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    What to Note When Buying a Tactical Rifle Scope

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. If you need some help choosing a rifle scope, then be sure to read through this in-depth guide as it will show you everything you need to know about shopping for a scope. From what features are important, to what compromises between prices and quality can be made if you need to stick strictly to a fixed budget, we’ve got you covered.

We provide tips and optics education, unit reviews and tons of valuable information. And best of all, we’re not a scope or any other device vendor so you can be sure to get impartial advice.  Our interactive chart of rifle scopes tables all the most popular rifle scopes and their specs to help you compare, contrast and make informed decisions.


Recommended Best AR 15 scopes in 2017!


Mid high priced scopes top4

 Brand & ModelOur RatingPrice & Reviews

Nikon ProStaff 3-9 x 40 Black Matte Riflescope
Nikon ProStaff 3-9 x 40
Black Matte Riflescope

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Leupold 113769 VX-R Patrol FireDot Illuminated Rifle Scope
Leupold 113769 VX-R Patrol
FireDot Illuminated Rifle Scope

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Nikon P-223 BDC 600 Riflescope
Nikon P-223 BDC
600 Riflescope

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EOTech 552.A65/1 Military HOLOgraphic Weapon Sight
EOTech 552.A65/1 Military
HOLOgraphic Weapon Sight

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good_or_tick 1 – Nikon ProStaff 3-9 x 40 Black Matte Riflescope (BDC)

Throughout the years, Nikon has consistently produced some of the best value-for-money, top of the line riflescopes for discerning hunters and sportsmen. And with the introduction of the ProStaff 3-9 x 40 Riflescope, it looks like the company has given us yet another winner.

Offering many high-quality features within an affordable price range, the ProStaff scope has already garnered a 4.8 out of 5 stars rating on Amazon at the time of this writing. Over 300 past purchasers have left their thoughts on the scope too, and the majority of them have expressed great satisfaction with everything that the scope offers.

Considering the scope’s 3x to 9x magnifications, 40mm objective diameter, 4.4 to 13.3mm exit pupil, 11.3ft to 33.8ft field of view (FOV) at 100 yards, and its 50 yards parallax setting, this scope is suitable for anyone looking for a top ar scope that will serve you well for the rest of your life. (Yes, Nikon offers a full lifetime warranty with this scope, showing you how much faith they have in this product!)

And to add on to all that, this 13.8 ounces ProStaff scope also comes equipped with a quarter inch adjustment graduation with zero reset turrets, allowing you to simplify field adjustments and zoom in on your target with utmost precision. User-friendly for all operators, the zero reset turret is operated simply by normal sight-in and then adjusting the spring-loaded knob to ‘zero’. After that, simply re-engage the target.

While this scope comes with full multicoated optics which provides as much as 98% light transmission, the most important feature of the ProStaff is still its BDC 150 reticle.

Pros: Waterproof and fog-proof / Ideal solution for the Rimfire / Comes with a lifetime warranty / A perfect fit with standard velocity ammunition / Provides great and consistent eye relief / Nitrogen filled / Excellent choice for long range targets because of its shooting accuracy.

Cons: For higher velocity ammunition, extra caution and testing will need to be done regarding which settings you should use. However, the scope will still be very accurate / Comes with only standard magnification as opposed to some other solutions that provide more than 9x magnifications.

Although the Nikon ProStaff scope comes with perhaps a few more cons than some other options, Nikon has still done an excellent job in producing a high-quality scope for this price range. For a hobbyist who goes target shooting or hunting solely to relieve stress, this scope could be the perfect solution to aide in that hobby without breaking the bank account.

Nikon ProStaff 3-9 x 40 Black Matte Riflescope (BDC)


good_or_tick 2 – Leupold 113769 VX-R Patrol FireDot Illuminated Rifle Scope with Motion Sensor Technology, Black Matte Finish

When it comes to ar 15 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 two!

Leupold 113769 VX-R Patrol FireDot Illuminated Rifle Scope

good_or_tick 3 – Nikon P-223 BDC 600 Riflescope with Rapid Action Turret


The Nikon P-233 4-12×40 BDC 600 Riflescope with Rapid Action Turret is an excellent choice for both game hunters and competitive sportsmen. It’s a must-have asset in your hunting or shooting endeavors since its numerous features work hand-in-hand to increase your success with target effectiveness.

