Owning a rifle can instantly make you realize that the technology in this industry is continuously advancing. Among the rage in this industry nowadays are prism scopes. They became popular because of their ease of use and unique performance, which is the reason why several rifle owners are now looking for the best prism scope.
Prism scopes are excellent budget alternatives for the expensive holographic and reflex sights. It is different from a conventional scope, which often utilizes a set of lenses as a means of articulating a distant object’s image, magnifying it then putting a sight or dot as a means of pinpointing when you should take the shot.
A prism scope, on the other hand, offers an etched and illuminated reticle, which is not usually present in a conventional or standard red dot scope. You can expect the prism scope to provide good middle-range magnification, thereby outperforming the usual long-range scopes utilized for tactical rifles or weapons.
A good prism scope is also large enough that it comes etched with complex reticles, providing high levels of targeting information. If you are interested in prism scopes then you might want to check out these high-quality choices:
Quick Answer: The 11 Best Prism Scopes for 2020
- Primary Arms 1x Prism Scope
- Primary Arms 2.5X Compact Prism Scope
- Vortex Spitfire 3X Prism Scope
- Monstrum Tactical S330P Marksman 3X Prism Scope
- Primary Arms 3X Compact Prism Scope (Gen II)
- Monstrum Tactical P330-B Marksman 3X Prism Scope
- UUQ Prism 4×32 Illuminated Rapid Range Reticle Scope
- UTG Compact Prismatic 4×32 T4x Glass T-Dot Scope
- Primary Arms 5X Compact Prism Scope (Gen II)
- Steiner Optics 5×36 Prism Sight
- Vortex Spitfire 1X Prism Scope
First, let’s take a look at the top-rated prism scopes, then we’ll talk about how to choose the right one for you in our buying guide below.
Best Prism Scope Reviews of 2020
#1 Primary Arms 1x Prism Scope
One of the most amazing prism scopes that I think anyone should check out is the 1x Compact Prism Scope offered by Primary Arms. Built with an ACSS Cyclops reticle, I immediately sensed that this item combines the versatility and sturdiness offered by an etched reticle with a red dot’s ease of use and speed.
I think one reason why many view this product as the best prism rifle scope is that unlike other prism sights, this one boasts of a generous and good eye relief of around 3.7 inches. Combine such eye relief with a 13-mm exit pupil and I am sure that you will be fascinated by the exceptionally forgiving nature of its eye box.
With this, you will enjoy a high level of efficiency when shooting using the red dot style. It can keep your eyes open, thereby ensuring the quick acquisition of your target in various circumstances and positions. I am so glad that this scope utilizes a roof-prism optical system as it aids in providing clear and blur-free sight pictures.
The picture is clear even for those suffering from astigmatism. With that, you can enjoy accurate shots even when used at long ranges. It also boasts of a field of view, which perfectly matches the things your eyes see exactly. This makes it possible to pick up your new targets in a faster manner.
I am also impressed with the ACSS Cyclops reticle used in this scope because it works in providing quick hits in various situations. Another great advantage is that its etched reticle can still work perfectly even if you turn off the batteries, which is not usually the case for holographic or red dot optics.
#2 Primary Arms 2.5X Compact Prism Scope
If you are in search of the best compact prism scope that fits your budget, then this 2.5x Compact Prism Scope from Primary Arms will surely not let you down. One thing that thrills me about this prism scope from Primary Arms is its ACSS reticle, which assures users of rapid and intuitive ranging.
The fact that the reticle is built to be etched into a glass helps improve visibility even when the illumination is lacking. I also consider it as one of the high-quality prism scopes for AR and any other rifles and calibers. In fact, I find it versatile because it is compatible with a wide range of calibers, including carbine-fired 9mm, .308, and 6.8 SPC.
Some even say that also works as an appropriate prism scope for .300 Blackout rifle. I can also attest that this serves as an ideal option for those looking for a good 2.5 to 3x prism scope for CQB and mid-range shooting or hunting. It is a compact yet tough and sturdy prism scope.
