One of the most popular hunting rifles in today’s market is perhaps the AR-15 Platform. Even if the actual root is military, it still is a standard for hunting activities.
It’s a perfect type rifle for small varmints and predator control. In short Ar-15 is light, reliable and an accuracy based weapon.
Once you get the right accessories, AR-15 will tend to bring down lots of big game. The most prominent extra tool is for sure a scope.
So finding the best ar 15 scope under $200 depending on your requirements is what I am planning to do in this article.
Best AR-15 Scope Under $200
Vortex Optics Diamondback Second Focal Plane Riflescopes – With Super Dead-Hold BDC MOA!
Diamondback from Vortex is a super scope that will give you more than a few great configurations to be a pro star in big games.
Its BDC reticle is good enough to survive in pro shooting or hunting. It gives decent performance for most ranges.
The lens is complete with multiple coatings, and so it gives a crystal clear image and viewing experience every time.
The fast focus eyepiece will help you never to miss a shot again. Also, it’s quick to get a firm grip and feels easy to hold.
Also, the metal precision turrets are tough and give quickly zero resetting capability. There’s argon purgation and O-ring to maintain waterproof and fog proof performance.
It’s a great scope with easy mounting and usability that almost any AR-15 rifle owner would love to have. With perfect and easy adjustments and clarity level so high, it’s a model that will rule the customer’s heart for a long time.
UUQ 2.5-10×40 Tactical Rifle Scope – Comes with Dual Illuminated Mil-dot Technology!
The UUQ 2.5-10×40 is a clarity genius providing optimum viewing of your prey or mark with maximum accuracy.
The 2.5x to 10x magnification is enough for various activities including short range hunting. Also, the 40mm objective lens does a great job to get a better light transmission.
The red and green illuminated reticle will give you multiple brightness intensities to deal with different lighting environments. You’ll manage to get great sights even in too dim or too bright lights.
There’s an on/off push button for the green light activation. Also, it features a removable micro reflex dot sight to get close viewing and follow fast moving targets.
The construction quality is fair enough to ensure durable performance. Its shock and fog proof with nitrogen purgation and O-ring sealing.
Even a high-end scope user will also like this reasonable model from UUQ. This is a perfect deal with optimum optics, durable construction and better target acquisition. There are no major flaws except the batteries. They sometimes don’t include them.
Bushnell Banner Riflescope – The Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle!
The Bushnell Banner with 3.3-Inch Eye Relief is a quality optic that is quite popular for its superior viewing capability.
The 3-9x magnification is great for close range hunters and practice rounds. The 40mm objective lens will gather enough light for better transmission.
Also, the HD display is stunning with perfect visuals for correct sharpness and brightness. The materials used to complete this excellent scope is all hundred percent quality elements, and they go from various tests.
The design looks premium, and so is the durability. It is built with precision to last for a long time. Also, this is a dusk and dawn scope to cope in various light situations.
No matter if you went shooting or hunting at early morning or late at night. It will perform well in both situations.
A mind-blowing scope that comes under two hundred dollar range. The Multi-X reticle with fingertip windage and elevation adjustments are a great addition to count in.
With superior optics and wide field of view, this will give you a great experience for hunting and shooting or simply wildlife viewing.
Vortex Optics Strikefire II Scope – The Red Dot Sights!
This Strikefire II bright red dot is a reliable shooting scope that will last even rugged behaviors. The shooter will have ten brightness option to choose from. This will help to shoot better at various light conditions.
The lens is complete and comes with multiple coatings. So the image and point of view are always full of clarity and enough bright also. You would enjoy quick target acquisition with the premium feature of unlimited eye relief.
One greater thing about this scope is its portability. The tool is very light, and so you can easily carry and take it to places. With nitrogen purgation and O-ring seals, this scope can also fight fog, shock and also water.
This is one of the best red dot scopes you can have. Even if the shape is a bit round, it doesn’t make any noticeable difference in the performance.
Also with brightness and dimming competence of the red dot, it becomes even more suitable for low light situations.
AT3 LEOS 2 MOA Red Dot Scope – With Flip Up Lens Caps and Integrated Red Laser Sight!
The AT3 LEOS is a premium quality scope to have in this price range. The 2 MOA Red Dot will give you crisp and clear images to look at. So hunting and shooting right at the bull’s mark will be super simple for anyone.
