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The 10 Best Budget AR-15 Scopes under $100 in 2020

Last updated on September 28th, 2020

For many, shooting an AR-15 is thrilling hobby. However, we all know how quickly this hobby can become interrupted without proper scopes. For this review, we’ve analyzed all of the top scope models on the market to bring you a list of only the highest quality scopes.

The best scope for an AR-15 under $100 will most importantly hold zero, will have multiple reticle modes and brightness modes for tough lighting conditions, and will also be waterproof and fog proof, with shockproofing being a plus. So, let’s dive right into the list and find out which scopes are the top dogs!

Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight Riflescope, 1x25mm, Black
  • Bushnell Red Dot Sight (TRS-25)

  • Our Rating
  • 3 MOA dot reticle

    11 Brightness settings

    Waterproof construction (O-ring sealed optics)

    Dimensions: 5.4″ x 3.4″ x 2.2″

    Weight: 4 oz.

CVLIFE 2.5-10x40e Red & Green Illuminated Scope with 20mm Mount
  • CVLIFE 2.5-10x40e Red & Green Illuminated Scope

  • Our Rating
  • 2.5-10x Magnification

    Field of view (100 yards): 32.5′

    Laser: 2mW, class IIIA

    Dimensions: 8.5″ x 3″ x 3″

    Weight: 2 lbs

UTG 3-9X32 1" BugBuster Scope, AO, RGB Mil-dot, QD Rings
  • UTG 3-9×32 1″ BugBuster Scope

  • Our Rating
  • 1/4 MOA per click adjustment

    Range estimating mil-dot reticle (optimal aiming)

    Adjustable objective from 3 yards to infinity

    Dimensions: 9.8″ x 3.4″ x 3.9″

    Weight: 1.8 lbs

10 Best AR-15 Scopes for Under $100 on the Market

 

Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight Riflescope, 1x25mm, Black

Review

Kicking off the list is the best red dot for an AR-15, the Bushnell Red Dot Sight, or the TRS-25. With 11 brightness settings, this scope is highly capable in just about any lighting environment you might end up shooting in. The unit is also completely, waterproof, shockproof, and fog proof.

Thanks to its ability to mount to most low picatinny rails, the unit is compatible with pistols, shotguns, rifles, and muzzleloaders.

What Consumers are Saying

Consumers are relatively satisfied with this Bushnell model. Most find the quality to be sufficient for the price, but also note that the dot could be more definitive. Others note that the dot can be hard to see in highly illuminated environments.

Pros/Cons

  • Nitrogen inside the scope prevents fog ups from temperature or humidity changes, ensuring you always have a clear line of sight
  • The shockproof construction allows the unit to take all of the bumps and bangs that might come with the mobility accompanying the use of your AR-15
  • A couple of users note that the very bright conditions pose a sight issue with the scope

 

CVLIFE 2.5-10x40e Red & Green Illuminated Scope with 20mm Mount

Review

The next best red dot sight for your AR-15 is the CVLIFE 2.5-10x40e Red & Green Illuminated Scope. This scope is capable of 2.5 to 10 times magnification and sports a field of view roughly 32.5 feet at 2.5 times magnification (at 100 yards).

It also boasts a Kellner eyepiece with dioptric adjustment lens and a multi-coated green lens that provides higher light transmittance than their blue lens counterparts.

What Consumers are Saying

For the most part, consumers are very happy with the optics of this scope. Some claim that the consumers claiming it doesn’t hold to the rails simply don’t know how to use the scope as the unit holds quite fine to their AR-15’s.

Pros/Cons

  • The multi-coated green lens creates conditions for higher light transmittance than the comparable blue lens scopes on the market, making visibility some degrees higher
  • The scopes magnification is very adjustable being able to zoom from two and a half to 10 times magnification
  • There are a few consumers that claim that the scope doesn’t hold to the rails through an entire round of shooting

 

UTG 3-9X32 1" BugBuster Scope, AO, 36-color Mil-dot, Rings

Review

Dropping into the list as the third best AR scope under $100 is the UTG 3-9×32 1″ BugBuster Scope. The scope’s tube sports an emerald coating which creates maximum light transmission through the lens and ensures you’ll be able to acquire your target in tough lighting conditions.

