Looking for the best AR 15 scope available in 2020? Look no further.
Finding an appropriate scope for your AR 15 can be a dreadful task. We’ve narrowed down our own contenders for some of the best options available to you in 2020.
Anyone shopping for AR 15 optics will likely have noticed the huge variety of options available. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Having more choice means you can find a scope that’s ideal for you.
But there is a down side. If you’re relatively new to optics and how they function, it can be overwhelming. Huge variances in magnification, additional features and even price can make things pretty intimidating.
Luckily, we’ve compiled a guide of some of our favorite scopes that you’ll be able to procure in 2020.
In this guide we’ve reviewed a variety of scopes. All of them have their own strengths and weaknesses. But we’ve made sure to only pick the ones that already stand out from the crowd.
We stress variety for a reason – the specific activity you require your scope for will dictate what kind of features you’ll require of your scope.
For example, if you’re planning on hunting at night, you’d need a night vision scope. Regulations around these vary wildly so we’d recommend reading our dedicated article.
Perhaps you’re interested in a scope for home defense? or shooting at a competitive level? All of these things have completely separate requirements. You need to take the intended function of your weapon into account beforehand.
What Do I Look For In a Scope?
We’ve already mentioned it, but the specific task you require your weapon for will dictate the type of optics you settle for.
If you’re going to be using your rifle in close range, a holographic sight is ideal. If you’re thinking close to middle range, a red dot sight may be ideal.
Further ranges will require a scope, with magnification varying depending on what kind of ranges you’re expecting to deal with.
General Scope Purchasing Tips
Pay close attention to customer reviews. They’ll let you know exactly what the positives and negatives are of the product. They’ll also inform you of how reliable the manufacturer is. They could be unreliable at upholding warranties for example. Or they could have issues with frequently missing parts.
If the overwhelming majority of reviews highlight these issues – it’s not worth the risk. If the overwhelming majority are positive, it’s reasonable to see a mistake here and there. Just make sure you know for a fact that their customer service is on point. This way if a mistake does occur it can be rectified quickly.
You’ll want a scope with a warranty. Lenses can be pretty fickle things. Production defects shouldn’t be too common but you want the security of knowing that a cracked lense won’t leave you out of pocket.
This probably goes without saying. But you want to make absolutely sure the scope is compatible with your rifle. If you end up with a scope that isn’t compatible, you might need to purchase an adapter.
In many cases it’s better to just go with a scope that’s compatible off the bat.
It’s important to keep in mind the functionality you’ll require. Speaking in terms of additional features, of course. Some scopes come provided with laser sights. Others come with illumination and various other accessories.
Our Favorite Scopes For 2020
Best Mid-Range / Long-Range Scopes
Trijicon 4×32 ACOG Dual Illuminated Chevron
The Trijicon 4x ACOG is an ACOG sight with 4x magnification and a 32mm lense. It’s a pretty amazing piece of kit. It’s crafted out of an aircraft aluminium alloy to absolutely guarantee sturdiness. Its compact size coupled with it’s rugged nature have catapulted it to success as one of the more popular ACOG models.
The illuminated reticle is completely self illuminated. It’s illuminated by a combination of tritium and fiber optics. This means you don’t need to worry about battery life or bringing spare batteries with you. The “half life” of tritium is about 12 years. This is only the half life, however. So it’s possible for the reticle to retain a level of illumination for 20+ years.
It has a red chevron reticle, specifically designed for ranging and compensating for bullet drop. This reticle is absolutely ideal for longer range targets.
The lenses utilise fiber optics to collect ambient night, the light levels of the scope are then adjusted accordingly. This scope effortlessly adjusts to all lighting conditions to ensure you have the best possible shooting experience.
It comes with a limited lifetime manufacturers warranty too.
UTG Bugbuster Scope 3-9×32
The UTG Bugbuster Scope pushes the limits of long range accuracy when equipped with an AR-15. The lowest magnification level is 3x, which is the maximum for many AR-15 compatible scopes.
