The AR-15 is one of the most popular rifles in the U.S. And while it’s built-in sites are very effective, many owners opt for a scope or enhanced optics to improve accuracy.
In this post we’re going to take a look at some of the best AR-15 scopes on the market.
Top Rated AR-15 Scopes
|Name of Product||Magnification||Field of View||Reticle color||Clarity||Setup||Price|
|Aimpoint Carbine Optic(ACO) Sight||1x||Short range||Red||High||Easy||$$$|
|Bushnell AR Optics Reticle Riflescope||1x||Short range||Red,Green||High||Moderate||$$$|
|Vortex Optics StrikeFire with Cantilever Mount||1x||Short range||Red,Green||Moderate||Moderate||$$$|
|UTG 3-9x32 BugBuster Scope||3-9x||Medium-Long range||Red,Green||High||Easy||$$|
|Barska 1-4x28 IR Hunting Scope||1-4x||Short-Medium range||Red,Green||High||Moderate||$$$|
|Burris MTAC 1-4x24 Illuminated Scope||1-4x||Short-Medium range||Red||High||Easy||$$$|
|Leupold VX-1 3-9x40 Waterproof Riflescope||3-9x||Medium-Long range||Black||High||Moderate||$$$|
|Nikon P-223 3-9x40 Mate BDC 600||3-9x||Medium-Long range||Black||High||Moderate||$$$|
|Bushnell AR 1-4x24 Drop Zone-223 Riflescope||1-4x||Short-Medium range||Black||High||Easy||$$$|
|Nikon P-223 BDC 600 Riflescope with Rapid Action Turret||4-12x||Medium-Long range||Black||High||Moderate||$$$|
1. Aimpoint Carbine Optic(ACO) Sight
This scope for hunting rifle is equipped with a sight window of 38mm, an adjustment value of 100 yards and a red-colored reticle. It also has a 30mm aluminum alloy sight tube paired with a rugged fixed height mount. All this adds up to a tough and well-built rifle that is guaranteed its durability hence able to last for a long time.
Moreover, the body of this rifle is completely waterproof hence making it suitable for all environmental conditions, rain or shine. Also, batteries type 3N is included with the purchase of this product. These batteries are said to energy-saving batteries as they can last up to one year of consistent use. Hence, you don’t have to change them frequently every year thus saving your cost.
Apart from that, this scope is user-friendly as it is not too hard to use and adjust to be zero-ed in. However if you are a beginner, you are advised to watch some tutorial videos for guidance as the setup might be a little overwhelming for a beginner using this rifle.
Furthermore, the red dot on the reticle is bright and easy to sight in thus making it easy for the hunter to get a clearer picture of the target under low light conditions. Also, it utilizes 2 Minute of Angle(MOA) red dot to allows maximum target acquisition speed and accuracy at any range as you are able to calculate its individual precision at a particular distance.
This product is designed specifically for high-technology modern sporting rifles. However, it is suitable to be used for short to moderate shooting ranges only as it has no magnification lens to assist in amplifying your target image to ensure a precise shot.
Suitable for :
- 2 MOA red dot
- Enery saving battery
2. Bushnell AR Optics Reticle Riflescope
This scope for AR-15 rifle is equipped with an illuminated red/green T-dot reticle for improved accuracy and fast target acquisition. Not only you are allowed the variety of two different reticle colors which you can choose according to your own preference, this product also comes with 5 varying brightness settings.
In other words, the choice of red or green optics in varying brightness level is a versatile way to sight in any light conditions.
It also has amber bright lens coating hence all these features will come in handy in low light conditions as you can get a high clarity view when shooting your target. The lights might flicker sometimes so you should adjust the brightness of the lights accordingly to reduce the flickering if you experience the problem.
Besides that, this tactical riflescope comes with a 32mm objective lens that plays a big role in increasing and decreasing your field view of target. However, it doesn’t come with magnification power so you can only shoot ranges which are less than 80 yards. If you plan on shooting at longer ranges, you are advised to get a riflescope with magnification power.
Furthermore, this product has a built-in mount for weaver-style rail which uses a pair of parallel rails to connect the telescopic sights to the AR-15 rifle. It measures 6.75 inches and weighs 15.6 ounces. This product is a little heavy to be transported nevertheless it still performs well despite its slight extra weight.
