Best AR-15 Scopes in 2023- Top 10 Picks & Guide

The AR-15 is one the best versatile rifle that can be used for hunting, self-defense, and target shooting. If you would like to know what the best scope for ar-15 is, There are some factors to consider when choosing a scope for this rifle. They are,

1. Type of shooting you’ll do. Close Range (upto 100 years), Medium Range (upto 500 yards) and long range (More than 500 yards).
2. Your Budget

In this article, we will discuss the different scopes available for the AR-15 and find out the finest choice for ar-15.

I tested my ar-15 for over a week with multiple ar-15 scopes available in the market.I found this LPVO from Vortex scored great in various tests I performed and satisfied me and my friends. It is the Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6×24. It is by far the best scope for my ar-15 for all range shooting.

For Close Range ( below 150 – 200 Yards)

For shoot range encounters, Magnification from 1X to 4X is enough for short-range target shooting. These scopes can be used for versatile purposes like hunting, small range shooting, or close-range battles based on your needs. This magnification range helps you to shoot the target from 10 yards to 150-200 yards of distance, based on your visual acuity.

And low magnification scope improves the speed and accuracy while hunting rapid moving objects.

For holographic sight, pair up your sight with a 1- 3X magnifier.

For medium-range hunting (between 150 to 400 Yards)

Use the scope with the magnification range of 5X to 9X, so that you can hunt prey or protect yourself from foxes, coyotes, hogs, and other animals.

For long-range shooting (above 400 Yards)

AR-15 scope with the magnification range above 9X is the preferable one. But the AR-15 rifle is not suitable for long-range shooting because of its construction.

10 Best AR-15 Scopes in 2022 – Reviewed

There are a lot of AR-15 scopes that get varied based on their structure, working and features available in the market. Here, I listed the best scope from my view. Let us see….

1. Vortex 1-6 X Razor Hd Gen 2 Rifle Scope

Vortex Razor HD Gen II riflescope is designed for long-range AR-15 precision shots even in extreme environmental conditions. It provides high-performance features that makes your AR-15 rifle perform on many platforms from target shooting to hunting.

Best Long Range Scope for AR15

Vortex 1-6 X Razor Hd Gen 2 Rifle Scope

Magnification: 1-6X | Objective Lens: 24 mm | Reticle: JM-1 BDC, VMR-2 (MOA), VMR-2 (MRAD) | Eye Relief: 4 inches | Focal Plane: Second | FOV @100 Yds: 115.2 – 20.5 ft


What did I like from the Vortex Gen II?

Obviously, precision! It fits perfectly with my AR-15 rifle and it satisfies me more than any other optics by providing extraordinary accuracy while shooting.

Close or long, at what range this scope can apply?

Gen II AR-15 scope has a magnification range of 1 to 6X and therefore it will aid in both close and long-range shooting.

Reticle and Lens clarity

It provides HD images with excellent lens clarity in low light or bright sunlight environments and is one of the clear optics I have used ever.

The special coatings on the surface of the scope’s lenses provides sharp edge images without any blur.

Reticle Options available

Vortex Razor Gen II has 3 reticle selection options namely JM-1 BDC, VMR-2 (MOA), and the VMR-2 (MRAD)

Unquestionably I prefer the JM-1 BDC reticle. For what reason? Because this reticle is a cool design that is simple and also it is fast in aiming the target. JM-1 BDC reticle is designed by the popular world champion shooter Jerry Miculek. He preferred this type of reticle for efficient AR-15 shooting.

The center portion of the JM-1 BDC reticle is a red dot which can also be used in a similar way as a red dot sight (at 1X). Apart from the red dot, it also has a bullet drop compensator and you can easily shoot up to 600 yards.

Other two reticle options?

VMR-2 (MOA) and the VMR-2 (MRAD), both are the same with minor differences in which the first one has an inbuilt minute of angle feature and the second one has inbuilt milliradians features.

Best about VMR-2? Good one for windage corrections, range estimations, and estimating holdovers.


Vortex Razor HD Gen II has an illuminated reticle that functions using a CR2032 battery. Gen II has 11 brightness settings from zero to brightest light, between these brightness levels there is an off state, therefore you can easily change your required brightness level. Gen II is also built with a locking option to prevent accidental adjustment of brightness.