Also, there is a brilliant red laser to use. This comes with W/E adjustments. The battery life is also quite good and will run 50 hours straight.
The riser mount housing will give you enough convenience while using. Also, it includes a flip-up lens cap to protect your lens from various external damages.
The windage and elevation adjustments are working fine in most cases. The durable scope is a high-quality aluminum housing based tool to last long even with rugged usage. It comes with a lifetime AT3 warranty to make safety even more prominent.
An easy to install and simple usability makes it a fine choice for both hunting and shooting. Adjustments don’t make a huge difference for the crispness of the image. But it does not make the scope lose it worth. It’s still a superior choice for a mid-budget scope.
Monstrum Tactical 1-4×24 Rifle Scope – The First Focal Plane (FFP) with Illuminated BDC Reticle!
Mostrum Tactical is a flat dark earth shade premium precision tool that you can have under a hundred dollars. It’s a great magnification scope with 1x to 4x zooming ability. The 24mm objective does a decent job for good light transmission.
The eye relief is 4.5 inches and gives good viewing angles to feel comfortable while aiming. The first focal plane rangefinder reticle does a great job to give every detail even at maximum zooming mode.
There are two illumination modes, red and green. Both support multiple intensity levels.
It’s a complete package that comes with removable honeycomb filter sunshade, flip-up lens covers, scope rings, carry bag and all other things you might need.
The scope will do great in dim situations with lit reticles covering up. It does not lose focus even in higher magnification.
Nor does it lose the sharpness or details in zoomed images. With super comfy eye relief, windage and elevation adjustments, perfect eyepiece configurations it is a great choice for AR-15 scope.
Three Best AR 15 Scope Under $100
UTG 3-9X32 1″ BugBuster Scope – The Combination of AO, RGB Mil-dot & QD Rings!
The UTG 3-9X32 is a great close range scope that will give you great accuracy and shooting ability. Stay away from the fake products that originate from China.
The one-inch tube is covered with an emerald coating. So it gives better light transmission ratio. The zero lockable is premium and rapid. Its turrets are also resettable with less effort.
The Mil-dot reticle does a great job to create clear and bright images for hunter/shooter. You would be able to hit marks and shoot preys with optimal aiming and shooting performance. The lens is also adjustable from 3 yards to infinity range.
There is a red/green illumination method for versatile using. The wide field of view will give you a better look at closer objects. Also, it comes with super comfortable eye relief.
The scope is a great choice for users who want to have a tool for rugged and rough usage. There are no issues with functionality, QD rings, or withstanding the recoil of spring rifles. Overall it’s an optimum scope with good objective support and useful magnifications.
Pinty 2.5-10×40 AOEG – Red Laser Combo With Green Lens Color!
The Pinty 2.5-10×40 is an optimum scope for AR-15 that will give you good magnification with a better objective. It’s also a scene stealer for its hundred yards field of view.
The multiple coatings on its lens will boost the quality of pictures and give accurate shooting or targeting. The light transmission ratios are decent and good enough for sharp and detailed pictures.
The combination of red and green illumination comes with five brightness levels. You can optimize the brightness according to the environment you’re using the scope in.
It’s a quality laser scope that consists of a durable construction process. It’s also completely water and fog-proof. Thanks to the Nitrogen filled and O-ring sealed design.
It’s a great scope from a not so popular brand that will save both your money and effort. Once out of the box it will take less time to mount, and in small ranges, you’ll get a good spotting friend to rely on. As a beginner, this should be your perfect choice.
CVLIFE 2.5-10x40e Scope – Comes With Easy 20mm & 11mm Mount!
The CVLIFE 2.5-10x40e is a short to middle range hunting scope that will suit AR-15 rifles. The field of view is great enough to give you a clear image from closer shots.
Also, the multiple coating on a green lens will boast light transmission. So the image quality and resolution are super high to maintain clarity and enough brightness.
It’s a great AR-15 scope for most beginners. With basic features and great durability you also get two illumination mode. These will come with five intensity levels to cope up with various lighting conditions.
There’s nothing much disturbing about the performance. However, there is an issue with shipping sometimes. There’s some complaint about defective parts in packaging, and it could be a mistake.
This incident is not repeating as much as I know. But still, you need to have an idea about it. The better decision is to talk with the manufacturer beforehand and get the assurance.