Not only that, the body of this AR-15 riflescope is rubber coated so it can perfectly adapt to any weather conditions.The mount of this rifle is solid and secure thus contributing to its well-built and strong construction. Also, this product has a zoom dot feature that allows you to zoom the images from 1MOA to 10 MOA according to your preference.
The front iron sight on this riflescope won’t obstruct your view when aiming at your target. However, if you are not comfortable with it hence to maximize your concentration, you are advised to get a riser to remove the front sight post.
Suitable for :
- Varying brightness settings
- Illuminated red/green T dot reticle
- Zoom dot option
3. Vortex Optics StrikeFire with Cantilever Mount
This AR-15 riflescope consists of a rugged construction that is able to withstand recoil and impact while remaining compact. It is also lightweight , made from 30mm aluminium alloy chasis hence the body of this product being waterproof and fogproof . In other words, it is suitable to be used in any environmental conditions.
Not only that, it also has O-ring seals to prevent moisture in the rifle hence preventing the lens from fogging up and obstructing your view when aiming. It also filters and refrains dust, debris and other particles from penetrating your rifle for good performance in all environments.
It has a 12-hour auto shutdown feature which enables you to preserve the battery life when not in use and also comes with a battery upon purchase. The typical battery life of this product is 300 hours at maximum brightness and 6000 hours at minimum brightness settings. Nevertheless, you are advised to remove your batteries when not in use to maximize your battery life.
This product however does not come with any magnification feature hence it is suitable for shooting at short to moderate ranges. You can buy a magnifier separately to be used with this product if you plan on shooting your target at longer ranges. Also, this AR-15 riflescope holds zero very well and is easy to adjust and use thus highly recommended for beginners.
Moreover, the optic bore center with diameter 40mm is above the base of this rifle thus providing a lower co-witness with iron sights on the flat top AR-15 rifle. Consequently, the bore sight further makes it easy for you to sight in, see your entire field of view and acquire precise targets.
Apart from that, this riflescope is equipped with a solid cantilever mount designed for mounting telescopic sights for 30mm tubes onto a flattop style AR-15 rifle. This mount is solid and secure so you can easily take aim and shoot your target with excellent performance.
This product provides non-critical eye relief for excellent target acquisition while allowing the shooter a varying choice of reticle dot color which is either red or green. You are able to change the dot from red to green when you hold down the assigned button. Also, the reticle is of great visibility so you can have a better view of the crosshairs and make a precise aim when target shooting.
Suitable for :
- 12-hour auto shutdown feature
- Solid cantilever mount
- Red/green illuminated dot reticle
4. UTG 3-9×32 BugBuster Scope
Built on true strength platform, completely sealed and nitrogen filled to prevent moisture inside the scope, this riflescope is also waterproof thus allowing it to adapt in any environmental conditions.
This product comes complete with a sunshade, high quality flip-open lens cap and quick detachable rings. It has a range estimating mil-dot reticle for excellent aiming and shooting performance. This mil-dot reticle uses a series of dots along the crosshairs of scope and plays an important role for you to get a precise aim when target shooting.
Moreover, this riflescope is equipped with a red and green illumination dot for versatile applications and to increase your field of view when aiming. Also, it has an excellent eye-relief so you can view and aim at your target at the right eye position.
On the other hand, you can choose either the red or green illumination according to your preference and the most favorable situation. This comes in handy under low light conditions as you are able to easily view the crosshairs with the illumination light.
Furthermore, it has a lockable and resettable turrets so you can adjust the windage and elevation settings precisely with ease. This locking and resetting feature ensure proper zeroing when adjusting your scope. Also, this riflescope successfully holds zero with no problem even after dismounting and remounting it back on hence you don’t have to frequently zero it in.
It also has a parallax free view from as close as 3 yards to infinity using adjustable angle front objective. This feature is designed especially for high magnification scopes so the target can be brought in the exact focal plane of the reticle at any distance so you can aim precisely.
Apart from that, this riflescope has 3-9x magnification power so you can attempt to shoot at longer ranges with ease as it provides a great image enlargement of your target thus increasing your field of view and enabling you a better shot when hunting.
The lens is of great clarity as the glass is clear so you can properly aim without any obstruction. The crosshairs on the other hand are perfectly visible with added illuminated reticles to help you aim in the dark.
However, the lens cap of this scope might come loose sometimes so you should inspect it occasionally to ensure it is secured tightly at all times.
