Best AR 15 Scope Under 200 Dollars In 2018: Budget Optics for Hunting
Nowadays there’s no shortage of Best AR 15 Scope under 200 dollars in the market. You can choose from a number of models, but most of them belong to companies that are unknown and do not have the confidence of shooters. If your goal is to acquire a good aim, then it’s better to trust the choice of professionals.
With all of the scopes that are available for purchase, it can be hard to find the right one for you. There are some renowned manufacturers, who introduce many new technologies and improvements to their sights. They use inexpensive materials, which allows these models to become the most appropriate requirements. Based on our knowledge and experience, we have selected the best budget scopes for AR 15 for you to look at and consider for your application.
Why Pick A Scope for AR 15 at under $200?
While you can afford a more expensive option then why do you buy for $200 or less?
In some types of situations an overpriced ar 15 scope, is just a waste of valuable money. It is not the wisest decision for a beginner or an irregular shooter, to buy a sight that cost high.
If your shooting range is not more than 500-600 yards then why do you go for a scope that cost hundreds or thousands of dollars? The budget scopes may not be capable of targeting at thousand yards way as their more expensive counterparts. But with $200 or less, some riflescope has quality optics to shoot precisely at short to mid-range.
Advantages of A Good Rifle Scope During Hunting
- Precise and accurate view of the target. There will be a significant difference in sighting with and without using scopes.
- Increase the range of AR 15 rifle. You will see the target closer than exact position
- It will assist you to keep focus on any small rushing games like varmint or squirrel
- As you use the rifle scope, you will be able to score much.
- It will boost your self-confidence. A proper scope play vital role to shoot the target more often correctly.
- You can save Bullets. Since a scope increases the accuracy, fewer bullets will be spent for more game.
- While hunting big game, it is not necessary to come closer to the target, and you are safe from any dangerous situation
7 Best AR 15 Scope Under 200: Best for The Money
There are many Riflescope on the market and in particular, from many reputable manufacturers and therefore, choosing the best one is an arduous task, at least for the beginner. Our Team of experts has tested and selected the quality AR Optics out of hundreds of Models.
|Nikon P-223 3×32 Matte BDC||N/A||12.2 oz|
|UTG 30mm SWAT 3-12X44||3x-12x||23.2 oz|
|Nikon P-223 3-9×40 Mate BDC 600||3x-9x||17.1 oz|
|Nikon P-223 4-12×40 BDC 600 Riflescope||4x-12x||17.5 oz|
|Bushnell AR Optics FFP Illuminated BTR||1x-4x||17.3 oz|
Honestly, all of the Scope listed above are excellent choices; We can tell you with authority that if you want to buy the best AR 15 scopes at sub-$200 price available today, these are the ones to obtain. Before buying a scope please have a look at the AR 15 scope Reviews
1. Nikon P-223 3×32 Matte BDC Carbine – Best Fixed Power AR 15 Scope Under $200
The Nikon P-223 3×32 has been designed specifically for AR-15 rifles which use 5.56/.223 rounds and performs excellently in either a tactical or hunting role. This is one of the most sought-after AR-15 scopes to hunter and shooter.
It is a fixed 3x magnification scope, which has an enormous field of view (35’ 6” at 100 yards), compared to scopes which have additional magnification.
The benefit of having a wider field of view is that target acquisition is much faster. Therefore, if the majority of your shooting is less than 300 yards, then this scope should be sufficient.
When purchasing the scope new, it’ll come well packaged in a clam-shell casing, with a cardboard back. It comes with two lens caps and a lens cloth, to make sure that it’s kept clean. Although these lens caps will do the job just fine, a lot of people usually replace this with flip up caps. Not only are these easier to use, but you won’t make the mistake of accidentally losing or breaking them. The lens cloth is adequate and should be kept.
As this scope is calibrated for 200 yards, and the magnification is fixed, it will limit its effectiveness at longer ranges. As it has been designed for medium range tactical, hunting and competitive use, it fills this role satisfactorily.
This scope is equipped with a bullet drop compensator, or BDC, which is already calibrated for .223/5.56 rounds. It gives the shooter additional guidance on where to aim, at different ranges, without having to alter or touch the scope.
The scope reticle has two special markings below the central crosshair point, and these will be used to help your aim the further you are away from your target. You will likely have to adjust your point of aim after seeing the fall of shot a few times, but once you get used to this scope, or have a rangefinder, you’ll be hitting targets first go.
