Best SKS Scopes of 2019 – Complete Review

Owning an SKS means you’re holding a piece of history in your hands. Being very popular with shooters and collectors, these Soviet-era military rifles are also great fun.

If you want to mount a scope on your SKS, either for target practice or hunting, you’ll find out the details you need to know in this article.

We’ll talk about the criteria for choosing your SKS scope, how to mount it, and recommend some top picks for the best scope.  

Comparison Chart of the Best SKS Scopes

PRODUCT DETAILS
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Primary Arms 1-6X24mm SFP Riflescope with Patented ACSS 5.56/5.45/.308 Reticle Gen III

  • 1-6 x magnification with adjustment for parallax
  • ACSS reticle features a chevron center providing an infinitely small aiming point
  • Red illuminated crosshairs with 11 brightness settings
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Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-6x24 Second Focal Plane Riflescope - AR-BDC Reticle (MOA)

  • Comes with a lifetime unconditional warranty
  • Glass-etched BDC reticle for intuitive range estimation
  • 11 illumination settings to accomodate for changing light conditions
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SNIPER Compact Rifle Scope 4x32 with Ring, Hunting Scope

  • Steady magnification is ideal for scouting and close-range hunting
  • Compact mil-dot range-finding target estimation reticle
  • Includes scope mount rings, caps, hex wrench, and screws
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UTG 4-16X44 30mm Compact Scope, AO, 36-color Mil-dot, Rings

  • 4-16x high magnifying power for long-range shooting
  • 1-click high-tech Illumination memory feature for last brightness setting
  • 36 color mil-dot rings for precise aiming
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BARSKA 3-9x42 IR 2nd Generation Sniper Riflescope

  • 3-9x magnification for a better balance between long and short-range
  • Adjustable red/green mil-dot reticle for quick estimation
  • Great scope for hunting and practice
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What Makes a Great SKS Scope?

Because the SKS is neither a very high-end rifle nor very expensive, it makes sense to stick to low cost or medium cost scopes for this gun. Also, keep in mind the purposes of the gun and how you intend to shoot with it.

If you wish to go hunting in the daytime, you will require a more basic scope, but for night time or dusk hunting, you’ll need optical coatings on the scope for better light.

Magnification

When it comes to the magnifying power of your SKS scope, you should go for a Magnification that is suitable for the range of 300 yards. Anything more than 4x will be overkill as the SKS is 3-4 MOA rifle.

Objective Lens

The objective lens is the light­ gathering lens on the far end of your scope, and the bigger the objective lens, the better you can shoot in low light. The last number in the scope’s description, tells you the size of the objective.

Rifle Scope Diagram (Source)

For example, a scope with the designation of 5.5-22x56mm has a 56mm objective. Simply get the biggest objective you can afford.

An objective that is at least 50mm is highly recommended, but keep in mind that the size will affect your sight picture.

Reticle

While almost all scopes come with a sealed, nitrogen purged tube, and coated optics, the reticle can make the scope really stand out from the rest.

Various Reticles (Source)

Reticles can be illuminated or not, but the illuminated ones make it possible to acquire targets better in all lighting conditions.

What Size of Scope Do I Need For an SKS?

The short answer: it depends. It will depend on a few of your personal needs and preferences. If you want a scope that will give you a lot more coverage in terms of your image picture, then it’s important to find a scope with a large objective. Most of the time, the scope’s overall diameter will in all likelihood be an inch (which will fit most scope ring mounts or flat mounts).

Review of the Best SKS Scopes

The following is a list of the five best SKS scopes that are currently on the market. Be sure to make a note of each one as you go through the list. This way, you may find one that might be close to the description of your ideal SKS scope. 