The scope also sports a two inch sunshade, aiding further your ability to see crisply and clearly in bright conditions.

What Consumers are Saying

Consumers find the UTG scope to be rather durable. The optics are considered very clear and high-quality for the price paid. The weight of the scope is another feature that consumers note as being a point of satisfaction.

Pros/Cons

  • The sunshade makes visibility much easier when the sun creates extremely illuminated conditions
  • Adjustable objective provides a more accurate line of sight to shoot from
  • Despite its advertising, a few consumers claim that they can’t get the scope to hold zero

 

Pinty 2.5-10x40 Red Green Illuminated Mil-dot Tactical Rifle Scope with Red Laser Combo - Green Lens Color

Review

The fourth best AR-15 scope under $100 is the Pinty 2.5-10×40 Red Green Illuminated Mil-dot Tactical Rifle Scope. This unit sports a multi-coated green objective lens and has two reticle colors that have five levels of brightness each.

What Consumers are Saying

Consumers love this Pinty scope and notably enjoy the light up reticle, but they do note that sometimes the battery dies quickly. Additionally, the red dot laser has shocked consumers with its quality.

Pros/Cons

  • Adjustable brightness levels allow for accurate sighting in just about any light environment
  • The scope is fog proof and waterproof so your scope will remain efficient and functional in the midst of temperature, humidity, and weather changes
  • A small group of consumers claims to have issues holding the laser sight to zero

MidTen Riflescope Combo 4-12x50EG Dual Illuminated Optics & IIIA/2MW Laser Sight(Green) & 4 Holographic Reticle Red/Green Dot Sight & 20mm Scope Mount

Review

Coming in at the fifth spot is another good scope for your AR-15, MidTen Riflescope Combo. This unit is designed as a 4-in-1 model having a rangefinder scope, a green laser sight, and both red and green dot sights. The field of view, from minimum magnification to maximum magnification, is roughly 13.4 feet to 40.4 feet.

What Consumers are Saying

Aside from a few consumers reporting the sight not holding zero, most users find this MidTen scope to be worth every penny. Some consumers report their batteries arriving dead, but they also note great customer service in rectifying this mishap.

Pros/Cons

  • The scope comes with allen wrenches, a lens cover, a cleaning cloth, and an assortment of different batteries for the scope, rangefiner, the reflex sight, and the laser; the unit comes with all necessary parts for functionality
  • The reticle has four different available patterns, permitting you to choose the most effective reticle for your eyes or the environment in which you are shooting
  • Some consumers find the unit to be a bit difficult to mount to the rails of your AR-15

 

 

Simmons 8-Point 3-9x50mm Rifle Scope with Truplex Reticle

Review

The Simmons 8-Point 3-9x50mm Rifle Scope with Truplex Reticle is a good budget AR scope for those looking to keep things affordable. It sports a 1/4 MOA sure grip, audible click windage for easy targeting adjustments and allows for 3.75″ eye relief.

What Consumers are Saying

Some consumers claim that the scope breaks after only a few rounds. However, there is a large contingent of users who claim the unit is phenomenal for the price. Others claim their groupings are quite accurate after multiple rounds and find this Simmons unit to be consistent.

Pros/Cons

  • The scope is touted as being recoil proof, which is massively helpful in helping the scope hold zero
  • The 3.75″ eye relief permits you to keep a safe distance from the scope when lining up your shots
  • A non-ignorable group of consumers claim that the scope malfunctions in its form after only a short period of use

 

Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Riflescope with 3.3-Inch Eye Relief, 3-9X 40mm

Review

The Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Riflescope is a great AR-15 hunting scope for any type of game you might be interested in. The unit is designed with dusk and dawn brightness, multicoated lenses for increased illumination and brightness of your target. It’s also waterproof and fog proof thanks to its O-ring sealed optics and nitrogen filled scope.