Durable construction

Vortex Razor Gen II is built with a supreme quality single block aircraft-grade aluminum material which makes it more durable. The anodized finish is the reason for preventing glare due to internal optics reflection and gives protection from corrosion.

You can use this AR-15 scope for coyote hunting due to its rugged construction. Armortek coatings of vortex make the glass tough and help to protect them against scratches. It can be used in wet weather conditions because of its waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof performance.

Other features
Vortex Razor HD has a 100-yard parallax adjustment with an adjustable diopter.

Vortex 1-6 X Razor Hd Gen 2 Rifle Scope

2. Steiner T5Xi 3-15x50mm Riflescope

If you’re looking for the best AR-15 scope for long-range purposes, then this Steiner T5Xi is one of the right choices. This will be your perfect companion during long-range shooting competitions, so it is ideal for many shooting competitors.

Moreover, it is preferred by many hunters, police, and military officers for their purposes. The magnification range present in this scope makes it excellent for short to long-range shooting or hunting.

Best Value AR-15 Scope

Steiner T5Xi 3-15x50mm Riflescope

Magnification: 3-15X | Objective Lens: 50 mm | Reticle: BDC3 | Eye Relief: 3.5 – 4.3 in | Battery: CR2450



It comes with the variable magnification ranges from 3x to 15x that allows you to view the targets from a long-range distance. This magnification range improves your shooting skills and increases the chances of hitting the target. Thus, it is one of the best long-range rifle scopes available on the market, with lots of high-quality features.


This scope for AR-15 comes with the SCR reticle located on the first focal plane that brings an accurate view of the target at all magnification ranges. This SCR reticle is mainly designed for the long-range activities to provide high accuracy to the shooter or hunter.

This reticle allows you to focus the targets from far distances and offers sharp images of the target to help you acquire them easily.

It doesn’t compromise the accuracy even in lower magnification ranges. It contains 11 illumination levels, including 4 day levels and 7 night levels, so you can hunt during dark conditions without any additional light source.

Lens System

It comes with a high-quality optic system that provides a crystal clear view of the target no matter what distance range is. The objective lens of this Steiner T5Xi scope is 50mm, which is large enough to provide you the better images of the targets.

This large objective lens allows you to easily track the moving animals. With this lens, you can also view the surrounding area of your hunting field and be aware of the other dangerous animals. It contains long eye relief of 3.5-4.3 inches that prevents your eyes from injuries during heavy recoils.

Steiner T5Xi 3-15x50mm Riflescope


The Steiner T5Xi scope is constructed with the aircraft-grade aluminum materials to ensure durable construction and reliable performance on the field. The body of this scope is sealed with O-ring and purged with gas that provides waterproof, shockproof, and fog proof performance so you can perform in all weather conditions.

3. Aimpoint PRO Reflex Sight

Aimpoint pro red dot optics is one of the best sights for your AR-15 rifle which is built with anodized aluminum and is completely waterproof and fog proof. I tried this red dot optic that can tolerate the worst environmental conditions.

Even when the scope falls accidentally in the ground or water it has a capacity of submersible up to 150 feet. That’s why people who work in law enforcement, military prefer this Aimpoint scope.

Best Red Dot Sight for AR-15

Aimpoint PRO Reflex Sight for AR 15

Magnification: 1X | Objective Lens: 38 mm | Reticle: 2 MOA Red-dot | Eye Relief: Unlimited | Battery Type: DL1/3N

With its 2MOA red dot size, it is easy for me to aim at the target quickly and works better with a magnifier. Without doubt, Aimpoint pro provides rapid target acquisition.

The lens quality of Aimpoint Pro is excellent and provides a clear view. The optics are multi coated with the anti-reflective coating to obtain sharper vision and install lens with other anti-reflective types of equipment.

Aimpoint Pro has 1 to 7 brightness settings, 4-night vision, and 6-day time power intensity setting, thus providing a clear and sharp dot.

Why do I prefer Aimpoint Pro?

