When you hear the word AR-15, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? For many people it’s an assault rifle for defensive/tactical purposes. This assumption is both right and wrong. It’s right in that the AR 15 scope can be used for assault purposes.
It’s also wrong because this rifle via a change in the bolt, magazine and barrel can carry a very different purpose. So, what is the best ar 15 scope for the money?
By making these changes you’ll have made it usable in situations such as hunting as well as long range shooting. Here’s the thing, before you begin looking for a scope, you need to know the purpose of the AR 15 scope. Knowing the purpose will help make the choice of what scope to use easy. There are some features you need to look out for when buying your scope and they are as follows.
Our Recommend Top 5 Best AR 15 Scope list
|AR 15 Scope||Our Rating||Price Alert||Magnification||Lens Dia||Weight|
|Nikon P-223 Mate BDC 600 PRICE DETAILS||100|
|Vortex Optics Strike Eagle AR-BDC Reticle PRICE DETAILS||95||High||1X-6X||24mm||1.0 pounds|
|NIKON M-223 BDC 600 8489 Riflescope PRICE DETAILS||100||High||3X-12X||42mm(SF)||1.2 pounds|
|Nikon P-223 Matte BDC Carbine PRICE DETAILS||90||Medium||3X (Fixed)||32mm||0.76 pounds|
|Vokul Tactical Illuminated Rifle Scope PRICE DETAILS||85||Low||3X-9X||40mm||0.26 pounds|
Our Top Pick Vortex Optics Strike Rifle scope Video Review
How to Select the Best AR 15 Scope?
The price of the best ar optics!
Remember the old saying “you get what you pay for”. This rings very true when it comes to optics. If you go cheap, then expect the quality to match as well. This doesn’t mean that you should go for the most expensive scopes on the market; No, not at all!! The best option if you’re on a budget is to go for a scope that is made from a reputable manufacturer.
This gives you a bit of guarantee that you’re getting quality at almost every price level.
Summary of Contents
- 1 Our Recommend Top 5 Best AR 15 Scope list
- 2 How to Select the Best AR 15 Scope?
- 2.1 The price of the best ar optics!
- 2.2 The build quality of the good ar optics!
- 2.3 High magnification scope or Low magnification scope?
- 2.4 The size of the scope objective lens and tube
- 2.5 Scope dials
- 2.6 Importance of scope numbers
- 2.7 Fixed power scopes or Variable Power Scopes?
- 2.8 Best first focal plane scopes or Second focal plane; which Works Better?
- 3 Our recommend top five best ar 15 Scope reviews
- 3.1 Vortex rifle scope reviews – 1-6 x 24 AR-BDC Reticle (Our top pick)
- 3.2 Vokul scope review – Best Illuminated scope
- 3.3 Nikon m-223 review – 8489 3-12x42SF Riflescope
- 3.4 Nikon p-223 3×32 review – Best BDC scope
- 3.5 Nikon P-223 3-9×40 review for the money
- 4 What is the difference between Nikon P223 vs M223?
The build quality of the good ar optics!
You’d want something that lasts long and can give you some good years of use. When buying a scope try to check it build to ensure that it’s well-made and durable. The build that you choose will mostly be determined by the purpose of the AR 15 rifle that you’re using. One thing is for sure, the rifle scope was made to be lightweight and compact, so its best that you also get optics that are the same.
High magnification scope or Low magnification scope?
You also need to decide on the magnification that would work well with what you’re doing. You could choose to use a scope with a high or low magnification level. A lower magnification level would mean that you have a wider field of view whilst a higher magnification level gives you the ability to see longer distances. Depending on what you do, you’ll have to decide which level will work best for you.
The size of the scope objective lens and tube
Again, this also varies depending on the user as well as the purpose. The size of that specific objective lens determines the amount of light that’s gathered. A larger objective lens will ensure better performance during low light conditions. The tube plays a role in light transmission. The larger the tube, the more the light transmitted and the more adjustment for windage and elevation. The only issue that arises is weight. This is because as these two components get larger, the scope gets heavier.
The dials on the scope help adjust a number of things that can be crucial to making the perfect shot. When getting a scope try to ensure that the dials are easy to reach and that they have many adjustable settings. One of the features here that you might love is one called zero locking. This allows you to return to any setting you choose after the scope is adjusted to a particular distance. Not every scope has this feature and some that do normally have a bump in the price because of it. Also, If you are looking for the quality air rifle then you must check this post.
Importance of scope numbers
There are some AR 15 scopes that have various/different numbers on them. For instance, you could find a scope that’s written 7x 43mm or 3-9x 40mm. The first number is the magnification power of the scope or the range of magnification of the scope. The following number is the diameter of the objective lens, measured in mm. Using the examples above, the first scope has a magnification power of 7x and an objective lens diameter of 43 mm. The second scope has a magnification power range of 3-9x and an objective lens diameter of 40mm.
Fixed power scopes or Variable Power Scopes?