Now that you know what you need (and don't need) when buying a scope for your SKS, it’s time to check the top list we’ve made for you. Remember, close enough is better than never at all. Now, let’s begin by starting out with our first SKS scope on the list:

Primary Arms SLX 1-6x24mm SFP Rifle Scope Gen III - Illuminated ACSS-5.56/5.45/.308

Pros

  • Easy to zero in and set up
  • Easy to attach on most mounts
  • Shockproof, waterproof, and can handle bad weather
  • Superior durability thanks to the high-quality 6063 aluminum
  • Illumination settings allow for excellent low-light image quality
  • Durable and tough
  • Fast focus eyepiece
  • Waterproof, fog resistant and shock resistant

Cons

  • May be a bit heavy for some users liking
  • Image quality gets blurry when at max magnification level
  • Some have reported a bit of minor distortion around the edges of the lens

What Recent Buyers Report

Many of the new users were happy with the scope. They said that it took them a few minutes to attach to their SKS rifles. They were also impressed with the image quality saying it was crystal clear and appeared to be in high-definition. One user said that this was great for him for all of his hunting applications. He also added that the illuminated reticle made low-light hunting a lot easier.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This scope is perhaps one of the best SKS scopes on the market and we are inclined to agree. For one, it’s got some excellent quality in terms of the scope itself. The body is made from high-quality 6063 aluminum that will keep the zero settings protected even through repeated amounts of shock. Not only that, the 11 illumination settings are available for you to cycle through so you can find the best one for all kinds of low-light hunting. And yes, it’s an SKS scope that is designed for all kinds of hunting applications. So whether you are hunting when the sun is coming up or down or in broad daylight, this scope will certainly be your best hunting buddy that you’ll come across for your SKS rifle.

The Primary Arms 1-6x24 SFP GEN III Rifle Scope contains advanced technology such as the Advanced Combined Sighting System reticle. It makes features like bullet drop compensation, wind holds, moving target leads and range estimation easy to use and intuitive. The second focal plane design means the reticle remains the same size at all magnifications for quick acquisition. The scope allows you to zoom in at 6x maximum power. The Gen III scope is 10.04 inches long and weighs 16.90 oz.

Who Will Use This Most

This is the ultimate hunting scope. You have the illuminated reticle, excellent body quality, and lenses that produce high-quality image pictures. Overall, it’s one of the best scopes that will get the job done and drop that hunting target right in its tracks (whether it’s a deer or small game target). If you hunt with an SKS, you need a scope that will make every hunting application maximized to your advantage.

Bottom Line

The Primary Arms SFP Riflescope is one of the best of the best and for good reason. You get a good deal of clear image quality and the ability to reach out and touch something at impressive distances. You’d be hard-pressed to find any other scope quite like this if you want something that will easily help you knock down a deer from about 300 yards out.

It is a fully featured scope that can compete with the best. Ideal for hunting and target shooting in all sorts of conditions, the Gen III scope will take whatever you dish out and keep you on target.

Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-6x24 Second Focal Plane Riflescope - BDC Reticle (MOA)

Pros

  • Superior quality and durability
  • Resistant to all kinds of water, shock, and bad weather
  • Parallax, windage, and elevation adjustments are easy to tune
  • Can reach out and hit targets situated from 500 yards out
  • Illumination settings are nice and bright, allows for low-light hunting
  • Quick transition
  • Clear and crisp sight picture
  • Good for low light conditions

Cons

  • No scope mount included
  • Battery life is poor according to some users
  • Some complained about the reticle being difficult to use

What Recent Buyers Report

Many of the new users were quite happy with the scope. Most of them were able to use it without any issues in both a low-light and broad daylight setting. Either way, they were able to hit their targets from seriously impressive distances. One user said that he spotted a whitetail deer from about 400 yards out before quickly dropping it with a couple shots. To add, he was also quite impressed with the adjustment knobs being easy to use and adjust if the shots appeared off.


Why it Stands Out to Us

The Vortex Optics scopes are known for being one of the best scopes in terms of durability. In fact, they have built scopes that are probably the most durable in the world. And that’s a good thing if you want something that is built solid and will certainly give you the opportunity to improve your sharpshooting skills in a hunting application, this scope might just be right up your alley.