The Aimpoint Pro red dot is perfectly aligned with the iron sights and it makes me zeroing the red dot quickly. You can install Pro anywhere on top of your rifle and still be able to find your dot.

Bests about PRO? Almost all the red dot sight comes with 1X fixed magnification and therefore eye relief gets unlimited. It is also parallax free.

Does Aimpoint PRO worth its money?

For $445, the Aimpoint Pro provides you a crystal clear red dot reticle with a DL1/3 battery life of 30,000 hours and it can work well for more than 3 years. It also has a 10 years warranty.

Where can you buy this sight? 

You can buy this easily from online, yet sometimes this sight is not found in local shops.

Aimpoint PRO Reflex Sight

How to attach the Aimpoint Pro sight?

Easily attach PRO using the auto-torquing turret. Just place the sight on the Picatinny rail and turn the knob three clicks.

4. Trijicon ACOG 3.5X35 Scope

Trijicon is one of the famous companies which develops good quality scopes. The Trijicon ACOG 3.5×35 scope is different from other ACOG (Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight) scopes in Trijicon.

Best Carry Handle scope

Trijicon ACOG 3.5X35 Scope

Magnification: 3.5X | Objective Lens: 35 mm | Eye Relief: 2.4 inches | FOV @100 Yds: 28.9 ft | Exit Pupil: 10 mm



ACOG is versatile in terms of functionality and performance yet the entire scope is constructed by military-grade materials to offer reliability and durability.

ACOG AR-15 scope has multi coated lens which makes its waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof. So, you can use it during rainy days also.

Lens clarity

The manufacturer fitted a 35mm optical lens with this AR-15 scope. This lens system comes up with the multi-coated aspect to provide high definition images without compromising in pixels.

Regardless of glare due to sunlight, the scope gives crisp and clear images. And this lens system has an optimum light-gathering feature, thereby it provides more lighting to the user’s eye through its one-piece tube.


All the scope from Trijicon ACOG is integrated with the illuminated reticle that’s made out of the combination of fiber optic and radioactive tritium. This standard reticle has the potential to automatically modify the brightness level based on the ambient light.

Best reticle? The red Chevron reticle in this Trijicon scope permits you to compensate for the bullet drop up to 800 meters for .308.

Trijicon 3.5×35 comes with reticle options such as Chevron, Circle Chevron, Crosshair, Donut, Horseshoe Dot, Triangle and each of them has 3 color options (amber, green, and red). In the color selection, prefer using a red reticle because it provides a clear view with its higher wavelength. If you want, choose other options.

With the above color option, horseshoe reticle is a perfect choice with windage holds and bullet drop compensator that allows aiming the target quickly at a far distance.

Is horseshoe reticle a fast sighting system? Yup. Hence it is a dot with a horseshoe around it, your mind makes the eye to fastly find the target.

Another best option is the chevron reticle, it also has a BDC that makes the system faster and can aim more accurately even at small targets.

About Turrets? Generally, ACOG comes with decent adjustment turrets. Though these are not like the turrets in traditional scopes the dials located on the scope provide a pleasant feel to your fingers and ears.

This ACOG 3.5×35 scope provides precise adjustments for you to shoot up to 875 yards. With the valuable adjustments, you can use this Trijicon ACOG 3.5×35 Carry Handle Scope for your AR-15 rifles.

Does Trijicon come with fixed magnification? Yeah! This specified model of Trijicon ACOG has 3.5x fixed magnification and it is enough for rapid target acquisition.

Need for the battery? Trijicon scope has dual illumination (with fiber optics and Tritium) that functions without the requirement of a battery. Here you don’t need to worry about the replacement of the battery to get illumination.

Automatic illumination settings

In daylight brightness, fiber optics receive a light source to illuminate the reticle. While in dim light conditions, Tritium will glow and illuminate the optics. These optics also automatically modify the illumination level.

5. EOTECH EXPS2 Holographic Weapon Sight

These EOTech holographic technology sights are used in special forces.

EOTech EXPS2 holographic sights are preferred by shooters for a better shooting experience. Why? Because of their bigger screen and huge visible reticle. Although, EOTech has less parallax shift when compared to other CQB sights.

