Best AR-15 Scope: Get the Most Out of Your Gun
Getting the most out of your AR-15 isn’t hard—it’s a great gun on its own. But having a fantastic scope is one way to make sure you are taking full advantage of your firearm. Finding the best AR-15 scope, though, is a whole different story.
I’ve been through at least ten different scopes in my life. Some have been great, but some have been real pieces of junk. There are literally hundreds of different AR-15 scopes out there. It’s super easy to spend several hundred dollars on garbage, or on something that doesn’t have the features you want.
To help you, we’ve taken the time to comb through all the different options, reading reviews, comparing specifications and testing some ourselves. This has led us to recommend the Nikon P-223 BDC 600 Riflescope as the best AR-15 scope on today’s market. It’s lightweight, has great magnification options and the BDC 600 reticle makes it super easy to hone in on your target.
If you want the best AR-15 scope to help you get the most out of your assault weapon, get the Nikon P-223 BDC 600 Riflescope now.
- Why You Should Trust Us
- Why Your AR-15 needs a scope
- How We Conducted Our Review
- Testing Results
- The Best AR-15 Scope
Why You Should Trust Us
As avid hunters and outdoors lovers, we know this stuff like the back of our hands. I have been around guns since I was a kid. My dad used to take me hunting and taught me everything he knew.
However, like most of us, I have suffered my fair share of scams and rip-offs. I’ve spent lots of money on my hobby and have had more than one failure. Nothing makes me more angry than wasting my money.
So to make sure this doesn’t happen to you, we put the time in to learn the market and find the best. We compare hundreds of different scopes and read hundreds more reviews. Then, when we narrow down our list to a manageable number, we test a few options ourselves.
This leads us to make recommendations we believe in and stand by. We only recommend the stuff we would use and consider to be the best.
Why Your AR-15 needs a scope
Probably the better question is why your AR-15 wouldn’t need a scope. Unless you have super-human vision or some other super power, you will need some assistance to aim at your targets.
If you are out hunting, having a scope can help you determine how far away a target is. This can be super helpful if you are looking at moving targets, as it will help you know how much to lead the shot.
For those who spend more time at the range, having a scope will help you get a feel for the gun and improve your skills. But just because you have a scope doesn’t mean you’ll automatically turn into Ole Atticus One Shot. You’ll need to get used to the way the scope functions so that you can make the most of it.
In general, using a scope on your AR-15 is a way for your to maximize the functionality of your firearm and become a better shooter.
How We Conducted Our Review
The first step in our review process was to look at what other people have said. We throw out the options with bad reviews. Then we set out to compare what’s left based on the most important criteria.
Here’s what we look at specifically:
One of the key features of the AR-15 is that it is lightweight and versatile. As a result, the best AR-15 scope will help maintain this important aspect of the gun. The last thing you want is a scope that significantly weighs down the gun. Some of these things can weigh up to a couple of pounds. This is really too much.
When you get a scope for your AR-15, you’ll want to have it on your gun at all times. This means you want it to withstand any situation your firearm is in. Look for scopes that have some sort of water protection.
Also, you’ll want to find something that is tough enough to withstand the constant vibration from the gun. A lot of these things are made from aircraft-grade aluminum or some sort of composite plastic. Both are good for withstanding shock and vibration.
One of the most important decisions you will have to make is the type of scope you want. The red dot scope is a popular choice.
These work exactly how you would think, by casting a red dot on the target to help you aim. Some red dot scopes use a laser, whereas others use just a light that is reflected out towards your target. The downside to these is that it becomes a challenge to get a good reading on far away targets.
However, these are very popular scopes many people find to be very effective. But one downside is that the reflective mechanism can be fragile and could break if you’re not careful.
The technology making holographic scopes is pretty cool. Basically, they take a picture of your target and then superimpose it on the scope. It’s a bit more complicated than this, but this is the general idea.
This works great because the light doesn’t change when you look through the scope, which is something that usually happens with red dot scopes. Holographic scopes also tend to offer a wider field of view.