What Consumers are Saying

Consumers are ecstatic about this Bushnell scope, claiming the unit holds to zero after 100’s of rounds. Consumers also note the unit to provide a very workable field of view for a more than appropriate price.

Pros/Cons

  • Multi-X reticle provides easy targeting with high clarity and visibility down your sight line
  • The multicoated lenses are designed to specifically cater to dusk and dawn lighting environments, permitting visible lines of sight in tough to see conditions.
  • N/A

 

CVLIFE 4x32 Tactical Rifle Scope Red & Green &Blue Illuminated Reticle Scope with Fiber Optic Sight

Review

This final scope in review boasts some pretty good optics for your AR-15. The CVLIFE 4×32 Tactical Rifle Scope sports a field of view (at 100 yards) of about 36.6 feet at four times magnification.

The scope is equipped with a fiber optic sight as well, which aids in the quick and accurate acquisition of a target. The reticle comes with tri-illumination too, which means it can be changed to red, green, or blue.

What Consumers are Saying

One consumer in particular, a beginner gun owner, finds this scope to be perfect for beginners in that it’s easy to work with and operates simply. Others claim the the crosshairs are extremely easy to aim and target with, especially with the ability to choose the reticle color.

Pros/Cons

  • This scope has three reticle colors and three levels of brightness for each reticle color, ensuring you can target in any light or environmental background condition
  • The unit easily mounts to any 20mm picatinny or weaver rails
  • A size-able group of consumers claim that the scope simply cannot hold its zero

 

Tacticon Armament Predator V1 Red Dot Sight | Green Dot Sight | VETERAN OWNED |

Review

At the fourth spot in the AR-15 rifle scopes reviews is the Tacticon Armament Predator V1 Red/Green Dot Sight. This unit is capable of fast target acquisition free from parallax.

As with many models, the Tacticon Armament model has the option of both red or green reticle dots that each boast five brightness modes. Additionally, this unit allows for co-witnessing with iron sights, with Tacticon iron sights being most compatible.

What Consumers are Saying

Most consumers are very satisfied with this Tacticon Armament-model scope. Despite a few consumers claiming their reticle shifted after only so many rounds, there are plenty of consumers who find that the reticle remains accurate and in place after 1000’s of rounds.

Pros/Cons

  • The nitrogen filled sights prevent the fogging up of your scope in any conditions, whether temperature or humidity changes
  • The dot sight co-witnesses along with your AR’s iron sights, allowing for highly precise targeting
  • A small number of consumers claim the reticle shifts after only about three rounds of shooting

 

 

UTG 4.2" ITA Red/Green CQB Dot with QD Mount, Riser Adaptor

Review

The fifth scope in review is among those considered to be cheap AR-15 scopes, not in function but in price. The UTG 4.2″ ITA Red/Green CQB Dot with QD Mount boasts a four inch long sight and no-reflection, high tech, emerald coatings on the lenses for increased visibility in tough conditions. The unit is designed with optimal height in mind and is, thus, capable of co-witnessing with iron sights.

What Consumers are Saying

Some consumers claim this UTG model has poor sighting quality in highly illuminated environments. Others claim the unit is highly reliable and holds to zero. Additionally, others call it effective for the price paid.

Pros/Cons

  • The option of using a red or green dot allows for practical and visible targeting on almost any environmental background
  • The height design of this scope allows for co-witnessing with your iron sight, enhancing the accuracy of your targeting
  • Some consumers note that the battery life is rather short and that the red dot can be hard to follow in highly illuminated environments

Factors to Consider When Buying Best Scope for AR-15 under $100

The following is a list of factors to consider when buying a scope for AR-15s:

Field of view:

CVLIFE 2.5-10x40e Red & Green Illuminated Scope with 20mm MountThe top AR-15 optics scopes boast rather large field of views at each level of magnification. Most scopes in review here boast an above 30 foot field of view at their minimum magnifications (at 100 yards).

