An Eye For Detail

Extended Eye Relief

With the huge number of scopes available today, there's a scope for just about everyone.  The important thing to remember when looking for a scope is to ensure you get the proper scope for the type of shooting you'll be doing.  When choosing a scope for a pistol or handgun one of the most important factors to consider is the extended eye relief.

In very simple language, the eye relief is the distance between the eye and the ocular (rear) lens of the scope when the full field of view is visible.  Armed with that information, the next step would be to actually determine the proper eye relief with a full field view.  Look through a scope and as you do, try moving your scope to different distances from the eye.  There will be a ring or shadow in the site picture.  When that ring or shadow is gone completely from the site picture, the target should fill the eyepiece and be centered in the scope.  This is when you have a full field of view.

Importance of EER

Having correct extended eye relief is particularly important when choosing a pistol scope since the distance of the scope from the eye when firing ranges between 5 and 30 inches.  Without the proper full field of view at these variable distances, the stance for shooting will have to be changed to facilitate the view.  Changing positions will ultimately make accuracy very challenging.

Another consideration is that EER changes with magnification when using variable power scopes.   Eye relief is reduced with higher magnification since the field of view narrows and it becomes harder to find the target, especially if it happens to be in motion.  The other side of this "negative" is that the target becomes magnified by the number dialed into the scope so it becomes easier to see.  If shooting at close range, lower magnification is needed with a larger field of view.  Exit pupil and illumination are also critical factors to consider in choosing a scope for a handgun.  Remembering that the range is between 5 and 30 inches from the eye to the scope, inadequate illumination affect extended eye relief and an accurate shot will be missed.

Be An Educated Buyer

The recoil from some handguns is greater than that of some rifles, so it's important to determine whether the scope you've chosen will withstand the crushing of repetitive shot recoil.  Take your time, choose the one that's best suited for your particular type of shooting and learn what you need to know in order to be a discerning buyer.  Magnification, exit pupil and illumination are all important factors in the choosing of a handgun scope.

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