The Best AR-15 Rifle Scope Review Revealed: Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

Have you been searching for the Best AR-15 Rifle Scopes online and cannot make up your mind what to buy? Buying an AR-15 scope isn’t as difficult as it used to be. 

Nowadays you can find these scopes online and with just a few clicks of your mouse - taps if you use mobile- and you will be on your way to getting that scope. 

The number of people using AR-15 rifle scopes have gone up as people have come to recognize its many benefits. 

It is after all an essential tool for making sure you’ve got the best possible shot. With the right scope you’ll be able to increase your accuracy and be a better shot overall. 

But while all AR-15 scopes have the same purpose, the features and capabilities vary significantly. 

One of the most common mistakes first time buyers make is assuming that you can buy any type of scope and it will work fine with your AR-15. 

Even if you’re able to install the scope, the results you get could vary depending on the quality. 

That’s why it is so important to make sure you get the highest quality scope possible. With the right scope you can use that AR-15 for deer hunting, target shooting, plinking, home defense and varmint hunting. 

With the right scope you’ll extend your rifle’s capabilities and have more fun. But how do you choose the right scope? That is what this guide is for. We have years of experience using scopes for the AR-15, and we picked out the best ones you can buy. 

And if you’re on a budget, we also collected the top sights for less than $200 so you still get quality without busting your budget. To be a better buyer you must have knowledge, so the following should also be useful.

Name

Magnification & OL

Reticle

FOV

Price

Aimpoint PRO Patrol Rifle Optic

1x

MOA

--

Vortex Optics Sparc AR Red Dotx 40mm

3x

EBR-556B Reticle

31.5 feet/100 yards

Bushnell Trophy

1 x 25

Dot-reticle

ft@100yds/m@100m

Unlimited

HOLOSUN HS403A Micro Red Dot Sight

20mm

--

--

Vortex Optics Sparc AR Red Dotx 40mm

1x22

Daylight Bright Red Dot

--

Primary Arms Advanced Micro Dot

--

2 MOA Dot

--

Our Picks

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Aimpoint PRO Patrol Rifle Optic

Score: 4.8  Andrew Garfield

The Aimpoint Pro has a 2 minute angle, providing you with pinpoint target acquisition regardless of distance. The sight relies on just one battery and is good for 3 years even if always on. With its built in reminder you’ll know when it’s time to get a replacement.

The Patrol Rifle Optic comes with a 30mm tube for superior circuit efficiency and longevity. The front lens has band pass coating applied so you can use the sight for different types of night vision tools.

The Patrol Rifle Optic has a modular QRP2 mount with a detachable spacer which ensures the sight is properly indexed and at the optimum level. The spacer can also removed so you can use it on other firearms besides an AR 15.

The Aimpoint also has twist knob which limits the torque, providing the right amount of rial pressure and removes the overtightening possibilities. The lenses’ rear and front are set in the body so it is protected against fingerprints, scratches and impact damage when you’re using it.

Pros

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    Always turned on
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    Accurate engagement
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    Ideal for quick shots

Cons

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    Larger than other scopes
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    On/off switch setup could be better
Vortex Optics SPR-1303

Score: 4.7  Andrew Garfield

The 3x magnification Spitfire (SPR) is designed to work with AR 15 rifles for precision aiming. The design is prism based so the sight is more compact but doesn't compromise the quality of the optics.

The Spitfire uses an EBR-556B reticle which is built for the  5.56 x 45 cartridge. This allows you to use the sight for quick shooting at far and close  ranges. When the unit is installed, the sight allows for 0 to 500 yard ranging and holdover references.

The reticle is attached onto the prism so the point of aim is always consistent. You can also select from 5 levels of intensity (red/green) as befits the environment. The FOV is 100 yards / 315 feet so you have a good view of the area around the target. The eye relief is 2.8 inches, and you can adjust the graduation, windage and elevation.

The Spitfire is ideal for accurate and rapid shooting, and it has enhanced versatility for shooting in various scenarios. Put it another way, the Spitfire combines the best of a fixed sight and a red dot.

Pros

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    Compact design
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    Easy to adjust
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    Quick mounting

Cons

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    Eye relief could use improvement
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    Dust caps are a bit loose
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    Rather short battery life
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    Made in China
Bushnell Trophy

Score: 4.3  Andrew Garfield

The Bushnell is suitable for those who are into long distance shooting but still want targets which are easy to acquire. The lens have a high contrast, and the Amber Bright makes the lens coating comfortable to use.

