The Best Scopes for 7.62×39 Rifles in 2021

7.62x39 RIFLES (AK-47)

Why are AK-47’s so much fun to shoot? A lot of it has to do with the round it fires: the 7.62x39mm, also known as the 7.62 soviet. The uninitiated will often get this round confused with the 7.62 NATO, which is understandable, but not only are these two rounds very different, they have, in fact, been on opposite sides of history for much of their lives.

No one has ever accused the AK-47 (or the SKS rifle, for that matter) of being the most accurate rifle on the planet, nor the 7.62 soviet the most accurate round on the planet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t put a scope on a rifle that shoots 7.62x39mm ammo, it just means that you have to consider the ballistics of the round in question when you do.

We’ll go over everything you need to consider so you can make an informed choice, and we also have our recommendations for the best scopes for a 7.62 Soviet, which you can skip right to if you already know about the 7.62x39mm

Background on The 7.62x39mm Round

A Brief History

The 7.62x39mm round was developed by the Soviet Union during World War II and was finally put into use towards the end of the conflict. The round took off in popularity around the globe and was the cartridge of choice for Vietnam during the Vietnam war. What propelled the 7.62 Soviet to popularity was the development of the AK-47 rifle.

The AK-47 exclusively shoots the 7.62 Soviet and is one of the few popular rifle platforms that has never come with a choice of what you want it chambered in and probably never will. For those who want the AK style but with a 7.62 NATO, you can try the new(ish) AK-308.

After World War II, the development of the AK-47 certainly made the 7.62x39mm popular around the world, but since then many other firearms manufacturers have built rifles to shoot the cartridge, and today you can get rifles that can shoot the 7.62x39mm accurately as far as 700 yards.

While the maximum width of the projectile is the same as the 7.62 NATO, everything else about the two rounds is different.

7.62 Soviet vs. 7.62 NATO

The 7.62 Soviet was developed first, and the 7.62x51mm was actually developed as a response by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to standardize the ammunition being used across all of their forces. The NATO is the more powerful round of the two, has higher muzzle velocity, and has a much flatter trajectory.

If you’re zeroed in at 100 yards, the 7.62 Soviet will drop nearly twice as much at 200 and 300 yards as the 7.62 NATO.

On the other hand, 7.62x39 rounds are smaller and more compact, which means more can be carried on your person, and they are usually cheaper to purchase than the 7.62 NATO. 

I would personally consider the 7.62x39 a better round for home defense as well, since it allows your rifle to be more compact, have less recoil, and it reduces the risk of over-penetration and collateral damage.

PRODUCT

DETAILS

Products

BEST FOR DURABILITY

Aimpoint Micro T-2 Red Dot Reflex Sight

Aimpoint Micro T-2 Red Dot Reflex Sight

  • Diameter: 18mm
  • Magnification: 1x
  • Length: 68 mm
BEST FOR VIVID IMAGE

Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6x24mm

Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6x24mm

  • Diameter: 24mm
  • Magnification: 1-6x
  • Length: 10.5 in
BEST FOR ACCURACY

Bushnell AR Optics First Strike 2.0

Bushnell AR Optics First Strike 2.0

  • Diameter: 28mm
  • Magnification: 1x
  • Length: 2.244 in
BEST FOR CLEAR IMAGE

Trijicon ACOG 3x30mm Rifle Scope

Trijicon ACOG 3x30mm Rifle Scope

  • Diameter: 30mm
  • Magnification: 3x30
  • Length: 6.1 in
BEST FOR CLOSE RANGE

Primary Arms SLx 3x32mm Gen III

Primary Arms SLx 3x32mm Gen III

  • Diameter: 32mm
  • Magnification: 3X
  • Length: 6 in
BEST FOR DURABILITY

UTG 3-9x32 1” BugBuster Scope

UTG 3-9x32 1” BugBuster Scope

  • Diameter: 32mm
  • Magnification: 3-9x
  • Length: 8.11 in
BEST FOR LONG RANGE

Leupold VX-3HD 4.5-14x50mm Rifle Scope

Leupold VX-3HD 4.5-14x50mm Rifle Scope

  • Diameter: 50mm
  • Magnification: 4.5-14x
  • Length: 12.2 in
BEST FOR SHARP IMAGE