The Strike Eagle 1-6x24 is both versatile and fast. Ranging in magnification from 1x to 6x, the scope has high-quality, and fully multi-coated lenses for a clear, crisp sight picture, and optimal low light performance.

It has an illuminated, glass-etched BDC reticle with up to 11 illumination settings for changing light conditions. The fast focus dial on the eyepiece ensures that your reticle is always sharp.

It ensures reliability in all weather conditions. To make transitions even quicker, you can make use of the optional Vortex Switchview SV-4 Throw Lever.

Who Will Use This Most

This is a really good scope for hunters that want excellent durability. In other words, they want a scope that will last a long time and can handle any kind of weather they somehow catch themselves in. Simply put, this scope is dang near indestructible. So, if you are inclined to find a scope that has the potential to last you a long time, look no further than this Vortex Optics scope.

Bottom Line

The Vortex Optics Strike Eagle Rifle Scope will outshine any scope on any given day when it comes to durability. But it can put on quite a show if you are in a hunting or target shooting situation. If you want to shoot at targets situated at ridiculous distances, you’ll want a scope like this to keep you going through every application that is fit for an SKS rifle.

This scope can handle any target your SKS is capable of hitting, and then some. It has 6x magnification and a quick acquisition system, making it ideal for hunting.

Best SKS Scope for the Money:
SNIPER Compact Rifle Scope 4x32 with Ring

Sniper Compact Rifle Scope 4x32 with Ring, Hunting Scope

Pros

  • Excellent image clarity
  • Scope mounts are reliable, durable, and clamp-on pretty easy
  • Adjustments to parallax, windage, and elevation are easy to turn
  • Excellent durability, protected against bad weather, water, and shock
  • Picatinny rail included, allows for easy customization for most SKS rifles
  • Good quality lenses

Cons

  • Eye relief may not be the best
  • May be a bit difficult to sight in at first
  • No zoom capability
  • No illuminated reticles
  • It sits low on a flat-top receiver
  • The reticle is quite thick so it can create issues for longer range shots

What Recent Buyers Report

This scope impressed a lot of new users. They said that they were able to hit targets from well over 200 yards (or even beyond). A lot of users have used this on rifles like air rifles and even SKS rifles themselves. They were consistently hitting targets with such accuracy and precision one user said that his likelihood of hitting kill shots had increased compared to his previous scope.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This scope is perhaps one of the best SKS scopes on the market that has an affordable price tag. So if you are looking for a scope that is excellent in quality both inside and out, this might be the go-to choice for you. Oh, and it won’t suck the life out of your bank account so you won’t have to worry if it’s too expensive for you. You’ll get a whole lot more than what you pay for since you’ll be able to see clearly and hit your shots with incredible accuracy at 200 yards or more.

This basic hunting scope can be used on a Picatinny rail and has quality sapphire lenses, with a fixed 4x magnification, which cannot be adjusted as well as objective diameter of 32mm and a field view at 100 yards. The range-finding reticle ensures a great shooting experience, and the windage and elevation knobs don’t require a special tool to adjust.

The knobs provide 1″ of adjustment per click at 100 yards and have metal tabs to make rotation easier. The scope sights in very quickly and easily. It comes with mounting rings, but the rings make the scope ride rather low on the rail.

Who Will Use This Most

This scope will definitely give you a lot more than you bargain for. And that’s why we consider it to be a great scope for those starting out with SKS hunting or target shooting. It might be the scope you rely on for years down the road or until you decide to upgrade to something better. But regardless, you get some pretty good accurate shooting out of the whole shebang. So go ahead and land that kill shot or bullseye with this scope. We won’t be surprised if you do.

Bottom Line

This scope is the clear, odds on favorite for budget shoppers. And if you are one of them, you are getting quite a steal of a deal here. While it might be great for hunting, it will excel in target shooting situations as well. Regardless, this scope can do it all. So, if you want to make your SKS shooting more accurate and precise without breaking the bank, choosing this scope might just be the no-brainer decision.

