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Scout Scope Vs Regular Scope – What is the Differences?

Many shooters desire or wish to use an electro/optical scope for their hunting, competitive shooting, or scouting, but the problem they usually have is understanding and choosing the best scope that would serve their needs. Whatever the reason might be, whether you have weaker eyes or merely want to make it easier to aim at distant objects or a bit more magnification, there are some great options of scout scope and regular scopes at different stores, including Springfield Armory rifles. 

Scout Scope Vs Regular Scope

There are majorly two types of scopes that come to mind when choosing a scope for your rifle; the scout and regular scopes. Other options include the red dot sight, full-size red dot sight, and holographic sight

To fully understand which scope is best, let’s consider a comparative match of scout scope vs regular scope to give us an insight into their differences in functionality and effectiveness. A scout scope differs from a regular scope.

what is the difference? Despite the apparent simplicity of this question, only a handful of people are aware of the difference. In spite of the differences between these two types of scopes, there are certain similarities between them. To decide which is the best scope between these two types of scopes, it is imperative that you know what the scope is intended to achieve.

An Overview of the Scout Scope

As a result of the wide availability of regular scopes on the market, most people are familiar with them. Compared to regular scopes, scout scopes are few. What then are scout scopes? 

As part of his scout rifle concept, the late Col Jeff Cooper popularized the term “Scout” scope. In the early 1980s, Jeff Cooper developed and popularized the concept of the scout rifle, a general-purpose rifle that has many similarities with guide guns, mountain rifles, or other archetypes of rifles that emphasize portability and practical accuracy over firepower. The impact of Col Jeff Cooper on the development of the scout rifle scope can not be understated.

The scout rifle is usually bolt-action carbines chambered for 7.62 x 51mm or (.308 Winchester), is shorter than 3ft 3in (1 meter), and weighs less than 6.6 lb (3 kg), boasting both optical and iron sights, as well as carrying slings for firing and carrying, and are capable of reliably hitting man-size targets out to 490 yds (450 meters) without telescopic sights. Scout rifle utilizes long eye relief scope or forward mounted iron sight to make reloading their rifles easy. While Jeff Cooper contributed to the Steyr Scout’s design work, other manufacturers such as Savage and Ruger have since also created rifles that are functionally similar to that of Jeff Cooper.

In the late 20th century, Col Cooper realized that rifles had become remarkably similar to those used a century before by celebrated scouts like Maj. Frederick Russell Burnham, and this new technology could turn the rifle into an effective, lightweight weapon “that can be used for a great many purposes at the same time.”. The scout rifle concept of Col Cooper drew heavily from Burnham’s exploits in the Western United States and Africa, and as such, it is best suited for one person working alone or in a team of two or three. 

What is the scout scope?

The scout scope is simply an optical sight designed for prolonged or intermediate eye relief. A forward mounting eyepiece is designed to be mounted in front of the receiver, usually so that the back of the eyepiece aligns with the ejection port or is positioned above the receiver’s front. Scout scopes were originally designed to be of low power (i.e., having low magnification), ranging in magnification from 2 to 2.75 times. It should be noted that scout scopes can either have a fixed magnification or a variable magnification. The history of scout scopes can be traced back to at least World War II, when the German army used the ZF-41 forward mounted scope for some of its K98 Mauser rifles. 

The Vortex Optics Crossfire II Second Focal Plane, 1-inch Tube Riflescopes is an excellent example of a scout scope with dope resettable MOA turret. The Leapers UTG is another excellent choice of good scout scope, having extended eye relief and relatively easy to set up.

Differences Between A Scout Scope and A Regular Scope

In choosing the best scope to meet your needs, you need to understand the differences between the scout and regular scopes. Here are some of the major differences between the scout scope and the regular or conventional scope:


Scout scopes are ideal for hunting situations where higher magnification is not necessary. A regular scope makes sense when you need a higher magnification.

Low magnification of scout optics encourages the use of both eyes while looking through the scope before shooting. The field of view was also taken into account. The forward mounting option lets the shooter see more of their surroundings when looking through a scope with both eyes open, even though these scopes have a slimmer field of view than a regular scope with the same magnification. This can be beneficial in hunting situations. 

