The search for the best ar 15 scope for the money can be intense. That’s because there’s not a single scope best for everything.
Yes, some are good at several things, but it largely depends on how you will be using your rifle
Therefore, to me, you can’t know the best scope for ar 15 if you haven’t decided how you will be using your rifle.
For example, both holographic sights and red dot sights excel in swift target acquisition hence they are excellent for tactical and defensive uses as well as for simulated combat sports.
But if your rifle is for game hunting or long-range object shooting, then you automatically need a scope.
Interestingly, we have holographic sights and red dot sights with minute MOA dots known to work well in close range game hunting situations.
Similarly, a few AR-15 specific scopes work superbly for defensive or tactical purposes.
Moving on, let’s say you are looking for the best scope for ar15. Where should you start?
It’s like this:
Recently, my editors arranged an interview with 2 gun experts and I must admit that Michael and Jason know their stuff.
They not only identified for me the best ar scopes but also compiled a superb buying guide.
So, I will be discussing the tactical scopes for ar 15 for the rest of the post. You will meet the buying guidelines later on.
|Editor's Rating||Image||Name & Link||Magnifier|
|Best High-End||Aimpoint PRO Patrol Rifle Optic.||3X Magnifier|
|Best Mid-Range||Vortex VMX-3T Magnifier with Flip Mount.||3x magnification|
|Best Inexpensive||Bushnell Optics FFP Illuminated BTR-1 BDC.||1-4 x magnification|
Let’s swing into action….
1. Aimpoint PRO Patrol Rifle Optic.
Having an optic that provides the best sight in spite of the tightening legal environment can give you an extra edge whenever you take aim with your rifle.
The Aimpoint pro patrol rifle optic does exactly this.
It features a high-efficiency circuit so that you can turn on the sight and if you want, leave it on for even three years while running on a single battery so it’s a case of Always ready for anything – always on for action!
Then, its front lens has a unique coating, which makes it possible to use the sight with virtually all night vision devices
You will also find it Rugged enough to work in the harshest world conditions and its waterproof up to a maximum of 150 feet.
- Modular qrp2 mount with removable spacer
- Torque-limiting twist knob
- Recessed front & rear lenses
- Service date & battery change reminders
- Hard anodized 30mm tube
- High-efficiency circuit
- Three years battery
- Unique band-pass coating
- 3X Magnifier
- Unlimited Eye relief
- Concealed Engagement unit.
- Threaded front lens
- Front & rear flip covers
- Retainer straps for the Battery & adjustment cap
- Easy maintenance thanks to the date reminders about battery change
- more speed on targets, and a higher first shot hit probability
- Compatible with practically all night vision devices generations
- Very Rugged and waterproof (maximum of 150 feet).
- You can use anti-reflection device (ARD).
- Has flip covers that keep both lenses clean.
- You can use it with both your eyes open
- it’s always on and ready- no fumbling with switches
- Accurate target engagement regardless of the distance.
- super easy to adjust
- the red dot may not work well outside in the sun
- The price is a bit on the higher side
Certainly one of the best red dot sight for ar 15 for the money, the Aimpoint pro patrol rifle optic has all the rare features to enable you to achieve a top sight’s performance while beating current stringent law controls on rifles use.
They include an anodized 30mm tube, a highly efficient circuit, a band-pass coating on front lenses, a removable spacer, and a modular mount amongst others.
2. Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight Riflescope.
A red dot which guarantees you swift target acquisition and precision can make all the difference in dim conditions.
The TRS-25 red dot sight riflescope is built with Amber-Bright optics so that you can clearly see your distant target in very low visibility areas.
It’s also 100-percent waterproof, fog-proof, and shockproof.
Add a durable dry-nitrogen-filled housing, a powerful CR2032 battery, a glare-reducing mirror finished lenses and an admirable recoil and you see why this is one of the best scopes for ar 15 with experts and hobbyists.
