Upgrading your AR-15 build with a scope is a great way to improve visibility, safety, and accuracy.
You can find modern scopes with quality optics that don’t add a lot of weight to your rifle at an affordable price.
The best scope for your needs depends on how you use your AR-15. Let’s take a closer look at different options in the under $100 price range to help you find the right scope.
If your AR-15 is going to be used for any serious application, we recommend buying higher quality glass. There are acceptable scopes under $100 but none that you’d necessarily want to bet your life or dinner on.
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The answer is yes. There are some innovations in the field of optics that make it easier for manufacturers to offer quality scopes at an affordable price. The 21st Century is here. New coating materials and techniques reduce costs for the manufacturers while delivering excellent clarity and light transmission.
Manufacturers also have access to a wide range of sturdy composite materials they can use to offer durable shockproof housing on budget scopes.
You can find a wider range of magnification, more illumination settings, and other features if you spend more. You will also have to settle for a second focal plane scope if you shop in the under $100 price range since first focal plane scopes tend to cost more.
We selected quality accessories at an affordable price by looking at the following criteria.
An AR-15 accessory should be a durable investment. We looked for scopes with sturdy housing that protects the optics and small moving parts. The longevity is where lower cost gun accessories usaully fail – that’s why a sturdy build is so important.
Eye relief is an important consideration when shopping for an AR-15 scope. These rifles have a certain amount of recoil, and you need a scope with enough eye relief for safety and comfort.
We selected scopes with different magnification ranges as well as red dot sights. While magnified scopes tend to cost a little more, they can make your AR-15 more versatile. A red dot sight might be a better option if you primarily use your rifle for close-range shooting.
The field of view determines how much you can see when you look through a scope. We looked for scopes with a wide field of view to help you be more aware of your surroundings.
Optics can add weight to the top rail of your rifle. We selected lightweight accessories, so you don’t have to compensate for your scope’s additional weight when aiming.
This scope from Bushnell has received a lot of positive reviews. People like this budget-friendly option because of the simple controls, compact design, and magnification range. Reviewers often mention the clarity of the optics and like that the scope comes with mounting hardware.
This scope is a quality accessory that remains very affordable. Its compact design only weighs 14 oz and won’t add much weight to your build.
The 32mm objective lens delivers excellent clarity, and you will get a field of view of up to 37.7 feet at 100 yards. The sturdy waterproof 8.11″ tube features a low-profile lock for a simple installation process.
The scope uses standard ¼ MOA click adjustments. The magnification ranges from 3 to 9x, which makes the scope very versatile. The scope comes with a sunshade to reduce glare. The reticle uses a classic nine dots design. You can illuminate it in red or green with the side wheel control.
You can’t go wrong with this quality 3-9x scope. It’s an affordable and durable accessory with straightforward controls and quality optics. We like the illuminated reticle, compact design, and lightweight feel of this scope.
People feel this red dot sight is a good buy because of its price and quality. It’s a durable accessory that is easy to use, and it does a great job when it comes to enhancing the speed and target acquisition. Reviews mention that it’s easy to adjust the eye relief. There are some minor issues with illumination and glare in bright light settings.
This compact 2.4″ red dot sight features a 3 MOA reticle with 11 levels of brightness. There is a convenient dial on the side you can use to adjust the brightness level. The red dot sight is very easy to install and use.
We like the low profile of this accessory. It won’t add a lot of weight or bulk to your build since it only weighs 3.7 oz.
The lens features a special amber coating that delivers excellent contrast and enhances visibility. Bushnell uses a nitrogen treatment to prevent fog from forming inside of the sight. It’s a waterproof accessory with a tight seal and protective rubber cover that will keep dust away from the optics.
If you don’t need a magnified scope, this red dot sight is an excellent choice. It’s precise, lightweight, and easy to use. We like its low profile, and you can easily adjust the eye relief thanks to the compact design.
This scope has received a large number of positive reviews. People love the build and look of this scope. The three different modes make it an excellent value, and buyers say it makes their builds a lot more versatile. A few reviewers mention that controls can feel tight, but it doesn’t seem to be a significant issue.
This versatile scope stands out because you can use it as a magnified scope, laser sight, or red dot sight.