The scopes can be divided into this subgroup of either fixed power scope or variable power scope. The difference between the two is somewhat simple. The fixed power scopes are those that have less internal moving parts that can be used to increase or reduce the magnification. These are valued more for defensive/tactical purposes as they tend to be tougher and reliable.
On top of that, some argue that they provide better clarity, view and less distortion. On the other hand, there are variable power scopes that are mostly used by people who prefer long range shooting. It offers more magnification power compared to the other power scope. The issue with variable power scopes is that they tend to be heavier and have a narrow field of view when compared to the fixed power scopes.
Best first focal plane scopes or Second focal plane; which Works Better?
Like every other aspect of the scopes, it’s all about user preference as well as the purpose of the scope. In the First Focal Plane(FFP), the size of the reticle is consistent with the size of the target, so if the magnification is increased, the reticle also increases and vice versa is true. This is different with the Second Focal Plane(SFP), as the size of the reticle doesn’t change with the level of magnification. As you increase the magnification, the reticle size doesn’t change. And, If you want to experiment with small air pistol then check that post.
If you’re on a budget, then SFP would be better as they tend to be less expensive. When purpose is considered, those that do long range shooting and require magnification, then FFP is definitely worth the price.
Our recommend top five best ar 15 Scope reviews
With all this said, let’s move on to what we consider to be the top scope on the market today:
Vortex rifle scope reviews – 1-6 x 24 AR-BDC Reticle (Our top pick)
Here we have a scope that’s built for the AR-15. This Vortex Optics Strike can be best utilized by those that go target shooting or hunting. This is because it provides a wide field of view and a good amount of eye relief to ensure that you hit fast moving targets. The scope also has red and green dot options with adjustable brightness to help increase the accuracy of your aim. To save battery power, the scope has easy turn on-off option. The Vortex 1-6 x 24 is the best ar 15 scope under 500.
Features of Vortex Optics Strike Eagle:
- It has a multi coated optical system
A multi-coated optical system is always great to have in a scope as it improves the image quality making them extremely clear. On top of that, it also helps improve the light transmission rate and effectiveness of the scope which is great as you can shoot in low light and low contrast situations.
- The eye relief can be adjusted
You can say that the eye relief of this scope is unlimited; which is good as it can help to provide you with a wide field of view. This, in turn, helps improve targeting and shooting with accuracy and at a quick pace. On top of that, the eye relief plays a great role in protecting your eye from recoil damage.
- Its parallax free to a certain point
Parallax can be a problem when it comes to scopes, so Vortex has implemented a parallax free design. This helps eliminate the parallax shooting error.
- Save Battery life
This definitely helps save the battery life of the scope. It’s a great nifty feature to have and the way it works is that the scope is programmed to very easy turn on-off option.
- The scope can be used in different levels of low light conditions.
- The parallax free feature helps improve accuracy.
- It’s durable and reliable.
- It keeps the zero settings well.
- Sensitive on and off buttons that make it easy to turn on and off accidentally.
This Optics Strike from Vortex is great. The automatic shut off feature is great to have and the parallax free feature can be pretty useful when hunting. It has to be pointed out that the sensitive power buttons can be pretty annoying, but not much of a problem. But, I must say it is one of the best ar 15 scope for coyote hunting.
Vokul scope review – Best Illuminated scope
This scope kicks off our list with a magnification range of 3 to 9 times as well as an objective lens diameter of 40mm. These specs make this scope great for wide view shooting and added to that the red laser and dot makes it easier to hit targets that are close range and fast as well. The optical lens and the scope are well built to ensure durability in a number of conditions. The scope also has integrated rails that can be used for adding accessories when needed.
Features of Vokul Tactical 3-9x40mm rifle scope:
- It has 3-9x 40mm specifications
These specs allow you to have a wide field of view when shooting. The magnification range of 3-9 times ensure that you can see for quite some distance. The size of the objective lens allows for more light to pass through thus better images.
- It has a detachable red laser and red dot sight
The red dot sight and laser makes it easier for you when hunting. It can be useful for fast paced targets as well as for the quick close quarter shots.
- High Quality Aluminum construction
We all want something that will last and Vokul has tried to ensure that with this scope. The scope is made of aluminium and the build ensures that the scope is durable and can be used in almost any condition.
- The reticle has multiple brightness intensities
The brightness of the reticle can be adjusted to suit your conditions at the time. You can make it more visible during night times as the lighting conditions are worse or you could adjust it lower during the day. It’s all up to you.
- It maintains zero locking quite well.
- It’s good value for money.
- The lighted reticle is a great plus point.
- Problems have been noted with adjustments for the laser sight.
This Vokul scope is great at the price offered. You are getting some of the best features for such a fair price. It could have been done better as the laser has a tendency to move when not tightened really hard!! All in all, it’s a great buy at the price offered.
