There are many different scopes you can buy for an AR 15 rifle, and it is important that you take the time to closely examine all of your options before making a final decision of any kind. The more time you take to review the options you have, the better your chances will be of increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of your shooting.
Picking the Best AR 15 Scope for you
The following things should be taken into consideration before selecting a certain scope for your AR 15 rifle so that you can get one that meets all of your needs.
Nikon P-223 4-12x40 BDC 600
Bushnell AR Optics FFP Illuminated BTR-1 BDC Reticle AR-223
Nikon P-223 3x32 Matte BDC Carbine
Nikon ProStaff Rimfire 3-9 x 40 Black Matte
Vortex Optics Strikefire Red Dot Scope
Type of shooting you Plan on Doing
- Deer hunting: If you go deer hunting fairly often, you will need to focus on getting a scope that offers good magnification. A magnification level of x6 is the absolute highest you will need, because any scope more powerful than that will mean the target is too far away to get a lethal shot. Look for a scope with variable magnification, meaning a scope that can be adjusted to different levels of magnification for a variety of situations.
- Self/Home Defense: For basic home or self-defense, you won’t have to worry about magnification at all. While a scope with good magnification may be tempting, you simply won’t need it in the event that someone breaks into your home. Unless the intruder is in a medium to large sized back yard, it won’t be necessary to get a scope with great magnification. You will want to focus on getting a scope with a red dot reticle or laser sight; these scopes are excellent for close quarters shooting and will allow you to get at least a decent shot on any person who trespasses on your property or in your home.
- Long Range Shooting: If you plan on using your AR 15 rifle for long range shooting, magnification will definitely be an important factor to consider. The best scope you can get for this type of shooting typically has a fixed power scope that goes anywhere from x12 to x24 magnification. While with deer hunting the target can be either close or far away, long range shooters usually only shoot from very far away. If you want to get a variable scope, make sure to avoid one with a maximum magnification of x12. Also, make sure the scope’s reticle measures range and you are comfortable with it.
- Competitive shooting: Many people use AR 15 rifles for competitive shooting, and it is important to select a scope that will meet your needs. It is important that you choose a scope that is both lightweight and versatile. You will find that a variable scope with a wide range of magnification settings is probably the best option you have.
Your budget for AR 15 Scope
You will find that AR 15 scopes can be purchased at a variety of prices, but you typically get what you pay for. While not all good scopes are expensive, the cheaper you go the more inferior they tend to be.
There are a few good scopes available for those who are on more of a tight budget, including the M-16 4X20mm from Barska, which comes with an integral mount to attach to the rifle’s carry handle. This rifle also offers a drop compensation system that works in 100 yard increments for as far away as 500 yards.
If you are willing to spend quite a bit on your AR 15 scope, there are quite a few options available to you, including Leupold HAMR 4X24mm, which has an adjustable red hot reticle as well as an integral mount and 60 MOA of adjustment for downrange shooting. Once you know the type of shooting you plan on doing and the budget you have you are well on your way to getting a great scope.
What are Red and Green Dot Rifle Scopes?
Red dot sights are designed for short to medium range sighting. These scopes are usually not magnified or only have a magnification of up to 1.7x. This particular design allows the person operating the rifle to keep both of their eyes open in order to maximize effectiveness in both tactical simulations and real life situations.
These sights have a basic design consisting only of concave lens with a metallic coating that is able to reflect red light. The red “dot” that can be seen on targets is nothing more than a reflection of a light emitting diode or LED that is mounted inside the tube of the scope. This design allows the shooter to see a red dot projected onto the target for a very fast and accurate shot.
Green dot rifle scopes are very similar to red dot scopes, with the only difference being the change in color by the light emitting diode. There are certain shooting situations that make a green dot scope particularly useful, but in most cases it comes down to the personal preference of the shooter.
Variable Optic Rifle Scopes
Variable optic rifles are a good investment for many shooters because they can be used in such a wide variety of situations. A variable model scope can serve a number of purposes, but the weight can be a problem. A dot model scope is very lightweight, even when it is used on a pistol, but a variable scope can be very heavy.
There are certain variable optic scopes that can weight more than a pound, which can easily throw off the accuracy of a shooter.
There are a number of important features that you should be aware of when it comes to variable scopes, including capped turrets, which any good model should offer. This feature means that you will only be able to make adjustments to your sight after you have removed the cap.
While this means that it will take a bit more time to adjust the sight, the turrets usually don’t get in the way when they are capped, reducing the chances of them getting snagged on any of your equipment.
It is also important to consider whether you want to get a variable scope with a first focal plane (FFP) or a second focal plane (SFP). FFP sights are designed to keep the reticle consistent with the target size, while SFP scopes keep the reticle size consistent regardless of magnification.
Long Range Fixed Tactical Scopes
Long range scopes are primarily used for hunting, but those with a tactical design are also frequently used in law enforcement as well as military training. These scopes vary greatly from variable scopes in that they can be used for long range shooting, but some are set at a fixed magnification.
