Nikon Prostaff P3 Scopes

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The Nikon P3 series was introduced in 2018 and was marketed as a budget-friendly scope series made specifically for hunters. All the power magnifications and reticle options are geared towards hunting.

Nikon Prostaff P3 Scopes

In addition to offering scopes for rifles, the P3 series also featured specialized hunting scopes made for shotguns, muzzleloaders, crossbows, and predator hunting.

The P3 scopes featured three primary reticle options:

Nikon Prostaff P3 Reticle Options

Nikoplex Reticle – The Nikoplex reticle is Nikon’s taken a duplex reticle with thicker posts that taper down to a fine crosshair.

BDC Reticle – BDC is an acronym for Bullet Drop Compensator, and this reticle features integrated bullet drop compensation out to specific ranges. Those ranges are determined by the specific BDC configuration, which varies based on the scope model.

Mil-Dot Reticle – The Mil-Dot reticle is built on a traditional system of dots that are a measurement called a milliradian. Most people just shorten the name down to “mil”,  hence the nickname “Mil-Dot”.

The BDC reticle options were varied and depended on the specific P3 scope model. For example, the P3 Muzzleloader scopes came with a BDC300 reticle that would work out of the box out to 300 yards, while the standard Nikon BDC reticle would work out of the box out to 500 yards.

Here’s a more detail look at the individual BDC reticles within the P3 scope models:

Nikon Prostaff P3 BDC Reticle Options

The Nikon P3 series featured 20 scope models, but many were overlapping models that were available in either black or silver with different reticle options. For example, Nikon has 11 different 3-9 scope models in the P3 family.

The P3 series featured a broad range of power magnification configurations that ranged from a fixed 3×32 (Crossbow model) up to 6-18×40 power. All the P3 series of scopes were built on a 1-inch tube.

Most of the P3 scopes featured fixed parallax that is set at 100 yards. A few of the models, such as the AO models and the EFR model, offered parallax that could be adjusted via the adjustable objective.

All P3 scope models were designed to be integrated with the Nikon Spon On program, and all most models featured spring-loaded zero-reset turrets. Also, all the P3 models were built to integrate with Nikon’s Spot On custom turret system.

The P3 series consisted of the following scope models:

P3 Crossbow 3×32 with BDC60 Reticle

P3 2-7×32 with BDC Reticle

P3 3-9×40 (Available in both matte and silver with a BDC or NikoPlex Reticle)

P3 3-9×50 (Available with either a BDC or NikoPlex reticle)

P3 Muzzleloader 3-9×40 TrueTimber Kanati

P3 Muzzleloader  3-9×40 (Available in matte or silver finish with a BDC300 reticle)

P3 Predator Hunter 3-9×40 with a BDC Predator reticle

P3 Target EFR 3-9x40AO with a Precision Target reticle

P3 Predator Hunter 4-12×40 with a BDC PREDATOR reticle

P3 4-12×40 (Available with either a BDC, Mil-Dot, or NikoPlex reticle)

P3 6-18x40AO (Available with a BDC or Mil-Dot reticle)

P3 Shotgun 2-7×32 with a BDC200 reticle

P3 SHOTGUN 3-9×40 with a BDC200 reticle

All the P3 scope models (except for the single fixed power model) feature a 3X zoom ratio within the power range. Each of these models is also shockproof, waterproof, and nitrogen purged.

All the P3 scopes feature a generous amount of eye relief that ranges from 3.5” up to 5” for the shotgun scope models. If you are not sure what I mean by eye relief, here’s an explanation. The more extended eye relief on the P3 scopes indicates that they will support being mounted on a high caliber rifle without the risk of “scope bite.”


Here are some of the more common frequently asked questions that I’ve seen regarding the Nikon Prostaff P3 scopes:

Why are the Nikon Prostaff P3 scopes so hard to find now?

Officially speaking, Nikon decided to shut down the rifle scope portion of its business at the beginning of 2020. As production was shut down on the P3 scope models, the supply is slowing dwindling.

 Are the silver Nikon P3 scopes stainless steel?

No, the silver versions of the Nikon P3 scopes are coated in a silver finish, but they are not made from stainless steel.

Are the Nikon Prostaff P3 shotgun scopes any good?

The Nikon P3 shotgun scope models are an updated version of the popular Nikon Slughunter line of scopes. Nikon offered two dedicated shotgun scope models in the P3 series. One was a 2-7×32, and the other was a 3-9×40 version. Both models came equipped with Nikon’s BDC200 reticle, which was designed for use with most shotgun slugs, and offers a bullet drop function for the slugs out to 200 yards.

Having tested the P3 3-9X40 shotgun scope at the range on a Marlin Slugmaster shotgun, I was impressed with the accuracy that the BDC reticle offered at the 150-yard mark.

So, to answer the question, I think the P3 shotgun scopes are a good value for the money and work well on a slug gun.

 What’s the difference between the Nikon P3 vs P5 scopes?

There are a few significant differences between the P3 scope series and the P5 scope series, and they include the following:

  • The P5 series features better quality glass compared to the P3 scopes. The better glass makes sense as the P5 scopes have a higher cost than the P3 models.
  • The P3 series features 20 different scope models, while the P5 scope series only offers eight scope models.
  • The P3 series offers specialized scope models for muzzleloaders, shotguns, and crossbows, where the P5 series only offers scopes designed for rifle use.
  • Most of the P5 scope models feature a side focus for parallax adjustment versus the P3 scopes, which either have a fixed parallax or an adjustable objective for parallax.
  • The P3 series of scopes feature a 3X zoom ration while the P5 scope models use a 4x zoom ratio.
  • The P5 scope models are geared more towards long-range shooting while the P3 scopes are geared towards the hunting market.
  • There are a few differences in the reticle options between the two scope series. While both the P3 and the P5 series of scopes are available with the Nikon BDC or Nikoplex reticle, the P5 scopes are also available in a reticle called the MK1-MOA reticle.

Can you compare the Nikon Prostaff P3 vs Buckmaster scopes?

When you say “Buckmaster,” I assume you mean the newer Nikon Buckmasters II scopes as Nikon phased out the first generation of the Buckmaster in 2015.

There are some definite differences between the Nikon P3 scope and the Nikon Buckmaster scopes, and those are:

  • While both the P3 scopes and the Buckmaster II scopes are considered part of Nikon’s entry-level series of riflescopes, the Buckmasters II scopes are the more entry-level of the two series.
  • The glass on the P3 scopes is slightly better than the Buckmaster II models.
  • The Buckmasters II scopes are available in 3 power magnifications while the Prostaff P3 scopes have 20 different configurations.
  • All the Buckmasters II scopes feature a factory set 100 yards fixed parallax while some of the P3 scope models feature an adjustable parallax.
  • The Buckmasters II scopes are only available with the Nikon BDC reticle, while the P3 scopes offer a more comprehensive range of reticle options.

Where are the Nikon P3 scopes made?

Although I already wrote about the topic of where Nikon scopes are made here, the Prostaff P3 scopes are produced at an optical factory in the Philippines based on specifications from Nikon engineers.

I’ll update this section as I come across more questions or topics about the Nikon Prostaff P3 line of riflescopes.