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The 10 Best AR 15 Scopes Under $200 – Budget Optics for 2020

Last updated on September 25th, 2020

Precision is one of the most important aspects of shooting as a lack of accuracy can spell disaster. With the right scope, you can transform your AR 15 into a monster of a machine. It took us some time, but after hours of research and field testing, we discovered 10 quality scopes you should check out. We aimed to find not just quality scopes, but affordable ones as well. Our reviews, and the buyer’s guide that follows, should steer you in the right direction. Before you know it, you’ll find the best AR 15 scopes under $200 to add to your gun.

Are you ready to save some money and get a quality add-on for your gun? Let’s get right into the reviews then.

Top 3 Recommended AR 15 Scopes for the Money

Vortex Optics Diamondback Second Focal Plane Riflescopes

Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12x40 Second Focal Plane Riflescope - Dead-Hold BDC Reticle (MOA)
  • Our Rating
  • Magnification: 1.75-5x32

    Reticle: Dead-Hold BDC (MOA)

    Eye Relief: 3.5in

    Weatherproofing: Waterproof and fog-proof

Vortex Optics Strikefire II Red Dot Sights

Vortex Optics Strikefire II Red Dot Sight - 4 MOA Red/Green Dot
  • Our Rating
  • Magnification: 1x

    Reticle: Red/green dot

    Eye Relief: Unlimited

    Weatherproofing: Waterproof and fog-proof

UTG 4-16X44 30mm Scope, AO, 36-color Mil-dot, w/ Rings

UTG 4-16X44 30mm Scope, AO, 36-color Mil-dot, w/ Rings
  • Our Rating
  • Magnification: 4-16x44

    Reticle: 36-color Mil-dot

    Eye Relief: 3-3.4in.

    Weatherproofing: Fog-proof and rainproof.

10 Best Scopes for AR 15 Under $200

 

Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12x40 Second Focal Plane Riflescope - Dead-Hold BDC Reticle (MOA)

Review

The Vortex Optics Diamondback offers high performance in a low price range. Its adjustments are quick and easy to manage, while the fast-focus eyepiece is reliable.

Also, the solid construction helps it last through several different conditions.With an adjustable magnification, you’re given the chance to shoot at various ranges to diversify your use.

Pros/Cons

  • Bright, clear lens
  • Solid construction
  • Easy to dial in
  • Eye relief seems short

What Customers Are Saying

Many consumers feel this is the best AR scope under $200 thanks to how well it’s built. It uses a one-piece, aluminum alloy construction that resists recoil well enough. The argon purging also adds good water and fog resistance.

Consumers also appreciate the fully multi-coated lens that offers clarity and brightness even under lower lighting situations. The customized BDC reticle helps take away the guesswork as well.

If there’s any issue, it’s with the eye relief. Some still feel that it’s a touch too small for use with an AR 15.

 

Vortex Optics Strikefire II Red Dot Sight- 4 MOA Red Dot, BlackReview

The Strikefire II Red Dot Sights is another quality AR scope under $200 from Vortex Optics. It’s a simple choice for those looking for a close range, red dot scope.

This versatile scope is durable as well thanks to the 30mm aluminum alloy chassis. Its construction grants the scope a higher recoil rating to help it withstand whatever your AR 15 puts it through.

Pros/Cons

  • Can brighten or dim red dot
  • Holds well against recoil
  • Clear glass
  • Dot seems large and irregular in shape

What Customers Are Saying

There’s much praise seen in the scope’s overall design. Besides it withstanding recoil, the scope does well against wet and foggy conditions. It has rear-facing controls as well for easier adjustments of the dot light intensity, the power button, and more.

You can even select from night-vision compatible settings if needed. The reticle also allows you to shoot with both eyes open to increase peripheral vision.

There’s no magnification here, so it’s best used in close range situations. As for the dot itself, some feel that it’s a touch too large and can distort when looking at closer targets

UTG 4-16X44 30mm Scope, AO, 36-color Mil-dot, w/ Rings

Review

UTG scopes are built with turrets that are resettable and lockable. This gives you great room to manipulate the scope according to your needs.