Counting the Benefits!
My buyer’s guide and nine picks with all important details are here to make you walk the right way and get the perfect deal in a budget. Let’s begin!
For the perfect AR-15 optics, you’ll get thousands of options to choose from. Don’t get overwhelmed and take your time to weight each option.
Here’s some motivation on why you should get this excellent tool for your AR-15.
- At a distance, you’ll always get clean and accurate shots.
- To get that precious aiming you won’t have to rely on the brightest flashlight.
- A crystal clear image will make the chances of an easy shot more possible.
- Target acquisition will be rapid and reliable.
- In many different situations, you are going to get tactical edges.
- No matter what you are aiming at, there will be zero to no chance of missing it.
- The end of guessing yards.
- It will allow for big ranges.
- Use the most accuracy to shoot farther and tougher.
- By staying at a distance, you’ll be able to avoid hazardous conditions.
- It would also help you to get game recognition.
- Even when there’s an absence of cellular trail camera, you’ll still be able to figure out what animal you’re shooting.
- With sharp and crystal clear images you’ll be taking all trophies home.
- It’s super simple, unlike the iron sight line up.
- You would be able to hunt even in dawn or late at night.
- Perfect for huge game movements especially during dark hours so you would bag the hugest buck.
- You won’t have to leave multiple games since you’ll be able to provide more time for hunting in the field.
- It will let a noteworthy amount of actual light to pass through the optics making the view crisp.
- You will waste fewer bullets since it will reduce the chances of inaccurate shots.
Learning the Basics!
I want you to get some of the frameworks about a good scope before we jump into the other things. I’m sure many beginner hunters are reading this article, and this is for you my friend. It’s time to speed up some basics!
Starting with the numbers that denote magnification power. I know, figures can be confusing. I had a hard time figuring out the figures and numbers at first. I’m sure most of you will feel the same.
So what exactly those power numbers on the scope mean? Here’s a complete breakdown of specifications.
Power is the very first number that will catch your attention when you look at scopes. You would see a couple of numbers sticking with a multiplier. That’s the scope’s magnification power. I mean this numbers will point to what extent of distance you’ll be able to see.
Some of the common examples are 1-6×24 or 3×32. The 1 or 3 in both examples are the power of scope. High power scopes will have a higher magnification and deliver a large shooting distance.
If you notice there’s some kind of ranging in the number like 1-6, then realize it’s variable scope. Which means you will be able to change the power according to your needs.
This way you’ll be able to control more, unlike the ones that offer straight 4x or 3x. I hope it makes sense!
This increase in power will also increase the price tag. Non-variable scopes are cheaper than the ones that offer variations.
You can use the low power scopes for medium or short range hunting. However, to accomplish longer distance, a higher span scope will be more suitable.
The second number in the series is the objective size of that particular scope. Suppose a variable scope shows figure series like 1-5×24. Here the objective size is 24mm.
It is always calculated by millimeters. If you see a large number, then it means the lens size is bigger. To get a better field of view in the distance it is smart to get a bigger objective.
This will also let more light to pass through the optics. So it will help hunters who want to take the scope for low light hunting.
Now the bad news is with a huge lens you also invite bulk weight. So that will be a minus for all those chasers who want to take their AR-15 for long distance hunting.
The crosshair of your rifle scope refers to the reticle. Most people know it by that name. This is the main segment that allows you to aim and point your weapon before firing.
The green dot scopes will implement green dot reticles while the red dot scopes use red dot reticles. Simple difference!
Minute of Angle or MOA
Minute of Angle or the shorter form MOA is an angular calculation. This will get huger with the distance. It is a term that is particularly important for professional shooters.
They use it to make sure their groupings are tight within. While with casual hunters or shooters it has less importance.
Five inches at 500 yards is equal to 1 MOA. If anyone has the ideal MOA type then at 10 yards it will be able to shoot a one-inch group. Imagine three of the nearest shot holes out from a 20/10/5 shot group. It’s the spread of these three shot holes.
Eye Relief Span
This is the maximum distance of the scope from your face while you comfortably aim at prey. Have something that will give you enough room.
Remember that an AR-15 includes few recoils. So when it kick-back you don’t want to smash yourself in the face. The best ar 15 scope under $200 or $100 should have a comfortable eye relief distance.