Another excellent feature that this scope has, due to its price, are the tactical style knobs on the side. By simply twisting once till you hear a click, you can change 1/4 MOA with ease.
One of the downsides to using this style of scope is, the inability to use the backup iron sights. It, of course, isn’t a problem for most, but it may hinder a few. However, to get around this, mounting a backup site on the handrail may be worth looking into.
If you are looking for a compact scope with a high level of performance on a rifle which has a barrel length of less than 18″, then this could be the scope for you. Nikon also has a lifetime warranty with all of their scopes, should something fail or break.
- Fantastic quality for the price
- Excellent clarity
- A large field of view
- Quick target acquisition
- Fog and waterproof
- Low magnification doesn’t allow it to be used for extremely long distances
- Only usable for AR-15 rifles
- No access to iron sights
2. Bushnell AR Optics FFP Illuminated BTR – Top 1-4x AR 15 Scope under 200
Bushnell is a common and familiar name in the word of scopes and optics. They make everything from rangefinders and binoculars, to spotting scopes and optics. Tactical scopes are becoming more and more popular in the last few years, whether they’re used for their primary purpose, or used for hunting and sport.
The scope stands out due to it being a 1-4x magnification illuminated scope. If you read all the reviews , you’ll know that, it is a significantly shorter range than most sights. Being able to quickly adjust from a red dot 1x sight to a 4x scope capable of hitting over 500 yards accurately, is why this scope has the popularity that it has.
This Bushnell scope has a 24mm lens and is capable of 1x or 4x magnification. It also has a BDC reticle that is illuminated and is still able to be used in the day. The BTR-1 has been designed for both 55gr and 62gr 5.55 rounds which mean you won’t need to re-zero if you’re changing ammunition types.
The throwdown PCL allows you to adjust your scope power without having to take your eye off of the target. The field of view for this scope is initially calibrated at 110/33 at 1x magnification and 36/11 when magnified by 4x.
The sealed O-ring on this scope keeps out all the dust and moisture that could potentially damage it. It’s waterproof and incredibly durable. The 30mm tube should accommodate most of the standard O-rings on the market.
The reticle, amazingly, sits initially on the first focal plane. It means that it scales with the power that you set on the scope. As you increase the power, the scope will reveal the BDC.
This scope is perfect for someone who is looking for a cheaper 1-4x magnification sight but doesn’t want to skimp on the quality. Cheap doesn’t mean cheaply made. The construction of this scope is very reliable and robust.
It isn’t possible to co-witness this scope, and you’ll need to get at least medium height O-rings. It is possible to install 45-degree iron sights if you feel like you require them, but as it’s a 1x optic as standard, they’re probably not needed.
- The scope doesn’t weigh a lot, so is easy to carry around and won’t make your rifle heavy
- Great eye relief and multi-coated optics allow for maximum light and maximum sight picture
- Completely waterproof, rather than being water resistant
- The throwdown PCL lever allows for rapid power adjustments
- Although not a massive con, this scope doesn’t come with a cleaning lens
- This scope doesn’t come with a mount, so extra care and research will be required to install this optic efficiently
- Is not suitable for longer barreled rifles, as well as those wishing to hit targets at extremely long ranges
- After having the illumination on for long periods of time, it’s been reported that the optic coloring can go a little off
Here we have the P-223 3-9×40, a reasonably priced scope which has professional-grade features. It is yet another scope which has the BDC reticle, which all Nikon scopes of this caliber have. This reticle allows easier distance theorycrafting at between 100 and 600 yards. This scope is suitable for hunters, as well as marksmen, looking to snatch the perfect long-range shot.
Being able to see and spot your target visible is crucial when looking through your rifle scope, as this is critical for acquiring your target in the shortest amount of time possible.
This Nikon scope, like the others in its range, uses multi-coated technology. It allows up to 98% light transmission into the optic, which improves visibility during low light weather. It is an incredible feature of a scope of its price.
As we spoke of previously, this scope uses a BDC reticle. The additional aiming points on the reticle allow you to adjust your shot according to your distance, without having to twist or turn any knobs on the scope. These aiming points are optimized explicitly for .223 and 5.56 caliber rounds.
The P-223 3-9×40 has a 3 – 9 times variable zoom. The 3x magnification is suited for AR-15 rifles and will allow you to see the target correctly. However, if using 9 x magnifications, you may find that it doesn’t let you see enough detail to hit your target first or second go accurately. A well-trained marksman would not have any issues though.
