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What Does a 4×32 Scope Mean: Rifle Optics Basics

L.p. Brezny | Updated February 25, 2024 | Why You Should Trust Us | How We Earn Money
What does 4x32 scope mean cover photo showing a scope view of reticle aiming at a blue target

The secret to choosing the right rifle scope is knowing all the basics, such as the two numbers in a scope’s name. Understandably, most people wonder what these figures stand for.

Here we’ll be explaining those numbers, specifically the 4×32 scope. Let’s get started.

Up next see our write up on some of the best DMR optics that you can find.

What Does the 4×32 Mean?

The numbers 4×32 represent the magnification and the objective lens of a scope. In this case, the four is the magnification/ power, while the 32 refers to the diameter of the objective lens.

Let’s start with the ‘4’. The four is the scope’s magnification power. It means the scope will magnify your target four times more than what your naked eye can see.

Such a scope has a fixed magnification, which is four. You can’t adjust it. Your target will always be magnified four times.

It’s important to note that, these days, most scopes come with variable magnification. A variable scope allows you to adjust the magnification to meet your needs, and this magnification can even go up to 20x and beyond. But here’s a protip – just go with what you need.

For instance, if you’re hunting a deer that’s about 300 yards away, a 3-4x magnification will suit you. For a target closer than that, you’ll need a lower magnification.

To identify this sort of scope, you’ll find three numbers instead of two in the name. For example, 3-9×40 means this scope has a variable magnification of 3-9x.

How about the ’32’? The 32 represents the diameter of the lens and is measured in millimeters. In this case, the objective lens has a diameter of 32mm.

The larger the diameter, the more light can be transmitted in the scope, allowing you to use it in low-light situations. A larger diameter means a clearer image with better color resolution.

This may not mean much to you on a clear day when it’s bright outside. But in low light conditions or when the weather is unpleasant, you’ll understand why a bigger objective lens is advantageous.

So, what does 4×32 scope mean? It’s a scope with a magnification power of 4 and an objective lens with a diameter of 32mm.

4×32 scopes have become the right magnification for hunters for various reasons. For one, they’re affordable and appealing to both beginners and experienced users. They can also be mounted on different kinds of weapons as they’re versatile. (Reference: 4×32 scope)

What Distance Is a 4×32 Scope Good For?

A 4×32 scope is ideal for use anywhere between 100 and 300 yards. Some say these scopes can be used even as far as 400 yards. However, you’ll need to have great skill to make a shot at such a distance.

These scopes come in handy when you want to shoot while standing or moving. You can also use them for hunting any type of animal.

If you’re shooting at your targets at longer distances or from a bench, consider a more powerful scope like a 10×42, as it’s bigger and more powerful. It’ll give you a clear image of any target located 400+ yards.

Generally, you don’t need extremely powerful scopes for hunting unless you’re targeting small animals at longer distances. Hunters choose 3 to 4 magnification scopes because they have all the essential features a hunter will need.

Is a 4×32 Scope Adjustable?

A 4×32 scope is a fixed zoom scope. That means you can’t adjust the power. You only get one magnification, which is 4.

This also means you need to carefully consider your target because the range this scope gives you is limited. These are not like variable scopes, which let you adjust the magnification to a lower or higher power.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a 4×32 Scope

Simmons 4x32 scope on a black rifle

The factors to consider when choosing a scope are the same across the board, despite the number in the name.

For instance, check the quality of the glass and the coatings, as they can affect the image’s clarity, brightness, accuracy, and color. High-quality glass and coatings provide a clearer image even in low-light conditions.

Another thing to check is the scope’s durability and ruggedness. You’ll want an optic that can withstand shock, recoil, and weather conditions.

Lastly, check the scope’s reticles or crosshairs. A thin crosshair or a simple reticle with very little clutter can help you acquire your target easily. A reticle with ranging marks can also be helpful in long-range shooting.

For more reading see: what exactly do the numbers on a scope mean and what is a 4-12×50 scope?

Frequently Asked Questions

What range is a 4×32 scope good for?

A 4×32 scope is good for medium-range shooting. You can achieve critical hits at critical distances with this scope.

How far can you shoot with 4x magnification?

You can shoot up to 400 yards (365.7 meters) with a 4x magnification. As such, this scope becomes great for target shooting, hunting, or even defending your property.

Should I get a 4×32 or 3 9×40?

The decision to get a 4×32 or 3 9×40 scope will depend on how you plan to use it. Get a 3 9×40 if you want something more versatile and precise at longer ranges, as it allows you to adjust the magnification and has a higher magnification power than the 4×32 scope.


  1. Team Bushnell, What’s the Right Magnification for the Average Hunter? Retrieved from https://www.bushnell.com/through-the-lens/bu-blog-whats-the-right-magnification-for-the-average-hunter.html

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