It is a decent budget option for an SKS, considering that it will get the job done without having too many bells and whistles.

UTG 4-16X44 30mm Compact Scope, AO, 36-color Mil-dot, Rings

Pros

  • Superior durability
  • Mil-dot is easy to see in broad daylight
  • Perfect for hunting and target shooting situations
  • Illumination memory is easy to use to go back to your favorite illumination setting
  • Excellent image quality, also, the large objective allows for a wider image picture
  • 36 colors in the reticle
  • Sunshade and lens cover
  • Nitrogen filled, shockproof, fog proof and rainproof

Cons

  • Focus knob is hard to turn
  • May be a bit heavy in weight
  • Image quality gets blurry beyond 12x magnification

What Recent Buyers Report

Many users were impressed with the scope’s ability to retain your favorite illumination settings that you can use in low-light settings. One user said that he had an illumination that he liked and made sure that he wasn’t going to spend all kinds of time adjusting it. With one press of a button, he was able to restore it. And so far, it had helped him land a whitetail deer long before the sun was up and everyone else was out and about on their hunting adventures. Overall, the scope proves itself to be superior in durability and allows for hitting targets up to about 500 yards out.

Why it Stands Out to Us

One of the things that stood out was the mil-dot reticle. The dot comes with different colors, each allowing you to set one to ensure that you can use it for all your accurate and precise shooting at almost any given distance up to 500 yards. So, if you’re looking for a scope that will make it easier on you or your eyes, this puppy just might be the go-to option for you. And even better, the mil-dot is at the right size so you might be able to up your hit probability a bit. So, if you are a hunter or even a target shooter and accuracy is your number one priority, this scope should end up on your shortlist of what to choose.

The UTG 4-16x44 30mm compact scope uses multi Emerald coated lenses for clarity and light transmission. The EZ-TAP Illumination Enhancing (IE) system allows Red/green dual-color mode and 36 colors to accommodate all weather/light conditions. For consistent zero locking and zero resetting, the target turrets have a 1/4 MOA per click windage/elevation adjustment. This scope can be attached to any gun using Picatinny/Weaver rings.

Who Will Use This Most

If you want a scope that is built to last and super fun to use for all your SKS shooting needs, this scope by UTG will definitely give you the best user experience possible. It’s built like a tank and will surely give you a performance that will give other scopes a run for its money. Expect this to last you years or even decades assuming you take better care of your SKS rifle on a regular basis.

Bottom Line

The UTG Compact Scope will be the best possible choice for many SKS hunters and target shooters. Just install this bad boy and watch your hit probability rise in an instant. Who knows? You may land a super precise kill shot on the same day you install this puppy. That is, after you sight it in first and make sure everything is a go.

It is an excellent scope with many functions and a very functional sight. It is an appropriate accessory for your SKS, especially for longer range shots.

Barska 3-9x42mm IR 2nd Generation Contour Rifle Scope

Pros

  • Excellent quality scope
  • Easy to attach on SKS rifles
  • Super reliable and accurate
  • Affordable for most budgets
  • Can reach out and hit targets from 300 yards out
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • Less glare in sunny conditions
  • Waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof

Cons

  • May get blurry at 9x magnification setting
  • Might be a bit heavy and can add on additional weight

What Recent Buyers Report

Most of the new users were happy with the scope and for a few good reasons. One, they were able to get the scope to hit targets just up to 300 yards without having to make any minimal adjustments. On top of that, they were also quite happy with the installation process. It took one user just a few minutes to set up with the right kind of tools. The scope’s body was tough and durable and protected the scope’s zero settings.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This scope has a wide objective of 42mm. And that makes for wide image pictures that will cover all kinds of real estate. Plus, it makes for quick target acquisition (and it’s even quicker compared to smaller objective scopes). If you want a scope for hunting and target shooting that will pick up a good number of targets in a snap, this might be the scope your SKS rifle deserves. Make no mistake about it, it’s tough all over and will make all your shots as accurate and sharp as possible.