Nikon m-223 review – 8489 3-12x42SF Riflescope
Nikon has been stepping up its game in the optics industry and this scope is a representation of that. The scope is made by a well-known brand in the industry and for that it is a plus. In terms of tactical scopes, this one is right up there with the best as it has features and accessories that can be categorized which is useful and helpful. For instance, the lens comes with covers that help avoid glare that can give the position of the shooter away. You can also expect clear and crisp images when using this scope thanks to the 42mm objective lens.
Features of Nikon m-223 BDC 600:
- It has a BDC 600 reticle
For those that might not be familiar, BDC stands for Bullet Drop Compensator and helps when making adjustments for the shot. The scope is calibrated mostly for the 223 Remington and the 5.56 NATO round. If you have this, then you’re good, but if not you could easily download the Spot-On app that Nikon offers.
This ballistic program will help guide you on how to change the settings with minimal issues. The number (600) represents the distance that the reticle can help you aim to. The reticle contains a series of circles that can be used as aiming points for different distances.
It has a fully multi coated lens and long eye relief
This helps the image that the lens produces, so that you can get clearer visuals. The eye relief is always important and Nikon didn’t forget that as it provides 4 inches of eye relief. This is the kind of perfect balance for better sights as well as safety from recoil.
- It’s made of one-piece aircraft-grade aluminum
The one-piece body tube on this scope is well engineered to ensure that it can take the abuse when in use. The scope can handle shock and is nitrogen filled and O-ring sealed. You can use it in wet conditions with no issue at all.
- The BDC 600 feature is a great plus and easy to use.
- It has a good amount of eye relief.
- It comes with some accessories.
- The turrets don’t have a lock, so they can easily be pulled out of zero.
This 8489 3-12x42SF Riflescope from Nikon is a great choice for tactical shooting. It comes with features and accessories that users will find useful, such as the BDC 600 reticle and the lens covers. The turrets problem might bother some, but leaving it disengaged or pulled out can help remedy the issue.
Nikon p-223 3×32 review – Best BDC scope
It’s a testament to Nikon that they feature more than once in this list. The runner up is the Fixed variation of the Nikon P-223 that is designed for hunters and shooters. This version features a fixed magnification level of 3 times and the objective lens diameter is at 32 mm. This version features a BDC reticle that zeroed in at 200 yards and has 2 additional aiming points at 400 and 600 yards. Nikon p-223 3×32 is the best ar 15 scope under 200.
Features of Nikon P-223 3×32 Matte BDC Carbine:
- It provides a good amount of eye relief
The eye relief for this scope stands at 3.4 inches, thus you can expect comfort and safety when using this scope.
- The optical system is fully multi coated
Nikon has always provided quality optics and it’s no different with this one. The optic system is multi coated which ensure better light transmission and performance in almost all conditions.
- Easy setting adjustments
Nikon has made adjustments easier with this scope as they have a BDC reticle that makes aiming at different distances easier. On top of that, there is a zero reset turret that makes adjustments for windage and elevation better.
- It’s water proof
The scope has been designed to be weather resistant. You can use it in almost any weather condition.
- Has great field of views.
- Good quality for money.
- Its durable.
- It’s not compatible with many other rifles except for the AR rifle.
The Nikon P-223 BDC Carmine is a great scope to be used by those that love hunting. This Nikon p-223 3×32 product is well made and sturdy and the features it provides make it easy to use and a great option. The only problem is the compatibility issue, which deprives some people of this great product.
Nikon P-223 3-9×40 review for the money
The hunter, sports, shooter and even tactical shooter want the best scope to ensure that
they hit their target. Thus, we recommend the variable version of the Nikon P-223 scope. This version has a range of 3-9 times magnification power and an objective lens diameter of 40mm for better light transmission. It has a BDC 600 reticle that provides aiming points of up to 600 yards in 50 and 100 yard increments.
Features of Nikon P-223 Mate BDC 600:
- Eliminates parallax to a certain point
Parallax is definitely a problem for many shooters and Nikon has tried its best to help rectify that as this scope has a parallax free setting at 100 yards and beyond.
- Easy settings adjustment
This is through the use of the Spot-On ballistics program that Nikon offers. You can access it online or via an app. It helps you adjust the settings of the scope with no trouble at all.
- It has a BDC 600 reticle
The BDC 600 reticle has been and still is one of the great features of a Nikon product. The reticle will offer aiming points for the shooter up to a distance of 600 yards with 50-100 yards’ increment.
- Good image quality.
- It provides more eye relief.
- The turrets are easily accessible and easy to adjust as well.
- The zoom limit might not be good enough for some.
For the great user experience, it’s easy to say why the Nikon P-223 variable version is the best and top of this list. The scope has been made with quality as well as convenience in mind, so you’ll find great pleasure in using this product.
What is the difference between Nikon P223 vs M223?
Check this video explanation to find out difference between the Nikon M223 and P223.
The AR-15 is a very popular model with both hunters and marksmen as well. The customizability as well as simplicity, that it offers makes it a great option. To properly utilize the gun accounting for its pronounced bullet drop, a scope is needed. Not just any scope, you need the best AR 15 scope in the market.