Sport shooting is enjoying a huge boost in popularity. With more people heading to the range and learning how to shoot, it is no surprise that competitions are growing as well.
The sport of 3-gun shooting is becoming more well known. This sport involves following a course at the range and each stage requires you to use a different gun. You will use a rifle, shotgun and pistol. Typically, the targets are mid-range and close range with an occasional target at 500 yards.
This competition requires speed and accuracy. To help increase your accuracy, it is a good idea to use a scope. The challenge is to pick a scope that is flexible and allows you to quickly mount and use it.
Let’s take a look at Top 10 best scopes for 3-gun shooting.
If you’re in a hurry and 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 you may encounter. Some targets might be paper, others might be metal and 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 be able to help you quickly adapt to your range. 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 and 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. It will also be one that can quickly and easily be mounted.
Since the scoring of 3 gun shooting is based on accuracy and speed, a good scope will help you maintain accuracy. And since you do not know what distance or targets you will encounter, you need to be prepared for any eventuality. In fact, 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 5 different divisions. Depending on your skill level or what types of guns and accessories you want to use, you will be placed in the proper division.
This is considered to be the beginner level. The equipment requirements for this division are the lightest, too. In this division you can have one unmagnified optic on your rifle (iron sights or red dot), and you cannot use a bipod. You cannot use optics on your shotgun, however it can be semi-automatic or pump. The ammo must also be loaded by hand.
The main difference between this division and the Limited is that the optics on the rifle can be magnified. This division is the most popular.
3. Heavy Metal / He Man
To compete in this category, your rifle must be 7.62 or larger and you can only use iron sights. Your shotgun must be a 12-gauge pump and you can only use iron sights. The handgun has to be a .45 ACP or larger and no optics.
In this division your handgun magazine has to be 171.25mm in length or shorter. You can also use a speed loader for your handgun during stages.
Anything goes in this division as long as it is safe.
Things to Consider Before Purchasing a Scope
When you purchase a scope for 3 gun shooting, you want to be sure it is versatile enough for the competition. It is important to keep the following in mind when you go looking to purchase a scope.
Remember that 3 gun competitions make use of both mid-range and close-range targets, and sometimes at a distance of up to 500 yards. So be sure your scope has an adjustable magnifications range. You also need to remember that you will not know the course layout ahead of time. It is a good idea to choose a scope with low-power magnification simply because higher magnification levels can be distorting when you are trying to shoot fast.
Choose a scope with a 1X magnification; this will not cause distortion. When you look through the scope it should be the same view as when you are looking with your eyes. Picking a scope that can be adjustable between 1-8X is a good choice because it will allow you to see close targets normally and magnify targets that are farther away.
Most of the time, plane choice is strictly personal preference choice. Just remember that with the first-focal plane, you will be enlarging the reticle when you increase the magnification. When you use the second-focal plane the reticle does not change no matter how much magnification you add.
Having an illuminated dot can be very helpful. It will quickly draw your eye to the center. It also helps you to see in any light condition.
4. Eye Relief and Eye Box
The eye box on a scope is the space that you are able to move your head around and still be able to view your target through the scope. Keep in mind that there are scopes that require you to be aligned with the center of the lens in order to be able to view the target through it.
During a 3 gun competition, this can slow you down. If you have a larger eye box, it will allow you to see through both the scope quicker and at different angles which will allow you get a perfect shot that much faster.
Eye relief is important too. This is the distance your eye needs to be from the lens in order for you to see a full image through the scope. The shorter the eye relief, the closer to the target you will need to be.
A longer eye relief will allow you to easily view your target through the lens at a further distance. This is helpful in 3 gun shooting because you can find and shoot at your target quicker and more accurately.
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
This 3-gun scope by Vortex is a great choice for you. The scope helps you to clearly sight your target in just about any lighting situation. Do not worry about shooting in low light conditions since this scope comes with 11 different illumination levels. You also have great magnification options as well with the Razor HD. You will find that it is simple to switch between 1x and 6x magnification, so you won’t lose valuable time between the targets.
Bushnell Tactical Elite
This scope is designed to be a high-performance optic that helps you sight accurately and quickly. In 3 gun shooting you want accuracy and speed. It has a 1-8.5x magnification so you can be sure that you can adjust for almost any target situation.
The Bushnell scope also has an illuminated first-focal-plane reticle, which will help you to see your target in any light condition. Although this scope costs a bit more money, for the experienced shooter it is worth the investment. In addition, it also comes with a lifetime warranty.
Weaver Tactical Illuminated Range Scope
This scope by Weaver is a serious option for those looking for a solid scope. It is capable of giving you true 1x magnification at the lowest setting and can be adjusted up to 5x magnification. The Weaver Tactical is ideal for shooting at both mid-range and close-range targets. The illuminated first focal-plane reticle will ensure that you can sight and shoot your target accurately.
The flexibility of the magnification levels makes it ideal for a scope for 3 gun shooting because it allows you to shoot targets that are at a variety of distances.
This scope allows you to quickly and easily sight and center in on every target that you encounter, which helps you to maximize your shooting. It is perfect for competition. It also comes with a lifetime warranty so it is one less thing to worry about.
Vortex Optics Crossfire Red Dot
This scope is a good choice for 3-gun competitions for several reasons. The scope is affordable, it has a true 1x magnification that will not distort your sight, and it has an illuminated reticle. Vortex is a leader in the industry and their products are always top of the line.
This is perfect for beginners or anyone who is looking for a solid scope for 3-gun shooting. Thanks to the true 1x magnification, you will be able to see your target clearly without any distortion. This is key for competition.
