▷5 ABSOLUTE Best Scopes For AR-15 in 2019 [TESTED!]

by Richard Douglas

Do you want to know what’s the best scope for AR-15?

Well, I’m about to show you in just a second. Actually, I’ll show you 5 of the very best AR-15 scopes on the planet.

Whether you’re on a budget or need the very best, I bet you’ll find the perfect AR-15 scope for you.

Get ready!

Which AR-15 Scope is yours?

Monstrum Tactical 1-4x24Close-to-Mid RangeCheck Price
Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-6x24Speed & VersatilityCheck Price
Leupold VX-1 3-9x40BudgetCheck Price
Nikon 8496 P-223 3x32Close RangeCheck Price
Burris AR-332 3x36CompactCheck Price

Monstrum Tactical 1-4×24

Best Close-to-Mid Range Scope


Throw Down Power Change Lever (PCL)

Illuminated Reticle

Check Price on Amazon

Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-6×24

Best Scope for Speed & Versatility

Ergonomic controls

11 Illumination settings

4-inch eye relief

Check Price on Amazon

Leupold VX-1 3-9×40

Best Scope for the Budget

Leupold’s Multicoat-4 Lens

Several Reticle Options

Lightweight and Compact

Check Price on Amazon

Nikon 8496 P-223 3×32

Best Fixed Scope for Close Range

Excellent light transmission and view

Works perfect at awkward angles

Great Eye Relief

Check Price on Amazon

Why should you trust me?

I’m not asking you to.

I wrote this post to help others save themselves from making the same costly mistake I’ve made (in both wasted time and money).

But this post happened more on accident.

You see, when I tried to find the best AR-15 scope, I couldn’t get a straight answer. Everyone recommended something different. Pissed me off.

So, I read every AR-15 scope guide online from ‘best AR-15’ guides to 40-minute Youtube breakdowns. Then, I decided to do the ultimate test: buy and test each scope…by hand.

That’s exactly what I did.

After a lot of hard work and thousands of wasted dollars (my pocket’s still hurting), it paid off. What you see down below is the best AR-15 scopes from my personally expensive ‘education.’

I hope you find the perfect AR-15 scope for you!

Monstrum Tactical 1-4x24 First Focal Plane (FFP) Rifle Scope with Illuminated BDC Reticle

Magnification: Variable | Dimensions: 9.6-in Length | Weight: 1-lb. | MOA Adjustment Clicks: ½


  • Durable
  • Throw Down Power Change Lever (PCL)
  • Illuminated Rangefinder Reticle
  • Good Clarity


  • Turrets are tall and do not lock
  • Cannot co-witness
  • Not for long-range

Fall in love with an anodize-finished aluminum alloy, strong seals, and nitrogen filling that make this scope rugged and durable. Even for the roughest users, this scope is rustproof and nearly scratch proof. After the most vicious encounters, drops, slips, and falls, it will always look its best.

My only complaint is that the turrets are tall and do not lock in place. However, the reassuring click tells that they will withstand almost any experience.

Accommodating for both 55 and 62 grain 5.56mm rounds, this caliber-specific reticle will never let you down. While there’s never any doubt in the accuracy, you can’t co-witness on this scope. Although you won’t have your analog backup, the illuminated reticle will always light the way.

Even if you’re quick to the draw, your swiftness is no match for the Throw Down Power Change Lever (PCL). It allows you to adjust your sights quickly without losing the target. Best of all, the illuminated reticle and PCL function at their maximum capacity on an appropriate focal plane.

Is this Scope for you?

If you like to be right in the action, you couldn’t ask for a better scope. Not only will it withstand use and abuse, but continues to deliver top-notch performance through it all. There are only two exceptions – first, this is not a long-range scope; second, the First Focal Plane (FFP) has a small learning curve. However, once you adjust to the speed that the PCL, FFP, and illumination offer, you won’t want anything else.

Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-6x24 Second Focal Plane Riflescope - AR-BDC Reticle (MOA)

Magnification: Variable | Dimensions: 10.5-in Length | Weight: 1.1-lb. | MOA Adjustment Clicks: ¼


  • Ergonomic controls
  • 11 Illumination settings
  • 4-inch eye relief


  • Eye box is tight

The first thing you’ll notice after you attach this slick scope on your AR-15 is the ergonomic feel. Its controls are so easy to manipulate, you won’t have to think twice about your adjustments. Along with the textured bump on the zoom knob, the excellent optics will bolster your confidence.

