The 3 Best Scopes For AR-10 in 2019 (TESTED!)

by Richard Douglas

In this guide I’m going to show you the 3 best scopes 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. 

Quick List: Top 3 Best Scope for AR 10 Rifle

  1. Primary Arms Silver Series 4-14×44 (Best All Around Scope)
  2. Vortex Diamondback 4-12×40 (Best AR-10 Scope For Hunting)
  3. UTG 3-12×44 (Best Budget Scope)

That said, I HIGHLY recommend you read the detailed reviews below. It’ll only take a few minutes of your time and it’ll show you all the pros/cons I’ve noticed with each scope.

You’ll make a better buying decision as a result.


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 scope.

In fact, 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 best AR-10 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 AR 10 scope.

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

It easily hits 200 yards without a sight. And 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.

If you’re new to rifle scopes, I highly recommend reading this section on magnification. Once you have, you’re ready to choose the right magnification for your riflescope. 

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 a Trijicon ACOG for your AR10.

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. 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 best long-range magnification:

  • Magnification: 9X and up

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 guide your choice. If you combined magnifications — like using both medium and long range — you’ll need a variable powered scope. This allows you to shift through various magnifications. 

With that said, I think you’re ready to see the AR10 scopes list. Let’s dig in!


The 3 Best Scopes for AR 10

1. Primary Arms Silver Series 4-14×44 FFP (Best All Around Scope)

The Primary Arms 4-14×44 is overall the best AR-10 scope.

Primary Arms Silver Series 4-14x44 FFP Rifle 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 faired almost equally as well.

Primary Arms 4-14x44 ACSS Reticle

Here’s 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 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 magnifications. 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 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.


Durability

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 produces 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.

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.


Primary Arms 4-14×44 FFP: 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
  • ACOG + BDC Reticle (or the ACSS reticle)
  • First Focal Plane 
  • Rugged Build
  • Zero-reset turrets (for fast adjustments)
  • Parallax adjustment knob

Put simply:

The PA 4-14×44 is the most affordable of its price range. It’s got nearly 5 stars on Amazon with over 150 reviews. It’s a proven pick. If you like it, then feel free to give it a try. If not, let’s move onto the second scope…

(If you use an AR-15, you may be interested in reading my AR-15 scope guide)


2. Vortex Diamondback 4-12×40 SFP (Best Scope For AR-10 For Hunting) 

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

Vortex Diamondback 4-12x40

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

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 BDC 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).


Durability

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 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. Enough said.

Vortex Diamondback Turrets

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

If you use your AR-10 for hunting, then no more words are to be said.

Simply put:

Get the Diamondback 4-12×40. It’s the best AR-10 scope for hunting.

Here’s why:

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

It’s got everything you need without all the fancy bells and whistles. If it calls out to you, then pick one up. If not, let’s move onto the last scope…


3. UTG 3-12×44 (Best Budget Scope)

If you’re looking for a good budget AR-10 scope, look no further than the UTG 3-12×44.

UTG 3-12x44

It does the basics, works out-of-the-box, and very affordable ($100). It’s the same scope I recommend in my best scope for Mini 14 guide.

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 shot (great for beginners). 

Here’s how the reticle looks:

UTG 3-12x44 Red Reticle

You can even change the reticle color 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 relief.

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.


Durability

The UTG 3-12×44 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 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 3-12×44 is for you. 

Here’s why:

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

Put simply:

The UTG 3-12×44 is a great budget AR-10 scope for beginners. It gets the job done for almost under $100. It’s the same scope I recommend in my 300 blackout scope guide.


What’s the Best Scope for AR-10?

The 3 scopes I mentioned above are the best scopes for AR-10. 

Here’s a recap:

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

Looking for the best AR-10 hunting scope? Get a Vortex Diamondback 4-12×40 SFP.

Or if you simply want a decent budget scope for AR-10, invest in a UTG 3-12×44.

Also:

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.

You honestly can’t go wrong with any of these 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.


Disclosure

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 Amazon affiliate link, 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 scopes for AR-10 guide. 

From my research and testing, these are the best AR-10 rifle scopes on the market. I will update this guide as I find more picks. 

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

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

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Pat Hedman

The Leupold VX2 looks really good. Probably going to order it tomorrow

Del
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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… Read more »