1. Bushnell AR Optics 1-4x 24mm
Why do you need the Best AR Scope?
The AR series is probably one of America’s favorite rifles, especially the AR-15, which is based on the AR10, its big brother. The AR-15 can be obtained very easily, is easy to use, has great firepower, fires fast with a fast reload speed, and has a cool cultural and aesthetic appeal.
By using the best AR scope, you can make your AR-15 or AR-10 into a versatile civilian rifle. AR stands for ArmaLite Rifle, not Assault Rifle or Automatic Rifle, contrary to popular belief. ArmaLite is the manufacturer of the popular AR-15 and AR-10, which was sold to Colt in 1959. After some modifications, the AR-15 became the M16 with the civilian version called the Colt AR-15. The AR-15 is based on the original AR-10, which was a bigger rifle that took bigger rounds. The AR-15 is probably one of the most sold civilian rifles in America today. It is estimated that there are around 4 million AR-15s in circulation today.
Best AR Scope Reviews
- Under $200
- Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight Riflescope 1 x 25mm (No Magnification)
- Ade Advanced Optics 4x32mm Green/blue/red Illuminated Reticle (Fixed Power)
- Bushnell AR Optics Drop Zone-223 Reticle, 1-4x 24mm (Mid Range Scope)
- Monstrum Tactical 3-12×42 AO Rifle Scope, Illuminated Mil-Dot Reticle (Long Range Scope)
- Between $200-$500
- Over $500
- Aimpoint Micro T-2, 2 MOA Sight with Standard Mount (No Magnification)
- Acog 4 X 32 Scope Dual Illuminated Horseshoe Dot .223 Ballistic Reticle (Fixed Power)
- Vortex Razor HD Gen II 1-6×24 Riflescope with JM-1 BDC Reticle MOA (Mid Range Scope)
- Burris Eliminator III, 4-16 x 50mm with x 96 Reticle Scope (Long Range Scope)
Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight Riflescope 1 x 25mm (No Magnification/Under $200)
If you want the best AR scope for under $200 with no magnification, go with the TRS-25 Red Dot Sight by Bushnell. As the name implies, the 25mm lens has a 3 MOA red dot as the aiming reticle with no magnification. The front lens is tinted amber and is tilted in a way that reflects LED light to make the red dot. The lens also does a good job of reducing light and glare.
There are also control knobs to adjust the 11 red dot brightness setting and has ok battery life. The Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 scope has a nice layer of coating and doesn’t fog up or rust. For the price range, this is a great scope due to its solid construction and maintains its accuracy over time. How many scopes under $100 can do that? OK, it is definitely not an Aimpoint or Eotech, but you also are not paying nearly as much. It also weighs only 6 oz, so pretty lightweight.
Ade Advanced Optics 4x32mm Green/blue/red Illuminated Reticle (Fixed Magnification/Under $200)
The Ade Advanced Optics 4×32 is the best ar scope if you are looking for a dirt-cheap fixed magnification lens. The objective lens has a diameter of 32mm and the magnification is fixed at 4x which is good for all sorts of close combat to mid-range shooting. It has three reticles: red, green, and blue, and 9 different settings (3 for each color and one for black). The eye relief is manageable but not the best.
The scope itself is durable enough for its price range and maintains good accuracy through multiple shots. It works great for the 100-yard range but accuracy drops significantly at 300 yards or more. This is pretty much what you would expect from a sub $100 scope. There are no surprises both good and bad. The quality is acceptable and for this price, it serves as a great backup or fun scope.
Bushnell AR Optics Drop Zone-223 Reticle, 1-4x 24mm (Mid-Range Scope/Under $200)
If you’re looking for the best ar scope for shooting targets in the 100-300 yard range, get the Bushnell AR Optics 1-4x 24mm. As the name implies, this scope has a 24mm lens and 1-4x magnification. It includes a drop zone 223 BDC reticle, which is perfect for the AR-15 since it shoots .223 rounds. The reticle is the second focal plane. This reticle is really calibrated to go with the AR-15 for mid-range precision.
