is that you have an illuminated reticle to give your performance a boost. The even better news, it doesn’t run on batteries. Do we have your attention now? Good. If those features are hard to resist, then you know this scope is right for you.
Let’s not forget the image quality. It’s pretty freakin’ clear. It’s got the HD quality that some scopes would kill for. If you want that super clear images at your disposal along with razor sharp accuracy, you’d be crazy to pass up an Accupoint Scope.
Bushnell AR Optics Drop Zone Reticle
This scope has a more powerful magnification compared to other scopes. Specifically, it can go up to 14x. But there is an important outcome of that power. You can reach out and touch something well beyond 500 yards out.
That is a pretty impressive range for 3-Gun shooting. If you really want to be a true marksman and place well, this is definitely the scope worth considering.
Burris FastFire III
The Burris FastFire II is another sight that can get the job done at shorter ranges. It won’t go any farther than at least 200 yards. If you don't mind a short range, then this might be right up your alley.
It’s got an illuminated reticle as well. The reticle allows you to shoot accurately and precisely. Aside from its distance performance, the quality is pretty solid.
You can expect this to give you a long period of faithful service. All you need to do is put the FastFire III on the Picatinny rail of your favorite gun. You'll be in business then.
The Barska is an all-weather scope that also has the ability to log some miles (well, actually yards). Yes, it can go beyond 500 or even 600 yards in a competition setting. You better be ready to turn some heads with this scope.
Even your competitors will appreciate your sharp shooting ability from such a range. Its magnification levels are unsurprising given its huge range. The highest level is 9 times. With an objective of 42mm, you get plenty of image quality to work with (and quick target acquisition as well). All scopes that imitate this fall short and show it.
If you want something that will play the long game, the Barska is the scope you need for your 3-gun shooting.
Finally, we’ll be taking on the EOTECH 512. This scope is a mad man when it comes to accuracy. Its precision at mid and short ranges are very impressive. This is another scope that can handle bad weather conditions. Plus, you won’t have to worry about your scope getting ruined. It’s made from some pretty strong materials. Also, you get resistance to fog, shock, and water.
This scope will give you plenty of eye relief and all kinds of illumination options. It will even work in either low-light or daylight settings. No matter what, the 512 is a scope that really works.
Which is better for 3-gun shooting-first focal plane ( ffp ) or second focal plane ( sfp )?
When it comes to 3-gun shooting competitions, most competitors prefer to use a scope with a second focal plane. This is because a first focal plane magnifies the image itself. When this happens, the image becomes harder to view. It might actually obscure some small long-range targets.
The second focal plane is preferred because it will be non-magnifying. This allows the user to view the targets without them being “hidden." You don't want magnification because 3-gun shooting involves hitting various targets at different distances quickly.
Which is better for 3-gun shooting - a scope or a red dot?
Since there are so many variables when it comes to 3-gun shooting, it is better to use a scope. The reason is simple. A good scope will allow you to adjust your settings for magnification and distance. A red dot can not be adjusted as easily. This makes the scope more useful in both mid-range and long range shooting.
The 3-Gun Competition
Now let’s take a closer look at 3 gun shooting competition. You will quickly see how the scope fits in.
A 3-gun shooting event has a set course at a range. You use 3 different guns throughout to attempt to hit various targets from different positions. The targets will be either close range and mid-range. You use a rifle, a pistol, and a shotgun. Your score is based on time minus penalties for missed targets. Each stage has assigned points that are based on the degree of difficulty. Simply put, the one who hits the most targets in the fastest time is the winner.
The AR 15 style rifle is the most popular choice for the rifle section. You definitely want to be sure that you purchase a decent 3-gun scope for your AR. The shotgun can be a pump-action gun. Actually, you should be aware that loading your shotgun on the timer is a big part of the competition. Be sure to always have extra shells with you.
As far as handguns, you will notice that many competitors prefer a 9mm. These are high-capacity guns, which is ideal when time is crucial. Be sure to bring at least 4 magazines and have belt-mounted magazine on hand. Typically 3 additional magazines are sufficient. You also should be sure that you have a 3-gun scope mount. The mount to be set up before beginning the course.
When putting together your 3-gun optics setup, you need to ensure that you have enough ammo to last you through the course. Accessories such as belts and pouches are also important. Once you begin, you need to be continue smoothly from one stage to the next.
And, of course, make sure you have the correct gun cases so that you can safely move from stage to stage. Having chamber flags on hand is great. They indicate when the guns are empty. Keep in mind, some ranges require the use of these flags.
3-gun shooting is rapidly gaining in popularity. It is an exciting sport that challenges you to quickly adapt to different targets, different distances, and different guns.
With planning, you can have the right equipment to be successful. Your score is based on how quickly and accurately you hit targets, so adding a scope can make all the difference.
Think about the guns you will be using and make sure that the scope you choose can be properly mounted. Then all you need to do is load up your equipment and head to the nearest course. Not sure where to do some 3-gun shooting? Ask at your local gun shop. You’ll be glad you did.