In fact, it makes use of 6061 aluminum material for its structure along with an anodized finish in matte black. The sturdiness of this prism scope can also be proven by its fog-resistant, water-resistant, and nitrogen-purged nature. It also boasts of its twelve brightness settings powered by its CR2032 battery.
This means that you can still set it on your desired brightness whenever necessary even if its reticle does not require illumination. You can also easily mount this prism scope. One more thing I like in this scope is its forgiving eye relief.
In addition, it is easy to zero plus it comes with an impressive glass quality, which boasts of good color and light transmission and clarity from one edge to another.
#3 Vortex Spitfire 3X Prism Scope
Are you on a hunt for the best 3x prism scope? Then it is time to learn more about the Vortex Optics Spitfire 3x Prism Scope. I noticed that this acts as the best value prism scope that works impressively when utilized in close and medium range applications. It is because both these hunting or shooting applications require speed and quick acquisition of targets that can be provided by this 3x prism scope.
I like the 3x lens with fully multi-coated coating finish added into this scope as it helps make targets that are around a hundred yards away seem closer while also eliminating or reducing glare and light loss. The lens used in the scope also boasts of multiple coatings combine with anti-reflective properties.
I think all these features work effectively in increasing the transmission of light. The distinctive and unique prism-like design of this scope is also a major advantage as you can use it with or without illumination. It also makes use of a DRT illuminated reticle, which is etched into the prism, delivering consistently precise and sharp optics.
I am fond of the adjustable brightness of the scope, which lets you choose from its five intensity levels. With that, you can pick one based on a specific hunting condition. I am also delighted that this prism scope takes pride in its compact and lightweight structure. The built-in adjustable mounting base also further promotes ease in handling the scope.
This also makes for an incredible choice if you are in search of the best eye relief prism scope as it comes with a generous eye relief of 2.8 inches, allowing you to use your scope even with your two eyes open.
#4 Monstrum Tactical S330P Marksman 3X Prism Scope
If the best budget prism scope is what you are aiming to get then the Monstrum S330P 3x Prism Scope will never disappoint. It comes as a sleek next-generation prism scope capable of delivering what it promises to deliver to the majority of its users. I like how heavy-duty it is while still retaining its compactness, thanks to its aluminum structure.
I am also happy that this scope utilizes a glass prism optical system instead of traditional ones as this ensures that I can enjoy top optical quality. The use of illuminated cross simple dot reticle is also a major strength as this means that finding your target will be much easier and quicker.
It also boasts of its etched black reticle, which is known for being visible even when there is no illumination. You can also light it either green or red to promote much better reticle visibility in low-light situations or at night. I also like the fully multi-layer coating used for the lens because it works in lessening the chromatic aberrations, thereby delivering sharper and more focused images.
With its crystal clear optics, quick target acquisition is also possible. The ultra-compact design of this prism scope for AK-47, AR rifles, and any other guns and rifles, promoting ease of use and handling. It also boasts of its easy to use design. Mounting it is also easy while having a structure, which can withstand frequent and heavy use.
I am also satisfied with the wide and comfortable eye relief of this prism scope as it lets you target effortlessly even when both your eyes are open. The multiple brightness levels or settings are also beneficial as this means you can set the brightness depending on a certain environment.
#5 Primary Arms 3X Compact Prism Scope (Gen II)
I also suggest using the Primary Arms 3x Prism Scope if you want a compact yet tough and durable one. This compact prism riflescope boasts of its 3x magnification as well as its bright illuminated reticle, which promotes quick aiming at a close distance or range even if you open both your eyes.
One major strength of this tough prism scope is its ACSS 5.56 CQB-M2 reticle, which has a combination of ranging wind leads, ballistic drop compensation, and moving target leads and can be used up to six hundred yards. I love the exterior horseshoe integrated into the glass-etched reticle as it is useful for close-quarters engagement.
What is even more admirable about this glass-etched reticle is that there is no need for it to use batteries or illumination to work. Despite that, it is still equipped with up to eleven brightness settings that you can use for quick target acquisition when in close quarters or for improved visibility in case of fading light.
