Definitive Guide to Buying Best AR 15 Scope (Tactical & Hunting)

best ar scopes

The modularity of the AR-15 makes it the most customizable rifle in the United States. You can add nearly anything you want to this gun, from grenade launchers to cup holders. One of the most common, and most useful, additions is an optic.

best-red-dot-for-ar15

Adding a rifle scope or red dot sight is a drastic improvement to any AR 15 rifle. In fact, it would likely be the first upgrade I'd suggest to new AR 15 owners. The addition of a quality optic that works for your rifle and your end goal is a must-have.

In a Hurry? Here is Our Top Pick

SIG-Sauer-Romeo5

SIG Romeo 5

The price of SIG Romeo 5 varies, so check the latest price at

How do you find a quality optic that will match your mission or end goal? Well, that's why you're here. If you're just looking for recommendations, you can find those below.

PRODUCT

DETAILS

Products

SIG Romeo 5

SIG Sauer Romeo5

SIG Romeo 5

  • Magnification: 1 x
  • Reticle: 2 MOA
  • Material: Aluminum

Aimpoint PRO

Aimpoint PRO

Aimpoint PRO

  • Magnification: 1 x
  • Reticle:2 MOA Dot
  • Material‎: Hard Anodized Aluminum Alloy

Trijicon RMR

Trijicon RMR

Trijicon RMR

  • Magnification: 1x
  • Reticle:3.25 MOA 
  • Battery Type: CR2032

Aimpoint CompM4

Aimpoint Comp M4

Aimpoint CompM4

  • Magnification: 1 x
  • Reticle:2 MOA
  • Color: Black

EoTech EXPS3

EoTech EXPS3

EoTech EXPS3

  • Dimensions:11.2 ounces
  • Weight:1.3 pounds
  • Night Vision:CompatibleGen 1-3

SIG Sauer Tango6

SIG Sauer

SIG Sauer Tango6

  • Magnification:1 - 6 x
  • Objective Diameter:24 mm
  • Exit Pupil:4 - 24 mm

Primary Arms SLx

Primary Arms

Primary Arms SLx

  • Magnification: 1-6x
  • Battery Type:CR2032 3V 
  • Length: 10.0 in

Vortex Optics Razor HD

Vortex Optics

Vortex Optics Razor HD

  • Magnification:1 - 6 x
  • Exit Pupil:4 - 24 mm
  • Battery Type: CR2032

Leupold VX-Freedom

Leupold VX

Leupold VX-Freedom

  • Magnification: 3-9X
  • Weight: 12.2 oz.
  • Length: 12.39 in.

Vortex Optics Spitfire

vortex-spitfire-3x-prism-scope

Vortex Optics Spitfire

  • Magnification:3 x
  • Reticle:EBR-556B MOA
  • Battery Type: CR2032

Trijicon ACOG

trijicon_acog

Trijicon ACOG

  • Magnification: 4 x
  • Exit Pupil: 8 mm
  • Material: Forged Aluminum

Bushnell AR

trijicon_acog

Bushnell AR

  • Type: Scope
  • Magnification: 1-4x
  • Diameter: 24mm

Nikon P-223

trijicon_acog

Nikon P-223

  • Type: Scope
  • Magnification: 4-12x
  • Reticle: 600 BDC

Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen 1

trijicon_acog

Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen 1

  • Magnification: 6-24X50
  • Diameter: 30mm
  • Reticle: EBR-1 MOA

Burris MTAC

trijicon_acog

Burris MTAC

  • Magnification: 1-4X24
  • Diameter: 30mm
  • Reticle: Ballistic Plex CQ 7.62

Tract Toric

trijicon_acog

Tract Toric

  • Magnification: 3-15X50
  • Diameter: 30mm
  • Reticle: w/BDC

Let's talk about why these optics are so effective, and then we'll guide you through choosing the best scope for AR-15.

What Does an AR-15 Optic Do For You?

Why would you install an optic on your AR-15? What does it offer for you that the BUIS for an AR-15 can't? To be fair you can do a lot with standard sights, and with the right skills, you can engage man-sized targets out to 500 yards.

red dot on rifle

With an optic though, you can do this faster, more accurately, and more precisely than any set of iron sights. A variable optic most obviously gives you the ability to see your target at long distances. You can see, and shoot smaller targets out to 500 yards with relative ease.

Modern magnified scope makes it easier to compensate for windage and elevation differences, as well as bullet drop.

What if you don't want to shoot that far away? What if you're going to stick to under 200 yards? Well, BUIS will work, but a reflex sight will work better. You'll be faster, more precise and have less difficulty using your optic in low light conditions.

Dot sights allow you to take faster follow up shots, transition between targets faster, and they can be effectively used with night vision devices.

aimpoint h2

Regardless of the type of optic, it's always quicker and easier to use a reticle than to line up BUIS. Reticles are also easier to focus on than standard sights. They can do a lot, and I believe every AR should have a set of iron sights as a backup option, but modern optics really are the way to go

They should be a backup because everything iron sights can do, can be done better with an optic. What an optic can't do is give you the skills and fundamentals needed to hit your target. You'll still need to provide those.

Types of AR-15 Optics

We mentioned magnified and red dot optics for ar 15 . These are the two main categories of optics out there. Their name pretty much says it all. A magnified optic allows you to have a magnified perspective of what's in front of you.

A red dot sight is a non-magnified optic that uses a dot reticle. The red dot is a generic name, as some dots are now green or amber. These optics are technically not ''red'', but get scooped into the same category.

Inside the Magnified and Red Dot categories are several subcategories. Let's explore those briefly to give you an idea of some of the terms you'll be seeing throughout this guide.

Magnified AR-15 Scopes

Magnified best ar 15 scopes are commonly used for hunting and tactical purposes. If you're building a varmint blaster to take care of your local prairie dog problems, this is likely the route you want to go.