Nikon ProStaff 2-7x32

Nikon ProStaff 2-7x32

  • Diameter: 32mm
  • Magnification: 2-7x
  • Length: 12.4 in

Considerations When Shooting

Accuracy Over Distance

You can find forums where people claim they are able to shoot accurately at amazing distances with the 7.62x39mm, but I’ve never seen the round perform well beyond 200 yards. The projectile is too light and the velocity is too slow to get consistent accuracy even with magnification and stabilization.

What this means when looking for an optic is that you will probably be looking at short to mid-range shooting, so for the most part there’s not much point in getting a hunting rifle scope with max magnification higher than around 9x. 

We will recommend one rifle scope that goes higher than that, but that’s only going to be recommended for shooters building out a rig that can take the 7.62x39 to its absolute limits.

Recoil, Cost, and Everything Else

While it’s usually cheaper than the 7.62x51, it’s still not the cheapest round available. If you’re looking for something with more punch than a .223 but not as expensive as a .308, then the 7.62x39 could be a good choice.

Recoil is also a middle ground between .223 and .308, though that will vary significantly from gun to gun. The 7.62 Soviet can be humanely used for hunting game up to a White-Tailed Deer, but not anything larger, and your local laws may prohibit you from using it for hunting, so make sure to check those before doing so.

For optics, all this means that any rifle scope that can handle the recoil of a 308 target rifle. It will do just fine as an AK-47 scope or SKS scope

For the most part, you’ll probably be fine even using a scope designed for .223 or 5.56, but you’ll want to check reviews for each rifle scope you look at to see how it handles under stronger recoil, and how much eye relief it has.

1. Aimpoint Micro T-2 Red Dot Reflex Sight

7.62 x39 scope

The Micro T-2 is a great red dot sight, and it’s on this list because it works really well in the distances that you will most likely be using your 7.62 Soviet. 

It comes with a scope mount that will fit right onto a Picatinny rail or Weaver rail and will allow you that fast target acquisition that probably appealed to you about the 7.62x39 in the first place.

What’s even better about the Micro T-2, though, is its compatibility. With a 7.62x39, you’ve got a versatile, flexible round at anything below 200 yards, and the T-2 gives you even more versatility because it’s compatible with night vision and external magnifiers, so that no matter what you’re using your AK-47 or another 7.62x39 rifle for, you can really maximize its effectiveness.

If you’re hunting small critters or vermin at night, when many of them are the most active, having a T-2 with a night vision device (NVD) behind it can be a huge help, even more than a larger objective lens, but even more useful is how this would apply in a home defense situation.

Dim lighting is a very real hazard in home defense and can make everything more difficult. I have little kids who leave their toys out all the time. Stepping on a toy that I didn’t see could end in tragedy if I was trying to fight off home invaders. 

Aimpoint PRO Red Dot Scope

Even more important is the ability to see your target and sight picture clearly, which an NVD can make much simpler.

If you’re hunting or shooting at the range, being compatible with optional magnifiers means that they have the same flexibility as with a low power variable optic (LPVO), and can punch in a bit closer when you’re shooting farther out. With some rifles, you can still use an iron sight as a backup.

Then, anytime you don’t need either of those accessories, you can just remove them and use the Micro T-2 by itself, which then gives you unlimited eye relief. 

The one drawback with the Aimpoint is that you need their special tool to make the adjustments, and that makes it harder to adjust on the fly. Granted, with a red dot sight there shouldn’t be much on-the-fly adjustment needing to take place.

The Aimpoint Micro T-2 Red Dot Reflex Sight

Aimpoint Micro T-2 Red Dot

The price of Aimpoint Micro T-2 Red Dot  varies, so check the latest price at

2. Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6x24mm

7.62x39 scope

The Strike Eagle is also a great option for shooters of a 7.62x39mm rifle. Its magnification range of 1-6x gives it the same basic functionality of a red dot sight combined with plenty of magnification to quickly make a 100-yard shot, 200-yard shot, or even a 300-yard shot.