Typically speaking, the scopes with higher field of view measures at their minimum magnification will provide the largest, strongest field of view at the highest magnification each scope is capable of.

Larger field of view specifications will allow you to take in more imagery through your sights.

Reticle and brightness modes:

The next factor to consider when buying or shopping AR-15 rifle scopes is the reticle and brightness/level modes. For most models, you will have the option of using either the red or green reticle dot. Other models sport a third reticle, always in blue.

Having more reticle options available means that you’re able to choose the most appropriate sight dot in different lighting conditions. Additionally, most reticles have at least five brightness modes, allowing for adjustment of reticle visibility in an assortment of lighting conditions.

Pinty 2.5-10x40 Red Green Illuminated Mil-dot Tactical Rifle Scope with Red Laser Combo - Green Lens ColorThe units with a higher number of reticle and brightness modes are most capable of ensuring you’ll be able to acquire your target in tough lighting conditions.

Resistance to inclement conditions:

The final factor to consider when buying a scope with high quality AR-15 optics is the scope’s ability to withstand inclement conditions.

This means paying attention to the models with waterproofing, fog proofing, and shockproofing.

The models with all three of these characteristics will be able to hold up to temperature and humidity changes, as well as rough use situations. The more -proofing characteristics a scope has, the more likely it is that the unit holds up to conditions that are anything but perfect.

Shockproofing, despite many scopes not sporting it, is one of the most important features to look for as any shooting with provide some shocks and hard movements.

Scope for AR-15 under $100 FAQ

The following is a list of FAQs regarding scopes for AR-15’s:

What is the best scope for an AR-15?

The best scope for an AR-15 is the Bushnell Red Dot Sight, or the TRS-25. This scope has 11 total brightness levels/modes and is capable of mounting to just about any picatinny rails, whether they be a pistol, shotgun, rifle, or muzzleloaders.

Additionally, this scope sports weatherproof/waterproof, shockproof, and fog proofing features. Along with its extremely lightweight nature, this unit packs a punch for its compact size and affordable price.

Do models with higher magnification always prove to be better AR-15 scopes?

AR-15 rifle scopes with higher magnification specifications aren’t necessarily always the better scopes. However, with more magnification comes longer ranges of viewing and sighting. So models with higher magnification allow for you to more accurately acquire your target at deeper distances.

Just remember, the quality of the scope is comprehensive and magnification is but one of the features that can add value to the overall performance. So, while magnification is important for deep range shooting, it may not be what you nedd in every situation.

What is co-witnessing and why is it helpful for AR-15 tactical optics?

Co-witnessing refers to the ability of the red/green dot sight, or the reticle, to line up accurately with your AR’s iron sights. Models that claim their sights are capable of co-witnessing add that little extra bit of assurance to acquiring your target, in addition to giving a better feel of how well your sight holds zero.

Co-witnessing is helpful but not always necessary in terms of picking a powerful scope. If the scope you’re choosing has this feature, it’s a plus. If it doesn’t, it’s nothing to lose sleep over.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the best scope for an AR-15 under $100 is the Bushnell Red Dot Sight (TRS-25). As has been aforementioned, this unit is highly versatile in its use thanks to its ability to mount to most picatinny rail models.

Additionally, its high number of brightness modes (11), make it one of the easiest scopes to use is low and bright light conditions. However, there are so many quality scopes on the market, specifically those mentioned above.

If you’re looking for something a bit more nuanced, perhaps the CVLIFE 2.5-10x40e Red & Green Illuminated Scope is for you, sporting both red and green dot sights as well as a laser sight. No matter the model you choose to entertain, be sure that it has the magnification specifications you’ll need for whichever type of shooting you plan on using the scope for.

Additionally, be sure it has the ability to withstand and inclement or rocky, bumpy conditions expect to expose it to. So, don’t wait any longer. Get your new, affordable AR-15 scope today!