The AR-15 is one of those guns that almost everyone loves. It fires like a semi-automatic rifle but can be transformed into an automatic rifle or a long-range rifle if needed.
But the real advantage of this rifle is its capacity to become super practical with its vast array of accessories. And the best scope for AR 15 under $100 is one of those accessories we certainly can’t dismiss.
You’ll have to pick the right scope, though. Not all models are really worth having. That’s why we want to show you seven of them in this article.
We’ll go over all the significant aspects and everything else that matters. If you’re looking for a new scope for your AR 15, you may find it here. Read on!
7 Best Scope for AR 15 under $100
With so many options out there, you shouldn’t be looking blindly without having an idea. So we decided to pick seven of the best models and bring them to you with their own reviews. Here’s what to know about them:
1. Bushnell TRS-25 Red Dot Sight
The AR-15 is a practical gun – so it needs a practical scope. That’s what you get with the Bushnell TRS-25 with a Red Dot Sight.
It stands out for its high-quality build. The metal case allows it to withstand most situations and work well, even in the harshest of environments. If you like scopes that won’t disappoint even in the hardest conditions, then you want something like the Bushnell TRS-25.
You will get a waterproof and shockproof construction, paired up together to make it even more durable. It withstands shocks, bangs, bumps, tumbles, and still resists water immersion. And of course, you get a nitrogen-purged build, which makes it fog-proof.
To make it even better, you get rubber lens caps. They will protect the scope even when you’re not using it. And with the fully multi-coated design, then you get top-notch protection in its entirety.
But there’s a lot more to it. It is not a magnification scope like many others, especially for its small 25mm objective lens. But it still offers 11 brightness levels as well as straightforward adjustment dial so you can adjust it to your needs when using.
As for installation, it won’t be too hard either. You can make it work anywhere, including pistols, muzzleloaders, shotguns, and of course, AR-15s. Overall, it leaves no space for mediocrity. With its excellent brightness levels as well as its clear vision – you can achieve the most accurate shots with this scope.
- High-quality construction for extra durability
- Superb brightness levels for low-light performance
- Excellent Red Dot reticle design for easy aiming
- Small lenses don’t let as much light go through as expected
- Red dot crosshair may distort in high magnifications
2. UTG BugBuster Scope
For those who are indeed looking for some magnification with their AR-15 – the UTG Bug Buster comes like an excellent choice.
In contrast with most AR-15 scopes, this one offers 3-9x magnification. That’s an ideal way to get close to targets even with such a rifle. And that’s something you can’t dismiss when looking for a scope.
Yet, it is not the magnification that stands out so much, but the unbeatable quality of the overall image. With its 32mm objective lens, you can enjoy tons of illumination and clarity when aiming. That will allow a superb color production, so you never lose your target out of sight.
But that wouldn’t be possible if the construction of this scope wasn’t of the highest quality. You will get a True Strength Platform (TSS) that pairs up well with a Smart Spherical Structure (SSS). Together, they make the overall construction more resilient and performance-oriented.
You will also get the windage and elevation adjustments. The previous TSS and SSS features allow the most accurate adjustments when using, which ensures a fantastic aiming quality. But sure enough, it all comes down to the premium turrets with a reset feature, so you can use it smoothly.
The parallax-free function is also added at only 3 yards or infinity. And with the RGB illumination wheel, you can easily use either the red or dual lights to make this scope more practical.
Pairing everything together leaves one of the most functional scopes you can get. And with the Mil-Dot reticle, you will simply have a blast using it. If you also own, 338 Lapua Magnum, you can consider this. It can work on both.
- Perfect magnification capacity for AR-15
- Extra durable & resilient with TSS and SSS features
- Handy illumination system with Mil-Dot reticle
- The adjustment turrets are tricky to use
- It’s heavier than expected
3. Tacticon Armament Predator V1 Red Dot Sight
Affordability always makes it into our lists because we know that not everyone can offer an expensive product. In this case, we added the Tacticon Armament Predator V1 scope – a well-made, affordable option.
Despite its low cost, it is made of high-end materials, including aluminum alloy. This makes it a fog-proof and waterproof product, so you can get it working on almost any type of situation and still get the most out of it.
You can use it for either hunting or tactical shooting if needed. And it works really well on AR-15 as a simple yet efficient model. As for adjustments, you get only brightness levels, with 5 different options to choose from. You can make it work exactly like you need without wasting a single second of your life.
And you will still get red or green reticle. Whatever you prefer using, this scope lets you pick exactly that so you can enjoy an excellent experience.
There’s simply no limit to what you can achieve with this scope. For its amazing price and high-quality set of features, it easily becomes one of the best models you can get. For those who don’t want to spend a fortune in a new scope, the Tacticon Armament Predator V1 is an almost perfect option.