Magnified optics are generally broken down into two categories, variable, and fixed-power.

Variable-Power Optics

Variable-power optics are optics that have multiple magnifications. They are the most common ar-15 sight out there, and are used by hunters, soldiers, competitors, and plinkers. They are often very versatile and allow a rifle to be used effectively at a wide variety of shooting range.

Variable optics are often larger and slightly more complicated in build design. Because there are so many out there, you'll be able to find nearly any combination of magnification at almost any price.

Fixed-Power Optics

Fixed-power rifle scopes are simple devices that usually offer low to moderate power magnification. These ar 15 scopes are often lighter in weight than a variable optic. They are also cheaper because they use a sfp reticle because you don't get the benefits of a ffp reticle when there's no variation in magnification.

Fixed power rifle scopes are a little more robust in design, but harder to find a wide variety of. Most are aimed at tactical use or as hunting scope.

Red Dot/Holographic Sights

Red dots and holographic sights are fairly similar but work a little bit differently. There are advantages and disadvantages to each.

Holographic Sights 

There is some debate if these optics count as red dots. They meet the necessary requirements, so we'll include them as a subcategory. A holographic sight uses a laser transmission hologram of a reticle image broadcasted to holographic film.

These optics allow the user to have an optic similar in design to a red dot in terms of size and intended use, but a more diverse and versatile reticle. These reticles will often have multiple applications and can be used at different ranges.

Holographic sights are slightly preferable to red dots in most cases due to the fact that they project the image of the reticle over the target so as far as your eye relief is concerned, you only have to focus on one plane of your vision. With a traditional red dot reflex sight , the dot is projected in front of the target for target acquisition, which means you have two planes to focus on.

eotech xps3

Practically, this speeds up your target acquisition time with a holosight, and can help if you have astigmatism.

However, fancy lasers and holograms don't come cheap, and most holosights are way more expensive than your average sight. Also, despite what you might hear, they do not eliminate parallax. They do lessen it however.

Red Dot Sights

Red dot sights use a simpler LED light to project an aiming dot in front of your target, which gives you an easy place to aim. You do have to train with these a little more than you do with a holosight if you want to be super proficient with them, but they're still much easier to use than iron sights (and faster).

There are also two types of red dot sights. First, there are tube-style prismatic sights like the Vortex Spitfire. These red dot sight are like small, fixed-power scopes but offer no magnification and require fewer lenses.

Next, you have reflex sights. These often come with a square or rectangular window. These optics are super small and are perfect on small ARs. Many are small enough to be used on handguns as well

Miniature dot sights often fulfill the role of a backup optic when the AR is rocking a highly magnified optic. A miniature optic by itself can be a great design for close combat ARs as well.

Matching Optics to ARs: Picking the Best Scope for Your AR-15

At the beginning of the article, we talked about matching your optic to your goal. This is critical for you to get the best ar 15 scopes. With all the AR-15s and optics out there, there isn't a reason to compromise what you want.

Let's take a look at the common uses for an AR 15 and the type of optics that fulfill the mission.

Home-Defense: A dot sight of any kind is perfect for the close quarter's requirements of a home defense rifle or M4 carbine rifle with optics attachment .

Hunting: Hunting is a dynamic sport, so a low powered best 1-6x scope or 3-9x is perfect here.

best red dot for ar

Special Purpose Rifle: Like hunting the tactical DMR/SPP rifle can be used in a wide variety of situations and a 2.5-10x is an excellent choice.

Duty Use: Depending on the environment a duty rifle may be best served with either a dot or a low powered optic. You probably want a best AR 15 scope with low or no magnification on the bottom end if it's variable, or a 2-4x magnification scope if it's a fixed-power option.

Plinking/Fun: A just for fun gun can really have anything you want optics wise. I've found myself having the most fun with an affordable dot sight, but you're the master of your own destiny here.

If you really want the over-sized 30x mil-dot reticle scope for long-range shooting or target shooting, this is where I'd put it, on a range toy.

Alright, with all that out of the way, let's take a look at the list.

We've tested, used, and abused just about every AR 15 scope on the planet at this point, and we've gathered up our list of the best ones so you can choose the perfect option for your gun.

Remember, what works for me might suck for you, and I might hate whatever works for you. Choose the one that makes sense for your specific needs.

16 Best Scopes For AR-15

Let’s start with...

Red dot Sight and holosights are great for close-range applications like brush hunting, tactical use, home defense, and many rifle competitions. These are the best red dots out of the many, many options we tested.

1. SIG Romeo 5

ar sights

The SIG Romeo 5 is one of the best budget-friendly red dot on the market. It's lightweight and capable. The Romeo 5 red dot is a simple design that incorporates some excellent and modern technology.

This red dot is Part of this tech is the MOTAC (Motion Activated Illumination) that turns the device off when not in use, but turns on as soon as the weapon is moved. This keeps your red dot always ready, but also expands your optic's battery life.

Speaking of battery life, the Romeo 5 squeezes out 5000 hours from a single CR 2032 battery. The device has 8 daylight settings and 2-night vision modes. The optic has a 2 MOA dot that's perfect for precise shots.

The Romeo 5 is completely waterproof and has an IPX-7 rating. This means it can be submerged up to 1 meter. It's also a fog proof optic. It's designed specifically for the AR platform and sits high enough to co-witness with standard AR 15 iron sights .

The SIG optic is extremely easy to use. The controls are simple and intuitive and is exactly what we need. This is great as a plinking optic and wouldn't be a bad choice for a home defense or duty optic for law-enforcement either.

It would even be at home if you're running the same optic and AR-15 rifle for both general use and competition.

