Riflescopes are supposed to be compact, or else you’ll end up with a rifle that feels like it has a brick tied to it. Your scope isn’t supposed to anchor your gun usually since it’s the one accessory that’s deemed necessary by gun enthusiasts for everyone to get.
A scope shouldn’t just improve how accurate you shoot or make your target bigger by lens magnification so that your chances of missing are diminished. Even true marksmen make use of lenses because their skills are further enhanced with the assistance of these devices, allowing them to shoot at crazy distances that are beyond the telescopic “scope” of their naked eye (pun intended).
Top 10 Best Compact Rifle Scopes
The Top Compact Best Rifle Scopes Around
- Nikon ProStaff Rimfire Black Matte Riflescope: You will see this model of riflescope in many a list, including this one discussing the most high-quality compact scopes you’ll ever find.
It has high ratings on Amazon, it’s perfect for rimfire rifles, loads of reviews vouch for its effectiveness, and it fulfills the most important metric of this list, which is its lightweight compactness. It doesn’t only offer more bang for your buck with 3x to 9x standard mid-range to long-range magnification plus a 40 millimeter objective lens diameter.
It’s all bundled in a nice, compact package that, when shipped, weighs about 1.9 pounds. The riflescope itself comes at a mobile, non-cumbersome, and usable 13.8 ounces.
The product also comes with the dimensions of 15.2 inches by 4 inches by 3.5 inches. It’s pretty small, which is why it belongs in this list. For something so small, you get a lot out of the scope, plus because it’s small, you’re actually acquiring benefits of ease of use (your rifle won’t weigh a ton when you install this scope).
Nikon ProStaff Rimfire 3-9 x 40 Black Matte Riflescope (BDC 150) also has 150 Bullet Drop Compensation, which means as your bullet drops due to gravity, windage, and long distances, you’ll have this quality Nikon scope compensate for all that automatically, thus ensuring a more accurate shot from what you can see from your scope and its reticle. There’s a lot less guesswork involved, in short.
- Nikon ProStaff Black Matte Riflescope: This is another compact riflescope of note. Available for under $200, this scope is a nice and compact one that weighs 12.5 ounces and has a size of 15.5 inches by 4 inches by 3.5 inches.
It’s as lightweight and small as you can get, although the Nikon ProStaff Rimfire Black Matte Riflescope is much smaller than it. As per usual of a Nikon product, this cost-effective scope gets high ratings in Amazon, has 2x to 7x magnification and a 32 millimeter objective lens diameter. Its compactness cannot be denied, but does it have the specs to make more than just a small scope? Yes, it most definitely does.
Sure, it has a shorter range than the ProStaff, but in exchange of that you’ll get a less expensive brand of scope with spring-loaded adjustment knobs and zero-reset turrets. The eye relief for this small scope is also generous at 3.8 inches. You won’t have to worry about recoil while taking a gander at your targeted game, clay pigeon, or varmint.
It also features an optical system that’s fully multicoated for the sake of maximum transmission of up to 98% of available light (a signature Nikon offering). It also covers the standards of fogproof performance by having an O-ring sealed housing that’s filled with dry nitrogen to ensure that no moisture will fog up your lenses.
- Nikon P-223 3-9×40 Mate BDC 600: As for this Nikon model of riflescope, it offers a $170 price, high Amazon customer ratings, and a 3x to 9x range for its magnification.
In regards to its compactness, it’s a little heavier than the more lightweight ProStaff models, the Rimfire and Black Matte versions. It weighs 1.1 pounds and its dimensions are 4 inches by 15.5 inches by 3.5 inches. It’s many times bigger and heavier than the average compact Nikon scope, but it makes up for its girth with its functionality or features. In particular, it has a BDC 600 reticle that was developed precisely for certain specific rounds or bullets.
It provides Bullet Drop Compensation for the 5.56 NATO or the .223 Rem round with a bullet that has a 55-grain polymer tip. This specialized reticle offers marksmen an edge due to its hash marks and open circle aiming points from 100 to 600 yards.
The click reticle adjustments of the scope allows you to zero in quicker with your target, plus the windage and elevation adjustments as well as the precise hand-turn zero-reset turrets with 1/4 MOA allow you to compensate for air resistance and gravity slowing down and skewing the trajectory of your bullet, thus ensuring a clean accurate shot every time. Again, the Nikon P-223 proves that just because a scope is small or “cheap” doesn’t mean it’s low-grade.
- Nikon P-223 3×32 Matte BDC Carbine: This version of the Nikon P-223 is for carbines and has a more limited magnification (but it covers a good 200 to 600 yards of distance). It’s also different in terms of weight and size.