The front lens is tilted, allowing the LED light to be reflected. This produces the red dot which helps with aiming. With precision engineering, the Amber Bright optics gives you the means to tell the difference between the foliage and your target.

The multi-colored optics eliminates a lot of the problems with visibility areas, which makes this ideal for hunting. The sight is also fogproof, shockproof and waterproof so you can use this in different environments without any issues..

You can use the Trophy without closing either eye, and the design gives you a better understanding of the environment around you. You don’t have to mess around with the settings to center. The red dot also follows your eye without losing track of the target. For beginners, the Trophy is an ideal choice. It is easy to use and works without any problem.

Pros

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    Lightweight
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    Easy to configure
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    Ideal for distance shooting

Cons

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    Battery life is rather short
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    ED quality varies

Best AR 15 Scope Under 200

We have established the importance of having a quality scope, but what if you’re on a budget? That doesn't mean you have to settle for a mediocre product as have prepared here three of the top AR scopes for less than $200.

Like the reviews above we’re going to focus on the pertinent features as well as the pros and cons. While these are not as powerful as more expensive AR scopes, the quality is still high. If you don’t need a fancy scope and just want a reliable one, then these will do.

HOLOSUN HS403A Micro Red Dot Sight

Score: 4.5  Andrew Garfield

The Holosun has a battery life of 50,000 hours, which is good for up to 5 years of regular application. The sight is also equipped with an eight hour auto shut-off so it is more convenient to use.

The Holosun has a parallax free design so you’ll be on target when the red dot is. The lens are light and made of high quality material, giving you a bright red dot. The MAO finish and its aluminum housing is built for durability and longevity in mind.

The sight is waterproof so even if it’s raining or there’s moisture it won’t affect the clarity. The sight is also submersible down to 100 feet so you don’t have to worry about damage in case the sight gets wet.

The battery housing is conveniently placed so it doesn’t get in your way. With this sight you can use it day or night and there are a dozen brightness settings to choose from. There are even a couple of night vision options available here.

Pros

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    Bright clear red dot
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    Quality aluminum construction
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    Waterproof

Cons

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    Brightness controls are a bit tricky to adjust
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    Elevation clicks are hard to hear
Vortex Optics Sparc AR Red Dotx 40mm

Score: 4.7  Andrew Garfield

The Optics Sparc has anti-reflective coatings, providing you with superior transmission of light. The sight also has o-ring seals with nitrogen gas purging, which makes this waterproof and fogproof.

One of the more common problems with AR 15 scopes is they become impossible to use when it rains or fogs. However, the Sparc lens coating means you’ll still see clearly even if it is raining.

Mounting is a straightforward process and it’s just a matter of pointing and shooting. The sight is lightweight and durable so it’s suitable for use in different environments. The sight also controls are well-designed and make it simple to adjust the brightness and power. They’re easily accessible and can still be viewable as you’re shooting.

With its 2 MOA diameter you get more precise shooting, and it is also parallax free. Eye relief is unlimited so you don’t need to make any unnecessary adjustments. The sight also has a 2 hour auto shut down so the battery doesn't run off. For recreation and home defense, the Sparc works without a hitch.

Pros

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    Lifetime warranty
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    Solid build
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    Clear and sharp glass

Cons

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    Zeroing takes some adjustment
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    Doesn't work w as well with alkaline batteries
Primary Arms Advanced Micro Dot

Score: 4.7  Andrew Garfield

The Micro Dot sight is equipped with a 50,000 hour lifespan so you can use this for a long time without buying a replacement. The entire unit is waterproof so you’ll be able to use this in rain or fog. The MOA red dot is clear and bright so it won’t have an adverse effect on the performance.

The Micro Dut is also compatible with night vision so you can use it without difficulty. The Micro Dot is also equipped with an advanced LED system which allows it to conserve battery life much better than regular sights.

There are 12 brightness setting options so you can pick and choose the appropriate one. The lowest options are those for night vision so you still get good results even if it is dark.

The Primary Arms has a black anodized finish so it is more durable, and it only weighs 3.9 ounces so it is not going to tire you out. The unit also has a three year warranty  so it’s going to last a long time. There is also an optional riser which you can add to this.