Increasing the magnification, you’ll find that the highest magnification level is 9x, which is absolutely ideal for a carbine. The lens diameter is 32mm, which surprisingly doesn’t look too big on an AR.
If you’ve got a reasonable level of proficiency, you can expect to hit targets at 500+ yards with very little difficult.
Considering the magnification level and build quality of this scope, it’s ridiculously under-priced.
It’s completely waterproof, so you can expect to make shots in the rain without worrying about degradation.
It’s shockproof also, so you can expect it to retain accuracy after putting countless rounds downrange. It can also handle a couple of knocks.
The scope comes with a 2″ sunshade that can be used to keep the glare out of your eyes when taking shots in the sun. It has red/green dual illumination too, this means that you’ll be able to distinguish your scope from the surrounding environment with ease.
S2Delta 1-4X24 Carbine Scope
This is a harsh competitor for the title of best ar 15 scope under 200 dollars.
The S2Delta is an expertly manufactured, powerful rifle scope. It’s capable of up to 4x magnification and the conservative lens size makes it perfect for an AR-15. You can expect the solid construction of this scope to result in a few key advantages.
One advantage is that it will effortlessly hold it’s zero no matter how much recoil it’s subject to. You can put hundreds of rounds downrange and you shouldn’t expect to see any changes in accuracy.
Another is that it can be subject to quite a bit of external abuse without losing it’s accuracy. Running, climbing, falling or even dropping the rifle shouldn’t result in any major issues.
Leaving the scope at 1x (no magnification) is still absolutely an option. This is ideal for accuracy at closer ranges. The crisp view from the lens + the illuminated reticle will allow you to hit targets with ease.
Of course, this reticle is a BDC (Bullet Drop Compensating) Reticle. Meaning it’s geared more towards longer range shooting. The including of markers in the reticle to indicate elevation drop make it easier to take precise shots at longer distances.
The lens has been treated to prevent internal fogging. It’s also water proof and dust proof.
The S2Delta comes with a lifetime warranty. Defective scopes, or scopes that have withstand damage will be happily swapped with a working model – no questions asked.
Monstrum P332 Raven Prism Scope
The Monstrum P332 Raven is one of our favorite prism sights. It utilizes glass prism optics to provide you with a 3x magnification. These optics make for an incredibly crisp and clear sight which allows you to focus targets with ease. The reticle is etched into the glass to a very fine & clear point.
You can switch between red and green when illuminating the reticle. This feature is designed to allow you to be able to clearly see your reticle regardless of the color/lighting environment in the background. For example, you wouldn’t want to use the red reticle if you’re hunting deer in the middle of autumn. There’s too much color overlap.
The aluminium body is deliberately machined all in one piece. The lack of joints and assembly related parts makes for a sturdier scope that can withstand harsh recoil without losing accuracy. Many user reviews share the same experience with this scope. They ‘zero’ the scope, let off as many rounds as they feel and see no difference in the accuracy of the scope.
Remember that warranty we said you should look out for? This one comes with a 1 year warranty. This is a fairly reasonable amount of time if you’re going to be using your rifle regularly. If you’re only taking the rifle out once a year then this may not be the best warranty for you.
Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-6×24
The Vortex Optics Strike Eagle is an outstanding sight for some of the long range work. Starting with no magnification it can be dialed right up to 6x. It has a compact 24mm lens too.
As is often the case with long range scopes, it has a bullet drop compensating reticle. This reticle is glass etched and can be illuminated with up to 11 different settings to allow you to adjust to various environments and lighting conditions.
The reticle is also a Second Focal Plane Reticle. SFP reticles do not increase in size along with the magnification. They stay the same size regardless.
There’s a quick-focusing dial located on the eyepiece. It effectively allows you to ensure your reticle is always crisp and sharp.
It’s incredibly resilient too. Not only is it waterproof, it’s also specially treated to be fog proof too. There’s little chance of some condensation throwing off your shot.
