There are certain accessories you will probably need to get your hands on when entering any shooting competition: an accommodating gun belt, a fitting holster, eye and ear protection, and a lasting supply of ammunition. If you don’t already have these, make sure to pick them up. Then there are the accessories you might not think of at first glance, such as three gun competition scopes.

3 Gun Competition
3 Gun Competition

In the old days, gun competitions were fairly straightforward. You set up targets, get into position, aim, and then shoot. These days, there are matches specifically designed for certain firearms, types of shooters, and various terrains and conditions. Some events require a shooter to transition between several firearms. A very important accessory which you will most likely need is a telescopic sight, also known as a scope.

Some competitions are geared only towards pistols and shotguns, and you will probably be less inclined to use a scope in those scenarios. When will you need one? More often than not, it is at events where the rifle is the weapon being used. One of the most popular shooting activities is the famous 3-gun competition, which makes use of handguns, shotguns, and rifles. This sport has been making quite a comeback, and millions of Americans are choosing to participate in 3-gun (or other multi-gun) competitions across the nation.

Intended Use and Personal Preference

So, what kinds of scopes should you check out, if you are interested in becoming a multi-gun competitor? Mostly, it depends on you. Scopes, like any other firearm accessory, are subject to two main considerations: intended use and personal preference.

Burris XTR Series scope
Burris XTR Series scope

When it comes to intended use, you’d want a scope which can give you several degrees of magnification. This is because in multi-gun competitions, a shooter must move through various stages, fire at a wide range of targets, and engage them from different firing positions. Some targets are near, and some are far. Some competition stages occur with more daylight, and some with less. Ideally, you want to have a scope versatile enough to handle whatever you throw at it – a scope which has varying powers of magnification, and a rather large objective lens for maximum light-gathering. Alternatively, a very high-quality fixed lens could also be used.

Personal preference is another contributing factor. Some scopes may be awesome for lots of people, but not for you. It doesn’t matter what anyone says, you need a scope which you are comfortable with. Some competitions last for days at a time, and if you want to see a competition to the end, you need to trust your weapons and their respective accessories.

Quality scopes cost money. No two ways about it. If you get a cheap scope, you may get less than adequate results. If you want your scope to be able to deliver, then be ready to pay for it. The glass has to be flawless, the dials need to be precise, and the scope’s materials need to be durable enough to handle all kinds of conditions and terrains. This is not to say that there are absolutely no moderately-priced scopes that get the job done. Those do exist, but the rule of thumb is that the scope should probably cost more than the rifle on which it is mounted.

It is difficult to gauge the top scopes, since every shooter has a preference. But, these are some of the most popular competition scopes available today:

Burris’ XTR Series

The Burris XTR Series are a line of high quality riflescopes with wide range of magnification abilities. These come with options of front-, rear-, and dual-focal-plane reticles. The adjustment dials/turrets and reticles are all very precise, and it makes this series a go-to for any competition.

Bushnell’s Elite Tactical Series

Bushnell Elite Tactical Series scope
Bushnell Elite Tactical Series scope

The Bushnell Elite Tactical Series line was developed alongside experts in the field of military, law enforcement, and competitive shooting. The optics are top notch, with advanced reticle designs and rugged housing. This series is fit for many different situations – from taking down bad guys, through hunting wild game, to reaching that coveted first place spot in a difficult match.

Leupold’s VX-6 Series

The Leupold VX-6 Series is a unique and fine representation of what is considered by many to be some of the best and most innovative optical accessories on the market today. Leupold’s powerful zoom and clear, bright image make it so you feel as though the targets are right next to you.

In competition, you have to keep up and be constantly on your toes. Conditions may change, and failures may occur – so you have to be ready for anything, if you are to continue to the next round, the next stage, the next match. Choosing the right scope for competitive matches can be a difficult thing to do, but as long as you know what it is that you are looking for (intended use and personal preference), you will be able to navigate through the many different optics out there, and be able to tell if what you are being offered or suggested is worth your time and money.

You Get What You Pay For

Many times, a good scope can cost between $1000 and $2000, and even up to $3500. There is a golden rule which is usually applicable: the more expensive a scope is, the better quality it is.

Please note, this doesn’t necessarily mean you should automatically go for the most expensive scopes out there. However, it is definitely something to consider. Anything under $300-$400 is probably not even worth looking into. The high quality of glass, the craftsmanship, the materials, and the details on the scope are what cause its price to shoot up. The differences between the cheaper and more expensive scopes are clearly noticeable, even after a quick 10 or 20 at your local range or field.

Leupold VX-6 Series scope
Leupold VX-6 Series scope

Competition shooting is gaining a lot of popularity, and an adoring crowd. You want to get in on the fun? By all means, do. Competitions (multi-gun ones, as well as others) are popping up everywhere. And if you want to make the most out of your competitive shooting (and even take aim at some of the large cash prizes involved…) then get yourself a quality scope. Many of these scopes come with lifetime warranties, because we are dealing with sensitive equipment which costs thousands of dollars.

So go ahead, jump on board, and get your trigger time on. There are several organizations whose purposes are to raise awareness of the various events going on. Shooting competitions can be very challenging, very fulfilling, and tons of fun. Just remember to stay safe, for your sake and for the sake of your loved ones.

Nate M.

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