The 3 Best AR-15 Scope Mounts [2020 Update]

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Not sure what mount to get for your AR-15?

Look no further.

I’ve tested ALL the best AR-15 scope mounts on the market. By the end of this guide, you’ll find the perfect mount for your AR.

Let’s get started!

The 3 Best AR-15 Scope Mounts

If you’re pressed on time, here’s a quick list of the best scope mounts for AR-15:

  1. American Defense AD-RECON: Best Scope Mount for AR-15
  2. Aero Precision Ultralight: Best Lightweight Mount
  3. Vortex Pro: Best for the Budget

1. American Defense AD-RECON: Best Scope Mount for AR-15

The American Defense AD-RECON is the best mount for an AR-15.

In fact:

I’ve rotated through at least 3 different scopes in one range day with this mount.

Here’s why…


Mount Quality

The American Defense AD-RECON is a high-quality, American made mount for AR type rifles with a lot of great tech.

It features the patented QD Auto Lock Lever system which I’ll cover later and a cantilever to throw the scope out front to get you the right eye relief.

At 8.4 oz. without a scope, it’s not especially light however it’s not heavy enough to make you use sand bags every time you go to the range.

American Defense makes som quality stuff and this mount is definitely on par with company’s like LaRue Tactical, but with a more affordable price tag.

It’s well worth the investment over the typical lower quality, featureless mounts in the sub-$100 range.

Here’s why:

The American Defense AD-RECON not only comes with top of the line features, it’s also built to handle serious firepower.

The precision machined 6061 T6 aluminum body is finished in hard coated T3 Mil-Spec anodize, meaning that this mount is durable and scratch resistant. Not to mention that it matches my FN AR-15 perfectly.


Installation

When it comes to installation, the American Defense AD-Recon is quick, easy, and forgiving.

When mounted on my AR, it sights high enough to clear the rear BUIS and forward enough for good eye relief.

American Defense makes a variety of other options, so make sure that you shop around to determine the proper clearance height. Also, measure again for the optics you intend to use as well.

The QD Auto Lock Lever system accommodates both in spec and out of spec rail systems. It allows for complete variation in scope and rail tolerances and repeatable mounting.

The entire design is meant to provide a versatile, budge free mount.

The quick-detach levers are spring loaded so removal and reinstallation is a speedy process, plus it won’t chew up your rails like some other mounts do. The locking system is easy to use and secure with well designed levers.

The floating rings tighten at the base and top for even distribution, so no more fiddling to find that perfect balance. The entire mount holds zero, even after I took it off and put it back on the rifle.

When installing, I suggest leaving the top screws loose and tightening the bottom screws first, this will help you get a clean mount.

I also suggest a dab of Loctite to ensure that everything stays in place during use and the screws won’t rattle.

Loctite Heavy Duty Threadlocker, 0.2 oz, Blue 242, Single
  • Advanced formula prevents loosening of metal fasteners caused by vibrations
  • Protective design protects threads from rusting and corroding
  • Medium-strength allows nuts and bolts to be removed with hand tools

No tools are needed for adjustment. Instead, all you have to do is release the lever and turn the back nut slowly until you get the tightness you want.

The tension adjustments are fast and easy, allowing 8 positions per revolution. Out of the box, my rear lever was pretty tight and difficult to turn, but it’s loosened up over time.

This was the easiest mount to level my scope. It only took one try and my Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8×24 was ready to roll.


Is the American Defense AD-RECON for you?

The AD-RECON is a rock-solid, versatile mount for any AR type rifle.

It’s a great addition for any shooter who wants to run with multiple optics on one platform.

Here are some of its top features:

  • Hardcoat anodized finish
  • Quick detach lever system
  • Machined from 6061-T6 aluminum
  • Cantilever design for optimal eye relief

In summary, this mount is worth way more than you’re paying, and it will last a lot longer.

The easy removal and reinstallation process is one of the reasons why I keep coming back to this particular mount for all of my AR type rifles.

If you’re wondering if the American Defense AD-RECON is the mount for you, I say pull the trigger. You won’t be disappointed.

American Defense AD-RECON 30 STD Riflescope Optic Mount, Black
384 Reviews
American Defense AD-RECON 30 STD Riflescope Optic Mount, Black
  • Does not require proprietary tools for adjustment
  • Can be adjusted with your finger or a flat blade screwdriver
  • Lever can be configured to lock to the front or the rear

2. Aero Precision Ultralight: Best Lightweight Mount

Want a well designed, American made scope mount?

Look no further than the Aero Precision Ultralight mount.

Aero Precision is very proud of the engineering that goes into their production process. They have taken the low-tolerance lessons learned from aircraft machining and applied them to their processes for scope mount and receiver production.

The result is a super lightweight, super durable AR rifle scope mount.

Let’s check it out…


Mount Quality

This mount is mind-blowingly light.

Weighing just over 3 ounces, it is half the weight of its competitors. The Ultralight mount is made from aircraft grade aluminum and I noticed that it doesn’t have any unnecessary parts. It’s build is very straight forward.

The Ultralight scope mount is clean-cut and very rigid.

I found that the hard-coat anodized finish is hard to scratch and scuff up.

The extended mounting rings pushed my scope forward two inches, significantly improving sight with a scope that has a long eye relief.

Aero Precision demands high quality control of their products. They have designed their entire production system themselves and every step of the tooling and machining are done in-house, not outsourced.