Believe me, you’ll know when you have them keyed in just right. With 11 illumination settings, you can aim precisely through sun, shade, rain, and dark. Even if the battery runs out, there is storage for an extra battery in the windage cap.

In addition to the illumination is the crisp, clear image thanks to the multi-coat lens and water/fogproof protection. Most people would charge extra for the quality glass in this scope, but for Vortex, it’s a quality standard.

No matter how quickly you adjust your view, the target in your sights will never blur. Even in last minute, hectic moments, you can shoot at 1x with both eyes open. However, in small quarters you will get a slight fish-eye effect at 1x. Despite the circumstances, the fast focus reticle will always hold strong, true, and vivid.

Otherwise, the only other minor complaint is that the eye box is a little tight which the roomy 4-inch eye relief compensates.

Is this Scope for you?

If you like to move quickly and efficiently, you won’t want anything else. Whether your target is up close or out at medium range, they won’t be getting away from this efficient scope. Between its fast action lenses and several illumination settings, there isn’t anything Mother Nature can do to throw you off your game.

Leupold VX-1 3-9x40mm Compact Waterproof Fogproof Riflescope, Matte Black

Magnification: Variable | Dimensions: 12.6-in Length | Weight: 11.2 oz. | MOA Adjustment Clicks: ¼


  • Leupold’s Multicoat-4 Lens
  • Several Reticle Options
  • Lightweight and Compact


  • Lowest option of its model series

I can’t get over my adoration for Leupold. Four generations of family-owned lens technology continues to evolve without outrageous prices. They have something for just about everybody, and this particular scope is best for medium to long-range shots.

Although there’s no illumination, the unique Multicoat-4 Lens delivers the clarity you need for sun, rain, clouds, and dim light. You’ll see this clearly through their LR Duplex reticle, meaning it uses a 200 or 300-yard zero depending on your ammo. Additionally, it offers accurate aiming points up to 600 yards.

If that doesn’t sound appealing, you can install custom reticles yourself. Believe me when I say that Leupold has PLENTY you can pick. You get the quality that comes with the trademark gold ring without sacrificing the details that make it YOUR scope.

No matter where you go, you can depend on it to provide the utmost aiming assistance. Rain, sleet or high humidity will fail to ruin your day thanks to the nitrogen sealing process the scope undergoes. Did you know that Leupold is who made this an industry standard?

Best of all, this is my only compact AR-15 scope, meaning it’s easy to travel with and won’t weigh you down. What else could you ask for?

Is this Scope for you?

Don’t let the low price fool you. In this case, “cheap” does not mean “cheaply made”. Just as I expect from Leupold, you’re getting the best quality you can find for your AR-15. While it doesn’t have the buzzy features more expensive ones do, it performs just as well. Why fight with bells and whistles that compensate for low performance when you can get a simple scope made right?

Nikon 8496 P-223 3×32 BDC

Magnification: Fixed | Dimensions: 8-in Length | Weight: 2-oz | MOA Adjustment Clicks: ½


  • Excellent light transmission and view
  • Works perfect at awkward angles
  • Great Eye Relief


  • Not for long-range shooting

Do you mostly use your rifle for home defense and security? Are you new to using a scope? Either way, this fixed scope is the best place to start. Working at 1x or 3 x, you won’t have to fumble with knobs to get the perfect shot.

It takes away greater risk of human error so you don’t have to overthink your aim. Since protecting your animals from coyotes and foxes requires fast action, you don’t have time for adjustments.

Getting your target in sight is even easier with the fantastic view that Nikon never fails to provide. With their high optical quality, you get more light transmission and an adequate field of vision. Despite the light coverage or weather, you’ll see the BDC reticle clearly and immediately notice its accuracy.

Even in the most hectic situations and awkward angles, the eye relief protects your brow from recoil. Really, the only complaint I have is that the turrets are a little bit large and don’t lock in place. This might be annoying to first-time users, but many find it easy to adapt.

