NcStar Scope Review: Helping You Set Your Sights on the Target

With the fall hunting season right around the corner, now is the time to find a scope that helps you set your sights on the target so you can be prepared when the time comes. It’s time to take advantage of the end-of-summer lull to find the scope that upgrades your rifle and perfects your shot. But which one to buy? One of the more popular options on the market is the focus of this NcStar Scope review. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know about the NcStar Scope and others like it so you can make the best choice possible.

Got your eye on the target? Let’s get started!

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What Is the NcStar Scope?

Like any other scope, the NcStar Scope is an additional attachment to your rifle that helps you see distant targets better. Scopes like these are often called precision scopes or sniper scopes and are usually appropriate for any kind of hunting rifle that can handle an additional attachment. Scopes like these are easy to use and easy to install.


In this NcStar Scope review, we have discovered that the NcStar Scope does have some special features that set it apart from other scopes. The NcStar Scope is part of a family of tactical scopes for rifles that can be mounted or dismounted at any time. The difference between the NcStar Scope and its predecessors is the red dot sight and the upgrades to the lens magnification, which has sharpened and perfected the view of the sighting through the scope for any distance.


The NcStar scope is a moderately small size and made completely of metal, so it might be heavier than other scopes with similar functions. However, the NcStar Scope is easy to use, easy to look at, and easy to install, which definitely sets it apart from its competitors.

Product Specs

With an ultimate sighting system, the NcStar Scope combines the best features of a classic tactical scope with a backup red dot sight, which makes this particular scope great for close sighting and long distance.


The scope also has multi-coated lenses designed for better brightness and clarity, along with a red and green illuminated sniper reticle with multiple brightness settings. The NcStar Scope also has open target turrets, a bullet drop compensator, a rotating mount, and a quick focus eye-piece.


For tactical scopes, there can be a great variation in price. Usually, getting a scope that does everything you need and does everything well means spending at least $75 or more. You can’t skimp on the quality of your scope if you expect it to last and serve your needs.


That said, some scopes come in under $100, while others price upward of $1000. If the price of a scope makes you cringe, you should remember that scopes are investments that are meant to last several years, and that there are certainly more inexpensive options if hunting is a casual hobby.

How It Compares

We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare to the NcStar Scope reviewed here.

  • Bushnell Elite Tactical
  • Nightforce NXS
  • Vortex Optics Diamondback

Product Comparison Table

NcStar Scope Review

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  • Ease of Use
  • Assembly Time
  • Design Quality 
  • Durability

The NcStar Scope has an integrated, Weaver-style quick release that makes it easy to mount or dismount the scope at a moment’s notice. The scope also has a rotating mount so you are able to use the scope off-center if you want. The red dot sight makes it very easy to center your vision on the target.

 5 Stars

The NcStar Scope comes already assembled and ready for mounting.

4 Stars

It’s undeniable that the NcStar Scope reviewed here is nicer looking than many other scopes on the market. While clearly a military-inspired tactical scope, the NcStar Scope has a simplistic design with a matte black finish that doesn’t look like a complete eyesore on your rifle.

5 Stars

The NcStar Scope is made completely of metal and weighs about 1 pound. Overall, the scope is very durable and can handle some rough handling. There have been issues with the top cap falling off, but the NcStar company is quick with any replacements.

 4 Stars


  • Good for short and long distance
  • Easy mounting
  • Red dot sighting


  • Heavy
  • Might need replacement parts
  • Some assembly required

Bushnell Elite Tactical Review

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If you’re looking for a military grade scope, then look no further than the Bushnell Elite Tactical scope. The Bushnell Elite Tactical scope has multi-coated lens optics for light transmission and clarity, a rain guard anti-fog technology, adjustable magnification power, a milhash marked first focal plane, and a throw hammer throw lever for quick adjustment. Everything about the Bushnell Elite Tactical scope is top-notch and high quality. This scope is ideal for ranging, holdover, and windage correction.

  • Ease of Use
  • Assembly Time
  • Design Quality 
  • Durability

​With so many features on the scope, using the scope may present something of a challenge at first. However, once you are used to the adjustments that can be made to the lens and the mill hashed marks on the first focal plane, then everything else about the scope becomes a breeze. Overall, the Bushnell is pretty easy to use.

 4 Stars

There is some assembly required for this scope while it is being mounted, which can mean that assembly and adjustment time can take a while.

