Gear

What is the Best AR 15 Scope in 2017?

4As one of the most popular sporting rifles, the AR 15 is ideal for many uses. Whether it be used for small game, varmint hunting, home defense, or deer hunting, this firearm is versatile and suited for many different activities. This is one of the reasons why it is so popular.

Encompassed by the term AR 15 are several types of firearms. The AmaLite AR-15 was the original rifle, followed by Colt AR 15. There are also different variants of the AR 15 that are similar to the previously mentioned models. These similar models cannot be called AR 15’s, but are pretty much the same.

There are models designed for plinking, hunting at various distances, and more. You can practically make your own gun in no time at all. There are tons of accessories to choose from.

All of these options can be overwhelming. What kind of accessories will go best with your rifle? It depends on how you are planning on using it.

There are many accessories to choose from, but a scope is one of the most important. If you are going to be shooting from a distance, it will help a great amount. Perfecting your shot will be that much easier.

Regardless of what you are going to use your AR 15 for, it is ideal to be as informed as you possibly can. With this knowledge, you will have not just an arsenal for your firearm, but also one of useful information that you can use when you need to.

Click here for the Best AR 15 Scopes available in 2017!

Here is a brief comparison table of the top AR 15 scopes (article continues below):

AR 15 Scopes Comparison table

Best AR 15 ScopeMagnification/MOAPriceRating

Nikon P-223 BDC 600

Nikon P-223 BDC 600
3-9x40mm$$

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4.7 out of 5 Stars

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Leupold Mark AR Rifle Scope

Leupold Mark AR Rifle Scope
1.5-4X20mm$$$

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4.5 out of 5 Stars

Click here to read from 32 customer reviews!


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UTG BugBuster Scope




UTG BugBuster Scope
3-9x32mm$

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4.4 out of 5 Stars

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Trijicon ACOG Scope



Trijicon ACOG Scope
$$$$$

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4.4 out of 5 Stars

Click here to read from 46 customer reviews!


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Rhino Tactical by Ozark Armament

Rhino Tactical by Ozark Armament
4x35mm

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4.4 out of 5 Stars

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leupold's 119688 deltapoint pro


leupold's 119688 deltapoint pro
2.5 moa$$$$

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4.4 out of 5 Stars

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Weaver Tactical Illuminated Range Scope

Weaver Tactical Illuminated Range Scope
1-5x24mm$$$$$

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4.3 out of 5 Stars

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Bushnell's Trophy Red Dot Sight



Bushnell's Trophy Red Dot Sight
1x25mm$

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4.3 out of 5 Stars

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BSA Tactical Weapon Rifle Scope




BSA Tactical Weapon Rifle Scope
4x30mm$

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3.9 out of 5 Stars

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The Top 7 Best AR 15 Scope Reviews

As with any product, there are some that stand out from the others. This AR 15 review will go over some of these are prominent products.

Even the question, ‘what is the best AR 15 scope?’ can be difficult to answer. However, it can be broken down into a few categories.

Nikon P-223 BDC 600

Nikon P-223 3-9x40 Mate BDC 600

Rated 4.7 out of 5 stars from 653 customers. Click the image for prices and reviews!

The Nikon P-223 BDC 600 Riflescope is one of the best scopes that you can get for a decent price.

For a little under $300, you can get a quality scope with a name brand like Nikon.

You can count on them to produce amazing products that will be durable and accurate.

You can also rely on Nikon for their crystal clear glass that you will love looking through.

It is secure, staying where it supposed to.

It might be a little tricky to install, but in the end, it will be worth the time and patience it will take.

Pros:

  • Great value
  • Very secure
  • Accurate
  • Clear glass
  • Easy to zero in

Cons:

  • Installation can be tricky

Meade Wilderness Spotting Scope 20-60x80 mm

Leupold Mark AR Rifle Scope

Leupold Mark AR Rifle Scope

Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars from 29 customers. Click the image for prices and reviews!

The Leupold Mark AR Rifle Scope is a fantastic scope for under $500. It is lightweight and super easy to use.

The turrets are clear as well as the glass. With the ability to zero in in no time, this scope is worth the money.

It is water proof, allowing you to use it in inclement weather and not worry about something happening to it.

The reticle might be a little thicker than you are used to, and that can make or break it for you.

This scope is the real deal, and you will not be disappointed.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Illumination is easy to use
  • Turrets are clearly marked
  • Water proof
  • Crystal clear
  • Easy to adjust
  • Easy to zero

Cons:

  • Thick reticle

Meade Wilderness Spotting Scope 20-60x80 mm

Trijicon ACOG Scope

Trijicon ACOG Scope

Rated 4.4 out of 5 stars from 46 customers. Click the image for prices and reviews!

