5 Best Scopes for AR-10 in 2021 [Hands-On]

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In this guide I’m going to show you the best scope for AR-10. 

In fact:

These are the same scopes that many optic experts and competitive shooters use. 

The best part? 

I’ve sorted the scopes by use. So whether you’re on a budget or need a solid hunting scope, you’ll find it here.

Let’s get started.

Why should you trust me? 

I’ve fired thousands of rounds in my lifetime, through hundreds of scopes, at soft and hard targets. 

I’ve tried all the scope brands: Leupold, NightForce, Trijicon, Vortex, Burris, Schmidt & Bender, Redfield, Zeiss, Bushnell, BSA — you name it.

As a result, I know exactly what makes a good AR-10 scope. 

In fact:

My work has been featured on the top firearm publications like…

  • Daily Caller
  • The National Interest
  • American Shooting Journal

…and so much more.

Each of the scopes I recommend down below were bought from my own personal money. No reviewer scopes or outside contributions were accepted for this review.

In doing so, I believe it allows me to write the most honest guide possible. That way, I can focus on what truly matters:

Testing the scope rather than appeasing scope manufacturers. 

This gives me the freedom to say whatever I like about a scope: 

The good, the bad, and the ugly without fear. This helps my readers make a better, more well-informed decision. And it helps me find the perfect AR 308 scope for my rifle.

I hope it does the same for you. 

Let’s begin.

Read Before You Buy 

I don’t want you to waste your money.

Most sites will recommend expensive AR10 scopes you won’t ever fully use. 

To help you save money (and headaches), here’s everything you need to know about choosing the best optics for AR 10.

How To Choose An AR-10 Scope

Let me put it straight:

The AR-10 is one of the best long-range rifles on the market. It’s better than the AR-15 in precision and power.

AR-10 vs. AR-15
AR-10 vs. AR-15

It’s so powerful that even the military uses a modified version of it for American snipers. 

USMC sniper fires the M110 SASS
USMC using M110 SASS (Lance Cpl. Cody A. Fodale)

It easily hits 200 yards without a sight. If you mostly shoot close-range, you’ll probably want to get the best AR-15 scope instead. Because with the best scope for AR-10, it easily hits targets up to 1000 yards and over. 

That’s cool and all, but let’s be honest:

You probably don’t shoot THAT far out. Instead, you probably shoot from one of three…

AR-10 Shooting Distances

These are the 3 ranges you’ll probably be shooting from:

  • Close Range: <200 yards
  • Medium Range: Between 200 to 400 yards
  • Long Range: 400+ yards

Choose one range and move on. 

However, if you use more than one, that’s fine — I’ll cover that in just a bit. Once you’ve chosen your shooting distance, it’s now time to choose…

The Best Magnification for AR-10 Scopes

Here’s the honest truth: 

People either buy too little or too much magnification. Why? Because they don’t understand magnification what magnification they need for their uses.

The following breakdown will tell you everything you need.

Close Range (<200 yards)

Truth is, the AR-10 isn’t a close-range weapon. 

However, if you’re using it for prairie dog hunting or some other closer-range uses, here’s what you’re going to need: 

  • Magnification: 1 – 4X power

Alternatively, you can use a red dot (or the best AR-15 red dot), best holographic sight or a Trijicon ACOG for your AR10.

I personally prefer to use my pistol at this range. If you share a similar belief, read my best red dot for pistols guide.

Medium Range (200 – 400 yards)

This is the most common usage for the AR-10. Most people use it for hog hunting or bigger game hunting.

Hog Hunting

If that’s the case, you’ll probably need:

  • Magnification: Between 5 – 9X power 

This will allow you to see most big game targets with relative ease. 

Long Range (400+ yards)

This is the range AR-10 excels in. 

In fact, some people have used AR-10s to beat bolt action rifles in sharp shooting tournaments. How? The secret lies in choosing the right magnification and training. 

That said, here’s the recommended long-range magnification:

  • Magnification: 9X and up

This is the same magnification I recommend in my best long range rifle scopes guide. With all that said, here’s…

The Bottom Line On Magnification

It’s impossible to find a good scope for AR10 if you don’t first choose the right shooting distance. 

Otherwise, you’ll end up buying the wrong amount of magnification. That’s a lot of wasted money. Don’t make that mistake.

Instead, use this section to help find the best rifle scope for you. If you combine magnifications — like using both medium and long range — you’ll need a variable powered scope. This allows you to shift through various magnifications.

Best Scope for AR-10

With that said, I think you’re ready to see the review of the best scope for AR 10 rifle. Let’s dig in!

The 5 Best Scopes for AR-10

If you’re pressed on time, here’s a quick list of the best AR-10 scopes:

  1. Vortex Strike Eagle 4-24×50: Best Short to Long Range Scope
  2. Primary Arms Silver Series 4-14×44: Best All Around Scope
  3. Vortex Viper PST Gen II 5-25×50: Best Long Range Scope
  4. UTG 3-12×44: Best Budget AR-10 Scope
  5. Vortex Diamondback 4-12×40: Best Hunting Scope for AR-10

1. Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 4-24×50: Best Short-to-Long Range Scope

The Vortex Strike Eagle 4-24×50 is the top short-to-long range AR 10 scope for the money.