The issue of parallax at longer ranges can be a nuisance, even to experienced shooters. Thankfully, Nikon has taken care of this problem due to its 100-yard parallax feature. It will ensure that your reticle is lined up to what you’re planning on hitting.
This scope also has a significant amount of eye relief, which will help to make sure you don’t injure your brow. It is ideal for those who may be using recoil-heavy rifles or those who are shooting at odd angles.
The P-223 has a handy positive click feedback feature on the MOA hand turn turrets. Each click is 1/4 of an MOA and will also be locked into place, regardless of how many shots you’re firing. Lesser made scopes can often have problems with having to be readjusted after a few magazines worth of rounds are fired from under it.
- 98% light transmission when looking through the scope allows you to see your intended target, even when the light is low during dusk and dawn
- BDC reticle allows you to engage different targets at different distances, by simply adjusting your aim higher, rather than touching the scope
- The scope has very precise adjust knobs and turrets, allowing you to lock in your zero with ease.
- 100-yard parallax feature, as is standard for all Nikon scopes from this range.
- Nikon is a trustworthy company, and their scopes come with a lifetime guarantee
- The 9x magnification zoom may not be enough for some
- Higher grade scope mounts are usually recommended when purchasing this scope and will increase the overall cost
- Lens caps aren’t of high quality, and a lot of hunters recommend buying flip up caps
4. UTG 30mm SWAT 3-12X44 Compact IE – Best Under 100 Dollars
The UTG 30mm SWAT 3-12X44 is a very popular scope and is used primarily by hunters. Although small, this scope is made to the highest of standards and can be used for a variety of shooting activities. This scope can switch from 3x magnification, to 12x, making it ideal for short and long-range shooting.
Comprising of a wide array of illumination options, this scope is ideal for any weather and environment.
This scope can produce accurate adjustments with its zero locking function. It has been designed to make sure that it gives consistent elevation and windage adjustments to make sure your aim is as accurate as it can be.
The locking and resetting functions that are present allow you to secure your alternations and reset them as needed. The multi-emerald coated lenses provide the shooter with perfectly crisp vision. Whether light is angled into you, or if there’s minimal light, this scope will not obscure your vision.
A lot of scopes perform well during the first few rounds. But after over a hundred they can start to become inaccurate. Amazingly, It stays consistent even after several hundred fired from under it. This scope is also parallax free from 10 yards onwards, which help to guarantee your accuracy as you won’t need to keep the search for the “sweet spot.”
The UTG 30mm SWAT 3-12X44 is a very lightweight scope, weighing in at 1.4 pounds. It does look a lot heavier than it is, due to the robust design. This scope is very affordable and for the price, has a fantastic feature set. It is one of the best scopes you can buy for the price. It’s shock, rain and fog proof and the best option if you suffer from color blindness.
- Very affordable , and the best value for your money
- Incredibly durable and robust, matching that of even more expensive scopes
- Uninterrupted illumination, even with heavy recoil rifles
- Perfect for short range and mid range shooting, due to the 3x and 12x magnification options
- Easy to accurately hit targets, regardless of weather and environment
- The best scope for color blind shooters
- The knobs on the scope can be fairly difficult to adjust, sometimes. Some shooters may like this, but most will probably prefer them looser
- Although it has the capability of 12x magnification, the clarity of it isn’t great. It’s best to use this scope in its 3x magnification mode. If you want a good 12x, look elsewhere.
- Having the caps becoming loose has been a well-documented problem. The caps that come with the scope come loose in the field often, which is somewhat unacceptable.
5. Nikon P-223 4-12×40 BDC 600 Riflescope-Best Variable AR 15 Scope Under $200
The P-223 4-12×40, is a slightly more expensive scope, compared to the other Nikon products, but it worth every cent and has all the features that we know and loves about Nikon. The additional price of this scope is due to the 12x magnification ability.
Easy adjustments to varying distances can be easily made since it comes with a ¼ MOA click-stop system. Now you don’t need to worry about scaring away your target for the reticle doesn’t backlash or lock unnaturally. Repeated recoil is also an added bonus since it is easy to make adjustments to your reticle.
Long range shooting could never have been made easier than this. This state of the art rifle scope has been fixed with the BDC 600 that makes open circle aiming points easier to tackle than ever. This feature is also said to work well with the 0.223 Rem/5.56 NATO round and 55-grain polymer tip bullet.