The Trijicon ACOG Scope is the best scope that you can get with an unlimited budget.

It is almost unbelievable that this scope is such a pristine piece of equipment.

Not only is it bullet drop compensating, but it is also paired with a limited lifetime warranty that will be there if anything happens, which is not likely.

Quality control could be better, and you might end up getting something that is not quite so great.

However, the real deal has every right to cost under $2,000.

This rugged and reliable piece of equipment will never let you down.

There is no parallax to worry about, and the water proof capability is really nice.

Pros:

  • Longer eye relief
  • Bullet Drop Compensating
  • Water proof
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • Rugged
  • Reliable
  • No batteries needed
  • Parallax free
  • Mounts and sight in easily
  • Unbelievable accuracy
  • Battlefield tested
  • Built to last
  • Radioactive (illuminated)

Cons:

  • Takes a little getting used to
  • Price tag
  • Quality control could be better

The longer eye relief of this scope makes it all the more attractive. This sight is tested on the battlefield and has the accuracy that you would not believe.

Once you get used to it, you will be shooting with dead on accuracy. This rugged scope does not even need batteries.

Meade Wilderness Spotting Scope 20-60x80 mm

UTG BugBuster Scope

UTG BugBuster Scope

Rated 4.4 out of 5 stars from 1355 customers. Click the image for prices and reviews!

Another great product at this price range is the UTG BugBuster Scope. This scope is just under $80 and is a great deal for the price.

You will get a clear way to see your target, and it looks great on your gun, too.

Well built and attractive, this scope will do you no wrong. As long as you are aware that spending so little will not get you super high quality products.

When it comes to scopes, you really do get what you pay for. Quality rises with the price, and that is the way things should b

Pros:

  • Looks great
  • Red and green crosshairs
  • Quick release mounting mechanism
  • Clear glass
  • Well built
  • Good value
  • Holds zero well
  • Accurate

Cons:

  • Might get a scope with a rotated reticle
  • Eye relief could be better
  • Needs a little tweaking

Meade Wilderness Spotting Scope 20-60x80 mm

Bushnell’s Trophy Red Dot Sight

Bushnell's Trophy Red Dot Sight

Rated 4.3 out of 5 stars from 2446 customers. Click the image for prices and reviews!

The last scope that is best for the money is Bushnell’s Trophy Red Dot Sight Riflescope.

Not only does it have tons of settings, but it also has a decent battery life compared to some others. Holding zero is something this scope is excellent at.

The problems with this scope are mostly cosmetic, and you will love this scope.

With a clear picture, you will be hitting your target with accuracy in no time at all.

Pros:

  • 11 settings for the red dot
  • Good battery life
  • Holds zero very well
  • Fast target acquisition
  • Clear picture
  • Positive knobs

Cons:

  • Orange haze might be present at the top of the screen
  • The higher the brightness setting, the more ghosting that will happen indoors
  • Exposed rear lens

Meade Wilderness Spotting Scope 20-60x80 mm

Leupold’s 119688 Delta Point Pro

Leupold 119688 Delta Point Pro Reflex Dot Sight (Matte, 2.5 MOA)

Rated 4.2 out of 5 stars from 14 customers. Click the image for prices and reviews!

https://www.amazon.com/Leupold-119688-Delta-Point-Reflex/dp/B00NWIYAD0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1477967058&sr=8-1&keywords=leupold%27s+119688+deltapoint+pro

Leupold’s 119688 Delta Point Pro Reflex Dot Sight is an amazing piece of equipment. For under $1000 you can have a lightweight and crystal clear scope. It will have no problem holding zero even if you drop it.

The red dot sight is easy to see and use to lock on to your target. It will be the perfect addition to your AR 15.

Pros:

  • Clear glass
  • Durable
  • Compact
  • Lightweight
  • Easily holds zero
  • Battery replacement is simple
  • Improves accuracy

Cons:

  • Not for long range shooting
  • Might be blurry

As long as you stick to short range shooting, this is the deal AR 15 scope under $1000. It is easy to maintain and battery replacement is simple. It is compact and will never get in the way when you are transporting your gun.

Meade Wilderness Spotting Scope 20-60x80 mm

BSA Tactical Weapon Rifle Scope

BSA Tactical Weapon 4 x 30mm Rifle Scope

Rated 3.9 out of 5 stars from 139 customers. Click the image for prices and reviews!

The BSA Tactical Weapon Rifle Scope is a great deal for only a little over $50. It is a great value, and you will be satisfied with your new scope.

