The 5 Best 3-9×40 Scopes — 3×9 Optic Reviews 2022

best 3-9x40 scope, best 3x9 scope, best 3-9 scope

Photo by David Wright / CC BY

The 3 to 9 power rifle scope may be the most ideal scope for hunting in North America. Capable of low level magnification that many people favor for close in hunting, to a large enough magnification suitable for sighting in a rifle or taking long distance shots, the 3-9 scope has become one of the classic American hunting scopes. Given its popularity, the eternal quest then is to find the best 3-9 scope. Everyone has different ideas on what that should be, some favoring a compact scope, while others looking for one with an illuminated reticle, while others still are simply content with a classic and sleek scope that looks good on their rifle and doesn’t break the bank. We went ahead and did some of the hard work for you and offer you our suggestions for the best 3x9 scope on the market right now.

Bushnell Trophy XLT

This is a fantastic bargain for a top quality scope. If you are looking for the best 3-9x40 scope, then consider the Bushnell XLT. Its multi coated optics allow for 91% light transmission, which means a bright, sharp and clear sight picture. Industry standard water, fog and shock proof construction, along with free flip up scope covers and a limited lifetime warranty come together to make this an excellent scope for the money. Bushnell has been long known for quality scopes at more than fair prices, and really there is no reason not to take a hard look at the XLT if you are looking to scope your rifle this season.

Leupold 111236 VXR 3-9x40mm

We admit to a bias towards Leupold scopes, but in all fairness, that is like admitting a bias towards great food, beautiful women (or handsome guys, if you’re a woman reading this), well built cars, and fine art. A Leupold scope is a thinking man’s rifle scope, and this one is no exception. In the quest for the best 3-9 scope, we quickly focused on this beauty for good reason. Its 40mm objective lens is ideal for long range hunting and target shooting, while the famous Leupold quality and legendary lifetime warranty set it apart from the crowd. You’ve already got a great rifle; now it’s time to put an equally great scope on top of it.

Leupold VX-R 3-9X Unboxing and Overview [HD]

Redfield Revolution

The Redfield Revolution is one of the most kickbutt 3-9 scopes I’ve seen in its price range. The Redfield Revolution is an Oregon made scope that brings serious aiming technology to the market. Its big 50mm objective lens is a light transmitting monster which ensures a crisp, clean and clear sight picture. Built-in aiming points let you quickly take shots out to 500 yards with minimal effort, and the rugged all weather, waterproof construction ensures that your scope will function wherever you go. If you are looking for an affordable yet surprisingly high end 3-9 scope, the Redfield Revolution is worth a good hard look.  This is one of the best 3-9x40 scopes period.

The Shooting Show – first roebuck of 2015 PLUS the Redfield Revolution

Bushnell Banner Illuminated Reticle Scope

Another contender from Bushnell for the best 3-9x40 scope is their famous Banner line. This feature packed scope has a desirable illuminated reticle which has a multi level brightness control. Illuminated reticle scopes are very popular with hunters for allowing a clear reticle image under low light conditions. An illuminated reticle scope such as the Bushnell Banner can increase your hunting time by allowing you to take full advantage of early dusk and late dawn when some of the best hunting happens. Additionally, special proprietary optical coatings enhance light gathering in low light conditions which only add to the overall appeal of this scope.

Barska 3-9 Colorado Rifle Scope

The best 3x9 scope for a penny-pincher, you say? Impossible? Nah, it’s right here. Barska makes good optics at a good price. Featuring Barska’s limited lifetime warranty, fully coated optics for optimal light transmission, and even a free set of lens covers, it’s pretty hard to go wrong with the Barska Colorado line. While it’s no Leupold or high end scope, this offering from Barska fills an important role for the budget shooter who needs the best 3-9x40 scope they can get without breaking the bank. There is no need to pay for an overbuilt scope if you are not climbing mountains in driving sleet while chasing deer, so give this little gem from Barska a chance.

Why 3-9 Power?

Once upon a time, I built The Ultimate Rifle. It had everything, fancy stock, fancy barrel, fancy trigger, fancy bipod, a hard hitting caliber, and of course The Ultimate Scope. I was looking for the best scope I could find, and I went for the “bigger is better” hype. So there I was lugging this rifle into the woods with an enormous scope on it. I forget the magnification, but I do recall examining the surface of the moon through it. I also recall having to buy extra tall rings just so the giant 50mm objective lens could ride above the barrel. If I was hunting satellites it would have been great, but I was just hunting deer.

Bigger is not always better, and after I sold my scope to an observatory so they could study the outer reaches of our solar system, I went back to the drawing board and realized the best scope for the task at hand was a 3-9 power scope. During the Vietnam War, the famed Marine sniper Carlos Hathcock nearly always used a simple 8 power scope, which leaves me satisfied that a variable three to nine power scope is more than sufficient for most anything a person might do with a rifle. Which brings us to the whole point of this article. Just what is the best 3x9 scope?

Well, it depends on what you are doing with it. If you are just out to punch holes in paper, you don’t need a scope with an illuminated reticle, and you probably don’t care if it is compact or not. Rather you simply want a scope that is reliable and works well. If you are running a carbine or tactical rifle you probably want a good compact scope that doesn’t throw the balance of your gun off. If you are shooting under low light conditions, an illuminated reticle is an absolute must. It will allow you to actually see the crosshairs of your scope against a target in low light and poor weather conditions.

First determine what you are going to use your rifle and scope for and match the scope to the job. We found scopes that will cover any of those scenarios and there are so many more to choose from still. Take a look, and hopefully you’ll find the best 3x9 scope you are looking for.

  • Owner of, Boyd Smith is a major handgun enthusiast, and although he owns Glocks, he prefers the revolving wheel type. His go-to guns are a Smith & Wesson 642 Performance Center for carry and a Ruger GP100 in the nightstand biometric safe (he has kids). He loads both revolvers with old-school 148-grain Federal Gold Medal .38 wadcutters. It’s OK if you think he’s a wimp. Email him.

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  1. needing a reasonably priced scope for my AR10, self defense weapon. 100 yds?

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