Furthermore, it’s shockproof too. You can experience a high volume of recall and even drop your firearm and still retain some serious accuracy. (admittedly, we do not recommend you drop your firearm. ever.)
The versatility this rifle-scope nets you is insane. You can nail targets at close and long ranges in fairly short succession.
Firefield NVRS 3×42 Gen 1 Night Vision Riflescope
The Firefield NVRS is a night vision rifle-scope that fits perfectly on an AR-15. It’s a static 3x magnification scope. Static scopes bring the advantage of the reticle and overall design of the scope being perfectly suited to this magnification level. The lens sits at a reasonable 42mm diameter.
It’s built from titanium, allowing it to be sturdy without being too heavy. This pairs pretty well with it’s quick detach system, designed to allow you to quickly switch to iron sights if need be.
It’s night vision capabilities come from the high powered, effective infra-red illuminator integrated into the design. All images passed through the scope are delivered in high resolution to ensure you retain as much accuracy as physically possible.
The reticle brightness can be easily adjusted in increments in order to ensure your shot is perfectly optimized.
It’s also water resistant, up to a rating of IPX4 – you can’t submerge it in water but it’ll be able to withstand rain.
This is easily one of the best possible scopes from generation 1 that you could hope to bag. It’s not uncommon to make shots extending out to 200+ yards under moonlight alone with this scope.
The Firefield NVRS also holds a zero incredibly well. Once you’ve zero’d your scope you shouldn’t feel any kind of anxiety about expending a plethora of rounds. It’s also really easy to zero this scope, so if you ever feel like the accuracy is slightly off you’ll be back to nailing targets dead center in no time.
It comes with a three year warranty for mechanical parts – these include the lenses, the eye piece, adjustment knobs and basically any other component critical to the function of the scope.
Best Close-Range Scopes
Aimpoint PRO Carbine Red Dot Reflex Sight
If you’re looking for something to assist you in close range, this is ideal. This red dot sight could easily be regarded as the best AR 15 scope for close quarters.
The Aimpoint PRO Carbine Red Dot Reflex Sight is a magnification-free sight. This matte black sight is manufactured from a high strength aluminium. Aimpoint are a high quality manufacturer with decades of experience in crafting solid optics.
It’s not hard to believe this when you see some of the key features of this scope. For example, when left constantly-on at setting 7, the battery life of this scope can last for up to 30,000 hours. That’s 3 years of continuous usage.
It’s waterproof up to 45 meters and comes with flip covers on either side to protect against dust and debris during periods of inactivity.
It can be used easily in conjunction with iron sights, and the necessary spacer for this process comes pre-installed. Expect to be able to co-witness with ease.
The sight itself is crystal clear and optimized for pinpoint accuracy with its 2 MOA dot.
Don’t expect to lose accuracy with repetitive recoil. This sight is engineered to be able to stay perfectly zero’d after countless rounds are spent.
It comes with it’s own mounting kit. Designed to make it incredibly quick and easy to mount. You can just slap the sight on any standard rail and snap the QRP2 tightening knob 3 times for a perfect fit.
EOTECH 512 Holographic Sight
The EOTECH 512 is a top of the range, premium quality holographic sight for enthusiasts. It’s manufactured with reliability in mind. It’s water resistant up to 3 meters. It can also still function when partially shattered, covered in mud or frozen over. It can take a serious beating, which is why it’s such a ridiculously popular holographic sight.
You’ll enjoy the ridiculously quick target acquisition that comes with a holographic sight. This lightweight sight also has adjustable brightness settings. Whilst it may not have night vision, the adjustable brightness is more than adequate for low light and high light conditions.
It won’t handle complete darkness, though. It actually has 20 different individual brightness settings to ensure that you’ll find one that’s right for your specific lighting environment.
Whilst this is a popular choice for those interested in self defense, it was built with precision shooting in mind. This holographic sight would be right at place in a shooting competition.