With well made components and easy installation, this scope is a real bang for your buck.

The MilDot reticle makes it easy to see your target and lock on. Not only is it visually appealing, but it is also durable and will be worth the money that you drop on it.

However, it is still only a budget friendly scope. You will get what you pay for.

Pros:

  • Simple to use
  • Well made
  • MilDot Reticle
  • Visually appealing
  • Easy to zero and keeps zero
  • Easy to install and sight
  • Great value
  • Accurate

Cons:

  • Turrets do not lock down well
  • Mounting compatibility
  • Reticle crosshairs might be a bit thicker
  • Might need to drill holes in your rifle to mount it

Meade Wilderness Spotting Scope 20-60x80 mm

Rhino Tactical by Ozark Armament

Rhino Tactical Green & Red Dot Sight for Rifles & Shotguns by Ozark Armament

Rated 4.3 out of 5 stars from 205 customers. Click the image for prices and reviews!

The Rhino Tactical by Ozark Armament is a great bang for your buck. It may be super cheap, but the quality is more than you would think. It is well constructed and easy to use, allowing you to see targets and zero in with red and green dots.

It might be a little bulky, but it gets the job done. You can make your AR 15 more attractive as well as use it for a long time. The battery life leaves something to be desired, but for the price, it cannot be beaten.

Pros:

  • Well made
  • Easy to sight in
  • Stays sighted in
  • Looks good
  • Accurate
  • Good value
  • Sturdy
  • Red and green dot
  • Easy assembly

Cons:

  • Bulky
  • Possible to have parallax issues
  • Does not withstand inclement weather well
  • Battery life

At this price point, you will be hard pressed to find something that is high quality, but there are some hidden gems like this one. Making sure that you know what you are getting yourself into with a cheap scope is important.Meade Wilderness Spotting Scope 20-60x80 mm

Weaver Tactical Illuminated Range Scope

Weaver Tactical Illuminated Range Scope

Rated 4.7 out of 5 stars from 9 customers. Click the image for prices and reviews!

Another great scope for under $1000 is the Weaver Tactical Illuminated Range Scope.

Pros:

  • Extra hard lens coating
  • Crystal clear glass
  • Durable design
  • Precise
  • Customer service

Cons:

  • Illuminated reticle is hard to see with certain backgrounds
  • Zero set control can be easily unintentionally moved

Meade Wilderness Spotting Scope 20-60x80 mm

What is an AR 15?

The term AR 15 is commonly mistaken to mean that this rifle is an assault rifle. While the term may seem like it stands for ‘assault rifle,’ it does not. AR actually refers to the company Armalite. This company is what helped to create what the AR 15 is today.

In 1959, Colt bought the rights to the design and manufacturing; They perfected it, and it has become what it is today. There are several things that make the AR 15 the AR 15. The following are just a few of these features.

  • Gas operated
  • Semi automatic
  • Two part body
    • Upper receiver
      • Houses the bolt group and also has interfaces with which you can mount a rear sight and barrel.
    • Lower receiver
      • Houses the magazine, trigger unit, and manual safety.
      • Buffer tube interface
    • Materials
      • Forged aluminum alloy is the primary material that is used, but others are used as well to make the whole thing.

There are many other features that are native to the AR 15. These features are similar to other firearms so they will not be covered. Since they do not make the AR 15 what it is, there is no distinction.

History of the AR 15

The term AR-15 signifies Armalite rifle, design 15. These rifles were designed to replace older weapons used in wars previously, like during World War II. The smaller bullets made it possible for soldiers to carry more rounds, which is always a good thing in battle.

Armalite sold the rights to Colt in 1959, and that is what the AR really stands for. It is commonly mistaken as an assault rifle because of this name. Colt took the design, tweaked it, and created the M16.

With such popularity, this firearm is owned by many citizens for many reasons. It is based off the M16, a fully automatic firearm used in the military. This is an attractive element to those who own the firearm. Many other reasons can be used to explain why it is so loved.

Lately, these rifles have been under scrutiny because of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newton, Connecticut. They have even been vilified by many. People want to know why average citizens feel the need to have these guns designed for military use.

In previous years, there had been record sales for these rifles, but this dropped exponentially after the massacre. Nonetheless, they are still popular, and many will continue to be enthusiastic about them. If you are here, you are clearly already interested in them, if you do not already have one.

This firearm has evolved considerably over the years. It is super customizable, and you do not even need gunsmith knowledge to do it yourself. All you have to do is follow a few instructions, and you are ready to go.

During the last two decades, the caliber spectrum of this rifle has broadened considerably. Now, there are many types of cartridges that work with the AR 15. These will be covered later in this guide.