Suitable for :
- Mil-dot reticle
- Red/green illumination dot
- Parallax free view
- Lockable/resettable turrets
5. Barska 1-4×28 IR Hunting Scope
This riflescope is equipped with a 1-inch dual cantilever ring scope mount , flip-up scope caps, and a 3V lithium battery. The mount is not too well-designed and is of moderate quality however, it compensates for the price of this AR-15 riflescope.
On the other hand, this riflescope still works without a battery nevertheless to further preserve the battery life, you are advised to remove the battery when the riflescope is not in use. Also, you need to make sure the mounting screw is tightly secured and positioned to provide the best performance when hunting.
Furthermore, this product is filled with nitrogen gas and has a sealed O-ring for maximum waterproof and fogproof protection. In other words, it prevents moisture from condensing inside the scope which will lead to the fogging up problem and also prevent oxidation of the scope’s internal components to ensure its durability.
Not only that, the glass-etched reticle of this riflescope is illuminated with red and green color and also, the standard black color. You can choose the standard black color when you are using the riflescope under bright sun to increase your visibility and the red or green illuminated color during low light conditions so you can aim with ease.
The lens are also of high clarity so you can easily spot the thin reticle crosshairs to further assist you during aiming your target. It is easy to zero-in this product nevertheless, it might not maintain the zero for too long hence you need to frequently inspect your riflescope for the best performance.
Moreover, there are external target turrets that can be locked securely to prevent the movement of the scope’s windage and elevation. Also, this turret is important so you can properly zero in your riflescope.
There are 1-4x magnification power for shooting at different distances be it at short or long ranges. The magnification power is excellent, for example the magnification power at 4x allows you to view an enlarged clear image of your target out to 100 yards with nice clean groupings.
Suitable for :
- Etched reticle
- Green/red illumination dot
- Locking turrets feature
6. Burris MTAC 1-4×24 Illuminated Scope
Weighing just 17 ounce, this riflescope is 11.3 inches long. Its glass lens is of high clarity so you can get a clear, bright and wide field of view which in return will allow you to get a better aim and accurate shot. However, the lens cover is not provided so you are advised to purchase one separately to protect its screen from damage in the future.
Moreover, the mount is solid and secure and it mounts quickly on the rifle. It is easy to be sited and zeroed in without many complications. Nevertheless, if you are a beginner, you can refer to the user manual or watch tutorials online as extra guidance in using this riflescope for hunting. Also, this riflescope maintains its zero for many rounds so you don’t have to zero it in frequently.
The reticle of this scope is etched so you can easily view the battery level hence detecting when the battery runs out. However, you are always advised to bring a spare battery along. This riflescope also comes with a fantastic eye relief so you can position your eye well which comes in handy in terms of safety.
Not only that, the reticle has an illuminated red dot that comes in handy during low light conditions as it increases your visibility. It also draws your eyes to the center of the reticle much faster than a non illuminated reticle, allowing you to shoot faster.
At close ranges, you can shoot with both eyes open and the reticle lets you to basically put the circle on the target and pull the trigger. However, for precision shooting at further distance, the crosshairs of reticle assists you when aiming as you zoom the picture to a higher magnification power.
Apart from that, the magnification of this riflescope is from 1-4x power hence you are able to shoot your target precisely from short to moderate ranges due to the enlarged image of your target. The magnification power 1 on the other hand is good enough for fast acquisition on close range targets.
Suitable for :
- Illuminated red dot reticle
- Etched reticle
- Fantastic eye relief
7. Leupold VX-1 3-9×40 Waterproof Riflescope
This riflescope has a duplex reticle, which in other words means that it has duplex crosshairs. These crosshairs are wider on the outer half while narrow at the middle part hence allowing shooters to quickly see it when aiming due to the wider outer portion and also have the resolution on the target with the narrow inner portion.
Moreover, this product is oxygen purged and nitrogen filled for guaranteed decades of waterproof and fogproof performance hence making it suitable to adapt in any weather conditions without getting easily damaged which in return ensures its durability in the future.
This riflescope does not come with either parallax adjustments or illuminated reticle dot. However, its pictures are bright and of great clarity in all light conditions so you can aim better and shoot accurately when hunting. It also has a great eye relief so your safety is guaranteed hence this product is very user-friendly.
Besides that, this scope for AR-15 rifle features Leupold’s classic lockable eyepiece for secure and excellent focus. It also has finger adjustable dials (1/4 MOA per click) which in return leads to easy zeroing and adjustments of windage and elevation in a short time.