- You will always be able to see the target you wish to engage at low light levels, due to the 98% light transmission
- The BDC reticle options helps you to engage at varying distances with ease
- The scope has very precise adjust knobs and turrets, allowing you to lock in your zero with ease securely
- Although standard for most Nikon scopes at this price, the parallax feature is great
- Lifetime guarantee, just like all Nikon products
- The 12x magnification may not be used to its full capability when used in conjunction with a standard AR-15 rifle.
- If your barrel is smaller than 24″, the BDC will be slightly off.
- Most hunters will recommend that you swap the lens covers
6. Barska 1-4×28 IR AR 15– Quality AR 15 Scope Under 150 Dollars
Barska 1-4×28 IR AR 15 is specially designed for amateur hunters and budget conscious shooter. With the amenities of an expensive optics, it offers an excellent shooting experience at a sub-$150 price.
The scope comes with fog proof and 100% waterproof technology. It can function precisely in any weather and lighting conditions. It features external locking turret. which prevents wind and lessens the time to achieve the target sooner.
You can zoom this variable scope from 1x to 4x. This range of magnification is good enough for shooting at 100 yards of distance. Although it doesn’t have high-class glasses, the built-in “sniper type” sun-shade reduce glare to see the target clear.
7. Vortex Optics Strikefire 2-Best Red dot for AR 15 Under $200
The Vortex Strikefire 2 is the original budget red dot scope for shooters. With 7.2 ounces of weight it is the most compact scope compare to others on the list. Although it has no magnification feature, Vortex optimized this scope nicely for short range shooting. With a 30 mm objective lens, it provides you a clear visible image.
To acquire the target quickly, it comes with a non-critical eye relief; It is a pretty simple scope to use, you don’t need to close one eye, which is ideal to shoot down a rapidly moving object at the shorter distance.
It has a ⅓ co-witness cantilever mount for concurrent use of an iron sight on a flat-top AR. Ten different brightness setting makes it compatible with night vision equipment too.
It provides 12-hour auto shutdown feature. If the scope is accidentally left on, it will switch off automatically and stops consumption of battery power immediately.
If you are looking for a good ar 15 scope at sub $200 price, the Vortex StrikeFire is an excellent choice.
The Perfect Rifle Scope For AR 15 – Buying Guide
Before buying the finest optics for AR 15, you must judge the following factors that are essential to good shooting -confidence. You should thoroughly examine all their features to ensure that it will respond well to all your needs.
1. Optical power
When choosing to purchase a new scope for your AR-15, you first must decide what sort of distances you want to shoot at. If every target you’re likely to engage is within 500 yards, your scope purchase will substantially differ from those who wish to shoot far beyond that. It also has to compliment your rifle’s capabilities too. There’s no use putting on a 12x magnification scope when your rifle’s effective range is only 500 yards at best.
2. Eye relief
There are two types of eye relief that you’ll encounter when looking at scopes, short, and long. Short eye relief is most commonly found on rifles and is usually between 1 and 5.5 inches. It is best suited for long range rifles due to it enabling the shooter to have a more clear and concise sight picture. The field of view is exceptionally larger than long eye relief scopes and allows the shooter to have more vision at higher magnification. These scopes also come with highest levels of magnification, as well as providing BDC reticles.
Long eye relief is usually considered anything larger than 6 inches. These are often found on short barreled weapons, like handguns, or any other weapon that you’re likely to be holding in front of you. However, some rifles require a long eye relief just to be able to operate the bolt correctly. They’re also needed for high caliber weapons that have huge amounts of recoil. It’s unlikely that you’ll need a long eye relief scope for your AR-15.
Remember that the safety distance between the optics and your face or eye must remain between +/- 8 to 10 cm. Unless you plan on shooting at .22 with a small setback, do not hesitate to test the rifle scope in this regard before buying it.
