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The 10 Best Optics And Scopes For Your AR-15: Buyer’s Guide

best ar-15 optics scopes

You finally got the perfect AR-15 to fulfill all your shooting desires. But even the very best AR-15 does not guarantee you the best shots.

To take your firearm to the next level and have more precise shots, you need to accessorize it with AR-15 scopes. This means that you need to invest in a good AR-15 scope. However, there are hundreds of optics and scopes on the market with varying capabilities and features. It can be confusing to select the best one for your rifle.

So, what are the things to look for when buying AR 15 scopes?

Buying AR 15 Scopes? Here are Factors to Consider

supersniper scopes

There are several things that go into manufacturing a good scope. As a consumer, it is very important that you get hold of these factors so that you make an informed decision upon purchase. Here are some main aspects that you have to look into:

1. Type of Scope

First things first, you should know the different types of AR 15 scopes.

  • Rifle scopes: These scopes can either have variable or fixed magnification.
  • Holographic sights: These scopes have their reticles internally projected onto the targets using lasers.
  • Reflex: Also known as the Red Dot Sight, this is probably the most common AR-15 scope you will come across. It comes with objective lenses and the reticle is projected a point behind the lens which is reflected toward the eye.

2. Your Preference and Budget

As a rule of thumb, buy a scope that you are comfortable with. Read and research about different scopes and get to know the ones that meet your preferences. With these scopes in mind, you can filter out the ones that you can’t afford. This should give you a linear approach to the best scope.

3. Reticle

A good scope should have a good reticle. A reticle helps the shooter aim more accurately and easily.

Some scopes may have high-end reticles with so many features that may distract you from focusing on the shot. So ensure to choose an AR-15 scope with a good, clear, and simple reticle, especially if you are using it for practice or hunting. You wouldn’t want a lot of distractions, would you?

4. Adjustable Knobs

A good AR-15 scope should have an easily adjustable knob. The turret should be well-adjusted to easily zero in on the target. The knob should also have an ideal size for easy adjustment – not too long and not too short.  

5. Optics

Frankly speaking, a good optic is the biggest difference between a great and an awful scope. For best performance, the optic should have good quality and work well even under low light conditions. Therefore, ensure you go for optics with multi-coating features and produce HD images.

6. Magnification

A scope’s magnification power will determine how far you will see. If you take long shots most of the time, it’ll be a good idea to go for a scope will excellent magnification. However, the more magnification power in a scope, the more expensive the scope.

7. Nature of Your Targets

For tree stand hunting, you will want a scope that is geared for short range shooting and has a wide field of view.

If you shoot at moving targets, you should consider a red dot scope with an unlimited field of field. This will allow you to have the most viewable area and find your target quickly. Aiming at a moving target with a highly-magnified scope can be quite frustrating.

8. Sturdiness

If you are hunting, you are most probably going to face tough weather conditions and uneven terrain. Scopes are mainly designed for defensive and tactical use.

For that reason, a good scope should hold in all conditions. They should be built to withstand recoils, shocks, bumps, as well as the usual wear and tear. It is important that you get a system that can maintain a zero point during use.

It should also be fog-proof and waterproof for the best performance.

Best AR 15 Scopes to Buy

With all that said, here are 10 recommendations of scopes that will offer you great performance.

1. Redfield Counterstrike Red Dot Sight

Redfield RF117852 Accelerator Matte Reflex Sight
  • Perfect purchase for a gift
  • Great craftmanship
  • A must buy item

Over the years, Redfield has proved to be a worthy manufacturer in the optics niche, and the Counterstrike is another solid scope that is offered by the company. The model comes in an attractive black matte finish and has all the features you will need from a dot scope.

One of the best things about the Counterstrike is that it has an aiming laser that is base-mounted and adjustable. It comes with an unmagnified sight that allows you to hit close targets and keep both eyes open for a wider field of view.

In addition, it has multi-coated lens to produce sharp images and reduce glare. To top it all off, this scope only weighs 1.5lbs, making it one of the lightweight optics on the market.

2. Vortex Strikefire Red Dot Scope

Vortex Optics StrikeFire 2 Red/Green Dot Sight with Cantilever Mount...
  • Unlimited eye relief, 6-hour auto-shutdown feature maximizes battery life. CR2 Battery...
  • INCLUDES Official Vortex branded baseball hat in camo style.
  • Co-witness mounting Red/Green Dot Sight 4 MOA Dot. Red/Green Light Switch. Night Vision...