How much magnification do you need at different distances? Well, a lot of this depends on preference, but if you can comfortably hit a 10” target at 50 yards with 1x (zero) magnification, then at 100 yards, you should be able to hit the same 10” target at 2x magnification. Then with 4x magnification at 200 yards, 6x at 300 yards, etc.

There are a lot of variables at play here, of course, but the above is a good general rule of thumb to start with, and for the most part should be pretty close at least until you get to distances over 500 yards, which, for a 7.62x39mm round, you probably won’t.

This makes the Strike Eagle a great optic for law enforcement who are allowed to customize their duty weapons to put on their rifles. 

The Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6x24mm

Most duty rifles won’t be 7.62x39, but if you’re allowed to provide your own, the 7.62x39 is a great choice, and the Strike Eagle is a great way to maximize your effectiveness in situations that call for your long gun.

For hunters, especially coyote or other pelt hunters, this is a great rifle scope because it can adjust magnification quickly and allow you to focus fast, even if you need to zoom in or out first. 

For predatory animals that won’t always turn and run when they discover you, the ability to get to the magnification you need and acquire your target quickly can save your shot or even your life.

This Vortex optic isn’t as perfect for a home defense scenario because it will have more parallax and more limited eye relief than the Aimpoint, but it will still work great and at a much lower price. 

With the illuminated reticle, Vortex’s proprietary multi-coated lenses, and a 24mm objective lens, light transmission is really solid and worth considering for low-light situations.

The Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6x24mm

Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6x24mm

The price of Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6x24mm varies, so check the latest price at

3. Bushnell AR Optics First Strike 2.0

scope for 7.62x39

With the Aimpoint, we talked about how red dots in general are great options for 7.62x39 rifles, and the Bushnell First Strike 2.0 is another great example. Bushnell does a few things differently that make it a great choice for 7.62x39, especially at close to mid-range.

The first is the ability to toggle between a 3 MOA dot and a 4 MOA dot. A 2 MOA dot is pretty tiny, and when you’re making an optic to be compatible with a magnifier, it makes a lot of sense to keep it that small, but in the case of the Bushnell, having a 3 or even 4 MOA dot can be a lot easier to see at lower brightness settings and assist in fast target acquisition.

1 MOA is 1 inch at 100 yards, but at 10 yards (30 feet), 1 MOA is only .1 of an inch, so in a home defense scenario, even the 4 MOA dot is covering less than half an inch if you’re aiming across the living room or down the hall. Along with this, Bushnell has made the adjustments clicks at a full MOA instead of the usual .5 or even .25 MOA.

This makes the Bushnell fantastic for close-range shooting, but as it gets closer to the 100-yard mark, it’s going to work less and less fantastically. 

So if you’re using your 7.62x39 in its natural element (short to mid-range), the Bushnell is going to be the perfect companion, but if you want to maximize its long-distance capabilities even occasionally, then you’ll want to look at a different option on the list.

The First Strike 2.0 also comes with a high mount and a low mount option to fit whatever you’re putting it on, so you can rest easy knowing that you (probably) don’t have to pay even more money for another mount just to get the thing working. With unlimited eye relief, there’s a lot of good to be said for it.

The Bushnell’s relatively low price can be another convincing factor, but that should only come into play after you’ve narrowed down the scopes that you know will fit your needs perfectly. 

Skimping out on optics can literally cost you your life, so don’t convince yourself into an optic that won’t work well for what you need just because it’s the cheapest.

Bushnell AR Optics First Strike 2.0

The price of Bushnell AR Optics First Strike 2.0 varies, so check the latest price at

4. Trijicon ACOG 3x30mm Rifle Scope

best scope for 7.62x39

Trijicon’s ACOG line definitely deserves to be a recommendation here, and the 3x30mm can work great for a 7.62x39. You get 3x magnification, a nice, large objective lens that should have great light transmission, and a nearly indestructible optic that won’t even notice the recoil of a 7.62 Soviet round.

