We have tested many scopes on different rifles to shoot targets up to 25 - 600+ yards. These include prism sights, red dot magnifiers, low power variable optics and magnified scopes.

Here are the 7 best scopes for AR 15 recommended based on reticle designs, eye relief, magnification, low light performance and price. 

Best Scopes For AR 15

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Primary Arms 1-6X SLX ACSS Raptor - Best Illuminated Reticle

best scope for ar 15

After trying a bunch of scopes, the Primary Arms 1-6X scope with good light transmission performance and reticle capability to be considered to be one of the best AR 15 scopes.

The ACSS reticle is the best. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the glass. Although it can be a bit challenging at 6x, it's not an issue for me because I tend to slow down when using full magnification.

Affordable Scope For 1-6X - While other first focal plane scope in the 1-6X category that cost over $1000, the Primary Arms is the best affordable 1-6X option for anyone starting new or experienced.

Crisp Sight Picture - The lenses are fully multi-coated, providing a clear and sharp sight picture at both 1X and 6X, even in low light conditions during dusk and dawn.


ACSS Raptor Glass Etched Reticle - This reticle is calibrated for 5.56 BDC and includes a vertical auto-ranging scale for quick estimation of target size, distance, and moving target holdover to ensure accurate hits.

Capped Tactical Turret -  After zeroing, the elevation and windage turrets are shielded to prevent unintentional adjustments. To make adjustments, simply remove the caps and use the turrets without needing any tools.

  • Magnification: 1-6X
  • Objective Lens: 24mm
  • Focal Plane: Second Focal Plane
  • Tube Size: 30mm
  • Reticle Type: ACSS
  • Turret : 0.5 / click
  • Length: 10.0 inches
  • Weight: 16.9 oz

EOTech Vudu 1-10X28 SR5 - Best CQB Optimized LPVO

EOTech Vudu 1-10x28mm Rifle Scope, 34mm Tube, First Focal Plane (FFP), Color: Black, Tube Diameter: 34 mm, Up to $100.00 Off w/ Free S&H — 3 models

EOTech's Vudu 1-10x28mm riflescope combines durability and precision in one high-performance optic! It boasts a one-piece, aircraft-grade aluminum tube for superior strength and shock resistance. The lenses are made of XC High-Density glass with multi-coatings, ensuring excellent light transmission and clarity from edge to edge.

One standout feature of the Vudu 1-10x28mm is the advanced SR-5 reticle. This reticle consists of a precise 0.25 MRAD illuminated dot at the center of an illuminated circle. It sits atop a "Christmas tree" pattern of holdover points and includes horizontal and vertical stadia lines with multiple hash marks. This entire setup is in the center of EOTech's exclusive Speed Ring.

The Vudu's elevation turret is exposed, making field adjustments easy, and it employs a unique push-pull locking mechanism to prevent accidental changes. When you make adjustments, the turrets produce an audible and tactile "click" to help you make precise point-of-impact corrections.

Robust 34mm Tube - Constructed with aerospace grade aluminum with anodized finish for field use

First Focal - The reticle subtension is true for all magnification ranges for range and target size estimation

Clear Glass Image - The scope uses XC high density glass for exceptional edge to edge image clarity

Everything Standard Is Built In - Zero turret index, quick magnification change lever, adjustable eye piece and more


  • Magnification: 1-10X variable power
  • Objective Lens: 24mm
  • Focal Plane: First Focal
  • Tube Size: 34mm
  • Reticle Type: SR5 MRAD
  • Turret : 0.25 / click
  • Length: 10.63 inches
  • Weight: 21.3 oz

Trijicon ACOG 3.5 X 35 - Best Durability

usmc hk416 with acog 3.5x

The Trijicon ACOG scope, offering a 3.5X magnification, stands out as the top prism magnified optic. It's the standard-issue choice for the US military, known for its robust construction, capable of enduring battle conditions while preserving precise aiming.

What makes it even more appealing is its improved eye relief compared to the 4X model. The fixed 3.5X magnification provides greater eye relief distance, allowing for a better cheek position when aiming.

Trijicon ACOG Reticle styles basics

The Trijicon ACOG offers a variety of glass-etched reticle options, with many featuring a bullet drop compensator calibrated for 5.56mm NATO, ensuring accuracy at both medium and long ranges.