Is this Scope for you?

Although it’s the cheapest of all the scopes here, it does not have variable magnification. If you’re more of a long-range shooter, you’ll require more than its 3x power. On the other hand, it’s perfect for security and close-range target practice. (That’s why I recommended it in my best Mini 14 scope guide). If you want the best scope for AR-15 varmint rifle, look no further than this Nikon classic.

Burris 300177 AR Prism Sight Ballistic Cq Reticle with Free Fastfire III Reflex Red Dot Sight, AR-332, 3x36mm, 3 MOA with Picatinny Mount, Matte BlackMagnification: Fixed | Dimensions: 5.3-in Length | Weight: 15.7-oz | MOA Adjustment Clicks: ½


  • Illuminated Reticle
  • Durable
  • 3 MOA Fastfire 3 sight


  • Heavy
  • Short Eye Relief (2.5-in.)

Are you looking for a compact scope that is specifically designed for the Ar-15. I just found it.

The Burris AR-332 comes with a unique ballistic reticle that is superior at short range, but also really good at longer distances – with a BDC out to 500 yards. Also, the reticle works best with 5.56 or 7.62 ammunition, being the perfect sight for the AR-15!

Did you know this scope comes with a free FastFire III reflex red dot sight? Yep, you read that right. Free.

With the FastFire sight, you will see a dramatic increase in your shooting speed and accuracy. Also, the sight simplifies the act of aiming, eliminating the need to focus and align the front and rear sight.

The scope is made out of steel, so you don’t have to worry about the scope breaking. The body tubes are nitrogen-filled and the O-rings are sealed. In other words, the scope is fogproof and waterproof. What else could you ask for?

Oh yes, the sight is also multi-coated, giving you a clear, sharp view. The Hi-Lume multicoating feature aids in low-light performance and glare elimination, making your shots even more accurate.

The only downside to this scope – beside the weight – is that the mount can come loose after a couple of rounds. Just make sure all the screws and nuts are tight before mounting it.

Otherwise, you’ll get a fully multicoated optic that provides amazing clarity and spot-on accuracy while sparing your pocket!

Is this Scope for you?

If you want a compact scope that that is accurate, reliable, affordable and performs great, then look no further than the Burris AR-332.

All my friends love this scope; some even saying, “This is the best sight on the market.” I couldn’t agree more. Burris optics always delivers. And this scope is no exception.

What’s The Best Scope For AR-15?

Although it was a tough decision, these top picks made the cut as the best scope for AR-15 in their respective purposes. Since we all appreciate different styles of shooting, I found one for every crowd.

Nikon and Burris makes it simple for beginners with their fixed magnification and tech-savvy aiming guide. Even if it’s not your first time on the range, you can appreciate the simplicity it brings to home defense.

Monstrum Tactical and Vortex brings the swiftness and perfect illumination with two different focal planes.

Then last, but definitely not least, Leupold offers consistent quality with endless reticle options for reasonable prices.

As if the AR-15 wasn’t your favorite rifle already, the best scope for AR-15 will make you love it even more.

But if the AR-15 isn’t your favorite rifle, then you probably want to check out my best scope for AR-10 guide. (Psst…The AR-10 can actually shoot better than the AR-15. Please don’t tell the AR-15 fanboys 🙂

Lastly, if you own an M1A, I’ve written up the best M1A scope guide for you. Feel free to check it out if you’re looking to upgrade your tactical rifle.

▷5 ABSOLUTE Best Scopes For AR-15 in 2019 [TESTED!]
5 (100%) 17 vote[s]


You may also like

Leave a Reply

1 Comment threads
1 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
2 Comment authors
Richard DouglasBill Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of

You left out an obvious choice for the AR-15/10: An ACOG TA31 with ACSS Reticle. If one of the main reasons for having an AR-15/10 is to “protect” the homeland from “all enemies, foreign and domestic) then speed, accuracy, reliability and durability are critical. The ACOG is battle tested and it just works. Essentially it automatically ranges and calculates bullet drop, wind correction and target lead…all without the shooter really having to think about it once some experience is gained. Yep, it’s expensive but what’s your life, or the lives of your family worth?