- Parallax free design
- Cr2032 battery
- Unlimited eye relief
- Tight windage adjustments
- Rubber lens covers
- Waterproof/ fog-proof/ shock-absorbing construction
- Low power consumption.
- Illumination control knob
- Crisp-sharp red dot reticle
- Withstand recoils superbly
- Batteries last much longer
- Resists adverse weather and rust
- Expertly hold its zero
- Delivers a very clear, wide view
- You may struggle to see the dot in bright sunlight
This is made extremely well and is so durable. Don’t forget it withstands adverse weather and rust.
Then, if you are talking about an optic that holds its zero, I am not sure you will find anything comparable.
And after looking at its budget pricing, I’m convinced this is one of the best ar 15 scope for the money if not the ultimate
3. Vortex VMX-3T Magnifier with Flip Mount.
Higher magnification implies that you can watch objects farther away. It also means you can easily observe or watch over a target once you have acquired it.
The vortex VMX-3T magnifier is a simple, fast, and very effective magnifier that permits quick 3x magnification of any AR-height red dot sights.
It has multi-coated optics for maximum light transmission and has a machined-aluminum construction to ensure durability.
For shooters seeking to increase their effective range, this magnifier will be ideal as it allows for multiple mounting heights.
- Hard-coat-anodized machine aluminum
- 3x magnification
- Waterproof(Internally nitrogen purge)
- Anti-reflective coatings
- Fully Multi-Coated optics
- Very clear even in extremely dim light
- Well-built and solid
- Peerless eye relief
- No internal fogging
- Easy to manoeuvre
- You enjoy a very sharp magnification
- Amazing price
- Very versatile (co-witnesses with AR15s)
- Doesn’t come with any lens caps
With top optical clarity and magnificent eye relief distance, this Vortex trumps many of its peers.
Its mount is solid in addition to being very well designed while flipping the scope to your right is so simple and easy.
Combine its features, versatility and inexpensive pricing and you have yourself an unbelievably effective magnifier.
My experts rated this as one of the best sight for ar15.
4. Bushnell Optics FFP Illuminated Riflescope.
To take control of every tactical scenario, you need utmost accuracy and reliability. Its one of the best ar 15 scope under 200 dollars.
The Bushnell optics riflescope delivers top illumination over long distances, crucial if you will hit your target with your first shot
Its caliber-specific reticle enables you to always triumph during each round thanks to its admirable accuracy
Regardless of the conditions, expect incredible brightness thanks to its fully multi-coated optics.
This Riflescope is rustproof, scratchproof and a very beautiful complement to your adorable AR firearm.
- Throw down PCL lever
- Mil click adjustment
- Target turrets
- aluminum alloy
- Fully multi-coated optics
- 1-4 x magnification
- first focal plane(FFP) Illuminated reticle
- Simple to adjust settings
- Outstanding performance in low light
- Pinpoint precision
- Budget pricing
- Inside protected from hazardous elements
- Renders incredible brightness
- Highly durable
- One of the highest illumination levels
- A bit heavy
- Doesn’t have locking turrets or caps
This illuminating riflescope reliably delivers optical precision, uncompromising performance, and incredible brightness.
It’s rustproof, almost 100% scratchproof and matches up beautifully to any AR platform Rifle.
It’s one of the tactical scopes for ar-15 that will make you forget how loosing feels like.
5. UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope.
Can you imagine having a scope which achieves an unprecedented parallax-free view starting at 10 yards to infinity?
And that’s not all;
Proper zeroing, precise & responsive windage/elevation, durable design, and eminent illumination and Range Estimating ability- you basically have it all.
This is a fantastic scope, packed full of innovative features and is ready to satisfy all your shooting needs as soon as you unpack it.
My colleagues contend that if and when the story of the best tactical scope for ar 15 is finally told, the UTG 30mm compact scope must surely command a special mention.
