There are many scopes out there, and here are the 6 best scope for AR-15 under $500 based on field report, eye relief, magnification and low light performance.

Let's check them out.

Best AR Scope Under $500

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Primary Arms SLX 3X Prism - Best 3X Prism

primary arms slx 3x micro

Why Use A Prism Scope? The best part about the PA 3X prism is its short compact size and its reticle clarity. It works well for people with astigmatism like a ACOG scope but cheaper. In addition, no battery is required to power this thing.

Glass Etched Reticle Clarity - Illuminated reticle works well for shooters with astigmatism 

acss lead reticle

ACSS Reticle - It features the famous ACSS reticle for pinpoint accurate aiming as well as lead calculation for moving targets

Various Height - Different height mounts included 

Fine Turret Adjustment - 0.25 MOA/Click, that's 50% more refined adjustment than other products

AutoLive - Motion sensor activates reticle illumination under low light if needed

NV Compatible - This optic has 3 different NV-compatible settings

  • Magnification: 3X
  • Objective Lens: 24mm
  • Reticle Type: ACSS Raptor
  • Eye Relief: 2.7"
  • Turret : 0.25 / click
  • Weight: 9.95 oz

See more Prism optics here

Athlon Optics Argo 6-24X50 FFP - Best Long Range Option On A Budget

Athlon Optics Argos BTR Gen II Riflescope, 6-24x50mm, 30mm Tube, First Focal Plane, APLR2 FFP IR MOA Reticle, Matte Black, 214062

Athlon Optics along with Vortex Crossfire rifle scopes are excellent under $500 rifle scopes for AR15 with good quality. The ARGOS BTR 6-24X50 are voted the top choices by many shooters for beginner budget.

FFP For A Good Price - Reticle scale stays relative to magnification power for accurate ranging and wind correction

Solid Build - Heat treated single tube construction with shockproof and waterproof performance

0.25 MOA/Click - Fine turret adjustment for zeroing


APLR2 FFP IR MOA - This reticle features holdover reference point for wind correction and moving target with 1 MOA subtension

Zero Stop Turret - Zero index point makes resetting the turret so much easier without getting lost in the turret rotations

MIL or MOA - Pick between MIL or MOA reticle system based on user preference

Shoot Up to 500 Yards - 6X enables 500 yards shot on the lowest power setting. 24X enables better target identification

  • Magnification: 6-24X
  • Objective Lens: 50mm
  • Tube Size: 30mm (Get mounts here)
  • Reticle Type: APLR2 FFP IR MOA
  • Focal Plane: FFP
  • Eye Relief: 3.3"
  • Turret : 0.25 MOA / click
  • Weight: 30.3 oz
ar15 with primary arms slx 1-6x acss

Why Use This Scope? - As optics technology has significantly improved. While you can spend a money on a 1-4X in the past, you can get a very high quality Primary Arms 1-6X scope with more magnification and capability today.

1-6X Magnification Range - The Primary Arms is the best affordable 1-6X option for anyone starting new or experienced.

Crisp Sight Picture - Great light transmission & lens coating provide clear image even under dusk and dawn lighting condition.


ACSS Raptor Reticle - Calibrated 5.56 BDC reticle combined with vertical auto ranging scale to quickly estimate known target size distance & moving target holdover to hit targets accurately

Capped Tactical Turret - Once zeroed the elevation and windage turrets are protected from unexpected adjustments. To adjust - remove caps and dial turrets without any tool.

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

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Primary Arms

Vortex Viper PST 1-4X24 TMCQ - Best For Beginner

Vortex VIPER PST Gen 2 1-4x24

Why we picked this one - The Vortex Viper PST 1-4X24 is a quality optic that has been around for a long time, and it's one of the best entry-level 1-4X SFP rifle scope without a big price tag. 

Entry To LPVO - Before you get into a true 1-6X or 1-10X LPVO. This 1-4X will teach you many things about shooting without getting too expensive

Fast Dail Tactical Turrets - The user can re-zero the scope with set the return to zero index to prevent getting lost in the turret turns

TMCQ vortex viper PST 1-4x reticle

Illuminated TMCQ reticle - The TMCQ MOA reticle is optimized for close-up and mid-range shooting for effectively range estimation, holdovers and moving target leads.

  • Magnification: 1-4X
  • Objective Lens: 24mm
  • Tube Size: 30mm
  • Eye Relief: 4"
  • Reticle Type: TMCQ MOA
  • Turret : 0.5 MOA / Click
  • Length: 9.7 inches
  • Weight: 16 oz

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Vortex Gen 2 Spitfire 5X - Best Compact Size

Why Buy the New Spitfire Gen 2? - The Spitfire Gen 2 is a brand new 2021 model hybrid sight between a red dot sight and a magnified prism sight in a compact package. No magnifier needed.

Compact Size - Much lighter, compact, and snag-free than the original Spitfire 3X prism sight with very clear sight picture quality

Piggyback A Red Dot - Add a 1X red dot on top of the scope to transition from magnified view to 1X sight picture. 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

650 Yards Enabled - Shoot up to 650 yards with holdover points at 5X magnification using illuminated AR-BDC4 reticle 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 - Extend Red Dot Range To 3X

trijicon rmr with vortex micro 3x

Why Use The Vortex Micro 3X? - Turn a 1X power red dot or holographic sight into a 3X mid-range optic without any mod.

Fast Sight Transition - Transition between 1X and 3X in no time! 

Better Target ID - Just flip the 3X magnifier right in front of the red dot for long-distance target ID and aim.

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 - Remove the magnifier off the top receiver at any time without tool or affecting the red dot setup

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