There is a very common question people ask: “I am new to stalking/hunting, can someone suggest what type of scope I need for different kinds of hunting?”

The expert knows which scope to choose …

Most newcomers to the shooting world, and those who want to start but never done it before, don’t know where to go and haven’t got an experienced friend who can offer advice on this topic.

For the seasoned hunter or shooter this isn’t really an issue: no thinking is involved as “WE” just know what “glass” is needed for our particular type of shooting, conditions and purpose. We know what goes best with what; if the set doesn’t work, well … we make it work.

… but for the newcomers, it’s different

Novices don’t have that kind of confidence or experience, so the question very often gets asked.

Having been actively involved myself in the shooting industry for the last 5 to 6 years, I’ve seen many shooting “sets” (rifle+scope), looked through many different scopes and shot many different rifles, on the range and during hunting trips.

Considering the amount of products now available to customers, you can see how it could get a bit confusing and overwhelming.  It’s true that there is a lot of info out there on the web, but it’s not always reliable.

The worst advice

The thing is, nowadays, the quality of the “glass” is so high (even in the budget range scopes) that an inexperienced person would struggle to see the difference and make the right choice.

This gives rise to problems, as the most common answer people give is: “Get yourself the most expensive scope you can afford, you won’t go wrong.  Go for the highest magnification too, as it is better to have more than not enough!” What terrible advice to give to a novice shooter!

The advice that elders should bring

We, as the “main drivers” of our sport should offer the best help to newcomers we can.  Spend time with the guy, let him look through your scope or scopes, explain the differences, plusses and minuses, purposes and price ranges, take some time out and brief him about things.

I know it’s just an opinion, but it is a constructive and honest opinion.

In my practice I’ve seen far too many situations where the person, (sometimes a seasoned hunter/shooter), completely misses the target because they forgot to change the magnification from 20 or 32 to 8 and shot below the target, as it appeared much closer than it actually was. It is a common error and could happen to anyone, but you want to avoid this sort of mistake as it could get worse.

My advice 

“Go for fixed magnification to begin with, get used to it and learn every aspect of this scope, learn your distances and bullet drops. In time you’ll find that for most shooting you don’t need extra magnification at all. Go for something mid-range in price like the Kite Optics K4, just as you would do with your first ever car purchase, before you learn how to use it. 

For a more technical approach, refer to Adrien’s article: How to choose your shooting scope

Never listen to a salesman as he works on commission. Ask an active hunter, wildlife manager or a competition shooter: they are practical people who can actually provide you with some real feedback.”


And you, what are your advice to young hunters?