Boasting of features such as a BDC 600 reticle aiming point, 4x to 12x magnification, ¼-inch minute of angle (MOA), and rapid action turrets, the Nikon P-233 offers you so much bang for your bucks. Additionally, the riflescope comes with multicoated optics and is waterproof. Measuring just 3.2 x 4.7 x 15.8 inches in size and weighing a mere 1.1 pounds, this riflescope is definitely one of the most lightweight and manageable riflescopes available on the market too.

Despite all the great things this riflescope offers, we think the best-selling feature is still its ¼-inch MOA. Many other riflescopes limit your shooting accuracy by only providing 3 MOAs, which places the bullet 3 inches off target. However, with the Nikon P-223, your bullet will only land ¼-inch from your target on the crosshairs. This speaks volumes about the scope’s accuracy and on-target capabilities.

Pros: All of this scope’s primary features are heads and shoulders in specs above most other brands within the same price range / It is lightweight / The scope provides optimum resolution, which gives you an excellent advantage in longshot hunting / The spring-loaded, zero-reset rapid action turrets provide you with rapid fire / It is waterproof, fog-proof and shockproof / You don’t have to worry about it failing on you no matter what the weather may be / Comes with multicoated optics / Anti-parallax of approximately 100 yards / The 4x to 12x magnification provides you with a longer range targeting and a more accurate shot.

Cons: There are very few cons to mention when it comes to this high-quality and high-performing Nikon P-223 scope. But since some people have a fixed budget in mind when shopping for a scope, one of the cons may be its asking price. But then again, you may still want to consider the Nikon P-223 as it provides you with the highest quality specs for any scope that’s within its category and price.

The second con that we can think of is the Nikon P-223’s limited compatibility issue. Seeing that the scope is only limited to AR rifles, you might want to keep that in mind if you’re on the lookout for scopes that are suitable with shotguns or air rifles.

Nikon P-223 BDC 600 Riflescope with Rapid Action Turret

good_or_tick 4 – EOTech 552.A65/1 Military HOLOgraphic Weapon Sight


Imagine being able to combine multiple sights into one product while utilizing the best features each sight has to offer… if that’s something that appeals to you, then you’ll be glad to know that the EOTech 552.A65/1 weapon sight offers you just that plus so much more.

Combining state-of-the-art digital electronics, the EOTech 552.A65/1 gives you complete control over its illumination laser. This allows you to automatically check battery power indicators, scroll through brightness levels, adjust for low light to bright sunlight, as well as program auto shutdown features.  And to top all that off, not only do you get the ability to preserve depth information with this scope, you’ll also have the opportunity to view multiple directions simultaneously. In order to change your perspective, all you have to do is to move your head.

Through the three layers of laminate and glass protected by a rugged, roll-bar-style hood, the sight’s heads-up display offers a convenient 2-eyes-open shooting ability. This eliminates blind spots and tunnel vision while maximizing peripheral vision.

The EOTech 552.A65/1 truly offers the best of all worlds combined into one, and makes the perfect sight for conducting military training, military operations, competitive shooting or game hunting.

Night Vision Compatible

In addition to its powerful holographic technology, its night vision compatibility feature provides you with yet another top asset. With this scope, you’ll be able to maneuver in the dark without fear of losing visibility. You can also adjust for ambient environments, differences in light-gathering of the human eye, and variances in sensitivity of the image intensifier tubes easily.

Pros: Holographic technology / Durable design / Optical cavity / Night vision compatible / No revealing light signature / Waterproof / Sealing is fog-proof / Display window optical comes with an anti-glare coating  / Auto shutdown / Long battery life / Improves target acquisitions / Boosts accuracy

Cons: This sight is only night vision compatible and does not have full night vision capability. This simply simple means that the sight turns down low enough to allow the user to maneuver and see in the dark, but it doesn’t offer 100% night vision / The sight does not come with a raiser.

Despite the few cons of the EOTech 552.A65/1 sight, its biggest strength still lies in its holographic technology – which is what you’re really paying for. Before you deem holographic technology as some useless feature that’s only all bells and whistles, remember that this is the same exact technology that the United States’ military elite warriors depend on in combat. Holographic technology has been used on multiple missions to minimize detection dangers while maximizing success.