Even in low-light conditions, the ACOG remains reliable for aiming thanks to its fiber optics, which illuminate the reticle, as long as it's not completely dark.

Additionally, Trijicon's Bindon Aiming Concept enables aiming with both eyes open, facilitating rapid target acquisition at medium range and providing a broader situational awareness.

  • Magnification: 3.5X
  • Objective Lens: 35mm
  • Eye Relief: 2.39"
  • Reticle Type: TA11 BDC
  • Turret : 0.33 MOA / Click
  • Length: 8 inches
  • Weight: 14 oz

Vortex Gen 2 Spitfire 5X - Best Compact Size

Prism sight is the best for shooters with astigmatism because the reticle is etched on the glass instead of looking at a red dot mirrored on the front lens. You will appreciate everything about this optic – the lightweight design, the reticle, the option to attach a red dot, the warranty, and the appearance as well. The unit is robust and assures the capability to endure hunting in various weather conditions.

However, there's a significant drawback with this 5x prism scope: it offers 1 MOA adjustments. Some users would agreed and wish that Vortex releases a Gen III version with half MOA adjustments.

Piggyback A Red Dot - Add a 1X red dot on top of the scope to transition from magnified view to 1X. Only available for the 5X model.

Big Eye Box - Get behind the sight fast with a lot of room to shift the eye inside the eye box without seeing scope shadow

Recessed MOA Turrets - Elevation and windage adjustments are recessed so nothing will accidently turn it in the field

650 Yards Enabled - Shoot up to 650 yards with holdover points at 5X magnification using illuminated reticle (AR-BDC4) with 5.56 calibrated wind dot.

Use Aimpoint Micro Mounts - Use any aftermarket Aimpoint Micro mounts you like with various height options


  • Magnification: 5X
  • Objective Lens: 25mm
  • Eye Relief: 2.7"
  • Reticle Type: AR BDC 4
  • Turret : 1 MOA / Click
  • Length: 3.6 inches
  • Weight: 10.3 oz

Vortex Micro 3X Magnifier - Best For Red Dot Sight

best scope for ar15

The Vortex Micro 3x Magnifier enhances your red dot or holographic sight with advanced 3x magnification, all in an incredibly compact, lightweight, and optically clear package. The V3XM weighs just 6.9 oz and 9.55 oz when including the mount.

With anti-reflective coatings on all air-to-glass surfaces, it boosts light transmission, improving clarity and performance in low-light conditions. The V3XM offers a broader field of view, improved eye relief, a brighter image, and more accurate color representation.

Fast Sight Transition - Fast target acquisition and PID with a red dot for short range and medium range shooting

Durable - This magnifier is built to withstand shocks and has been nitrogen-purged for dependable water and fogproof performance in challenging field conditions.

Better Target ID - The V3XM offers a broader field of view, improved eye relief, a brighter image, and more accurate color representation.

Better Zero - Zero 1 or 2 MOA size red dot reticle to a greater degree precision +/- 0.2 MOA on 3X than 1X.

Quick Detach - Its integrated quick-release mount allows for swift attachment and detachment from your rail, while a patented camlock design ensures easy engagement and disengagement of the magnifier with direct pressure. The adjustable flip mount caters to both right and left-handed users.

Read Detailed Review Here

Vortex Gen 3 Razor 1-10X FFP - Best 1st Focal Plane Scope

best ar scope

The RAZOR HD Gen 3 1-10X is considered the top low-power variable optic for AR15 rifles. It effectively combines the capabilities of close-quarters combat (CQB) and long-range scopes, making it an extremely versatile choice.

While a 1-8X scope is a consideration, the 1-10X is regarded as a superior low-power variable optic option for all types of AR15 rifles.

Superior Glass Quality - It uses Vortex's top quality glass material to have the clearest rifle scope image for long range PID and target acquisition

Long Range Capable - 10X sight picture bridges the gap between a mid-range LPVO with a long-range precision FFP scope without compromising size, clarity or field of view.

Moving Target Hold - Get lead on moving target accurately with dotted moving target holds without any guess work 

Fast 1X Target Acquisition - 3 inward arrows quickly draws the eye quickly to the illuminated center reticle for CQB and medium range shooting. 

vortex razor 1-10x lpvo at 1x engaging targets

Range Target Accurately - Accurate estimate of the target holdover and windage corrections simply by superimpose the hashmarked ranging subtension lines on the target.

Range Target At Any Magnification Power - It's a 1st focal plane reticle is designed for long range shooting. The reticle subtension is accurate relative to magnification power

Warranty - You break it, Vortex will replace this high quality scope at no cost with a lifetime, unconditional warranty. Even if it is not a original purchase.


  • Magnification: 1-10X variable power
  • Objective Lens: 24mm
  • Focal Plane: First Focal
  • Tube Size: 34mm
  • Reticle Type: EBR 9
  • Turret : 0.25 / click
  • Length: 10.1 inches
  • Weight: 21.5 oz

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ELCAN SPECTDR 1-4X - Fastest Magnification Change

best ar scope

After seeing many spec ops veterans in the shooting community talking about the ELCAN Specter 1-4X, I decided to get one and see for myself. The standout features of this optic is to quickly switch from 1X to 4X without stopping at 2X or 3X, which shooters rarely use. Just flip the magnification lever like a switch for immediate adjustment.

Built Like A Tank - Raytheon Technology built the ELCAN for battle rifles as tough as their aerospace defense weapon systems to win conventional wars for the warfighters.

ELCAN 4X 7.62 DFOV14-T2 reticle

Clear Glass & Spacious Sight Picture - No tunnel vision effect! The generous field of view at 4X ensures excellent light transmission, and when you look through it, the sight picture feels exceptionally expansive.

BDC Reticle - The illuminated reticle is precisely calibrated for the NATO 5.56 cartridge, offering effective targeting at distances of up to 1000 yards. It also features a glass-etched fast-ranging scale, allowing you to estimate target distance without needing to leave the scope.

Compact and Versatile - At 1X, it functions like a red dot sight, and when you switch to the 4X magnification, it excels at medium-range shooting, much like a low-power variable optic.


  • Magnification: 1-4X
  • Objective Lens: 32mm
  • Eye Relief: 2.75"
  • Reticle Type: 5.56 BDC
  • Turret : 0.5/ Click
  • Length: 6.02 inches
  • Weight: 23.2 oz

AR15 Scopes Buyer Guide FAQ

Reticle Design: A well-chosen reticle is key to both accurate and quick aiming. Busy reticles, like the H59, are top-notch for precision, but they're not always a must-have. Sometimes, a simpler reticle does the job perfectly. It gives you a clear view for aiming, judging distance, and spotting your target.

Eye Relief: This is the space between your eye and the scope's rear lens. For a comfy shooting stance, aim for an eye relief of about 3.2 to 4 inches. Shorter distances might not be as comfortable.

vortex micro 3x on mk18 with aimpoint micro h1

Magnification: Picking the right magnification helps with spotting your target and precise shooting at different ranges. You don't always need super high magnification, like 25X, unless you're doing specific target spotting. Up to 10X magnification usually covers what you need.

Turret: For precision scopes, finer adjustments are better. Look for adjustments of about 0.25 MOA per click. Turrets that you can easily adjust by hand are a plus. Also, being able to reset to zero quickly is a handy feature. Scopes without these might not meet your needs as well.

Focal Plane: For shooting over 200 yards, go for a first focal plane reticle. It keeps your measurement marks accurate at any zoom level. But for closer, up to mid-range shooting, a second focal plane reticle could be better.

ELCAN dual role weapon sight scope shadow

Low Light Performance: Good performance in low light can make a big difference. An illuminated reticle helps, but it's not the only thing that matters for seeing well in dim conditions.

Price: Price isn't always the best quality indicator. Focus on finding a scope with the features that matter most to you, then think about other things like cost.

Can A High Magnification Scope Used For Close Range Shooting?

It's usually not a good idea to use a high-magnification scope for close-range shooting. If you're using an AR15 for close-up shots, a red dot sight is a much better choice.

ELCAN and ACOG special operation

This kind of sight helps you aim quickly and accurately at short distances, which is exactly what you need in close-range scenarios. High magnification scopes are more suited for long-distance shooting, where you need to see far-off targets more clearly.