In fact:

You can use it for hunting, tactical shooting, and even long range shooting (above 1,000 yards).

Interested? Keep on reading… 

Glass Clarity & Reticle

The dispersion glass is clear as day.

The 50mm objective lens and fully multi-coated coating maximizes light transmission. This yields a bright, crisp image that works well in low light conditions.

However, slight distortion along the edges become apparent at the highest magnification (24x).

Vortex Strike Eagle 24x Magnification

You may have noticed the reticle. It’s an EBR-4 MOA reticle. 

Here’s how it looks like:

Vortex Strike Eagle EBR-4 Reticle

The reticle’s quite advanced. It’s specifically designed for long-distance shots, estimating holdover, range, windage, and more. 

It’s also set in the second focal plane (SFP). This means the reticle size remains the same regardless of the zoom. This makes the second focal plane reticle usable at all ranges. 

The reticle’s also illuminated. Here’s how it looks:

Vortex Strike Eagle Illuminated Reticle

You can choose from 11 different brightness settings. The battery life on it isn’t too bad either. 

Eye Relief & Eye Box

You get 3.5 inches of generous eye relief.

That’s great for the AR-10. The eyebox, on the other hand, gets tight at the highest magnification (24x). 

To fix that, I practice proper cheek weld.


It’s completely water, fog and shockproof. 

Vortex Strike Eagle Scope

This is due to the O-ring sealed, nitrogen purged, aircraft-grade aluminum build. Which is english for…

It won’t break. But this durability comes at a cost:  

It weighs 25.6 ounces (1.6 pounds). To compensate, invest in a light mount (covered below).

Elevation & Windage Knobs

The turrets themselves are tactical and zero resettable.

Vortex Strike Eagle 4x-24x50 Turrets

This allows you to adjust the dials and return to zero in record time. A plus if you’re into long-range shooting or hunting (where frequent adjustments are required). 

I also liked how the turrets produced a positive, audible click sound when turned. 

Vortex Strike Eagle 4x-24x50 Elevation Turrets

However, the dials are VERY stiff to turn at first. But it loosens up with usage.

Magnification & Parallax

The 4x – 24x magnification is great for short-to-long range shooting.

Here’s how it looks at 4x:

Vortex Strike Eagle 4x Magnification

And at 24x:

Vortex Strike Eagle 24x Magnification

The sight remains clear and parallax-free at all ranges. If parallax ever becomes an issue, use the side parallax knob 🙂

But beware: just like how the turrets are a bit stiff, so too are the magnification and side parallax knob. As mentioned earlier, it’ll loosen up with usage. 

Mounting & Rings

I went with a Vortex Sport Cantilever 30mm Mount 2-inch offset. It’s easy to install and holds zero like a champ. 

Vortex Optics Sport Cantilever 30mm Mount - 2-Inch Offset
  • Use this cantilever mount for mounting 30 mm telescopic sights onto flattop style rifles.
  • The 2-inch offset of this cantilever mount positions the scope in a forward location, allowing the correct eye relief and head placement on your rifle.
  • The cantilever ring mount positions the center of the riflescope tube at a height of 1.59 inches (40.39 mm) from the base. Weighs 6.7 ounces.

While you’re at it, get some solid lens protection like the Vortex Defender Flip Caps (Eye Piece Size: E-10, 41.5-46mm) (Objective Size: O-50, 55-59mm). It’ll keep your glass scratch-free for years to come. 

Vortex Optics Defender Flip Cap Set - Eyepiece E-10 (41.5-46mm) & Objective Lens Cover O-50 (55-59 mm)
  • Virtually indestructible, the Defender flip caps are the most versatile and durable on the market, these are the last flip caps you'll ever need. Made in the USA.
  • A stainless steel spring flips the Eyepiece into multiple stop positions: vertical, 45 degrees and 90 degrees. The vertical position is for inserting your dope disk in to have easy access to while...
  • The E-10 fits all Vortex Riflescopes EXCEPT the 1-inch tube Viper model VPR-M-01BDC, VPR-M-04BDC and VPR-M-03BDC. Outside diameter: 41.5-46 mm | 1.6-1.8 inches

Vortex Strike Eagle 4-24×50 Review: Is it Worth it?

If you’re looking for a great entry point short-to-long range scope, the Strike Eagle is for you.

Despite some slight distortion (at high magnifications) and stiff knobs, it’s got:

  • Durable
  • Clear glass
  • Solid turrets
  • Illuminated reticle
  • Fast focus eyepiece
  • Generous eye relief 
  • Short-to-long-range magnification (4-24X)

In short:

It’s the top entry level long-range scope. I even recommended it in my best scope for 6.5 Creedmoor guide. It’s also backed by Vortex’s bullet proof lifetime warranty. If your scope breaks, they’ll repair it for free.

Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 4-24x50 Second Focal Plane Riflescope - EBR-4 Reticle (MOA)
  • The Strike Eagle 4-24x50 is built to execute technical, short-to-long range shots while offering rock solid quality and repeatable performance.
  • Fully multi-coated lenses produce crisp, bright images guaranteeing you can see your target when it counts. The glass-etched, second focal plane reticle gives detailed holdpoints yet remains visually...
  • A highly verstaile 6x zoom range lends itself to a wide array of shooting scenarios. A streamlined, side parallax knob with built-in illumination rotates through 11 levels of brightness and runs on a...

2. Primary Arms Silver Series 4-14×44 FFP: Best All Around Scope

The Primary Arms 4-14×44 is overall the best AR10 scope.

In fact: 

You can use it for target shooting, long-range shooting, tactical needs, and even hunting.

What makes it so versatile? Keep on reading to find out…

Glass Clarity & Reticle

The PA 4-14×44 glass is crystal clear. 

The ACSS reticle is even more impressive. I’d describe it to you, but…as Morpheus said: 

“You have to see it for yourself.”

Here’s a video showing how it works (simulated):

The best part? 

The reticle doubles as a red dot and BDC. When the ACSS reticle was compared head-to-head with a red dot, it fared almost equally as well. 

Primary Arms 4-14x44 ACSS Reticle

Here are the results:

The red dot: 3.15 seconds

The ACSS reticle: 4.05 seconds 

(A 28% difference.)

So the reticle’s a good red dot alternative. How about the bullet drop compensation (BDC)? It doesn’t disappoint. The BDC reticle is designed to calculate the AR-10’s most popular ammo (.308/.223) bullet drop. 

That means more accurate long-distance shots. 

ACSS illuminated reticle Explained

The reticle is also placed in the first focal plane (FFP).

This means the scope’s reticle size adjusts as you change magnification levels. This allows for better, more accurate long-distance shots. 

The reticle doesn’t need a battery to operate because it’s directly etched into the glass. 

Here’s the reticle without illumination:

ACSS Reticle No Illumination

Here’s with illumination:

ACSS Reticle Illuminated

They even included 6-brightness setting knob so you can see the second focal plane reticle in any lighting condition (especially low light environments).

Primary Arms 4-14x44 Brightness Knob

Eye Relief & Eye Box

The 3.2 – 3.1 inches eye relief isn’t bad.

I didn’t have any issues with eye relief between 4-10X. 

Primary Arms 4-14x44 Scope

However, when I shifted the magnification higher (11x – 14x), the eye relief and eye box became a little tight. 

To get around it, I practiced good cheek weld and used some mounting hardware.


This scope’s advertised as waterproof, shockproof, and fogproof. 

Does it live up to its claims?

Primary Arms Silver Series Durability

Definitely. I bumped it, dropped it, submerged it in water, and shot in foggy conditions with no problems. 

But this strength comes at a price: a weight of 1 pound and 7 ounces in weight. That’s heavy. To compensate, use a lightweight mount (included below).

Elevation & Windage Knobs

Primary Arms used the competitive shooter’s adjustment system: MRAD.

Primary Arms 4-14x44 Turret Dials

The .10 MIL turrets makes adjustment a bit more precise. The turrets produce positive clicks.

Primary Arms 4-14x44 Turrets

The scope zeroes fast (within 3 rounds for me) and holds zero well. I was able to stack holes at 400 – 600 yards with no problems. And I also like the zero-reset feature, which makes turning back to zero a breeze.

Magnification & Parallax

This scope’s 4-14X magnification is ideal for short-to-long range target acquisition.

Primary Arms 4-14x44 Fast Focus Eyepiece

The view remains clear and parallax-free regardless of the magnification you’re at (4X – 14X). In case parallax is ever a problem, you can use the included parallax knob to correct it, although it’s rarely an issue.

Mounting & Rings

Since the scope was heavy, I used the Aero Precision Ultralight 30mm mount to save weight. It’s worth the money.

Aero Precision Ultralight 30mm Scope Mount, Standard, Anodized Black
  • 6061 T6 extruded aluminum construction
  • MIL-A-Type 3 black hard-coat anodize
  • Ridged and lightweight

If you want to preserve your scope lens, I recommend investing in some Butler Creek Caps (Eyepiece size: 19) (Objective size: 31). It’s cheap and protects your investment.

Butler Creek Flip-Open Eyepiece Scope Cover, Size 19 (1.73-Inch, 43.9mm)
  • Truly ambidextrous, silent spring hinges won't spook game
  • Instant action lids pop open at the touch of a thumb
  • Performs from 40 to 120 Degrees F, weighs less than an ounce

Primary Arms 4-14×44 Review: Is it Worth it?

For people that use their AR-10 for medium-to-long range shooting, then this scope’s for you. 

Here’s why. It’s got: 

  • Clear glass
  • Rugged Build
  • First Focal Plane
  • Parallax adjustment knob
  • Zero-reset turrets (for fast adjustments)
  • ACOG + BDC Reticle (or the ACSS reticle)

Put simply:

The PA 4-14×44 is the best AR-10 scope under $500. It’s also the best tactical scope for AR 10 308 SHTF situations. 