Best AR 15 Sight

EOTECH EXPS2 Holographic Weapon Sight

Magnification: 1X | Objective Lens: 0.85 in | Eye Relief: Infinite | FOV: 30 Yards @ 4 inches | Reticle: 1-MOA dot with 65-MOA circle



EOTech holographic technology is designed with a dot-circle reticle that helps your eye to easily aim at the target. You can easily move the reticle towards the target by placing AR-15 rifles in the shoulder.

Is EOTech the fastest? Fast target acquisition can be achieved with a red dot circle reticle and a big viewing screen. Therefore holographic sights are considered as the fastest one.

Studies proved that when you use second-focal-plane reticle scope, it just shifts the location of the reticle from the center of the scope lens to the rear quarter of the scope that improves the engagement times. Thus showing the reticle closer to your eyes and helps in quick target acquisition.

In EOTech EXPS2 Holographic Weapon Sight, You can adjust the Windage and elevation controls which are located on the right side of the sight. Intensity of the red dot can also be adjusted easily.

The EOTech EXPS2 sight has a 1-MOA dot surrounded by a 65-MOA circle and provides high accuracy at aiming the object.

It has a CR123 battery that allows the reticle to be more visible and bright.

Do parallax problems occur? Most of the red-dot and holographic sight is parallax-free, yet in EXPS2 Parallax occurs while moving your head behind the sight. Why?? because the target is not in the same focal plane as the reticle.

Pairing up: You can pair it with the magnifier from the range of 1X to 3X for longer distance shots. It is mountable to a 1” Weaver or MIL-STD-1913 rail

6. Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6×24 Riflescope

The Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6×24 Riflescope is one of the best AR-15 scopes available on the market. It can be widely used in various outdoor activities such as hunting, target shooting, etc. It comes with the high-quality optic glass that provides a crystal clear view of the target in all lighting conditions.

Best AR-15 Scope under $300

 Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6×24 Riflescope

Magnification: 1-6X | Objective Lens: 24 mm | Eye Relief: 3.5 in | FOV: 19.2 – 116.5 ft at 100 yds | Battery: CR2032, Lithium



The magnification of this scope ranges from 1x to 6x, which allows you to view the targets from short to medium range distance. It is the best AR-15 scope for the money with lots of premium features.

It is one of the entry-level scopes that is preferred by many beginners for a better experience. If you’re looking for the best AR-15 for short to medium-range rifles, you can go with this Vortex Strike Eagle Scope.

The 1x low magnification allows you to shoot short-range targets, while the 6x higher magnification allows you to shoot the targets up to 550 yards distance.

Lens System

This 1-6x scope comes with an objective lens of 24mm that provides better target images with enough details. This lens is coated with multiple layers of anti-reflective coatings to reduce glare and provides accurate images during low-light conditions. The objective lens improves light transmission and provides clear images of the targets in the darkness.


It comes with the innovative BDC3 reticle on the second focal plane that allows you to focus the targets accurately from any distance range. It works as a red dot sight and bullet drop compensator simultaneously.

This reticle contains a red ring that is specially made for quick target acquisition since the center dot allows you to make accurate shots from a long-range distance. It has 11 brightness levels to help you work in all lighting conditions without hesitating.


This AR-15 scope comes with the excellent adjustment turrets that provide accurate adjustments based on your needs. These turrets are easy to adjust, so it allows the hunters to make quick adjustments during the tactical situations.

7. Leupold VX-4.5HD 1-4.5×24 Service Riflescope

If you’re a military officer and looking for the best AR-15 scope for your operations, then this Leupold VX-4.5HD 1-4.5×24 Service Riflescope is the perfect choice for you.

It is a different grade riflescope and specially designed for AR-15 to improve its performance. The Service riflescope from Leupold contains lots of high-quality features that are widely preferred by the military offices, police, and NRA officers to improve their performance in competition.

Best AR-15 Scope for the Money

 Leupold VX-4.5HD 1-4.5×24 Service Riflescope

Magnification: 1-4.5x | Objective Lens: 24 mm | Eye Relief: 3.5-3.8 in | FOV: 123.2 ft – 26.2 ft at 100 yards | Reticle: Duplex CDS



It comes with a 4.5x magnification that is the perfect range for the NRA competitors to achieve their targets. It allows you to view the targets from short to mid-range distance and helps you to make accurate shots perfectly.