There are a couple of things you need to know about the ACOG, and if you’ve already shot with one, you probably know what I’m about to say. 

Unless you learned to shoot in the military, you will be shocked and possibly upset about how short the eye relief is. There are a few exceptions, but the TA33 (this one), has very short eye relief at only 1.9 inches.

The reason for this is that in the military they train you to shoot nose-to-charging-handle (NTCH) with a rifle shooting 5.56 NATO, so it is designed to fit naturally into that distance. If you’re unfamiliar or uncomfortable with that shooting position, then you may want to look at a different option on this list.

Trijicon ACOG 3x30mm Rifle Scope

The reason this works particularly well on a rifle chambered in 7.62x39, is that the recoil is usually only going to be a little bit stronger than a standard 5.56. 

This will vary from model to model, but for the most part, if you’re properly tucked and braced for the recoil, the rifle shouldn’t come back far enough to give you a third eyebrow.

The 3x magnification is low enough that it shouldn’t get in the way except for the closest of shots, and even in those situations you can use a backup sight. On the longer-end, 3x can take you relatively comfortably to 150 yards with practice, making it a versatile zoom range. 

Trijicon’s unique BDC (bullet drop compensation) and chevron reticle illumination also make this a great fit for hunters.

Trijicon ACOG 3x30mm Rifle Scope

The price of Trijicon ACOG 3x30mm Rifle Scope varies, so check the latest price at

If Want to know more about best ACOG scopes, then must check out our guide.

5. Primary Arms SLx 3x32mm Gen III Prism Scope

7.62x39 bullet drop scope

If the ACOG is too expensive for your tastes, the SLx aims (pun intended) to do everything the ACOG does and for a fraction of the price. It mostly succeeds, but there are some key differences that actually make these two prism scopes more different from each other than they seem at first.

SLx optics longer eye relief than the ACOG, which makes it a more accessible rifle scope for shooters who were not trained in the military. 

You’ll get between 2.72 and 2.92 inches of eye relief on this riflescope, which can be more comfortable and easier to line up depending on how you were trained. The objective lens is slightly larger as well, but light transmission should be similar.

What makes the SLx great for the 7.62x39 specifically is the ACSS reticle design.

The Primary Arms SLx 3x32mm Gen III Prism Scope

Primary Arms has potentially the most helpful (albeit busy), reticle I have ever seen, and while none of the measurements are for the 7.62x39, it has lines for 5.56 NATO, .223 Remington, 5.45x39mm, and .308 Winchester, which means you should be able to just compare ballistic charts and figure out where the 7.62x39 is going to hit relative to those cartridges.

If you are planning on shooting more in the 100-150 yard range, I might recommend the SLx over the ACOG, based purely on reticle design. 

If you’re doing more shooting under 100 yards, the ACOG’s CQB reticle is going to be the superior option. Both will give you the ability to shoot with both eyes open. Also, the dust cover for each lens is nice.

If you’re looking for a SHTF solution, the ACOG may be a better choice since it does not need a battery, but on the other hand, do you really want to spend that much on a scope for a rifle you will rarely use? The SLx is a strong option for home defense, shooting at the range, or hunting within 100 yards or so.

Primary Arms SLx 3x32mm Gen III

The price of Primary Arms SLx 3x32mm Gen III varies, so check the latest price at

6. UTG 3-9x32 1” BugBuster Scope

7.62 x39 optic

So, we’re changing pace a little bit here and going with a more standard 3-9x32mm variable rifle scope. A 3-9x magnification can work great for an AK-47, Saiga, or other rifle chambered in 7.62x39. 

At 3x, you get a lot of the same benefits as the ACOG and the SLx, and at 9x you’ll be able to shoot as far out as far as the limitations of the round will take you.

The UTG can be a great fit for anyone using a 7.62x39 but is possibly the #1 choice for beginners.

The objective lens is large enough, and the higher magnification can give a new shooter more help than an experienced shooter would need and UTG’s unique illuminated reticle can make shooting with it more fun.