It’s got nearly 5 stars on Amazon with over 150 reviews. It’s a proven pick. This is why I’m adding it to my best scope for Ruger 10/22 guide.

If you like it, then feel free to give it a try:

Primary Arms SLX 4-14x44mm FFP Rifle Scope - Illuminated ACSS-HUD-DMR-308
  • Variable 4-14x magnification first focal plane scope features the ACSS HUD DMR reticle for .308/some .223 loads
  • ACSS HUD DMR combines wind leads, ranging, BDC and a MIL-ranging system into a clean, intuitive design
  • Partial red illumination with 5 brightness settings powered by a common CR2032 battery

3. Vortex Viper PST Gen II 5-25×50: Best Long Range Scope

The Viper PST Gen II 5-25×50 is the best long range AR-10 rifle on the market.

In fact:

It does everything an expensive Nightforce scope can do…without the arms and legs price tag. 

Like what? Read further to find out…

Glass Clarity & Reticle

The glass is 1080P clear. 

Some have went so far as to call the Viper PST a “half-price Vortex Razor HD.” And I agree. 

Here’s a side by side comparison:

Vortex PST Gen II vs. Razor HD Gen II

How is the Viper that clear? 

The secret lies in the PST’s extra-low dispersion (XD) glass construction. This construction, along with the fully multi-coated lens and 50mm objective lens, maximizes light transmission for a high-res image — even in low light conditions.

That’s why it looks like this:

Viper PST Glass

In that image, you may have noticed the weird looking crosshair. 

What is that thing? 

Vortex calls it the EBR-2C MRAD reticle. This reticle is specially engineered for long-range shots. 

In fact: 

It can estimate for holdover, windage, and even bullet drop. 


It’s very advanced. That said, there’s a downside to the reticle: 

It’s a bit thin at the lowest magnification (5X):

Vortex Viper PST Gen II 5x Magnification

However at higher magnifications (25X), this problem goes away:

Vortex Viper PST Gen II 25x Magnification

This is due to the PST Gen II’s first focal plane. 

In plain english, this means the crosshair size adjusts with your magnification. This makes long-distance adjustments easier and more accurate.

The reticle is also very bright and clear. 

Here’s how it looks illuminated:

Viper PST Illuminated Reticle

It’s day light visible. It even comes with a 10-setting illumination knob. The battery life isn’t too bad either. Just make sure to have some extra CR2032 batteries in your range bag.

Eye Relief & Eye Box

You get a generous 3.4” of eye relief. The eye box is also quite forgiving.  

Vortex Viper PST Gen II 5-25x50 Glass

That’s more than perfect for the AR-10 platform. 

The best part?

The relief stays consistent throughout the magnification.


The Vortex Viper PST Gen II will keep working wherever you are. The PST is waterproof, fogproof, shockproof, snowproof and even…

Vortex PST Fireproof


It was even thrown out of a moving car (at 43.5 MPH):

Viper PST Thrown out of a Car

Buried in dirt:

Viper PST Burried in Dirt

Despite all that, the scope still held zero and functioned perfectly. The glass is also scratch, dirt, and oil-proof due to the ArmorTek coating. 

Viper PST Dirtproof Glass

That means, you can bring this scope anywhere. However, the durability (and glass quality) comes at a cost: 

Heavier weight. 

The PST is 2 pounds — much heavier than almost all the Best AR 10 scopes on this list.

Why is that? Two reasons: 

  1. Durability. The PST’s WW2-like tank build.
  2. Tactical Glass. The quality precision glass (and larger objective lens) is heavier than average scope glass.

That said, this isn’t a reason for concern. If you’re using this scope for precision shooting, you likely won’t be moving around that much.

Elevation & Windage Knobs

The tactical windage and elevation turrets are reliable.

They produce crisp, tacticle clicks. It adjusts smoothly. It even comes with textured grips around each knob:

Vortex PST textured grips turrets

This makes adjustments easy…even with gloved or wet hands. 

Zeroing was easy. I was able to zero in within 5 rounds. It also held zero. The scope tracking worked perfectly. 

But the feature I liked the most was the RZR Zero stop feature. This is a feature you usually only see in Nightforce scopes. 

Viper PST Turrets

But good news: Vortex added it to this scope. With it, you can’t adjust past your sight-in zero

Here’s a video showing to set it up: 

Notice how it stopped when it reached the initial zero? That’s what the zero stop does. 

It’s invaluable for long-distance shots (which require frequent adjustments).

Magnification & Parallax

The 5-25X magnification is great for medium-to-extreme long range. 

The magnification ring adjusts smoothly: 

Vortex Viper PST Magnification Ring

The best part?

The scope remains clear and parallax-free throughout all magnification ranges (5x – 25x). On a sunny day, I can see up to a 1000 yards with this scope.

Viper PST Gen II Glass

But there’s a problem…

Weather affects clarity. 

For example, if it snows or rains, you’ll find the clarity at higher magnifications (20-25X) to be much worse. 

Why is that?

According to Vortex, it’s due to the clarity. Think about it like a microscope. Whenever you look at a specimen under higher magnification, what do you see? 