Also, with its 30mm main tube, you have a larger range to adjust elevation and windage.This versatile scope has different reticle illumination colors and levels of brightness to work with whatever shooting situation you’re in.

Pros/Cons

  • Good weather protection
  • Holds zero well
  • Adjustment knobs are easy to turn
  • Mil-dots seem too small

What Customers Are Saying

The flexibility of the wide magnification range is why many consumers see this as the best tactical scope under $200. It has multi-coated lenses for higher clarity, and the scope is overall easy to adjust and use.

Other consumers enjoy the durable, shockproof build as well. This scope also holds up under rainy and foggy weather.

Some users said the mil-dots appear too small and difficult to detect.

 

 

Barska 1-4x28 IR Hunting Scope

Review

The Barska Hunting Scope provides an advanced optics system designed to let you customize your view. You can select from red and green reticle to illuminate according to your needs.

Not only that, but you can quickly adjust the impact point using the external elevation and windage turrets.

There’s no need to worry about dust building up thanks to the two flip-up scope caps. These are made ambidextrous too so anyone can access them with a simple touch of your thumb.

Pros/Cons

  • Optics are clear
  • Zeros in quickly
  • Easy to install and uninstall
  • Adds on noticeable weight

What Customers Are Saying

Consumers appreciate this scope as one of the best affordable AR 15 optics. The lens is clear and feature a glare reduction design you can may get the best view possible. When combined with the versatile reticle, you can use the scope in both bright and low light conditions.

It’s as easy to setup as it is to use as well. Zeroing in takes little time, and it seems to hold well.

Many users did report that the scope is heavy and might add a noticeable amount of weight to your gun.

4-16x50AO Rifle Scope Combo Dual Illuminated with Green Laser sight 4 Holographic Reticle Red/Green Dot for Weaver/Rail Mount

Review

This Rifle Scope Combo is suitable for a range of shooting activities, but it does give off a tactical appearance thanks to the colored reticle and side flashlight.

There’s a range of brightness controls so you can use the scope under different environments and lighting conditions. Its 50mm objective diameter provides a good amount of clarity.

Pros/Cons

  • Various illuminations
  • Good brightness and clarity for daytime use
  • Fast target acquisition
  • Laser adjustments don’t hold well

What Customers Are Saying

One of the top praises about this scope is the illumination mechanisms. The red and green dot is easy to use, and the green laser offers clear brightness even under daylight conditions. Some users also appreciate the flashlight option that can be useful for safety purposes.

Although the illumination is appreciated, users mention that it’s difficult for the laser adjustments to hold. This may require frequent readjustments while you’re using it.

With that said, many still view this as a good scope for AR 15 use against fast-moving targets at close range thanks to how quickly the target acquisition is.

Primary Arms Classic Series 1-4x24 SFP Rifle Scope with Illuminated Duplex Dot Reticle

Review

The Primary Arms Classic Series SFP Rifle Scope guides your eye to the center without getting in the way of the rest of your accuracy.

Even though it’s an entry-level optic, the scope still aims to give shooters clarity, precision, and ease of use.There’s a wide magnification range, and with 12 brightness levels, you can adapt from morning shooting to dusk.

We have also reviewed other products for AR-15, so if you are looking for more products for your AR-15 check out those best cases.

Pros/Cons

  • Reticle adjustments are accurate
  • Robust construction
  • Maintains zero
  • Eye relief isn’t forgiving

What Customers Are Saying

Many budget-conscious consumers feel this is the best AR scope for 100 yards thanks to the accuracy in your target acquisition and adjustments. It seems that the scope holds zero in too, so it may be easy to use as well.

The construction is reliable enough to know it’ll survive through frequent use. It doesn’t just have shockproof capabilities though. The scope is fog-proof and waterproof too.

One downside many consumers mention is the lack of forgiveness in terms of eye relief.