Even though Vortex is not a widely known scope manufacturer, the Vortex Strikefire is a definite contender in the optics niche. It comes with a 1x and 2x low-magnification scope that’s perfect for close-quarter combat.

It produces a wider field of view and finer details of the target. What’s more, it has a reticle that can change colors from green to red as well as change the light intensity depending on the amount and contrast of light available.

3. Nikon ProStaff Black Matte

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Nikon ProStaff 3-9 x 40 Black Matte Riflescope (BDC)
  • Compact riflescope with 3 to 9x magnification and 40mm objective lens
  • Fully multicoated optical system transmits up to 98 percent of available light
  • Zero-reset turret with spring-loaded adjustment knob; 3.6 inches of eye relief

This is a tried and tested scope that boasts of an excellent multicoated optics and top-notch adjustment technologies. Because of these great features, this AR 15 scope is commonly used for hunting and range shooting. It also transmits light efficiently to ensure that there’s maximum brightness regardless of the time of day.

And that’s not all, the ProStaff has an integrated zero-set turret, easily adjustable knob, and a wide field of view that allows you to shoot your target at deadly precisions – it’ll not allow you miss.

4. EOTech 512-A65 Circle Dot 65 MOA

EOTECH 512.A65 Tactical HOLOgraphic AA Batteries Weapon Sight
  • EOTECH 512.A65 - Holographic Weapon Sight in Back with 68MOA ring & 1 MOA dot reticle
  • Mount - Compatible with both 1" Weaver and MIL-STD 1913 Rails
  • Adjustable Brightness - The 512 has 20 brightness settings for use in any lighting...

It’s safe to say that EOTech 512 is the most reliable holographic weapon sight we have today. It is suitable for both tactical and recreational purposes. It provides unlimited, no-parallax eye relief and its rectangular objective lens offers a wide field of view (approximately 28 meters) which enables the shooter to keep both eyes open for improved awareness of the target and surrounding.

Not to mention, it comes with a 68 MOA circle combined with a 1 MOA red dot that provides quick target acquisition and better precision at close and moderate ranges. Its objective lens has an anti-reflective coating and a range of brightness adjustment settings to eliminate target washout.

In addition, this optic model operates on lithium or alkaline AA batteries for top-notch clarity. However, this AR-15 scope is not compatible with other night vision devices.

5. Bushnell AR Optics FFP Illuminated BTR-1BDC

With a 500-yard field of view, the Bushnell FFP offers high-quality viewing at longer distances, making it a great choice for people who shoot from longer ranges. The optics operate exceptionally in low light conditions as well.

One of the most outstanding features in these scope model is its Throw Down PCL quick viewing features. This allows you to quickly and easily switch from one field of view to another. It’s especially useful when shooting at moving objects. In addition, the target turrets allow you to make fast corrections on the sighting calibration.

The FFP also comes with waterproof, fog-proof, and shockproof lenses that are coated to increase clarity and vision when making shots. This is definitely a high-quality option from a well-established optics manufacturer.

6. Burris AR-F3 Scope

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Burris 300177 AR Prism Sight Ballistic Cq Reticle with Free Fastfire...
  • Finish: matte black
  • Adjustment click value: 1/2 MOA
  • Reticle color: Red/green/black

The objective lenses combine the exclusive Burris FastFire III feature with a unique mount that comes with metallic wings on the sides that protect it from sudden shocks and bumps. The objective lenses are made from top-notch optic glass for better clarity and superior brightness.

Additionally, the multicoating, Hi-Lume, and index-matched combined with 3 manual brightness setting features enable you to use the optics in low-light conditions while visually eliminating washout.  With the parallax-free magnification and 86 MOA windage adjustment, you can keep both of your eyes open for better target acquisition and awareness.

One of the best things about the Burris AR-F3 is its mount. It is designed to create enough height that enables co-witnessing when its mounted on a flat top receiver. The scope also has a compartment on the mount which you can use to store extra batteries and wrenches.

7. Leupold Mark AR-Mod1

Leupold Mark AR Mod 1

With all components neatly packed in an aircraft-like one-inch tube, the Mark AR-Mod1 optic will allow you to make the most precise shots regardless of your distance from the target. The scope comes with a 6x-18x magnification and a 40mm objective lens that offers a wide field of view.

Available in mil-dot reticle and fine duplex reticle variants, this scope is easily adjustable to sight your target. The reticle is illuminated to help you aim long-distance shots even under low light conditions. The scope also has IMS mount for quick and easy installation.

