Clear Shots on a Budget: The Best AR-15 Scope Under $200!

Our Top Picks

Best Overall

Vortex Optics Crossfire II Second Focal Plane Riflescope

  • Build quality: 3.8/5
  • Optics: 4/5
  • Value: 4.1/5

Best Performance

Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x40mm

  • Build quality: 4.5/5
  • Optics: 4.5/5
  • Value: 3.5/5

Best AR-15 Scope Under $100

Bushnell Banner 3-9x40mm Riflescope

  • Build quality: 4/5
  • Optics : 4.2/5
  • Value: 4.1/5

Less battery life but great usability

Check Price on Amazon Check Price on PSA

Are you an AR-15 aficionado looking to elevate your shooting game without emptying your bank account? Look no further! We’ve scoured the market to find the best AR-15 scopes under $200, so you can achieve clear shots without breaking your budget. Get ready to hit your targets with precision and style!

How To Choose the Best Scope for AR-15 Under $200

Before diving into our top picks, let’s discuss the key factors to consider when selecting the perfect scope for your AR-15 on a budget.

CategoryVortex Optics Crossfire IILeupold VX-Freedom 3-9x40mmBushnell Banner 3-9x40mmSimmons 560520 TruplexTruglo TRU-Brite 30Category Average
Overall Score3.483.543.443.34.23.59
Ergonomics2.52.21.92.13.52.44
Build Quality3.84.5444.24.1
Optics44.54.234.54.04
Battery333353.4
Value4.13.54.14.43.83.98

Optics

A clear, high-quality lens can make a world of difference in your shooting experience. Ensure your chosen scope offers excellent light transmission, minimal distortion, and optimal clarity, giving you an edge when it matters most.

Magnification

second focal plane rifle scope, vortex optics Strike Eagle

The right magnification is crucial for hitting targets at different distances. Whether you prefer close-quarters combat or long-range precision, finding a scope that offers versatile magnification options is essential.

How do we rate it?

High marks go to scopes that offer excellent low-light performance and the ability to maintain a sharp, bright image under various conditions.

Build quality

AR-15s are built for rugged use, and your scope should be no exception. Look for scopes that can withstand harsh conditions, including shock, recoil, and adverse weather.

How do we rate it?

Is it waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof? A high rating in this category means your scope is the tank of the optics world—reliable, tough, and ready for anything Mother Nature throws at it.

Ergonomics

Ergonomics refers to how well the scope fits you and your shooting style. Can you make all the adjustments easily? Does the scope feel like an extension of your eye when you’re lining up a shot? If the answer is “Heck, yeah,” then you’re on the right track.

The ability to make precise adjustments to windage, elevation, and focus is crucial for achieving pinpoint accuracy. Look for scopes that offer easy-to-use and reliable adjustment mechanisms.

How do we rate it?

Is the scope’s weight balanced, or does it make your rifle feel like you’re lugging around a medieval weapon? A top-rated scope in ergonomics should feel intuitive like it’s an extension of yourself rather than an awkward appendage.

Strike Eagle Illumination adjustment for the best AR-15 Scope Under 200

Battery

If your scope has any electronic components, like an illuminated reticle, then battery life is your new best friend. There’s nothing worse than getting ready for the perfect shot only to find your reticle as dark as your chances of hitting the target without it. Long battery life is a must. You should also have easy access to replace batteries and shouldn’t have to think about it much until you need it.

How do we rate it?

We give lower scores to scopes that require battery changes more often than you change your socks. High ratings go to models with efficient power usage and long-lasting battery life, ensuring you’re always ready for the shot, day or night.

Value

Value is not only about the price tag, it’s also about getting the most bang for your buck. Sure, you could drop a small fortune on a scope, but is it overkill? A good scope should fit both your budget and your needs, offering the features you’ll actually use without the fluff you won’t.

How do we rate it?

A high rating in value means the scope offers the best blend of quality and features for its price point, striking that sweet balance between cost and functionality. Think of it as the difference between a deal and a steal.