UUQ 4-16x50 AO Rifle Scope Red/Green Illuminated Range Finder Reticle W/Green Laser - Holographic Reflex Red Dot Sight - 5 Brightness Modes Flashlight

Review

This UUQ Rifle Scope uses a red/green rangefinder reticle to improve your accuracy and ranged shooting. It has numerous add-ons such as a flashlight, green laser sight, an adjustable objective, and more.

The scope is made using a high-quality aluminum alloy that’s nitrogen-filled and shockproof. With fast target acquisition, the scope may be best for faster moving targets.

Pros/Cons

  • Good accuracy
  • Useful additional accessories
  • Quality shockproof protection
  • May be too heavy for some users

What Customers Are Saying

Consumers enjoy the versatility given with this scope. It has several helpful add-ons that can turn your game around, and all of them are easy to use and adjust accordingly.

The scope allows for precise shots as well, and the fog-proof and water protection properties allow you to perform under different weather circumstances. Such a broad magnification range helps make this the best long-distance scope for AR 15 shooting.

There does seem to be a problem with the weigh though. Several users notice that with the additional accessories, the scope can weigh your gun down a bit.

 

 

TRUGLO TRU-BRITE 30 Series Illuminated Tactical Rifle Scope - Includes Scope Mount, 3-9 x 42mm

Review

The TRUGLO TRU-Brite 30 Series combines speed with clarity and accuracy. It provides a wide field of view and faster sight picture.

You can even maintain your peripheral view as you can shoot with both eyes open and not sacrifice precision. This nitrogen-filled scope protects against the outside elements, and it provides generous eye relief for ultimate comfort.

If you want looking for a better quality products, check out those best AR 15 scopes under $300.

Pros/Cons

  • Precise reticle adjustment
  • No distortion seen around the glass edges
  • Clear optics
  • Illumination seems poor

What Customers Are Saying

Many consumers label this as the best AR 15 sniper scope that provides precise reticle adjustments and ideal clarity. The adjustments for windage and elevation appear easy to handle as well.

The scope seems well made too since it’s designed for shock-resistance.

Most negative comments stem from the illumination aspect of the scope. Many consumers feel as though it’s not as bright as it claims, so they don’t feel as though the illumination isn’t worth it.

 

Monstrum G2 1-4x24 First Focal Plane FFP Rifle Scope with Illuminated BDC Reticle | Flat Dark Earth

Review

The Monstrum G2 Rifle Scope is a tactical, high precision scope that’s user-friendly. It features easy-to-read ranging information, which leads to a quicker estimation of range.

This scope is also made with a nitrogen-charged tube so that it’s water-resistant and fog-resistant. Also, the tube’s constructed out of aircraft-grade aluminum for better durability.

Pros/Cons

  • Good performance under low-light conditions
  • Glass is high-quality and clear
  • Generous eye relief
  • Difficult to adjust the zoom

What Customers Are Saying

As far as good optics for AR 15 goes, consumers appreciate the generous eye relief with this scope. It’s comfortable and safer. Also, the scope is simple to read so you don’t have to guess concerning range.

The high-quality glass is another praised area. You can easily illuminate the black reticle either red or green to adapt to daytime and nighttime visibility.

A not-so-great aspect about this scope consumers noticed is the adjustability. The adjustment knobs for the magnification seem stiff and difficult to turn at times.

Hunting 4-16x50AO Rifle Scope Combo Dual Illuminated with Green Laser Sight 4 Holographic Reticle Red Dot for Rail Mount

Review

XopingABC continues to create great scopes for AR 15 with their Hunting Rifle Scope Combo. This updated model features a quick install process so you can take the mount off and put it back on in seconds.

It has a fast-focus eyepiece, easy-to-adjust windage and elevation settings, and it has both a red laser and a detachable green laser. These let you view under nighttime settings as well as you can during the day.

Pros/Cons

  • Quick to install
  • Rugged aluminum build
  • Red dot is easy to use
  • Issues with the lasers

What Customers Are Saying

Consumers appreciate how simple it is to operate the reticle. The rugged build also makes the scope feel more reliable despite its low price range.

