Having a high-quality AR-15 will not help you go all out and give your best shot. You need the accompanying accessories to help you have a precise aim and get a better shooting chance. And when it comes to helping you get a better aim at your target, the accessory which is required the most is the scope. An AR-15 without a proper scope will not be of much use as you will not be able to give your best. You will have to invest in a good AR-15 scope when you are planning to get a gun and you will find hundreds of scopes available in the market with varying features. This creates another issue of the confusion of choosing the scope which would be the best for you.
This article is written for exactly that purpose – to help you find out the best AR-15 scope under $200. We have conducted in-depth research and have come up with five of the best scope which would do a wonderful job for you. We have also come up with a buying guide which features all the aspects you have to keep in consideration prior to the purchase o a scope so that you can get your hands on the one that suits you the most. So, make sure to stick till the end to help yourself make an informed decision on which scope would suit the best for you.
1. Bushnell Optics Drop Zone-223 BDC Reticle AR-15 Riflescope – Easily Adjustable Turrets
They have been the pioneers in this business and have never gone wrong at making the best quality accessories. And here we have another list which consists of Bushnell. This scope is one of the most aggressive looking scopes you will ever come across. It is a scope which takes inspiration from some of the other best tactical scopes in the market. You can even say that this scope is to some degree a bit overbuilt with all the features it can include. It can be used with wet or numb hands, or even with gloves.
Featuring a 24mm objective lens, it is relatively lightweight and compact. Weighing 16.9 ounces and at 9.5 inches long it is the best choice for a carbine due to its size and weight. With a matte black finish, it is a scope which would make you stop and stare for a second. One downside is the rear lens which has an advertisement on it of some sort which can be a slight disturbance sometimes.
It has a massive silver sticker showing the reticle and proclaiming it is AR optics. The turrets are great and can be adjusted with your fingertips. It is audible and tactile as it gives a good feedback to the user. After sighting in, the turret has the ability to zero out on itself, and the process is relatively easy in comparison to other scopes. The fast focus eyepiece and the magnification ring has a similar aggressive texture and easy to use, like the turrets.
It does not have an adjustable objective or side focus turret which leads to the scope having no parallax correction. It does not have rain guard too. So, if you are planning to go out hunting or shooting during a rainy day, this scope would not be advised to be your companion. But it does have a stunning HD clarity optics, and Bushnell uses 100% quality materials to manufacture this product. It has an aiming range of up to 500 yards, which is excellent for a scope under $200. It has enhanced brightness due to the multi-coated optics. Calibrated for 55-62 grain, the BDC Ballistic Reticle is made using polycarbonate.
2. Leupold VX-1 3-9x40mm Compact AR-15 Riflescope – Quality Multi-Coating For Pristine Images
Leupold is another brand which is one of the top tier manufacturers of accessories for sportsLeupold is another brand which is one of the top tier manufacturers of accessories for sports. They have also gained a great name for themselves for being a brand which adapts to the changing requirements and develops existing products to make it new and improved.
It is the same story when it comes to Leupold VX-1 3-9X40mm scope as it is an amalgamation of existing features with the use of new technology for betterment. It is a big game hunting scope which is sure to perform well for hunters of any kind. It is one of the best values for money scope as per the experiences of the user as it delivers quality features at a price range of almost close to nothing. This mid-range scope does not give away anything from its appearance as you would feel it is a top end premium scope without a doubt.
It features the Quantum Optical System which makes it the most advanced scope which has variable power ranges. It comes with multi-coated optics which helps in the transmission of 92% of light to give clear and pristine images. The scope is fully recoiled proof, waterproof and fog proof, making it the ideal companion at any harsh conditions. The 1/4 MOA clicks are easily adjustable by the finger as it can be rotated easily. It has a low profile lockable ring with an American style, classy eyepiece. It can be mounted easily and is simple to sight in. The lightweight and compact scope are ideal for hunting and scouting targets. It is perfect for long distance shots as it has LR Durable reticle.
3. Nikon 8496 P-223 3×32 Matte BDC Carbine – Easy To Zero In Turret
Nikon is usually a brand which is well known for their excellent DSLR cameras. But this is a side of the brand which is on the rise ever since they have begun manufacturing scopes. They have come up with some great products which are overloaded with features making it easier for you to go out hunting. The budget scope is one of the best products you can get your hands on to have a scope which will easily do the job for you without shelling every penny out of your pocket. It is noted to be one of the best scopes for AR 15 rifles, and you cannot go much wrong with this.
The 32mm objective lens is a one-inch tube with a 10.7mm exit pupil provides a view of 35.6 foot for a distance of 100 yards. The eyepiece has a relief of 3.4 inches, and it is of 41mm diameter. This makes it easy to acquire a target with the Nikon scope with ease. The multi-coated optical has a magnification of 3X and deliver crystal-clear images with 98% of the ambient light being absorbed by the scope. It is a perfect scope for low light conditions which does not compromise on the image quality.
