There’s no doubt that a traditional riflescope can help you make more accurate shots at longer ranges. However, sometimes the size and weight of a regular scope can slow you down and hinder your maneuverability. Prism scopes are much lighter and more compact than traditional riflescopes, making them great options for close to medium-range tactical, hunting, and home defense applications.
If you’re considering a prism scope but aren’t sure where to start, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put in the time and research to help you narrow down your options and find the best prism scope for your shooting needs.
If you’re in a hurry and don't have time for the details, here are our best picks for prism scopes:
- 1Trijicon ACOG 3.5x35
- 2Sig Sauer Bravo3 Battle Sight 3x24
- 3Vortex Optics Spitfire 3x Prism Scope
- 4Athlon Optics Midas BTR Prism Scope
- 5Monstrum P330-B Marksman 3x Prism Scope
- 6TACFUN Prismatic Series 4x32
- 7Lucid P7 4x Prismatic Weapons Optic
- 8Leapers UTG T4 Series 4x32
- 9Sightmark Wolfhound HS223 3x24
- 10C&C Outdoor Products 2.5x32 Tactical Prism Scope
Table of Contents
- What is a Prism Scope?
- Prism Scopes and Astigmatism
- Best Prism Scope on the Market Reviews
- 1 Trijicon ACOG 3.5x35
- 2 Sig Sauer Bravo3 Battle Sight 3x24
- 3 Vortex Optics Spitfire 3x Prism Scope
- 4 Athlon Optics Midas BTR Prism Scope
- 5 Monstrum P330-B Marksman 3x Prism Scope
- 6 TACFUN Prismatic Series 4x32
- 7 Lucid P7 4x Prismatic Weapons Optic
- 8 Leapers UTG T4 Series 4x32
- 9 Sightmark Wolfhound HS223 3x24
- 10 C&C Outdoor Products 2.5x32 Tactical Prism Scope
- Final Thoughts
What is a Prism Scope?
Traditional riflescopes use a series of ocular and objective lenses to focus and magnify distant targets. The design of lining up lenses makes these scopes relatively long and sometimes heavy.
In place of the lenses used in a traditional scope, a prismatic scope uses a prism to magnify images. Because prism scopes do not rely on multiple lenses, they are able to magnify targets in a shorter, more compact unit. The design limits the magnification power. Most prism scopes have only 6x or lower fixed magnification.
The lightweight, compact design and lower magnification make prism scopes particularly well-suited for close to medium-range shooting. Prism scopes are most commonly seen on tactical rifles like the AR-15 or AR-10. However, they also work well on shotguns and other rifle styles.
Prism Scopes and Astigmatism
Astigmatism is a fairly common vision condition that occurs when the cornea in the eye is irregularly shaped. If the surface of the cornea is uneven, it can prevent light from focusing properly on the retina. When the light is unfocused it causes blurred vision.
Astigmatism can cause some serious issues for shooters, especially when using a red dot or holographic sight. This common eye issue can make it difficult for shooters to see the reflected light of a red dot reticle properly. Often the reticle will appear blurred, smeared, or like a starburst, which can make consistent aiming nearly impossible. In some cases, a shooter with astigmatism may not be able to see the reticle at all.
Because prism scopes have illuminated reticles etched in glass, they are a much better option for shooters with astigmatism. Instead of a blurred or missing red dot, a prism scope provides shooters with astigmatism a clear sight picture and a crisp reticle.
Best Prism Scope on the Market Reviews
We’ve tried to include models on our list to fit every shooter’s budget. However, quality isn’t cheap, especially when it comes to prism scopes. If you want top-quality performance, be prepared to drop some cash. However, if you don’t have a ton of money to invest, some of the more affordable options on our list are sufficient for most shooting applications. Just don’t expect the image clarity or functionality of a high-end scope from a budget optic.