Scout rifle scope also has the advantage of not fogging up as much when breathing in cold weather because the forward mounted position is a bit far from you. There are two great options for scout scopes in the 2.75x20mm and 2.5x28mm magnification range: The Leupold Scout Scope IER 2.5X28mm and the Burris Scout scope 2.75x20mm. Scopes of this type, like the Burris scout scope, are exceptional for the fact that they are compact, lightweight, easy to use, and can generally be mounted with low scope rings

With both eyes open, the shooter can see a lot of their surroundings with the obscure eyepiece and objective bell. Moreover, at almost 3X magnification, it allows the shooter to extend their effective range a little and even see their iron sights in low light conditions when it would otherwise be difficult.

Light transmission capability

The light transmission capability of the regular scope is much better than that of the scout scope. In the early hours of the morning or at dusk, when there is little light, the ability to gather light is crucial. Because with this feature in a regular scope, you will be able to see your target clearly in the early mornings or late at night when light levels are low. On the other hand, you can use a scout scope when hunting during the day, when there is abundant light. While scout scopes can also assist you in seeing targets clearly, they are not capable of gathering enough light.

Eye relief

There is a significant difference between these two scopes in eye relief. Low magnification and extended eye relief are often scout scopes’ features, making finding targets easy.  Normally, eye relief is about 70mm to 90mm on regular or conventional scopes. Due to this small amount of eye relief, pistols with significant recoil are not usually suitable for this type of scope. The majority of regular scopes are used on rifles where the distance between the firearm and the shooter does not pose a major problem.

To use handguns safely, the handgun scope should allow more space between the user and the weapon. The reason for this is that most handguns have a great deal of recoil. In most scout scopes, the eye relief ranges from 300mm to 500mm, making it a long eye relief LER scope. Vortex scout scope is known to have amazing long eye relief, so if you need the best scout scope with long eye relief, you can check out any of the vortex crossfire ii scout scopes made by Vortex optics. Whether you are shooting a rifle or a handgun, eye relief is an important concern. 

Size and weight

When deciding on a regular scope or a scout scope, the size and weight are also significant factors. A scout scope typically weighs more and is a little larger than a regular scope. For those who are concerned about weight and size, try a regular scope. Despite the weight and size difference, the difference is not so great that it drastically affects the use of the product.

When carrying your rifle for a long distance, the scope weight should be considered. It would be detrimental to you if you were carrying an extra ounce of weight on your rifle. Regular scopes are usually lightweight and compact in size for easy carrying and operation. Additionally, they provide a bright image with a large exit pupil, which the scout optic or scope lacks. The scout optic or scope works well in hunting at short ranges from a stationary position.

Target acquisition

Hunters concerned about getting to their target quickly have a major concern with target acquisition. The scout rifle scope is considered to be the best option for faster target acquisition. Scout scopes typically are attached to the rifle barrel, directly in front of the action. In short-range shooting, scout scopes provide an excellent view of the target without the shooter having to peer through the scope. Using the scope, the shooter can then provide pinpoint accuracy while targeting the target.

With a scout scope, you will be able to aim sport faster at short distances. Scout scopes are especially useful for hunting game that moves. It is imperative that you aim and shoot the game within a short period of time before they change positions. The scout scope is a more suitable option than the regular or conventional scope in such situations.

Recoil proof

Due to the long eye relief (extended eye relief) provided by the scout rifle scope, there is very little recoil. As opposed to the regular or conventional scope, the scout rifle scope is normally recoil-proof. Users with scout scopes are less likely to experience recoil when compared to regular scopes. Although the recoil force can also vary depending on the rifle model and muzzle power.

Eye box

Scout scopes are more forgiving than regular scopes in regards to the eye box. In front of the glass, the shooter usually has more freedom of movement. Scout scopes have an eye box that is not very sensitive to eye movements. Consequently, scout scopes are more convenient for use in tactical situations or when hunting at short distances.

In contrast, regular scopes are far more sensitive to eye movements in front of the eye box than specialized scopes. To ensure that you have a clear focus on the target, you can only move a minimal amount in front of the glass. This makes hunting a moving game (for example, a deer) difficult with a regular scope. A regular scope (conventional scope) often takes a while to focus and zero in on the target.