4 Stars

The Bushnell Elite Tactical scope is sleek. Once mounted, the scope is a subtle telescopic shape that doesn’t add too much weight to your rifle and doesn’t take up a lot of space. Ultimately, the Bushnell looks as nice as it functions.

5 Stars

This Bushnell scope is an investment that is high on durability and will last a long time with the right care and use.

 5 Stars


  • Rain guard and sunshade lens
  • Adjustable magnification power
  • Mil hashed marks on first focal plane


  • Expensive
  • Long, large scope
  • Can be confusing for beginners to use

Nightforce NXS Review

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The Nightforce NXS scope is another military grade tactical scope with a price tag to match. The ultimate in long range tactical scopes, the Nightforce NXS has features like a 56mm objective lens, a fully adjustable magnification, and an illuminated reticle. The scope also has Zero Stop Turrets, .250 MOA, and a 30mm tube.


This is a scope that is ideal for long-range hunting of small game, such as ground squirrels, and works best if you need to track minute movements across a long distance. This is the perfect choice for the hunter who wants the best sight possible without any extra fuss.

  • Ease of Use
  • Assembly Time
  • Design Quality 
  • Durability

​This scope is all about long distance sighting, and it approaches this problem with a very low-frill objective lens with fully adjustable magnification that is excellent for long range targets and great for close range targets. The clarity of the lens is aided by the illuminated reticle, so the scope can be used in many different lighting settings.

 5 Stars

THe Nightforce NXS comes nearly fully assembled, so all you need to do it mount it on your rifle.

5 Stars

Like the previous scope, the Nightforce NXS is a scope with a sleek design and a matte black finish that makes for a subtle addition to any rifle.

5 Stars

The Nightforce NXS is so durable there is even a video online proving how much abuse the scope can take before it finally sees any damage. This scope is also moderately weighted and made entirely of metal.

 5 Stars


  • Great for long-range hunting
  • 56mm objective lens
  • Illuminated reticle


  • Expensive
  • No additional lens features

Vortex Optics Diamondback Review

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If you aren’t interested on mounting anything on your rifle but you still want an improved sight while hunting, then the Vortex Optics Diamondback Binoculars are a great option for you. Unlike the other scopes in this NcStar Scope review, the Vortex binoculars are not limited to being used with a rifle mount.


The Vortex binoculars have an o-ring seal to protect from moisture and debris, anti-fog technology, fully coated glass for better light transmission, adjustable eyecups, both a center focus wheel and a right eyepiece diopter, rainguard, and tethered objective lens covers. These binoculars really have it all and are ideal for hunting as well as birdwatching, hiking, or other outdoor activities.

  • Ease of Use
  • Assembly Time
  • Design Quality 
  • Durability

​These binoculars are truly very easy to use. They are fully adjustable for eye width and for different clarity in each eye. The Vortex Optics Diamondback binoculars are a high tech, easy-to-use set that delivers better light transmission and weatherproofing without additional fuss. Overall, the adjustable center focus wheel and right eyepiece diopter make these binoculars easy to use for everyone – including those who wear glasses.

 5 Stars

There is no assembly time for these binoculars. The Vortex Optics Diamondback binoculars come out of the box fully assembled and ready for use. The most you will have to do is adjust the sight and the comfort neck strap that is included in the purchase.

5 Stars

Despite all the features these binoculars have, their overall design leans more toward the minimalist side of things. With a small, lightweight, and narrow design, these binoculars have a matte black finish and a plan neck strap for a simplistic design.

5 Stars

At just under 2 pounds, these Vortex Optics Diamondback binoculars are about as durable as binoculars get. The multi-coated glass and weatherproofing features on the binoculars mean that they will last for several years, which means these binoculars are a worthwhile investment regardless of what you will use them for.

 5 Stars


  • Ideal for hunting, birdwatching, and hiking
  • Rainguard and anti-fog technology
  • Center wheel focus and right eyepiece diopter


  • Cannot be mounted on a rifle
  • Not hands free
  • Some people experience headaches using these


We’ve talked about a lot of scopes in this NcStar Scope review. For rifle mounted tactical scopes, the best brands are also the most expensive and are typically referred to as military grade scopes. The Bushnell and the Nightforce scopes are both military grade scopes made to be mounted on rifles. The Bushnell sets itself apart by having a milhash marked first focal plane and additional weatherproofing features for clarity in all conditions.


