10 Best AR 15 Scopes under $300 in 2020

by Matthew Wilson

Last updated on July 4th, 2020

Last updated on July 4th, 2020

The right AR 15 scope can make all the difference between a great shooting experience and a lousy one. And there’s no single best scope for all shooters–the type of scope that you need will vary greatly depending on the application you’re using it for. Hunting in the woods, close-range target shooting, and competitive shooting all require very different scope types. Especially if you’re relatively new to shooting, shopping for scopes can seem confusing. As someone with years of shooting experience (and a long-standing interest in all things related to the AR 15), I can help you choose the best AR 15 scopes under 300 dollars. Let’s dive right in!

Our Top Recommended AR 15 Scope

Vortex Optics Crossfire II

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-16x50 AO, 30mm, Second Focal Plane Riflescope - Dead-Hold BDC Reticle (MOA)
  • Our Rating
  • Magnification: 4-12x

    Objective Lens Diameter:40 mm

    Weight: 19.2 oz

Nikon P-Tactical .223 4-12X40

Nikon P-Tactical .223 4-12X40 Matte BDC600
  • Our Rating
  • Magnification: 4- 12x

    Objective Diameter: 40mm

    Weight: 17.5 oz

Argos BTR, Riflescope

Athlon Optics , Argos BTR, Riflescope, 6-24 x 50 First Focal Plane (FFP) 30 mm Tube, Illuminated APMR MIL Reticle,
  • Our Rating
  • Magnification: 6-24

    Objective Lens Diameter: 50 mm

    Weight: 29.6 ounces

10 Best AR 15 Scope Reviews:

 

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 4-16x50 AO, 30mm, Second Focal Plane Riflescope - Dead-Hold BDC Reticle (MOA)

Review

This scope is an excellent value and is a worthy candidate for best AR scope under 300 dollars. It’s designed primarily to be used for hunting and target shooting in very low-light conditions–the V-Brite reticle uses an illuminated center dot to help you quickly focus on your target.

This is a four power scope, making it ideal for close-range and medium-tange hunting and target shooting. It’s made of aircraft-grade aluminum and is fog-proof and waterproof, making it supremely durable and reliable.

The good:

  • It provides great value for the price
  • Second focal plane design with illuminated dot lets you quickly focus on your target
  • Durable and lightweight design is built to last

The bad:

  • Illuminated dot on reticle is very difficult to see when not used in low-light conditions
  • May not be suitable for very long-range shooting

What Customers Are Saying

This is one of the most favorably talked about scopes on our list. Many consumers say that this scope is one of the best values possible for the price. Because this scope is great for hunting and tactical use, it’s one that appeals to plenty of AR 15 owners.

Nikon P-Tactical .223 4-12X40 Matte BDC600

Review

If you need to ensure accuracy even at long ranges, this might be the scope for you. This is a good scope for AR 15 223 Rem/5.56 mm NATO round shooters, since it was designed specifically to work with these rounds. This scope is also optimized for use with Nikon’s Spot On Ballistic Match Technology.

This technology takes into account your ammunition type and recommends exact aiming points that compensate for bullet drop over long ranges. Aiming points are shown on its BDC 600 reticle, and multicoated optics ensure vivid sight pictures even in low-light conditions. Its Rapid Action Turret system lets you quickly dial in distances from 100 to 600 yards.

The good:

  • It’s designed to be used with Spot On Ballistic Match Technology, which you can find as a free app
  • It compensates for bullet drop and shows eact aiming points on the reticle
  • It’s remarkably affordable given its impressive technology

The bad:

  • It might not be the best option for people who don’t use .223 Rem/5.56 mm NATO rounds
  • Some users have said that the crosshairs on the reticle can be difficult to see

What Customers Are Saying

Most consumers have praised this scope as being a great investment and well worth the price. Many have also noted that the sight pictures are bright and clear.

Athlon Optics , Argos BTR, Riflescope, 6-24 x 50 First Focal Plane (FFP) 30 mm Tube, Illuminated APMR MIL Reticle,

Review

While it is one of the more expensive options on the list, this might be the best AR scope for 100 yards under $300. Athlon Optics is a manufacturer whose affordable scopes typically have features often only found on higher-end scopes.

This one uses a first focal plane design, meaning the reticle shrinks or grows as you zoom out or in. It’s also equipped ith multi-coated lenses that give you bright, high-visibility sight pictures even when you’re shooting in low light.

Its 4x magnification also makes it a versatile scope for multiple shooting applications, at it is shockproof and waterproof for durability.