Lens System

When it comes to the optics system, it comes with a high-quality lens to improve the accuracy while viewing the targets. The objective lens of this scope is 24mm that provides better target images in all light conditions. This lens reduces glare during bright sunlight conditions and provides a crystal clear image of the target.

The lens system of this scope has Guard-Ion Hydrophobic Lens Coating that protects the lens from scratch, dirt sheds water, and other elements. This scope comes with Twilight Max HD  Light Management System that provides additional light for up to 30 minutes while shooting in low-light conditions.

Reticle & Adjustments

This AR-15 scope contains a Duplex CDS reticle that allows you to focus the target clearly and improves fast target acquisition. This scope contains an excellent adjustment system that allows you to make adjustments easily while focusing the targets on the field. This service riflescope is built with a 30mm main tube that strengthens and increases the range of wind and elevation adjustments.


This scope is constructed with durable materials to ensure solid construction and durable performance on the field. Although it has a solid construction, it is light in weight and allows you to easily carry this wherever you go.

This rugged scope withstands heavy recoils and allows you to hunt in rough environments. Moreover, this AR-15 rifle is perfect for combat rifles, varmint hunters, and mountain service rifles.

8. Bushnell AR Optics 1-4x24mm Riflescope

The Bushnell AR Optics 1-4x24mm Riflescope is one of the best AR-15 available on the market that is specially designed for AR-15 rifles. Bushnell brand has there are lots of scopes for AR-15, and this 1-4x scope is best among them.

If you’re looking for the best scope for CQB, then you can go with this Bushnell AR scope to get a better experience. It comes with various high-quality features to satisfy every hunter shooter’s expectation without compromising its quality.

Best AR Scope

Bushnell AR Optics 1-4x24mm AR-15 scope

Magnification: 1-4x | Objective Lens: 24 mm | Eye Relief: 3.6 inches | FOV @100 Yds: 90-23 ft | Reticle: Drop Zone



The variable magnification range of this scope is 1x to 4x, which makes it excellent scope for 500 yards distance. This magnification range allows you to focus the target clearly in close to mid-range distance.

The 1x low magnification range has a 90 ft field of view, and the 4x high magnification range has a 23 ft field of view at 100 yards. This allows you to view the surrounding area of your target with enough details.

Lens System

The objective lens of this scope is 24mm that is large enough to provide you the better images of the target even if it is small on the field. This lens is fully coated with multiple layers to reduce glare during bright light conditions and provides accurate images of the targets during low-light conditions.


This AR-15 scope comes with the excellent Drop Zone Reticle that allows you to aim the targets with better accuracy up to 500 yards and it increases the accuracy at every 100 yards distance. The hash marks present at the bottom of this reticle allow you to shoot the targets up to 600 yards of distance.

The scope should have a perfect magnification range to use the ballistic calculator that allows you to make accurate shots from long-range distance without any hesitation. It helps you to easily acquire the targets; just pinpoint the exact hitting point and make perfect shots without missing.

This reticle is placed on the first focal plane, so the reticle changes while the magnification range changes, and it provides excellent accuracy in all magnification ranges.


This Bushnell AR optic comes with a compact, lightweight, and sleek design that perfectly fits in your bag and doesn’t occupy more space. It is constructed with durable aluminum alloy materials to make it rugged and solid in any condition. The body of this scope has an anodized finish and is sealed with nitrogen to prevent water, fog, dust, and other elements.

9. Monstrum P330-B Prism Scope

When it comes to looking for the best AR-15 scope under $200, the Monstrum P330-B Prism Scope is the perfect option for you to get improved performance. It contains various high-quality features that many premium scopes offer.

If you’re a budget hunter and looking for an affordable AR-15 scope, then this Monstrum scope is the right choice for your needs. It allows you to work in low-light conditions with the illumination settings, and also it provides visible images when illumination is not in use.