What is Similar to the AR 15?

It is important to note that the only ‘true’ AR 15’s are the ones manufactured by Colt. It is a registered trademark of the company. However, that does not mean Colt is your only option for getting an AR 15.

This family of semiautomatic rifles is quite expansive. With all of the customizing options, it can be a little mind boggling. There are a few ways that you can make your AR 15. There are a few builds that can help you figure out just what you want your AR 15 to do.

  • Pistol:
    • So you want a short barreled rifle, but your local laws do not allow it. What is there to do? Well, you can make your AR 15 into what can be classified as a makeshift pistol.
    • A shortened AR 15 can give you the tiny rifle experience without dealing with the hassle of regulation.
  • General Purpose:
    • This is what most people want their rifle to do. This is suggested if you are new to AR 15’s or even shooting in general. This is usually good for
  • Accuracy Shooting:
    • This niche section of the AR 15 world is home to the 18+ inch barrel club. Fluted barrels and stainless steel will have a significant effect on ballistics.

With so many customizing options, it is no wonder that people love this rifle so much. You can make it almost anything that you want. You can get what you want and need with little problem.

Why AR?

Why do people love this rifle so much? There are a few reasons. One of them is that it has so many accessories made just for them that it makes them super customizable. The following are just a few more of these reasons.

  • US Military
    • It looks just like the firearm used in the United States military and the availability to the public makes these firearms very attractive to some. There is something cool about holding an American symbol of might.
  • Modular design
    • The components of the AR 15 can be swapped for others whenever you would like. This only takes a matter of seconds. The lower and upper receiver are their own You can pretty much do whatever you want when it comes to customization.
  • Shootability
    • With little recoil and an ergonomic design, the AR 15 is easy and fun to shoot. This is one of the main reasons that this firearm is so accessible. Having something that is straightforward and easy to deal with is always a plus.

What is it Good for?

The AR 15 is popular for many reasons. It can be used for so many different things. Here are some of these uses and a little more about them.

  • Self Defense
    • This firearm is ideal for home defense and self defense. It is easy to learn how to use and is reliable and accurate. It is going to work well against realistic threats that you may encounter.
  • Hunting
    • Perfect for varmints and predators, the proper ammunition can even make it good enough for hunting deer. The ability to be used for hunting as well as many other things makes this the ideal multi purpose
  • Teaching or Learning
    • A great rifle for teaching young people how to shoot, it is fun and easy for any shooter, regardless of how old they are.
  • Tinkering
    • With the ability to switch out components of the firearm, upgrading is easy and fun to do. It is easy to understand, and with some legal tools and accessories, you can have your dream gun.
  • Fun or Recreation
    • This rifle is one of the most fun ones to shoot. Even if you are just taking it to a range and shooting at paper or if you want to do some plinking, you will have a blast. No pun intended.
  • Competitive Shooting
    • Ideal for a variety of shooting sports, the AR 15 can be safe and accurate. There are many people who enjoy using the guns for more serious and competitive things.
  • Farm or Ranch Use
    • Predator control is comfortable with the AR 15. With high accuracy and a good magazine capacity, you can really put a damper on that pack of wolves or coyotes preying on your livestock. It can also help to deal with wild hogs tearing up your plants.
  • End of the World
    • Being prepared for a Namely, the end of the world is probably a good thing. It never hurts to be prepared because you really never know what is going to happen. Having an AR or two laying around can be just what you need when the world is falling down around you. Alternatively, of course, when zombies start coming for you.
  • Women
    • The fastest growing demographic when it comes to shooting sports is women. The AR 15 is loved because of its cool factor and women are no different. With soft recoil, the gun can be pleasant to shoot. The customization does not hurt the gun’s case, either.

As you can see, the AR 15 is an all around great firearm. Regardless of what your reasoning may be, people will always find something to love about the gun. Of course, that only refers to individuals who support the second amendment. You cannot get more American than you can with the AR 15, along with apple pie and baseball.

Licensing and More

It is easier than you think to get an AR 15. Depending on what state you live in, there are different rules regarding the firearm. There are no federal laws restricting the gun.

At one point, there was a ban on the manufacturing and importing of the rifle, but it ended in 2004. Now regulation is up to the states, and several states have specific rules.

  • California
    • In 2000, a code was instituted banning AK or AR 15 rifles. You can, however, remove some features of your AR 15 to declassify it as an assault weapon.
    • It is illegal to sell them in California, but legal to possess if you had it before December 31, 1999, and registered it before December 31, 2000.
    • It is illegal to pawn or inherit the rifle as well. Also, you cannot leave it with a gunsmith unless they have a California Assault Weapons permit.
  • Colorado
    • In January 2007, the city council of Denver passed a law, modifying the assault weapon ban. If the cartridge does not contain a magazine with 21 or more rounds, it is okay.

