Best Prism Scope – 2022 Complete Buyer’s Guide

A prism scope is a fixed magnification aiming device that focuses an image using a prism. This technology is increasing in popularity because of its performance on rifles. In this article, we will discuss prism scopes and review some of the best options available.

IMAGE PRODUCT  
  • Best overall
  • Has a high value for its accessible price
  • Excellent optics for all shooters
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  • Best Burris prism scope
  • Sight has a 32 mm objective, giving you a wide field of view
  • 3X magnification to improve your sight at around 100 yards
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  • Best Vortex Spitfire AR prism scope
  • Weatherproof seal keeps out dirt and moisture while handling fog, snow, rain, and extreme temperatures
  • Battery life of 250 hours at maximum brightness
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  • Tritium-based reticle offers battery-free illumination
  • Utilized by the US Military for its sturdiness and durability
  • Waterproof design can withstand 100-meter depths
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What Does a Prism Scope Do?

A prism scope clarifies an image using a prism instead of several optical lenses. Prisms have multiple acute angles that reflect white light and separate it into a color spectrum.

Magnifies and Focuses Light

Prism scopes magnify and focus light differently than standard ones. While a prism scope will not provide the same level of magnification, it can provide 1X to 5X magnification in a much smaller package.

Reliable and Simple Shooting

Since prism scopes have no moving parts, they are more durable than traditional sights. They do not need batteries as they have etched reticles, giving them an advantage over red dots.

When Would I Use a Prism Scope?

You can use a prism scope at a close-, mid-, and somewhat long-range. They suit people with astigmatism, and they provide vital data to the user.

Low Range Use

Since prism scopes have magnification ranges between 1X-5X, they work best when used in the short to mid-range. You can usually use them up to around 300 yards away from the target. When choosing your prism scope, try not to go for the largest range. By experimenting with different scopes, you can choose the ideal magnification for your shooting needs.

Astigmatism

Prism scopes have diopters that let the user adjust the sharpness for their eyesight. Those with astigmatism or similar eyesight issues can reduce their parallax issues using the diopter. You may not need to use your glasses with a prism scope. Other names for this piece include an ocular ring or a fast-focus eyepiece.

Vital Data

Some prism scopes have etched reticles that inform the user of vital data. Many varieties have illuminated reticles as well. Etched reticles offer precision, and they have bullet drop compensation and laser-written hash marks. The illuminated ones use light to brighten the focus point, which improves night accuracy.

How to Choose a Prism Scope

You will not want a prism scope if you plan on engaging in long-range shooting. If you have a sniper rifle or tactical rifle, a prism scope will not optimize your weapon. However, short-range shooters can benefit from the correct magnification level, dual reticles, weatherproofing, and an anti-reflective lens coating.

Magnification

You will need to choose the magnification prism scope before purchasing it. For tactical and close-range shooting, a 1X-2X magnification would work. A 200-300 yard range will require 5X magnification for a clear shot.

Reticle

Prism scopes work with duplex, German No. 4, BDC, and red dot reticles. The scopes often come with etched and illuminated reticles. The etched ones can act as a backup when the illuminated one runs out of batteries, and the two combined improve your precision.

Weatherproofing

Prism scopes with waterproofing work well for hunting rifles. If you hunt in the early morning or evening with misty or chilly conditions, you will need waterproofing to keep moisture out and improve the focus and visibility. Fog-proofing also helps for these reasons.

Lens Coating

Most prism scopes have multi-coated lenses with anti-reflective properties to protect your eyes against glare and reflected light.

Review of the Best Prism Scope

We have collected our thoughts on a handful of prism scopes to present you with the best options out there. Here are a few of the top prism scopes available today.

Top Pick

Vortex StrikeFire II Sight w/ 4 MOA Dot

PROS

CONS

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers report that the Vortex StrikeFire II has a rugged construction, clear lens, and works on many ARs. They enjoy its adjustable red and green dot options that make it useful in more situations. It holds zero well and works with the Vortex magnifier. However, many struggled with the controls.

Why It Stands Out to Us

The Vortex StrikeFire II stands out to us because of its affordable price and stellar features. You get 100 yards of visibility and can add magnification for other applications.

No matter your skill level, you can benefit from having this sight in your collection. It has a simple yet durable design with a quality build that is compatible with most guns. It works with rifles that have a Weaver or Picatinny rail, but most people use it on shotguns and pistols. You can mount it easily, especially if you have a 30 mm mounting ring.

Bottom Line

This prism scope has minimal bells and whistles, but it does have all the necessary features to fulfill your optics needs. While the controls may take some getting used to, you can shoot at mid-level distances with ease.

Best Burris Prism Scope

Burris AR-332 3x32mm Prism Red Dot Sight

PROS

CONS

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers found the Burris AR-332 prism scope to have a solid construction, sharp reticle, and the ability to hold zero. It is not a precision optic past 100 yards, but it does function well on most assault rifles. Lastly, many recent buyers appreciated the affordable price considering its features.

