If you’re a keen hunter then you’ll be more than aware of the benefits of a good sight on your AR 15 rifle. Whether you’re at the target range or out in the dense woodlands, you need a scope that gives you the most accuracy possible.
Most rifle experts will advocate that you spend more on your sight than you would your rifle. The logic behind that is that your rifle itself will be useless without a decent sight. It will cause you to miss crucial shots and, more importantly, your prey, which will then add hours to your hunting time.
The AR 15 has been branded as America’s rifle by the National Rifle Association. It is a powerful semi-automatic weapon, considered a sporting rifle by those that use it. This means that it is the ideal rifle for hunting fast game, with rapid bursts of fire that you’ll spend less time reloading.
For stability and speed will one of these high-powered guns, a good scope is more than necessary. However, we understand that you might not always have to budget to spend upwards of $500 on a brand new scope with decent build quality and a crystal clear lens.
But what are the most affordable AR 15 rifle scopes currently on the market? What features and capabilities should you be looking for on an AR rifle that will make it a solid choice? How much can you expect to spend on a decent budget scope for your favorite AR 15?
Well, don’t worry, all you gun nuts, because help is at hand. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most impressive rifle sights currently available, along with a buyer’s guide that will help you identify the best scope in your rifle-shopper's crosshairs.
Then we'll round off with some frequently asked questions from rifle aficionados.
Top 5 Best AR 15 Scope Under $200
OUR TOP PICK
Our first rifle scope has a proven track record, coming out on top of a lot of the best budget AR 15 rifle scopes.
With a tube constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum, this is perfect for lower level magnification used in tactical shooting and home surveillance - introducing the Vortex Optics Crossfire II.
This sight has many features that will appeal to those rifle enthusiasts that are on a budget. It has capped turrets, with 100 MOA elevation and windage travel, making it ideal for operating in challenging weather conditions.
The tube itself has been nitrogen-purged with a sealed O-ring that will make it resistant to rust and other corrosive elements.
In terms of aiming, this does not have a particularly high level of magnification but using a V-Brite reticle and V-plex crosshairs, you can steadily line up your target and pop off a few shots quickly and efficiently.
This is essential if your target is fast-moving and you need to line up and fire within a few seconds.
- The 30mm tube is sturdy and durable, attaching itself to your rifle firmly and giving you a stable and solid shot time and time again.
- The body of the aluminum tube is very durable, designed and sealed to resist as many outside weather conditions as possible.
- The price - the reason why this scope is on here is because of the amount that it costs. You won’t find yourself breaking the bank to pick up this model, which makes it the ideal option for those entry-level riflers.
- This is a smaller model, so you can carry it without adding too much excess weight to your overall gear.
- Some users have complained that the build quality is not resilient and can break after a few months of heavy usage.
This next rifle is one that is designed for close-range hunting, but one that you can extend the magnification on for long-distance firing.
It has clear glass on the lens, a typical feature of most high-quality lenses, coming in a compact 12.2-inch length and a 13-ounce weight, meaning it will not contribute greatly to the weight of your gear - introducing Burris Fullfield II Ballistic Plex Rifle Scope.
This sporting rifle will bring long-range capabilities to an AR rifle, with an index-matched scope and Ballistic Plex reticle that will allow you to sight up a fast-moving target from 500 yards.
It has a 3-9x, which means that if you get up nice and close to your target, then the likelihood of you getting the crucial shot is higher than average.
The glass in this scope is very bright and clear, with a sophisticated magnification system and Hi-Lume multi-coatings that make it resistant to wind and heavy rain.
Considering the cheaper price, this scope has a lot of built-in features.
- The price - if you want a flexible sight that can cope with long and short-distance targets, then this is the perfect scope for you.
- If you are starting on the target range and have spent most of your savings on a decent AR 15, but are still unsure of your shooting style and need something to practice both long and short shots, we suggest this model.
- The coatings and design prevent this sight from wearing over prolonged use in severe weather conditions. One thing you’ll want to avoid on your scope is corrosion, especially as most of them are made from metal.
- The lightweight and compact design make this the ideal model to carry on longer hunting expeditions.
- This model does not come with a lens cap, which might be a dealbreaker for those who want to preserve the quality of their lens.
Our next scope is a low-powered model, but one that matches all the features and capabilities of the pro-priced scopes, coming with numerous state-of-the-art accessories.
When you buy this model, you’ll also get aluminum rings, a mount, scope caps and some turrets, making it one of the more flexible sights on this list - introducing the Truglo Tru-Brite 30 Series Rifle Scope.
Most other sights won’t give you the sheer amount of accessories for such a low price. The rings, mount, caps and turrets give you a balanced and stable shot.
It will also protect your scope from the erosion that occurs from prolonged exposure to the elements.
It has a 1-6x magnification, which is the perfect power range for a Low Power Variable Optic (LPVO). With a 1x power, you can keep both your eyes open, which you might have to do when taking those spontaneous and split-second shots.
You can illuminate the central dot in a whole spectrum of different colors, which will show up well against shaded backgrounds and low light conditions.
- The range of accessories available - this scope will give you the best chance for figuring out which setting is the best for your shooting style. Whether it's long-range or close quarters, you’ll be able to adapt your scope to your preference.
- You can crank up the magnification on this sight to see upwards of 800 yards in front of you. If you expect to be hunting nimble game in low, densely forested conditions where accessibility and sight are impaired, this is a great scope to have with you.
- You can mount this scope on numerous guns like the AR 15 or the AR 10, which again makes it very flexible.
- It has fully-coated optics, which makes it a great scope to use out in the more extreme weather conditions. You also won’t have to worry about it rusting.