So, with that in mind, it’s pretty safe to say that EOTech’s 552.A65/1 Military HOLOgraphic Weapon Sight is truly a class of its own.

EOTech 552.A65/1 Military HOLOgraphic Weapon Sight

economy scopes top4

 Brand & ModelOur RatingPrice & Reviews

Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 <br />
Red Dot Sight Riflescope
Bushnell Trophy TRS-25
Red Dot Sight Riflescope

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UTG 30mm SWAT 3-12X44 Compact IE Scope
UTG 30mm SWAT 3-12X44
Compact IE Scope

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UTG 3-9×32 Compact CQB Bug Buster AO RGB Scope
UTG 3-9×32 Compact CQB
Bug Buster AO RGB Scope

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Vortex® StrikeFire Red Dot Rifle Scope
Vortex StrikeFire
Red Dot Rifle Scope

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good_or_tick 1 – Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight Riflescope

If you’re a budget-conscious consumer looking for a riflescope that’s one of the best in its class, then the Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 will fit the bill exactly. As the industry leader for over 50 years, Bushnell is known for its quality and value-for-money products – and it’s not hard to see why when you look at what the TRS-25 riflescope has the offer.


This Red Dot Sight riflescope comes with a beautiful matte finish and boasts of the Realtree APG camo, which allows you to hunt in environments where hardwood, pine thickets, and rivers are aplenty. It offers a 1 x 25mm objective lens, has a tilted Amber-Bright™ coated front lens for sharp imagery, comes with the red dot technology, 3 minutes of angle (MOA) reticle, and provides unlimited field of view (FOV) and eye relief. When you go with this riflescope, target acquisition in bad light becomes easy since you’ll have no problems telling a green frog from the green leaves of a tree.

You’ll be happy to know that the construction of this riflescope is also very durable. It’s waterproof, fog-proof and shockproof, and you won’t have to worry about it falling apart while you’re in the midst of a hunt.

Why Choose the Red Dot?

Measuring 2.4-inch in length and weighing just 3.7 ounces, the TRS-25 riflescope is easy to mount (it only has a 1.1-inch mounting length). The red dot that distinguishes this scope from its counterparts is obtained by the tilted front lens angle, and it’s used by the operator as an aiming reference that can be turned off or on. The red dot assures you of full-performance with quick and effective target acquisition even in dim or harsh conditions.

Pros:  Bushnell is known for its quality products / Waterproof, shockproof, fog-proof / Lightweight / Amber-Bright lens coating for high-performance target acquisition / Solid construction / The CR2032 offers you a long battery life / The sight is extremely dependable in holding its zero

Cons: Although the TRS-25’s 3 MOA reticle is a standard with most scopes, some people may consider that a con because it’s less accurate than the one-quarter-inch reticle. But that said, a one-quarter-inch reticle comes with a higher price tag. Besides, the bikini lens cover may be a hassle for operators since the straps can pop off easily,

The TRS-25 riflescope doesn’t come with an automatic shutoff so you’ll need to remember to shut the red dot off by setting it to 0 after you’re done with your hunt.

While there’s a lot to love about the TRS-25 riflescope, it’s not the be-all and end-all of all available riflescopes in the market. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly scope, then the TRS-25 makes an excellent choice. However, if you’re looking for something which packs a little more than what the TRS-25 has to offer, then be prepared to fork out even more money for additional features.

Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight Riflescope


good_or_tick 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.

UTG 30mm SWAT 3-12X44 Compact IE Scope

good_or_tick 3 – 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.

UTG 3-9×32 Compact CQB Bug Buster AO RGB Scope

good_or_tick 4 – 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!

Vortex® StrikeFire Red Dot Rifle Scope (Suitable for AR-15)

Read our in-depth buying guide

Now, before we start, here’s a question that should never cross your mind when you’re looking to purchase a scope:“What’s the best scope to get for my AR?”

Huh? Yes, I know, telling someone not to ask that may sound quite strange. However, that’s a really bad question since you’ll first need to know what you’ll actually be using your scope for before you can determine what the “best” scope for your needs is.

Therefore, the better questions to ask are:

  1. “Will I be using my scope for game hunting, sport, competitive 3-gun event, or military practice?
  2. “How much am I willing to spend on a scope?”