The good:

  • Has features like first focal plane reticle that aren’t often found on less expensive scopes
  • Very durable build makes it especially rugged
  • Provides excellent sight visibility

The bad:

  • Shorter eye relief than most scopes
  • Some shooters may prefer the unchanging reticle that comes with a second focal plane scope

What Customers Are Saying

Most buyers seem to be pretty happy with this scope. While its optics aren’t as clear as more expensive options, some buyers have been able to hit targets at over 1,000 yards while using it. This seems to be one of the best options you can find at this price point.

 

Athlon Optics Talos BTR 4-14x44 First Focal Plane Riflescope, APLR2 FFP IR MIL Reticle

 

Review

If you regularly practice long-range target shooting, you may be looking for the best long distance scope for AR15. This scope has a first focal plane reticle, keeping it easy to read at all shooting distances.

This scope amplifies your target anywhere from 4x to 14x, and it’s fog-proof, waterproof, and shock proof.

The good:

  • It has features of scopes that cost much more, making it a great value for the price

The bad:

  • The reticle isn’t illuminated, so it hay be harder to use in low light
  • Some buyers have reported quality control issues

What Customers Are Saying

Most consumers seem to think this scope is an excellent value, and many comment that fellow gun enthusiasts have been shocked that it was so affordable. A few of them have called the turrents “spongy,” but most have been impressed with the scope’s optics.

Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x40mm Riflescope

Review

The expanding scope market means that it’s easier than ever to find good optics for AR 15 under $300. This scope is ideal for those who want to maintain visibiity in lower-light conditions–it comes equipped with the Twilight Light Management System and provides a very clear sight picture.

The Tri-MOA reticle helps you get a sucessful shot even at a great distance. These scopes are also more rugged than most–they have been tested for ability to perform in weather as cold as -40 degrees Fahrenheit or as hot as 160 degrees. They also are designed with withstand repeated recoil force.

The good:

  • Especially given its affordable price, this scope is much more durable than most
  • Light Management System is a feature you don’t usually find on less expensive scopes
  • It’s one of the few affordasble scopes that is made in the US

The bad:

  • Some buyers have pointed out that the listing photos of the scope’s reticle is not to scale
  • Some have had trouble with its turret adjustment system

What Customers Are Saying

Most consumers seem to be impressed with this scope, especially when it comes to its ability to provide clear sight pictures in low light.

Mueller Target Rifle Scope, Black, 8-32 x 44mm

Review

There are plenty of choices when it comes to the best affordable AR 15 optics, and this is ane xcellent option for long-range shooting. It can magnify your target up to 32 times, and most buyers have commented that they have never seen a scope at this price point work so clearly.

A fast-focus eyepiece and side parallax adjustment make this scope a wise choice for hunters and other shooters who need to find focus quickly.

You are probably looking for a cheaper variation of scope. Especially for that we prepaired a list of reviews on best ar-15 scopes under 200 $.

The good:

  • Has a very wide magnification range, making it suitable for most applications
  • Is very easy to use, making it a good choice for beginners
  • Long eye relief reduces risk of injury

The bad:

  • Somewhooters might prefer an illuminated reticle
  • This scope doesn’t have some of the high-end features of some of the scopes on the list

What Customers Are Saying

Most buyers seem to be very pleased with this scope, and most of them seem to think that its clarity at 32x magnification is incredible.

 

Monstrum G3 6-24x50 First Focal Plane FFP Rifle Scope with Illuminated MOA Reticle and Adjustable Objective (Black)

Review

A good 500 yard scope for AR 15 can be tough to find, but this one offers several features that you don’t usualy see on more affordable options. This scope is ideal for shooting up to 1000 yards, and its adjustable objective lens lets you dial in the right focus picture for an accurate shot.

And while this scope has illuminated reticles, it also offers you the option of adjustable reticle brightness. This makes it much easier to shoot safely and accurately in low-light condition. The custom type-H reticle is designed to help you estimate range and correct holdovers.

The good:

  • Many reticle illumination options make it great for shooting in low light
  • Comes with protective lens caps to protect your optics
  • Most buyers say the scope can hold zero even after several rounds

The bad:

  • Several buyers have found most of the knobs difficult to adjust
  • While it has been reviewed well. many buyers say the lens covers are very flimsy

What Customers Are Saying

Most buyers seem to be happy with this scope, but some also have quality control issues–one buyer noted that the reticle illumination dial could not be turned without the help of a tool.

To add , perhaps you will be interested in how to store your gun , especially for that we have a selection of best ar-15 cases.

Barska 6-24x60mm IR ST Rifle scope 30mm (Black)

Review

This AR 15 long range scope is designed to be used in almost any conditions. Its side parallax and turret adjustments have a locking capability, which you don’t often find on inexpensive scopes.