Best AR-15 Scope under $200

Monstrum P330-B Prism AR 15 Scope

Magnification: 3X | Objective Lens: 30 mm | Eye Relief: 3.5 – 3.9 in | Battery: Lithium



It comes with a magnification range of 3x that allows you to focus the target from medium-range distances. This magnification range provides better performance for the close-range shooters with better accuracy.

Lens System

The objective lens of this scope is 30mm that is good enough to offer better target images and improves light transmission. With this objective lens, you can view the smaller targets too with clear details.

The optic lens present in this scope is coated with multiple anti-reflective layers that reduce glare during sunlight conditions and improves clarity in low-light conditions. This optics lens provides generous eye relief of 3.5 inches, and it is good enough to view the targets with both eyes open.

The optics system present in this scope provides crystal clear images of the target with sharp details. This AR-15 scope is perfect for fast target acquisition and also for the users who have agitated using traditional scopes.


This Monstrum P330-B scope comes with an illuminated circle dot reticle that is perfect for making accurate shots. This reticle provides better accuracy during the daytime without illumination, and it changes to illumination level when the lighting conditions downs.

Adjustment Turrets

It comes with the excellent windage and elevation knobs that are big in size, so you can easily make adjustments with gloves. The adjustments are accurate based on your needs, and it avoids unnecessary adjustments. The rubber-capped turrets prevent damage and provide grip while adjusting.


This scope is constructed with the 6061 aircraft-grade aluminum materials to ensure rugged conditions. The body of this scope is hard anodized to provide durable performance in the harsh environments. Moreover, it is nitrogen-purged, and O-ring sealed that resists water and fog and allows you to perform in all weather conditions.

10. Sig Sauer ROMEO5 1x20mm Red Dot Sight

If you’re looking for the best AR-15 scope for shooting at close to medium range distance, the Sig Sauer ROMEO5 1x20mm Red Dot Sight is the perfect scope at an affordable price. It is one of the affordable red dot sights available on the market with a compact and lightweight design.

It contains excellent modern technology to provide incredible performance on the field. It is specially designed for all types of shooters to improve their shooting performance to the next level. Moreover, it is ideal for hunters, military, law enforcement, and competitive shooters.

Best Compact Scope for AR-15

Sig Sauer ROMEO5 1x20mm Red Dot Sight

Magnification: 1X | Objective Lens: 20 mm | Eye Relief: Unlimited | Battery: CR2032



It comes with a fixed 1x magnification that allows you to focus the targets from a particular distance range. With this magnification range, you can shoot the targets accurately that are closer to you, and it provides a clear view than seeing through the naked eyes. Thus, it is the perfect scope for 100 yards shooting.

Lens System

The objective lens of this scope is 20mm that increases light transmission to provide clear images of the target in all lighting conditions. This lens has efficient ultra-wide broadband anti-reflective coatings that reduce glare in bright conditions and improves light transmission during low-light conditions.


It contains 2 MOA red dot reticles that has 11 illumination settings including 8 daytime mode and 2 nighttime modes to allow you to hunt in all lighting conditions and provides better target images. This scope has MOTAC technology (Activated through motion-sensing technology) that senses and shut down the device during inaction and automatically turns on when the device moves. This technology is used to extend that battery life and allows you to work for a long period of life. This scope has a CR 2032 battery that provides up to 5000 hours of battery life.


This Sig Sauer red dot sight is constructed with the durable aluminum materials to ensure durable performance on a rugged field. It has a complete IPX-7 waterproof rating that allows it to submerge in water up to 1 meter and also resists fog.

Comparison of Top 5 Best AR-15 Scopes

ProductVortex 1-6 X Razor Hd Gen 2 scopeSteiner T5Xi RiflescopeAimpoint PRO Reflex SightTrijicon ACOG 3.5X35 ScopeEOTECH EXPS2 Holographic Weapon Sight
Objective Lens24 mm50 mm38 mm35 mm0.85 in
Tube Diameter30 mm34 mm30 mm
ReticleJM-1 BDC,
VMR-2 (MOA),
BDC32 MOA Red-dotChevron, Circle Chevron, Crosshair, Donut, Horseshoe Dot, Triangle (color option – amber, green, and red)1-MOA dot with 65-MOA circle
Exit Pupil4 – 24mm3.4 – 12 mm10 mm
Eye Relief4 inches3.5 – 4.3 inUnlimited2.4 inchesInfinite
Field of view @100 yds115.2 – 20.5 ft36-7.3 ft28.9 ft30 Yards @ 4 inches
Weight25.2 oz29.8 oz11.6 oz14 oz11.2 oz
Length10.1 in13.1 inches5.1 in8 in3.8 in