But the main downside is that this technology is pretty exclusive and therefore can be rather expensive. You can opt for it, but know that it will cost you.
One thing you will want to decide about your AR-15 scope is how much magnification you want. It’s common to think the more magnification the better, but that isn’t always the case.
While strong magnification will make your targets seem much closer, it will also exaggerate your movements. Any shake, tremble or breath will seem much more intense at high magnification.
Also, when you’re zoomed in, you will be able to see far less around the target. The best is to find something with a wide range of magnification so that you can see a large area and then hone in on a specific target when necessary.
Every scope has a different reticle. This is the design on the scope that helps you zero in on the target. The most common type of reticle is the milldot reticle, which is a simple cross-hair.
Another common reticle is the duplex reticle, which is the same as the milldot but with rings to help you gauge distance, usually between 25-100 yards. Another reticle that isn’t quite so common—it’s often found only in military or police outfits—is the BDC reticle. This is a more detailed version of the duplex reticle as it ranges between 25-600 yards.
Lastly, price will always be a factor. You can spend anywhere from $50 to $2,000 on these things, so it is important to know what is reasonable. In general, you get what you pay for, so a bargain scope for $50 probably won’t be very durable or have lots of features.
However, it’s hard to find the extra value in spending over five or six hundred dollars. Sure, these sights are great, but they don’t offer so much more that the extra expense is worth it. The sweet spot is right around $200 to $300.
With so many different options available on the market, it’s hard to cut through the junk. So we applied a systematic review process to try and weed out what’s not worth it and find the best AR-15 scope on the market.
The first thing we did was to look at what other scope buyers are saying. Anything that had bad reviews—less than 3.5 stars on Amazon—we threw out immediately.
Then, we started to compare the options that were left and threw out some based on the criteria we mentioned above. Here’s what we found:
Elimination Round 1
The first thing we did was to throw out those scopes that were too heavy. Like we said earlier, the AR-15 was built to be a lightweight firearm, so any scope that weighs too much threatens one of the main features of the AR-15. Anything more than a pound or two is really too much.
Some of the options we threw out because of this are the Vokul Tactical 3-9x40mm Illuminated Rifle Scope, the UUQ 4×32(3.5X30) RGB Triple Illuminated BDC scope and the CVLIFE Hunting Rifle Scope 6-24×50 AOE Red and Green Illuminated Gun Scope.
Elimination Round 2
The next step was to eliminate the scopes that were too bulky. While they might not be too heavy, the bulky design gets in the way and reduces the functionality of the gun. We aren’t going to recommend anything that takes away from the functionality of the AR-15.
Those that we got rid of based on being too bulky include the CVLIFE Hunting Rifle Scope 2.5-10x40e Red & Green Illuminated Gun Scope and the Aipa Prism 4×32 AR15 Rifle Scope.
Elimination Round 3 (Price)
For the final elimination round, we removed scopes from the running that were simply too expensive. There is practically no reason to justify spending more than $800 on a scope when you can get the same features and quality for half that, or less.
Some of the top options we eliminated because they were too expensive were the Leupold 114337 Mark 6 Illuminated Rifle Scope, Leupold Mark 4 MR/T 2.5-8x36mm and the Aimpoint M4 2 Minute of Angle ACET CompM4 Sight.
The Best AR-15 Scope
After using our method of elimination we were able to get the list down to ten. We then tested these, and this led us to the best AR-15 scope.
Here are the results:
95/100—Nikon P-223 BDC 600 Riflescope (Best AR-15 Scope)
This sleek, lightweight scope has a tremendous zoom and a state-of-the-art BDC reticle, earning it the title of the best AR-15 scope. Check out the latest price and get the Nikon P-223 BDC 600 Riflescope now.
Here’s why we like this scope so much:
This scope is plenty lightweight yet still offers tremendous zoom. You’ll hardly even notice it mounted on your gun when you’re carrying it. And the simple, sleek design looks great on top of an AR-15.