With a laser sighting, you may have better performance in close-quarter tactical situations.

On the other hand, many consumers believe that the laser function isn’t as good as the rest of the scope. Some have reported issues getting it to work, while others mention it may point in the wrong direction and become difficult to adjust.

Factors to Consider When Buying the Best AR 15 Scope under $200

If you’re on a budget, that doesn’t mean you must sacrifice quality. Your add-on of choice should benefit your shooting, so as you shop for AR 15 scopes under $200, it’s best to keep certain features in mind. These features can draw the line between affordability and cheap.

Reticle

If you have an idea about guns and scopes, then you know what a reticle is all about. Their purpose is to maximize your aim. However, reticles take on various forms, each one offering their benefits based on your intended shooting.

Plain crosshairs are a time-tested type that many marksmen opt for, but popularity grows for the duplex reticle style.

The duplex is a cross design that features thicker lines on the edges and thinner lines once you reach the intersection. It’s simple and provides you with faster target acquisition.

Beyond the duplex, many AR 15 scopes use a mil-dot reticle. It’s much like the duplex, but the mil-dot offers distance estimation as well. This makes it a top choice for long-distance shooting.

Not one reticle type is better than another. Your best bet to choose among them is to address the type of shooting you need to do.

Magnification

Many gun users choose too much or not enough magnification, and that decision may lead them to prematurely faulting the scope itself.

Like the reticle, it’s less about what’s best and more about what your target’s going to be.

For instance, if you’re just shooting close range or less than 150 yards out, then there’s not much need to look beyond 1-4x power.

As for long-distance shooting beyond 400 yards, consider a magnification that’s around 9x or greater. That may be the only way you’ll make accurate and clear shots.

Additional Features

Once you move past the basics, you can check out some other aspects that make up a quality AR 15 rifle scope:

  • Durability: Any add-on to your AR 15 should be as reliable as the gun itself. Consider traits like shockproof, waterproof, and fog-proof as they indicate the scope can work under various conditions.
  • User-Friendly: It should be straightforward to adjust the dials on the scope. Also, it helps if the scope holds with no trouble so you can focus more on shooting rather than constantly adjusting.
  • Eye Relief: Long eye relief is always helpful when you risk recoil. Better relief gives you breathing room as you remain comfortable and safe.
  • Clarity: Many high-end scopes have incredible optics, so it’s more important than ever to consider the lens on affordable scopes. Multi-coated ones are bright and clear for great clarity.

Recommended for read: Best Red Dot Magnifiers

AR 15 Scope under $200 FAQ

When asking what is a good magnification scope for an AR 15, it can be helpful to review some commonly asked questions:

What do the numbers on AR 15 scopes mean?

Numbers such as 6×32 and 5×32 simply denote the magnification power. For 6×32, the scope will magnify the image six times. Some scopes even have a range like 1-4×32, and that indicates the scope is more adjustable in terms of its magnification

How important is the mount?

The mount is as vital as the scope considering a scope can fail if it’s poorly mounted. Some scopes come with mounting hardware, while others require you to purchase one separately. You should ensure that everything screws in tight so there’s no risk of play in the scope due to the gun’s recoil.

What’s the benefit of a user-friendly design?

Many shooters may prefer a straightforward scope because it’s simpler to use. Consider scopes that are easy to dial in, have no trouble holding zero, and adjust quickly in other aspects such as windage and elevation.

Conclusion

You don’t have to break the bank to add a quality scope to your AR 15. Nowadays, quality isn’t diminished for the sake of affordability. From our review list, we feel the Vortex Optics Diamondback Rifle scopes is the best AR 15 scope under $200.

There’s good simplicity in the scope as it’s easy to dial in and does well at resisting recoil. The multi-coated lens is clear and bright, and the customized reticle removes much of the guesswork in range finding.

Do you feel like the Diamondback is for you? If not, feel free to check out the rest of the AR 15 scopes on our list, or you can use our buyer’s guide to find another one best for your gun.