Many other states have regulations for AR 15’s; you just have to be aware of them and take responsibility. Keeping up with gun laws as a gun enthusiast is important.  Regardless of what the law may be, it should be followed, and doing anything otherwise is not recommended or condoned.

Best AR 15 Manufacturers

The perceived top of the list manufacturers is those who produce almost 100 percent reliable guns and do not cut corners. If you are looking for the best that money can buy, you should take a look at this list. These companies will stand by their product and are worth the money.

  • Bravo Company (BCM)
  • Colt
  • Daniel Defense (DD)
  • Larue
  • Lewis Machine & Tool (LMT)
  • LWRC
  • Noveske

These guns might have to do a little more work to prove themselves to you. Put at least 1000 rounds through with different types of conditions, ammunition, and magazines to ensure that you want to use this regularly.

  • Anderson
  • FNH
  • Rainier Arms
  • Ruger
  • Aero Precision
  • Sig Sauer
  • Smith & Wesson
  • Spike’s

These AR manufacturers make excellent starter guns that there is nothing wrong with. They are affordable, so you do not end up spending big bucks on something that you are not going to like. Testing them out first is important.

  • Bushmaster
  • Delton
  • DPMS
  • Olympic
  • Palmetto State Armory (PSA)
  • Rock River Arm (RRA)
  • Stag

Build or Buy?

Another decision that you are going to have to make is if you want to build your own gun or buy a premade model. Either way, you will end up with a great product. If it is your first time, it is suggested that you get one that is already complete.

If you want to build a part of your firearm, you can do that as well. Just get a completed upper and make your own lower. This way you can have a warranty on your firearm and not have to worry about it.

Building your AR 15 takes some knowledge about the mechanics of it. In order to get the right parts for your needs, you are going to need to understand the basics of how a gun is put together. This can be a little overwhelming at first.

AR 15 Precautions

When dealing with an AR 15, there are some things that you have to keep in mind. Taking every precaution that you can to have the safest experience is vital.

Overheating can be a problem that occurs when the rifle is used for a long period of time. It is completely possible to ruin it this way. However, you should not be overly worried about it. AR 15s are expected to heat up during regular use.

If your barrel is not turning red, then it is probably fine. There are some precautions that you can take to prevent this from happening. By taking it slow and making some investments, you will have less of a chance of this happening to you.

A chrome lined, the heavy barrel can help to prevent the meltdown of your firearm. This will only really protect the barrel, however. Letting your gun have a breather in between magazines can be a great help as well.

Ammunition for the AR 15

There are a few types of ammunition that work the best for the AR 15. The different types of ammo are useful for various things. Plinking and hunting are going to use different ammo types.

The average AR 15 will come in two popular calibers. These calibers are the 5.56x45mm NATO and the .223 Remington. You can check your firearm’s barrel and see which caliber should be used.

These two cartridges are identical when it comes to looks. The 5.56 may have higher pressures loaded inside, however. .223’s are civilian rounds that have SAAMI specifications. SAAMI is an organization that sets standards for dimensions and pressure. The 5.56 is a military round that might require a higher velocity so there may be higher pressure. The military has their own specifications for their ammunition.

The best advice for this is: 5.56 chambers can fire both 5.56 and .223, but .223 chambers cannot fire 5.56 rounds. It is best to use the right ammunition for your gun to avoid any problems. It probably will not blow up instantly, but it is still not worth the risk.

There are two families of bullet types that can be used with the AR 15. Full metal jackets, and the hollow point or soft points are these two. (FMJ and HP/SP). Full metal jackets are ideal for plinking while the others are great for home defense and hunting.

Another acronym that you will see is BT. This means boat tail and shows that the back of the bullet has more of an aerodynamic design. It gets smaller at the tail and tapers off.

If you are looking at military rounds, you are going to find M193 and M855. The standard FMJ is the 55 grain M193. The 62 grain M855 is the ‘green tip’ penetrator round that will have a steel rod inside.

When it comes to 193 vs. 855, the prices are similar. M193 is better at hitting soft targets that are under 100 yards away, and the M855 is better at being able to penetrate the target. Keep in mind that some ranges do not permit steel core ammunition.

There are some alternative calibers that may be used if some regulations do not permit what the norm is. Some of the alternative calibers that can be used are useful to know about. The following are some of these calibers that are available.

