Top 5 Best Cheap AR 15 Scope 2018 Reviews - Rifles HQ

Top 5 AR15 Optics On A Budget Reviewed

  • March 6, 2018

ar 15 with scope laying on the ground

Having the best budget AR scope goes a long way in putting things right on the field. As a hunter, law enforcer or a tactical shooter, one of the greatest things to crave for is to have a perfect shot. Achieving this requires more than just having a gun. You need a focus gadget to help you aim at your target perfectly. That’s where the scope comes into play.

The market is flooded with different options for the best optics for AR 15 on a budget and this can be somewhat daunting to pick the best out of them all.

In this article, we shall be looking at different types of scopes and a broad idea of what a scope entails. The most vital point to note about a scope is the condition in which it will be used. If you are considering to use it in a wet area, then you need to have one that is water resistant and fog proof.

We shall be carrying out a detailed review on the best budget AR 15 scope so you can decide which is best for you – the purpose you need it for and the type of environment you want to use it. But before looking at the best budget scope for AR 15, let us look at the things that make up a good scope.

Factors to Look for When Buying Affordable AR 15 Optics 

Before going to the market to buy a scope for your rifle, you need to equip yourself with some useful information in order to make the right choice. Below are some factors to look out for:


This is the most important factor to consider when buying a scope. Different scopes come with a different magnification, and this feature determines how well you can focus on a target. If you intend to shoot at long distance, it is best for you to choose a scope with high magnification. But for short distance firing, you may not necessarily need a high magnification scope. In most cases, a low magnification scope delivers a clearer image than the high ones.

You also have to look at the lens and the light allowance it has. Some lens are coated with emerald, which helps to improve visibility in low light conditions and also boost the clarity of the field of view even at higher magnification. For hunters, a magnification of around 9X32 will be great for you.


Reticle come in various types so you must make sure the one you go for meets the purpose which you need your rifle for. The best type of reticle for AR 15 is one that its brightness and color can be adjusted to allow you use it in any lighting condition. Most users prefer reticles that allow what is known as “gradual distance reticle.” This implies that the reticle has a hash mark for different distances and you can easily choose a mark that matches the distance to your target.

The design

Virtually all AR 15 rifles are specially made to be lightweight and compact. Due to this reason, it is best for you to choose a scope that is lightweight and compact as well.

Aside from these features, another important thing to look out for is durability. AR 15 scopes are designed for tactical or defensive use and must be durable and rugged enough to withstand both minor impacts as well as major impacts.

The recoil should also be looked at. This is an effect that arises from rapid or repeated firing of your AR 15. The best AR 15 budget scope maintain its zero even at rapid or repeated firing. So your scope should be made from high-grade materials and should have top-notch construction.


This is the last factor on our list but certainly not the least to consider. As a matter of fact, since the aim of this whole thing is to get the best cheap AR scope, the price must be considered. Scopes come with different price tags, depending on the specifications they carry.

You can get a quality one at a reasonable price. This is not to say that the high-end scopes are not needed. In fact, they function perfectly when compared to other cheaper ones.

Reviews: Top Affordable Products To Buy in 2018

Nikon BDC M-223 600 3-12X42SF RifleScope

nikon model

Nikon has been in the weapon accessory industry for quite some years now and they are known for producing high-quality products. The Nikon M-223 riflescope has a reticle hash that ranges from 100 to 600 yards making it perfect for long distance shooting. It also comes with an amazingly wider field of view that you hardly find in other scopes.

The field of view helps you to shoot easily on moving targets. This scope is made of aircraft aluminum which makes it durable yet not heavy. Nikon M-223 is well-built and the lenses are sealed making it waterproof and fog proof. Another good thing about this scope is that it can easily be mounted on virtually all rifles making it versatile. To make things even better, Nikon BDC M-223 riflescope comes with a lifetime warranty that makes it worth buying.


  • It is made of high-grade material
  • The hash on the reticle makes it perfect for long distance shooting
  • It is rugged and durable
  • It comes with a lifetime warranty
  • Has a wider field of view


  • Image not very clear for long distance

Bushnell Optics Illuminated FFP BTR-1 BDC Riflescope with Reticle-223

It will be incomplete not to mention Bushnell when talking about the best cheap scope for Ar 15. The Bushnell Optics BTR-1 BDC riflescope offers amazing viewing at farther distances, having a wide field of view of up to 500 yards. Even in low light conditions, it offers a crisp view.

One of the unique things about this scope is its Throw Down PCL which allows shooters to change from a particular field of view quickly. The scope is tightly sealed to reduce the amount of moisture coming into the lens. Though not fog proof and waterproof, the scope has ample customization options.

Another great feature is the Target Turrets. It allows you to adjust quickly to aim at your targets. This particular Bushnell scope offers a quick mount to AR 15 making it a nice option for a shooter who wishes to switch from open sight to a scope shooting experience quickly.


  • Optics are fully multi-coated
  • Made of high-quality aluminum alloy with anodized finish
  • It produces very bright and clear images
  • It has a good reticle
  • The magnification is very much okay
  • It is relatively cheap


  • It is a bit heavy
  • It is not 100% waterproof and fog proof

Leupold VX-R 113769 Patrol Firedot Illuminated Riflescope

When it comes to scope making, the three names that top the chart are Bushnell, Nikon, and Leupold (in no particular order though). The Leupold VX-R FireDot riflescope is one that is highly recommended for hunters and other tactical shooters.

It is made of highly durable materials of polymer and aluminum and it is rugged enough to withstand harsh weather conditions. If you are a short range shooter, look no further for any scope because this one is perfect for you.

The FireDot feature makes it easy to shoot in low light condition. It has elevation adjustment travel and unparalleled windage. The exterior lenses are diamond coated for abrasion resistance. 


  • Has a quick target acquisition
  • Images are super clear
  • It is an American scope
  • The price is worth the value
  • It made of great materials


  • VX-R fireDot can be improved

UTG 30mm 3-12X44 Compact Scope

The last on our list of best cheap AR 15 scope is the UTG 3-12X44 scope. It is a tactical scope that is loaded with lots of features. It comes with a full 36-color Tap reticle that offers clearer and brighter images. It is built from durable and strong materials that are rugged enough to withstand both minor and major impacts.

The optics is nitrogen filled and well-sealed which makes it rainproof, shockproof and fog proof. The lenses are multi-coated with emerald and it is well-housed to withstand heavy recoil. With a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty, you can be assured of landing a quality scope if you go for UTG 30mm 3-12X44 compact scope.


  • It has a beautiful design
  • Great for the price
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty
  • Images are clear


  • It is quite difficult to zero
  • Materials used for making can be improved


This is our list of the best AR 15 optics on a budget to buy on the marketplace. Choosing any of the products above will serve you better. But remember that what you want to use the scope for has a huge impact on the one to buy. Just make your choice from the above list and I believe it will be a great buy for you.

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