- Superb construction for extra durability & resilience
- Ideal adjustability with different brightness levels
- Practical and accurate reticle design for fast aim
- Does not offer any magnification
- Installation may be a little complicated
4. Simmons Protarget Black FC
For many, Simmons is the best brand for budget scopes. And we can’t really say otherwise. It is an excellent choice to go for – even more so if we’re talking about the Protarget model.
This series of scopes stands out for the 40mm objective lens, offering one of the brightest and most vivid images you can get. It will make your aiming utterly enjoyable, and will make it harder to lose your target when trying to shoot.
But it is not only the size of the lens but its quality. You will get fully-coated lenses that provide super crisp images at all times. Regardless of the situation, these lenses will handle the job and provide an excellent experience overall.
Moreover, this also adds up to a more durable and resilient scope. It resists all kinds of environments as well, and different types of elements. From fog to water and even shock or impacts – this scope will handle everything and prevent issues over time.
You will still get MIL turrets so you can adjust the sight according to your needs. And with the Mil-Dot reticle, you can provide the ideal elevation holdover and windage in seconds.
When you unite everything this scope offers in a single home, then you get exceptional results. It takes performance to another level – and without breaking your bank.
- Practical adjustment system for fast targeting
- Superb construction for extra resilience
- High-end lenses for exceptional image quality
- Installation can be tricky
- Attached lens protectors can be annoying
5. Barska Countour IR
The Countour 3-9x42mm is the perfect riflescope for AR-15s that delivers the practicality, versatility, and excellent quality that everyone wants.
As you can guess, the 42mm objective lens of this scope is one of the best you can pair up with an AR-15. The wide image is good enough to provide superior lightning while adding tons of color to the entire image. You will enjoy its image quality to the max.
That wouldn’t be possible without the high-quality lenses it comes with. They are totally fog-proof and shockproof, along with a fully-coated construction. That also adds up with the 3-9x magnification, so you can achieve even better results when using.
And as for the adjustments, you won’t be disappointed either. It comes with 1/4-inches MOA adjustability, along with 5 brightness levels. And to make it even better, you can pick between green or red for the reticle. Everything is adjustable enough to meet your shooting needs at any time.
All the things that come with it are also fantastic, from the rugged mono-tube construction to the straightforward installation and its excellent lens cloth and scope caps. It takes performance & results to another level.
Of course, it uses a battery and will probably demand some time so you can get adjusted to it. But overall, it won’t let you down in terms of quality or resilience. It will stand several years of usage, delivering an exceptional image. Does that work for you? Then don’t overlook it.
- Fantastic image quality with its 42mm objective lens
- Excellent magnification & adjustability for its size
- Unique reticle dot colors with brightness levels
- Pretty heavy and challenging to install
- Not the best illumination out there
6. TRUGLO Compact Rimfire
A small and easy-to-use scope is never the wrong choice. That’s what the Trugle Compact Rimfire stands for.
It offers a simple magnification of 4x, which is enough so you can manage most targets at a medium or short range. That pairs up well with a 32mm objective lens, ideal for extraordinary image quality and excellent target spotting when using.
The brightness, color contrast, and clarity will be superb in every way. And that comes directly from the fully-coated lenses. Along with that, you get a scratch-resistant scope, non-reflective, and comfy on your eyes.
While the scope was initially designed to work for shotguns, it still works well enough for any AR-15. That would give you an excellent experience in the short-range so you can either hunt or aim effectively at any time. The adjustment system is not bad, either.
You will get a leaf-spring design for windage and elevation with a fingertip design. By simply touching the turrets slightly, you can achieve the ideal adjustment.
Along with all that, you get a Diamond reticle design, or a Duplex if you prefer. That crosshair allows perfect aiming and ultra-accurate positioning. You won’t miss a single shot when using this scope correctly.
Apart from all that, it still manages to offer an aircraft-grade aluminum build. You can get it both in Black or Camouflage design if needed. That will make it even more resistant, durable, and exciting to use.
If you want a decently priced model that takes performance and durability to another level, then you won’t hesitate to get the Trugle Rimfire Compact Series. It will effortlessly surpass your expectations.
- Amazing color contrast, brightness, and overall image quality
- Superb construction for top-notch durability & resistance
- Practical adjustment system with handy reticle options
- Not the best magnification for AR15
- The mounting process is trickier than expected
7. Bushnell Banner Riflescope
For those who want to take performance to another level, the Bushnell Banner riflescope will be a perfect choice. Why? Well, because it has much better image quality, magnification, and adjustments than the rest on the list.
You will get a 40mm objective lens that lets enough light pass through so you get an excellent quality in its entirety. It will allow you to enjoy the most vivid colors while adding tons of clarity and brightness. Even in the lowest-light environments, this scope will perform well enough.
It all comes down to the multi-coating system with DDB or the Dusk & Dawn Brightness system. But that also makes it more resistant and durable as well, adding a layer of scratch resistance for more secure handling.