  • .22 LR (Long Rifle)
    • This rimfire cartridge will give you the cheapest shooting experience. However, any problems that occur with the ammunition will be much more difficult to fix.
  • 19 mm Luger/Parabellum
    • These NATO standard cartridges do well with the AR 15. They are cheaper than 5.56 and work well with a shorter barreled AR 15. This ammunition can turn your AR 15 into a ‘technical’ sub machine gun.
  • .45 ACP
    • This American caliber is older than the AR 15 platform itself. It gives a discerning shooter an alternative pistol caliber. The price of this ammunition is close to 5.56, and it is not really that much better to justify using.
  • .223 Remington/5.56 x 45 mm
    • This .223 is not the same thing as the 5.56 caliber. It is a good caliber for hunting medium to a small game where it is allowed by your local laws. Also, costing less than its military counterpart, it allows a wider range of ammunition to use.
  • .223 Wylde
    • This caliber addresses the cons of the Remington cartridge. If you are building a general purpose rifle, these might be your best bet.
  • .300 AAC Blackout
    • As a fairly new addition to the market, this cartridge is designed to bring out some more punch, like from a 7.62 x 39 mm cartridge. It also improves the performance for a hefty price.
  • 45 x 39 mm
    • A Russian standard, this ammunition provides a well performing round for a lower price.
  • 8 mm Remington SPC
    • For better ballistics performance and more energy that is transferred downrange, these are ideal. However, they are a little pricey.
  • 5 Grendel
    • Relatively expensive, these cartridges offer a middle ground between 7.62 x 51 mm and the 5.56. They have a flatter trajectory and greater terminal energy than the 5.56.
  • 62 x 39 mm
    • While there may be compatibility issues with you AR 15, these rounds are time tested and can be a cheaper and better alternative to the 5.56.
  • 62 x 51 mm
    • Not actually an AR caliber, it belongs to the AR 10. This earlier model of the AR 15 is not quite similar, and compatibility issues are a concern.
  • .50 Beowulf
    • Interdicting solid walls, heavy targets, and engine block stand no chance against these, especially where there is a 12 gauge option. This is not a cheap caliber as you can imagine.

The many types of ammunition for the AR 15 can be super useful if you have other guns that use some of them. Depending on what you are planning on using the firearm for, your ammo will need to be compatible.

Types of Optics for the AR 15

These different optical options for an AR 15 are to be considered. They help your accuracy and the consistency of your shooting. Consistency is referred to as repeatedly hitting the same target spot. The right AR optic will have a great effect on consistency.

When it comes to accuracy, it is the round actually hitting the target that you are aiming at. This is easier with a reticle and can be adjusted. There are three different types of optics to choose from.

  • Telescopic
    • When you hear the word ‘scope,’ this is what is being talked about. They are best for mid to long range shooting. These scopes provide a crosshair or dot reticle paired with magnification. You can get one that is fixed or variable, which will be addressed
    • For an AR, the maximum magnification should be around 3x and 6x. Going overboard with a scope is not really
  • Reflex
    • Having become more popular in recent years, reflex sights are a non magnifying sight that projects an illuminated red dot reticle into the field of view, allowing it to be lined up with your target.
    • Reflex sights can come with different features like size, power source, weight, length, and battery life. There are more things that will differ between each reflex sight.
  • Holographic
    • Holographic sights do the same thing as reflex sights. However, they use a different system of projection to create the reticle. Instead of a LED, it uses a laser diode. These are light weight and low profile.

The many factors that will go into your decision on which optics to go for can be overwhelming. For hunting, a scope will do you no wrong. If you need closer range than reflex or, holographic sights will be just right.

Also, consider how the sight will interact with any accessories that you may already have. Everything should work together to give you the best experience. The budget can also be a factor that you will need to keep in mind.

Why Scopes?

So we have looked at the types of optics, but this is really all about scopes. Scopes are ideal because they can be customized to exactly what you want to use them for. The following features are what makes these stand out in the crowd of optics.

  • Enhancement of brightness
  • Better accuracy of shot
  • Customizable crosshairs and dot colors
  • Zooming that is digitally enhanced
  • Wide ranging versatility
  • Adaptable intensities
  • Faster target acquisition
  • Telescopic, holographic, and reflex sights

The advantages of a scope are clear, and if you have decided on one, you have come to the right place. The rest of this guide is going to be all about scopes and will even include an AR 15 scope review, which we will take a look at before going into all of the technical stuff that will help you make your decision.

Types of Scopes

Now that you know some basics about AR 15 optics and what scopes are at the top of the list let’s talk about scopes in particular. Besides reflex, these are the most popularly used optics. There are several different types of scopes that you are going to be looking at.