How to Choose the Best Scope for AR-15
The old says you get what you pay for. That’s the same case with AR-15 optic. Wandering in the sea of optics will be confusing and complex.
However, with the price being a noteworthy factor there are some other things you need to judge over when getting a suitable scope? I’ll cover it up in six major sections. These are the things that I feel as most important for your scope buying journey.
What Is Your Purpose?
The first question I would want to ask is what are you going to use the scope for? I mean there are various reasons. Depending on a scenario there will be various types of scope you can get such as hunting or tactical.
Do you like to shot at a time? Is firing continuously your preference? What is more comfortable for you, variable or fixed? Where are you going to use the scope? Is it for a big shooting game? Are you okay with less field of view? And it goes on and on…
These are just a few questions, and your situation may still be something different. What I want to say is, it’s very important that you have your situation and purpose in mind while picking a scope.
If you are a casual hunter than going for a cheaper option will be okay. However, for professional use, you might want to spend a bit more. Since then you won’t want to compromise the quality where you are profession relies on the tool. This depends on the purpose you see.
There might be a need for having a tactical advantage. If that’s your case then the quality of the lens, zero mechanisms and magnification will play a big role. So, of course, you’ll have to focus on these three major functions.
If you have eye problems or you use specs, then a scope that works for others might not work for you simply because your case is different.
Moral of The Story: Considering your situation, rules and requirements are very important.
What is Your Skill Level?
The type of scope you buy will get an impact from what level of skill you have. This is a common field that most beginners will neglect and won’t care about. They think buying the trendiest scope with all heavy features is the smartest choice.
If we consider the history of AR-15, then the reality will hit hard. Truth is they are still using iron sights for merely two hundred rounds while practicing. So, just like the budget, the skill level is also a huge factor to make a difference.
If you are someone who is prone to 200 rounds shot with your first weapon then getting budget-friendly option is what you must consider. If you shot less than a thousand rounds, there’s no need to spend more than two hundred dollars for a scope.
Use the leftover money for other tools to increase your practice pace. That way you’ll be able to get good with your AR-15 rifle.
Later get a mid-level scope for distance as soon as you overtake the intermediate phase. Once you get better with hitting target regularly, then spend big money on high-quality, expensive scopes. That will make more sense!
Moral of The Story: Novice hunters should spend less money on optics and more time for practice.
What Optic Features Should You Get?
Features of your optics are the most important consideration you must think about. Not every scope is the same. Because of a few features, your budget might overtake, and that’s important if you want it for a specific purpose.
This is the area where spending some extra money is acceptable. If you are most likely to use your gun in low lights, then get a scope that allows for more light transmission so that it can make the field of view much clear and easy to see.
However, when you need the scope only for daytime usage then think about having a slight bit extra latitude.
On the other hand, simply stay with iron sights when you are planning to do some close range hunting. Because for that case distance should not be a big matter.
You might want to get the red dot scope for short distances. Try to get a quality scope from a popular and well-known brand.
A good reputation manufacturer will ensure their reticles are high quality and can provide clear vision. Only then you’ll be able to see your target.
Another good news for red dot scope seekers is that you can get extra magnifiers for it. This feature will help you to extend the dot in the distance to see farther away things more clearly. Also, this will reduce the need for multiple optics.
An important reminder, there is some magnifier that will leave no space in your AR-15. So your plan might be to use BUIS, but you won’t be able to run it. Anyone who plans to shoot short-medium targets should spend money on a comfortable hit scope.
Moral of The Story: A few features are worth it while others are not necessary depending on your requirements.
Where Are the Scope Made?
I know USA manufactured optics are expensive. Still, some of the enthusiasts will want to buy those. Also, some of them will get pissed off when you mention getting any scope from overseas dealers.
Some will stop you from buying a Nikon scope saying the glass is crap or UTG is a complete waste of money. Simply because the glass is from China and so they will tag is as trash. Fine, we get it!
However, some budget-conscious folks are existing and for them wanting a little bit of an extra edge is nothing wrong.
Brands like Bushnell, Nikon or UTG, are some versatile sellers who provide good scopes for AR-15. They might not be as high quality as Leopold but not worthless for sure.
If you are a competitive shooter, I would not expect you to search for a budget section scope anyway. So when a lesser experience shooter wants to find a way within the less expensive brands, then it doesn’t mean there isn’t value here.