Waterproofing and durability features

Fortunately, both scopes tend to be sturdy and durable. Any of these scopes (be it scout or conventional scope) can be used outdoors without any damage for extended periods of time. The majority of the scopes have excellent waterproofing levels to ensure they can withstand bad weather conditions. Additionally, they are encased in sturdy materials to prevent damage in the event of a fall.

Which is The Best?

The scope mount on the scout rifle (which is the scout scope) as well as the regular scopes are both very good optical devices. Shooters who need limited magnification and rapid target acquisition tend to utilize the scout scope. While regular scopes tend to work better when you need to accurately detect long-range targets, they don’t work as well for close range targets. 

Images can be magnified at long distances, but the eye relief is usually small. Scout scopes are more difficult to obtain on the market than regular scopes.

Determining the best scope to use comes down to the purpose for which the scope is to be used. Scout scopes are better for handgun shooters and those shooting at close ranges. Those who need a lot of magnification for long-range shooting will need a regular scope.

Comparison Table

Feature Scout Scope Regular Scope
Magnification Lower magnification (typically 2-2.75x) Higher magnification for long-range use
Light Transmission Limited light gathering capabilities Better light transmission for low-light conditions
Eye Relief Extended eye relief (300mm-500mm) Shorter eye relief (70mm-90mm)
Size and Weight Slightly larger and heavier Compact and lightweight for easy carrying
Target Acquisition Excellent for fast target acquisition May require more time to focus on the target
Recoil Proof Generally recoil-proof Varies depending on the model and firearm
Eye Box More forgiving eye box Sensitive to eye movements in front of the scope
Waterproofing/Durability Designed to be durable and waterproof Designed to be durable and waterproof
A comparison table highlighting the key differences between scout scopes and regular scopes

Shooting Situations for Each Scope

Scout Scopes

These scopes are excellent for situations where you need to quickly spot and shoot targets at close to medium distances. They work great for hunting game that moves a lot, like deer or small game. For example, if you’re hunting in a forest where animals can suddenly appear, a scout scope will help you aim and shoot faster, giving you an advantage in those quick moments.

Scout scopes are also handy for people who shoot at short ranges with rifles. If you prefer to shoot with both eyes open, the scout scope’s design allows you to see more of your surroundings while aiming, which is helpful for staying aware of your environment.

Regular Scopes

Now, let’s talk about regular scopes. These scopes are better suited for situations where you need to shoot at longer distances with precision. It will serve you well if you’re into target shooting or engaging targets at considerable ranges, like in a shooting range or when hunting a game that’s far away. Regular scopes have higher magnification levels, which means they can make far-off targets appear closer and clearer. This helps you aim more accurately and take precise shots even from a distance. They work well when you have time to focus on your target and need to hit it precisely, like in competitive shooting.

Examples Of Scout Scopes

Here are some popular scout scopes with their key features and benefits:

Vortex Optics Crossfire II Scout Scope

Key Features: It has a forward-mounted eyepiece with extended eye relief, enabling fast target acquisition and easy aiming. Equipped with a resettable MOA turret for quick adjustments.

Benefits: The Vortex Crossfire II is a dependable and sturdy scout scope, perfect for quick shooting scenarios like hunting moving games or engaging targets at close range. Its clear optics and user-friendly design make it a top choice for those seeking a high-quality scout scope.

Burris Scout 2-7x32mm Scope

Key Features: It offers variable magnification (2-7x), generous eye relief, and a compact design. Boasts high-quality optics with excellent light transmission.

Benefits: The Burris Scout scope is a versatile option, allowing you to zoom in for precise shots or use lower magnification for faster target acquisition. Its rugged build and superior light transmission make it well-suited for various hunting situations.

Leupold FX-II Scout 2.5x28mm Scope

Key Features: This is a fixed magnification (2.5x) scope with ample eye relief, lightweight and clear optics.

Benefits: The Leupold FX-II Scout scope is a top-notch choice for those who prefer simplicity and reliability. It excels in quick shooting scenarios at short distances, making it a popular pick among scout rifle enthusiasts.