This riflescope also maintains its zero even after dismounting and remounting the scope from the riser after many rounds hence you don’t have to frequently zero it in. Apart from that, this product is easy to sight in during setup with the bore sight. The knob clicks are also firm so you can adjust the settings of this riflescope easily according to your preference.
Furthermore, the scope is also equipped with a thin rubber cushion to protect the lens from damage. Nevertheless, you are advised to get flip-up covers for your lens for extra protection of your riflescope. It also has 3-9x magnification power so you can obtain a clear enlarged view of your target thus attempt shots accurately at long ranges when hunting.
Suitable for :
- Lockable eyepiece
- Finger-adjustable dials
- Duplex reticle
8. Nikon P-223 3-9×40 Mate BDC 600
This riflescope is specially designed to be used with the .223 round ammo. It is nitrogen-filled and sealed with an O-ring to prevent moisture inside the scope which in return leads to the fogging up of scope. Thus, this riflescope is fogproof and waterproof, hence being suitable to be used in any weather conditions.
Furthermore, this product comes with a fantastic eye relief. In other words, it has a eyepiece mounted above an inch away from the charging handle for safety purpose when handling the rifle during hunting.
Apart from that, the optics of this riflescope is not only clear and bright but the glass is clear without any scratches and damage so you have a high clarity field of view thus improving the accuracy of your shot as you are able to aim better.
The reticle has no illuminated colored dots however, it has the standard black visible crosshairs that are bright as you need the perfect lighting to view the crosshairs properly when aiming to get a precise shot. The bright property of the crosshair especially comes in handy during low light conditions so you can easily view your target.
The mount of this riflescope is solid and tough and it can be mounted easily on the rifle. The assigned knobs to make adjustments sometimes comes loose hence you need to occasionally inspect your scope and tighten the loose parts to prevent from losing the essential parts of your riflescope.
Moreover, this product is a little complicated to sight and zero in, nevertheless if you have a problem you can either watch tutorial videos online or go through the user manual for extra information. It holds and resets the zero well so you can have the best experience using this riflescope.
Not only that, this product uses 3-9x magnification power so you can attempt shooting up to 400 yards(long range). If u plan on acquiring targets at close ranges however, you can use the least magnification power to assist you in hunting so you can easily view the crosshairs clearly.
This riflescope also has big uncovered turrets for windage and elevation adjustments in which you can turn them without actually moving the point of impact to custom set your zero and adjust from there. After that, you can just turn them back to your original zero easily according to your preference.
Suitable for :
- Great eye relief
- Bright and clear optics
9. Bushnell AR 1-4×24 Drop Zone-223 Riflescope Review
Bushnell’s riflescope is made of high-durability aluminium alloy thus resulting in a tough and sturdy scope body, anodize-finished and sealed to protect the inside of the scope from dust particles and moisture hence contributing to this product’s waterproof and fogproof feature and surviving under all weather conditions.
Moreover, this riflescope’s optics are fully multi-coated to produce views of your target with excellent brightness and high clarity. The glass of this riflescope is also clear thus further resulting in the clear view of the crosshairs marks when aiming when precision shooting.
Weighing just 16.9 ounces, this product is slightly heavy. however it still performs well. It has 1-4x magnification power hence it is suitable for close to medium ranges. The 1x magnification power is perfectly suitable if you plan on acquiring targets at close ranges.
Apart from that, this riflescope features target turrets (0.1 mil click value) for precise pinpoint adjustments. These target turrets also enables you to easily adjust the settings, however for further information on each knobs you can refer to the user guide for extra guidance.
The reticle of this riflescope is of Drop Zone-223 BDC which is specially designed to compensate for the trajectory of your rifle so you can get an accurate shot when hunting. Also, this reticle is bright and has visible crosshairs so you are able to aim better with the assistance of the crosshairs.
Furthermore, this product comes with a good eye relief in which it has an eyepiece over the end of the charging handle. This means that you can keep the scope within a specific distance from your eyes and still be assured of seeing your target with added comfort.
The mount of this riflescope is solid and it can be mounted easily. Also, it can be quickly zeroed without any complications and it holds the zero well so you can aim at your target accurately without the adjustments running. However once you zero the scope, make sure to set the turrets to zero and you’re good to go.
Suitable for :
- Fully multi-coated optics
- Target turrets(0.1 mil click value)
- BDC reticle
10. Nikon P-223 BDC 600 Riflescope with Rapid Action Turret
This riflescope is optimized for use with Nikon’s Spot on Ballistic Match Technology in which you can use the Nikon Spot on app to do the ballistics and stay accurate when shooting targets at 500 to 600 yards(long range).
