Guide: Scopes

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Guide: Scopes

Post by Moondog »

by Moondog

While they aren't strictly necessary to play airsoft (your airsoft gun can not fire farther than you can see with your naked eye.) Scopes are a common accessory for airsoft guns. But many folks don't know anything about buying one other than what they look like. So lets start with some basics.

Magnification and Size
You'll find most scopes have some numbers associated with them like: 2x20mm

The first number is magnification and the second number is the mm size of the objective glass (the front lens). The bigger the glass, the more light, clarity, and detail of the image. But it also makes for a much bigger and heavier scope.

Some scopes can adjust/zoom so will have multiple ranges of numbers such as a 3-9x40mm scope means it can adjust from 3x to 9x power.

I generally recommend a 3x or 4x scope for airsoft. This gives you a good mix of magnification and a wide field of view. With higher magnifications you're sacrificing speed because you're going to spend a lot more time fussing and finding your target. Even with 500fps sniper rifles, you will probably never need to use any scope more powerful than 6x.

A common newb mistake is to try high power on their scopes and just stand there fixated on a target and just get easily flanked or identified. Aisoft guns don't fire anywhere as far as real guns or even a good BB gun for that matter, so you will never really find high magnification useful in airsoft combat, unless you're out to count the nose hairs on your target.

Another specification to be aware of is 'eye relief' which is the distance your eye needs to be away from the back of the scope to resolve the image. You need some space in real steel rifles so the scope doesn't hit you in the eye from the recoil of the shot. In airsoft this is useful because we all wear eye-protection and you need at least a 2" eye relief so your goggles don't get in the way.

Most scopes come with a built in visual targeting system called the cross-hair or reticle. There are number of different types and for airsoft any type is fine.


Mil-Dot and other range-estimating reticles are designed for real steel rifles to help sharp shooters determine distance based on the size of a human target when viewed against the markings on the reticle. This is not really practical in airsoft but you can learn how they are used here:

Illumination and Red Dots
Some scopes come with internal lighting to illuminate the reticle or project a virtual cross-hairs or a dot of light. These were originally intended for use in low-light situations but are popular in airsoft for the look of extra dials on the scope. ... 2_180.html

Most red-dots for airsoft are non-magnified (1x) and are meant to be a more modern ergonomic form of iron sight. Real ACOGs are magnified but are much more expensive (over $1000), so airsoft 'replica' ACOGs are non-magnified.

Lens Covers and Sunshades
You want to protect glass of your scope when not in use or transport. Real sniper scopes can cost more than the rifle their mounted to. Elastic covers and caps are impractical for field use so most use flip-up covers. Some are see-through though the plastic distorts your view if you try and use it closed. Sunshades extend the front lip of the scope beyond the glass. This shades the glass to reduce glare.

Scope Rings and Mounts
The main body of a scope tube commonly comes in 1" (25mm) or 30mm sizes. Rings come in low, medium and hi-profile, which can also be see-through which may allow you to use your iron sights.
It's best to choose a mount that is taller than the objective diameter of your scope. ... 5_105.html
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