SIG-Sauer-Romeo5

Sig Sauer Romeo5

The price of Sig Sauer Romeo5 varies, so check the latest price at

2. Aimpoint PRO

The Aimpoint Patrol Rifle Optic, or PRO, is a rugged and reliable dot AR scope that is perfect for home defense and duty use.

aimpoint pro pi

Short-barreled AR 15s are all the rage right now. From AR pistols to short-barreled rifles, smaller has become better. As you shrink the barrel of a rifle you shrink its effective range and ballistic potential. It really got some high durability.

A smaller rifle is often smaller due to easier use in CQB, so you want a capable red dot optic.

Aimpoint designed the first red dot, and have only continued to perfect the concept. The PRO has 10 settings, 6 for daytime use, 4 for night vision use. The optic is powered by a single 3V lithium battery and will last a staggering 30,000 hours of battery life.

The Aimpoint is waterproof up to 150 feet of water and designed to take a beating. Make no mistake or error about it, this is a go-to-war rifle optic. It will take whatever you toss at it and just keep going.

The Aimpoint is compatible with Aimpoint magnifiers and comes equipped with an AR scope mount . Have confidence in the fact that whatever task you face, the Aimpoint will help you deal with it.

Aimpoint-PRO

Aimpoint PRO

The price of Aimpoint PRO varies, so check the latest price at

3. Trijicon RMR

trijicon rmr2

The Trijicon RMR is the gold standard when it comes to miniature red dots. This was one of the first built with duty use in mind. This Trijicon RMR is designed for combat use and has been widely issued throughout the military.

This particular model is perfect for being mounted as a backup optic on an DMR/SPP. It does not replace your magnified optic, but it does give you a close range option should you find yourself at bad breath distance from your targets for target acquisition.

The dual illumination model is solar and battery-powered so it's always capable of running. It's equipped with a 13 MOA dot for close-quarters, and to be quick for the eye to pick up. There are dozens of different mount options out there that allow you to mount the optic directly to the larger optic, or at an offset angle with using an offset iron sight .

The RMR is the most rugged miniature dot sight out there, and it can be hit with dirt, water, dust and more and just keep kicking. When it comes to high stress, high-intensity close quarter's shooting the RMR can be an absolute lifesaver.

This makes a great secondary optic on a 45-degree mount, or for mounting on top of a fixed-power optic like the ACOG above.

Trijicon-RMR

Trijicon RMR

The price of Trijicon RMR varies, so check the latest price at

4. Aimpoint CompM4

aimpoint pro

How do you choose just 1 optic as the best tactical red dot scope? Well, you look for years of proven performance, with a history of success, and combat experience. The Aimpoint CompM4 is that optic.

It's been in use by the US Army for almost the entirety of the Global War on Terror and proven itself as the premier dot optic. The CompM4 is a full-sized red dot scope that's compatible with night vision devices, magnifiers, and more. The optic is made entirely from 6000 series aluminum for a robust and dynamic rifle scope option.

The glass is optically ground instead of cast for superior clarity and long-lasting performance. The CompM4 is fully multi coated lenses for use in low light situations and to guarantee a crystal clear picture.

The optic lasts a staggering 80,000 hours on a single double A battery. This optic is also fully waterproof, shockproof, and fog proof. It comes with a QRP2 mount, which is a quick release design that's built for AR height sights.

The Aimpoint CompM4 is a well-made and proven choice, one that has been fighting a harsh war in harsh conditions for well over a decade now. It's an optic you can truly trust your life to.

Aimpoint-Comp-M4

Aimpoint CompM4

The price of Aimpoint CompM4 varies, so check the latest price at

5. EoTech EXPS3

Holographic sights are less common than reddots, but one company truly dominates the holographic optics market. Known as Eotech they set a standard yet to be reached by other optic's companies. From their box design to their reticle Eotech optics are unique and the EoTech EXPS3 might be their best offering yet.

eotech xps3

These are designed at AR sight heights for co-witnessing and function extremely well on the AR design. They have a built-in mount and come in a variety of sizes. The EXPS3 holographic sight is a simple model. It uses a single CR 123 for a compact battery compartment.

The reticle is a 65 MOA ring with a stadia on the top, bottom, left and right sides of the circle. In the middle is a single 1 MOA dot. The reticle is designed for both medium and short range engagements.

At close range, the user fills the big ring with the target and lets lead fly. At extended ranges, between 50 and 200 yards, you use the centered single MOA dot. This makes both CQB and moderate distance shooting easy and intuitive.

EOTech optics are built like tanks too. The EXPS3 is small, but it's a brick. It can take whatever abuse you can toss at it. The system can run between 600 to 1000 hours continuously depending on the quality of battery and the settings, and it works amazingly well with a flip-up magnifier.

EoTech-EXPS3

EoTech EXPS3

The price of EoTech EXPS3 varies, so check the latest price at

If you looking for an Eotech alternative that doesn't cost you so much, then must check out our guide on best Eotech replicas.

Best Magnified Optics for the AR-15

Between fixed-power battle sights like the Trijicon ACOG, or battle-ready low-power variable optics like the Vortex Optics Strike Eagle, many shooters enjoy running magnified optics on their AR, especially for hunter.

6. SIG Sauer Tango6 1-6x24

Choosing the best tactical scope was easy. In fact, the Army chose it for me. The Army just announced the adoption of the SIG Sauer Tango6 1-6x24. The Tango6 is a 1-6x power variable power scope that's lightweight and compact. It's the perfect candidate for any standard rifle length AR-15.

sig tango6

The Tango6 is a professional-grade optic that is packed full of tactical features. This includes tactical turrets for easy fingertip adjustable adjustments to make those field necessary changes. The turrets are all and easy to reach, as well as heavily textured for a sure grip when wearing gloves.

