Looking for the best scope for your AR-15? Read our Buying Guide & Reviews!
Choosing the best AR 15 scope to buy for your rifle can be confusing to the uninitiated. A scope is an integral part to any rifle. This guide will focus on what features are important, which ones you can live without, and where compromises of price vs. quality should be made. Besides, you will be able to check our top 5 selection and read some awesome reviews!
Construction, material, longevity, adds experience
First and foremost, when purchasing AR 15 scopes consider the materials used. Scopes made of lightweight plastic may be unstable and fragile. Scopes with a lot of metal parts or heavy plastic will weigh down your rifle, making muscle fatigue a more pertinent issue. Ideally, a sturdy, lightweight scope is the most desirable, but base this decision on where and how you will be using the gun. For example, if the scope is intended for short sessions of target shooting, then purchasing a heavy but sturdy scope would be fine.
Next, consider the longevity of the product. This is something only really discernible through reviews; look around online for other people who have bought the scope(s) you are considering. Even if you are just looking for a temporary replacement or plan to buy a better scope in the near future, longevity should always be one of the top criteria during selection.
Consider for a moment what scopes are for – long range accuracy. A well crafted scope should be extremely accurate and be able to maintain its integrity over long periods of time. When making a decision, choose a model that is accurate for your appropriate distance.
For example, if the scope is only intended to be used at ranges of 30 meters to 50 meters, there isn’t much point in spending extra money to buy something that boasts high accuracy at 200 meters or more.
As far as AR 15’s go, losing accuracy over time due to recoil really should not be a problem. This rifle is known for its low recoil. Nonetheless, choose something that won’t force you to recalibrate every time that you use your rifle.
Ease, speed, and accuracy of adjustment is another very important factor. Your AR 15 scope should have easy to reach dials that can make both large and miniscule adjustments.
A feature that many scopes have is called zero-locking, which allows you to easily return to any setting you choose after adjusting your scope to a certain distance. This is an extra feature that isn’t terribly integral to the operation of your scope, but it is extremely convenient.
When you look at the description of a scope, you may see something like “3.5-10×42.” The first number (or numbers) will tell you the magnification the scope affords. In this example, the scope has the ability to magnify an object from 3.5 to 10 times. The second number tells the diameter of the lens in millimeters. The bigger the lens, the clearer the image; although some larger scopes can feel bulky when mounted to a rifle.
Another important consideration when looking at ar 15 scopes is the reticle. This refers to the aiming device within the scope, and it can be comprised of crosshairs, tick marks, dots, or any other aiming mechanism. The type of reticle is a matter of preference and depends on how and what you are hunting. Some reticles have illuminated features to help you line up your shot, even in low light conditions.
This refers to the distance away from your eye that you can use the scope and still see the entire image. Large eye relief distance is important on guns with any type of recoil, because you obviously don’t want to jam the scope into your eye when your gun jerks. Different guns require different lengths of eye relief.
Finally, consider the clarity of the scope. The purpose of a scope is to enhance vision and accuracy. Different scopes lose focus at different distances and some have features that will reduce glare, prevent fogging, or fend off rain. There are even parallax compensating scopes which allow for aiming with both eyes open at certain distances.
Some digitally enhanced scopes come with features such as brightness enhancement, customizable crosshair or dot colors and intensities, and digitally enhanced zooming.
In summary, we would suggest that every owner of an AR-15 should invest in AR-15 Scopes. However, this is not a decision that you should make on a whim. It is important to do some research and compare pricing in order to not be disappointed with the results.
Check our top 5 AR 15 scope reviews!
Most of the AR-15 Scopes included in the chart above are great options; however, there are five of them that we would like to point out as our favorites in terms of providing value for money. Below you will find our top 5 picks and a detailed review of each. We hope you enjoy our selection!
1 – Leupold 113769 VX-R Patrol FireDot Illuminated Rifle Scope with Motion Sensor Technology, Black Matte Finish
When it comes to rifle scopes, precision is the name of the game, and you can never go wrong with the Leupold 113769 VX-R Patrol FireDot Illuminated Rifle Scope with Motion Sensor Technology (Black Matte Finish). Most products of this kind would heavily depend on extra illumination add-ons to maximize the efficiency of their products. However, in the case of Leupold, they have upped the ante by banking on state-of-the-art motion sensor technology.
