The Best Scopes for AR Rifles Under $500 in 2020

You can make your rifle more powerful and precise if you would use the best AR scope under $500. While it can already be reliable, it can take its performance by a notch with the sighting tool that has the aesthetics, build and performance.

best AR optic under 500

A great optics for your weapon with features like a standard objective lens and night vision can be tricky to find without a clear idea of the things to look for, such as the features we’re highlighting later. In the following, we’re also helping you choose from the top picks of the AR scopes that you should not miss when comparing your choices.

Quick Answer: The 8 Best AR Scopes Under $500 for 2020

  1. Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-6×24 SFP Riflescope
  2. Bushnell AR Optics 1-4x24mm Drop Zone-223 Riflescope
  3. Nikon M-Tactical .223 4-16X42SF Matte BDC600 Riflescope
  4. Leupold Mark MOD 1 3-9x40mm Riflescope
  5. Athlon Optics Argos BTR 6-24×50 FFP Riflescope
  6. SWFA SS 10x42M Tactical Riflescope
  7. Primary Arms SLX 4-14x44mm FFP Rifle Scope
  8. Burris 4.5-14x42mm Fullfield II Ballistic Plex Riflescope

First, let’s take a look at the top-rated AR scopes under $500, then we’ll talk about how to choose the right one for you in our buying guide below.

Best Scope for AR Rifle Under $500 Reviews of 2020

#1 Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-6×24 SFP Riflescope

Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-6x24 SFP RiflescopeCheck out the quality scope if you’re looking to get more out of your powerful AR rifle. This sight is with the top features that you will like about it. One of the things that make the Vortex Optics amazing is that it is its varying magnification range from one to six times. It is applicable if you want to use your scope for long distance shooting.

The Vortex Optics Strike Eagle is also with a BDC MOA reticle. It makes shooting more precise and user-friendly. If you want a versatile scope not just for short- or long-range shooting but also for all weather conditions, you should check out the Strike Eagle rifle scope. It is what you need for durability and all-weather use. You might want to choose the tactical scope if you also want to use yours even on a rainy or foggy condition.

In addition, the tactical rifle sighting device offers us with a great quality and performance all the time. It comes in a lightweight and compact package, too, so it will not cause straining and won’t drag you down. Whether you’re finding red dot sights or not, you can check out this sighting device.

The Strike Eagle 1-6×24 SFP Riflescope is indeed a versatile scope that possesses great durability to last for years. You can use it for different scenarios possible because it lets you engage the targets even to extended ranges. It also has a glass-etched and illuminated reticle and has a centered halo for a fast target acquisition.

On the downside, there were reported sighting issues, though.
  • Lightweight and versatile scope
  • Suitable for close to long range distances
  • BDC MOA Reticle
  • Fully multi-coated lenses
  • Repeatable performance
  • Sighting issues
The Strike Eagle is a reliable scope that offers repeatable performance. It is with durable components and can be used in different shooting situations, short or long range. Certainly, it is one of the excellent scopes for AR-15s to consider.

#2 Bushnell AR Optics 1-4x24mm Drop Zone-223 Riflescope

Bushnell AR Optics 1-4x24mm Drop Zone-223 RiflescopeThis Bushnell Optics is the best AR optic under $500 because of its multiple magnification settings and has a drop zone reticle that has target turrets. It also has a sleek appearance of matte black that can ensure a scratch-proof construction.

I also liked that the low price scope is with the standard 30mm diameter, which is a unique quality of reliable scopes within this price range. This scope is also with fully and multiple coated optics that can ensure a fog proof and waterproof performance for all weather conditions.

I would also like to recommend it for its quick focus eyepiece that can help with faster target acquisition. With it, you can surely improve your performance at the field or hunting trip. It is one of the features that we must be looking for when finding a quality scope for the AR-15 flat top platform.

I am also impressed with its accuracy for close quarters along with its middle range precision for its drop zone BDC reticle. It is also a great choice for its durable aluminum alloy housing, which is sealed to protect it from the elements. The scope also has a rugged and compact design for convenient use.

On the cons, the AR-15 rifle sighting device can be tricky to use for beginners, though.
  • 30mm diameter tube
  • Ideal for close quarters
  • Reliable for short- and long-distance shooting
  • Quick focus eyepiece for faster target acquisition
  • Fog proof and shockproof performance
  • Can be a bit tricky to use for beginners
Overall, the quality rifle scope is yours for its solid and repeatable performance. It can improve shooting precision for its fully, multi-coated and premium lenses. It is also with great target turrets that allow for precise adjustments. It is an excellent choice, nevertheless, for its superb qualities and features.