Getting a cheaper version from an overseas manufacturer is far better than spending a whole lot of money simply by guessing and for the sake of high-end brand reputation because most of the high-end scope’s features will not fit your activities as a non-professional or beginner shooter/hunter.
It’s not that I don’t support American made scopes for weapons. The thing is that keeping yourself limited to a particular idea will end up handicapping yourself.
First getting a less expensive scope for practicing plus developing skills and then jumping to an expensive one will be ergonomically good for you. So focus on a brand with a good reputation and satisfied customers. I’m sure you’ll get a decent scope within the budget.
Moral of The Story: Buying an Overseas brand is OK. Get something comfortable and keep on practicing.
What Type of AR-15 Rifle You Have?
The kind of optic you would pick will also depend on what type of AR-15 rifle you own. Because it will dictate the hardware, you should equip with it.
The relieving fact here is that most AR-15 rifles are super simple to mount with scopes. I mean if you are using a modern version and not the old style Colt rifle.
The conventional one will have a casted carry handle inside with the upper. On the modern versions, you would find either fittings or rail to mount scopes.
The 1913 rail running the length of the receiver is the most popular one right now. By chance, if you have a carry handle, still you would be able to mount a scope on it. However, it would be a nightmare ergonomically.
It will not give you a decent cheek weld since the sight line is way too high. Also the canting will turn into a serious accuracy disaster. As a hunter getting an AR with flat-top receiver should be your first choice.
Also, consider the cost of your weapon. If you own a cheap version of the rifle then spending money for an expensive scope doesn’t make sense.
Use that money and upgrade the quality of your rifle once you get out from the beginner’s zone and step into expertise. Then eventually you can get an expensive scope as well.
So the most important thing to note here is that a carrying handle will ruin and limit your scope options. Also, it will make hunting an uncomfortable task for you.
There are huge choices of tactical rails as well as flat top receivers. You can equip these on your AR-15 and make it more flexible easily.
Moral of the Story: Prefer a flat top receiver including rails for hunting activities. Then you would have a variety of scope options to choose from.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which focal plane should I choose?
There are two kinds of focal plane options to choose from: the front and the rear focal plane. The first one is for tactical uses.
It helps to focus on the image quicker. Also, this focal plane design has multiple configurations on its reticle.
The rear one will help in low light environments more. This might make usability get within a limit.
If you need faster targeting, get front focal. While for low light hunting get the rear focal.
Is it okay to get a scope without parallax adjustments?
Getting a scope that does not have parallax adjustments can be a bit risky for certain situations. You might simply have to sight again and again.
With the parallax adjustments, you’ll be able to get your scope back to being accurate when you find it off in the field.
This will save you both money and time. So it is a better option to get a scope that includes this feature.
Should I get a high magnification scope for deer hunting?
There are so many people like you who think deer hunting needs high magnification. Especially the ones who are beginners. Just think it out this way. While hunting for a deer, you will never have to shoot far more than two-hundred yards.
So a scope that offers maximum 12x magnification is more than enough for that range. You won’t be finding a deer on wide stretches of land anyways.
So in wooded areas, a high magnification scope will only show you zoomed tree trunks. A 3x-9x scope will be a perfect pick for this case.
What rings should I get?
A common mistake that I see more than often is people getting tall rings for scopes. Never do this! You need to mount the scope as low as possible.
Most of the time the objective lens plays the deciding factor of how low a scope must be mounted.
Why the adjustments are named windage and elevation?
Yes, it’s true that the adjustments are perfectly vertical and horizontal. So you might think that’s the only reason for such naming.
However, these terms are very old. If we travel back to the history of distance shooting, we will know more.
These terms are used for a long time ago and for repeated using they became a standard today. The adjustments refer to adjusting the reticle right or left and elevating to optical sights.
In a nutshell, the best ar 15 scope under 200 & 100 dollars must tailor all your needs. No matter if it’s for marksmanship, home security, tactical use or simply hunting, you will need a suitable scope for it.
AR-15 scopes are durable, and they last while making a long list of features always available for you. You’ll find a scope that will serve your specific purpose. All you need is to take your time and choose wisely.
Once finding the right one, you’ll be enjoying the much-needed thrill every shooter or hunter deserves to have. Just do your homework well. You wish you fun getting your perfect scope!