That goes well with the 4-16x magnification. It is ideal for those who want to get up to 1000 yards away when shooting. While an AR-15 won’t get that far easier, you may still get the long-distance aiming, which could come utterly practical.
Then, you get an illuminated reticle with the Centerfire 500. It is a unique choice that hunters and tactical shooters love. The crosshair allows fast aiming with an excellent measuring design for accurate aim.
As for adjustability, you get the regular 1/4-inches MOA with fingertip change. That allows extra-easy adjustments for windage and elevation at any given time.
Finally, you can enjoy its strong dry-nitrogen filled construction, adding fog-proof, waterproof, and shockproof to the scope. You won’t have any problem using it in any place at any time – it will naturally perform better than you expect.
- Extra practical adjustment system with unique reticle
- Outstanding long-distance magnification for excellent aiming
- Superb build quality for exceptional use
- May distort at high magnification
- The zero stop feature doesn’t work as expected
Before You Buy What to Look for
There’s no point in searching for the best scope for AR 15 if you aren’t taking the most important factors into consideration.
Here’s what we’re talking about:
An AR-15 doesn’t need too much magnification. Anything over 10x would be way too much for this gun – mainly because its bullets won’t probably travel more than just a few hundred yards.
But still, you can get something decent enough that matches your need in the short and medium range. That’s why we always recommend models that offer between 1x and 8x, at least. This will be enough to get your shots accurately and far enough. A smooth transition is always a nice thing to have.
That means getting a scope that goes slowly up or down by 1 or 2 levels each. We recommend those that travel 1x per magnification level, so you can go slowly up and down when needed.
The lens will tell you how well the image of the scope will be. If the image is fantastic, then being accurate becomes a piece of cake. But for that, you’ll have to pick lenses that are anti-reflective, that will let enough light pass through, and that will offer as much brightness and color contrast as possible.
We always recommend fully multi-coated lenses. Apart from offering the previous advantages, they’re also resistant to scratches, fog, water, and won’t let you down in low-light scenarios either.
Once you go over the lenses, it is time to go for the build. This is everything that covers the lens and the adjustment system (more on that later). Here, we hate anything that’s not metal. Plastic is always the worst when it comes to covers or cases for the scope, as they don’t last much and break easily.
For the best experience, go for metal constructions such as aluminum. This material will probably deliver the best build you can expect. Along with an O-ring sealed design and a gas (argon or nitrogen), the purging process will give you an extra waterproof and fog-proof capacity.
A reticle is as crucial for the scope as the magnification and lens quality. The right reticle may help you find your target quickly, and probably aim much more effectively.
But you’ll find several types of crosshairs to go for. The most common are BDC, Mil-Dot, and Duplex. These three are all super easy to use, but they all offer different advantages and designs to bring out the best performance.
For long-range shooting, BDC will be your best. But for short-range shooting, something simple like a Mil-Dot or Duplex will do fine.
Still, you don’t only want the right reticle, but the best features for it. That’s why we advise going for models with colored dots, illumination, and more. This will give you an extra advantage in different situations – so don’t overlook those added features.
This is all about considering the quality of the turrets. These are the small knobs in the middle of the scope that you use to change windage and elevation. Here, you should go for either MIL or MOA adjustments. MOA is the most common, usually at 1/4 inches.
Focus on adjustable finger turrets over those you’ll need a tool for. Apart from that, go for exposed models that are easier to use. Finally, make sure it goes as far as you need so you can get as much out of them as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
Even after going through our reviews and buying guide, you may still have a few doubts on your head. We want you to go totally assured about these scopes, so here are four questions with their answers to read up:
1. What is the best magnification for an AR-15?
As we explained before, AR-15 rifles don’t need much magnification. In fact, you could use one of these well enough with a magnification-free scope. However, we recommend models that can get you closer to things at up to 200 yards, so anything around 6x or 8x can be pretty useful.
2. How to install a scope in an AR-15?
The installation process is similar to any other rifle. You just need an adapter or mounting rail first, and then you can easily piece it up to your AR-15. Most scopes don’t come with the rails or scope mounts, so you will have to get them yourself. Make sure to get the right mount for the scope you have.
3. What does tactical scope for AR-15 mean?
A tactical scope is a small model that can be used for fast shooting. This means getting a light and easy-to-use model that doesn’t have much magnification. Red-dot models with simple designs are the ideal options to use as tactical scopes.
4. Can I use an AR-15 with any scope?
Yes, most AR-15s are highly compatible with most scopes. You can use them with most models without problems.
You won’t be able to pick the right model in seconds or even minutes after reading our article. But we know you will have a much better idea of what to go for once you read it all.
To pick the best scope for AR 15 under $100 – you will have to get precisely what you need. Nothing more or less than that, and you will be more than happy.
However, if you want something more and can increase your budget, check out this review of scopes under 200.
So, what are you waiting for? Remember, these scopes have the only purpose of making your shooting better. Choose one and get to shoot like a master!