AR15 Scopes Buyer's Guide
The AR15 is such a versatile, multi-use rifle that it's hard to recommend one or two scopes for it. The first thing to consider when looking at AR15 scopes is what type of shooting you will most likely be doing. Is it strictly short range, self defense use or maybe you want something for long range varmint hunting. You need to decide what you want to do with your rifle and scope combination. The scope really determines what you can do with your AR15.
A lot of first time AR15 owners buy a red dot or holographic type sight because that is what you mostly see on law enforcement and military rifles. They tend to be what a lot of gun shops recommend for your AR15. They are great sights, but they are limited to the type of shooting they are designed for. Red dot and holographic sights are mainly designed for close range, quick target acquisition situations such as military and law enforcement duties. For these types of situations, nothing beats the Trijicon Reflex Sights or EOTechs. They are super fast and give you the edge in a combat or self defense situation. But remember, these sights are mainly designed for shooting people. So if that's not what you're shooting, you might consider something else.
For typical shooters blasting cans on a hillside on Saturday afternoon, a red dot or holographic sight may not be quite what you're looking for. While it's possible to make shots at longer ranges with a red dot sight, it can be difficult. First of all, because red dot and holographic sights do not provide any magnification, you have to be able to see the target. Secondly, the size of the dot can cover up smaller targets at 100 or 200 yards. For general shooting and plinking, most AR15 shooters want some type of scope that provides magnification.
Looking at AR15 scope considerations:
1) What do you want to shoot at?
2) How far will you typically be shooting?
3) How critical is it that you hit the target under any conditions and
4) How much can you spend?
A good way of choosing a new AR15 scope is determining the type of target you want to shoot. If you want to hit a prairie dog and 400 yards you'll want a scope with high power magnification (14x or higher), adjustable focus, and super clear optics. If you want to see a 1 inch bullseye at 100 yards, 4x isn't enough magnification. You should probably look at something like a 3-9x variable where you can adjust the magnification up to 9x.
Next, consider how far you need to shoot. A scope that will perform well at 100 yards may not work that well on a target 600 yards away. The size of the target and the distance you need to shoot are two critical factors in choosing a new AR15 scope.
Another important consideration is how critical it is that you make the shot. If lives are on the line, take for example a police sniper, the reliability of your scope needs to be much greater than for some one blasting beer cans on a hillside. It may not be worth buying a $1,400.00 Leupold sniper scope for general plinking. For SWAT or military duties, it's worth every penny. That leads us to our last consideration; how much do you want to pay?
Taking all other factors into consideration, you're new AR15 scope needs to fit your budget. We place this consideration last, because we believe the others are more important than money. You cannot put a price on human life. If you need to make a precision shot under difficult circumstances, the high end scopes are worth the money. For general shooting and plinking, there are a number of great scopes that will provide years of enjoyment without taking your entire paycheck.
A new AR15 scope is an investment. You're investing in the reason you bought the AR15 in the first place. The scope will help you get the most out of your AR15.
We're showing our favorite AR-15 scopes above. For each scope, we will list why we like it and why we think it's one of the best AR-15 scopes.