Scout Scopes Price Range

Scout scopes come in a variety of price ranges to fit different budgets. Entry-level options can start at around $100 to $200. These scopes offer basic features and can be a good choice for beginners or those on a tight budget. They provide reliable performance for quick shooting scenarios and are often suitable for short-range engagements.

Mid-range scout scopes usually range from $200 to $500. In this price range, you can expect better optical quality, improved durability, and additional features like variable magnification or illuminated reticles. These scopes strike a balance between affordability and performance and are suitable for most hunters and shooting enthusiasts. For instance, the Burris Plex 2-7×32 costs around $400 at the time of writing this article.

High-end scout scopes can cost $500 or more. These premium scopes offer top-of-the-line optics, advanced features, and superior durability. They are designed for professionals, serious hunters, or precision shooters who demand the highest level of performance and reliability. The Vortex Razor HD Gen II-E 1-6×24 is an example of scout scope in this price range; it costs around $1400.


What is the main difference between Scout Scopes and Regular Scopes?

The main difference between Scout Scopes and Regular Scopes lies in their design and purpose. Scout scopes are specially made for quick shooting situations. On the other hand, regular scopes are more versatile and are designed for various shooting scenarios, including long-range shooting. They are usually mounted near the shooter’s eye, offering higher magnification and better light transmission for precise targeting.

Can a Scout Scope be used on any rifle?

In general, most scout scopes can be used on rifles that have appropriate mounting options. However, there are some considerations to keep in mind. Scout scopes typically require specific mounting systems, like forward scope mounts or scout scope rails, which should be compatible with the rifle’s design. Additionally, the rifle should have enough space between the action and the forward mounting point to accommodate the scout scope’s extended eye relief. 

What are the advantages of a compact scope?

Compact scopes, also known as low-profile scopes, offer several advantages. Their smaller size and lightweight design make them easy to carry and handle. They are perfect for situations where weight and size matter, such as when hunting or shooting in tight spaces. Compact scopes are also less obtrusive and blend well with the rifle’s overall profile. They usually have lower magnification levels, which can be advantageous for fast target acquisition and maintaining situational awareness.

How does eye relief differ between Scout Scopes and Regular Scopes?

In scout scopes, the eye relief is longer, allowing shooters to position the scope farther away from their eye. This extended eye relief is necessary because scout scopes are mounted forward on the rifle. On the other hand, regular scopes have shorter eye relief and are mounted closer to the shooter’s eye. 

Can Scout Scopes be used for long-range shooting?

Scout scopes are not ideal for long-range shooting. They are designed for quick target acquisition at shorter distances. 

Are Scout Scopes more expensive than Regular Scopes?

The price of scout scopes and regular scopes can vary depending on the brand, features, and quality. However, there are affordable options for both types of scopes, and the price difference between them varies. 

What factors should I consider when choosing a scope for tactical applications?

When choosing a scope for tactical applications, consider factors like magnification range, reticle type, durability, and ease of use. For tactical purposes, a versatile scope with a wide magnification range is beneficial for engaging targets at various distances. A clear and easy-to-use reticle is essential for quick target acquisition. Additionally, look for scopes with rugged construction to withstand harsh conditions. Tactical scopes should be easy to adjust quickly, especially in high-pressure situations.

Do Scout Scopes provide a wider field of view than Regular Scopes?

Yes, scout scopes generally provide a wider field of view compared to regular scopes. The scope allows shooters to maintain situational awareness and see more of their surroundings while aiming. This wider field of view is advantageous in quick shooting scenarios and hunting situations where targets can appear suddenly. In contrast, regular scopes may offer higher magnification but have a narrower field of view, which can be a trade-off for increased zoom capability.

Are there any specific brands known for producing high-quality Scout Scopes?

Several reputable brands are known for producing high-quality scout scopes. Some well-regarded brands include Vortex Optics, Burris, Leupold, and Nikon. These brands offer a range of scout scopes with excellent optics, reliable performance, and durable construction. When considering a scout scope, look for reviews and feedback from users to ensure the scope meets your needs and expectations.

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