In the Crosshairs: Leupold FX-II 4x28mm Handgun Scope

During my review of the EXTAR AR-15 format pistol, I realized that it had accuracy potential far more than what people give the AR-15-type pistol credit for. It deserved a fitting optic that could take advantage of the accuracy without diminishing the close-range capabilities of the pistol. I chose the Leupold FX-II 4x28mm scope. This scope has enough magnification to deliver on the potential of the AR-15 pistol format with plenty of eye relief for arm’s length aiming.

Fit, Finish, Feel, Features & Functions

Leupold has a protracted reputation for high-quality optics. For pistol optics, Leupold makes two models: the FX-II fixed-power 4X magnification and the VX-3 variable-power scope. The FX-II I tested is a very high-quality pistol optic that delivers an extremely useful 4X magnification with superb optical clarity and generous eye box.

Leupold FXII Pistol Scope on AR-15 Pistol

Handgun optics are subject to higher than normal recoil due to the exponentially lower weight of the firearm, coupled with the very large rifle cartridges shot in handguns such as the TC Contender. I shot a scoped 45-70 in a TC Contender and it delivered significant recoil. Over a decade ago, some shooters used triple or quad rings to help distribute recoil more evenly to the scope tube and provide more rigidity. The reality is that lower quality optics just do not hold up to the punishment rifle-caliber handguns dish out. However, Leupold’s pistol scopes are famous for their durability on these heavy recoiling pistols, and guarantees and warranties the scope should you ever have an issue.

The Leupold 4x FX-II pistol scope offers all the usual Leupold optic features plus some impressive gas waterproofing that increases image quality as well. Some of these features include:

  • 3:1 Zoom Ratio — twin bias spring erector system ideal for virtually any scenario
  • Micro-Friction 1/4 MOA — easy windage and elevation adjustments in 1/4 MOA increments
  • Tactile Power Selector — identify your magnification with just a touch of your finger
  • Multicoat 4 — extreme edge-to-edge visual field clarity, bright sight picture, and outstanding contrast
  • Xtended Twilight Lens System — low-light wavelength optimization allowing you to see scenes in greater, brighter detail
  • Diamondcoat 2 — ion-assist lens coating for higher light transmission

With a 1-inch 6061-T6 aircraft quality aluminum main tube, the FX-II delivers a simple mountable scope with very common and less expensive 1-inch rings.

Many people add far too much magnification on everything from handguns to rifles. The Leupold FX-II handgun scope delivers a usable magnification that is not frustrating to hold steady at arm’s length. Unless you are shooting from an extremely stable rest, once adjusting up a handgun scope in magnification beyond 4X,  it is easy to become frustrated with a reticle that keeps jumping around. The 4X magnification on a handgun is just right. It provides the precision you need to reach out beyond distances that eyesight and iron sights can deliver.

Having shot behind a number of handgun optics, the biggest challenge is having an optic that delivers a large enough eye-relief box. If the eye-relief box is too narrow, the shooter is constantly fighting the distance the gun is from their eye to see the full field of view and reticle. The Leupold certainly delivers a huge flexible eye-relief box enabling you to concentrate on the target and not finding the right scope mount length.

Final Thoughts

The Leupold FX-II handgun scope delivers a proven and reliable design specifically built to take the increased punishment a handgun can deliver—even the really big handgun rounds like 45-70 and even .308. Obviously the EXTAR 5.56 AR-15 pistol didn’t even phase this scope. And it delivered a super-light pistol that when equipped with a scope was more than accurate enough for varminting and plinking all the way out to the 300-yard line.

Leupold FXII Pistol Scope Mounted on AR-15 Pistol


  • Twin Bias Spring Erector System
  • Super Fast-Focus Eyepiece
  • Lockable Fast-Focus Eyepiece
  • Classic/Standard Lockable Eyepiece
  • Standard Multicoat
  • Micro-Friction 1/4 MOA
  • 1/4 MOA Finger Click
  • Proprietary Nitrogen Fill Process
  • 1-inch Maintube
  • 6061-T6 Aircraft Quality Aluminum
  • Standard Power Selector
  • Durable Lens Cover
  • Factory Standard Reticles
  • 24K Gold Ring and Medallion
  • Actual Magnification: 3.7x
  • Linear Field of View (ft/100 yd) 9.00 ft (m/100 m | 3.00 m)
  • Eye Relief: 18.0 in (57.0 mm)
  • Weight: 7.0 oz (199.0 g)
  • Objective Clear Aperture: 1.10 in (28.0mm)
  • Elevation Adjustment Range: 60.00 moa
  • Windage Adjustment Range: 60.00 moa

What’s your favorite handgun scope? Tell us in the comment section.