At the 1x setting you have an effective CQB optic for busting through doors, or more likely for killing it in friendly battles. Dialing up the magnification gives you a more effective overall scope for AR-10 and those long range or precision shots.

The Tango6 has an illuminated reticle that utilizes the MOTAC system to preserve the battery while providing an always ready option. It features crystal clear extra-low dispersion glass, as well as high transmittance glass for use in low light shooting. The sight picture is to die for, and you'll have more than you can handle with this bad boy.

SIG-Sauer

SIG Sauer Tango

The price of SIG Sauer Tango varies, so check the latest price at

7. Primary Arms SLx 1-6x24mm SFP

primary arms slx 1-6

Low-powered variable optics absolutely rule, and the Primary Arms brand is some of the best out there for high-end ar 15 scopes. These variable optics are designed to give you the versatility of both a magnified optic and a red dot scope.

The Primary Arms SLx 1-6x is an affordable, but high-quality rifle scope that Primary Arms have designed to be their flagship LPVO. This optic is outfitted with the Primary Arms ACSS reticle, which is designed for both the 5.56 and 308 calibers. It features drop points out to 800 yards.

It's a short and lightweight scope that's perfect for modern semi-auto rifles and does a good job of being tough, as light as it is. The scope is IP67-rated for water resistance and it's shock- and fog-proof as well. The SLx is made from 6063 aluminum and comes with a tough flat matte black anodized finish.

The Primary Arms SLx comes with a lifetime warranty and is ridiculously affordable.

The SLx also has an illuminated reticle, with 11 different brightness settings, and at the 1X setting, it works as a quick response option, much like a red dot scope. The reticle becomes handier once you zoom out and get on target, but it still has generous eye relief and fast target acquisition on the low-end for those close-in shots.

Primary-Arms

Primary Arms SLx

The price of Primary Arms SLx varies, so check the latest price at

If you are looking for an alternative for Primary Arms 1-6x24 scope, Check out our hands on vortex 1-6x24mm riflescope review.

8. Vortex Optics Razor HD Gen II 1-8x24mm

If you're after the absolute best variable power magnification scope, then the Vortex Razor HD Gen II is the one quality scope you're looking for.

strike eagle 1-8x

Though expensive, this 1-8x scope is well worth the money. The glass is crystal clear at all magnifications, and the magnification range is just about perfect for the AR-15 unless you're running some of the niche long-range calibers like .224 Valkyrie.

For inside 600 yards, this optic is perfect. It also fits really well on top of a standard AR-15 receiver with it's smaller overall footprint and objective lens covers.

The low-profile locking illumination knob has off settings between each brightness level so you will never be more than one click away from turning the optic off, or flicking it back on to your previously-chosen brightness level.

The glass is also absolutely superb and is fully-multicoated with Vortex's XR+ anti-reflective coating that aids light transmission and cuts down on glare. Zeroing is quick and easy with the resettable turrets, and you have multiple BDC reticle options so your elevation holds will be spot on as long as you know your ammo.

Finally, you get Vortex optic excellent lifetime warranty and stellar customer support, so even if you do manage to damage the one-piece aircraft-grade aluminum tube, you're still in good shape.

Vortex-Optics-Review

Vortex Optics Razor HD Gen II

The price of Vortex Optics Razor HD Gen II varies, so check the latest price at

9. Leupold VX Freedom 3-9x40mm

VX-Freedom line is a favorite with hunters, so it's probably not a surprise to see the 3-9x40 here taking the top spot out of the hunting scope.

best ar red dot

If you're looking to hunt game with your AR, then this is the best option around. The Twilight Light Management lens coating that comes standard on the Freedom line gives you extra shooting time in the stand late in the afternoon and early in the morning, and cuts glare when it's sunny out.

You also get some added scratch-resistance thanks to this coating. The 1" aircraft-grade aluminum tube is also o-ring sealed and nitrogen purged and is 100% waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof.

Leupold also beats the living hell out of all their scopes during their testing, so it should come as no surprise that this thing is basically a tank.

Leupold-VX

Leupold VX-Freedom

The price of Leupold VX-Freedom varies, so check the latest price at

If you want to know more about that scope, then must check out leupold vx-freedom 3-9x40 review

10. Vortex Optics Spitfire

Prism dot scopes are best for very close range targets situations as in military and police building clearing, or even low light work from close or long range urban sniper positions. I have used these systems for many years as applied to crossbow hunting from high-level tree stands. The optics as used in this situation are flat out deadly.

spitfire

Vortex offers a series of prism scopes , and this one is a starter model at the budget scope price, but rest assured it will do the job. Using a prism-based system allows the scope unit to be compact as in fitting an M-4 or AR-15, and at the same time, optical quality is not at all compromised. With a fully multi coated lenses and coated with an anti-reflective material, the scope offers bright viewing even in low light conditions.

The Vortex Spitfire 3x is a prism scope that is designed to take a lickin' and keep on kickin'. In technical terms, this is a waterproof, shockproof, fogproof, and damn-near idiot-proof optic.

It has just enough magnification to reach out and touch something, while still giving you a wide enough field of view to work well in close-in shooting situations. Sighting and zeroing are easy thanks to the simple adjustments so you'll be able to get up and running quickly.

Instead of a traditional crosshair, you get more of a red dot-style reticle that is etched directly on the prism of the scope to ensure it stays extremely accurate and centered no matter how much abuse the optic takes.

You also get five levels of illumination and red or green reticle options, several of which work well with night vision scope.

Overall, it's a very compact optical system that gives you good flexibility no matter what you're doing with your AR. If you're going for a multi-purpose build, this is a great option to top your rifle with.

Vortex-Optics-Spitfire

Vortex Optics Spitfire

The price of Vortex Optics Spitfire varies, so check the latest price at

If you want to know more about that products and its alternative, then check out our detailed Vortex optics Spitfire 3x review.