Features: What this particular model boasts of in terms of features is the seamless integration between state-of-the-art illumination technology and the FireDot Special Purpose Reticle, in a combined effort to improve overall scope. In terms of precision and accuracy, this can only mean good news for you, as these technologies are well-known to provide clear cut images, even when subjected to dim lighting, making sure that you are given a good visual of whatever your target is.
Pros & Cons: The main advantage cited by most clients is the efficiency of this tool when it comes to short-range targets up to 300 yards away, which is said to be the upper limit, as far as impressive performance aided by this tool is concerned. Other than that, the illumination system is also said to be very helpful in targeting quickly moving objects and animals. It is this fast pick up, more than anything else, which has so far been the best aspect as far as satisfied clients are concerned.
In terms of disadvantages, this particular model does not really have many problems that buyers need to deal with. Some users complain about long range capabilities, even though it has long been established that this is more geared toward a shorter range. In any case, the use of a radical would suffice, most of the time, for longer distances to be covered.
Conclusion: The Leupold 113769 VX-R Patrol FireDot Illuminated Rifle Scope, with Motion Sensor Technology (Black Matte Finish) is not at all perfect, but while performing the tasks it has been devised to carry out, it gives more than what is expected of it. If you are looking for an illuminated scope that gives excellent visibility, even in a lowly lit environment, then this probably is the very product that you are looking for. This great scope is our number one!
2 – UTG 30mm SWAT 3-12X44 Compact IE Scope with AO Mil-dot, 36 Colors EZ-TAP
We are perhaps a bit skeptical when buying products online. The reviews left for UTG 30mm SWAT 3-12X44 compact IE scope seemed too good to be true. Mainly I was put off by the low price – I like a good bargain much like anyone else, but I’d rather not spend my money on something that is going to fall apart or underperform. The limited lifetime warranty is a bit of a comfort, both in case something goes wrong and because it shows confidence on UTG’s part that their scope will last. Nonetheless, often times this doesn’t mean anything about the quality of the product.
You will be impressed at how well the scope stays intact, even though it is made of light plastic. You won’t have any issue with the construction of this product. Many people have been using it since for a long time and have had no problems at all. Also, the claims of excellent zero locking and easy resetting are not made in excess. According to several customers, the zero stays, just as promised. Some reviews claim that it does not handle recoil well, but honestly, most people have not had any issues with recoil. Perhaps a minor group of buyers just received a faulty scope.
The design of the scope is well thought out and convenient. The position and size of the dials make adjustments easy and comfortable. Also, being able to cycle through 36 colors for the reticle is nice. Not only is it fun to mess around with, but also quite useful when what I am aiming at is the same color. I have had this problem with other scopes – a minor gripe all things considered, but still an excellent consideration. I also appreciate the illumination system, and again, its convenient placement.
In summation, this scope is very well designed and constructed. It has an excellent performance, and does not show any signs of moving out of the market any time soon. I suppose only time will tell. Anyone looking for a cheap scope would do well to give this one a try.
3 – EOTech 553.A65 Dual A.R.M.S. Quick-Release Throw Levers Holographic Sight (Black)
Long range shooting can be very difficult, even for experienced hunters and military personnel. Fortunately for them, equipment like the EOTech 553.A65 Dual A.R.M.S. quick-release throw levers Holographic Sight (Black) can make long-range shooting both easy and quick. This scope has features that even the most demanding weapons owners covet for their optic sights—durability, ease of use, quick release levers, and clear sight.
Features: This scope features dual, quick-release throw levers that enable its users to quickly attach it to their rifles. Power is derived from a couple of 123 Lithium batteries. On a nominal setting of 12, the battery life can run for up to 1,100 continuous hours.
This apparatus measures 4.9 inches in length, 1.8 inches in width, and 2.8 inches in height. It has a battery cap tether that helps to conserve battery life which also lessens the risks of losing illumination in the most inconvenient of moments, like in the middle of a clash. It is night vision compatible, making it very valuable to those shooting at night or in the dark. Moreover, it can also be submerged in waters, up to a depth of 66 feet.