The turrets are half-inch size and sport a tactical style which can be hand-turned. It delivers a positive click when you turn it and can be zeroed in easily once the target is in sight. It will maintain the setting even when you are firing in three shot burst or completely auto mode. The scope weighs 12.2 ounces, and its overall length is 8.1 inch, making it a reasonably compact and lightweight scope. The eye relief is very clear and bright, making the experience of looking through it extremely comfortable.
4. Bushnell Optics FFP Illuminated BTR-1 BDC Reticle-223 AR-15 Riflescope – Most Value For Money Scope
You can guess how good Bushnell is at making scope as it is being listed again in the article. They are truly the pioneers at making AR 15 scopes, so we were left with no choice than featuring them again on the list. Like the Zone – 223 model, this scope is also loaded with excellent features for a reasonable price. To start with, this scope features high-quality optics which delivers images with HD clarity. It is kind of a prerequisite for any scopes. Bushnell makes sure they use only 100% reliable materials for the manufacturing of their product, and it is no different with this model too. They have carefully researched and figured out the best quality materials to deliver study construction while being lightweight, compact and beautifully designed.
Outstanding performance is delivered in low light by the scope for a distance up to 500 yards because of the use of BTR-1 illuminated First Focal Plane reticle. You can also change the power in quick succession with the use of the Exclusive Throw Down Power Change Lever (PCL). It has a parallax calibration for up to 100 yards but does not feature an adjustable objective. The scope has a field of view of 110 – 36 feet and features an eye relief of 3.6 inches, making it a good buy for people who wear glasses.
Being of the length 9.4 inches and weighing around 19.3 ounces it is a relatively lightweight and compact scope which would go well with your AR 15 rifle.
5. Nikon P-223 3-9×40 Mate BDC 600 – Nikon Ballistic Match Program Support
Nikon is the second brand which is featured twice on this list. It shows how they have stepped up their game at developing AR 15 scopes over the years. Relatively unknown a few years ago, they are turning out to be one big player in the market. The Nikon P-223 is a scope which is a huge step forward in the scope manufacturing field as it is one of the most affordable pieces of equipment you can purchase. You get extra aiming points as the scope uses BDC reticle with the ability to increment the range up to 600 yards.
They have come up with a “spot on” ballistic program which gives accurate field adjustments based on the target range, bore distance, and ammunition caliber. This is a highly useful feature as it makes your first shot count if you have input the right measures. You get the option to install the Spot On app on your smartphone to access these features. The optics deliver up to 98% light transmission to gives you great performance in a low light setting. The turret is amazing as it helps you zero in with ease and the ability to adjust it with your fingertips. It comes with 100 yards parallax correction, a feature absent in most of the under $200 scopes.
The device comes with a limited lifetime warranty which would help you be at ease in case your scope is damaged due to natural causes. The BDC 600 is specifically designed for AR 15 rifles. If you are planning to get a scope for under $200, this is an option which will never go wrong.
Buying Guide – Things to look out for when purchasing AR 15 scope
There are several aspects which go into the manufacturing of a great scope. It is important for you to know these aspects so that you can make an informed purchase. In this section of the article, we have come up with some of the aspects which have to be looked into when you are looking out for the best AR 15 scope for your rifle.
- Magnification: The magnification of the scope decides how far you will be able to see through while using the scope. It is important to have a good magnification if you are looking for a scope which can help you do long shots. Most of the budget scopes have a range of up to 500 or 600 yards.
- Optics: Having a good optics can be the difference between a good or a bad scope. The optic should be able to give you great performance even under low light settings. This means the optics should have a good multi-coating which will help it transmit a great percentage of light through it. Also, it should give good quality, HD images.
- Easily Adjustable Knobs: A good scope will have knobs which can be adjusted easily. Especially the turret should be able to be adjusted easily as it will help you zero in properly. The knobs should also be of the ideal size, not too small or not too long for easy adjustment.
- Reticle: The scope should have a good reticle which will help you aim with ease. It has a sticker which is fancy and proves to be a hindrance while aiming can result in losing the focus and not being able to have a good shot. So make sure to choose a scope with a good and simple reticle.
- Budget and Preference: Reading and researching a bit about scopes will help you understand the ones which pack the punch and have all the required features. This will give you an idea of the scopes which will be great for you to purchase. Also setting the budget will help you filter out all the scope which you cannot afford. This will give you a linear approach to choose the scope.
Choosing the right AR 15 scope for your rifle can be tricky. But following these guidelines and sifting through the features of the scopes mentioned in this article will give you a great idea on the scopes which will be the best for you.