Buying Guide – Read before buying a Best AR-15 scope

Have a clear idea about the working of an AR-15 firearm before selecting the scope for your AR-15 rifle. Because, there are lots of features found in the modern scopes to aim and shoot the target accurately.

No one will like the lagging performance of using the scope with AR-15 for hunting or shooting. The working ability of the scopes depends on various factors and so you have to consider every feature of the scope before purchasing it.

➣ Magnification

Magnification is considered as the major feature in selecting the best AR-15 scope and other scopes. In the modern scopes market, there are various magnification range AR-15 scopes available and you can choose the range based on your shooting purpose.

If you are a professional hunter, then you should need a scope with zooming (variable magnification) capacity. What does variable magnification mean? Usually, there are two main magnifications i.e, variable and fixed. In variable magnification, you can easily zoom in the sight and get enlarged views of the target and its surroundings.

In the Fixed model, the magnification range cannot be adjusted. The best choices and my suggestions are 1X to 3X.

At higher magnification, you should consider the light allowance ability of the lens to get a clear vision of the sight. While using the scope at high magnification, image distortion may occur, yet advanced development in technology will reduce this distortion. The low magnification range shows high viewing clarity at short distances and can be used in a tactical environment.

Best variable magnification option? 3-9X range scopes. Above 9X scope is not recommended, because the AR-15 was designed to shoot up to 500 yards.

Before purchasing the AR-15 scope, select the product with the required magnification. Already I have given complete details at the beginning of the article.

➣ Lens and coating

The objective lens collects light from the viewing environment and aids in increasing light transmission. The collected light will produce bright, sharp, and vivid images.

What size lens provides a clear view? More than 42 mm objective lens. The bigger size of the objective lens will transmit more light and thus enhance the clarity of the image.

The multi-coated lens of the AR-15 scope improves the strength and durability of the lens. Some of the AR-15 scope lenses are coated with emeralds that provide visibility even in dim light conditions.

➣ Sighting Technology

I prefer to select an AR-15 scope with a unique sighting mechanism based on the usability (where the scope is used for hunting or long-range shooting) and personal preference.

Better select the scope integrated with a traditional crosshair. Because using that you can aim at the target accurately.

For speed aiming, use the scope designed with a reflex red dot sight for optimum speed with precision. And also consider your shooting style while selecting the AR-15 scope.

Reflex or Red dot Sights 

The reflex sight will not have a magnification option and here just the red or green dot gets visible as its reticle.

The red dot is preferable over the green color. The reason here is, Red has a larger wavelength that aids to target the prey in the far distance easily.

How red dot sight works? The reflex sight has a partially coated objective lens that projects the reticle from a point behind the objective lens, and then it gets reflected back to the shooter’s eye.

The Reticle projection system used in Reflex sight is a Light-Emitting Diode (LED). Apart from that, some reflex sight uses ambient light that is collected from the environment by a fiber-optic network to provide better vision in dim light conditions.

The reflective coating over the objective lens reduces light transmission. In the field sometimes, the shooter may observe light transmission problems because the reflective coated objective lens is designed to reflect a particular light frequency that gets emitted by the reticle projection system.

There two types of reflex sight (design-wise) which are explained below.

Tube body reflex sight: It is a tube-like structure with a lens positioned at each end of the scope. This style of scope is a bit heavier when compared to heads up, yet the durability of the Tube body scope is excellent and it can withstand the worst conditions.

Heads up red dot sight: It has only one lens, and the working process runs below the lens. Heads up scope will be placed lower on the rifle because of its design. This heads up sight is lightweight, so most of the shooters prefer using it.

Here, the reticle gets displayed on the objective lens by using a wide range of light. The color of the light passing through the lens gets changed and then produces the red dot reticle.