11. Trijicon ACOG 4x32mm 

acog

If you told me "You're going to a fight right now," and I could choose one optic for my rifle it would be the Trijicon ACOG 4x32mm. Why?

Because I went to war with one and it never stopped kicking ass. The Trijicon ACOG scope is a fixed power rifle scope that comes in a variety of different magnifications. My magnification of choice is 4x.

It provides both long range and medium range performance. It's remarkably simple to have man-sized target acquisitions at 500 yards. The built-in BDC reticle is simple to use and comes complete with a range finding capability.

The hash marks that are used for different ranges are all scaled to the average man's shoulder width. So if you place the 300-yard reticle on a man's shoulders and it matches he is roughly 300 yards away.

This is a combat optic through and through. It will take a massive amount of abuse and never stop working. The illuminated reticle is powered by a combination of tritium and fiber optics for battery-free illumination.

The scope is designed around the AR family of rifles, Not to mention it's foolproof and in use around the world due to its dependability and robust nature. Nothing short of a bomb stops an ACOG and You can always check out trijicon vcog if you want something else.

trijicon_acog

Trijicon ACOG

The price of Trijicon ACOG varies, so check the latest price at

12. Bushnell AR FFP 1-4x24mm Optic

Bushnell designed the AR line from the ground up to provide users with a dedicated AR 15 optic. The AR optic line from Bushnell includes several scopes, but the best variable is easily the 1-4x scope model. This lightweight scope's variable magnification allows it to be at home at both CQB and at distances out to 500 yards.

The AR Optics's small 24mm lens is big enough to do its job but small enough to remain compact. These AR-15 Scopes are equipped with a bullet drop compensating reticle that reaches out and provides holdovers out to 500 yards. This reticle is tuned specifically for the 5.56 round and the AR 15 rifle.

It completely eliminates the guesswork involved in taking long-range shots. The user simply places the appropriate hash mark on the target and pulls the trigger. It's easy to use and makes rapid, long-range fire possible.

The Bushnell AR Optic is a first focal plane scope. This means the reticle grows and shrinks as the magnification is increased or decreased. This keeps the BDC measurement accurate at any magnification level.

For all these features to be packed into an optic that costs less than 300 bucks shouldn't be ignored. This is an outstanding deal for an excellent variable optic.

Bushnell AR Optics

Bushnell AR FFP 1-4x24mm

The price of Bushnell AR FFP 1-4x24mm Optic varies, so check the latest price at

13. NIKON P-223 3-9×40 BDC 600 - AR Hunting Scope

The Nikon P-223 series is built for the AR 15 from the ground up. These excellent and affordable optics feature Nikon's always excellent P223 BDC reticle. This reticle gives user hash marks out to 600 yards that automatically compensate for predicted bullet drop.

The P-223 comes ready out of the box and is equipped with a P-series optic mount that is designed for the AR 15 and similar rifles like M&P 15-22 . The P-223 is equipped with the Spot On Wind meter that gives shooters the ability to easily compensate for wind.

The P-223 has a variable magnification that falls in between4 to 12 power for a diverse range of situations. Form the brush to the open field the Nikon P-223 has you covered. This 15 ounce, 12.4-inch rifle scope is quite compact and will easily fit your standard flat top AR 15.

The P-223 series is a great hunting scope. It's fog proof, as well as waterproof. It will withstand the mild AR 15 recoil for decades without much issue. The mildot reticle is handy, but also simple and the sight picture isn't overly crowded.

Deer should fear a hunter equipped with an AR 15 and a Nikon P-223.

Nikon P-223

NIKON P-223

The price of NIKON P-223 varies, so check the latest price at

14. Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen 1 6-24X50 - Long Range Scope

The Vortex Gen 1 PST scope is offered to shooters in the ffp, meaning that the crosshairs will enlarge right along with the scope's adjusted power setting. This scope is best utilized when applying advanced high performance rounds, such as the .224 Valkyrie, in that this cartridge will push the range limits of the AR-15 rifle platform to 1000 yards and beyond.

The larger 30mm main tube is machined from a piece of solid aluminum stock, and as such retains strength as well as the ability to house parts under some major level of protection.

With matching turret and reticle measurements, the turret clicks are in line with the graduations as applied to the sub-tension display. The EBR-2C Enhanced "Battle Reticle" is hash-marked in MRADS so as to give the shooter the ability to crank for addition range on a target quickly, and also estimate exact range using a gap system as such.

The scope retains a custom-style zero return system that can be adjusted to fit the shooter's needs regarding a specific round of ammunition.

This scope is built using premium components as in the springs and other internal parts. The lifeline of the optic system is long and effective as a field or target system.

This scope is equipped with a fiber optic turret rotation indicator, and makes for a good low light tactical position reference in the field. I can attest to the fact that this feature is also god for early morning and late evening shots on game animals versus guessing at the scope magnification on windage adjustment in the half light of either side of the day.

I own several of these AR15 optic in varied configurations. As such, I can attest to the fact that they work and work out well in both field and target applications. Money well spent with a total disregard in terms of worry on the part of the owner.

Vortex Optics Viper PST

Vortex Optics Viper PST

The price of Vortex Optics Viper PST varies, so check the latest price at

If you are fond of vortex viper PST generation, then must check out or detailed vortex viper PST 1-4x24 review.

15. Burris MTAC 1-4X24

Downsizing a bit from the previous glass sight, the Burris 200437, or dedicated AR sight, comes into play. This scope carries a warranty for life and today that counts for a great deal at the price of things.

Made with high-quality materials, and to that I can again attest, this scope brand carries the mail for me often from a 338 Lapua long-range gun, to the 221 Fireball in a turkey rifle.