Additionally, the 4-12×40 zoom on this scope will allow you to focus in on targets hundreds of yards away. Of course, this will come with the same limitations of any magnified scope, but the clarity of this lens helps set it apart.
One other thing to love about this scope is the BDC reticle. It allows you to calculate and track distance, making it much easier to spot targets, especially moving targets.
But one of the best things about this scope is that it doesn’t cost a fortune. It’s usually listed for $250, far from exorbitant for the best AR-15 scope on the market.
There’s not really much to dislike about this scope. One thing to note would be that it is a bit tough to get used to. You need to be looking in from directly behind the scope and that can be a bit of a challenge. But after some time, you’ll adjust and this shouldn’t be a major issue.
The crosshairs on the reticle could be thicker. In low-light settings it can be hard to find them on the scope. Again, you’ll likely get used to this after a while, but it is something to consider.
If you want a scope that provides tremendous magnification, is lightweight and sleek, and that will allow you to hone in on targets with pinpoint accuracy, get the Nikon P-223 BDC 600 Riflescope now.
85/100—Vortex Optics SF-RG-501 StrikeFire II (Best Red Dot Scope)
Some people are not as concerned about magnification as they are the red dot. The Vortex Optics SF-RG-501 StrikeFireII is the best red dot option we found on the market. Here are the details:
This is a very lightweight yet functional AR-15 scope. One nice thing is that it is built to withstand the elements. It comes with a sealed O-ring and is nitrogen purged to keep dust out and prevent moisture from messing with the scope.
Also, the design of this scope helps eliminate parallax errors, meaning you can use the scope with two eyes open.
The red dot on this scope is not a laser, but it is plenty bright and can be switched to green whenever necessary. You will be able to aim quite effectively at your target.
This sight, while effective, doesn’t feature any magnification. While the dot sight is bright and, it will still be a challenge to reach far away targets.
The dot is plenty bright, but it is a bit fuzzy. It doesn’t make a crisp, clean dot like you might expect from more advanced models.
Also, this scope is a bit bulky. Not so much so that we threw it out during the initial stages of our review, but we would have liked to have seen something a bit more lightweight for the AR-15.
If you want a good AR-15 red dot scope and aren’t worried about magnification, get the Vortex Optics SF-RG-501 StrikeFireII now
76/100—UTG 4.2″ ITA Red/Green CQB Dot (Best Budget AR-15 Scope)
Scopes can cost hundreds of dollars. But if you don’t want to spend this kind of money, you can still find decent options that won’t break the bank. The UTG 4.2” Red/Green CQB Dot will get the job done and won’t cost you a fortune.
This scope is surprisingly durable for being a budget option. It is built with a strong composite plastic that stands to last for some time. Perhaps not as strong as military-grade aluminum, but considering the price, it is well worth it.
The field of view on this scope is also a surprise. It is quite wide, allowing you to easily scan wide areas for targets.
The dot light is very adjustable. You can set it to the exact brightness you want so that you can see it best, something you don’t usually usually see from scopes in this price range. You can expect to find this scope for around $50.
The dot itself isn’t great. At times it will come out funny and almost look like two different dots side by side. This doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does, it can be quite frustrating. Hopefully it won’t happen when you need it most.
The quick release clamp on this scope is supposed to be an added feature, but it makes the sight a bit shaky. In fact, at times we had to readjust while shooting to make sure it would stop moving. This is to be expected from a budget scope.
If you are looking for an effective, well-built scope that will get the job done and won’t cost you more than $100, get the UTG 4.2” Red/Green CQB Dot now.
Having a scope for your AR-15 is essential to help you get the most out of your gun. But with so many different options available, it can be hard to know if you are getting a good deal on something great or just getting ripped off.
We applied our meticulous review process to search through all that’s out there and find the best AR-15 scope on the market. The Nikon P-223 BDC 600 Riflescope is lightweight, strong, military-grade and affordable. It is well-deserving of its best AR-15 scope title.
To get a scope that will allow you to get the most out of your AR-15 rifle, get the Nikon P-223 BDC 600 Riflescope now.