Holographic Sights

Holographic sights use LASER to create a reticle that is superimposed on the target. This sight illuminates the hologram and the objective lens is not coated with a reflective coating.

Most holographic sights are the heads-up style with a single wide lens that provides a larger field of view.

Difference between red-dot and holographic sight:

A holographic sight scope with a magnifier only enlarges the target, not the dot. But reflex sight magnifies both target and dot.

Holographic sight uses LASER and mirror to create a reticle, but reflex uses LED and lens.

➣ Reticle

The reticle is an aiming point, pattern, or cross and there are various reticle styles available in the market. Select the reticle based on your personal choice. The reticles have a color choice of black, red, or green. Some scopes with advanced features are designed with a built-in rangefinder that helps you to know the distance between you and the target. In an AR-15 rifle, you can view the target in any light condition with the adjustable brightness and color reticle scope.

Duplex reticle: Most common simple duplex reticle has a simple crosshair that can be simply placed over the target. Other types of duplex reticles possess the same function as a duplex but in addition to a simple crosshair, it has extra rings that allow you to decide the range instantly.

Mildot reticle: Mildot is the same as the duplex reticle but it has rings for different distances that cover the vertical distance and horizontal line.

BDC reticle: It is also the same as a duplex long range but has more detail into the distance rings. It is able to show targets from 25 to 600 yards and therefore it is suitable for the tactical environment and helpful in law enforcement.

Red dot reticle: helps in aiming the moving target quickly.

➣ Weight

Usually, an AR-15 firearm is strong and rigid, therefore installing a heavy scope to the rifle may create unexpected issues. Therefore, I recommend using lightweight-scope to get flawless performance.

What is the difference between AR-15 magnified Scope and AR-15 red dot sights?


The scope has the ability to zoom in on a long-distance target and you can shoot the target easily from a far distance. Using the scope, you can easily shoot the short-range and long-range targets by adjusting the magnification.

Red dot

AR-15 red dot sight is the better choice for shorter-range shooting less than 300 yards that provide excellent target acquisition and less weight. A red dot sight is simple to use but lacks magnification which means red dot sight has fixed magnification.


Whether red dot sight has better Speed in aiming?

Without doubt! The red dot sight tends to be faster than the scope and it is built with parallax free and unlimited eye relief capabilities. So you can aim at the target very quickly and easily.  Red sights have a large field of view and aids in different target transitions.

What makes magnified AR scope slower?

A narrow field of view makes the magnified scopes slower and it has critical eye relief i.e., you need to place the eye from a particular distance from the lens to view clearly through the scope. You have to place your eyes in the right position and adjust the magnification to view the sight clearly which slows the hunting process.


Is it true that magnified scope gives excellent accuracy?

Yeah! Scopes with the variable magnification range will give pinpoint accuracy. The reflex (red dot) sight will aim the target clearly and by mounting a magnifier with the sight you can extend the viewing range up to 3 power. But it will not shoot accurately like scope, and the red dot will get slightly blurred while using the magnifier.

Why are sights suggested?

Only for its lightweight design. Red dot sights are lightweight that may weigh between the range of 3 to 5 ounces. But the scope weighs around 15 to 30 ounces which are much higher than the reflex. Therefore, you don’t need to compare in terms of weight, the red dot is a lighter one.

Which one is reliable? Sight or scope

Obviously, Scopes are more reliable than the reflex sight as it has a glass etched reticle and does not require batteries. Red dot sight works on a battery and you have to replace the dead battery regularly.


For Red Dot 

Astigmatism is the major problem in red dot sight that happens due to biological eye issues (affect your ability to use a red dot). Here, You will see the blurred and weird shaped red dot.

Red dot sights are particularly designed for short-range shooting and because of these drawbacks, hunters prefer a magnifier with a flip mount.

For scope

Low target acquisition speed is the main issue. Magnified scope takes a long time to aim targets within 50 yards.

These scopes are heavier to use yet it has a magnification option.


The perfect scope will make your experience better. I hope my article will help to buy the best scope which suits your environment. Buy the best AR-15 scope and enjoy your shooting experience.

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