Leupold M8 2x20mm EER Handgun Scope

By Chuck Hawks

Leupold EER 2x
Illustration courtesy of Leupold & Stevens, Inc.

Leupold & Stevens, Inc. has been building telescopic sights in Beaverton, Oregon, U.S.A. for over 50 years. They began with the Plainsman riflescope, introduced in 1947. Leupold scopes are marked with a distinctive gold ring around the objective bell to aid in identification, hence the appellation "Golden Ring" scopes.

Leupold has been responsible for several important innovations in the telescopic sight field. The most important of these are the development of the first nitrogen charged and sealed waterproof scope, the Duplex reticle, and the first compact scope. Leupold was also one of the early pioneers of handgun scopes.

All Leupold Golden Ring scopes come with the Leupold Full Lifetime Guarantee. If any Leupold Golden Ring scope is ever found to have defects in materials or workmanship, Leupold will repair or replace it for free. There is no time limit, and a guarantee card is not required.

EER stands for "Extended Eye Relief." Leupold offers two fixed power handgun scopes and one variable power handgun scope. It is the fixed magnification 2x20mm EER scope (stock #28592) with which we are concerned here.

The M8 2x20 EER is available in gloss black or silver finishes. It features bright, fully coated optics that appear sharp from center to edge. It is built on a 1" (25mm) diameter main tube made of 6061-T6 aluminum alloy. The coin-slot windage and elevation adjustments are of the friction type and allow unlimited adjustment increments. The reticle always remains centered. The 2x20 EER is sealed against moisture and nitrogen filled; it is guaranteed to be waterproof and fog free.

Eyepiece focus is by multiple turns of the ocular bell on fine threads and is secured with a locking ring. The ocular bell has a stop at the end of its threads to prevent its being completely unscrewed. It will not come off in your hand.

The 2x20mm EER comes with Leupold's famous Duplex reticle. This type of reticle, with heavy a crosshair that becomes a fine crosshair near the center of the field, was invented by Leupold and has since been copied by virtually all other scope manufacturers. It is an excellent reticle for a hunting scope. For customers that demand something different, the Leupold Custom Shop can provide something like nine alternative reticles suitable for use in a handgun scope.

The recoil velocity of powerful handguns is very high, putting great stress on handgun scopes. The 2x20mm EER Leupold handgun scope is extremely rugged and up to the challenge of any handgun or rifle cartridge. Gun makers have elected to package it with several famous hunting handguns over the years, including the illustrious Colt Python Hunter.

I am reasonably familiar with the Leupold 2x20 EER scope, since I purchased my first example back in 1966. It is a trim scope with an overall length of 8.0 inches and it weighs 6.0 ounces. The field of view is a useful 21.2' at 100 yards; this makes shots at running game relatively easy, unlike more powerful handgun scopes.

Its friction windage and elevation adjustments are accurate and easy to use when sighting-in. A wide adjustment range of 86 MOA is available in both windage and elevation. A coin or something similar is necessary to change the settings. The outer index ring can be reset after the gun is zeroed-in.

The M8 2x20 EER is very popular and frequently seen on hunting revolvers and the smaller single shot pistols, such as the T/C Contender. Its relatively wide field of view makes it a more useful hunting scope inside of 100 yards than the more powerful scopes, and its light weight balances better on conventional handguns (as opposed to what are essentially bolt action carbines without a buttstock) than the heavier Leupold EER scopes.

Visually, the M8 2x EER offers good definition. Sharpness from center to edge is good. Lens flare is very well suppressed. It is a good scope to look through. With practice the handgun hunter can learn to look around as well as through an EER scope, at least partially compensating for the limited field of view.

I have used the M8 2x EER on calibers as powerful as .30-30 Winchester with no problem. This has, unfortunately, not always been the case with other brands of handgun scopes that I have owned.

Mine even survived a nasty fall onto jagged rocks. A hunting companion to whom I had loaned a gun wearing a Leupold 2x EER scope tripped and sent it smashing to the ground. It hit so hard that its rings were knocked free of the mount base. There were several dings in the M8's gloss black finish but, to my surprise, the scope's performance was not affected. You gotta love a scope that tough.

This a premium scope of proven durability, built to last. In my opinion the Leupold EER handgun scopes are among the best available. A Leupold M8 2x20mm EER scope is a good choice for practically any big game hunting handgun.

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Copyright 2005 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.