#3 Nikon M-Tactical .223 4-16X42SF Matte BDC600 Riflescope

Nikon M-Tactical .223 4-16X42SF Matte BDC600 RiflescopeThis scope for AR-10s on the market is another to consider for hunting or tactical scopes at an affordable price. The Nikon M-Tactical .223 is one of the best offers from the brand because it is made for maximum reliability and repeatability.

This Nikon scope is engineered for the NATO round and .223 Remington. It also features a 30mm body tube, which is a standard among topnotch sighting tools around. I would also like to highlight that the scope features an instant zero reset turrets.

In addition, the sighting tool is with BDC 600 that can offer you with excellent aiming points. You can also count on it when it comes to shooting more precisely at distances from 100 and 600 yards for its hash marks. More so, the scope features a side-focus parallax adjustment for its turret-mounted knob that can allow easy adjustments even without altering your position.

It might not be the high-quality AR scopes under $100 as you know it because this high-end scope can offer much more for hunters and tactical users. Any AR owner will surely appreciate the multicoating technology that is used to create this scope. With this feature, you can ensure of bright and clear pictures. This quality is complimented by the purpose-driven reticles, which can promote long-range shooting.

In addition, the scope for .223 chambered AR-15 rifles features a consistent eye relief to offer you with protection against heavy recoil. It is also built with a fast focus eyepiece that can offer you with great functionality all the time.

However, blurry images can be an issue in some cases, though.
  • Generous and consistent eye relief
  • Max functionality for its quick focus eye piece
  • BDC 600 for open circle aiming points
  • Multicoating technology for great sight picture
  • Maximum readability for its engraved and exposed turrets
  • Blurry images occasionally
But overall, the Nikon .223 caliber AR-15 scope is one of the finest choices for its wide magnification settings and repeatable performance. It also has a generous and consistent eye relief for protection from high or heavy recoil. In addition, it is a sure value for your money for its compact design and durable construction. Check out this sighting tool for the rifles like the AR for its quality and performance.

#4 Leupold Mark MOD 1 3-9x40mm Riflescope

Leupold Mark MOD 1 3-9x40mm RiflescopeIf you’re looking to use a great rifle scope for your rifle, you might want to consider the Leupold Mark riflescope. This scope is especially designed for the AR rifle and is equipped with a high-quality glass to improve your performance at the field or range. It will help you take your experience to the next level because of its rugged build like a prism scope.

This variable scope is with different magnification settings between three and nine. You can choose what setting is applicable for your purpose. It is what you need for short- or long-range shooting. Another thing I liked about it is its broad view field. It can help you aim and shoot better, especially for a longer range.

Leupold Mark MOD is one of the very nice scopes to find, but it will not make you spend much money in the process. This sighting device is perfect for the AR rifle, bolt-action rifle and MSR. This scope is for serious hunters or shooters for its performance and heavy-duty construction. It is one of the reasons this scope is one of the top sellers on the market. It is also made of heavy-duty aluminum construction that makes it suitable for occasional drops and bumps that it might face along the way.

The high end scope is not perfect though. Some users reported that they didn’t much appreciate the weight of this sighting tool.
  • Machined and assembled in the USA
  • Polymer and aluminum construction
  • Compact design and sleek appearance
  • Extreme brightness and clarity from edge to edge
  • Standard one-inch main tube
  • A bit heavy
Overall, I liked the overall design and build of the sighting tool. It is high-performing and reliable for many hunting or shooting conditions. I am impressed for its robust features that we can rely on through the years.

#5 Athlon Optics Argos BTR 6-24×50 FFP Riflescope

Athlon Optics Argos BTR 6-24x50 FFP RiflescopeOne of the coolest scopes to have for the serious tactical shooter, hunter or sporting enthusiast is the Athlon Optics. There is nothing quite like this scope that can deliver the consistency and repeatable performance that we can depend on for the years to come. A unique feature it has is its broad magnification settings, which are between six and 24. It is quite a powerful scope that is built in a 30 mm tube that enhances its integrity. The best AR-15 scope under $500 is also with an illuminated APMR MIL dot reticle.

The Argos BTR is also the ideal scope on your AR-10 because it is versatile to adapt to different shooting disciplines. This scope is also with the Fully-Multi Coated Optics to ensure that you can receive bright and clear images even if you’re using it in a dark environment.

I also liked that it comes with the exclusive XPL coating that can keep the lenses protected from grease and dirt. This coating can also keep the lenses protected from the outdoor elements and weather conditions. I would also like to recommend that the scope is made of 6061T6 aircraft grade aluminum housing, adding to its integrity for long-term use.