Everything…including all the details. 

The same applies to this scope. If you’re out shooting in weathery conditions, the PST will likely pick up the individual snow and rain droplets. Keep that in mind. 

That said, it’s not really a problem. It’s just a FYI so you can accommodate during bad weather.

Mounting & Rings

For the Viper, I recommend a Midwest Industries 30mm Quick Disconnect Mount. It’s easy to install and take off. 

Midwest Industries 30mm QD Scope Mount with 1.5" Offset
  • this is a nationwide distributor of firearms and shooting sports accessories
  • The country of origins United States
  • Midwest Industries, QD Scope Mount, 30mm, with 1.5" Offset, Black Finish

Alternatively, you can go for the cheaper Aero Precision Ultralight Extended Mount. It keeps the scope on solid, doesn’t add weight and relatively cheap. 

Aero Precision Ultralight 30mm Scope Mount, Extended, Anodized Black (APRA210500)
  • Rear ring is pushed forward 1" for better eye relief
  • Designed for mil-spec upper receivers with 1913 Picatinny rail
  • 6061 T6 extruded aluminum construction

One last thing: 

Invest in some quality flip up caps like these Vortex Defender Flip Caps (Eye Piece Size: E-10, 41.5-46mm) (Objective Size: O-50, 55-59mm). They’ll keep your lens pristine for years to come and they’re much better than the included bikini covers.

Vortex Optics Defender Flip Cap Set - Eyepiece E-10 (41.5-46mm) & Objective Lens Cover O-50 (55-59 mm)
  • Virtually indestructible, the Defender flip caps are the most versatile and durable on the market, these are the last flip caps you'll ever need. Made in the USA.
  • A stainless steel spring flips the Eyepiece into multiple stop positions: vertical, 45 degrees and 90 degrees. The vertical position is for inserting your dope disk in to have easy access to while...
  • The E-10 fits all Vortex Riflescopes EXCEPT the 1-inch tube Viper model VPR-M-01BDC, VPR-M-04BDC and VPR-M-03BDC. Outside diameter: 41.5-46 mm | 1.6-1.8 inches

Vortex Viper PST Gen II 5-25×50 Review: Is it Worth it?

If you’re a tactical precision shooter or long range shooter, the Vortex Viper PST Gen II 5-25×50 is for you.

Here’s why:

  • Zero Stop
  • MRAD Reticle
  • First Focal Plane
  • Illuminated reticle
  • Crystal Clear Glass
  • Lifetime VIP warranty
  • ‘Bomb-Ready’ durability
  • Tactical, glove-adjustable turrets
  • Long range magnification (can see up to a 1000 yards)

Put another way:

The Viper PST Gen II is the best long-range AR-10 scope on the market. This is the same line of product I recommend in my best 308 scopes guide.

Why? It’s got all the expensive Nightforce scope features without the price tag.

Sure: it costs a pretty penny. And I’ll admit, it’s not for everyone.

But if you can afford it and want to take your long distance shots to the next level, the Viper Gen II won’t disappoint. 

Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II 5-25x50 FFP Riflescope EBR-2C MRAD
  • The Viper PST Gen II takes incredible performance and rock solid tactical features to new heights. The 5-25x50 first focal plane riflescope is incredibly versatile and ideal for close to long range...
  • Shooters who dial their turrets for bullet drop and wind compensation will appreciate the laser etched turrets, adjustable parallax and the RZR zero stop. A fiber optic rotation indicator ensures you...
  • The reticle offers shooters highly functional, intuitive, and detailed hold points, yet remains uncluttered for optimal viewing and features 10 intensity levels with off positions between each...

4. UTG 3-12×44: Best Budget Scope

If you’re looking for a good budget AR-10 scope, look no further than the UTG scope.

UTG 3-12X44 30mm Scope, AO, 36-color Mil-dot, w/ Rings
  • Scope features 30-millimeter tube with multi emerald-coated lenses for optimized light transmission
  • Built on True Strength Platform, scope is completely sealed and nitrogen-filled for shock-, fog-, and rain-proof performance
  • Three-to-12X magnification; 30-millimeter tube diameter and 44-millimeter objective diameter; 34'-8.4' field of view at 100 yards

It does the basics, works out-of-the-box, and very affordable ($100).

But how well does the UTG perform? 

Keep on reading to find out…

Glass Clarity & Reticle

I’m going to be honest: 

The glass is no Vortex Diamondback or Primary Arms Silver Series. But it gets the job done.

UTG 3-12x44 Fast Focus Eyepiece

The reticle’s a simple Mil-Dot. It’s easy-to-use and helps estimate long-distance shots (great for beginners). 

Here’s how the crosshair looks:

UTG 3-12x44 Red Reticle

You can even change the line colors to one out of 36 colors. That’s a pretty cool feature but not needed.

Eye Relief & Eye Box

You get 3.3 inches of eye distance.

That’s enough for the AR-10 (a low-recoil firearm). 

Although I did have one problem: the eyebox was tight at the highest magnification. So if you intend to use the scope solely at 12X mag, I’d look for another option.