This tactical sniper scope is both waterproof and fog proof with extra rigid shockproof construction. The built-in sniper edged sun-shade helps to reduce glare for use in bright sun conditions. The multi-Coated optics deliver clear crisp images while the illuminated red and green mil-dot reticles make targeting easy in any light conditions.

Adjustments are straightforward with the easy-grip target-style windage, and elevation adjustments and side parallax adjustment with 1/4 MOA click adjustment. The scope comes with protective scope caps, lens cloth and set of rings. It has a limited lifetime warranty.

Who Will Use This Most

If you are a hunter or a target shooter that wants a simple to install and simple to use scope, then you may be hard-pressed to find a scope like this anywhere else on the market. You can make on the fly adjustments if your shot appears off or you can make focus adjustments with the greatest of ease if the image picture appears blurry. This might be yet another starter scope for those looking for something that is high in quality and really affordable.

Bottom Line

For a simple to use scope that will be built for the long-haul and give you decent accuracy and precise shooting the Baraska scope will probably be the best option for you. Install this on your SKS rifle and you might just end up making it more of an intimidating beast that can blast through targets at some impressive distances.

It is a great scope for the outdoors enthusiast planning to use an SKS in all types of terrain and weather conditions.

While it may be considered overkill by some, this sniper scope will make the SKS rifle a deadly weapon within its usable range.

Monstrum Tactical 3-9x40 Rifle Scope with Illuminated Range Finder Reticle (Flat Dark Earth)

Pros

  • Powerful
  • Easy to use
  • Multiple illumination options

Cons

  • None

With a powerful 3 to 9 times magnification and a 40mm objective diameter, this scope is no slouch.

It offers high optical clarity at any range and has a glass rangefinder reticle for on-the-fly range estimation and long-distance targeting.

You can control the reticle illumination in both red and green with multiple brightness intensities.

The scope rail mount fastens securely to any flat top Weaver or Picatinny rail equipped rifle, and the scope is available in Black or Flat Dark Earth.

Bottom Line

It is not as expensive or high-quality as some of the higher end scopes on his list, but it is more than sufficient for the SKS. Whether it is hunting deer or having some fun at the range, you will enjoy the shooting experience.

Mounting Your SKS Scope

In order to mount your scope on the SKS, you’ll require a sc​​ope mount. Your scope mount should be solid, secure and durable.

When mounted on to the rifle, your scope or any attachments should be firmly attached to the firearm with minimal movement. It will guarantee better shooting accuracy when firing.

To ensure that the mount is securely attached to your firearm, you need to know the best techniques to mount your scope on the SKS rifle.

Hence, you need to plan according to the optic and mounting solution placing your scope so that it doesn’t get damaged when the rifle is fired from the ejection port.

What will determine the top-rated SKS scope mount on the market are the cost, the alignment precision, the fit, the design, and the durability.

Choosing the Perfect SKS Scope for Your Shooting Style

Due to the 7.62x39mm cartridge being comparable in power to some 30-30 rounds, the SKS is often used as a deer rifle in some parts of the country.

Keeping in mind the practical considerations like loading with stripper clips, and the issue of spent brass hitting the scope, a compact scope with either fixed power or modest magnification (or a red dot) mounted on a stable, secure mount, is recommended.

The SKS is not designed for the sniper-like accuracy, but it is accurate enough for most hunting.

Unless your SKS has had some custom work done on it to make it more accurate, you’ll be better off choosing one of the scopes on our list below, that have been chosen to fit the basic functionality and operational parameters the SKS is capable of.

Conclusion

When choosing the best scope for your SKS, keep in mind the capabilities of the rifle and the purpose you will be using it for.

For hunting in low light conditions, with shot ranges of 100 to 200 yards, choose a scope with medium magnification and the right coating for low light.

The reticle and objective lens size will also determine the best scope for the desired conditions.

There is no need for fancy tactical accessories on a rifle like the SKS, but you can browse our list of recommended scopes with some options that suit a variety of budgets.

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