Nowadays most scopes are often judged by their price. If it’s cheap it can’t be good, right? Well, wrong. It might be so in some cases but definitely not in the case of the Leapers UTG Bug Buster 3-9×32 Scope. It has grown on me as one of my favorite beginner’s scopes mainly due to its unbelievably good price-to-value ratio. There are far better scopes in terms of magnification, reticles, lens quality, or other features but no other scope comes close to what you are getting here for less than a hundred bucks.
Thanks to its wide range of magnification, good mil-dot reticle design, elemental resistance, and durability the Bug Buster is one of the best budget scopes out there and has virtually no competition in its price point. It is ideal for hunters on a budget that are looking for a decent mid-range scope. There are certain drawbacks here such as the short eye relief distance, and the small objective lens but that is a price most beginners are willing to pay in order to have a scope to learn on and mess around with.
Before I dive deeper into this model, feel free to check out my extensive Buyer’s Guide on some of the best 308 rifle scopes out on the market. There I’ve covered the topic of 308 scopes in great detail and have also given you the full list of features you will need to look for when getting your rifle setup ready for a day in the woods.
Bug Buster Features
Most hunters shoot in the 150-300 yard range when hunting for average to big-sized game. The makers of the Bug Buster took that into account when building their scope and that is why it is a 3-9x spec. Short-range shots is another thing where it excels but it falls short when it comes to shooting further than 300-400 yards.
Scopes needed for this mid-range can vary a lot in features such as lens diameter, MOA adjustability, maximum and minimum magnification, and most importantly – price. I will try to emphasize on all of those features in my review. Now, let’s start with the most important thing here…
Magnification & Lenses
Being a 3-9x scope, this Leapers UTG model offers a good amount of range versatility. At its lowest magnification it is easily good enough for 100+ yard targets, and at its highest people hit targets over the 300-yard mark. Still, this compact scope has been used in close-quarter combat situations as it is very good for shorter ranges. It has a parallax-free point of view of 3 yards and that can extend basically to any distance you want.
If you want something much stronger in terms of magnification (but also much more expensive) I recommend checking out the Vortex Optics Viper HST scope.
Even though the scope has a small objective lens (32mm) it still has adequate light transmission even when the day is nearing its end. That, combined with the good field of view (14-37.7ft @100yards) results in an unexpectedly good aiming experience at any range. The wide field of view is also very useful when it comes to close quarter battle training.
Unfortunately, the lenses here aren’t fully multi-coated which is a major downside, especially in today’s market. That might lead to sun glares at very bright days and won’t feel great if you are aiming below the sun. Still, in your package, you will be getting a 2-inch sunshade to help with that.
The objective lens has a single layer of emerald coating, though. That still does a good job of allowing a good amount of light into the 1-inch tube of the scope but isn’t as good as some slightly more expensive fully-multi coated models.
Lastly, there is a 2-inch eye relief here which is good but when you take into account the short body of the scope it becomes an issue. You have to mount it really far back in order to have a comfortable shooting position.
Leapers UTG is a brand that has been around for a while. These years have helped them in their mil-dot technology development. Nowadays, they are pioneers in this price class with their TRE (Tactical Range Estimating) RGB mil-dot. It is present in all of the optics manufactured by them and is something experienced hunters are after. It is far superior to simple red dot reticles and can be useful at both short and medium ranges.
To give you a perspective, normal mil-dots won’t have more than 3-4 hash marks on each side. This means that you will have a maximum of 9 individual points to aim when taking into account either wind speed or elevation/drop. The Bug Buster RGB mil-dot has the whopping 9 aiming dots at each side, resulting in 19 different aiming points. Those can be 21 if you count the inner tips of the crosshair.
You can have your mil-dot in either red, green, or simply black when the illumination is turned off. The scope uses 2 lithium batteries to power up the RGB illumination feature.
One last thing I have to mention is the parallax-free view this scope provides. You can toggle from 3 yards to any distance you want without having to deal with parallax. That is a thing which is uncommon among scopes in the market, not to mention for sub-hundred dollar models.
Thanks to the emerald coating and the illuminated mil-dot reticle many people choose this model for their nighttime scope, as on top of everything else it has an illuminated side wheel making it easier to find your way around it.
Adjustability & Setting It Up
In terms of adjustability, this model is somewhat good as well. The target turrets are both lockable and resettable meaning they will be easy to work with when out in the fields. The MOA click adjustment on the windage and elevation knobs here is done in clicks of 1/4 MOA.
The parallax can be adjusted from 3 yards to infinity, making this compact CQB bug buster scope a great close-range option as well as a decent medium range one.
In terms of putting this on your rifle’s rails, it is a pretty straight forward process. Thanks to the rings that you get in this package (15mm saddle height) you can quickly lock the scope into place and detach it at any point you want.
