Nikon Force XR 2.5-8×28 BDC Handgun Scope Review

Nikon Force XR 2.5-8x28 BDC Handgun Scope

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- Compatible with Nikon’s Spot On Ballistic Technology
- Includes flip-up lens covers
- Excellent clarity of image


- Does not include rings
- Eye relief is a bit short
- Reticle is wire instead of etched glass

Welcome to my evaluation of the Nikon Force XR 2.5–8x28mm BDC Handgun Scope. Hunting is a demanding sport, and you need every edge you can get, especially when your weapon of choice is a handgun or scout rifle. Nikon bills this scope as the ideal solution for hunters, varminters, and competitors. Designed for single-shot handguns and revolvers, the scope is advertised to work equally well on scout rifles. Does it meet up to those advertisements? Let’s find out.

What Are the Scope’s Dimensions?

This model comes with a 28mm objective lens, and has an overall length of 9.8 inches. It weighs in at 11.46 ounces, so it won’t add too much weight to your firearm. The maintube is one inch in diameter.

The handgun scope’s eye relief is nine to 30 inches, which might be a bit too short for many shooters. I found that it was just about perfect for me, but those with longer arms (I’m a bit on the short side) might have problems getting a full field of view through the scope.

The exit pupil is 3.5mm, quite adequate for most handgun shooting needs.

How Much Magnification Do I Get From the Force XR?

Magnification through this scope ranges from 2.5X to 8X, which is just about the perfect setup for handgun hunting and varminting. The crispness, clarity, and contrast are all just about perfect, giving you an image that is nearly HD quality.

How Is The Optics Quality On This Scope?

Nikon has fully multicoated the optics on this glass, maximizing light transmission for a terrific sight picture in even low-light conditions. The eyebox, as previously mentioned, is a bit small, but the fast-focus eyepiece does make it easy to get your reticle sharp and precise.

The reticle on this scope is Nikon’s patented BDC, which unfortunately is constructed of wire instead of being etched into the glass. While the product information doesn’t advertise the fact, I found that the reticle on this scope works quite well with Nikon’s Spot On Ballistic Technology app.

What’s the Light Gathering Capability Like on the Scope?

With its 28mm objective lens, you might think that transmittance would be a problem here. Thankfully, the fully multicoated optics make up quite a bit of difference, providing you with 95 percent light transmission. I’ve used this scope in low-light conditions a number of times, always with excellent results. My only wish would be for an illuminated reticle.

How Wide is the Field of View?

As is the case with most handgun scopes, this glass offers a fairly limited field of view. You’ll be able to see anywhere from 4.1 to 13.1 feet at 100 yards, which might sound less than generous but is still quite good for most of the situations you’ll find yourself in when hunting with a handgun.

How Easy is the Scope to Mount?

As long as your handgun is designed to take a sight, mounting your scope will be quite easy. Just attach the rings to the glass, and then mount the setup on your gun’s rail. Unfortunately, you don’t get any rings in the box – make sure to order a pair separately.

Any Tricks or Tips About Mounting the Scope?

I first tried using a pair of low profile rings, and found that the flip-up lens covers would need to be cut at the bottom for the scope to mount properly. I switched to medium profile rings, and everything worked perfectly. Even though the objective lens is only 28mm, the eyepiece outside diameter is 41mm, making the taller rings a necessity in most cases.

How Easy is the Nikon Force XR 2.5–8x28mm BDC Handgun Scope to Sight In?

Once mounted, it’s time to get ready for shooting by sighting in your scope. I usually recommend using a laser bore-sighting tool as your first step in this process, and that remains the case with this glass. After you’ve gotten your shot on paper, you can fine tune the windage and elevation in 1/4 MOA increments, up to a maximum of 40 MOA, using the finger-turn controls. Once sighted in, the scope will hold zero almost indefinitely.

Parallax is set permanently at 100 yards, which is quite honestly the theoretical maximum range you’d be using a handgun for anyways.

How Durable is the Scope?

With this glass, the optics chamber is nitrogen-purged and the lenses are O-ring sealed, making the whole setup both waterproof and fogproof. It’s also ruggedly built, so durability shouldn’t be a problem here. The included flip-up lens covers provide excellent protection of your scope’s lenses when it’s not in use, and stay out of your way when you are shooting.

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Nikon Force XR 2.5-8×28 BDC Handgun Scope Review Summary

Thanks for reading my review of the Nikon Force XR 2.5–8x28mm handgun scope. This is a great choice for most hunting using a handgun or a scout rifle, with just a few drawbacks. The reticle is wire instead of etched glass, and the eye relief is a bit short. Still, you get a fantastic sight picture and the scope is dead-on accurate once sighted in.

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Jeff Byrnes

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Hi there! I’m Jeff, an avid outdoorsman and hunter who really likes exploring new technology. I’m especially into hunting optics, which is why I’m writing these reviews! I hope you find my articles helpful in your own shooting and hunting.

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