The classic AR 15 is a solid rifle with excellent ergonomics and forgiving recoil. But, if you fire it with only iron sights, you’re really only tapping into 1/3 of the potential of the AR-15 platform. Once you add a scope and offset or cowitness iron sights, then you’ll be able to access the other 2/3.
The top-quality scopes we feature on this website costs a pretty penny, but an AR-15 scope for under $200 is a solid beginning point if you’re just starting – especially if your AR-15 only cost under $600. To help you out, we bring you the best AR-15 scope under $200. Budget scope for your budget AR-15.
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There’s a misconception that the higher the price of the scope, the more precise the lens. Although the lens quality can be a contributing factor, more often, it’s the rigidness of the scope’s construction that brings up the price.
In other words, hawk-eye optical resolution won’t help you much if the scope can’t handle the rifle’s recoil and hold the lens perfectly still.
While the premium scopes will cost you over $200, the scope industry has come a long way. Meaning quicker production with minimal quality losses, and finally, a smaller price tag.
You can still make a wrong purchase if you don’t do proper research, but it’s not all grim in the “under $200 valley.”
Although it won’t be the best you can find, you can still get a solid AR 15 scope under $200.
One thing you definitely shouldn’t do is go for the first one you find since there’s more room for error in the lower price tag area. Although a heftier price isn’t a precondition for a quality scope, the chances of a bad purchase do get relatively low.
There are many aspects to consider when buying a scope. We’ll help you go through each of them to ensure you get the best AR 15 scope under $200.
Extra features are the aspect that catches many beginners’ eye but is often a trap. Although it’s tempting to have a scope that can keep your coffee warm while aiming, there’s always a trade-off.
Quality features like thermal vision mean more significant construction challenges, and of course, a heftier price.
Another element we took into consideration is the magnifying power. Generally speaking, when you go over 10x, you’re stepping into the pricier waters.
The magnifying power depends on rifle usage. For example, you don’t need anything over 10x if you’re hunting. If you’re specializing in a specific area, then that probably means you’re ready to invest more than $200.
Finally, you need a crosshair that helps you aim first and looks stylish later. Modern reticles that tell you the bullet’s flight time and the wind value are excellent. But if you find them under $200, you’ll likely be missing most of your shots.
Now you know what you need to look for and what you can get for under $200. While keeping aspects like construction quality, feature complexity, and magnifying power in mind, let’s dig deeper into the best AR 15 scopes under $200.
What surprises the most buyers is how rigid the build is for the price. Additionally, the lens provides impressive clarity and eye relief.
Although the reticle can be somewhat thin, users find the crosshair to be usable in most outdoor and indoor conditions. For further shots, users found customizing the scope with scope rings pretty simple.
The overall build quality of any scope isn’t the flashiest feature, but it is the most essential. You can only get an authentic feel of the build quality with months of usage. It’s the aspect that impacts the final verdict if you made a good purchase or not.
Primary Arms 4-16x44mm Riflescope nails the build quality. Although other elements are basic, the scope provides the golden standard for anyone looking to get a solid starting point on what a great scope should be.
Primary Arms offers solid quality for a budget-friendly price. The riflescope won’t raise any eyebrows, but it will open the doors to understanding scopes. Finally, it is a solid piece to improve and perfect your skills.
What many users love about Bushnell AR Optics is how pleasant the scope is for the eyes. The view is clear, and you can make quick adjustments without having to strain.
No matter if you’re making a quick transition from 50 to 100 yards or a sudden 90-degree shift, you can maintain a clear view at all times.
Bushnell AR Optics Riflescope is excellent for people looking to go in and out of different environments. It is a solid choice if you’re not the type that prefers standing in a single place for a long time while shooting.
The scope is a solid combination of build quality and numerous features you can test out. Although features can’t compare to pricier alternatives, they provide everything you need to dip your toes in the waters that are outside the “aim and shoot” box.
The scope provides a little bit of everything. Although it won’t shine in any aspect, it certainly won’t disappoint either.
For beginners looking for a bit of challenge, the scope can provide loads of fun with a AR 15 without ruining your day at the shooting range.
