Best AR 15 Scope Reviews

ar-15 scopes

Top 3 Best AR-15 Scopes Under $100

You don’t have to break the bank in order to find good ar-15 optics. The following three ar 15 scopes are all excellent values for the money. They are great for the casual user who likes going to the range every now and or for light-duty hunting work. You might not recognize the name brand, but that’s why the price is a little lower than the competition.

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ImageNameVideo ReviewMagnificationLengthRating
UTG Compact Bug Buster3-9X328"4.5
Bushnell Banner Crossfire4-16X5014"4.5
BARSKA Varmint Target6.5-20X5015.95"4.0

Top 3 Best AR-15 Scopes Under $250

This is the most popular price range. When you compare the numbers to the models that are less than $100, they are very similar, the difference comes when you start to compare the overall build quality. These ar 15 optics will typically hold up a lot better over time and work with a little more precision. You can see and feel the difference when compared side by side.

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ImageNameVideo ReviewMagnificationLengthRating
Nikon P-2234-12X4012.4"5.0
Nikon ProStaff3-9X5012.5"5.0
Leupold VX-13-9X4012.6"5.0

Top 3 Best AR-15 Scopes Under $500

At this price point, we start to add in night vision. These models are extremely accurate and reliable shot after shot after shot. They are built with quality components that easily handle the recoil and other abuse they’ll receive on a daily basis. If you’re looking for quality ar scopes, spend at least as much money as you did on your rifle.

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ImageNameVideo ReviewMagnificationLengthRating
Vortex Viper6.5-20X5014.4"5.0
Armasight Orion4X12.7"4.5
Leupold Mark AR MOD 11.5-4X2012.5"5.0

The Best of the Best

If you want the best ar optics regardless of the price, this is your section. These are the most premium rifle sights available. They are the choice of our top military special forces. The vision in each of these is perfect and crystal clear. They are a true military-grade, tactical, combat ready scope. The Trijicon ACOGs are internally-adjustable scopes with tritium illuminated reticle patterns that work great in low light or night conditions. The Bindon Aiming Concept (BAC) models use fiber optics to collect light which create bright daytime reticles.

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ImageNameVideo ReviewMagnificationLengthRating
Bushnell Elite Tactical6-24X5013.55.0
Pulsar N750 Digisight4.5X13.4"5.0
Acog Dual Illuminated Chevron4X325.8"4.5

Whether you have a Colt 6920, Colt M4, Bushmaster, BCM M4 Carbine or a custom built AR-15, before long you’re going to want to put an optic on it so you can increase your accuracy on mid to long range shots. Some of the best AR-15 scopes are fully capable of shooting targets at 400+ yards.

Before making your purchase, the biggest factor you need to consider is what you’ll be trying to hit. Trying to hit a stationary target at 50 to 100 yards in an entirely different thing than trying to hit a moving target at 300+ yards. The sight you’ll want to use will be entirely different as well.

For most AR-15 users, I recommend staying in the 1-4X range. These are really good up to around 100 yards. For most of us, that’s where we shoot the majority of our rounds. If you know you need to reach out and touch something 300 – 400+ yards away, you’ll definitely want to get a higher powered device.

Tactical Scopes

We often get asked “What are the best tactical rifle scopes?” or specifically about Ar-15 tactical rifle scopes.  The truth is, what most manufacturers call tactical optics aren’t any different than non-tactical optics.  “Tactical” has become a buzz word in the firearms community and the marketing departments have run with it.

We’re flexible, so we’ve decided to go with the flow and use the term tactical rifle scopes to mean scopes that have a good quality construction and can withstand extreme abuse.

This means they can withstand extreme cold and hot temperatures and take the constant abuse that would come with a real-world combat situation.

Rifle Scope Buying Guide

One of the first things people want to purchase when they get a new firearm is a scope. Unfortunately, buying an optic can get confusing in a hurry if you’re not familiar with all the terminology. That’s what this scope buying guide is all about. We’ll explain all the important features and terminology in a simple, easy to understand manner.

Terminology

4X32
One of the most common questions we get  is what does [number]X[number] mean? For example, you’ll see “4X32” in the product description.

The number before the X (in this case 4) is the amount of magnification. If the target is 100 yards away, a 4X model will make the target look 25 yards away.

You might also see variable power scopes. For example, 3-12X42. This means you can adjust the magnification between 3X to 12X.

The number after the X (32 in our case) is the size of the objective lens. It’s the diameter of the objective lens in millimeters. The bigger the lens, the more light that can come in and the brighter the image will be. So why don’t we use a 100mm objective lens? The bigger the objective lens, the higher the sight has to be mounted above the rifle. A general rule is you want to keep the scope as close to the rifle as possible.

Field of View
The field of view is how wide of an image you can see. It is defined by the width in feet or meters of the area visible at 100 yards. The higher the magnification the lower the field of view. If you’re trying to track a moving target, you need a bigger field of view.

Reticles
This is the “cross hair” that you see when looking through the lens. There are a number of different reticles available, so find the one in which you feel most comfortable. Reticle choice is more a personal choice than a science.

Parts of a Scope

parts of a scope

1) Eye Piece
The piece close to your eye that holds the Ocular lens and is attached to the eye-bell

2) Ocular Lens
The lens closest to your eye

3) Eye Relief
The distance a scope can be held away from the eye and still present the full field of view. Remember to take in account recoil. If you’re too close, the sight will hit you in the eye when you fire it.

4) Eye Bell
The housing in which the eye piece and tube gets attached.

5) Power Ring
This is the piece you rotate on a variable power scope to adjust the magnification. For example, you might see a model that reads 3-to-9X. The power ring is used to change the magnification from 3X magnification to 9X magnification.

6) Windage Adjustment
This is used to adjust the aim to compensate for the wind, which is the horizontal or left/right plane. Usually each “click” is measured as a “Minute of Angle.” In simple terms, if you see a .25″ MOA, one “click” of the knob will aim .25″ left or right at 100 yards. You might have heard someone say “Adjust the windage two clicks left.”  Now we know we’ll turn the windage knob to the left until it “clicks” two times.

7) Elevation Adjustment
The elevation adjustment is almost the same as the windage adjustment, except this knob adjust the aiming point for the vertical or up/down plane. The same “click” technique as used for the windage adjustment is use for the elevation adjustment.

8) Tube
The middle or body is called the tube. You’ll need this diameter to purchase the correct mounts. Most US models have a 1″ diameter, while Japanese and European scopes have a 30mm diameter tubes. Trying to use a 1″ ring on a 30mm tube can damage your device.

9) Objective Bell
This piece contains the objective lens and is attached to the tube.

10) Objective lens
The lens at the front near the barrel that collects the light.  The larger the objective lens, the more light that enters and the brighter the image.

For more information about the AR-15.