The turret has nice smooth clicks at 0.1 mils each and the magnification ring also performs very well. The glass is very clear for a cheap entry-level scope and the light transmission is great. We really like the eye relief as well. The scope is waterproof and fog proof and has all of the same quality parts as any Bushnell product. Our only complaint is that the scope is quite heavy, but if you want a lighter scope you will have to pay up. You can trust Bushnell, which is a leading manufacturer of top-end rifle scopes. It’s a trusted brand in the shooting community and often shows up to professional competitions.
Monstrum Tactical 3-12×42 AO Rifle Scope, Illuminated Mil-Dot Reticle (Long Range Scope/Under $200)
For those of you who want to shoot mid to long-range and don’t want to pay big bucks for it, the Monstrum Tactical 3-12x 42 is the best ar scope for you. This 42mm scope is adjustable from 3x to 12x magnification, the top range allowing you to nail targets 500 yards out or more.
Ok, the 12x mag is pretty blurry, but you can’t really expect too much for this price. If you are mounting this to an AR-15, you probably don’t want to be shooting any further than 500 yards anyways as the kinetic energy of 223 rounds drops significantly after 500 yards. It comes with a mil-dot reticle that is illuminated with 5 brightness levels in red and green, which is cool to have in low-light settings.
The turrets are 0.25 MOA per click for windage and elevation adjustments. We found this is slightly off, but hey you can’t complain much when it is so cheap. The AO turret is nice for sharp focus and parallax elimination. Overall, the Monstrum Tactical 3-12×42 is a nice quality long-range scope for the money.
Vortex Venom Red Dot Top Load 3 MOA Dot (No Magnification/$200-$500)
Vortex Venom is the best ar scope if you want a non-magnified red dot scope that is respectable. The Vortex Venom is still no Aimpoint or Eotech but it is a clear step up from the Bushnell TRS-25 which we reviewed above. First to the profile: Venom has a 3 MOA dot with 1 MOA windage and elevation adjustments.
Despite the fact that the clicks are not really that noticeable, you can still adjust this with some trial and error. It is a top-loading system, so changing out the battery is very easy and you don’t have to remove the entire scope. The battery life is average at best but could be better than better auto-shutdown software.
The sight’s brightness is adjustable to 10 levels and even has an auto-adjust mode, which works but we still recommend adjusting it manually. The red dot is crisp and bright and the simple flat head adjustments are a nice perk. Our only complaint is that we wish the battery life is longer.
Vortex Optics Spitfire 3x Prism Scope with EBR-556B Reticle MOA (Fixed Power/$200-$500)
The Vortex Optics Spitfire 3x Scope is the best ar scope if you want a mid-priced fixed-range scope. The Spitfire is manufactured by Vortex, a leader in the world of rifle scopes so you can definitely count on its quality. Now some specs: the scope is fixed at 3x magnification and is designed for the AR 15. It has 2.8 inches of eye relief, 31.5 feet of field of view at 100 yards, ½ MOA adjustments, for elevation and windage adjustment.
Battery life is good at 250 hours at maxed-out settings. It has 5 levels of brightness with red and green illumination settings. It comes with an Enhanced Battle 556B MOA reticle (EBR). You get to choose the red or green dot for the reticle. We really like this scope because it has all the features of a red dot scope combined with the features of a light fixed power scope. The magnification at 3x is clear in the 50-300 yards range and this scope really shines in close combat to mid-range. Many people call the Spitfire the poor man’s ACOG but use batteries instead. The size, weight, and clarity are great and it is pretty much built around the AR-15, so attaching it is very simple.
Burris MTAC 1-4 x 24 Illuminated Scope (Mid Range Scope/$200-$500)
The Burris MTAC 1-4 x 24mm is the best ar scope if you want a powerful mid-priced scope that delivers accuracy in mid-range shooting. When we say mid-range, we mean 100-350 yards. The Burris MTAC is a 24mm scope with adjustable 1-4x mag and is made for the AR series. It is designed for anything from close-range target shooting to mid-range hunting. It has a field of vision of 32 feet at 100 yards and a nice sharp image and good eye relief at all magnifications.
The scope is very forgiving at 1x mag and gives you a nice clear image at multiple viewing angles and distances. The 1x is pretty close to no magnification so you can keep both eyes both when viewing through the scope. It is ½ MOA per click with 130 MOA total adjustment. Unfortunately, there is no parallax adjustment.