However, unlike other modern types of scopes, the Mar AR-Mod1 lacks a parallax adjustment.

8. Trijicon TA31 RCO ACOG Riflescope

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Trijicon ACOG 4 x 32 Scope USMC Rifle Combat Optic for A4
  • BATTERY-FREE ILLUMINATION: Features a tritium/fiber optic illuminated reticle that...
  • RUGGED ALUMINUM-ALLOY HOUSING: Forged 7075-T6 aircraft-aluminum-alloy housing provides for...
  • "BOTH EYES OPEN" DESIGN: The ACOG can be used as a CQB sight when shooting "both eyes...

This AR-15 scope model is the epitome of optimized target clarity and visibility. The illumination does not depend on the batteries, so you are assured of reliability and top-notch performance for a long time to come.

While some shooters may not be big fans of short-eye relief, you cannot deny the exemplary line of sight and visibility of this scope. The bullet drop is seamless with this scope, making rapid shooting stress-free. It can also range out to over 2,000 feet with a wide field of view.

When compared to other scopes on the market, this Trijicon scope stands out because it is easy to mount and effortlessly adjusts on your AR-15 – one of the easiest scope to set up. It also comes with a knurled focus knob for easy focusing.

9. SWFA SS 3-15x42 Tactical Rifle Scope

With 3x-15x magnification and a 42mm objective lens, the SWFA SS tactical AR-15 scope is a must have. The magnification is adaptable for short- and long-range target sightings. The side parallax adjustment allows you to easily spot and aim at a moving target.

The scope also comes with a large eye relief and a focal plane that magnifies the size of its “mil-quad” reticle as you zoom in on the target. In addition, it is shockproof, waterproof, fog-proof, meaning that it can be used in harsh weather conditions.

And if you are on a budget and looking for a good and stylish AR-15 scope, this can be a great choice – the attractive black matte finish will complement any rifle. However, it has no illumination and lacks locking turrets.

10. CVLIFE Rifle Scope AOE Read and Green

Sale
CVLIFE Hunting Rifle Scope 6-24x50 AOE Red and Green Illuminated Gun...
  • Magnification: 6-24x
  • Objective Diameter: 50mm
  • Field Of View: 28 ft @ 100 yards

This AR-15 scope is perfect for shooters who need accuracy enhancement on several AR-15s. If you are a hunter, you will find it easy when shooting moving targets – keeping the range across long distances is a breeze. The scope does not have any error margin when trying to shoot a target.

However, you should be careful when using high-recoil firearms. If the scope is not properly set, it can spring back and hit you. This problem can easily be avoided by checking everything to ensure the scope is tightly secured in place. Apart from that, it’s a very solid AR-15 optic.

With this scope, it is easy to be consistent on different rifles.

Comparison Table

Product

Image

Our Rating

Price

Redfield Counterstrike Red Dot Sight

Redfield RF117852 Accelerator Matte Reflex Sight

Vortex Strikefire Red Dot Scope

Vortex Optics StrikeFire 2 Red/Green Dot Sight with Cantilever Mount...

Nikon ProStaff Black Matte

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

EOTech 512-A65 Circle Dot 65 MOA

EOTECH 512.A65 Tactical HOLOgraphic AA Batteries Weapon Sight

Bushnell AR Optics FFP Illuminated BTR-1BDC

Bushnell Ar Optics 1-4x 24mm Throw Down Pcl

Burris AR-F3 Scope

Burris 300177 AR Prism Sight Ballistic Cq Reticle with Free Fastfire...

Leupold Mark AR-Mod1

Leupold Mark AR Mod1

Trijicon TA31 RCO ACOG Riflescope

Trijicon ACOG 4 x 32 Scope USMC Rifle Combat Optic for A4

SWFA SS 3-15x42 Tactical Rifle Scope

SWFA SS 3-15x42 Tactical Rifle Scope FFP Mil Quad Reticle 1/10 Mil...

CVLIFE Rifle Scope AOE Read and Green

CVLIFE Hunting Rifle Scope 6-24x50 AOE Red and Green Illuminated Gun...

Before You Settle on an AR-15 Scope…

An AR-15’s range depends on a number of factors including ammunition, shooting skills, and the barrel length. Therefore, you do not need costly and high-power scopes for long-range shots. Typically, a long-range shot of an AR-15 tops at about 1000 yards. The ten AR 15 scopes mentioned above are effective enough to do this job excellently.