There are many different styles of reticle available, and they all have their strengths and weaknesses. However, it’s likely you’ll only encounter 2 or 3 when searching for a scope for your AR-15. It’s important to note that some reticles are relatively invasive, as well as others being very minimalistic. Therefore, if you think you’re going to be shooting something tiny, it’s a good idea to make sure your reticle isn’t large and overbearing.
i) The original reticle
It is merely a vertical and horizontal cross, that is about as basic as you can imagine, but has done the done it’s needed to do for years. These are not common in newer optics.
ii) Dot reticle
One of the simplest reticle available. A dot reticle has merely a single dot in the exact center of the scope. Red dot sights are often used in more tactical situations, or when close range shooting is deemed necessary. Some scopes will have a dot reticle, as well as another reticle that’s more suited for long range, like a BDC.
iii) BDC – Bullet Drop Compensation
A BDC reticle is relatively common for tactical and hunting scopes. It allows the shooter to adjust their aim quick and easily, depending on their rough judge of distance, by simply aiming either up or down. These reticles usually go up in 100 yard or meter increments and can come in either dots, lines or circles.
4. Illuminated and non-illuminated
When thinking about the uses of your scope, it’s important to know whether you’ll be using it during low light hours, or even in the dark. If so, having illumination capabilities is incredibly essential. These can be turned off, although using them during the day is still beneficial.
If you 100% think you won’t be shooting in low light, then purchasing a scope that doesn’t have illumination isn’t a problem. These scopes will just have black markings on their reticles.
5. Objective lens diameter
The role of the objective lens diameter is quite often misunderstood. Having a large objective lens doesn’t increase the field of view when looking down your scope. The only thing it’s responsible for is the amount of light that is allowed to enter. It enables your sight picture to be sharper and crisper, towards the center of your field of view.
6. Field of View (FOV)
Field of view, or FOV, is measured at 100 yards; in feet. It is the amount you’re able to observe from your left and right arc when looking down your scope. If you increase your magnification, your field of view will diminish. However, if your magnification decreases, your field of view will expand.
As an example, at 9x magnification, your field of view would be approximately 14 feet wide, at 100 yards. For a 3x magnification of the same scope, your field of view would be nearer the 30 feet mark.
It’s important to note that a lot of things can affect the field of view, and it isn’t solely from magnification. It means that two different scopes from various companies could have the same magnification, but have the entirely different field of view.
7. Exit Pupil
The benefit of using a variable scope is that it offers additional light management benefits over a fixed power scope. The easiest way to understand this is to think of your scope as if it is an eye. If it’s bright, you should make your exit pupil smaller, and if it’s dark, you should increase the size of your exit pupil to get as much light into your scope as possible. We won’t go into the complicated math that is involved with working out how much to change your exit pupil depending on your magnification and light levels, but what we will say is that this is a massive advantage of a fixed power scope.
8. Fixed and variable lenses
As with everything, there are advantages and disadvantages of choosing either a fixed or a variable lens scope.
It’s only recently that variable lens options have become so available and mainstream, but the advancement in technology has been the rise in these clever scopes. In most cases, if you know you’re always going to be shooting at a particular range, a fixed scope is going to serve a better purpose. It is because you’ll be getting more value out of your purchase, as variable lense are more expensive, as they have a lot more moving parts, etc.
However, if you’re shooting at anything that isn’t a range target, i.e., hunting, then your prey is never going to be at the same distance every time. A variable scope is a must for these sorts of situations. Take into consideration the power of your rifle when purchasing a variable scope, as there is no point in buying an 18x magnification optic, for a 20″ barrel length rifle, as your shots will never reach your target.
Which scope should you buy?
We have now covered the essentials of what to look for when buying the best optic for ar 15, but you may feel like you still need more direction. That isn’t a problem, and we’ll give you some guidance. You first must ask yourself what your shooting situation is.? If you’re a hunter, where do you hunt? If you’re primarily in overgrown areas and shooting at targets around 100 yards away, then a scope between 2x and 3x is sufficient. However, if you’re shooting targets 200+ yards away, then a variable higher magnification scope is a must.
- If your target objects distance is around 200 yards, then a 1 – 4x variable scope is good for your job done right.
- You should go for a 3x – 9x variable scope. if you want to hit at a medium range object (500 yards)
- For hunting at a longer distance (500 + yards), a 4-12x or more magnified variable scope needs to meet your goals.
To sum it all up, you can pretty much see that when it comes to picking out the Best AR 15 Scope under 200 you need to put in a lot of effort and research. Whether shooting is a hobby, pass time or part of your job, it’s all about how serious you take it and to what extent you are willing to go to make it an amazing experience for you. Since rifle scopes are not the cheapest accessory, it’s important that you understand everything there is to each one before investing into this piece of high tech gadgetry. This is why we have brought together all this information in one place so you can easily make the right decision for you and your firearm.