The UTG is shockproof, waterproof and fogproof out-of-the-box.

UTG 3-12x44 scope durability

But it comes at a hefty cost: 

A whopping 25.6 ounces. 

That’s way too heavy for hunting. Even worse, the scope’s length which some have described as having a “Pringles Can on top of your rifle”. That’s pretty accurate. 

That’s why I recommending using the UTG for only shooting at the range (or where there’s limited movement). It will slow you down.

Elevation & Windage Knobs

The turrets work although they’re a bit stiff. But they get better as you use them more. 

UTG 3-12x44 Turrets

The turrets zero relatively fast and hold zero with its lockable and resettable turrets.

Magnification & Parallax

At the lowest setting (3X), the sight picture is pretty clear.

Here’s how it looks:

However, at the highest magnification (12X), it gets fuzzy.

Here’s how it looks:

As you can see, there’s distortion around the edge. The image quality starts to blur slightly. And the eyebox gets a bit tight.  

Also, the magnification knob itself is a bit stiff. But, just like the turrets, they get better with use.

UTG 3-12x44 Magnification

That said, the views on this sight remain clear (and parallax-free) throughout most magnifications. This is due to the side wheel adjustment turret (SWAT).

Mounting & Rings

This scope’s ready out-of-the-box. 

It comes with: 

  • Medium profile rings 
  • Lens Caps
UTG Rings

In short: The scope’s ready to go. Just set up and start firing.

UTG 3-12×44: Is it Worth it?

If you’re on a budget or just want a decent entry point AR-10 scope, then the UTG 30mm Compact Scope is for you. 

Here’s why:

  • Decent glass
  • Illumination
  • Working Turrets
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Ready out-of-the-box
  • Easy-To-Use Mil Dot Reticle

Put simply:

The UTG compact scope is a good scope for AR 10 geared for beginners. It gets the job done for almost under $100. It’s a scope I constantly keep recommending — especially in my Best 22LR Scopes guide. 

UTG 3-12X44 30mm Scope, AO, 36-color Mil-dot, w/ Rings
  • Scope features 30-millimeter tube with multi emerald-coated lenses for optimized light transmission
  • Built on True Strength Platform, scope is completely sealed and nitrogen-filled for shock-, fog-, and rain-proof performance
  • Three-to-12X magnification; 30-millimeter tube diameter and 44-millimeter objective diameter; 34'-8.4' field of view at 100 yards

5. Vortex Diamondback 4-12×40 SFP: Best Hunting Scope For AR-10 

If you hunt with your AR-10, you need to get yourself a Vortex Diamondback 4-12×40.

It’s great for varmint hunting, big game hunting, and long-distance shooting. 

Why is that? Read further to find out…

Glass Clarity & Reticle

The glass clarity is good for the price, but the Primary Arms glass is better. 

It works well in low-light conditions (like before dawn or after dusk).

Vortex Diamondback 4-12x40 Objective Lens

The scope’s got a bit of distortion whenever you go to the highest magnification (12X). It’s still usable but…noticeable.  

The Dead hold BDC reticle makes long-distance shots easy. You simply zero at 100 yards and then use the hashmarks to guide your shot.

Dead-hold BDC Reticle Vortex Diamondback

Here’s a video showing how the Dead-Hold BDC reticle works:

Eye Relief & Eye Box

The 3.1 inches of eye relief isn’t the greatest. But it gets the job done. 

Vortex Diamondback 4-12x40 Ocular Lens

I’ve had zero issues with the eye box or inadequate eye relief except in one case: 12X (the max magnification).

At this magnification, the eyebox gets a bit tight. To solve it, I used proper mounting hardware and good cheek weld (always a must).


The Diamondback is waterproof, fogproof and shockproof. 

Vortex Diamondback 4-12x40 Scope

And it only weighs a light 14.6 ounces. This makes it perfect for hunters that are constantly moving around, stalking their prey.

Elevation & Windage Knobs

The windage and elevation turrets zero in fast and hold zero well.

Vortex Diamondback 4-12x40 Capped Turrets

The finger-adjustable turrets produce positive click sounds. They’re exceptional.

Vortex Diamondback Turrets

Enough said.

Magnification & Parallax

This scope’s 4-12X magnification is great for hunting (which is medium-to-long range). 

It’s parallax-free from 100 yards and up.

Mounting & Rings

I mounted the Diamondback on a 1” Vortex Cantilever mount. The mount’s lightweight and sturdy.

To protect the scope, I got some Vortex Defender Flip Caps (E-10 & O-40). They’re way better at protecting your lens than the included bikini covers.

Vortex Optics Defender Flip Cap Set - Eyepiece E-10 (41.5-46mm) & Objective Lens Cover O-40 (45.5-48.5 mm)
  • Virtually indestructible, the Defender flip caps are the most versatile and durable on the market, these are the last flip caps you'll ever need. Made in the USA.
  • A stainless steel spring flips the Eyepiece into multiple stop positions: vertical, 45 degrees and 90 degrees. The vertical position is for inserting your dope disk in to have easy access to while...
  • The E-10 fits all Vortex Riflescopes EXCEPT the 1-inch tube Viper model VPR-M-01BDC, VPR-M-04BDC and VPR-M-03BDC. Outside diameter: 41.5-46 mm | 1.6-1.8 inches

Vortex Diamondback 4-12×40 SFP Review: Is it Worth it?