The main tube on this scope is a full 30mm, and that means heavy internals and ample turret adjustments with a best eyepiece. This scope is basically designed for competitive shooting (Three Gun). However, it is powered at 4X, and at closer-range is ideal for basic hunting in timber with the .223 Rem, or other cartridges of similar range and energy.

The scope is also good for police use in urban environments, or close-range target contact regardless of the environment encountered. Reticle design is a Ballistics CQ, as offered by the manufacturer.

It is fast to use and designed for steel targets, or active police applications (bad guys). A smaller reticle dot allows accurate sighting even at long-range if required. This scope also carries an illuminated reticle and is effective for low or no light shooting situations.

Burris MTAC 1-4X24

The price of Burris MTAC 1-4X24 varies, so check the latest price at

Check out our detailed Burris MTAC 4.5-14x42 review for some higher magnification options by same manufacturer.

16. Tract Toric 3-15X50

This scope built by TRACT optics would seem out of line for the AR-15, because of the AR rifle's receiver length and overall size. It is a large scope but it is designed for the shooter who wants to push the limits of the AR-15 platform. Today we have cartridges like the .224 Valkyrie chamber in the AR-15, and this is a 1000 - 1400 yard round.

Now you need to upgrade sighting systems to handle the cartridge. Enter the TRACT Toric optic. This scope will allow the shooter to stretch the range to the last yard that the .224 is workable at down-range.

The scope makes use of SCHOTT HT glass for the ability to pull light and produces extra low dispersion (ED). I have shot this scope on a pair of AR-15s chambered in .224 Valkyrie and settled in at 1000-yard shooting an 88 grain Hornady ELD bullet matched round.

The scope has an etched BDC reticle for accurate long-range dead on target aiming, and also a windage correction system that makes use of a bracketing-style aiming design.

Eye relief is 4 inches, and the scope has the fast focus dial mounted on the left side of the turret. Windage and elevation adjustments are hand-turned and are set up in ¼ MOA increments. There is a high profile turret kit available for the scope in terms of those shooters who want a true target-style setup. This scope has a lifetime warranty.

best sight for ar15

Tract Toric 3-15X50

The price of Tract Toric 3-15X50 varies, so check the latest price at

If you are looking for a best scope for .224 valkyrie rifle, then must check out our guide.

Buying Guide.

Your Friend Who Always help you to do Better Shopping:

Here I am going to give you the complete information about the anatomy of scopes. Let me explain what do these important terms mean and how can you analyze the quality of scopes based on these terms:

Scope Tube:

It is a vital part of the scope joining the lens and ocular lens both. It is made up of a solid metal and is a single piece usually. It is a mandatory part that joins all other parts of the scopes in their place.

There is the most important aspect of this tube, that is, it is available in two different sizes mostly:

  • 30mm
  • 1 Inch

The scope rings and bases are attached to this tube, also they are attached to the firearm so that the product can stay in the right place.

There is another thing that is much important to be shared here is, the 30 mm tube is always used with the 30 mm ring and similarly, 1 inch tube is meant to be used with the 1 inch rings.

If one is unfamiliar with this information, the results might not be pretty well while using the scope with a tactical rifle; rather they would be much more damaging.

Objective Bell:

The objective bell is a part of the scope that is connected with the tube and lens.

Either the tube size is 30 mm or 1 inch, the bell would be built up to start with the same specified size of the tube and it extends towards the lens increasing in its diameter. It is meant to be in place in order to keep the lens fixed in its place.

Additionally, there are some exceptional cases of the anatomy of the scopes, like if the lens is of a larger size like 50mm or more, then the objective bell/lens would have the grooves.

It is so, as to fit the scope closer to the rifle, including the greater light-gathering capacity of the lens.

Objective Lens:

The lens is one of the most important parts of the scopes, that is meant to gather the light around the aim-point. It is mostly larger in size than that of the ocular lens.

Most of the times, the diameter measurement is given along with "mm", but in some cases the "mm" is not given along with the number.

Example: 3.5-10×50

In this example, the number 50 is written after the magnification power, i.e., "x", but the "mm" is not given.

The lenses can be around 20 mm at least, and 50-60 mm at most, usually.

If the lens is larger like as 50-60mm, it is supposed to gather the maximum light from the target and giving a clear and bright picture to the user.

But simultaneously, it will increase the weight of the scope, and give a difficult handling in the field.

If you intend to use the scope for a long range shooting, you will surely get benefit of the larger lens, but at the shorter range like 100-200 yards, you will get your experience spoiled by using the larger lens.

Eyepiece:

It is a part of the scope that holds the ocular lens in its place. Besides, the dials are attached to the eyepiece in most of the models, that are used to focus the reticle at its clearest point.

Ocular Lens:

The Ocular lens is the glass that is attached in the eyepiece of the scope. It is usually smaller in size than that of the objective lens. It is meant to focus the light into the shooter's eye, gathered from the lens.

There are multiple coats done in the ocular lens in order to get it more functional. It transmits light more effectively when its finishing is done in a good way.

Most of the finishes on this lens make it water repellent. But if the scope is made by an ordinary brand or it is of an entry-level product, it might not have the coatings done upon it.

Power Ring:

There are two types of scopes basically: first, that allow the variable magnification to the user, and second, that allow fixed magnification.

In the former type, that is the variable magnification scopes, the magnification can be adjusted, and the power ring is used to adjust it.

You can dial the power ring up and down to zoom in/out the target. It depends on the scope specifications that what is the minimum and the maximum magnification limit of the scope.

Example:

Suppose, if the specs of scope are showing the number 2-12x, it means that the minimum limit of the magnification is 2 and maximum is 12. One can adjust it in between these two numbers as per the personal needs.

The number "2" is showing that the target will be magnified two times larger than the real image seen by the naked eye. While, the number "12" is showing that the target will be seen as 12 times larger than the real image.