I am also very happy to see the removable spacer integrated into this prism scope for 3-Gun and other famous rifles because this means that it will be compatible with a wide range of rifle platforms. I am also greatly satisfied with the forgiving and bright eye box of this prism scope brought on by its generous exit pupil.
I am also impressed with how tough this prism scope is, which is noticeable with its shockproof, waterproof, and fog-resistant structure. Furthermore, it boasts of its ¼ MOA turret clicks known for being both audible and tactile, promoting ease when it comes to zero it in.
#6 Monstrum Tactical P330-B Marksman 3X Prism Scope
Another 3x prism scope that deserves anyone’s attention is the Monstrum P330-B Marksman. One unique and noticeable thing about this prism scope is its hard-anodized aluminum finish, which plays a crucial role in making it as strong and tough as possible. I find it perfect for quick target acquisition and mid-range applications up to 200 yards.
I am also excited about the fact that this Monstrum prism scope utilizes a glass prism optic, instead of the refracting lens system often used in conventional and traditional riflescopes because this promotes great optical quality even if it only comes in a small and compact package.
The construction is noticeably solid with its nitrogen sealing, which prevents it from fogging up and ensuring that water does not penetrate. The use of the 6061 aircraft-grade aluminum material, as well as the turret caps with rubber O-ring sealing, is also a big help in locking the adjustments in place while ensuring that corrosion and dust do not get through.
It also utilizes an optic lens coating designed to lessen glare, boost clarity, and prevent scratches from forming. I am also fond of the crystal clear optical system provided for this scope because it offers a convenient 3.5-inch eye relief. I am sure you will also enjoy enjoying its reticle as it has the ability to illuminate either in green or red with the aid of its several brightness settings.
It is also possible to view the reticle in black when you turn it off in case you want it to be able to cover the majority of lighting conditions.
#7 UUQ Prism 4×32 Illuminated Rapid Range Reticle Scope
If you are searching for the best 4x prism scope then you can rest assured that the UUQ Prism 4×32 Illuminated Reticle Riflescope will not let you down based on how well it performs in a number of conditions. In my opinion, one thing that makes it a great performer is its fiber optic sight known for its efficiency and clarity.
It also takes pride in its multi-coated optics along with the illuminated blue/green/red glass-etched reticle. I can also say that its fully coated prism lens is favorable because of its ability to offer the highest level of clarity through the incredible light transmission. I also love the adjustable windage and elevation made possible through the exact ¼ MOA click value.
Another thing that I find impressive is that it is proven for use on combat because of its fast target acquisition. The premium carbon fiber used in constructing this riflescope also helps it become lightweight while also promoting ease of installation and adjustments.
Another reason why I highly recommend this option for the best prism scope for .450 Bushmaster rifle, or any other rifle platform, is that it features a sturdy metal housing equipped with lenses boasting of their dual-layer coating. Furthermore, this riflescope offers a robust platform known for having fog-resistant, rainproof, and shockproof properties.
This prism scope also works well when used in CQB or close quarter battle situations. In addition, its fiber optic system takes pride in its green coating boasting of five brightness settings. It also offers a generous eye relief.
#8 UTG Compact Prismatic 4×32 T4x Glass T-Dot Scope
Another 4x scope that I encourage shooters and hunters to check out is the 4×32 Compact Prismatic T4x Glass T-Dot Riflescope offered by UTG. I am happy that this riflescope applied the prismatic reflection technology because it promotes better clarity and light transmission.
It provides such an advantage while still ensuring that the optic system used remains compact in size and easy to maneuver. It also left a positive impression on many users because it is created while applying the true strength platform, causing it to be nitrogen-filled and fully sealed. This results in its rainproof, fog-proof, and shockproof structure.
This platform is also a big advantage because it assures users of long-lasting reliability and a more responsive and precise adjustment on windage and elevation. I am fond of the sophisticated and elegant prism-based design used in this scope because it results in a compact optic system without compromising its quality.
Another notable and nice feature in this scope is its EZ-TAP IE (illumination enhancing) technology. Such a system features a dual color green/red setting as well as a 36-color setting, which makes it possible for you to shoot or hunt with ease regardless of the time of time.
