What’s the Difference: Hunting vs. Tactical Scopes

How accurate is your shooting?

Are you a natural deadeye, able to aim precisely and hit a target 100 yards away? Or are you more of a beginner, struggling to hit a target at 20 yards with a rifle?

Whatever your shooting needs and skills may be, having a tool that increases your accuracy can never hurt. Luckily for you, that tool exists and is very easy to come by. That tool, as you’ve probably guessed, is a scope.

The two basic kinds of scopes are tactical scopes and hunting scopes. At first, these two tools seem hard to distinguish. In many cases, you can probably use these interchangeably.

However, for the more discerning eye, these scopes offer different assets that are specialized to particular usages.

If you’re looking for improved shooting but don’t know which scope to buy, then let us help you! This article will help you understand what each of these scopes does and how they are used. From there, you can figure out what scope is best for your specific purposes.

Tactical Scopes: The Basic Essentials

Tactical scopes often are associated with military and law enforcement use due to their function. Their primary purpose is to extend the shooter’s range beyond the limits of their unaided vision.

Tactical Scopes buyers are, first and foremost, searching for the greatest durability. This factor could be the difference between life or death.

Typically, these scopes are known for their lower magnification range. Magnification essentially makes your target seem closer than it is, making it easier to aim.

With one of these scopes, all you have to do is line your target up with your scope’s reticle. This is much easier than trying to use the standard iron sight that most all guns feature.

Tac scopes have all of the essential pieces of any other scope. They include an eyepiece, lens, adjustments for wind and elevation levels, and a power ring.

Different tactical scopes have different purposes, even among law enforcement and military personnel. The most notable difference is the number of magnification options these tactical optics have.

All you need to know is that the amount of magnification you need in a gun depends on its purposes. A sniper will need more magnification than a hunter. This will be covered in greater depth further into this article.

Some tactical scopes also use red LED dots to help improve your aim. While this is not a requirement of tactical scopes, it can be a helpful tool.

Hunting Scopes

As you probably guessed, hunting scopes are primarily for hunting. In the past, hunting scopes had more differences than tactical scope. As time has gone on, those differences have shrunk.

Historically, most hunting scopes did not have adjustments for elevation and wind levels. Now, most hunting scopes have these features.

However, one asset that hunting scopes have traditionally had and retain today is light weight. Because people hunt in all sorts of environments and seasons, hunting scopes also need to be well-suited to extreme heat and cold.

Generally speaking, hunting scopes do not have the same degrees of magnification that tac scopes have. Some may come with fixed magnification levels, and the average range tends to be around 9x magnification.

Since a lot of hunting happens in dim lightings, such as at dawn or twilight, the quality of glass in hunting scopes need to be just as good as tactical scopes.

To get an idea of the features of a hunting scope, you can check out our website.

How Do You Choose Between a Tactical and Hunting Scope?

As was said previously, the differences between hunting and tactical scopes are often somewhat marginal. There are, however, some differences to consider when trying to choose between them.

One of the significant differences between the two is the amount of magnification. Generally speaking, tac scopes offer a much greater variety of magnification ranges than hunting optics.

For example, some tac scopes intended for snipers offer 40x magnification.

To gauge how much magnification you’ll need for your purposes, first figure out if you’re doing short or long-range shooting.

From there, there are a few guidelines you can follow to figure out what range of magnification to look for in a scope.

To defend your home, shoot targets at a distance of 100 yards, or hunt small game, all you need is 1-4x magnification.

If you hunt larger game, especially in places like forests and mountains, you may want to go with a magnification of 5-8x.

Lastly, if you are hunting or shooting targets in wide-open spaces, such as in a field, you may want to look for magnification of 9-12x.

For these magnification ranges, a hunting scope could suffice. However, the 9-12x may be better suited for a tactical optic.

Tac scopes may also have more specialized reticles, which will improve the accuracy of your shot. However, keep in mind that the more magnification levels a scope offers, the heavier and bulkier it’s likely to be.

Prices for the two types of scopes also vary and once again depend upon your purpose. Hunting scopes are not necessarily cheaper than standard tac scopes, though they are cheaper than scopes meant for sniper use.

You can also use data to make your decision. For example, Sniper’s Scope uses a test where students are given scopes at random to test in order to see which works best.

Other tests have been performed as well. Outdoorlife.com has a study that tested the seventeen top-rated scopes to determine how they performed in comparison with one another.

You can also consult various web forms for reviews and comparisons.

It’s Up To You

Ultimately, the decision on which scope you buy comes down to what you feel most comfortable with. Scopes are personal tools, after all. You should get the one that best suits you.

If you have a scope that’s not really working for you, and you’d like to get rid of it to buy a new one, we don’t just sell used scopes, we also buy scopes from customers! Visit our website to learn more.

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