Air rifles are being continuously developed and improved with technical advancements. With shooting becoming an increasingly popular recreational activity and a serious sport, manufacturers have put in extra effort to create rifles that are all about consistent accuracy and performance. Although rifles with different features may provide a level of accuracy even at short range shooting, a scope is essential to further enhance this at distance.

However, similar to how complex rifles are, rifle scopes can be difficult to navigate through as well. With a wide range in terms of price point and variations, choosing the right air rifle scope can be overwhelming. We may not be able to cover everything in one guide but this one will give you the basic points and information to look at when choosing a scope. If you want to find out more about air rifle scopes and for further reviews, you should check out Alpha Militaria’s in-depth scope guides.


This is all about being able to zoom in or out from your target. Some scopes would usually have a set magnification range, often at 4x or 6x, which may work for some. However, there are scopes with a more flexible range which is ideal for most shooting situations. The most common ranges are 3-12x, 4-16x and 6-24x, usually used for airguns but there may be scopes out there with a wider range of magnification.

Objective Lens

This pertains to the size of the objective lens placed forwardmost of the scope. It is usually identified in millimeters and the most common sizes are 32, 40, 42, 50 and 56mm. So if you see a scoped described as 4-16×50, it means its magnification range is 4016x and it has a 50mm objective lens.

Ocular Eye Relief

The lens you look into is called the ocular lens and a crucial detail to consider is the distance required from the eye and the ocular lens called “eye relief”. Some scopes will indicate a recommended eye relief which may be a few inches depending on intensity of recoil. However, there are pre-charged air rifles that don’t have recoil at all which is perfect for “0 eye relief” scopes, meaning you put the eye right against the ocular lens.

Dioptre Adjustment

Reliable scopes allow focus adjustments by twisting the optical lens. Looking through the lens, you’ll be able to see black lines to help you target, then you can adjust focus to get a better view.

Adjustment to Parallax

Parallax error is a visual effect wherein the target’s position appears differently when viewed from a different spot. That is a crucial consideration and good scopes would have a parallax adjustment feature to help resolve that. There would usually be a dial on the side of the scope or somewhere near the objective lens which can be adjusted to provide a sharper view of the target and address the error. Some scopes may have a non-adjustable parallax setting usually used on airguns since it works well for the typical airgun ranges.

Reticle and Mil dots

Scopes have markings to help improve precision in terms of gauging the amount of pellets and how they may drop over depending on the distance: reticle and mil dots. The reticle is the lines that you can see when you look through the scope. It can have many variations but can also be as simple as horizontal and vertical lines. Mil dots on the other hand are represented by dots on the view. The “mil’ in mil dots stand for milliradian which is an angular measurement at 1/1000th of a radian. These markings translate aim points along with distance, allowing you to shoot with better precision. These markings are measured in ‘Minutes of Angle’ or MOA. There are scopes with reticles that light up to help with dim lighting conditions.

Reliable Air Rifle Scope Brands

Now that you know some of the basics, it’s important to learn about some of the most dependable brands of air rifle scopes. These don’t necessarily mean that you need to only buy from them but they’ve been in the industry for so long that they’ve set a standard that can help you determine the kind of scope you want. Also, knowing about multiple brands and some of their background can help you analyze or compare scopes from one another.


Hawke is a family-owned british company popular for its wide range of sporting optics. They have a great variety of products, covering many specifications with budget-friendly options to more expensive selections.


MTC Optics have a great selection of scopes including options for rimfire or centrefire shooters as well as airguns.

Nikko Stirling

Stirling Scope Company Ltd. was founded in Tokyo in 1956 and has become a respectable and reliable brand ever since. They have a wide variety of products for airguns, rimfire, centrefire and big bore shooters


Meopta is a known manufacturer of optics made for industrial and military use but they also produce ones for sporting too.


Tasco has been a popular brand for airgunners especially during the 1980s. They’ve developed their brand as a manufacturer of affordable and dependable scopes.


AGS is a remarkable Cobalt brand that is known for both fixed and variable scopes well-suited for airguns.


Aztec has an impressive selection including a first focal plane option and mid-ranged scopes with flexible magnification.

Other Types of Scopes

Air Pistol

These are designed for pistols so they’re used at arm’s length. They usually have smaller objective lenses and lower magnification settings.

Night Vision and Day/Night Scopes

These scopes can be incredibly convenient if you’ll be shooting beyond sun down and in the depths of night time:

  • Digital

    This type uses electronic-generated images of the view or landscape instead of using glass. They may be extremely useful for night time but there is usually a noticeable difference in comparison to glass as it produces a sharper view. As technology advances, this type of scopes are always developed further to level up image quality.
  • Thermal
    These scopes can be on the pricey side but they are fun and useful. They basically detect heat and bring emphasis to targets that blend into the background. These are ideal for night shooting and can provide different color settings according to preference.
  • Night vision accessories

    There are add-on accessories that can be attached to the ocular lens for night vision capabilities. These add-ons are incredibly useful for night shooting and for conditions where the rifle is placed on any kind of support such as shooting sticks. 


We hope this guide can help you analyze scope options in a more detailed manner. There are so many scopes out there and it all boils down to usage, purpose, and preference. Different conditions and variations in activity may require multiple scopes so it’s best to take note of the basics and browse according to what you need.