In addition, there is a single click memory integrated into this scope, which is a big help if you want to be able to restore the last brightness or color that you used, promoting more convenience.
I am so impressed with the multi-emerald coated lenses, too, because it maximizes light transmission plus it prevents glare and promotes better clarity from edge to edge.
#9 Primary Arms 5X Compact Prism Scope (Gen II)
The best 5x prism scope also comes in the form of the Primary Arms 5x Compact Prism Riflescope. Created with the aid of 6061 aluminum material while also boasting of its sturdy anodized matte black finish, I am quite sure that this scope will not let you down as far as being solid, rigid, and sturdy are concerned.
It even showcases an Ip67 waterproof rating as well as its fog-resistant and shockproof structure, proving its capability when it comes to withstanding the harshness of the field where you decided to expose it to. I like its powerful prism design because it ensures that you will have a more convenient time using it.
It takes pride in its 5x magnification setting as well as its horseshoe reticle with bright illumination. With this, be surprised with how fast it can acquire your target, especially at close range even if you have your two eyes open. It is also possible for you to use the ACSS reticle for this, which guarantees consistent hits on your target to a max of 800 yards.
I am fond of how flexible this prism scope from Primary Arms is. I think the removable spacer integrated into it plays a huge role on how versatile and flexible it is as this specific feature tailors it to be compatible for various rifle platforms, including the AR-15 and the AK-47.
It also acts as a fantastic companion if you are in search of a scope, which you can use for various applications, including plinking, hunting, and competition. I also find its 7-mm exit pupil generous enough and capable of promoting a more forgiving and a brighter eye box.
Furthermore, it is equipped with a top rail, which you can actually remove if you want to reduce the weight and provide the scope with a slick look.
#10 Steiner Optics 5×36 Prism Sight
I also encourage the use of the Steiner Optics 5×36 Prism Sight, especially if what you are looking for is a prism scope with 5x magnification. I noticed that it fulfills its promise of showcasing an incredible performance when used in both close-range and medium-range shooting or hunting scenarios.
I also discovered that it works appropriately well with patrol rifles and carbines. With its 5x magnification, you will be able to use it to target up to a 700-meter range. I am sure that you will also be delighted with how lightweight it is and how easy and quick it is to use when pointing on your target.
It assures users of a clear and quick aiming point regardless of the battlefield scenario or lighting condition it faces. The 36-mm objective lens diameter is also one of its major strengths as it works in gathering more light, resulting in brighter and clearer images. Another satisfying feature of this prism scope is its 10-setting illuminated reticle.
With this type of reticle, you can immediately transition from a close-quarter target into a medium-range target whether you are doing the activity during daylight or nighttime. Many also opt to use this scope because of its toughness and reliability brought on by its shockproof and waterproof structure.
The multi-coated objective lens of this prism scope is also designed in a way that it can deliver a high-contrast and sharp image that you can depend on. I am also delighted to announce that the windage and elevation setting is completely adjustable.
You can also take advantage of its Picatinny base in case you want to use it for CQB applications by mounting it on an auxiliary sight.
#11 Vortex Spitfire 1X Prism Scope
You may also choose the Vortex Optics Spitfire Prism Scope, which is the best 1x prism scope in the opinions of many users. It is a good prism scope, which works efficiently when used in shooting applications that are in close to medium ranges. In these scenarios, speed and quick target acquisition are essential, making these prismatic optics excel.
I like the prism-based design used in this high-quality prism scope for AR-15 and any other rifles because it provides a compact optic without compromising its quality. It utilizes the dual ring tactical (DRT) reticle, which can guarantee consistent accuracy because it is directly etched into the prism.
You can also choose from its green/red illumination with five levels of intensity so you can find the one that perfectly matches a specific condition. The reticle also makes this prism scope for hunting and shooting appropriate for rapid and quick shooting at a close range or distance.
I admire the fully multi-coated lens of this scope, which also features anti-reflective coatings. This combination makes the lens capable of providing bright views and pictures even when used at low-lighting conditions. The stability and durability of this best prism sight option are also unmistakable.