The Nightforce NXS scope is the ultimate long-range scope that keeps things simple but has an incomparable illuminated reticle and easy clarity tracking features that are frankly the envy of all other long distance scopes.


However, the downside of all of these scopes is the steep price. If you are a casual hunter or someone with a budget, these scopes are likely out of your price range even for a one-time investment. Even for all these cool features, most hunters don’t have the pocket change to drop a few hundred dollars on a scope to help them see better.

soldier using a rifle scope

Image source: pixabay


The NcStar

Luckily, the feature product in our NcStar Scope Review is the answer to this dilemma. Who said that great scopes have to be expensive?


The NcStar Scope is an affordable, full range tactical scope that comes at an affordable price. Unlike other scopes of the same class, the NcStar can upgrade the sight on your rifle without making a massive dent in your wallet. The NcStar Scope has a rotating, quick release mount and a red dot sight that will help you make sure every shot counts. Our final verdict for the NcStar Scope is a full 5 Star rating: this scope is effective, easy to use, easy to mount, and easy on your wallet. If you want a scope that delivers a better close and distance sighting for hunting, then look no further than the NcStar Scope

What Is a Prism Scope? Doing Away With Traditional Lenses to Focus an Image

The ideal goal of every shooter is to achieve a one-shot kill. For those shooters who only concentrate on paper targets, their ideal goal is to hit the target exactly where they intended to hit. The chances of achieving the ideal goal are greatly enhanced when shooters choose to mount and use scopes on their firearms. The question then becomes, should they do away with traditional lenses to focus an image or should they try a newer alternative? Read on to discover the answer to the question ‘What is a prism scope’?

​What Is a Prism Scope?

A prism scope is an aiming device that uses a prism to focus an image coming through the scope rather than the series of lenses used in a traditional scope. Prism scopes are usually more compact and limited to the lower range magnifications between 1X and 5X. Size and lower magnification range makes them ideal for tactical rifles such as AR-15s. They often serve as alternatives to other short-range optics, such as red dot sights.

The best way to answer the question ‘What is a prism scope?’ is by breaking down the basic concept of a prism scope and comparing and contrasting it to a traditional multi-lens scope. The advantages of doing away with traditional lenses to focus an image by utilizing a prism scope can then be discussed.

​What Is a Prism?

Those of you sharpshooters out there that can already answer the question ‘what is a prism scope?’ may need to take a break while we begin at the beginning. In geometry, a prism is a figure that has two similar, equal end-faces, parallel rectilinear figures and parallelogram sides. For this discussion, a prism is a glass or other transparent object the shape of a triangular prism with refracting surfaces at acute angles to each other so that white light is separated into a spectrum of colors.

 What Is a Traditional Multi-Lens Scope?

In order to answer the question ‘what is a prism scope?’ we need to compare it to the traditional multi lens scope.


A traditional rifle scope is similar to a miniature telescope. A series of lenses within the tube or body of the scope focuses light in a specific location. The lens closest to the end of the barrel is called the objective lens. The lens closest to the shooter is called the ocular lens. The purpose of the objective lens is to transmit light back to the ocular lens. The ocular lens magnifies the light from the focal point.


When the shooter looks through the ocular lens, the light illuminates the focal point of the target. Rifle scopes also have reticles, which are also called the crosshairs. These are markers inside the scope that show the shooter where the shot will go (hopefully) once the trigger is pulled.


Magnification is measured in X times your vision. When the scope is set to 5X, the image that is viewed will appear five times larger than when viewed without the scope. Most manufacturers set their rifle scopes so that they are focused at 100 yards. This means that the target should be clear when seen through the scope 100 yards away. Errors can occur with magnification.

​Eye Relief

Eye relief refers to the distance between the scope and the user’s eye such that a full picture is visualized. The distance between the eye and the scope must be far enough so that when the rifle recoils after firing, it doesn’t send the scope back far enough to hit the eye; this is called “getting scoped.”

​Parallax Issues

Parallax refers to a displacement or alteration in the apparent position of an object when viewed along two different lines of sight, as measured by the angle of inclination between those two lines. This means that nearby objects show a larger displacement or parallax than farther objects when observed from different positions.