5 Best AR-15 Scopes Under $200

Best Overall: Vortex Optics Crossfire II Second Focal Plane Riflescope

CategoryVortex Optics Crossfire IICategory Average
Ergonomics2.52.44
Build Quality3.84.1
Optics44.04
Battery33.4
Value4.13.98

Score: 3.48/5

Our top pick features an adjustable objective for removing parallax and quick image focus. This model also comes in three reticle types; Dead-Hold BDC, V-Plex, and V-Brite.

The Dead-Hold BDC reticle resolves holdover estimation and windage correction issues for quick-paced shooting at different ranges. The V-Plex reticle is equivalent to a standard duplex reticle. It’s an all-around reticle that’s great for most hunting applications. While the V-Brite reticle is just an illuminated V-Plex.

The Crossfire II comes with resettable turrets that are capped for extra protection against external impact. Plus, this model allows you to change batteries without unmounting the scope. 

It could’ve been better, however, if the windage and elevation clicks were a bit more audible.

Pros

  • Capped resettable turrets
  • Lightweight (13.9 oz)
  • Illuminated reticle
  • Adjustable objective
  • Comes with Vortex warranty
  • Waterproof, shockproof, and fog proof

Cons

  • Windage and elevation clicks are a little light
  • Image distortion at high magnification setting

What Customers Say

The scope has nice glass for the price you’re paying. Turrets are fairly crisp, with no skipping of the clicks to date. Front parallax adjustment, rear focus, and magnification all move easily with just the right amount of resistance. The turrets are resettable. I haven’t seen anything whatsoever that would keep me from buying another Crossfire II. Vortex also stands by their product 100%!

Jesse R.

I’m not a scope expert but this scope works very well on my 308. The glass is very clear and sharp through all magnification ranges. The eye relief gets a bit finicky the more you magnify. Adjusts and returns to zero very easily. Includes the bikini covers too.

Bobby

Best Performance: Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x40mm

CategoryLeupold VX-Freedom 3-9x40mmCategory Average
Ergonomics2.22.44
Build Quality4.54.1
Optics4.54.04
Battery33.4
Value3.53.98

Score: 3.54/5

The VX-Freedom is equipped with the Twilight Light Management System, just like every Leupold scope. This feature allows maximum light transmission and reduced glare because of several layers of proprietary lens coatings. This feat will let you hunt in the evening and still get crystal clear images.

It’s also impressive how this scope is tested to perform in the most extreme climate and pressure changes. Not only is the VX-Freedom made from 6061-T6 aircraft-quality aluminum, but it’s also impact-tested using Leupold’s recoil simulation machine. 

Pros

  • Impact-tested and shockproof
  • Lightest pick (12.2 oz)
  • High-quality glass
  • Excellent light transmission

Cons

  • Elevation and windage turret clicks are a little spongy

What Customers Say

Great scope, going Bear hunting and this scope is perfect!

Amazon Customer

Only complaint is the adjustment knobs feel cheap. Feel like my Burris FFII is a little better quality, however, I like that this Leopold is made in the USA for a good price. Glass seems the same as the FFII.

M.M

Best AR-15 Scope Under $100: Bushnell Banner 3-9x40mm Riflescope

CategoryBushnell Banner 3-9x40mmCategory Average
Ergonomics1.92.44
Build Quality44.1
Optics4.24.04
Battery33.4
Value4.13.98

Score: 3.44/5

Budget-conscious shooters rejoice! The Bushnell Banner offers impressive quality at an affordable price. With its Dusk & Dawn Brightness (DDB) multi-coated lenses and durable build, our best scope under $100 pick provides crisp images and reliable performance without burning a hole in your wallet.à

Quick target acquisition is also guaranteed with the Bushnell Banner’s Multi-X reticle and features 1/4 M.O.A. fingertip windage and elevation adjustment. That’s not all, it’s also waterproof, shockproof, and fog proof, as it’s nitrogen-purged. 

The only missing feature is parallax adjustment, which is a small compromise for the long-lasting durability and reliability that this scope can offer.

Pros

  • Performs well in low light
  • Drop Zone-223 SFP reticle
  • Comes with parallax adjustment
  • Waterproof, shockproof, and fog proof

Cons

  • No lens caps
  • Heavy (19 oz)

What Customers Say

Over the years I’ve owned several Bushnell banner scopes. I purchased this scope to sit atop an ar15 I’m planning to carry while accompanying my wife on her first deer hunt. With this said I wanted a cost-effective scope that could deliver enough magnification for the ranges we plan to hunt “150yrd at max”. The glass in the scope seems to be of good quality & transfers light well.

