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Handgun optic review.

It wasn't too many years ago when scopes on handguns were looked upon rather derisively to say the least. Now they are being use extensively for two reasons. In competition as well as for hunting, scopes allow bullets to be placed much more precisely than with conventional iron sights and we have many handgun/cartridge combinations that will shoot far beyond the relatively short range of iron sights making it possible to cleanly take game at 150 yards or more.

Laser sights have been developing for over 20 years now and are readily available. Let's take a briefly look at many of the optics and mounts available to handgunners today.

Action Arms

Action Arms, long known for importing quality semi-automatics, now offers the handgunner a Micro-Dot 1.5-4x LER scope as well as a red dot laser scope of 4-12x. Handgun mounts are also provided by Action Arms.


A leader in the development of the battery operated red dot scope. Aimpoint allows handgunners to select from the the Aimpoint 5000 with a 3' dot or a larger MagDot, the Aimpoint 5000 2x combining a red dot with magnification, and the Aimpoint 3000 with an adjustable 2.5' red dot. New from Aimpoint is the LaserDot for semi-automatics and revolvers that projects a 1.5' dot. Mounting systems for all of these optics are also available.


Laser Systems

The extremely compact, battery-contained-in-grip, Laser Aimer comes from Applied Laser Systems and mounts under the barrel on revolvers and in front of the trigger guard of semi-automatics. Both a Duty Version for holster use as well as Standard Version for sporting and home defense use are offered.

Bausch & Lomb

Sports Optics

Long eye relief scopes in both blue and silver finish for the hunter and long range shooter come from Bausch & Lomb/Bushnell with both 2x and 4x offered under the B&L label. The Trophy Bushnell scope is offered in a standard 2x as well as a 2-6x variable. Both of the latter are also available in silver or blue finish.


B-Square is the place to find mounts for the hard-to-mount handgun or when one does not desire to tap the frame or to strap. B-Square mounts are available for most semi-autos and revolvers in clamp-on style and slice-on barrel mount style, as well as those that use the revolver's existing adjustable sight channel. There is even a mount for the Smith & Wesson J-Frame! Laser sights are also now coming from B-Square with the BSL sight.


Buehler's one-piece blue or stainless mount with 1-inch split rings is available for 15 different handguns, including the Freedom Arms .454 Casull. The Buehler mounting system is adjustable for windage.


Burris has long been providing hunters and silhoutters with LER Scopes and now offers a complete line of scopes in 1x, 2x, 3x, 4x, 1.5x, 2-7x, 3-9x plus two IER (intermediate eye relief) models in the 7x and 10x (Great for varminting with a .223 Contender!). Most models allow a choice of reticles and black or silver finish.

In addition to its line of pistol scopes, Burris provides rings and bases for most handguns including bases that mount on the ribbed barrel of Dan Wesson revolvers.


Conetrol, long know for quality rifle mounts, now offers handgun mounts for the XP, Dan Wesson, Smith & Wesson, all Ruger adjustable-sighted sixguns, and most silhouette pistols.


Not strictly an optical sight but more than a standard iron sight is the Meprolight Tritium Night Sight from HESCO. These three-dot style sights provide an illuminated sight picture at night and are warranted to last for a full 12 years.

Laser Devices

Laser Devices offers the Duty Grade Laser for semi-automatic pistols complete with a companion holster. The FA-4 Laserscope mounts under the barrel lug on Magnum revolvers.

Laser Products

Semi-automatics shooters will find a Laser Products laser sighting system offered for their handgun - be it anything from AMT to Taurus. The housing of the laser sight mounts below the barrel in front of the trigger guard. For revolvers, a short length of Weaver rail on the bottom of the barrel accepts the housing. All housings accept the Sure Fire Laser sight.

Leupold & Stevens

For the handgun hunter and long range shooter, Leupold & Stevens provides three LER scopes: 2x, 4x, and the latest, the Vari-X II 2.5-8x. Both black and silver finishes are offered. Mounts are also available from Leupold for most handguns.


Nikon, primarily a rifle scope maker in the past, now offers two scopes for handgunners. Satin silver or black finishes compliment the 2x and 1.5-4x Nikon LER scopes.


Magnum-Proof pistol scopes come from Redfield in both 2.5x and 4x in both black and nickel-plated finishes. Redfield scopes can be secured with the Three-Ring Redfield mounting system for S&W K, L, and N frames, T/C Contenders, Remington XPs, and Ruger revolvers.


Simmons is another rifle scope manufacturer relatively new to the pistol scope field. The Gold Medal Simmons handgun scopes are offered in 2x, 4x, and 2.5-7x. They have stood the test on the hard-kickin' HandCannons from SSK.


HandCannons come from SSK and the T-SOB mount was designed to keep scopes where they belong: on the gun. T-SOBs are custom-made for Magnum revolvers and T/C Contenders and are secured to the barrel and/or frame with six to eight screws and in turn secure the scope with three rings. Both standard-length and full-length models are available.


Stoeger Industries now offers handgunners the InterAims red dot sight in both 1-inch and 30mm diameters. Silver and black finishes are available and rings to accommodate either diameter come ready to clamp onto Weaver style bases.


Center Arms

Recoil Proof scopes from Thompson/Center come in both 2.5x and 2.5-7x models including a model with a battery operated lighted red dot. Both black and silver finishes are available. T/C's mounting systems include a rail mount that accepts a scope with an integral rail, a Duo-Ring solid steel base with integral rings, and the latest offering, the Quick Release system that allows rings and scope to be removed from one gun and installed on any other gun that has the proper base in matter of seconds.


TacStar's T1000 is billed as the world's smallest laser sight being only slightly larger than a loaded .45 ACP round. Measuring 1/2 inch in diameter by 1 1/2 inches in length, the T1000 is adaptable to both semi-automatics and revolvers. TacStar's T-2 and T-4 laser-sights are 2 3/4 inches in length and range 300 and 500 yards respectively. All TacStar's project a 1.5' red dot beam at 25 yards.


Tasco's 30mm pistol scopes comes as the PWC World Class 2x and 4x models in both black and matte aluminum finishes. Both weigh under 8 ounces and have eye relief distances of 11-20 and 12-19 inches respectively. For mounting Tasco handgun scopes, the Pro-Mount base is offered in both blue and silver finishes.


Weaver mount base systems are available for most Colt, Ruger, and Smith & Wesson revolvers with adjustable sights including the long-awaited latest offering for the Ruger Single-Six.

We've come a long way since noted handgun hunter A1 Goerg started experimenting with 1x Weaver rifle scopes on Magnum handguns in the 1960s. I personally now have scopes from Aimpoint, Bausch & Lomb, Bushnell, Burris, Leupold, Redfield, Simmons, Tasco, and Thompson/Center mounted on sixguns, semi-automatics, and single-shot handguns chambered for everything from .22 LR to .45-70.

Handgun scopes are definitely here to stay.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Publishers' Development Corporation
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:firearm sights
Author:Taffin, John
Publication:Shooting Industry
Date:Sep 1, 1993
Previous Article:A writer's preview from Weatherby.
Next Article:Handgun roundup 1993.

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