At first use, it might be a little difficult to acquire targets however, it will be spot on after a little practice as your eyes must be positioned exactly behind the scope and it takes the perfect adjustment to find the right point that is well suited for you when hunting.
Apart from that, this product features the BDC 600 reticle with open circle aiming points as well as hash marks ranging from 100 yards to 600 yards. This BDC reticle also compensates the trajectory of your shot when hunting. Also, the reticle is clear and bright hence you can view the crosshairs easily which is very essential for precision shooting especially at longer ranges.
Moreover, the adjustments are also made easy with the spring-loaded instant zero-reset turrets. Windage and elevation adjustments can also be made using these turrets.
Also, you can make a quick hand turn(1/4 inch @100 yards) adjustments with the rapid action turret feature of this riflescope so you can quickly make adjustments and this will come in handy when your target is moving.
This riflescope is made with Nikon’s fully multicoated optics for maximum brightness and light transmission so you can view your target clearly as well as aim properly using the highly visible crosshairs under low light conditions.
Not only that, the magnification power of this product is excellent and very high compared to an average riflescope. This product has 4-12x magnification power so it is very suitable for experienced hunters for precision shooting at longer ranges such as 400-500 yards.
This product also can be zeroed in easily at 100 yards for example. It maintains the zero well even after many rounds so you can attempt an accurate shot whether at short or long ranges. Besides zeroing in, you can also simply reset the zero according to your preference with ease.
Suitable for :
- Rapid action turrets
- Quick hand turn adjustments
- Fully multi-coated optics
Key Features of an AR-15 Scope
- The magnification is rated from its magnification power.
- The field of view is rated from the distance range of shot you can attempt.
- The reticle color is varying based on each individual product.
- The clarity is rated from low to high.
- The setup is rated from easy to hard.
The magnification is the zoom factor of how much the picture viewed from the riflescope is enlarged. The low magnification power scope won’t provide as good of image enlargement but it is less susceptible to shaking. A higher magnification has greater image enlargement, however it is prone to more shaking and a smaller field of view of image.
You are advised to use the least magnification power when shooting at closer ranges as you don’t need much assistance in viewing your target. Magnification comes in handy when shooting at longer ranges as the enlarged image allows you to focus on your target and aim with maximum accuracy.
Field of View
The field of view of each riflescope depends on its magnification power. For higher powered scopes, the field of view is a lot smaller compared to those with low powered scopes as their image is enlarged and only focusing on the target rather than its left and right surrounding.
In other words, field of view is the distance visible through the scope from the left to right side of the image at a distance of 100 yards. A larger field of view is ideal as the shooter can view as much of his target and surroundings as possible.
A reticle is the crosshair pattern in a circle that is overlaid on the image which shows the rifle’s position on your target. There are different type of crosshairs such as duplex crosshairs and such in which the position and type of crosshairs patterns are slightly varied. However, they serve the same purpose to assist you in aiming during hunting.
Not only that, most reticles come in their standard color, black. Nevertheless, some reticles are illuminated with red or green color which comes in handy during low light conditions as you can view the crosshairs pattern easily when aiming. You can also have a better view of your target in the dark when hunting.
The clarity of riflescope is how clear the image of target you are able to view through the lens of your scope. It depends on the lens of your scope. A lens clear from scratches and damage makes it easier for you to aim at your target.
Also, most riflescopes are filled with nitrogen gas and sealed with O-rings to prevent moisture in the scope. This is important to prevent the inside of the scope from fogging up and obstructing your view. Also, the reticle should be bright and clear so you can have a clear view of your crosshairs and your target to improve the accuracy of your shot.
The setup basically refers to how easily you can zero in your riflescope at a particular yardage. After zeroing in, it further tests on how long it can maintain the zero so you don’t have to frequently adjust the zeroing if it runs easily.
Apart from that, some riflescope comes with turrets to make precise windage and elevation adjustments for proper zeroing to improve the accuracy of your shot. These turrets can either be resettable and lockable or rapid action turrets to further improve your hunting experience.
In a nutshell, I hope my review assists you in making the right choice of rifle scope that is worth your investment. Factors such as reticle, field of view, magnification power, image clarity and setup need to be taken into consideration. Why not record your experience with the best video camera for hunting so you can share them with others? You might need a backpack to store your equipment as well.
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