Why It Stands Out to Us

The Burris AR-332 Prism Red Dot Sight stands out to us because of its durable, waterproof, and compact design. It has a unique reticle that excels at short-range shots, but it delivers bullet drop compensation through 500 yards. However, it does function best in the 100-yard sweet spot.

We enjoy its multi-coated lenses that sharpen the view, making it a magnificent choice for those with vision issues. Also, you can choose between a red dot, green dot, and black ballistic reticle. While the sight does suffer from low battery life, it does come with the Burris Forever Warranty if it does receive permanent damage.

Bottom Line

If you want an affordable prism scope with quality construction that can last you generations, consider the Burris AR-332. It works with many assault rifles and lets you piggyback other accessories, making it usable in most situations.

Best Vortex Spitfire AR Prism Scope

Vortex Spitfire 1x-AR Prism Scope

PROS

CONS

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers admire this prism scope for its crisp reticle, accessible price, clear field of view, zeroing abilities, and long battery life. It works well for shooting targets, and you can use several reticles. However, some disliked the eye relief distance and found that the caps slid.

Why It Stands Out to Us

The Vortex Spitfire 1x-AR Prism Scope stands out to us because of its versatility. You can use the dot sight or shoot with both eyes open. The reticles are bright with a battery life that lasts 3,000 hours on minimum brightness. 

It works well in close-range situations as it has 1X magnification. Some have found success at 100-yard distances, though the performance falters at around 75 yards. The Spitfire adjusts quickly and has an accurate scope, making it ideal for hunting. You can attach it to most assault rifles, but it works best with AR-15s.

Bottom Line

Vortex delivers incredible optics with the Spitfire, and its robust construction should last you years. This lightweight scope can make a great addition to your collection if you have an AR-15 and plan on doing some close-range hunting.

Trijicon TA31RCO-M4 ACOG 4×32 USMC M4 Rifle Scope

 

PROS

CONS

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers love its military-grade function. Some report that it can get shot by an assault rifle and still function. You can use it with both of your eyes, and it has a solid build. The Trijicon has clear optics and a built-in bullet drop compensation.

Why It Stands Out to Us

The Trijicon TA31RCO-M4 ACOG is a prism riflescope with magnification, and its uniqueness is the reason why it stands out to us. It has a radioactive reticle that automatically illuminates in low light. You will never need to worry about battery life, so you can hunt for hours. The military trusts it for its power, optics, and quality. While it is out of most people’s price range, the benefits exceed the steep cost.

Some users may prefer an adjustable magnification or a longer eye relief. The Trijicon is not adjustable in this regard, so you will need to opt for a different choice. Nevertheless, it excels at self-defense and hunting.

Bottom Line

One of the highest quality prism scopes available is the Trijicon TA31RCO-M4 ACOG. It has crisp reticles and exceptional material quality, and it will not break easily. Even if it does, you get a warranty! If you have the budget, you cannot go wrong with this scope.

Advantages of Investing in a Quality Prism Scope

Choosing a quality prism scope can offer you magnification in a compact package. Many of the models work with magnifiers to improve upon their base level. You can use them in most close- to mid-range applications, with many having a comfort zone of around 100 yards. They offer a large and crisp field of view that makes them an awesome choice for hunting in nature.

Since prism scopes do not have moving parts, they are more durable and can last longer. They often come with extensive warranties and work in most conditions. Some are even used by the U.S. Military.

Prism scopes usually have illuminated and etched reticles. The illuminated one can have a red or green dot, and the etched one serves as a backup that adds precision if you run out of batteries.

Another interesting advantage is how it benefits those with astigmatism. Astigmatism can distort a standard red dot sight, so having the option for an etched reticle allows users to shoot no matter their vision status. Many buyers report being able to use the scopes without glasses, including the budget options.

Conclusion

A prism scope can clarify an image to improve your prospects of shooting a target. They offer clear optics without needing batteries, and you can use them for tactical shooting or hunting. While they cannot replace a long-range sight, they do work well for close-range applications. We found five of the best prism scopes to narrow down your options when looking to purchase one.

People Also Ask

When investing in a prism scope, many first-time buyers have a few questions. These scopes differ substantially from standard scopes, and they do not provide the same magnification level.

Do Prism Scopes Have Parallax?

Yes. Most higher magnification scopes experience parallax errors at long distances. Due to the prism scopes’ lower magnification ranges, parallax begins its influence at around 150 yards. The exact distance depends on the scope, as those with longer ranges can work longer without encountering parallax.

Can You Use a Magnifier with a Prism Scope?

Some prism scopes allow you to attach magnifiers, such as the Vortex Strikefire. Those with rails that accommodate accessories often work with magnifiers to solve the issue of low magnification in a prism scope. However, products with fixed magnification levels tend to not accept an external magnifier to improve upon the design.

Joseph Fox

Joseph Fox

Joseph Fox writes on a variety of topics ranging from reloading ammunition to gun cleaning. He has been featured on various publications like thetruthaboutguns, Sofrep & many more. Joseph is also the founder of Gunloading, where he reviews different types of reloading & firearm products available on the market.