It’s powered by 1.5V AA batteries. If you opt for lithium batteries you can expect to see up to 12 hours of continuous use at room temperature. (2500 hours at nominal setting)
It’s made authentically in the US, more specifically Michigan. US quality manufacturing means that you can expect to put countless rounds down range with no changes to your accuracy.
It also comes with a 10 year warranty. 10 Years is an ideal warranty period, especially for shooters with larger collections who may find themselves only utilising this scope a couple of times a year. If you encounter any issues during this time period simply get in contact with EOTECH and they’ll take care of the rest.
Predator V2 Reflex Sight [Best Budget Purchase]
The Predator V2 Reflex Sight is an outstanding piece of tactical gear. This reflex sight has been engineered to coincide perfectly with iron sights. As such, it comes packaged with a 45 degree offset mount to allow you to use both simultaneously. It’s manufactured to handle anything you can throw at it. It’s incredibly sturdy, designed to hold a zero whilst you burn through thousands of rounds.
Being able to hold it’s accuracy well means you’ll always be able to make full use of the incredible speed this reflex sight nets you. The key is sort of in the name “reflex” – you’ll be able to mark and shoot targets quickly and efficiently.
On top of it being able to take a hammering at the range, it’s sealed up tight to keep it dust proof and water proof. The inside of the glass has been specially treated to prevent internal fogging (this can occur if microbial life exists in-between lenses).
The outside has been treated with a special glare reduction coating. This retains the crisp visibility of the sight whilst allowing you to shoot under bright sunlight conditions without eye strain.
Aesthetically the scope looks great too, the black on white U.S Flag is a subtle but nice addition to the scope.
As you can see from the provided image – there’s an abundance of reticles to choose from. The standard green and red are provided for shooting in different terrain conditions. There’s also 4 different reticle types, this grants you freedom to fire in various different lighting and environmental conditions.
It also comes with a lifetime warranty. The scope can be taken back at a moments notice if you aren’t fully satisfied. No hassle is involved in the reclamation process.
What Kind Of Sights Are There?
There are a huge variety of sights and optics available for the AR-15. It honestly all boils down to the specific activity they’re required for. This is why it can be difficult to brand a specific optic as the best AR 15 scope. There’s such a wide variety of possible applications and use cases for each individual AR 15 optic.
For example, there are a wealth of no/low magnification sights. These are often “reflex” sights. Designed for quick target designation at a close range. Close quarters combat and home defense is what their primarily used for. They’re also pretty popular at shooting competitions.
Sights like these can include:
- Iron Sights
- Holographic Sites
- Red Dot Sites
- Laser Sights
Sights aimed towards dispatching against longer distances can include:
- Advanced Combat Optical Gun Sights (ACOG)
- Telescopic Sights
- Digital Telescopic Sights
- Night Vision Sights (Can be telescopic)
How Do I Keep My Sights Maintained?
Rifle Scope Maintenance
As we’re sure your aware – scopes can vary in price pretty wildly. Generally speaking the higher-end scopes will bring you the benefit of enhanced accuracy. They’ll also be able to handle more abuse.
Higher-end scopes will also tend to be more resistant to rain/dust. Ensuring they stay well maintained should be a task you undertake occasionally. A little bit of TLC goes a long way.
The coating on the lens, which in some cases is useful for glare, can become damaged over time. But only if you repeatedly let water and dirt in and around the lens without cleaning it.
When it comes to taking care of a scope, you always want to aim for prevention. What’s the point in trying to fix a problem that you could’ve easily avoided?
Something like a Spudz Microfiber Lens cloth can make all of the difference in the world. It even comes with a pouch that enables you to hang it up on your rifle. This means you can take it with you wherever you go and clean your rifle instantly if some dirt or mud gets on it.
Above all you should remember to brush any solid dirt off gently before rubbing the scope with your microfiber cloth. Being too rough with the dirt can push it into the lens and scratch it.