Are you an avid shooter, a hunter, or a sports shooting enthusiast? Ever wondered about the small details that can significantly alter your shooting experience?

Among those, one hot topic that has taken many a forum by storm is - "Should I use a sunshade on my rifle scope or not?" To answer this conundrum, we've rolled up our sleeves, plunged into the sea of information, and emerged with some illuminating insights.

The Essence of a Sunshade

A sunshade, often known as a scope sunshade, is a simple yet potentially game-changing accessory for your rifle scope. Picture it as a tube that attaches to the objective lens of your scope. It's designed to prevent stray light and glare from affecting your sight picture. But what does this mean in practical terms?

  1. Prevents Glare: A sunshade blocks direct sunlight from hitting the objective lens, reducing glare and improving image quality.
  2. Protects the Lens: It can also prevent dust and other particles from scratching your valuable lens.
  3. Better Target Acquisition: By mitigating the effects of sunlight, you'll have a clearer, sharper image of your target.

Sunshades: The Tactical Advantage

In tactical or long-range shooting scenarios, sunshades can provide a significant advantage. When sunlight enters the scope from a harsh angle, it can cause optical problems such as lens flare and a washed-out image. The use of a sunshade mitigates these issues by limiting the light that enters from non-target sources, allowing for a clear, bright image.

  1. Improving Field of View: A sunshade enhances your field of view by reducing the white light entering the scope.
  2. Preserving Stealth: Its interior flat black finish minimizes reflection, helping maintain your cover in tactical situations.
  3. Long Range Precision: For long-range shooters, a sunshade can improve shooting precision by ensuring a consistent, clear sight picture.

The Case for No Sunshade

Not everyone believes in using a sunshade. Many hunters and shooters, in fact, swear by their scopes without sunshades. They believe the sunshade can hurt low light performance, potentially hindering their ability to aim in certain conditions. But why would anyone choose to forgo a sunshade?

  1. Easier to Maneuver: Without a sunshade, the scope is less bulky and easier to carry, especially in dense woods or tricky terrains.
  2. Better Low Light Performance: Some believe a sunshade can restrict the amount of light entering the scope, making it harder to see in low light conditions.
  3. Less Complication: Without the need to attach and adjust a sunshade, you can focus more on your target and less on your equipment.

Selecting the Right Sunshade

If you decide to use a sunshade, it's essential to select the right one for your scope. The diameter should match your objective lens, and the length should be adequate to block the sun without obstructing your view. Some popular options include the Viper, Leupold VX3, and the Vortex PST.

  1. Size: The sunshade size should match your objective lens size (50mm, 40mm, etc.)
  2. Compatibility: Ensure the sunshade can attach properly to the objective thread of your riflescope.
  3. Length: Consider the sun's angle at your usual shooting times - a longer sunshade may be necessary if the sun is typically low on the horizon.

Adapting to Various Shooting Scenarios

The decision to use a sunshade often depends on the shooting scenario. A tactical shooter may find a sunshade essential for maintaining accuracy and cover, while a hunter in low light conditions may deem it a hindrance. Being adaptable and understanding your needs will ultimately guide your decision.

  1. Consider Your Environment: A range facing west, for instance, might make a sunshade more necessary during sunset shoots.
  2. Assess Your Targets: Are you usually shooting at bright, reflective targets? A sunshade can help reduce glare and improve accuracy.
  3. Take into Account Weather Conditions: Sunny or overly bright conditions are where sunshades truly shine. In contrast, overcast or low light conditions might not necessitate one.

Debunking Common Myths

Despite numerous forum threads and discussions, there are still many myths surrounding the use of sunshades. Some people believe they can solve all optical problems, while others consider them a pure marketing gimmick. To set the record straight, let's debunk some of these misconceptions.

  1. All-in-one Solution: A sunshade can help with specific issues like glare and lens protection but won't magically fix all optical problems.
  2. Always Needed: Not every shooting scenario requires a sunshade. Its need is highly dependent on lighting conditions and personal preference.
  3. Only for High-Quality Scopes: Sunshades can benefit both budget and premium scopes alike.

The Balance of Pros and Cons

The debate about using a sunshade is largely a matter of weighing the pros and cons. It can provide certain advantages like reducing glare and protecting the lens, but it may also make the scope bulkier and potentially impede low light visibility. It's crucial to understand this balance and make an informed decision based on your unique shooting needs.

  1. Advantages: Reduced glare, lens protection, better image quality, and potential stealth enhancement.
  2. Disadvantages: Extra bulk, potential low light performance impact, and added complexity.


The sunshade vs no sunshade debate will likely rage on, just like the one about spotting scope vs binoculars. As with any piece of gear, your decision should be guided by your personal shooting style, preference, and environmental conditions. Remember, the ultimate goal is to improve your shooting experience. So, whether you decide to thread on that sunshade or keep it bare, may your aim always stay true!

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