It boasts of its shockproof and solid construction, allowing it to withstand impact and recoil regardless of how intense these are. Furthermore, it showcases its waterproof and fog-proof performance through the combination of its O-ring seals and nitrogen-purged structure.
- What is a Prism Scope?
- Prism Scope vs. Red Dot
- What Makes a Great Prism Scope?
- What Magnification Do You Need?
- Factors to Consider when Buying a Prism Scope
What is a Prism Scope?
Even if you are not closely keeping watch of riflescope technology, you must have at least heard of prism scopes. These new scopes have a compact design but still provide a huge sight picture, making them ideal for modern tactical rifles like the AR-15.
Unlike a traditional scope that contains several lenses within its housing to help focus on the image, high-quality prism scopes for AR use a prism to erect and focus the sight image. This allows prismatic optics to have more compact designs compared to traditional scopes.
Another notable feature of prism scopes is that they have illuminated reticles, making them similar to red-dot sights. However, unlike red-dot sights, some prism scopes can be magnified up to 5x zoom. To put it simply, they are like the hybrid offspring of traditional scopes and red-dot sights.
Although some prism scopes have magnification, they are mostly just for close-quarter combat, meaning they won’t be of much help with long-range shots, so it is not ideal for sniper rifles.
Prism Scope vs. Red Dot
When it comes to CQB (close quarter combat), red dot sights are often the choice of many gun enthusiasts. However, prism scopes are catching up to them in popularity. Many find that the 3x prism scope for CQB is much better in comparison to red dot scopes.
When it comes to ease of use, the red dot scope has a slight advantage, mainly because you do not have to do much. You just place the red dot over your target then pull the trigger. You do not even need to close your non-dominant eye to use the red dot. This means faster target acquisition.
However, prism scopes are not exactly slouches with regards to target acquisition. Although not as quick as red dot sights, prism scopes have a faster target acquisition compared to traditional rifle scopes.
There are a couple of features that put the prism scope above red dot sights as far as utility is concerned. First, many of them have magnification while all red dot sights do not. This means that you can zoom in on your target for a clearer shot.
Another advantage that prism scopes have is that they have etched reticles. This means that you can still use it when the batteries run out or if there happens to be any problem with the fiber optic. With a red dot sight, it is possible for the red dot to also disappear when the batteries run out.
What Makes a Great Prism Scope?
As with traditional rifle scopes, the best types of prism scopes are those that fit your needs. Although their uses are somewhat interchangeable, it is still best to get a scope that you are most comfortable using.
If you will be using the scope mainly for close quarter combat, you should consider getting one that does not have any magnification at all. The illuminated reticle and large field of view of the best 1x prism scope make it easier to focus on and engage your targets.
If you will be using it for short-range to medium-range shooting, or if you will be using the scope for hunting, you should get the scope with up to 5x magnification. The great thing about using prism scopes for hunting is that it is faster to acquire and focus on your target in comparison to using a traditional scope.
Another thing that makes a good prism scope is the etched reticle. Note that some of them have reticles that are etched into the lens. This adds a layer of insurance in case the scope runs out of batteries or if something goes wrong with the scope’s fiber optic cable during a crucial time.
There are only a handful of situations that are quite as stressful as your reticle going out when you are about to lock on to your target. Compare that to a red dot sight that completely becomes worthless when the battery runs out. When that happens, you need to fall back to using your iron sights, which can be quite disorienting.
What Magnification Do You Need?
Most prism scopes do not have any magnification, meaning they have 1x fixed zoom. However, there are quite a number of manufacturers who provide prism scopes with different fixed magnification values. These scopes are fit for different situations. To ensure that you will be buying the right scope with the right magnification, you need to take into consideration where you will be using it the most.
Are you planning to use the rifle for CQB, like for home defense? Or do you want to use it for competitions that require quick reflexes and quick shooting? In both situations, note that scopes with 1x magnification are the best. These are perfect for such type of shooting because you do not have to make any adjustments. You can quickly lock onto your target, center the reticle then pull the trigger.
This magnification is also perfect if you own a shotgun for home defense. The illuminated reticle of a prism scope makes it easy to aim at your targets. Even if you are in a dark environment, you can still see the reticle and your target clearly. Also, take note that even if intruders try their best to hide in the shadows, you can still see and apprehend them.