If you use your AR-10 for hunting, then get the Diamondback 4-12×40.

It’s my favorite AR-10 scope for hunting. 

Why is that? Here’s a list:

  • Affordable
  • Clear glass 
  • Lightweight 
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Hunting dead-hold BDC reticle 
  • Bright views (even in low-light conditions) 

It’s got everything you need without all the fancy bells and whistles. If it calls out to you, then pick one up:

Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12x40 Second Focal Plane Riflescope - Dead-Hold BDC Reticle (MOA) , Black
  • The Diamondback 4-12x40 riflescope is one of multiple configurations in the Diamondback lineup and is ideal for big game, predator/varmint, muzzleloader, slug shotgun, and long range applications
  • Dead-Hold BDC reticle is good for any hunting or shooting at varying ranges where estimating hold-over would be a concern
  • Lenses are fully multi-coated for crystal clear, bright images from dawn till dusk The fast focus eyepiece allows for quick and easy reticle focusing

What’s the Best Scope for 308 AR?

The 5 scopes I mentioned above are the best scopes for AR 10 for the money. 

Here’s a recap:

Looking for a solid all-around applications budget scope? Get a Primary Arms 4-14×44 FFP.

Perhaps a short-to-long range scope? The Strike Eagle 4-24×50 will do the job. 

Want to step up your game with the top-rated long range scope? Get the Viper PST Gen II 5-25×50.

In need of a decent budget scope for AR-10? Invest in a UTG 30mm Compact Scope (3-12×44).

Or if you’re looking for the best scope for AR-10 for hunting, the Vortex Diamondback 4-12×40 SFP is the way to go.


I’ll be doing an in-depth night vision scope guide soon. But for now, if you use your AR-10 during night-time operations (or simply need a night vision scope), a solid choice is Sightmark’s Wraith HD 4-32×50 Digital Scope.

Sightmark Wraith HD 4-32x50 Digital Riflescope
  • Day/Night mode – full color viewing for day use; black and white or classic green for night vision mode
  • High-definition sensor – high resolution imaging with video recording in 1080p HD
  • 8x digital zoom – a 2x optical system for up to 16x magnification

You honestly can’t go wrong with any of these AR-10 optics. Just pick one based on your use and budget and take it out for a spin. 

If you don’t like it, you can always return it back to Amazon thanks to the 30-Day Money Back Guarantee.


How I Get My Scopes

I bought every scope I mentioned above from Amazon. I paid the same price as any other customer. I do this to write the most honest and unbiased review I possibly can.

External Contributions

I didn’t receive any external contributions from scope manufacturers nor do I advertise for them. In fact, I don’t accept advertising on my site.

Every scope you see is hand-tested and personally recommended by me with no outside manufacturer influence. I have no financial connections to any scope company. This is not a sponsored post. 

Affiliate Links

If you choose to make a purchase through my affiliate link (thank you!), I do get a small commission for the sale (around 1-4%). This doesn’t effect your purchase price nor do I see what you purchase.

In return, I use this money to put food on my table, keep annoying ads off my site, and keep the honest reviews coming.

Now It’s Your Turn

I really hope you enjoyed my best scope for AR-10 guide. 

From my research and testing, these are literally the best scopes for AR10 on the market. I will update this guide as I find more picks. 

If you’re looking for close-range optics, I’d recommend either reading my best AR pistol sights or best red dot for astigmatism guides (if you suffer from astigmatism).

That said, I’d like to turn it over to you:

Which rifle scope from this list will you use on your AR-10? Maybe a Primary Arms 4-14×44 FFP or a Vortex Optics Diamondback. 

Either way, let me know by leaving a quick comment down below. Also, if you have any other recommendations, feel free to let me know. 

In the future, I’ll be updating this guide with a Leupold AR10 scope recommendation and possibly even the best Trijicon scope for AR-10, too. Stay tuned.

And to our soldiers out there: thank you for the risks you take and the sacrifices you make. Stay safe out there.

20 thoughts on “5 Best Scopes for AR-10 in 2021 [Hands-On]”

  1. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=r0oLPFNWCLE

    The primary arms 4-14×44 is a very good budget scope for all around applications. I am former Army and B4 qualified. I saw this online a couple years ago and had all the features I was looking for and was under $400. I was looking to spend 2k plus on a scope for my newly built AR10.
    And thought for less than $400 why not, if I didn’t like it I have a old rem700adl that I could put it on.
    Overall I was very happy with it, for what I’m using it for it’s perfect. Of course it won’t compare to a premier or Schmidt bender etc.
    But for the average shooter out there even for the above average shooter it’s a great buy and with the money savings, you can buy more Ammo.

    • Hey Del, Thank you for your service.

