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I'm in the market for a handgun scope to put on the T/C contender I recently bought, but when I first started looking into handgun optics I noticed two things:
1: There is a LOT less data and information about pistol optics online than rifle optics.

and 2: There are very few options of quality pistol scopes to choose from compared to rifle scopes, which is both a good and bad thing.

In the two weeks or so that I've been trying to decide what to get, I've come to a few generalizations:

1: Leupold and Burris seem to have the highest quality scopes, but also the highest price point and a little out of my league at this point in time.

2: Nikon's Force XR line seems to be a nipping at the heels of Leupold and Burris, but the eye relief/ exit pupil is a little too short at higher magnifications to put on a Contender/ Encore IMO. I did look through the 2-7x32mm model at a store a few days ago and confirmed this. I LOVE the Nikon BDC reticle, but I had to get so close to the scope that I wouldn't be able to use it unless shooting from a rest.

3: Bushnell's Elite 3200/3500 2-6x32 seems to be on par with the other three brands and has a constant 20 inches of eye relief at a loss of a little magnification compared to the others and a smaller FOV than the Nikon. I can't really find a lot of information about this scope though.

4: Weaver seems to have a decent 2.5-8 scope as well, but the exit pupil is even smaller (3.5mm) than the Nikon's and I feel that I would have much the same issue with it.

So, as of now, my top choice is looking like the Bushnell Elite 2-6 unless I could find a steal on a variable power Leupold or Burris. I do want to get a variable power scope to have flexibility for shooting from a rest/ at range vs short range hunting.

If this was a rifle I wouldn't mind spending the difference or even going up to something a little better like the Meostar I have on my Weatherby, but this is going on a .223 that will see most of its use under 200 yards so it's not THAT critical.

Before I pull the trigger on anything, I wanted to see if anybody here could shed some more experienced light or feedback on the subject and help me either confirm or deny what I'm considering as the best choice.
 

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Handgun scopes need to be able to handle more recoil than a normal rifle scope, so don't cheap out. One thing to be VERY careful of is eye relief. I have one handgun scope that has good eye relief at max magnification but when dialed down to minimum magnification I have to hold it at full arm's length to get enough eye relief. My arms almost aren't long enough.
 

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I have the Bushnell Elite 3500 2-6 on a .454 Casull and I like it much better than the 2x Leupold that I had on it before. it's a nice scope, don't let the Bushnell brand make you think it's inferior to the Burris or Leupold
 

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I've tried a lot of handgun scopes and prefer fixed 2x. Variables are nice but that feature cost money that could otherwise be diverted to better quality lenses. Most of my pistol shooting has taken place inside of 300 yards and a 2x seems to be plenty for that range.

My personal favorite so far is the Burris 2x20. It's a great scope for the money.
Burris 2x20 Handgun Scope

Second in line would be the old Leupold M8 extended eye relief scopes. They've been discontinued but you can usually find them on eBay.

I also like the Nikon Monarch 2x but it has been discontinued as well. They're a little hard to come by.

The 2x Weaver isn't too bad. It's not too good either.
Weaver 2x28 Classic Handgun Scope

I would resist the urge to buy Swift of Simmons. Every one I've had has been junk.
 
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