- Side wheel design
- Mil-dot reticle
- Smart spherical structure(SSS)
- 30-millimeter tube
- Based on the resilient true strength platform
- Multiple emerald coated lenses
- Completely nitrogen sealed
- Lockable & resettable turrets
- Range estimating capability
- Full 36-colors EZ tap reticle
- Angled front sunshade(integrated)-with flip open lens caps
- Special circuit & housing
- Absolutely user-friendly
- Resists heavy recoils
- Long lasting reliability
- Crisp, consistent and precise
- Supreme zeroing
- Easy and quick adjustments
- Impressive parallax-free view
- It feels a tad too heavy
This is a truly innovative scope and comes ready to meet all your shooting needs.
Tactical range estimating ability, uninterrupted illumination and unprecedented parallax free view are just some of the awesome experiences you get from this scope.
It definitely makes you a hotshot!
6. Nikon P-223 3-9×40 Mate BDC 600.
If you are looking for an AR-15 scope that has a lavish, and stable eye relief to ensure your safety whether hunting using heavy recoiling cartridges, a lightweight rifle, or even when on severe shooting angles, then the Nikon mate BDC 600 could be your companion.
Its reticle is specifically developed for a .223 round and it is generally a compact unit specifically very useful for short-barreled, quick handling AR 15 rifles.
And to increase light transmission by up to 98%, its internal tubing is coated with several layers of unique materials.
Also, you will not struggle to make field adjustments with this scope thanks to its tactical-style turrets.
As such, you can trust this optic for the perfect view and performance.
- Generous eye relief
- Customized for a .223 round
- Polymer material
- Highly precise ,zero-reset tactical turrets
- 100-yard parallax setting
- Solid construction
- Looks pretty when mounted
- Crystal clear sight
- Very compact
- Eliminates best parallax for accurate shooting.
- Easy to mount
- Elevation and the windage turrets move freely
- Zooms very well
- You may struggle to see in low light situations
This Nikon optic delivers crystal clear glass, doesn’t need batteries, and is customized for a .223 round.
Features-wise, it has multiple capabilities that you would usually find more expensive scopes and is another top entrant into our list of the best ar 15 optics for the money.
7. UTG 3-9X32 1″ BugBuster Mil-dot Scope.
If you’ve ever tried to hunt in driving rain, or even in freezing temperatures, you know that adverse weather can take its toll on your rifle.
That is why a complete weather-proof design on a scope is essential.
The UTG 3-9×32 Bug Buster scope is turns a blind eye to changing weather conditions and continues to illuminate red/green and provide sufficient eye-relief as if nothing is happening.
It is a sure all-weather scope being completely sealed & 100% full of nitrogen.
Shooters who operate in the most aggressive weather conditions are usually elated to meet this.
- Emerald Coated 1 Inch Tube
- Premium Zero-Lockable & Resettable Turrets
- Range Estimating Reticle(Mil-dot)
- Adjustable Objective(starting from 3 Yards upwards)
- Red/Green Dual Illumination
- Versatile Applications
- True Strength Platform(TSP)
- totally Sealed
- All weather
- Well-built and extremely durable.
- Very Compact
- Completely anti adverse-weather
- Accommodating Eye Relief
- Enlarged Field of View
- Optimal accuracy
- Clear optics
- Very user-friendly adjustable settings
- If shooting beyond 100 yards, you may experience some eye fatigue
This is a hugely popular scope thanks to its adverse weather resistance mechanism.
Its compact, offers excellent red/green dual illumination, reasonable eye relief, and top durability.
Seeing that its peers lack some of its unique abilities means it could be a worthy contender for the award of the best ar 15 scope for the money
8. NIKON M-223 BDC 600 8489 3-12x42SF Riflescope.
One of the greatest advantages of the overwhelmingly popular 5.56 NATO/.223 Remington AR-15 is a laser-like trajectory.
Unfortunately, changes in gravity still affect all cartridges including our .223.