This accessory features a 2.5 to 10x magnified scope with a 40mm lens. The scope weighs a little over 20 oz by itself and delivers a field of view of up to 32.5 feet at 100 yards on the lowest magnification setting. Eye relief ranges from 101 to 76mm. The scope has a reticle with five brightness settings that you can illuminate in red or green, and there are four reticle shapes to choose from.
There is a red laser sight attached to the side of the scope. It works at a distance of up to 200 yards and delivers a powerful laser light that helps with target acquisition.
The tactical red dot sight is an optional accessory that you can attach on top of the scope. It delivers 1x magnification and has a 3 MOA red dot. It adds a little over 4oz to your build, but you can remove it if you don’t need it.
This scope is one of the most versatile accessories you can find. We recommend it because of the build’s quality and the possibility to add or remove the tactical red dot sight as needed.
A majority of buyers are happy with this purchase. Some reviewers feel the scope could be more accurate, but it’s not an issue everyone runs into—most people like the simple controls, the clarity of the optics, and the build’s quality.
This 2.5 to 10x magnification scope is one of the best values you can find. It features a built-in laser sight and sturdy housing.
The optics use a unique multi-coated green lens for optimal light transmission. There is also a dioptric adjustment lens that prevents distortion of what you see.
The scope uses standard ¼ MOA adjustments. The field of view is 32.5 feet at 100 yards on the 2.5x magnification setting.
The scope has a red and green illumination feature. There are five levels of brightness, and the scope uses a classic mil-dot reticle. The eye relief is somewhere between 4 and 3.”
If you’re looking for value, you can’t go wrong with this performing scope. The built-in laser sight makes it more versatile. The design is a little heavier and bulkier than other options, but it’s a great addition to your AR-15 if you want to upgrade your build on a budget.
Buyers feel that they got a good value with this scope. They say it’s great for fast target acquisition, and the compact design makes it easy to adjust the position of the scope on the accessory rail.
We recommend this scope because it’s compact and affordable. It uses a prism optical system that yields unique benefits compared to other scopes.
The fixed magnification feature makes this scope less versatile than other accessories, but the 3x magnification is ideal for close and mid-range applications. It’s a lightweight accessory at around 15oz.
The optics use a prism system. This feature enhanced clarity, and there is a coating that reduces distortion and chromatic aberration.
The scope uses a dot reticle that you can illuminate. There is between 3 and 3.5″ of eye relief.
This fixed magnification scope is an excellent option if you’re looking for a compact accessory you can use for mid-range shooting. It’s easy to install and use, and the scope stands out thanks to the quality of the optics.
There are several benefits associated with opting for an affordable AR-15 scope.
You indeed get what you pay for with optics. However, you can find scopes with high-quality optics and excellent light transmission in an affordable price range thanks to new coating materials and techniques.
You can enhance the range of an AR-15 with a magnification scope. A scope or red dot sight will improve your accuracy and help with fast target acquisition.
A scope can enhance visibility in low-light settings and help you be more aware of your surroundings. These benefits will make you a safer shooter.
An AR-15 has a maximum range of 200 yards, but it’s challenging to place shots accurately at this range. Upgrading your AR-15 with a scope will improve precision at this range and make your build more versatile.
The right scope can make your AR-15 more accurate and versatile. It’s possible to upgrade your rifle on a budget since there are many quality accessories with good optics performance at an affordable price. If you’re looking for a reliable scope in the under $100 price range, we recommend the Leapers UTG BugBuster 3-9×32 Riflescope. It’s a 3 to 9x magnification scope with a classic mil-dot reticle. It delivers excellent light transmission, and it’s a lightweight accessory for your build.
Here are a few additional things to consider before adding a scope to your AR-15.
It depends on how and when you use your rifle. A scope isn’t necessary if you primarily use your AR-15 in daylight conditions for close or mid-range shooting. If you want better visibility in low-light conditions or want more accuracy for mid to long-range shooting, you will need a scope.
A red dot sight is a lightweight accessory that helps with fast target acquisition and accuracy. A scope has these same benefits, but it will help you place shots with more precision on a longer range and enhance visibility in low-light settings.