It comes with 10 different illum settings and the ballistic AR reticle. The reticle is etched on, so you still see it if the batteries run out. The reticle is rather large and a bit cluttered, so it took some time to get used to. Battery life is great on this scope. For the mid-range, this is a great scope that has a red dot reticle and delivers good accuracy to the 300+ yard range.
Leupold Mark AR MOD 1 Rifle (Long Range Scope/$200-$500)
The Leupold Mark AR Mod 6-18x40mm is the best ar scope if you want a powerful long-range scope. It is 40mm that has 6 to 18x magnification. This scope should only be used in long-range shooting because its lowest mag setting is 6x. The Mark AR is designed for .223 rounds so it works perfectly on a AR-15. With this magnification, you can take nice clear shots in the 500 yards range.
It features a first focal plane mil-dot reticle, which is nice and clear. The scope is very durable and easy to zero. The reticle adjustments track very well. With Leopold’s AR mount, it will be very steady. The clarity of the optic is absolutely outstanding and the adjustments track true and hold. The parallax is fixed at 150 yards and this scope starts having parallax issues of about an inch at 600 yards. The Leupold Mark AR is one of the best mil dot scopes at an affordable price range. It has great quality glass, and clear optics and is perfect for shooting in the 400-600 yard range.
Aimpoint Micro T-2, 2 MOA Sight with Standard Mount (No Magnification/Over $500)
If you want the best ar scope without any magnification and are willing to pay anything for it, then Aimpoint Micro T-2 is your scope of choice. Aimpoint is known for specializing in red dot sights, which are known to be reliable, fast, and accurate. The 1x lens is truly non-magnifying and parallax free, which is very important because parallax error, even at 50 yards can cause you to miss your shoot by as much as an entire feet. The 2 MOA red dot has amazing clarity and the scope itself has phenomenal optics and great light transmission.
The dot gives the highest amount of brightness with the lowest possible energy expenditure. This means the battery life is just outstanding, probably top in the industry. The front lens cover is flipped up and the coating is rugged and solid. Everything about this scope feels durable. It is fog and waterproof and definitely not cheap. The T-2 is an upgrade from the popular T-1: you get a much clearer view and a crisper red dot.
Acog 4 X 32 Scope Dual Illuminated Horseshoe Dot .223 Ballistic Reticle (Fixed Power/ Over $500)
Everyone who shoots knows about ACOG. It is the king of fixed-range scopes and the best ar scope you can get period. ACOG stands for Advanced Combat Optical Gunsights and they are manufactured by Trijicon and originally designed for M16 and M4 carbines. The main reason why they are so expensive and well-known is that they are powered by tritium, which is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen.
While most sights with an illuminated reticle have to deal with a power source such as a battery, ACOGs draw power from tritium and sunlight which can arguably last a lifetime. Also, because there is no longer a need for batteries, the scope is incredibly light weighing in at only 9 oz while other models weigh in at nearly double. Also, the illumination in ACOG has great daytime and nighttime visibility, which is quite rare. The common difficulty with illuminating reticles is making them visible in a brightly lit environment.
The ACOG has extra illumination to match the brightness of the field of view and really makes the red dot stand out. The 4 x 32 is the most classic ACOG on the market and the 4x mag is great for shooting close quarters to out to 300 yards. The 32mm lens provides a large field of view with long eye relief. The scope comes with a red horseshoe BAC reticle instead of the classic ACOG chevron reticle with bullet drop compensation. Once again, amazing scope but you are paying top dollar for it. But they are worth it for the overall quality, durability, excellent glass, durable adjustments, and extremely lightweight.
Vortex Razor HD Gen II 1-6×24 Riflescope with JM-1 BDC Reticle MOA ( Mid Range Scope/ Over $500)
If you are looking for the best ar scope that is extremely accurate in the mid-range (100-350 yard range), do yourself a favor and get the Vortex Razor HD Gen II. This is a 1-6x 24mm scope with a BDC reticle second focal plane. It is probably the best 1-6x on the market today without paying outrageous prices. This optics has similar quality as the pro scopes in the $2000+ category but without nearly the same damage to your wallet.