Pros and Cons: This scope is very effective in assisting rifle owners in focusing on their targets, especially from a distance of 100 yards. Its target window is adequately sized, and more importantly, it is clear, with no distortion. It is so easy to work on the reticle that even neophyte shooters should encounter no problems at all.
Those who have bought this holographic sight have also raved about the solid and durable quick-release levers. These levers are very easy to mount and un-mount, and the product has built-in risers that add extra height, resulting in an unobstructed field of view.
The only complaint we’ve found so far is the price. At over $700, many weapons enthusiasts feel that there are more inexpensive alternatives to this optic scope.
Conclusion: The EOTech 553.A65 Dual A.R.M.S. quick-release throw levers Holographic Sight (Black) may just be what rifle owners need to make their hunting and shooting experience more pleasurable. It is easy to install in any rifle, and the presence of built-in risers provide more height and a better field of view to users. Despite the rather steep price tag, this holographic sight is a must-have.
4 – UTG 3-9×32 Compact CQB Bug Buster AO RGB Scope with Med. Picatinny Rings, 2″ Sunshade
We have recently discovered UTG while searching for new scopes to review. If you are on a tight budget then you will need to find good quality for a low price – this describes UTG accurately. This is one of the cheapest scopes on the market and it is definitely more than worth the money.
Let me get the negatives out of the way first. First of all, for its size and material, this scope is definitely on the heavy side. Perhaps you’ve owned larger scopes than this that are less than half the weight. A couple of pounds may not seem like much but, in the long run it certainly makes a difference.
The number one thing I appreciate about this scope is its craftsmanship. It is sturdy, well-built, efficiently designed, and it performs as advertised. It’s nothing incredibly fancy, but it gets the job done and for its price, there really isn’t anything comparable. The flip-open lens caps are a nice touch, and are quite convenient. They aren’t flimsy at all, which is typically a common problem with flip-open caps. This scope’s zero lock is also an excellent feature and works pretty well. It’s not flawless, but for normal durations of use, it seems to keep its zero just fine. Scope is clear, fog hasn’t been a problem (and believe me, as far as cheap scopes go, fog IS a problem), and to top it all off it just looks plain awesome.
The verdict: if you are looking for a high quality to price ratio, buy this scope. Honestly, the weight won’t be a problem for you, even if you want to use your rifle for an extended period of time.
All in all I recommend giving it a try.
5 – Vortex® StrikeFire Red Dot Rifle Scope (Suitable for AR-15)
Last but not least, we have the Vortex StrikeFire Red Dot Rifle Scope. Let me start off this review by saying that you will love this scope. You may have purchased a few scopes in the past, mostly cheap ones perhaps.
For the price this one has great quality. It is a little more expensive than other scopes, but it is still cheap and honestly, its value greatly exceeds its price. It has become my favorite for its ease of use and the optical doubler.
There are a few notable features about this scope that I’d like to highlight. First, this scope is pretty lightweight at just under a pound. Its weight does not come as a compromise for its construction either, as this is a well built, sturdy model.
It seems to be holding together perfectly fine, as many people have had it for a long time and haven’t run into any problems. Also, the battery life of 2,000 hours is exceptional if the claim is indeed true.
Finally, the ability to change the dot color and intensity is a great feature. Scopes that don’t adapt to their surroundings are frustrating, and you can easily change the dot with the press of a button.
With that out of the way, there are a couple of faults. Some reviewers state that the power supply is sensitive and turns on accidentally. It isn’t a huge problem, but this scope could power on unintentionally a few times while handling the rifle. Also, I mentioned the color and intensity of the dot… perhaps a bit dim no matter what you try. It could be the battery, but in most cases, the brightness seems to correct itself. I have heard of Vortex’s legendary customer service but hopefully you won’t need to use it.
All in all you will love this scope. The few faults you may run into are relatively minor and if anything serious did happen to go wrong with your scope, the warranty would provide some peace of mind.
Great product for an excellent price.