You can adjust zoom anywhere from 6x to 24x, and the mil-dot reticle can be adjusted depending on the level of natural light. This scope comes equipped with a sunshade and lens caps, and multi-coated optics give you a much sharper focus picture than most scopes at this proce point.

The good:

  • Wide magnification range makes this a good choice for longer-range shooting
  • Military-style deisgn will appeal to many
  • Coated optics and illuminated reticle give you decent visibility

The bad:

  • Some buyers have said that the optics aren’t as crisp as advertised
  • Some have reported that the lens caps are too loose

What Customers Are Saying

Most buyers seem to think that this is a scope that’s very simple to set up and use. Many also seem to appreciate the illuminated reticle, especially when shooting at dusk.

Furthermore , if you don’t know where to store your gun, we have a gathered the best fireproof gun safes for you.

Mueller AO Eraticator Rifle Scope, Black, 8.5-25 x 50mm

Review

Many people use the AR 15 as a hunting rifle. If you do this, it’s important to have a scope that matches. This may be the best deer hunting scope for AR 15 under $300.

It was designed specifically for shooting small game at long distances, but it also can be used for larger game like deer. Fully coated glass gives you sharp focus with great contrast, and the long eye relief reduces your risk of injury.

The good:

  • This is one of the more affordable scopes on the list
  • Quality optics make it easy to see your target even in low light
  • It comes with many of the accessories you’ll need

The bad:

  • Since this scope is optimized for hunting, non-hunters may ant to choose another from the list

What Customers Are Saying

Most customers seem to be pretty impressed with this scope, and several say they have successfully used it to hunt small game. Most buyers have stated that this scope is an excellent value as well.

Bushnell Engage Riflescope, 2.5-10x44mm, Matte Black

 

Review

This is one of the many great scopes for AR 15 that you can find for under $500. This scope can magnify up to 10x, so it likely isn’t ideal for very long-range shooting.

And while it’s one of the more expensive options on the list, it has several benefits, including tool-free adjustment and an impressive ability to hold zero. The turrets are locking, which is a feature not always found on more affordable scopes.

The good:

  • Locking turrets are a great feature
  • Clear optics help you easily focus on your target
  • Has many features of more expensive scopes

The bad:

  • Some shooters may prefer a less-fine reticle
  • Regular price is a bit higher than the 300 price tag, so you need to wait till sales to get it for a more affordable price.

What Customers Are Saying

Most buyers, especially those who are target shooters, seem to be impressed with this scope. Many have noted that the glass is especially clear for a scope at this price point.

Factors to Consider When Buying Best AR 15 Scope Under $300

When shopping for a good scope for AR15, there are a few things to keep in mind. One of the most important things to remember is that you can’t really compare a $300 scope to a $3,000 one.

What Type of Ammunition Are You Using?

That said, you can still find a quality scope at an affordable price. AR 15 optics recommendations will vary based on the caliber of ammunition you use.

Some scopes are specially designed for a given ammunition type, and their reticles show you where to aim in order to offset bullet drop.

How Much Magnification is Necessary?

You’ll also want to consider magnification. A scope with a high magnification power lets you zero in on a target, but remember that your field of view diminishes as you increase amplification. When choosing an AR scope for deer hunting or other longer-range application, try to choose a scope with a considerably adjustable range of magnification.

Thinking About Reticles

When it comes to selecting your scope, one of the most important considerations is the reticle type.

Many scopes have crosshair reticles. However, you’ll need to choose between first focal plane and second focal plane designs.

A first focal plane reticle changes size with magnification, while a second focal plane one stays the same size.

Some scopes also have illuminated reticles, which can make it much easier to shoot in lower-light conditions.

Recommended for read: Best Red Dot Magnifiers

AR 15 Scope FAQ

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

What magnification do I need?

Generally, you only need very high-magnification scopes for long-range shooting. When hunting, you often need low to medium magnification in order to preserve your field of vision through the scope.

Why do I need a quality scope?

In some cases, the quality of your scope may be even more important than the quality of your rifle. The right scope lets you see your target clearly and aim correctly. Shooting accurately is important, and the right scope can help you do that even in non-ideal weather conditions.

Should I get coated lenses?

Coated lenses usually improve the transmission of light and can increase contrast. This lets you easily focus in on your target. In many cases, coated lenses make it easier to see, even in low-light conditions.

Can I mount a scope myself?

Yes, although those who are new to shooting may prefer to have a professional fit their scope.

Conclusion

We think any scope on this list is a worthy candidate for best AR 15 scope under 300 dollars. However, our top pick is the Athlon Optics Argos BTR.

This scope has illuminated reticles and a highly durable build, and many buyers have praised it for its accuracy. As you shop, take your time and consider specifications, and you’ll be well on your way to choosing the right scope for you.