Scopes for real guns often come with scope caps to protect them. These scope-mounted covers offer protection against the elements, but they won’t stop a high-speed BB. For that, you need a strong rail-mounted sight guard.
The choice between a rail-mounted or scope-mounted sight guard depends on the type of airsoft gun and scope you have. While rail-mounted guards work with any scope so long as the replica gun has a rail system, scope-mounted guards are a little special.
Here’s the score on the two types of scope protectors:
- Scope-mounted sight protectors fit directly onto the scope body. Most are screwed onto the front, while others snap into place or use rubber to stretch into place.
- Rail-mounted sight guards fit on the rails of your airsoft gun. There are three main types of rails used in airsoft: Picatinny, M-LOK, and KeyMod.
- Both types of scope protectors can be made of different materials such as neoprene, perspex, or polycarbonate (such as Lexan). However, only rail-mounted sight guards have enough space and strength to support tough thick shields.
- Scope-mounted protectors are usually designed for the scope. For example, lens protectors for holographic sights are designed to slide into the scope.
We’re now ready to go into the details of comparing rail-mounted and scope-fitted sight protectors.
We will cover the specifics of each of these types of sight guards l and review some common brands. Also, we will take a look at the average cost of each and what unique benefits each type offers.
Table of Contents
- Guide to Scope-Fitted Sight Protectors in Airsoft
- Guide to Rail-Mounted Airsoft Scope Protectors
- Scope-Fitted vs Rail-Mounted: Which Is Better?
- Get the Best Rail-Mounted Sight Guards
- Frequently Asked Questions
Guide to Scope-Fitted Sight Protectors in Airsoft
If your airsoft gun came with a powered scope, chances are that it also has a scope cap.
Scope-fitted sight protectors are carried over from real firearms. Hunters carry scope caps to protect the lens from dust, water, snow, and anything else that could damage it. Scope caps also serve to reduce glare in the sun.
In airsoft, lens protectors have to do more. They need to stop BBs fired from high-speed replicas even in close-quarters battle (CQB) without penetration.
An important thing to know is that scope-fitted sight protectors are designed to suit different types of scopes.
Sight Protectors for Powered Scopes
Scopes that magnify the target are common for airsoft snipers and designated riflemen. When you need to engage your opponents from a distance, a 3x or 5x scope is a must-have.
Lens caps and bikini-type lens covers are perfect for this type of scope. The lens caps below cost $12.99 on Amazon.
These caps can be threaded to screw directly onto the scope. If the scope isn’t threaded, the cap can also attach using rubber to stretch around the scope.
Another type of lens protector for powered scopes are bikini-type lens covers. They use two elastic bands to stretch tightly over both ends of the scope to create an airtight seal.
This design costs just under $20 on Amazon. The yellowed cap allows you to see targets in better definition when battling in bright sunlight and reduces glare.
There are also honeycomb mesh anti-reflective lens caps, also called kill flash covers. These consist of a tough metal cover with a metal mesh with a honeycomb pattern that protects the scope and removes glare caused by light reflecting from the lens.
We do not recommend this type of lens protector because the mesh can shatter BBs on impact. The pieces of shattered BBs can penetrate the mesh and damage the scope or even your eyes and face.
Holographic Scope Protectors for Airsoft
Sight guards for holographic scopes are designed to slide into the front of the scope. They have strips of plastic that fit between the top and sides of the scope’s protective cover, allowing an easy and secure fit.
One such option is shown in the image below. You can get this one for less than $10, making it one of the cheapest options available.
Lens protectors for holographic sights are available in transparent and killflash designs. The killflash option is shown below with its metal mesh grille.
You can expect to pay about $15 for this piece. The design of these sight guards makes installation easy, but the seamless fit also makes removing them difficult. That is one reason why they are not very popular.
Also, most holographic scope protectors available in the market are made of thin, cheap plastic. While this allows them to be ultra-clear and easy fitting, it reduces their ability to protect the sight against high-energy BBs.
Guide to Rail-Mounted Airsoft Scope Protectors
Instead of mounting directly on the scope, rail-mounted sight protectors attach to your replica gun’s rail system. This mounting system works great for all scopes, but especially for red dot sights.
Since red dot scopes tend to have unusual shapes, a sight guard mounted independently in front of the scope is the only option. Our sight guards at I Am Black Lion are of this type.
More importantly, having the sight protector mounted individually means that you can have it as thick and strong as you wish.
The polycarbonate material in our Diamond and Stealth sight guards can take a 0.40 g BB fired at 337.4 fps from a range of 10 cm without shattering. Very few guards out there can claim that level of protection.
The main consideration with rail-mounted sight protectors in airsoft is the type of mounting used. There are three main types of gun rails used in airsoft: Picatinny, M-LOK, and KeyMod. If you use rails from real guns, you might also hear of Weaver, Dovetail, and Warsaw Pact rails.
Picatinny, M-LOK, and KeyMod are not directly compatible. However, there are ways to mount a Picatinny rail onto an M-LOK or KeyMod base and vice versa.
Apart from mounting systems, the other differences in rail-mounted sight guards come from the type of material used, the shape of the guard, and its transparency or color.
The following table shows some common examples of rail-mounted sight guards and their main features and benefits.
All these options range from less than $15 to $40 for every set. The cheapest sight protectors are often made of materials such as Plexiglass, which offers less protection. Many of these options are also generic in shape and design.
Expert Tip: When installing rail-mounted sight guards, let the shield lean against the scope. It may feel counter-intuitive, but it helps the shield to stay up even while moving around. It also deflects BBs and takes away their energy, allowing the shield to work for much longer without a scratch.
Scope-Fitted vs Rail-Mounted: Which Is Better?
Both scope-mounted and rail-mounted scope protectors have their advantages.
Scope-fitted guards offer a seamless look, while rail-mounted sight guards offer far greater protection. Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of each type.
|Scope-Mounted Sight Guards||
|Rail-Mounted Sight Guards||
Having mentioned about rails, not all airsoft guns come with them. Installing rails can be a hassle if you don’t know what you’re doing, but the video below will help you.
How to install a rail system on an M4 airsoft rifle
Different guns have slightly different methods of installing a rail system. Many modern ones already come with an M-LOK or KeyMod system on the barrel. If you have a problem, check with the manufacturer or have the technicians at your local airsoft field help you out.
Get the Best Rail-Mounted Sight Guards
In this comparison between rail-mounted and scope-mounted sight guards, there is only one clear winner: I Am Black Lion sight guards.
The truth is, the only problem with rail-mounted sight guards is that they don’t look good on a replica gun. However, with our custom-designed shields designed with the same angular facets as military stealth aircraft, you can now have the best protection that also looks great out in the field.
Hear it from Nathan H., one of our happy customers.
If you are looking to give your scope the best protection without losing style points, we’ve got what you need. Get your I Am Black Lion sight guard now and keep fighting without fear.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a scope protector in airsoft?
Yes, if you have any type of sight (except irons) that need to be protected. Many good red dot sights cost upwards of $100, and many holographic sights are $1,000 or more. With such an investment, it is prudent to invest $30–$40 and keep your lens protected for months.
Which is the best scope protector for airsoft?
There are many types and brands of sight guards you can use to protect your scope. The best one is often the one that gives you the best protection, but looks are also important. Our sight guards here at I Am Black Lion are designed to give you the best of both with each.
Which is the best lens protector for a holographic scope in airsoft?
Holographic scopes have their own types of lens shields that can slip into the front of the scope. However, these offer only moderate protection. The best protection comes from a rail-mounted sight guard made of tough polycarbonate material to stop high-energy BBs.