You should be aware, however, that there aren’t any focal plane adjustments in this scope. This should not be an issue for beginners in 3-gun competitions. This scope is a solid option for a 3-gun scope under $500. As with all of their products, Vortex offers you a lifetime warranty so you know you will be covered.
Kahles Optics K161
This scope is a great choice for 3 gun shooting thanks to the 1-6x magnification and its illuminated second focal-plane reticle. It is also constructed to be is fog proof and waterproof, which is helpful for performing in all kinds of weather conditions.
The Kahles Optics K161 is a powerful scope that is constructed from durable materials. Since this scope is built to go the distance, it will give you years of use for your 3-gun shooting.
Not only does this scope have good sight, it can be used for either left- or right-hand shooters while still allowing you to easily spot your targets.
This scope does cost a bit more than others, but most gun owners consider optics and accessories to be an investment. This scope does come with a lifetime warranty, so you know your investment will be protected.
Trijicon Accupoint Scope
The Trijicon Accupoint scope features a multi-coated lens, which gives you fantastic clarity and absolutely no distortion when viewing your target. The magnification is 1-6x, which is helpful for many different types of targets.
The illuminated second focal-plane reticle is perfect for you to be able to quickly center your gun, sight and shoot your target. It will adjust the brightness automatically depending on your light conditions.
The illumination feature is powered by fiber optics. This construction gives you a crystal-clear image all the time. This scope allows you to quickly and accurately sight your target.
The Accupoint by Trijicon should be considered one of the top 3-gun scopes on the market today. In spite of all that it offers, it is reasonably priced. Like other brands, Trijicon also offers a lifetime warranty to its customers.
Bushnell AR Optics Drop Zone Reticle
The Bushnell AR scope has a 1-4x magnification. It is also designed with a fast focus eyepiece. This scope is made for maintaining maximum accuracy and reliability when you are on the range. It is ideal for 3 gun shooting because it is perfect for using for both close range and mid-range targets.
This scope by Bushnell is constructed from durable aluminum alloy that is also lightweight, making it an ideal lightweight 3-gun scope. This is crucial since it will not add extra weight to your rifle but will still be able to handle wear and tear. Although this scope isn’t meant to handle long range shooting, it is ideal for 3-gun competitions since the maximum distance will be about 500 yards and it can handle that range just fine.
You will find that this scope is designed to ensure that you have accuracy and can sight your target every time. It is an affordable scope too, which makes it a nice piece for beginners. Be aware that this scope does not have a focal plane or illuminated reticle. And as always, Bushnell scopes come with a lifetime warranty.
Burris FastFire III
The Burris Fastfire scope is manufactured to help you sight targets quickly and accurately. The magnification is a true 1x which mean you will not experience any distortion when viewing at different distances. The reticle on this scope is illuminated and the bright red dot will help you to sight the center of your target quickly so that you can shoot accurately.
Since speed is an important component of 3-gun competitions, that is why this scope is a solid choice for you. Just be aware that you will not have any higher magnification options, which would help you sight targets that are at a further distance. Burris gives its customers a “forever warranty” for their products, with no questions asked, so you know your scope is covered and can go the distance.
This scope from Barska is a nice tool to help you with shooting long distances thanks to the 3-9x magnification and the illuminated reticle. The Barska scope is designed with a large eye box and eye relief, which is helpful to sight your target quickly without having to have your vision perfectly aligned.
Shooting at long ranges will be easy with this scope. You have the option to turn up the magnification as high as 9x, which is more than some other scopes. Keep in mind it can make it trickier to sight targets at close range since there is no 1x magnification option.
The Barska scope is manufactured to be fog proof and waterproof so you can use it easily in all types of weather. This scope is available for purchase at a reasonable price making it a good option for 3-gun competitions. Like other brands of scopes, it also comes with a lifetime warranty.
This scope from Eotech has some nice features and it is available to purchase at a reasonable price point. You will find that this scope is constructed with a true 1x magnification that has zero distortion and includes a new sighting system which helps you to sight your target accurately every single time.
This scope is designed to be water resistant, so the weather will not be a factor. It is constructed with an unlimited eye relief and comes with 20 different brightness settings to keep you shooting accurately and efficiently in every single kind of light conditions. However, this scope is only backed by a 10-year warranty, which is considerably less than other brands.
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 when using a first focal plane, the image itself becomes greatly magnified. When this happens, it makes it harder to view, and might actually obscure, some smaller 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” or covered over. This is ideal because 3-gun shooting involves being able to hit 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 a more useful option when it comes to both mid-range shooting and long range shooting.
The 3 Gun Competition
Now let’s take a closer look at 3 gun shooting competition and see how it all ties together.
A 3-gun shooting event is comprised of a set of course at a range. You will use 3 different guns at different stages and you will attempt to hit various targets, both close range and mid-range along the way from different position. You will use a rifle, a pistol and a shotgun. Your score will be based on time minus penalties for missed targets. Each stage will have assigned points which 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 of the competition. So, you want to be sure that you 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 to use 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 carry cases on hand; a least 3 additional magazines are sufficient. You also should be sure that you have a 3-gun scope mount that is appropriate for your gun. This should be done before starting the course.
When putting together your 3-gun optics setup, you need to also make sure that you have enough ammo to last you through the course and any other accessories such as belts and pouches. Once you start the course, you want to be able to 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. It is a good idea to also have chamber flags on hand to indicate they are in fact empty. Some ranges do require the use of these flags.
The sport of 3-gun shooting is rapidly gaining in popularity among seasoned shooters and beginners. 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 at this competition. Since you will earn a score based on how quickly and accurately you hit targets, adding a scope can be a very good idea.
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.