This is more lightweight than the 1.1-pound Nikon P-223 3-9×40 Mate BDC 600, weighing 12.2 ounces. Furthermore, there’s a bit of size discrepancy as well, with the Nikon P-223 3×32 Matte BDC Carbine having the dimensions of 14.2 inches by 3.2 inches by 3.2 inches versus the Nikon P-223 3-9×40 BDC’s larger 4 inches by 15.5 inches by 3.5 inches. Aside from that, they’re virtually the same Nikon P-223 scope as far as specs go.
Both have a BDC reticle developed for .223 Rem or 5.56 NATO rounds with 55-gran polymer-tipped bullets. The hash marks on their crosshairs also cover 400 to 600 yards. They both offer maximum light transmission (up to 98%) thanks to the propriety and signature Nikon benefit of fully multicoated optical system.
Whether you’re hunting at dawn or dusk, you’ll have enough light to spare to locate your target; only an expensive night vision thermal scope can outdo the cost-effective Nikon in the low-light shooting department.
The zero-reset turrets of the Nikon P-223 3×32 Matte BDC Carbine also maintain your setting with automatic zeroing-in on targets. You will not have issues with this AR-15-recommended scope.
- NIKON BDC 600 8489 Riflescope: The NIKON M-223 BDC 600 8489 3-12x42SF Riflescope (Black) is as compact but weighty, offering 1.2 pounds of mobile action from a frame with dimensions of 15 inches by 3 inches by 3 inches. It’s small but heavy, but not too heavy.
This dense package of a BDC 600 riflescope includes the ever-dependable Bullet Drop Compensation 600 reticle that has hash marks and open circle aiming points galore for 100 to 600 yards, which means marksmen don’t have to make guessed estimates thanks to how detailed their targeting crosshairs are. Its magnification range is wider than the average (and recommended) range of 3x to 9x—it’s instead 3x to 12x.
There are three levels extra magnification included. What’s more, the scope also comes with 92% light transmission (weaker than the 98% of other models, but it’s still close) from its multi-coated optics and a long eye relief so that you won’t have to worry about scope recoil damaging your eye and whatnot.
It’s also quite tough because its tube is made of aircraft-grade aluminum. In other words, it’s a scope that uses the same light yet durable material that you find in airplanes everywhere. Any rifle action you might have regardless of caliber, the scope should be able to mount it. Even if you’re dealing with magnum-length actions, the compact Nikon BDC 600 8489 Riflescope should have it covered.
- UTG 30mm SWAT 3-12X44 Compact IE Scope: Let’s talk about a non-Nikon compact scope for a change. There are other brands out that that make compact, lightweight scopes that don’t weigh a ton, chief among them UTG and its UTG 30mm SWAT 3-12X44 Compact IE Scope.
This scope has a 30-millimeter objective, weighs 1.4 pounds, and has the product dimensions of 10.4 inches by 1.6 inches by 2.1 inches. Its magnification range is about as impressive as that found in the Nikon BDC 600 8489 Riflescope. It’s heavier than it too. It has what’s called a tactical range, such that you’re extending way beyond standard hunting range and going into military-grade operation range.
You need a longer range when hitting someone who also has a gun and a scope. For something that weighs 1.4 pounds, it has a smaller, slimmer body than the Nikon BDC 600 8489. This might be because of its emerald-coated glasses, flip-open lens cap, 30-millimeter SWAT tactical range objective tube, mil-dot EZ Tap reticle with full 36-color variation, nitrogen-filled body that’s sealed to ensure fogproof or weatherproof operation, and durable frame that’s also shockproof to boot.
Its objective lens diameter is a wide 44 millimeters and it even has an angled front sunshade. Even under heavy recoil, this compact little scope can take every blast. Your illumination will remain uninterrupted thanks to how the scope is designed.
- UTG 3-9×32 Compact CQB Bug Buster: As for the $83 Bug Buster by UTG, it’s a 3x to 9x kind of riflescope with an unusual name but otherwise an effective addition to this compact scope list.
The UTG 3-9×32 Compact CQB Bug Buster AO RGB Scope with Med. Picatinny Rings, 2″ Sunshade, as its full title on Amazon.com showcases, is filled with all sorts of quality specs that justify its inclusion in this special list.
The main claim to fame it has though is its compactness or or smallness. It weighs 13.9 ounces and comes with the petite dimensions of 9.8 inches by 3.4 inches by 3.9 inches. Like the UTG 30mm SWAT, it’s built on UTG’s True Strength Platform.