This UTG 3-9×32 model is one of the more durable ones I’ve reviewed and is nitrogen filled. That further adds to its clear view despite the other properties nitrogen gives. It is completely sealed with this gas on the inside and thanks to that and its durable construction it is shockproof, rainproof, and fog proof. What this means is that there are no natural elements out there that can surprise you when having the compact CQB bug buster on top of your rifle.
People who enjoy Airsoft love this scope exactly for this reason – they can go anywhere, do anything and this Leapers UTG 3-9×32 compact model will never end up broken, inaccurate or fogged up.
Extra Features And Benefits
At this price range, you wouldn’t generally expect many additional features, right? Well, prepare yourself for a surprise, as this scope has an abundance of those. They are:
- The 2-inch sunshade
- The Flip-open lens caps
- Easily detachable rings
- Nitrogen filling
- Side wheel illumination
- Mil-dot illumination
I already mentioned some of those but it is really important to remember that those aren’t standard things you get on every scope. They are extras UTG are supplying you with. This makes it all feel very special for such a budget product. Let’s check out the build of the Bug Buster now.
Materials & Construction
The materials here are good. Not the best, just good. There had to be a part where Leapers UTG decided to cut the production value low enough to give us such a great price. Don’t get me wrong, the scope itself packs some true strength but when you compare it to a Vortex Optics model, it just fades in terms of build quality.
That has a good side, though. It won’t add too much weight on top of your rifle, meaning it will be easier to go out hunting all day with it.
The patented True-Strength platform upon which this (and many other UTG scopes) is built) is good enough for the money but isn’t the best I’ve seen.
The patented Smart Spherical Structure or “SSS” in short creates an interaction between the scope’s inner and outer tubes similar to a joint. This joint between the parts allows for better longevity and less maintenance.
If longevity is your concern, though, I have great news for you. The “Bug Buster” comes with an unlimited warranty from UTG. That by itself is a very strong selling point, especially for novice hunters who are still not accustomed to treating their rifles and scopes the right way.
The one issue hunters will have with this scope is that it is fairly small since it is a “compact” scope. That is great for short-range shooting but won’t allow you to shoot from a relaxed position, especially when taking into account the short eye relief.
UTG Bug Buster 3-9×32 VS. Monstrum Tactical G2 1-4×24 FPP Rifle Scope
Most UTG models are most often compared to the scopes from the Monstrum company, and in this case, the Bug Buster is a direct competitor to the more expensive Monstrum Tactical G2 1-4×24 scope.
The first major difference is the price. The UTG 3-9×32 comes almost twice as cheap while offering more adjustability and better magnification. In terms of construction and durability, both scopes are equally good for the money and this particular price class. They both have nitrogen filled shockproof fog-proof bodies and perform well in foggy conditions. Still, don’t expect the level of durability and resistance you get out of a Vortex scope, for example.
The key feature of both of these scopes is their illuminated reticle. You rarely see this feature at this price point but the reality is that both of these scopes have it. The G2 has a slight advantage in that regard since it has the same dual-color illumination but with highly adjustable brightness settings.
Another aspect where the G2 is superior is the eye relief distance. It has nearly 4.5 inches of it while the UTG scope has only 2 inches making it uncomfortable to shoot from a relaxed stance. The aiming experience is further complemented with the solid turrets that have a nice click to them in the G2.
As a whole, the Monstrum Tactical G2 presents a slightly better construction and better turrets than the Bug Buster. Still, the UTG scope has more magnification and a far cheaper price tag. Overall, for a beginner, the UTG scope presents itself as a better option.
Advantages & Disadvantages
- Very cheap
- Comes with an unlimited warranty
- Durable construction
- Good magnification for hunters
- Lots of additional features
- It has illuminated mil-dot reticle
- Ring scope mounts are included
- The lens can feel too small
- 3-9x just isn’t enough for 300+ yard shots
- Short eye relief distance
Frequently Asked Questions
Where are UTG Scopes made?
UTG Scopes are made in Livonia, Michigan. All the designing, engineering, and production happen at their facility there.
Who makes UTG scopes?
The parent company that makes the UTG line of scopes is called Leapers. They specialize in various shooting and hunting equipment and are known for their good performance at a bargain price.
What does UTG stand for?
UTG stands for Under The Gun and is used for Leaper’s dedicated line of rifle scopes and other rifle equipment.
Conclusion & Rating
What my overall impression of this scope is – great value, good scope. It isn’t the best model you will find out there but it more than surely is the best you can find for the money. If you are someone who has to stick to a budget or wanted to spend a little more on other accessories or the rifle itself, then this will help you fit into it. The construction, magnification, and all the other additional small details about the Leapers UTG Bug Buster 3-9×32 Scope make me have a soft spot for it but there are lots of other models that I’d rather have on my rifle when out hunting. For those, I will have to pay a small fortune, though. This is why the Bug Buster gets a solid five out of five stars rating from me. If you are a beginner, definitely go for this one.