1 Trijicon ACOG 3.5x35
The Trijicon ACOG sets the standard for fixed power prism scopes, and that standard is incredibly high. Trijicon claims their ACOG (Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight) is literally bombproof, and we can’t help but believe them. The housing of the ACOG is forged from 7075-T6 aircraft-aluminum-alloy. That tough housing is then o-ring sealed to prevent internal fogging, even in the wettest weather conditions.
These “indestructible” prism scopes have rushed into battle mounted on U.S. military rifles since 1987. They have definitely proven their value in real-life war zones around the globe.
The ACOG is designed for use with the “both eyes open” Bindon Aiming Concept. This allows the shooter to maintain their peripheral vision and situational awareness in high-stress shooting environments.
The ACOG is designed for effective shooting in any light condition. Not only does this scope have superb optics, it also comes with a dual illuminated reticle. It uses advanced fiber optics to power illumination during the day, After the sun goes down, the ACOG uses tritium radiance for reticle visibility in total darkness. Then battery-free illumination means you never need to worry about your scope losing power when you need it most.
The only major drawback to the ACOG is the price tag. Although we believe it is well worth the investment, the ACOG is by far the most expensive optic on our list.
2 Sig Sauer Bravo3 Battle Sight 3x24
The Sig Sauer Bravo3 is designed specifically for AR-15 and other modern sporting rifles. This radically different battle sight features a 42 percent wider field of view (FOV) than other comparable optics.
In addition to its massive FOV, the Bravo3 is engineered to provide a flat, distortion-free image with crisp edge-to-edge clarity. Sig accomplishes this by using low dispersion (LD) glass and aspherical lenses.
Weighing a mere 22 ounces, the Bravo3 definitely won’t weigh you down. Don’t let its compact, lightweight design fool you, however. The Bravo3 is one tough cookie. It is made with a durable magnesium housing that is o-ring sealed for fogproof performance. The optic is also IPX-8 waterproof, which means it can survive a 13-foot plunge without skipping a beat.
The Bravo3 is available with either a 5.56/7.62 horseshoe dot reticle or a reticle optimized for .300 Blackout.
3 Vortex Optics Spitfire 3x Prism Scope
The Spitfire 3x from Vortex Optics excels at close to medium-range shooting. It is lightweight, ultra compact, insanely rugged, and jam-packed with high-tech features.
The Spitfire’s unique EBR-556B reticle is etched directly on the prism, which guarantees a consistent point of aim. The reticle BDC marks calibrated for common 5.56 loads out to 500 yards. Shooters can also use either red or green illumination in five intensity settings to optimize reticle visibility in any lighting condition.
The Spitfire also features a fast focus eyepiece, fully multi-coated optics, and a generous field of view.
4 Athlon Optics Midas BTR Prism Scope
For rapid, close-range target acquisition, sometimes magnification just gets in the way. This highly versatile prism scope from Athlon Optics features true 1x magnification, an etched glass reticle, and fully multi-coated optics. The Midas BTR comes with multiple, easy-to-adjust illumination settings so you can optimize the intensity for nearly any ambient light condition.
One of the toughest optics on our list, the Midas BTR is made from a single piece of heat-treated, aircraft grade aluminum. The chassis is nitrogen purged to eliminate internal moisture, and then o-ring sealed. This construction design makes the optic reliably fogproof, waterproof, and shockproof.
5 Monstrum P330-B Marksman 3x Prism Scope
Monstrum always manages to surprise us with their premium quality optics. Their scopes have everything you would expect from high-end models, only without the high-end price tags. Priced well under $200, the Monstrum Marksman 3x prism scope offers incredible value for the money.
The Marksman features a simple circle-dot reticle with multiple brightness settings in both red and green.
Monstrum uses multiple glass coatings to reduce glare and protect surfaces from damaging dirt and scratches. The images are surprisingly crisp and clear, especially for an optic in this price range.
The Marksman is solidly built from 6061 aircraft grade aluminum and sealed with rubber o-rings to keep out dirt and water. The scope also features a hard anodized coating for extra durability.
6 TACFUN Prismatic Series 4x32
For those on a serious shoestring budget, this ultra cheap prism scope from TACFUN may be the answer to your prayers. This 4x scope is well-built and provides much better-than-average image quality.