This means you can expect some shockproof durability from this scope that could take the rugged outdoors or the shocking recoil of every shot from your rifle. As per usual with modern scopes, it’s nitrogen-filled and completely sealed. It’s also waterproof and rainproof in case you have to head out and do an Amazon jungle or tropical type of hunting operation with your firearm.
Whether you’re police, military, marksman, hunter, or simply a gun owner who wants to shoot it out at the shooting range from time to time, the Bug Buster is the perfect compact scope for you, or at the very least it gives the rest of these scopes in this list a run for their money.
- Bushnell AR Optics FFP AR 223: For about $200, you can get your own close-range 1x to 4x optics or riflescope for scouting and camouflage hunting purposes.
Not every scope and rifle should be used for long-range sniping. Compact scopes like this 1.1 pound one with dimensions of 9.5 inches by 3.8 inches by 3.1 inches can give you high quality close-range scout hunting action, filling in all sorts of tactical scenarios with its reliability and accuracy.
It’s optically precise, ruggedly durable, and uncompromising in its overall performance, such that it can push the AR gun platform to its outmost limits. The Bushnell AR Optics 1-4x 24mm BTR-1 comes complete with BDC or Bullet Drop Compensation.
It’s optimized for 5.56 rounds with its ballistics-calibrated crosshairs or reticle. With BDC, as previously established, you can get accurate aiming and ranging with no need for guesswork at 600 meters. What’s more, you can do lightning quick power changes thanks to the throw down PCL lever.
It does have a few things you should watch out for, like the fact that the erector cap assembly might limit your chances of using low scope rings on riflescopes that are of the AR Optics variety. All the same, it still has peerless accuracy with its caliber-specific reticle that compensates for bullet drops due to gravity and air resistance (which is in turn further dealt with through your windage and elevation knobs).
- Vortex® StrikeFire Red Dot Rifle Scope: This $99 value of a riflescope for guns like the AR-15 is available to you at 7.2 ounces, making it quite the light and compact scope to have.
Of course, if lightness is the only thing you’re looking for in a scope, then these reviews would be much shorter and would probably be mostly reduced to charts and tables.
What the Vortex StrikeFire Red Dot Rifle Scope brings to the table other than AR-15 suitability includes the ability to switch colors of your light and the dot intensity of your reticle or crosshairs (which can have the diameter of 4 MOA if you wish). This adjustability depends on your surroundings.
If you have to deal with different viewing conditions, having color adjustments can be beneficial for those instances as well. One particular benefit in Vortex StrikeFire that you won’t see in a Nikon, UTG, and Bushnell is its unlimited eye relief (usually something that’s present in an open sight) that allows you to quickly acquire your target as soon as you see any sign of it in your scope.
Aside from parallax adjustment, you’re ensured of parallax-free operation past 50 yards. This unique compact scope also has a 2x double to provide more detailed viewing, although obviously this means you can’t do long-range shooting with this scope and certain other close-range scopes even have better ranges than this one.
- FSI Sniper 6-24x50mm Rifle Scope: It’s probably the heaviest compact scope here at2.5 pounds. It’s still quite the compact scope, though.
It got into this list because it has a huge magnification range (and requisite parallax safeguards) from 6x to 24x. It also costs under $100, which is a good deal for a scope that’s called the FSI Sniper 6-24x50mm Scope withFront AO Adjustment.
In other words, you’ll have your fill of quality specs galore, from its huge 50-millimeter objective diameter to its AO adjustment with Mil-Dot reticle that has three color options (red, blue, and green). It also comes complete with a heavy duty ring mount and extended sunshade to boot.
The price and the smallness so it won’t make your rifle weigh a ton aren’t the only things that the FSI Sniper 6-24x50mm Rifle Scope has going for it. It works on many calibers and rifle types, like the Rem 700 .30-06.
Its magnification is quite impressive too; many times higher than what you’d get from a standard Nikon. It also has four screws per ring for its set of rings, has ruggedness that allows for a good ergonomic grip, and offers everything you need is in the box. You can try it with turrets or without (just don’t forget the turret locks that needs relocking after every adjustment).
Nikon dominates the list with its continuous budget offerings that never feel like downgrades thanks to propriety multi-coated lenses that you can also see in their world-famous cameras.
There’s also a couple of UTG offerings and separate ones from Bushnell, Vortex, and FSI. At any rate, a good scope ensures that every shot is easily adjustable, from elevation to windage, thus the guesswork of shooting is removed, leaving you with only precision action. What’s more, just because it’s compact doesn’t mean it should break from use and recoil. Finally, choose your scope in accordance to your needs and the type of rifles you have.