Focal Plane

In terms of shooting, the focal plane of the target in the scope is offset from the reticle or crosshairs, creating a change in position of the target when the user shifts their gaze. Parallax is usually negligible in low magnification. Tactical style scopes such as the prism scope commonly measure at 100 yards.

 How Does a Prism Scope Work?

A prism scope works similarly to a traditional scope, but instead of lenses, a prism is used to focus the light. This creates a much more compact optic. Prism scopes usually have an etched reticle and an illuminated reticle.

​Etched Reticle

An etched reticle is made of glass with laser incised marks called hashmarks and bullet drop compensators. Etched glass tends to be more precise, because it allows for the customization of hashmarks and bullet drop compensators, and are much more durable than wire reticles.

​Illuminated Reticle

An illuminated reticle shows a red or green light point. It uses light to illuminate the point of focus. This enhances accuracy in low light and at night.

Advantages of a Prism Scope

Woman aiming a gun using a prism scope

image source: unsplash

Prism scopes are limited to lower range magnifications, typically from 1X to 5X. As previously mentioned, the compact size and lower magnification makes them suitable for tactical rifles such as the AR-15s. They are preferred by many shooters as an alternative to other short-range optic devices.


A prism scope provides a brighter, crisper and sharper image. This makes the acquisition of a target quicker. The prism is compact and lightweight.


A prism scope allows for magnification, giving the shooter a larger site picture and extending the effective range, when compared to a red dot site. Magnification with a prism site is low when compared to a traditional scope.


The illuminated and etched reticles give the shooter what they need to achieve their goal of achieving a one-shot kill. The etched reticle does not require batteries or fiber optics to be viewed.

Eye Relief

Prism sites need to be aligned with the eye and set at a certain distance away in order to obtain a clear image. In terms of eye relief, a prism scope has a relatively shorter distance. Unless the shooter requires extra long eye relief, this is an ideal situation.


A diopter is a small dial or knob that allows the user to adjust the sharpness to match their own eyesight. This feature is a godsend for people with astigmatism or other eyesight deficits that make other scope types useless. Shooters who apply excessive diopter change usually experience more parallax issues.


Hand drawn retro telescope

image source: Freepik

Part of discovering what a prism scope is includes determining the specifications. Since there are different types and brands of prism scopes, we randomly selected one to describe. The specifications for prism scopes include more details than discussed here. This means that due diligence and adequate research will be required to decide which prism scope is ideal for any given person:

  • Battery Type = CR2032 3V Lithium Coin
  • Brand = Primary Arms
  • Click Value = 1 /2 MOA
  • Eye Relief = 3.70 in
  • Field View =1 0076.30 ft
  • Illuminated = Illuminated
  • Magnification = 1X
  • Manufacturer = Primary Arms
  • Night Vision Compatible = Non-Compatible
  • Reticle = ACSS Cyclops
  • Total Elevation Adjustment = 50 MOA
  • Total Windage Adjustment = 50 MOA
  • Turret Features = Capped Turrets, Tool Adjustable
  • Type = Fixed Magnification
  • Weight = 9.7 Oz

Is a Prism Scope the Best Option?

Man in black uniform holding a black rifle

image source:pexels

Depending on your needs, you may not want to do away with traditional lenses to focus an image. That is because a prism scope has benefits and drawbacks, once again depending on the user’s needs. A prism scope is an aiming device that uses a glass prism to focus an image coming through the scope, rather than a series of lenses.

Prism scopes are limited to lower ranges of magnification; between 1X and 5X. This means that prism scopes are indicated for use to acquire targets that are at the short to medium range. Prism scopes are ideal for tactical weapons intended for use at close to medium ranges, for example between 25 and 50 yards.

The Goldilocks Range

Scopes that have too much magnification at close range will take time to visually acquire the target. Scopes that have too little magnification at longer ranges will fail to achieve a one-shot kill. The best advice that can be given about a prism scope is to practice. Learning to use your preferred scope in synchrony with the weapon it is attached to is the only way to determine the perfect range for you, in terms of your intended target.

 Bigger Is Not Better

Out there in the world of social media, advertising and male competitiveness, it’s tempting to buy more magnification than necessary. Certainly, there are some very sexy and very high-powered, multi functional scopes out there to seduce the shooter, but just as you would not show up at a gunfight with nothing but a paring knife, shooters do not want to be in a situation where their choice of scope could result in a failure to achieve a one-shot kill or even a failure to save their life.