Pros

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    Long battery life
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    3 year warranty
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    Has night vision compatibility

Cons

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    Made in China
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    The mounting hardware quality is average

Factors to Consider to Buy the Best AR-15 Rifle Scopes

Objective Lens

The bigger the objective lens, the more light the scope can gather. The objective lens is the glass which faces your target, and  the brighter the image, the better you’ll be able to see especially if you’re in a low lit environment. This can make the difference between hitting and missing your target. However, the larger the lens the heavier the scope gets.

Tubes

The larger the tube, the more light is transmitted, giving you greater flexibility when it comes to adjusting elevation and windage. What this means is a 30 mm tube provides more light than a 25.4 mm version.

The bigger tube also has a larger cross sectional area  by as much as 40%. However, this also means the glass is heavier by the same percentage.

Scope and Range

Only get a scope that is commensurate to your rifle’s range. Even the best scope is of no use if your bullets can only reach a certain range.

Magnification

Everyone has their idea of the right magnification level, but here are some factors to keep in mind.

  • The lower the magnification level, the larger your FOV (field of view) This makes it easy to evaluate the overall situation and acquire your target.
  • Higher magnification allows you to see things further out there. This can also mean easier time identifying or observing the target following acquisition.

Since both have their pros and cons, some shooters prefer to go with a variable scope that allows you to change the magnification. However they are more expensive than your regular scope and also heavier.

What Do Those AR-15 Scope Numbers Mean?

These scopes have numbers like 3-20x 50mm, 3-9x 40mm or 6x 43mm. Let’s break it down.

The first number indicates the scope’s magnification power. For instance, 6x or 9x means the target appears 6 or 9 times bigger than it is.

3x9 or 3x20 means the the scope has variable magnification. The number after the x denotes the objective lens’ diameter measured in mm.. The larger the lens, the more light it collects, giving you a brighter look even in dim light.  A smaller lens however, is lighter.

Fixed vs. Variable Scopes

Fixed focal length scopes are compact and less expensive than variable scopes. They are not as versatile, but they’re easy to use and provide a clear view. They also don’t produce as much distortion and have greater clarity. Variable scopes provide greater flexibility with some offering up to 30x power for long range use. The choice is up to you.

Types of Reticles

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  • Crosshair: this is the simplest reticle, with vertical and horizontal lines intersecting in the middle. Some also have holdover marks for adjusting the windage or elevation.
  • BDC: a BDC (drop bullet compensator) are very particular holdover marks used to determine the ballistic curve of the bullet. This is useful for long range shooting.
  • There are other types of reticles like the mil-dot which military snipers use.

Best AR 15 Red Dot Sights Recommendations For Buyer

The following are the top AR 15 red dot sights available today.  We know there are a lot of these and figuring out which one to buy takes too much time. Reviews help but again it’s not practical to go over each of the thousands posted online.

That’s why we did the work for you. We performed a thorough assessment of the best red dot sights and determined these three are the top. While other red dot sights have their own special features, the three below are the cream of the crop when it comes to performance, reliability and the right balance of weight and clarity.

These red dots are also designed with different buyers in mind. While advanced users will love the sophisticated features, these sights are also easy enough for beginners to use.

No red dot sights are perfect of course, which is why we have included pros and cons for each one. In addition, all the reviews take a detailed look at each of their features so you’ll know what they can do.

If you are serious about improving your AR 15 shooting experience and don’t want to compromise, then these three products are what you’re looking for. These are high end sights and should match the requirements of even the most discerning shooters.

As mentioned earlier, even the best AR 15 rifles won’t be able to do much unless you have the right scope, so check these out.

Conclusion

Buying a best AR-15 rifle scope is now more convenient than it used to be. However this hasn’t changed the fact that some people end up with low quality products because they assume they’re all built the same way.

Hopefully this guide here has shown there are many types of AR scopes and you must not settle for second best. With our first set of reviews you get to choose from the best available. In the second part of our review you got three of the top AR scopes for less than 200 dollars.

You’re probably now wondering which of these is the best. The answer is they’re all high quality which is why we included them here. Whichever you choose, you’re going to enjoy these and get more out of your AR 15.

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Andrew Garfield
 

Andrew is a predator. Have years of experience in hunting with a lot of expert knowledge in hunting technique, rifle, scopes and other tools of types of equipment that used for hunting.

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