Since the scope does come at a lower price than most AR 15 alternatives in the market, users are generally surprised by how well it performs. Frequently, a two-digit price tag is a concerning alarm, but not in this case.
The scope packs a clear vision, making it great for an AR 15 rifle.
If you’re in a hurry to buy a scope for your AR 15, but you don’t want to risk big money, this is a great choice, especially when considering the price.
Even in the worst-case scenario where you find that the scope doesn’t fit your needs, you won’t feel like you made a wrong purchase.
The tactical-style rifle design makes the scope super easy to mount in just a couple of minutes and be ready for shooting. Although you don’t want to use this scope on a .308, it’s an excellent pick for an AR 15.
You won’t find a better AR 15 scope for such a low price. Although it’s not the best AR 15 scope under $200, if you’re short on money but still want a solid scope, consider this one.
Users found the scope to be great for all-around shooting. Although the red dot can’t compete with high-end models, it is an upgrade to any other red dot scope in the same price area.
The red dot flexibility brings an extra layer to shooting since users can shift quickly from near to distant aiming.
With the illuminated reticles, you can be sure you’ll never lose sight. Depending on the environment, you can easily adjust the brightness and change the crosshair color between black, blue, and green.
Additionally, the integrated quick-release mountain system makes it easy to install and uninstall without wasting too much time.
The red dot is a nice extra feature that’s perfect for beginners looking to get a feel for accurate close-range shooting without spending too much money. Finally, you can rotate the red dot sight left or right to your liking.
Features like the red dot sight are usually the ones that ramp up the price. The average low-price scope with a red dot will either have a poor build or a faulty red dot scope.
NcStar did a great job of bringing a solid AR 15 red dot scope combo without the user having to dig deep into their wallet.
Users love the flexibility the scope provides without cutting the quality. With a solid overall performance, less essential aspects such as multiple-color illuminated reticle and pop-up lens covers make the scope enjoyable to use.
With clear glass and the capability to hold zero, it’s a great starting scope that packs a little extra.
The cantilever mount makes the scope as if made for AR 15 exclusively. You can make rapid magnification changes and reduce glare in a second, making it an impressive scope.
Another pleasant surprise is that 1x seems to be genuinely 1x. Some low-end models don’t provide the true 1x sight. In this case, you will find it easy to have both eyes open and merge the two images without having to strain.
If you love close to mid-range shooting, you will find little trouble using the scope to its maximum capabilities.
Before you buy an AR 15 scope for under $200, consider what you’re planning to do with your rifle.
Maybe you simply don’t want to spend too much money. Or maybe, it’s your first scope, and you’re not ready to invest seriously at this point.
You won’t get a “lifetime” scope at this price range, but you can get a great scope that will help you learn the ropes.
Besides the prominent financial aspect, there are some questions to consider before making the purchase.
Why it’s essential to answer these questions is to ensure you don’t make a wrong purchase that causes additional unnecessary purchases.
Keep in mind that there isn’t a “one-scope-fits-all” in the price range, so you need to be particularly careful.
Fortunately, if you can answer at least one of the questions, you’re sure to find the best AR 15 scope under $200 in the above list.
The golden rule of buying the best AR 15 scope under $200 is simple. Make sure it’s a solid build, and get the one that best fits your current needs.
If you’re an avid shooter, you’re likely to buy a better one in a couple of months. That’s precisely why you want to be sure that your initial purchase puts you on the right path.
Think it through, and hopefully, one of the listed five will help you find what you’re looking for in the long run.
Many people have more general questions they like to have answered before shopping for a AR 15 scope. Here are some most frequent questions AR 15 owners tend to ask and have trouble finding a satisfying answer.
It depends on what you’re planning to do with your rifle. The simple rule of thumb is if you’re using your AR 15 for close-range or home defense, you don’t need a scope. Alternatively, if you want to get into mid-to-long range shooting, you should consider getting one.
Both have their advantages. 3 MOA is better for shotguns and pistols, meaning short range. 6 MOA works better with rifles, and it’s excellent for fast-moving targets due to the bigger dot size than 3 MOA. For beginners, 6 MOA is more forgiving.