- The weight of this scope is slightly heavier than most of the other scopes, so you might have to figure out whether or not you’ll be preferring to use this for short-term tactical shooting.
Next up we have a rifle scope that has plenty of credibility with a lot of AR-lovers, coming at an affordable price and having a high magnification and long-range reticle.
This is ideal for long-range shooters who are out shooting stationary or moving hunting targets, the simple ballistic reticle giving you up to 600 yards of distance - introducing the Nikon P-223 BDC 600 Riflescope.
With a Nitrogen-purged tube body and sealed O-ring, this is another perfect sight to be used in harsh weather conditions, more than capable of withstanding weeks of rain, wind and snow. That means you can go out comfortably hunting elk when they emerge during those winter seasons.
You can sight your target up to 600 yards with see-through inner circles that come with 50-yard hash marks. This makes it a very flexible scope that you can use for long-range or close up hunts.
The high magnification will ensure that you can hit your stationary target and improve on your distance aiming.
- The price - of all the models on this list, this one is ideal for those who want to save a few bucks to kill a few bucks. You can use this sight to hone your long-range hunting skills.
- The turrets are long and give the user a decent height over the gun. The mount will fix your sight firmly to the top of the rifle, allowing you a solid and precise shot every time.
- The weatherproof elements of this scope make it the perfect companion if you’re planning to engage in hunting in extreme conditions, such as tracking elk during those winter seasons.
- With a no-fault warranty, you can rest assured that if any aspect of this scope does not live up to your requirements, then you can return it without issue.
- The turrets have been described as slightly ‘mushy’, in that they tend to move after repeated uses.
Our final scope is probably the most affordable option on our list, however, it does not skimp on design quality or materials, resulting in a very durable piece of equipment.
The eyepiece is very user friendly, allowing you to perform rapid sighting and target acquisition, which is perfect for hunting quick-moving targets - introducing the Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn Multi-X Reticle Riflescope.
The name of this rifle gives you an indication of what situations it performs best in. So from the late hours of the evening until the early morning, this Bushnell model has light transmission and an actionable sight picture which are invaluable for helping you overcome a diminished lighting scenario.
You have 6-inches of eye relief at even the lowest magnification settings, which is better than what some of the more professionally-price scopes provide.
If you want to save your money but don’t want to lose any quality, then you can’t go far wrong with the Bushnell Dusk & Dawn.
- The 3-9x magnification gives you that extra visibility that will allow you to quickly sight up your moving target and fire off a few shots with precision accuracy.
- The eye relief and sight capacity make it one of the best sights to use in lower lighting conditions, ideal for a lot of game that are particularly active during the dawn and dusk hours of the day. It is also fully weatherproof.
- The Multi-X reticle is simple and unfussy, giving you a plain crosshair that should allow you to line up your target with minimal illumination.
- This is a great scope if you want to hit anything below 1000 yards, generally operating best at around the 400 to 600-yard mark.
- The reticle might be slightly too simplistic for some users, wide at the edges and with no holdover points for windage or elevation.
Best AR 15 Scope Under 200 Buying Guide
When it comes to buying the ideal budget option for your AR-15 rifle, you’ll want to beware of any low priced sight description that seems to offer you the world in terms of features and accessories.
A budget scope will simply not be able to do things that a higher-priced scope will be able to do.
If you want to save a few cents but still retain the basic features, there’ll be a few things that your budget AR 15 scope will need to have to perform well on the practice range or out on the plains and forest.
What Is Your Scope Budget?
$200 isn’t an ideal price to buy a scope, but you can find them. However, if you are just starting with your new rifle, then you might not want all the luxury features straight away. Most shooters want the very basics to get accustomed to using their firearms before upgrading.
Finding a good brand of scope-maker will be crucial to getting a cheaper scope that you can depend on. If you are going with an off-brand scope, the chances are that some elements of it will function less than optimally after a few uses.
How Decent Is The Glass Quality Of Your Scope?
Once again, companies that don’t have an established brand will be offering you a substandard material for your lens.
You’ll need a good glass coating to keep your lens protected from scratches and chips, so look for one that is fully multi-coated.
How Good Is The Build Quality Of Your Scope?
If your scope doesn’t hold at zero, then it will be surplus to requirements. You’ll need to find one that comes with solid mounting hardware and accessories. If you don’t have the necessary scope and rings that will hold your sight in place then, again, it will be useless.
You should also find a scope with a tube body that is fully weatherproof, Nitrogen-purged and with sealed O-rings.
How Good Are Your Scope’s Reticles?
The reticle design on each AR scope will be different, depending on the magnification settings and what you’ll be using your rifle for.
Close quarter and true 1x LPVO scopes will have a much more pared-down aiming reticle, coming with a simple dot, which may or may not be illuminated.
You’ll want a ballistic compensating reticle to account for the kickback of your AR-15 and allow you to hone your mid-long range shots with a higher level of power.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Reliable Is A Scope Under 200?
A $200 scope could be a perfectly decent one to start with. However, when you are shopping for a cheaper scope, you’ll be wanting one that comes from a reputable manufacturer.
Check the rating for each scope and see what users are saying about them in the reviews to give you a more accurate idea of the pros and cons once you’ve bought it.
You should be sure that your scope has a decent build quality and the magnification needs that you require. If you’re going to be venturing out of the indoor practice range, then we recommend that you get a sight that is fully weatherproof.
If you are looking for more luxury options like decent mounts and complex reticles, we recommend that you go over your $200 budget, as the high-quality materials and designs are often restricted to the more expensive scopes.