  • Variable Scopes
    • With a variable scope, you are going to have a plethora of power options. The broad variety of these scopes allows you to adapt to your environment. Most shooting is done at distances from 300 meters or less. If you are planning on shooting at long range, this is going to be a necessity.
  • Fixed Scopes
    • Less pricey and more compact, these scopes are simple and provide less distortion that you might get with a variable one. You might also get a brighter view and better clarity with a fixed scope.
  • Night Vision Scopes
    • A night vision scope does exactly what the name states. By allowing you to have better vision in the dark, these scopes can be very useful.

What to Look For

The AR 15 market has tons of different kinds of scopes. It may be a little overwhelming trying to choose even a few to look at. The following are a few features to consider when it comes to AR 15 scopes. These qualities are going to help you to narrow down your search for the best AR 15 scope.

  • Reticle
    • The reticle of a scope is the aiming point that will help you to lock on to your target. When considering different scopes, this is one of the first things that you should look at. You are going to need to answer a question: what is the reason that you want or need a rifle scope? Once you have answered this question, you can move on to learning about the distance you plan to be shooting from.
    • Mildot Reticle
      • This type of reticle will help to estimate the distance to your target. There are dots spaced out in on mi-radian increments.
      • This will not, however, tell you the height in which you need to aim. It can help to compensate for trajectory arching.
    • Bullet Drop Compensating (BDC) Reticle
      • A Bullet Drop Compensating reticle is one that makes up for the natural drop in a trajectory that happens when you shoot. This is beneficial if you do long range shooting.
    • Duplex Reticle
      • The most popular type of reticle is the duplex. It is a combination of horizontal and vertical lines, intersecting in the middle of the optical field. The lines are thicker at the end, and thin out in the area where they intersect.
    • Crosshair Reticle
      • Better adapted to accurate shooting, this reticle is not ideal for shooting at a moving target. Compensating for windage and elevation is hard.
      • The crosshairs are two, thin, vertical and horizontal lines that intersect in the middle of the visual field.
    • Illuminated Reticle
      • These reticles are used in low light conditions. Some are fully illuminated while others are only partially. For this type of scope, you are going to have to spend a little money. Less expensive ones are going to be of lesser quality.
    • Field of View
      • This is a measurement of the area that is visible through the scope from left to right, in feet. The larger the FOV is, the wider of an area is seen by the shooter. Keep in mind that a larger objective lens does not give you a better field of view.
    • Integrity
      • Losing accuracy over time is not something that needs to be worried too much about with an AR 15. Since there is little to no recoil, there should be no problems. Regardless of your needs, you are going to want something that will not need to be recalibrated every time you use it.
    • Durability
      • You definitely want a scope that will last a good while that is able to withstand the elements. There are water proof, fog proof, and shock proof models that will help to keep your scope
    • Focal Plane
      • What you see when you look through the lens of your rifle is called the focal plane. This is also known as Cardinal Points. If you were to remove the primary magnification lens, the image would show up upside down. Also, when you move the reticle to the left, it will show it as moving This is the focal plane in raw form.
      • There are two types of focal planes that you can choose from. Front and rear focal are these two types. However, more companies are going with front focal planes.
        • Front Focal
          • Used mostly for tactical purposes. This is because the image is focused more quickly in the scope.
        • Rear Focal
          • Useful in low light environments, this limits its usability and might only be accurate at higher magnifications.
        • Magnification
          • A few different options exist when it comes to magnification. Typically, the greater that the zoom is, the more the image will distort. Many products, mainly the expensive ones, are available for correcting this.
          • The type of magnification that you get depends on your needs. There are different needs throughout, and the magnification depends on this.
          • For hunting, you might want something that zooms in on your target.
          • There are scopes that offer very little magnification, which is great for tactical applications. Higher fire rate and shorter distance make this work.
        • Eye Relief
          • This is the distance that your eye needs to be from the lens to ensure that the image is clear. While it can be a specific distance, it can also range a little. Your eye is in the proper position when you can see the whole picture nearly filling the eyepiece.
          • Eye relief helps to determine where the scope should be mounted on your AR 15.
        • Weight
          • After a long period of time shooting, you are going to feel the weight of the scope. This weight depends on the thickness of the glass. Scopes typically weigh anything from 12 ounces to 20 ounces.
        • Minute of Angle (MOA) and MRAD
          • This mathematical equation helps to figure out the real distance of what an inch in your scope means in reality. For example, if your reticle needs to be moved an inch in the scope, it will be much more in truth.
          • The equation itself consists of a circle divided into 360 degrees. Each degree will be divided into 60 minute long intervals. This formula can help to account for leads and to help understand an inch being closer to a foot in your scope.
        • Parallax
          • This happens when the focal plane is not aligned. A lot of scopes come with an adjustment for this and it is pretty simple to fix. Getting a scope with parallax adjustment so you can fix your rifle in the field, saving you money in the long run.
          • There is a way to test this alignment. All you have to do is, from 100 yards look through your lens. When you see the target, look to a different part of the target, seeing if the image moves. If it does, this means that your parallax is not aligned.