The Point to be Noted:

There is a point to be kept in mind that the fixed magnification scope types do not allow the magnification adjustment, so they do not have the power ring.

Turrets:

Turrets are the small knobs present on the scope. Mostly, the turrets are present on the top and the left side of the scope. But in some cases, there are 3 knobs present instead of two.

These knobs are used to adjust the windage, elevation, and the parallax. Windage is the adjustment from right to left (horizontal) and elevation is the adjustment from up to down (vertical).

Parallax is mostly pre-set in most of the scopes, but in a few ones, it is adjustable.

There are a few types of turrets:

  • Target Turrets
  • Ballistic Turrets
  • Fingertip
  • Coin Style

So, these are the common types of turrets used in the scopes.

Windage Adjustment Dial/Windage Turret:

This dial is located on the right side of the scope. It is used to get the bullet impact right or left on the target body.

In other words, this dial is used to set the reticle at the perfect spot moving it horizontally. It can be done by the little "clicks".

There are two types of scopes based on the windage turret:

  • First, that allows the adjustment done by hand.
  • Second, that allows the adjustment with the use of a screwdriver or a coin.

Windage and elevation adjustments are measured in MOA (minutes of angle) or in MRAD (milliradian).

It varies from model to model according to the company either it allows you the finer clicks or the larger ones while moving the dial.

Elevation Adjustment Dial/Elevation Turrets:

This dial is located on the top of the scope and is used to do the vertical adjustment of the reticle. It will impact the bullet up or down.

Mostly, the increments are same presented by the elevation turret as well as the windage turret in the same scope.

Eye Relief:

It is one of the popular terms known regarding the scopes. So, what does it mean actually? It means that, at how much distance between your eye and the ocular lens, you will get a clear and sharp focus of the target image.

So, it is pretty much important to know about. Usually, the scopes have 2-4 inch eye relief, that means, you can focus the target image at its sharpest point in between this range.

Certain scopes present a very critical eye relief, that means, there is a pretty specific distance decided.

If you view through the ocular lens, keeping your eye very close to it or much distant, you just cannot get a better shot.

Eye relief is much benefit for the betterment of the shooter's eye. Because, it eliminates the risk of getting the eye injured while shooting.

Field Of View:

Field of view is width of the viewing area from right to left at 100 yards. Usually, it is measured in yards or feet.

Magnification of the scope and the FOV (Field of View) are mutually inversely proportional: that means, if the magnification is increased, the FOV is decreased, and vice versa.

Example: If a variable scope at 3X magnification gives the FOV around 30 feet at 100 yards; it will give the FOV around 14 feet at 9X magnification of the scope.

FOV depends totally on the construction of the eyepiece of a scope.

Exit Pupil:

Exit pupil is another important characteristic of a scope. It is a lighted disc present in the center of the field.

If you point your scope towards a lighted wall or a part of clear sky, and keep your eye in the distance of around 10 inches from the eyepiece, you will see a bright disc that is lighted in the center of the field, that is called as the exit pupil.

The larger the Exit Pupil, the brighter will be the view.

How to calculate the Exit Pupil?

You can easily calculate the exit pupil by a simple formula. You just have to divide the lens diameter (mm) by the magnification power of the scope.

Formula: Objective Lens Diameter (mm) / Power (Magnification) of the Scope

Example: If you have a scope of power 4X and the Lens Diameter is 32mm. Put these values in the formula given above. So, 32mm/4 = 8mm. The Exit Pupil will be 8mm.

Hence, it is proved that, the larger the exit pupil value, the more desirable the scope would be.

Reticle/Crosshair:

Reticle helps to aim the shot at the right point while using the scopes. Commonly, it is also known as the "Crosshairs". By simple definition, a reticle is a combination of dots, lines, circular shapes, or any other shapes. It is viewed in the field of view of the scope and it assists to target the object accurately.

Types of Reticles:

There are several types of the reticles that are used:

  • Illuminated reticles
  • General hunting reticle
  • ACSS Reticle
  • Mildot Reticle
  • Duplex Reticle

Various companies provide the numerous set of the reticles. For example, the Burris Optics give the 27 types of the reticles. Leupold gives more than 70 types of reticles. So, you would find a huge number of reticle types among the scopes.

The some types of reticles are given below:

Types of Reticles

So, you can choose the desirable reticle for your personal use.

Parallax:

Parallax is when the image of the reticle and the image of the target object does not fall in the same focal plain of the scope.

When you point your scope towards the target and you see through the ocular lens; if the reticle is moving a bit in relation to the object with the slight movement of the eye, it is a parallax error.

Most of the scopes come on the market with parallax-free feature at 100 yards. But a few ones need to be set accordingly with the help of turrets.

First & Second Focal Plane:

The terms ffp and sfp, both are used for the variable power scopes only, and it means that where would be the reticle appear relative to the object.

The reticle is kept before the elements, in ffp, while it is kept after the elements in the second focal plane.

In FFP ( First Focal Plane), when the power in magnified, the reticle also zooms in; whereas in SFP (Second Focal Plane), the reticle size does not change while the magnification is zoomed. So, that is the basic difference between these two types of planes.

MOA/Mil:

MOA (minute of Angle) and Mil/MRAD (Milliradian) are two different practices of measurement. These both are used to adjust the figures by the turrets of scope.

MOA is a way to measure the degrees. It is 1/60th of a degree out of the 360 degrees of a circle. It means that there are 21,600 minutes of angle in a circle. In simple words, at the distance of 100 yards, 1 MOA equals to 1 inch.

Mil Dot Reticle does not change with the change of distance. It remains the same at any distance, even it is 10 yards or 10,000 yards. If you do 10 clicks on the turret, it would equal to one Mil Dot, that is, 3.6 inches at 100 yards.