The result is a high-quality, American made scope mount that is manufactured at a relatively low-cost.

This scope mount works best on AR platforms with picatinny rails. It will not work well on bolt-action rifles because your scope will sit too high to maintain a solid cheek weld.


Installation

Now, the Ultralight scope mount is a ring and base system. This one piece mount has everything you need to attach your favorite scope to a 1913 picatinny rail.

I’ll be honest with you, installation is tricky with this one. It is hard to get the scope level because the screws are positioned vertically, not horizontally like you may be used to from other brands.

As I tightened the screws, my scope rotated to the right. I had to offset it to the left to compensate for the rotation. I used buble levels to help me visualize how I needed to adjust my scope to compensate for the turning. And to make sure my scope was truly level when I was finished.

Overall, the mounting process was kind of rough going and I struggled for several tries before finally getting my scope truly level.

I also noticed that the torque wasn’t listed clearly in the material that came with the mount. After a little bit of digging through reviews on Amazon, I found that the screws should be torqued to 15 in/lbs.

Be mindful that you don’t over tighten, or the rings can break.

If you don’t already have a torque wrench, I suggest getting this one by Wheeler Firearms.

Sale
Wheeler Firearms Accurizing Torque Wrench with Inch/Pounds Measurement, Bits and Storage Case for Scope Mounting, Gunsmithing and Maintenance
  • Accuracy: +/- 2 inch/pounds up to 40 inch/pounds; 40 – 65 is +/- 5%
  • Ease of use: Apply, repeatable, accurate torque settings to scope rings, guard screws, windage screws and base screws, which aids in accuracy and decreases the opportunity for problems in the field
  • Reliable: Torque adjustment range from 10 inch/pounds to 65 inch/pounds

The rings might not break right away with improper installation. They could shear after a few uses while out in the field. Be extra careful you don’t over-tighten the screws.

Aero Precision does stand behind their product should it fail– even due to improper installation. If you have problems, reach out to them and they will send you a new one.


Is the Aero Precision Ultralight the Right Mount for You?

Aero Precision Ultralight Scope mounts will run you about $100, making them two to three times cheaper than their competition.

Aero Precision Ultralight 30MM Scope Mount, SPR
  • Mounting rings are pushed forward 2" for better eye relief
  • Designed for mil-spec upper receivers with 1913 Picatinny rail
  • 6061 T6 extruded aluminum construction

The Aero Precision Ultralight scope mount is:

  • American made
  • Extra lightweight
  • Ridged, clean-cut design
  • Engineered with “razor thin tolerance levels”

If you want a forward-mounted scope on your AR and don’t mind doing a bit of extra work to save money and cut weight, this scope mount would be a very good option for you.

Are you in the market for a thermal scope, or coyote hunting lights? I have reviews for those.

Look here for reviews of the best scopes for Ruger 10/22 rifles.


3. Vortex Pro: Best for the Budget

If you’re looking for mount rings for your riflescope that are great quality and won’t break the bank, the Vortex Pro are the answer.

Not only do they fit both weaver and picatinny rails, they also come in multiple sizes and heights.

I used these rings to mount my Vortex Viper scope and it was very easy to get the scope mounted correctly.

Want to know more about the Vortex Pro? Keep reading…


Mount Quality

These rings are very lightweight without skimping on quality.

The black matte anodized rings look great and are made with high quality machining, which makes them incredibly strong and durable.

Not only that, but they are very precise and require no lapping!

It also has an integrated recoil lug, which is great because it prevents any movement or stress against the screws.

I’ve now shot over 2000 rounds and haven’t noticed even a hint of movement. These rings are rock solid.


Installation

Installation is quick and easy with the Vortex Pro rings.

You’ll get the two rings, a T-25 torque-style wrench, and screws. They even give you an extra two screws just in case you have any problems.

The T-25 torx cap screws hold up better than the socket cap screws or smaller torx screws I’ve used in the past on other mounts. They don’t strip out as easily as those others.

A couple things you need to keep in mind are that you need to buy the right size and height for your setup.

Luckily, these come in 30mm or 1”, so they’ll fit most rifle scopes, including night vision scopes. They also have low, medium, or high rings, so you can get the ones that work best for your rifle and scope.

One of the things that I really love about these rings is that they have the torque setting engraved on them. This prevents any confusion when mounting, which then prevents crushed optic tubes.

I do have some buddies who think the engraved torque settings spoil the look of the rifle, but it doesn’t bother me at all.


Is the Vortex Pro for you?

I’ve used a lot of mounts and rings over the years and can confidently say that the Vortex Pro easily compares in quality to rings that are twice the price.

The perks:

  • Easy installation
  • Strong and durable
  • Matte black anodized
  • Size and height options
  • Engraved torque settings
  • T-25 torx screws, with extras

If you want to get more bang for your buck, give the Vortex Optics Pro rings a try. You won’t be disappointed.

Vortex Optics Pro Series Riflescope Rings
  • The finishing touch to your rifle and optic combination. Pro Series rings combine rock-solid reliability and strength with high quality machining to ensure ultimate accuracy and consistency.
  • Streamlined, lightweight and durable, these rings use four T-25 Torx-style socket cap screws for secure mounting.
  • Fits Weaver and Picatinny Rails.

Now It’s Your Turn

I hope you enjoyed my best AR-15 scope mounts guide.

Now I want to turn it over to you:

Which mount will you pick for your AR-15?

Let me know by leaving a quick comment down below.

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