Keeping all of these things in mind can be difficult when you are just starting out on your AR 15 experience. Remember that you are going to be looking for a scope that is right for what you do. Getting a scope that will not benefit you and what you prefer shooting at is just not worth it.

Popular Scope Brands

There are going to be companies and brands that stand out from the rest, just like there is with most products. The top brands and companies for AR 15 scopes are there for a reason. With quality and performance, you cannot go wrong with any of the following companies.

  • Nikon
    • Nikon is not just popular in the photography world. They make other products with lenses that are just as popular as their cameras. Just like the company itself, their scopes are super reliable.
    • Nikon is one of the more well known providers of sports optics, and they have a variety of options. Super popular for their cutting edge optical rifle scopes for hunting, the company is strong when it comes to quality, commitment to innovation, and product performance.
  • Barska
    • Barska is operated out of Pomona California and is one of the top brands that offer rifle scopes on the market. Besides the United States, they distribute to over 40 countries. Their priority is to make all kinds of sports optics, and are able to have corporate customize their own
  • Leupold
    • This company was founded in 1907 and continues to provide some of the highest quality scopes out there. These scopes are even used by the United Stated military and the Navy SEALs. The offer anything from simple hunting scopes to robust tactical designs that are used by the military.
  • Redfield

Redfield’s motto is “No Excuses.” They offer a full lifetime warranty on their products that are not electrical. Leupold & Stevens purchased Redfield in April 2008. However, they did not acquire the capability of taking the products that were made prior to the buyout and repairing them.

  • Sightmark
    • They were founded in 2007, and have been steadily growing in the modern shooting market. Their products, including their rifle scopes, are the reason for this increase in popularity. Operations take place in Texas, and their motto is “Make Your ” With a large variety, their products are at the top of the market. They are also known for creating Triple Duty, Pinnacle, and Ezekiel rifle scopes that excel in performance.
  • Burris
    • Most known for their scopes that are larger in diameter, Burris scopes are used by amateurs and professionals alike. Their vow is that they employ only the most passionate and knowledgeable engineers to develop their products.
  • Bushnell
    • One of the oldest manufacturers of scopes, Bushnell is still very popular on the market. With over 65 years of experience under their belt, they have prided themselves on providing only the best products to their customers. These hunting products are affordable and reliable.
  • Trijicon
    • With a reputation for well built scopes and long lasting rifle sights, they have been building up their company during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many governments and other agencies around the world use products from them.
  • Millet
    • Around 1970, Millet has been producing optics for the military, hunters, shooters, and the police. They were purchased by Brushnell in 2005 but continues to provide those quality scopes and sights.
  • NCStar
    • By providing affordable optics, NCStar allows you to punch holes in targets for less. They do not have as high quality products as some others, but they are perfectly fine and serviceable.
  • BSA
    • They produce affordable products as well. In the past, they have manufactured for the military, but they no longer do that. Their quality optics and great outdoor equipment will leave you wanting more.

AR 15 Scope Tips

Dealing with an AR 15 can sometimes be tricky. Being safe is better than being sorry, especially when it comes to something like a firearm. The following are a few tips that will help your AR 15 experience to be the best that it can be.

  • A scope that costs more is usually made better
  • An objective lens that is larger can take in more light
  • Do not bother to buy a scope that outranges the ammunition that you are using
  • Never directly put your eye one the scope. You need to compensate for any recoil that may occur.
  • Have your firearm and accessories frequently serviced to keep them in good shape
  • Always protect your eyes and ears with protective covering
  • Make sure the rifle is fixed before anything else. If it is not for any reason, do not use it until it is
  • Understand the mechanics and learn about handling your rifle

Regardless of what you are planning on using you AR 15 for, it is important to know what you are getting yourself into. By educating yourself and doing tons of research, you will be helping yourself get that much closer to picking the right scope for you.

As long as you are informed about what you personally need and what features will be best for you, there should be no problem. You have many options at different price points that you will find to be perfect for you.

The right scope for you is out there, waiting to be found. If you take the time to consider a scope before getting it carefully, you will be that much more inclined to be satisfied with what you choose.

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