If you are thinking of using the rifle for range shooting, anything that is between 3x and 5x magnification is the perfect choice. This power of magnification is just the right amount for hunting medium to large game animals. It provides just the right amount of zoom needed to get close to your target, but not so close that you risk getting seen.
Prism scopes with 5x magnification are also great for just plinking. This amount of zoom will allow you to shoot accurately up to 500 or 600 yards depending on the caliber of your ammunition of course.
Factors to Consider when Buying a Prism Scope
You need to be sure when you are shopping for a high-quality prism scope, mostly because there are no variable magnification out there. So this means that if you bought a scope with the wrong magnification for your use then you just wasted a lot of money.
To help you on your quest for the right prism scope, here are some factors you need to take into consideration:
What will you be using it for?
Prism scopes are not meant for long-range shooting. This means that if you have a high-powered sniper rifle, putting a prism scope on it will not allow you to maximize the capabilities of your firearm.
On the other hand, if you have a tactical rifle, like an AR-15, and you are looking for quick target acquisition, a reflex sight will be your best choice. However, if you are looking for a mix of the two – medium-range shooting and a somewhat fast tactical shooting capabilities, then you should get a prism scope.
The difficult part about buying prism scopes is that there are no variable magnification options for them. This is why you need to determine first where you will be usually using the rifle. If you will be using it mostly for tactical shooting and close-range combat then you will want the 1x or 2x magnification.
If you will be using it for hunting and/or shooting at targets from 200 to 300 yards or so then you will need the 5x magnification so you can get a clear shot at your target even if it is a bit far away.
This is one problem of prism scopes – they have rather small eye reliefs, which means that your eye needs to be a bit close to the scope. This is a problem when you are using a high-powered rifle because the eye relief of most prism scopes is not enough to protect you from the recoil.
If your rifle needs to have an eye relief of 5 inches or more, then you need to change your mind as the best eye relief for the prism scope is just around 3-4 inches. This is better used for semi-automatic rifles that do not have powerful ammunition.
This is probably where this type of scope shines. Unlike reflex scopes or red dot sights, prism scopes can accommodate a wide array of reticles. You can choose a scope with a basic duplex reticle or a German No.4 reticle for most shooting purposes. You can also get one with a BDC for medium range shooting.
Of course, you can also get a red dot reticle if you are planning to get a 1x magnification scope. Another thing that you might want to take into consideration is if the scope you are getting has an etched reticle. This will serve as insurance for when the scope suddenly runs out of batteries, thus, losing its illuminated reticle. Having an etched reticle means you can still use the scope to aim properly.
Just like traditional rifle scopes, it is important that you get a prism scope that has multi-coated lenses. Actually, it is almost impossible to even find scopes nowadays that have no anti-reflective coating. The only question here is how many layers of film are applied to the lenses. The more layers the lenses have, the better protected it is against reflected light and glare.
If you will be using this scope on a hunting rifle, it is best that it has excellent waterproofing and fog-proofing properties. It is very rare that you will be hunting in near perfect weather conditions. Most game animals will not even come out of their hiding holes if it is still bright outside. This is why most hunters stalk their prey either in the early morning or early evening when the weather is still quite chilly and there is usually a slight mist covering the land.
If your prism scope for hunting is not sufficiently weatherproof, moisture will get into it and make it unable to focus properly. It might even get so bad that you can get zero visibility from your scope. Check the weatherproofing and fog-proofing qualities of the scope you are planning to buy and make sure that it is the best prism scope for the money.
Although technically a reflex sight, a prism scope actually has more to offer. Aside from giving you a quick sight picture, it also gives you the choice to get a scope with up to 5x magnification capabilities. Reflex sights and red dot sights do not have that luxury.
In addition, most prism scopes these days have etched reticles, pretty much the same ones used in traditional rifle scopes. This allows them to still be usable even when their batteries are drained. If you are in need of a scope that provides the speed of reflex sights (or something close to it) but with the additional benefits of having magnification capabilities, then you definitely need to check out the best prism scope.