      I definitely agree with you about the Primary Arms rifle scope — it’s a VERY good budget scope. I’ve actually been testing more scopes for the AR-10 (and AR-15) and will be updating this guide with the new scopes I found. And yes, the Primary Arms 4-14×44 is on the list 🙂

      Thanks for the recommendation and leaving a detailed comment — I really appreciate it, Del!

  2. I am interested in a scope for an AR-10(or other .308 battle rifles), but more for the self/home defense/”fighting rifle” arena. I was wondering, is there a reason you didn’t include any 1-(whatever)X magnification optics? like a 1-8, or 1-10? Maybe even something like a VCOG?
    Is there a scope you would recommend in particular as a sort of self defense/battle rifle, or is that not really your area of expertise? (to be clear, my home defense rifle is not a .308, I just want to set up a .308 “battle/fighting” rifle.)

  3. Thank you for the article!
    I live in Canada, so AR pattern rifles are illegal to go out in the bush and plink or hunt with, only registered and useable at a certified range. Except for a stag10 (Proprietary receiver) with an 18.5” barrel, we can legally plink in the woods etc with that.

    I went with the primary arms 3-18 hud dmr reticle, only for the added magnification (and less on the low end at 3 as opposed to 4x for the one you recommend). Glass is nice etc but that reticle makes things easy and super user friendly. Downside: it’s heavy. So an aero precision mount helps.

    My other pick would be the 2.5-10 PA for a few ounces weight savings. The reticle is amazing

    • You’re welcome Mitch 🙂 Definitely agree with you there — PA optics are amazing. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

  4. Richard,

    First, thank you for this article and all the work you have put into this review. I am new to shooting and have built both an AR-15 and AR-308(10). I find your reviews both insightful and free of the usual bias. I would like to concentrate on a scope for my AR-308 first. The PA scope is definitely of interest as is the Vortex Strike eagle. I am torn between the 2. Any recommendations for as first time shooter? Also, I cant seem o find the strike eagle on their website? is it new? I can only find it on Amazon.

    Thanks again…N

    • Hey Nick,

      Thank you for the compliment — I’m glad you found the article useful 🙂

      If it were up to me, I’d personally go with the PA 4-14×44. It’s more affordable and the reticle is set in the first focal plane. You can buy the PA from Amazon or Optics Planet.

      It does seem like the only store that sells the Strike Eagle 4-24×50 is Amazon. Checking the manufacturer page (and other retailers), it seems like the scope has been discontinued (although I’m not 100% sure). I’ll reach out to them and find out.

      Thanks again Nick! I hope this helps 🙂

  5. Hi,
    Liked your article but as is turns out the Strike Eagle 4-24×50 SFP Riflescope – EBR-4 (MOA) (SE-1627) is no longer being produced by Vortex, website states
    I still may be able to locate one but do I want to buy one no longer in production.
    Still researching what scope to get for my ar 10 which will be used for short to log range.
    Do appreciate your work and info you put forth, thank you!!

    • Hey Paul,

      Thank you for the compliment — I really appreciate it buddy 🙂

      You’re right: I think the Strike Eagle is discontinued. If you can get your hands on one, I’d go for it.

      But if you don’t feel comfortable buying a product that is discontinued, then I just have a few questions:

      1. What’s your intended use (hunting, target shooting, etc.)?
      2. What’s your budget?
      3. Are you looking for any specific/special features?

  6. Why are so many people drinking the vortex Kool-aid…
    There are much better scopes on the market and better quality.

  7. I just bought a Palmetto State Armory AR-10 in 6.5 Creedmore.
    I aim to take deer with it this season, but mainly I want to wow my friends with the accuracie and the power of my rifle. But I don’t want to greatly overspend. I currently have a Leopoldo 12X target turret scope on it and it shoots fine. I’m thinking a 4-25 or 5-26 in a large 50-56 mm lens would do the trick. What would you recommend to a poor budget shooter that like to impress the high dollar guys on low dollar cost?

  8. Thank’s for this information it’s a big help on deciding what I want to do with my ar10 and gave me some definite options and the pro’s and con’s of each scope. I’m curious and I would have to see if you have any other options about a 338wm that I just picked up from Thompson Firearms? Or recommendation for a 338wm

  9. I’m a little new to long distance shooting and looking into the vortex viper PST gen II 5-25x50mm FFP illuminated EBR 7c MRAD. Now this might be a dumb question but is it unusual to have a long distance rifle with a ffp in mrad and a battle rifle/ hunting rifle with a SFP in moa? Both ar-10.

  10. Best article I’ve ever read about sites, PERIOD!!!. What about Eotech HHS III 518.2 with G33.STS Magnifier for a daniel defense 5.56 m4a1 ar 15? What’s the difference between the hhs111 vs the 552? Also, what are your thoughts on the Aimpoint 6X-1 Micro T-2 Pro 6X magnifier paired with the eotech? Effective range for the eotech with 3x g33 and Aimpoint 6x? If you cant tell, I also like to shoot farther but I’m concentrating on the closer range for target acquisition but would like to stretch it to 600yds but not a must. THoughts? Thank you sooo much for your time!!!


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