Thus, optics which effectively compensates for a cartridge’s drop in range helps a shooter reach magnified distances.
And that is where the BDC 600 reticle comes in.
It allows fast compensation for a .223 Remington cartridge’s trajectory up to 600 yards.
The Nikon m-223 8489 3-12x42SF riflescope has this reticle and is a no-brainer for shooters seeking efficiency and results at range.
- BDC 600 reticle
- Quick focus eyepiece
- Wide 3 to 12x magnification range
- Aircraft-grade aluminum tube construct
- Side focused parallax adjustment
- Removable ARD (anti-reflective device)
- Waterproof and fog-proof
- Extended mount ring spacing
- Zero-reset turrets
- 92% light transmission(fully multi-coated )
- Super wide view
- Highly precise target acquisition
- Long eye relief
- Minimizes objective lens glare
- Fine-tuned and detailed view
- Zeroes in and focuses quickly
- It may randomly fail to hold zero
This delivers extreme speed, precision, and results.
It is purposely engineered for your 223 Rem./5.56mm NATO round and packs the remarkable Nikon’s BDC 600 reticle and advanced technologies.
With this, your target will have nowhere to hide.
9. Nikon Prostaff 3-9×40 Riflescope.
Nikon has slowly but surely gained a foothold in the firearms industry and is no longer “just” a camera company.
Their wide range of riflescopes has grown in popularity within the shooting hobbyists, and for a good reason: They have many of the desirable features cherished by shooters, and comes at a price most can afford.
The Nikon prostaff3-9×40 riflescope falls within this scope.
It has awesome features like an admirable 3- 9x magnification area, 40mm objective lense, a multicoated optical system with an ability to transmit up to 98% light brightness, quick-focus eyepiece, a BDC reticle, 3.6” of eye relief amongst other interesting features.
It ensures that you remain on course to hit your targets despite varying conditions.
- 40mm objective lens
- Spot-on ballistic software(online)
- Spring-loaded adjustment knob
- O-ring-sealed housing
- BDC reticle
- Quick-focus eyepiece
- Optimized ballistic technology
- Optical system: fully multicoated
- Zero-reset turret
- Compact riflescope
- 3 – 9x magnification
- Eye relief : 3.6 inches
- Very nice reticle
- Holds zero very well
- Comfortable to use
- Clear picture even in overcast conditions
- Reasonably priced
- Focuses and zooms so easily
- Glass is absolutely bright
The scope looks larger
The Nikon prostaff3-9×40 riflescope ropes in a fully multicoated opticals, zero-reset turrets and spot on optimized BDC reticle.
Whether you are shooting with a rifle, a shotgun or a rimfire, you can take comfort from the fact that with this, your misses are firmly consigned to history.
10. Bushnell Optics Drop Zone-223 BDC Reticle Riflescope.
Medium range optics may be harder to use, considering that it is within this range that eye relief starts coming into play.
If you are just starting, you would do well going for red dots or shorter range scopes- at least for practice purposes.
But if are already into hunting or applying your scope at a medium distance, then you must pick not only the best ar-15 but also a top-rated ar-15 scope to go together.
And if you are on a budget, one of the best ar optic under 200 for medium range shooting is the Bushnell drop zone BDC reticle riflescope.
- 3-9x magnification
- 40mm lenses
- 223 BDC ballistic reticle
- Side focus parallax
- Target turrets (1/4 MOA click)
- Fully multi-coated optics
- Highly durable aluminum alloy
- Well-made and sturdy
- Superior long-range accuracy
- Very swift fast-focus eyepiece
- It’s extremely easy to get a great sight picture.
- Very bright optics
- More eye relief
- Looks pretty when mounted
- Good price
- Slightly big and heavy
This is an excellent all-around scope for target shooting, varmint hunting or competitions, especially for mid-range shooting.
It is further boosted for uncompromising performance, optical precision, and rugged reliability.