The TACFUN’s main housing is milled from a solid piece of aircraft grade aluminum, making it sturdy enough to withstand repetitive, punishing recoil. It also has a generous 3 ½ inches of eye relief, making it a great option for rifles chambered for hard-hitting cartridges.
Lenses on the TACFUN prism scope are green fused and multi-coated to enhance light transmission and resist scratching. The scope offers nice resolution and clarity, even in low light situations.
7 Lucid P7 4x Prismatic Weapons Optic
Most shooters probably haven’t heard of Lucid Optics, but their products never fail to impress us. Lucid’s P7 prism scope is a pleasant surprise in the field of affordable optics. It features a 100 percent waterproof, shockproof design that makes it ideal for rough shooting conditions. Manufactured with a sturdy, cast aircraft-grade aluminum frame, the P7 is wrapped in a chemical rubber housing for impressive durability.
The Lucid P7 features a ballistic MOA illuminated reticle powered by a single, common AA battery. The scope also features a brightness sensor that automatically adjusts the reticle's intensity to match the environment. This handy feature allows you to maintain focus on your surroundings while keeping your hands on your weapon instead of fiddling with the brightness settings on your optic.
8 Leapers UTG T4 Series 4x32
Sturdy enough to withstand harsh conditions and rough use, the Leapers UTG T4 prism scope is nitrogen filled and completely sealed for true shockproof, fogproof, waterproof performance. Built on the original True Strength (TS) Platform, the T4 is super tough and holds its zero like there’s no tomorrow.
We love the etched glass, floating circle reticle on this model. The outer circle helps shooters get on target fast, while the center dot provides a precise aiming point. This easy-to-use, highly intuitive reticle works well for new and experienced shooters alike.
The T4 also features UTG’s patented EZ-TAP Illumination Enhancing System which provides an astonishing 36 different color modes. This system allows shooters to find the perfect contrast for any lighting condition or target background. It even has a one-click memory, which allows you to instantly return to your previous setting if you need to adjust in the middle of a shooting session.
9 Sightmark Wolfhound HS223 3x24
The Wolfhound HS223 from Sightmark is another high-quality option with a sub-$200 price tag. That makes it one of the best value options on our list.
The optic is made from anodized, high-grade aluminum and features a durable, impact-resistant rubber armor finish.
The Wolfhound HS223 has fully multi-coated lenses and uses unique, anti-reflective treatments to reduce light loss to near one percent. The result is jaw-dropping resolution, color contrast, and clarity.
Equipped with a detailed reticle calibrated for common .223 Remington loads, the Wolfhound HS223 makes a great addition to your AR-15. The reticle features an outer half circle for rapid, CQB target acquisition. It also has a .5 MOA center aiming point for increased precision and horizontal lines for accurate holdover from 400 to 900 yards. Some shooters may consider the reticle a bit cluttered and confusing. However, once you get used to it, it provides valuable marks for fast, accurate shooting.
10 C&C Outdoor Products 2.5x32 Tactical Prism Scope
This compact, lightweight prism scope from C&C Outdoor Products measures only 4.6 inches long. This makes it a smart choice for mounting on an AK-47 or other modern rifle where rail space may be limited. The scope also comes with two removable Picatinny rails located on each side. You can use these to add a flashlight or laser sight without cluttering up your top rail.
The main housing on the C&C Tactical Prism Scope is machined from a single piece of aircraft grade aluminum alloy. The body is then completely sealed, making it both fogproof and waterproof.
Other quality features include a red/green illuminated, etched glass reticle and handy zero-locking target turrets.
If you need a lightweight, compact, low magnification optic, a prism scope is the way to go. If you are looking for the best prism scope for your shooting needs, any of the options on our list will provide solid, reliable performance. No matter which optic you choose, be sure to spend some time at the gun range practicing with your new set-up. Proficiency with your weapon and your scope is crucial whether you plan to use it for hunting, competition, or home defense.