There are also certain long range fixed tactical scopes that allow you to adjust them between 1-6x or 1-4x, but they will show up as 3×32 or 3×40. While these scopes typically do cost much more than most others, they are still a great investment to make if you have the need for one.
Top 5 AR 15 Scopes
1. Nikon P-223 BDC 600 Riflescope with Rapid Action Turret, Black, 4-12×40
The Nikon P-223 4-12×40 BDC 600 is an excellent investment for long distance shooting and offers a number of great features that are worth taking a look at. The BDC 600 Reticle with open circle aiming points and harsh marks from 100 to 600 yards is by far one of the most noteworthy things about this scope. The P-223 BDC is made using Nikon’s fully multicoated optics for maximum brightness and light transmission, making it easier than ever to shoot accurately at the target in your sights.
This scope also allows you to make quick hand-turn ¼” 100 yard adjustments with Rapid Action Turrets quickly in the field to minimize your risk of losing the target. Part of Nikon’s line of precision optics for MSR platform rifles, new magnification has been added to this riflescope. You will find that this scope makes the AR 15 rifle more effective at longer ranges, making it perfect for hunting and competitive shooting.
With the ability to quickly and accurately zero in on targets, the P-223 BDC 600 riflescope is an a great purchase for almost anyone who enjoys going hunting or doing practice shooting at targets. Whether you are out in the woods or on a shooting range, this scope should serve you well.
2. Bushnell AR Optics FFP Illuminated BTR-1 BDC Reticle AR-223 Riflescope
The Bushnell AR Optics FFP Illuminated BTR-1 Reticle AR-223 scope is quite an impressive piece of equipment and a great fit for many different types of shooters. This scope’s BTR-1 illuminated First Focal Plane reticle offers great performance in low lighting situations as well as super accurate holdovers up to 500 yards out. The Exclusive Throw Down PCL (Power Change Lever) allows for very quick power changes, which is definitely another plus.
This scope also offers targets turrets of a .1 Mil click value for extremely precise adjustments, allowing you to hit your target more accurately with minimal work. The fully multi-coated optics of this scope increase brightness substantially, allowing you to hit your targets no matter what. The incredibly durable aluminum alloy and anodize finish of this scope effectively protect it from the elements so you will be able to keep using it for a very long time.
Optimized for use with 5.56 rounds, the BDC offers accurate ranging aiming up to 600 meters away, which is just one of the reasons why it is a perfect scope for hunting, practice, and competitive shooting. This scope is also nitrogen-purged to remove any vestige of internal moisture, and the O-ring is sealed to prevent dust or moisture from getting in. Overall, this scope has a very solid build and is definitely built for accurately.
3. Nikon P-223 3X23 Matte BDC Carbine
The Nikon P-223 3×32 Matte BDC Carbine was developed for the specific purpose of trajectory of the .223 Rem /5.56 NATO round with 55-grain polymer tip bullet. This new reticle offers a 200 yard crosshair with “hash marks” at 400 yards and 600 yards. The fully multicoated optical system offers up to 98-percent light transmission and maximum brightness all day and night.
The sheer precision of this scope is quite impressive, with a ¼-MOA hand-turn Tactical-Style, zero-reset turrets-positive click reticle adjustments that will allow you to zero in on your targets faster and more efficiently than ever before, even when there is repeated recoil. The Consistent Eye Relief feature protects your brow from harm, even when using the heaviest recoiling cartridges, lightweight rifles, and severe shooting angles.
4. Nikon ProStaff Rimfire 3-9×40 Black Matte
The Nikon ProStaff Rimfire 3-9×40 comes with Black Matte and is a fully multicoated optic for up to 98% light transmission. The price, repeatable, hand-turn ¼” at 50 yards reticle will be sure to increase the ease and accuracy of your shooting every single time. Make adjustments with quick zero reset turrets so you don’t lose any precious time when you have your target in your sights.
This scope has a nitrogen-filled and sealed O-ring and is completely waterproof and fog proof. The quick focus eyepiece allows you to get your target clearly in your sights even from a great distance, which is perfect for hunting. Overall, this is one great scope with all of the bells and whistles you could ever ask for. If you are looking for a great solid scope for your AR 15, this one is definitely worth considering because of its wide variety of features.
5. Vortex StrikeFire Red Dot Rifle Scope
The Vortex StrikeFire Red Dot rifle scope has a red or green light open, allowing you to switch between colors quickly and easily as well as adjust the dot intensity according to your surroundings and viewing conditions. The unlimited eye relief will let you acquire targets very quickly, which is something that can really be useful in the field. The durable waterproof and fog proof design of this scope makes it a good investment to make for long term use. The nitrogen purging also makes this scope very reliable in harsh weather conditions.
If a big scope with a narrow field of view just isn’t adequate for the type of shooting you do, this scope will allow you to shoot while keeping both of your eyes open. There are many different features that make this scope easy to use and it is guaranteed to improve your shooting as a whole. The sight itself on this scope is very well made and is easy to adjust. While it may be slightly larger than some of the others on the market, it is fairly inexpensive and works well as a whole.