Choosing a Telescopic Rifle Scope or Laser or Red Dot Sight for Airsoft or Paintball

A scope or sight makes playing airsoft even more fun in a number of ways. If you don’t have one you should get one!

While not as essential as say for air rifle shooting where you often need to hit a 5p size target at 30 metres an airsoft scope can help in other ways

  1. Telescopic scopes improve longer distance aimed shot accuracy – Very handy for sniping.
  2. Brilliant for spotting enemy in cover (ambushes!) and – or at ranges way beyond rifle range.
  3. Red dot and laser sights improve hit rates in fast reflex CQB and mad skirmishes.
  4. And of course they make any airsoft rifle look very cool and are loads of fun to use (which has got to count for quite a bit I reckon)

There are 3 types to consider –

1 – Telescopic scopes As the name suggests you get magnified vision. These are ideal for snipers and general rifle combat.

Come in a wide range of sizes, for example –

  1. 3-9×40 is the most popular general purpose type but what does that mean?
  • 3-9 – Means the magnification. In this example can be dialed between 3 and 9x (and all the numbers in between)
  • Very handy for multiple situations and ranges.
  • 40 = lens size in millimeters. 40mm is a very good size. Good light capture and a wide field of view but not overly bulky.
  • By contrast a 4×32 would mean 4 x magnification only through a 32mm lens.

Cross hairs – There are many different types but for airsoft use you don’t need to worry about this to much except as a fashion thing!

  1. The 30-30 type is pretty standard and is fine (similar to a traditional plain X hair)
  2. You’ll see others with Mil Dot which is the military standard cross hair.
  3. Just the job you may think but they are more expensive and the mil dot stuff is basically a range finding and distance estimation aid that’s of little use until distances over a couple of hundred meters are reached. A nice to have but you don’t need it.

Types 2 and 3 Red dot and Laser sights

  1. These are not magnified – what you see is the real size as it is.
  2. Perfect for FIBUA, CQB and close quarter stuff where you need reflex from the hip or fast semi aimed eye to sight shots (a la SWAT style)
  3. Great for pistols as well.

2 – Red dot sight

  1. Projects a red (or green) dot onto the inside of the lens.
  2. Only you can see this dot – hopefully on your target.
  3. You fire and you hit.
  4. Very handy for reflex combat and pistols.
  5. The bigger the lens the better. 20mm is common and OK. 40mm more pricey but much better. (Tasco do some great ones)

3 – Laser sights

  1. Similar principle to the red dot except the dot is “visibly visible”” on the target – anyone can see it.
  2. Brilliant for scaring the hell out of the enemy, but it can give you away too so use with care!
  3. Best in low light, but any decent laser will still give you visible dot even in standard daylight, though effective range will be much less.
  4. Various types, some can go on top of a telescopic sight.
  5. Others can be mounted slung under the barrel or pistol grip.

Makes include, the SMK LS1, LS2 and LS3 models, Hawke Tactical, Beamshot and Cybergun Universal. All are excellent with SMK being at the budget end (I sell loads of them on ebay)

Mounts and base rails – VERY IMPORTANT! An important area and one that causes a lot of confusion on ebay! – To fit a scope or sight to a rifle of pistol there must be somewhere to clamp it onto. Makes sense yes? (not to some people it doesn’t!)

  1. Look for dovetail type grooves running along the top of the rifle body – This is the scope or sight rail or base.
  2. To this rail or base you attach the scope or sight by way of scope mounts
  3. But just to make it extra fun there are different type of mounts as rails – bases differ in width!

But OK, assuming you have a base rail of some sort. Next –

  1. Measure the distance between the grooves of the base.
  • If it’s no more than 13mm wide (3/8 inch) then you need what are called standard mounts
  • If it’s 20mm wide (5/8 inch) then you have what is called a Weaver base and need weaver mounts (inventors name)
  • Most airsoft models need weavers. Examples that spring to mind are the TM M4, SR16, SG550-51-52 series, MP5.
  • Some sniper types have Standard.
  • It’s not a problem if you measure up first and check that the sight or scope you are getting has the right type
  • Take extra care with models that have fitted mounts. These cannot be changed so if you get the wrong type they’ll have to be sent back and swapped for a totally different model.
  • If in doubt read the product description carefully or email the seller to ask for clarification and include your gun make, model and link to website so the seller can check it out fast.
  • Nickwake (my) eBay shop fast guide to airsoft suitable scopes and sights

    Telescopics –

    1. 4×20 – Only come with fitted Standard mounts. Do not buy or bid for if you have a weaver base.
    2. 4×32, 3-9×32, 4×40, 3-9×40, 4-12×42 and 8×56
    • All come without mounts so you choose mount type.
  • All models can all have the SMK LS2 scope mounted laser sights added to give you telescopic AND relex shooting.
  • Red dots –

    1. Type 1 – “Open eye” with fitted standard mounts
    2. Type 2 – Tasco BKR – with fitted weaver mounts (a very cool sight this one)

    Lasers –

    1. Type 1 – LS2 Scope mounted. A long term best seller. Available on own or as part of a combo set or add on if you win an auction.
    2. Type 2 – Cybergun Laser and Torch – with various adaptors, can be barrel slung. Also come with a tactical torch. Very cool kit.

    So, want to get one? I hope you know what you need to know now and to see you online soon! Or, for more scope guide stuff see my website zero rifle scopes