BDC Reticle:

A BDC (Bullet Drop Compensator) Reticle is the type of reticles that are used for the quick shooting and larger distance. It allows the user a "holdover" point for the long distance shooting. The shooter can be facilitated even up to 1000 yards shooting.

bdc reticle

The Numbers to Understand:

There is a proper way of numbers that denotes the type of a scope. These numbers show the power, objective lens diameter, and type of the scope in detail. So, any of the users can guess the fundamental qualities of the scope by just viewing these numbers.

Example: 3-9X40 Scope

In this example, the 3-9X shows the power (magnification) of the scope. It is shown that the product is a variable power scope. The minimum possible power is 3 and the maximum is 9. You can adjust the power in between these numbers anywhere you want.

The number 40 in the above example is showing the lens diameter that is in millimeters. It can be written as 3-9X40mm as well.

If the scope is a fixed power scope, then the numbers will look like "6X43mm". In this example, the 6 is the magnification power of the scope that is fixed and giving no other options to magnify the object's image. While, the 43mm is showing the diameter of the lens.

Lenses and Coatings:

The lens types include the fog-proof, waterproof and shock-proof lenses. For this purpose, here comes a variety of the coatings and types of the lenses that make the scopes more worthy for the users.

There are a few types of the scope that are uni-coated, means a single coating is done upon the lens. Whereas, there are more advanced options among the scopes, that present the fully multi coated lenses, that provide loads of the qualities.

There are the following types of coatings available among the scopes:

  • Coated
  • Fully Coated
  • Multi-coated
  • Fully multi-coated

Coatings provide sharper and clearer images of the objects. Plus, such coatings make the lenses scratch-resistant as well.

Lens Caps:

There are two major types of the lens caps that are meant to protect the lenses of your scope. These are:

  • Flip up
  • “Bikini” Style

Bikini style caps are joined with the elastic bands, while the flip up caps can pivot upwards. I think the flip up caps are the best option to protect your scope lenses.

Mounting the Scope:

In order to mount the scope on your gun, you need the good-quality mounts, rings and bases. You have to invest your money on the right kind of products that are reliable and sturdy.

It is must to mount your scope closer to the bore axis. It will give you better handling and using the gun.

Why own an AR 15?

Why would one want to own an AR 15? Especially when its compared to other semi-automatic, box fed, intermediate caliber rifles on the market? That is a good question, but it doesn't have a simple answer. In fact, it has several answers.

Ergonomic

Ergonomics play a large role in how well you can shoot the gun. This includes long range and medium range shooting, multiple position shooting, as well as shooting under stress. The better the ergonomics the easier it is to handle the gun.

The AR 15's design reeks of awesome ergonomics. Eugene Stoner, the AR 15s designer, knew what he was doing when he assembled his first rifle. Every piece that needs to be activated by the shooter is close and at hand. From the gun's safety to the charging handle.

The manual of arms of an AR 15 is simple. Simple enough that the US Army and US Marine Corps takes thousands of 18-year old recruits who have never fired a gun and has them qualified by the end of boot camp.

If the rifle isn't ergonomic enough as is, it just so happens to be the most modular AR platform in existence.

Modularity

This is the perfect time to mention the modularity of the AR 15 design. Due to its popularity among the military, police, and civilians the aftermarket is massive. You can take an AR 15 and transform it in any way you want.

There are massive amounts of stocks, handguards, optics, BCGS, barrel, magazines and more that allow you to customize your gun in almost any direction you want. Every component on an AR 15 can be swapped for something different.

tactical ar 15

The AR 15 is the Barbie doll of the gun world. The number of accessories designed for it boggles the mind. This is a good thing because you can build a rifle that's truly yours.

Affordable

AR 15s are produced by almost everyone. From corporate giants like S&W to small mom and pop custom shops. With this massive market presence, you can find AR 15s for as little as $400 dollars new in box to $4,000 dollar rifles made for Tier 1 operators.

You can spend as much, or as little as you want on an AR 15. The rifles and rifle scope themselves are affordable, and so is the aftermarket. Ammo, magazines, sights, and more are easy to find and come in at all price levels.

On ammo certain calibers will obviously be much more expensive than others, but the standard 223/5.56 ammo the AR 15 is traditionally chambered in incredibly affordable.

Accurate

The AR 15 is an exceptionally accurate rifle for a shooter, especially at the price point, they are available at. Even a cheap AR 15 can make accurate shots on a man-sized target out to 500 yards. The AR 15 is not only inherently mechanically accurate but due to the modularity, it's easy to shoot.

Reliable

The AR 15 gets a bad rap for reliability due to the early performance of the M16 in Vietnam. This was not due to the guns design, but due to the use of wrong gun powder, a lack of cleaning kits, and the bore was not chrome lined as it should have been.

The AR 15 is a very reliable weapon for shooter that functions without issue as long as you clean occasionally. It's a professional's weapon and it functions as such. From personal experience, I will tell you the guns run and run well.

ar guns

I've put tens of thousands of rounds downrange as both a Marine and civilian and rarely have I run into any malfunctions. In fact, none come to mind beyond bad magazines.

Final Thoughts

A modern AR-15 has that flat top for a reason. Rifles are expected to wear optics. Every modern army and police force shooter around the world issues an optic with their rifles. This single upgrade can make a world of difference in how your rifle handles, and how you perform.

An optic doesn't replace skill but accentuates it. The right optic will give a much-loved edge in combat, at the range, in competition, and of course inside the home. If you're on the fence about adding an optic it's time to admit the platform is best served with quality and mission specific optics.

When it comes time to pick one in particular though, only you can make that decision. Hopefully now you have everything you need to choose the best optic for your specific needs.

Which of these AR scopes do you like the best? Is there a particular one that might find a home on your gun anytime soon? Let us know in the comments below!

Reated Guides:
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *