Top 4 Best AR 15 Scope Under $200 – Reviews and Optics Guide 2018

Top 4 Best AR 15 Scope Under $200

Having a high-end AR-15 rifle doesn't necessarily mean you will get the best of your shots. To get the best shooting chance and have an accurate aim at your targets, you need the top-notch accompanying accessories too. This is where the AR-15 scopes come in.

Without a proper scope, you are very likely to come up short. This is why you should invest in the best AR-15 scope. However, many people can't afford a top-of-the-line costly scope. This article is specially written for those people with the aim to help them find the best AR 15 scope under $200.

Top 4 AR-15 Scopes Under $200

We've conducted thorough research and single out four best AR-15 scopes that can do a great job for you. Here they are!

1. Nikon 8496 P-223 3x32 Matte BDC Carbine

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Designed as a 32mm one-inch tube with a 10.7mm exit pupil, this objective lens from Nikon provides a view of 35.6ft for 100 yards and delivers perfectly clear images. The multicoated optical features a 3X magnification and it can absorb 98 percent of the ambient light. Eye relief is extremely bright, so looking through this scope is very comfortable. That makes it a perfect choice for low light conditions.

Turrets have a tactical style with a hand-turned design. Once you have your target in sight, it will zero out swiftly, allowing you to quickly acquire a target. The overall length of the scope is 8.1 inches and it weighs 12.2 ounces only.


  • Bright and clear eye relief

  • 98% light absorption

  • 6ft field of view for a distance of 100 yards

  • Easy to zero turret

  • Lightweight


  • Not suitable for long shots

  • The turret is somewhat large

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2. Bushnell Optics Drop Zone-223 BDC Reticle Riflescope

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Featuring a 24-millimeter objective lens and weighing about 17 ounces, this 9.5-inch reticle riflescope is very compact and lightweight, thereby a great choice for a carabine because of its weight and size. With a large silver sticker and matte-black finish, this scope will attract your attention for sure.

The turrets are really awesome and you can easily adjust them with fingertips. It's both tactile and audible, providing an excellent feedback. When you sight in, the turret can zero out almost instantly, so the process is quite simple and quick compared to other Ar-15 scopes out there.


  • HD clarity optics
  • Excellent brightness
  • Easy to adjust turrets
  • Compact and lightweight
  • High-quality materials


  • Not rain-guarded
  • No parallax correction
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3. Leupold VX-1 3-9x40mm Compact Waterproof Fogproof Riflescope

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This Leupold scope is a unique mixture of new technologies and existing features. As a result, you get a superior mid-range scope that is particularly favorable for scouting targets and big game hunting. It’s a great value for money indeed since it delivers exceptional features without giving away anything from its look so that you'll feel it's a top-end premium scope.

Thanks to the Quantum Optical System and multicoated optics, you will enjoy crystal-clear images with up to 92% of light transmission.  Easily adjustable 1/4 MOA clicks can be easily rotated. Another thing you will appreciate is a low-profile lockable ring that comes with a classy eyepiece.


  • Perfect for hunters
  • Suited for long distance shots
  • LR Durable reticle
  • Fully recoiled proof
  • Waterproof


  • No complex ballistic reticle
  • No mil dots
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4. Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12x40 Second Focal Plane Riflescope

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The Vortex Diamondback line of scopes a big step forward for this brand. If you are one of those people who doesn't seek exposed turrets, chances are this riflescope is going to suit you really well. It is suitable for varmint hunting, paper punching, and slapping steel.

With this product, you'll get a nice BDC reticle with covered turrets. The build and glass quality is truly outstanding. We especially like how the reticle is incorporated on this scope, as it can be used for wind holds with great success.

All in all, this is a great option for people who want to spend under 200 bucks on the rifle scope. We found it definitely worth the upgrade.


  • Dead-Hold BDC reticle
  • Solid one-piece tube
  • Easy elevation and windage adjustments
  • Great for wind holds
  • Very clear


  • Almost unusable at higher magnifications
  • Poor eye relief
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Optics Buying Guide

We've also made a brief optics guide to point out to the essential factors and key features you should consider before purchasing a scope for your gun.

Optical Power

The first thing you should determine when purchasing a new AR-15 scope is which distances you're going to shoot at. For example, if most of your targets will be located within 500 yd, it doesn't make sense to put on a 12x rifle scope.

Anyway, your optic is supposed to provide clear images and good performance. That means the scope must be multi-coated to transmit a lot of light even when used in low light conditions.


As its name suggests, the scope magnification is a feature that determines how far you'll see through it, i.e. how magnified the images will be. Most budget-friendly riflescopes have a maximum range of 500 yards. Keep in mind that long shots need higher magnification in order to provide clear images. Go for the scopes with magnifying power that allows you to shoot from max possible distance with best possible experience.


With the use of a tiny spot, the reticle enables a shooter to make more accurate shots. A good reticle is the one that lets you follow moving targets and aim without much effort. This is particularly important for hunting where the game moves quickly so that you need to swiftly adapt to a new situation.

Eye Relief

As you may already know, eye relief is the distance between your eye and the eyepiece of the scope. Most Ar-15 scopes come with an eye relief anywhere from 2 to 4 inches for a safety purpose. That’s because all guns tend to recoil when shooting and may injure you if you're aiming very close to your scope. You need to choose an eye relief that gives you the optimal distance in accordance with your shooting style.

Adjustable Knobs

When buying the best Ar-15 scope, you want one that is equipped with easily adjustable knobs. In particular, make sure the turret can be adjusted with ease in order to properly zero in while aiming. Also, the knobs should have an ideal size — not too big and not too small — for hassle-free adjustment.

Wrapping Up

Selecting the right AR-15 scope could be a little tricky as there are a lot of factors to take into consideration and a plethora of options to choose from. However, with these guidelines and top models reviewed above, you're more likely to choose the scope for your rifle that works best for you.