Are Barska Scopes Junk or Any Good?

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Recently I received an email from a site visitor on asking the following question:

“You seem pretty well versed in scopes so I wanted to get your opinion on the Barska scopes. I’m on a limited budget, and the Barska optics fit in my budget. However, as I’ve researched online, I see several varying opinions on Barska scopes. Some like the scopes, but others say they are complete junk. So, I was hoping to get your opinion? Are Barska scopes junk or are they any good?


Are Barska Scopes Junk or Any Good?

Since I put a little thought and effort into my response, I thought I’d expound on my original answer and add it to the site.

Before I get too far along in this post, I wanted to point out that the content on this page is based on my opinions and experiences, and I’m not trying to bash Barska Optics in any way. I’m merely sharing my opinion in answer to a question. If you’re in the market for a Barska scope, I would encourage you to conduct your own independent research as part of the purchasing process.

Barska Company Background

Barska is a sporting products manufacturer that is headquartered in Pomona, California. For the purposes of this write-up, I’ll be focusing on Barka’s sporting optics division, which includes the following products:

  • Riflescopes
  • Spotting scopes
  • Binoculars
  • Telescopes
  • Microscopes
  • Night vision products

In addition to their sporting optics products, Barska also sells tactical gear (vests, rifle cases, etc.), lasers & lights, safes and security products, and metal detectors.

According to company history, Barska was founded in 1993 but didn’t start selling in the United States until 2001. So it’s a bit unclear where the company was initially founded or where they were based from 1993 to 2001.

Today, Barska is a worldwide brand with vendors in 40 different countries.

Barska Varmint Scope Options

Although I briefly touched on it above, one interesting area where Barska differs from most other scope brands on the market involves the somewhat odd other product lines that Barska sells. I say the word “odd” as the other products in the Barska line are fairly different from the typical products offered by an optical brand. For example, in addition to riflescopes, most optical manufacturers also produce related optical products like binoculars, rangefinders, telescopes, etc.

While Barska also offers these closely related products, they also offer other products that don’t align with optics. For example, as I previously mentioned, Barska sells tactical vests, gun safes, and metal detectors. These products are well outside the other products offered by Barska optical competitors. So, this is an area where Barska really deviates from other optical brands.

Are Barska Scopes Any Good?

Sporting optics brands typically approach the optical market in one of two ways:

#1 – They offer optical products with a broad price range that covers most of the market. This approach is the typical scenario where a brand has an entry-level, mid-range, and higher-end line of scopes or optics.

#2 – The brand focuses on a specific segment of the market. This type of market segmentation usually occurs at the price level or on a specific or focused product use. Examples would include a brand or manufacturer that only offers mid-priced riflescopes or one that only offers scope models made for long-range shooting.

As a brand, Barska falls into the 2nd category as they primarily focus on the entry-level portion of the rifle scope industry. Incidentally, the entry-level segment of the optics market also usually tends to be the budget-oriented portion as well.

While I certainly wouldn’t call or label the Barska line as junk, I will say that they are an entry and budget-oriented brand focusing on the lower end of the optical price points. As with most scopes manufactured for the entry-level market, you see lower-quality optics and performance. From an optical quality standpoint, I wouldn’t rate the glass quality as good or even a good value for the money. That being said, Barska sells quite a few optics annually, so there’s obviously a market for their products.

Where are Barska scopes made?

I plan to do a separate article on this topic later, but the short answer is this: at the time this post was published, all the Barska optics were manufactured at an optical facility in China. So even though Barska has a US-based headquarters, all their sporting optic products are sourced from China.

And, given the suggested MSRP price points in the Barska optics, being manufactured in China really shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Should I buy a Barska scope?

That’s really a personal preference because there are plenty of happy and satisfied Barska scope owners. As long as you maintain realistic expectations of the optical performance, you probably won’t have any issues. However, expecting a $100 Barska scope to perform as well as a $700 Vortex scope will lead to problems.


Here are some frequently asked questions I commonly see with Barska rifle scopes:

Is Barska a good brand?

Barska specializes in entry-level rifle scopes that are budget-friendly. Within that specific market, I believe that Barska sells quite a few scopes. However, I wouldn’t put them in the same class as brands like Burris, Nikon, Vortex, Athlon, etc. Barska is more comparable to a scope brand like BSA Optics or Tasco. Again, I wouldn’t rate Barska as a “bad” brand, but they cater to the lower-budget market.

Can you compare a Barska vs Simmons scope?

In some areas, Barska Optics and Simmons Optics are very comparable and, in other areas, quite different.

From a high-level view, I’d say that the Simmons glass is slightly better than the Barska glass across the board. However, Barska offers some features not found in the Simmons line. For example, Barska features a wide range of power magnifications where Simmons is more limited, and Barska offers illuminated reticles where Simmons doesn’t.

The Simmons is probably a better choice if you’re strictly buying off the optical quality. However, if you’re buying on features, reticle options, and power ranges, then Barska is a better option.