Factors To Consider When Buying The Best Ar 15 Scope For The Money.
So, how much do you know about an ar15 scope? Since our posts are read by both beginners and experts, we thought we can shed some light on some of the terms you meet when you are dealing with AR-15s…
Here we go;
When looking at various optics choices, you need to interpret the various numbers. They include the following;
This is your first number and details how far you out can you see your target.
Commonly, you will notice like 1-6×24 or 3×32. The 1 or the 3 represents the “power” of your scope.
The Higher the numbers, the more powerful your scope hence the bigger the shooting distance.
Variable scopes have a variable number (like 1-6) meaning you can modify your scope’s power to give you a bigger range as opposed to a straight 4x or 3x.
Remember longer distance shooting needs a higher distance scope.
It’s your second number and refers to your scope’s lens size in millimeters. A 1-6×24 variable scope gives you a 24mm objective.
Larger numbers represent bigger lenses- good for viewing wide fields at a distance.
In addition, they allow for additional light thus they are excellent for hunting in low-light. Scopes with adjustable objectives are easier to focus at longer distances.
This is the ‘crosshairs’ of your rifle scope and it’s what you aim/point at targets with before firing.
A reticle can be red-this is the case with Red dot scopes or green- as it is with green dot scopes
- MOA (Minute of Angle)
It is the angular measurement that increases with distance and it’s mainly used by professional shooters to guarantee that targeted groupings are very tight together.
1 MOA is equivalent to 5 inches measured at 500 yards
- Eye Relief Distance
To avoid smacking yourself in your face, you need to hold your optic away from your face.
Recall that AR-15s have some recoil, so you need sufficient room for kick-back otherwise you will be in trouble.
Now, let’s go through the factors to consider when buying the best ar 15 scope for the money;
What Will You Be Using Your AR-15 Rifle For?
Optics cannot be universal. Short distance hunters and other tactical operations shine with red dot scopes or even a quality set of flip up iron sights.
On the other hand, long-distance hunters need precision and are advised to choose the best distance scopes within their budget.
Money is definitely a factor.
Some of the very best optics for ar 15 will cost you top dollar and are obviously of superior quality but you can also get scopes for ar-15 costing less than $500.
Otherwise, you will be left scratching your head wondering what hit your pockets.
- Your Expertise Level
Some starters make the mistake of heading straight for the top-most optic available from the various ar 15 scope reviews.
However, practicing with a simple but good scope for ar 15 will enable you to practice and know your strong and weak points.
That way, you will be able to surely know what’s your best ar scope for the money
- Scope’s Features
It can have some unique features that can make you not mind paying more. For example, If you operate in poorly lit areas, you need a scope build for enhanced light to make viewing much easier.
Also, if you are in for short-medium shooting range, target a scope with the capability to comfortably hit targets within that range.
- Compatibility With Your AR-15
It may be the best ar15 scope but sadly, you realize you can’t mount it on your AR-15 platinum gun!
Even if your vendor accepts returns, you will still suffer from some inconveniences.
Occasionally, you may meet a seller who rejects returns meaning you lose your money.
To avoid all this, check your AR-15 hardware type for compatibility with your scope and ease of fitting.
- Bottom Line
The best ar 15 scope for the money is an ideal accessory to have if you are to enjoy your AR-15 be it in gun sports competition, game hunting or leisure.
But it’s hard to identify your AR-15 scope if you don’t know your gun’s purpose- so decide first.
Then, when you come to actual buying, focus on things that matter such as its planned use, your budget, what features does it have and even compatibility with your existing AR-15.
Then, as you can see from our list of top 10 best ar 15 optics, there is a whole sea of AR-15’s scope to choose from.
But since our list of the best ar 15 scope for the money has some great options, your work should now be easier.
So, from my desk here, it’s goodbye.
I believe you know all that makes or breaks the ar15 scope decision and you shouldn’t struggle.