By asking those two questions instead, you’ll be able to choose the scope that’s perfect for you.You must understand that there isn’t any scope out there that will make the perfect solution for every issue a shooter may have. For example, some scopes make great choices for shooting long range, while others are perfect choices for hunting at night.


So, when shopping for a scope, always first determine what your scope’s purposes are, your budget,and then look for one that excels in satisfying your needs.


Higher Price Tag Equals Better Quality

scope_bulletContrary to other products that make you pay higher prices just for the brand itself (and offer no real benefits for more expense), the scope market does not work the same way. Just to make sure we’re on the same page, you have to know that when it comes to riflescopes, you’ll definitely have to pay more for better quality scopes… brand name or not. You should also remember that the more specific features that you’re looking for, and the more aspects of a scope you want to be ‘better’ or ‘the best’, then the more you’ll have to pay. A normal rule of thumb is simply the higher price tag a scope carries, the better the production.

The reason why so many top-range scopes come with such expensive price tags is because of the materials they’re made with and the way they’re built. Scopes that are made with higher-quality materials allow for higher tolerability and better optics. So, don’t automatically shudder at a higher price if your budget allows you to go for it.

Secondly, you should consider the price of your AR when purchasing an AR scope. If you’ve paid $600 for your AR, then it will make little sense to pay $1,000 or more for an AR scope when the AR costs less than the scope you’re purchasing. Although the quality of a gun depends on which scope you’re using, remember that a scope can only help you aim – it cannot help you shoot.

Now, if you’re on a budget and you just cannot afford to buy an amazing scope (and shell out even more money), it does not mean that your search ends here. Remember what we said about determining the purpose of your scope? So, take a piece of pen and paper and jot down what you need out of a scope: Long range shooting? Zero reset turrets? Something that allows you to go hunting in foggy weather or at night?

When you know what purposes your scope should serve, then you’ll automatically know what features you won’t need any more. And with that in mind, you’ll be in a better position to search for a scope that meets both your budget and expectations. There are a lot of great scopes that aren’t too expensive (between $50 to $150), and depending on your usage patterns, they may already offer all that you need.


Construction, Material and Longevity

scope_bulletWhen purchasing the best AR 15 scopes for your needs, you may consider the materials used. Scopes made of lightweight plastic may be unstable and fragile, and scopes with a lot of metal parts or heavy plastic will weigh down your rifle, making muscle fatigue an issue you need to contend with. Ideally, a sturdy, lightweight scope is desirable. However, don’t just assume that “lightweight is best” and then eliminate all heavier scopes from your list of choices. When choosing between a lightweight or heavier scope, you should base your purchasing decision on where and how you’ll be using the gun. For example, if the scope is intended for short sessions of target shooting, then purchasing a heavier but sturdy scope would be fine.

Next, you need to consider the longevity of the product, which is easily discerned through reviews on sites such as Amazon. Before purchasing your scope, be sure to read what other people who have bought the scope(s) you’re considering have to say. Even if you’re 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 riteria during the selection process.

A great general rule to go by when it comes to construction is the heavier a scope,the higher quality materials it’s produced from. For example, scopes such as the Bushnell, which are a little pricier than others, is composed of high-durability aluminum as opposed to other lower priced scopes that are made of lightweight plastic.


Integrity – Stays Accurate

scope_bulletConsider for a moment what most scopes are used for: long range accuracy. Therefore, a well-crafted scope should be extremely accurate and be able to maintain its integrity over long periods of time. When making a purchasing decision, always choose a model that’s 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 of a high accuracy of 200 meters or more.

As far as AR 15s go, losing accuracy over time due to recoil shouldn’t be much of a problem as this rifle is known for its low recoil. Nonetheless, no matter what your needs are, always choose something that won’t force you to recalibrate every time you use your rifle.

On the other side of the spectrum, for short range accuracy, the integrity and dependability of a scope over time will not be as much of an issue. However, just like scopes for long range accuracy, a scope created for short range accuracy should be consistent over the course of time and not require recalibration with each use.


Adjustment, Vertical and Horizontal Dials

scope_bulletEase, speed, and accuracy of adjustment are other very important factors. This means that 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 exactly critical to the operation of your scope, but it’s nonetheless extremely convenient.

A scope with zero-locking typically brings a higher price tag. However, it’s not needed for the majority of operators except in the case of competitive shooters. If you’re a competitive shooter, having a scope with a zero-locking feature can really boost your performance. But for most other people, sacrificing convenience for a lower scope price often makes a better option.