You may be asking how…UTG has a unique “multi-color” mode for their reticles that allows you to choose from 36 different colors to illuminate your etched reticle. 

mil dot reticle scope

You have the standard red and green, but you also have 36 colors to choose from based on shooting conditions and preference. If your daughter wants a pink or a purple reticle, she can have one.

Granted, the 7.62x39 isn’t necessarily the best caliber for beginners because it has higher recoil than a .223 and especially a .22, but if the beginner is a teenager or adult, they should be able to handle the recoil and get a lot of satisfaction out of it, and this rifle scope is the perfect partner for that situation. 

The longer eye relief will also help keep the experience pleasant. The UTG also comes with an adjustable objective lens so you can get a parallax-free view no matter how far out your field of view is.

This won’t be as big of a deal at the closer ranges, but if you want to maximize that 9x magnification, you could be shooting out to 300 or even 400 yards, at which point you’ll also be grateful for UTGs mil-dot reticle.

This is a great fit if you’re using your 7.62x39mm to hunt smaller game at relatively long distances. The reticle illumination combined with the high magnification range and the mil-dot reticle can help you peg critters, pests, and varmints from further out than you would otherwise be able to do.

UTG 3-9x32 1” BugBuster Scope

The price of UTG 3-9x32 1” BugBuster Scope varies, so check the latest price at

If you are looking for some other options with mil-dot reticle, then must check our guide on best mil dot scopes.

7. Leupold VX-3HD 4.5-14x50mm Rifle Scope

7.62 scope

Most of the time the best scopes for an AK-47 are going to be low power, and pretty much the exact opposite of this Leupold riflescope, but I wanted to include this one for a very specific type of shooter.

This is for the guy who wants to be the guy that posts on the gun forums about the crazy long shots he has made with his 7.62x39mm. 

As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, it’s possible to build a 7.62x39 rig that will shoot accurately (as long as you compensate for the significant drop) at up to 700 yards.

If you want to be that guy, then you’ll have a heck of a time doing it with a low-power magnified optic, and even a 9x magnification would be tough. 

To pull that off 14x should be just about right, and while it won’t magically make you a good enough shooter to hit what you’re trying to hit, it will at least remove one more obstacle in the way.

Long eye relief also helps here, as does the massive 50mm objective lens. A lens that size, especially on a Leupold, will let in plenty of light. All Leupold scopes have a duplex reticle.

And since the Leupold opens up all the way to 4.5x, it can fit into a lot of the same roles as the other scopes on this list, but I wouldn’t recommend it for anything closer than about 25 yards, as it will start to do more harm than good at that point.

Leupold VX-3HD 4.5-14x50mm

The price of Leupold VX-3HD 4.5-14x50mm varies, so check the latest price at

Honorable Mention 

8. Nikon ProStaff 2-7x32

7.62 x39 bdc scope

Nikon is no longer making rifle scopes, but there are still plenty in circulation, and a great option for 7.62x39 is the ProStaff 2-7x. The magnification range is great for most of the things you’ll be using your rifle for, and the quality of the Nikon glass is phenomenal for the price.

At this point, though, I would only recommend a ProStaff if you either already have one or are a big fan of Nikon scopes and are loyal to the brand. There are not really any other compelling reasons to take a risk on a used riflescope when you have so many other options at different price points.

Nikon ProStaff 2-7x32

The price of Nikon ProStaff 2-7x32 varies, so check the latest price at

Final Thoughts

The 7.62x39mm is a fun middle-ground between a 5.56 NATO and a 7.62 NATO or .308 Winchester. It can serve well for anything under 200 yards, is powerful enough to hunt a lot of game, and a good option for home defense. 

The best scope for the job is going to be one that allows the rifle to do what it does best even better. If I were to pick a “best overall” from this list, I would probably go with the Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6x.

Going down to one power lets it perform the same function as a red dot (though not as well), and going up to 6x allows you to comfortably take any shot that the limitations of the round would allow you to take normally.

Looking for a red dot for your AK-47 rifle? Check out our guide on best red dots for AK-47.

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