Eastfork

It’s a nice enough scope. Unfortunately, the only reason I bought it was due to the claimed consistent 6-inch eye relief. The relief changes as magnification changes. So I’ll use this one for a different rifle and continue my search for a consistent scope.

Nick Morgan

Best AR-15 Scope Under $50: Simmons 560520 Truplex Riflescope

CategorySimmons 560520 TruplexCategory Average
Ergonomics2.12.44
Build Quality44.1
Optics34.04
Battery33.4
Value4.43.98

Score: 3.3/5

Yes, you read that right—a reliable scope under $50! The Simmons Truplex riflescope guarantees quick and easy adjustments, thanks to its audible-click elevation and windage turrets. These sturdy and reliable knobs also hold zero perfectly and consistently no matter how heavy the recoil your rifle makes. You can shoot a hundred rounds with this scope and its zero won’t drift.

However, it’s worth noting that the adjustment knobs require a little bit of effort to twist and turn at the beginning. The Simmons Truplex Riflescope also features glass that’s surprisingly clear for its price! There’s a slight blur around the lenses’ edges like with the Bushnell Dusk to Dawn series; but for a price this low, the compromise is pretty worth it.

Pros

  • Truplex reticle
  • Lighter than most scopes (15 oz)
  • Waterproof, fog proof & shockproof

Cons

  • Does not perform well in low light

What Customers Say

Skeptic at first based on mix reviews. I give a 5 star rating based on personal use, price and performance. Excellent, highly recommended and currently awaiting the 2nd scope. Eye relief is 3-4inches depending on zoom and easy to focus on target. Turrets are spongy, clicks are soft audible however holds via 17 hmr and 223/5.56. Clarity at 300yards at is crisp during overcast in California.

Abraham B.

Sufficient for small rifles and 100 yard hunting or targets. The eye relief is good. The edges of the scope picture are a little warped or blurry. Overall I like it for the price. I put it on my AR and love it.

Daniel Carr

Truglo TRU-Brite 30 Series 1-6x24mm Dual Color Riflescope

CategoryTruglo TRU-Brite 30Category Average
Ergonomics3.52.44
Build Quality4.24.1
Optics4.54.04
Battery53.4
Value3.83.98

Score: 4.2/5

The TRU-Brite 30 Series offers a dual-color illuminated reticle with red and green options, enabling quick target acquisition and enhanced visibility in various lighting conditions. With a 1-6x magnification range, this scope caters to both close-quarters shooting and mid-range precision engagements, providing flexibility on the field.

The inclusion of a quick zoom lever also allows for rapid magnification adjustments, ensuring seamless transitions between different shooting scenarios. The scope’s multi-coated lenses deliver bright and clear sight pictures, reducing glare and improving overall image quality.

However, some users may find the eye relief to be slightly less forgiving compared to other scopes in its category, requiring precise positioning for optimal viewing. And while functional, the turrets on this scope may lack the same tactile feedback and precision as higher-end models.

Pros

  • Dual-color illuminated reticle
  • Wide magnification range
  • Multi-coated lenses
  • Quick-zoom lever

Cons

  • Second heaviest pick (15.1 oz)

What Customers Say

Clear sight picture…love the illumination. Not bad for a cheap lpvo.

J.

Great scope for the price. I placed them on 4 different hunting rifles and they perform flawlessly. Would not hesitate to buy again. Just remember, these are not for precision shooting, however I can hold 1/2″ groups at 100 yards in a 350 Legend all day.

jcbfam

Our Key Takeaways

Choosing the best AR-15 scope under $200 doesn’t mean compromising on quality. By considering factors like magnification, durability, glass quality, and adjustments, you can find a scope that suits your shooting needs without breaking your budget. Explore our top picks and get ready to experience clear shots and unbeatable value on your next shooting adventure!

No votes yet.
Please wait...

Last update on 2024-07-15 / Images from Amazon Product API