Power and Objective

scope_bulletWhen 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 has. 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. Remember that he bigger the lens, the clearer the image. Some larger scopes can also feel rather bulky when mounted onto a rifle.

Using the earlier example of “3.5-10 x 42”, the magnification of 3.5x to 10x falls within the standard magnification many AR riflescopes have. These are typical and are normally acceptable for the majority of users. However, for users who are shooting larger game and therefore need to shoot from a further distance, having a magnification of larger than 10 would be beneficial.If having a larger magnification is important, be sure to look for scopes that offer at least 12x to 15x magnification.

But then again, a scope with a higher magnification comes with a higher price tag. So, if this is a feature that’s not too important for your needs, then you don’t have to look specifically for something with extremely high magnifications and thus save yourself some money.



scope_bulletAnother 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 you want is a matter of preference and it will depend on how and what you’re hunting. Some reticles even have illuminated features to help you line up your shot, even in low-light conditions. The majority of AR riflescopes will only have the basic reticle, which offers a central aiming point. These are called a variety of things, from nikoplex to 30-30, duplex, or heavy duplex, among many other names. No matter what it’s called, however, they each refer to the same, simple version of the basic reticle which provides the shooter with a single aiming point. These reticles are satisfactory and work well for target shooters.

The thicker reticles are typically found in most hunting scopes. They work better in a low light or, in the case of hunters, against a lot of ‘noise’ in the background such as trees, bushes, and animals. Do take note that fine crosshairs do not work as well in ‘noisy’ or busy backgrounds because the crosshairs tend to get lost and disappear with the background.

The reticle can be placed in either the first or second plane. With first plane positioned scopes, the crosshair increases in size as the target’s size increases with magnification. But that said, the majority of scopes found in the American market places the reticle within the second plane, which allows the operator to increase the crosshair’s size with magnification without the crosshairs itself increasing in size. This is usually the better option.


Eye Relief

scope_bulletA scope’s eye relief 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. For game hunting, a scope which offers at least 3 inches of eye relief is ideal. And when purchasing a scope, you need to select the eye relief distance using the highest magnification of the scope. For example, if a scope offers 3x to 10x magnifications, the ideal eye relief length would be 3 inches from the 10x magnification of the scope.

Related Article: Ar 15 Iron Sights

Range, Clarity, Focus Points

scope_bulletFinally, when comparing different scopes, you need to consider the clarity that each scope provides. The purpose of a scope is to enhance vision and accuracy, and different scopes lose focus at different distances. Some scopes have features that help to reduce glare, prevent fogging, or fend off rain to increase clarity, while others come with parallax compensating scopes that allow you to aim with both eyes open at certain distances.

Some digitally enhanced scopes also have features that include brightness enhancement, customizable crosshair or dot colors and intensities, and digitally enhanced zooming. However, like we mentioned earlier, you’ll need to pay more to enjoy additional and optional features such as these.

At the end of the day, choosing the best AR 15 scope is all a matter of what you need your scope to help you with. To reiterate, you’ll need to find a scope that has the features you’re interested in, one that doesn’t have the features you don’t need, a scope that is made with high-quality craftsmanship and one that fits within your budget.

Ideally, the perfect scope is one that is fog proof, shockproof, waterproof, offers glare reduction, and comes with the red dot technology, brightness enhancement features and increased digital zooming. However, the majority of those features are not needed for every shooter. Also, a scope which offers all of those features may be out of your budget range.

Purchasing a scope with digitally enhanced features can be considered a luxury, so if you don’t have a budget for that, this is the first feature that can be left out. With that said, there are still a few things that you should not scrimp on such as waterproof and fog-proof functions. Without those features, your scope basically becomes useless whenever the sun is not shining. Without waterproof and fog-proof features, it really defeats the purpose of going hunting, target shooting, or competitive shooting. You really don’t want your scope to fog up because of the bad temperature or due to your breathing… and even worse, to have water get inside the scope and cause a blurry view – effectively rendering your scope useless.

In summary, we strongly 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 since some scopes don’t come cheap and therefore, it’s imperative to do some research and compare their prices before whipping out your credit card. This way, you’ll not be disappointed with the scope you eventually end up purchasing.