The scope is designed in the USA and manufactured in Japan. This scope is primarily designed for sporting and competitions like 3 gunners. The 1x is true 1x in that you can shoot with both of your eyes open. It has adjustments of ½ MOA per click with 50 MOA per rotation and 150 MOA max adjustment for elevation and windage.
The parallax setting is at 100 yards, you get great field vision at 100 yards, and the zero resettable turrets are low-capped. The red dot has 11 settings of brightness and a nice locking ring as well. These brightness levels are great for all degrees of daytime lighting and you can clearly see the red dot at all times. However, there is no auto-off, so it could drain your battery if you forget to turn it off. Overall, one of the best scopes you can get if you want to shoot both close-quarter and mid-range. We were pleasantly surprised that the scope remains clear even at long distances up to 400 yards.
Burris Eliminator III, 4-16 x 50mm with x 96 Reticle Scope (Long Range Scope/Over $500)
The Burris Eliminator III 4-16x 50mm is the best ar scope on the market if you want smart long-range power scope with a built-in range finder. That’s right, a built-in range finder! This is some serious high-level technology. The Eliminator III has an x96 reticle and technology built in that takes into account the distance to your target, the angle of the shot, and the ballistics of your cartridge and gives you a red dot for where you should aim to hit the target.
This crazy cool technology eliminates guesswork and fumbling around with calculations while you are trying to just focus on what’s important. In a way, this is almost cheating. So basically the scope is a range finder and trajectory calculator in one. The range finder is activated with a clock of a button and gives you a numerical number for the range of your target. There’s also a windage number on the corner.
We found the range finder to be crazy accurate. When we measured the target from 100 to 500 yards, the range finder would be within a foot of the actual range. Also, the optics are extremely clear at pretty much all magnifications. It has sharp images, good eye relief, and a great field of vision. What we didn’t like about the Burris Eliminator III is the weight which comes in at 30 oz, near the top end of most scopes.
More Info on the Best AR Scope
The AR-15 has gotten a bad reputation for being the mass shooter’s weapon of choice and many calling for an assault rifle ban. Well, the funny thing is the AR-15 is NOT an assault rifle, which is primarily defined by the use of selective fire, or the ability to switch between semi-automatic and fully auto. For the AR-15, one press of the trigger equals one round being fired. The Ar-15 may look like the M-16 or M-4, which are military assault rifles because they offer both automatic fire and three-round bursts.
The AR-15 is not considered a high-powered rifle: its .223 / 5.56mm ammo is so low-powered that it is banned from hunting big game in some states because it can’t humanely take down large animals in one shot. The AR-15 is probably one of the most versatile firearms you can easily buy: it is great for small game hunting, target practice, fun shooting, long-distance shooting, competition, and even home defense.
Picking the best AR scope is difficult because it depends on what you are using it for and your price range. There is a lot of efficiency in the AR scope market, so generally, the more you pay for the scope, the better it will be. First and foremost, in order to pick the best AR scope for your AR-15, you need to ask yourself how will you shoot. The scope requirements are very different for shooting at 100 meters vs shooting at 600 meters.
You probably don’t want to go above 600 meters on an AR-15 because the .223 round loses kinetic energy at distances above 600 meters. If you are shooting at 100 meters, your target will be more or less a fixed distance from you, so a constant range fixed focal length scope is good for you. At this distance, you can choose whether or not you want magnification.
If you are trying to snipe your target at 600 meters, you will want something with more magnification, so most likely an expensive high-quality scope. If you are just shooting around on your farm for fun or going hunting, you will most likely need a mid to long-range scope that will adjust for all levels of light. So typically mid ranged ranges with magnifications in the 1 – 6x range will be good for targets up to 300 meters, but you can even stretch that. Long-ranged scopes have magnifications in the 3 – 15x range with the high end up to 40x.
These scopes will take you to 500 meters and beyond but will have terrible short-distance magnification. When you have decided on your magnification range, you should then focus on scope factors should as clarity, field of view, and reticle or dot size. Finally, you should consider your price range when making the final decision on the best AR scope for your AR-15 or AR-10. Please see below for our recommendations for various magnifications and price ranges.