On the cons, the sighting device is a bit pricey, though.
  • Exclusive XPL coating
  • Can work on a low light condition
  • Versatile for multiple shooting disciplines
  • Robust optics for any terrain
  • Easy to mount and adjust
  • A bit pricey
But overall, the Athlon Optics for the AR-15 is certainly a must-have for anyone looking to get more value out of their spending. It is a useful scope for those who want a reliable and heavy-duty sighting tool for their outdoor pursuits. So, if you’re looking for a sighting tool under 500 dollars, you should not miss this item in your selection.

#6 SWFA SS 10x42M Tactical Riflescope

SWFA SS 10x42M Tactical RiflescopeAre you looking for a reliable scope that can offer you with clear and bright images to improve target acquisition? The SWFA SS can be one of the finest scopes of an AR-15 ever made. I appreciate that the manufacturer has engineered and built it to match the performance that we’re expecting from a riflescope. It is loaded with the features that you should be shopping around for a scope within this featured price range.

One of the things that make the high-quality optics for AR-15 under $500 ideal is that it is made with fully and multiple coated lenses. With this feature, you can have peace of mind of it having waterproof performance, which is useful when use in a rainy or foggy day. It is also reliable for all-weather use, making it one of the most versatile scopes to have in your arsenal.

Whether you’re looking for an illuminated reticle, you can depend on this sighting tool that can gather enough light for optimal brightness. It can help you see clearly even in a low lighting condition, ensuring bright and clear images for a better target acquisition.

The Tactical 30mm Riflescope has a matte finish that helps it remains scratch-free and looking new. Other features include a side focus, patented mil-quad and .1 MRAD turrets.

However, the tactical rifle scope is a bit bulky, though, according to some users.
  • Standard 30mm tube construction
  • Tactical shooting, hunting and sporting applications
  • Fog proof and waterproof performance
  • Fully multiple coated lenses
  • Fixed power scope
  • A bit bulky
But still, I would like to recommend it for its solid features and heavy-duty performance that makes it among the top rated sighting tools available now. You should look at it because it’s one of those rifle scopes for your AR-15 that can deliver the reliability and repeatability that you need.

#7 Primary Arms SLX 4-14x44mm FFP Rifle Scope

Primary Arms SLX 4-14x44mm FFP Rifle ScopeThis scope can fit the AR-10 well and can deliver you with the performance that you need for a sighting device. It is one of my recommended optics for the users that want to ensure that they can use a heavy-duty scope that performs regardless of the weather condition. The high-quality scope for AR-15 under $500 has the Orion reticle, which works well by ensuring that it can stay true through the magnification range between four and 14 times.

I also liked that the Orion can offer us with quick ranging and wind holds that can help us with coyote or deer sized targets. Nevertheless, this versatility is one of the reasons that the Primary Arms riflescope is among the high quality scopes for hunters and tactical users.

The ORION is also what you need if you’re using .30-06, .308 and .223 chambered-rifles. You might want to check it out if it sounds applicable for you. The Primary Arms 4-14×44 scope is also with the first focal plane that can remain true no matter the magnification setting.

I am also impressed by the side parallax adjustment, allowing the reticle to remain parallax-free. It also maintains the image sharp even at an extended range, one of its most useful features. I also liked that the scope is offering us with fog resistance, ensuring its usefulness in a rainy day. In addition, the scope can withstand bumps and shocks because it is a robust scope.

On the downside, the scope is heavier as compared to the other scopes in the category are.
  • First focal plane reticle
  • Wide magnification from 4-14x
  • Nitrogen-purged and O-ring sealed
  • Waterproof and shockproof
  • Heavy-duty aluminum body
  • Heavier than other scopes in the same category are
Nevertheless, the Primary Arms SLX 4-14x44mm is an excellent choice for its durable components and reliable performance. Check it out for yourself now.

#8 Burris 4.5-14x42mm Fullfield II Ballistic Plex Riflescope

Burris 4.5-14x42mm Fullfield II Ballistic Plex RiflescopeThe Burris 4.5 x-14 x scope for the AR-10 rifle is a solid choice among users that want a long-lasting sighting tool that will never put them down. The scope is by a top brand, Burris Optics, which is renowned for its commitment to offering quality products to its consumers. In addition, the Ballistic Plex Riflescope is also with waterproof performance, making it ideal for use even in a rainy day. So, if you’re shopping around for a riflescope that can be used no matter the condition that is outside, you should check this one out.

The scope with a Ballistic Plex reticle is one of the most effective and simplest of all reticles among AR-15 scopes available, so it is good even for beginners. Another thing that you might like about the sighting tool is that it is ideal even for matching with any bullet weight or caliber. In addition, I loved that it is made of durable components and has a one-piece tube construction. There are fewer moving parts, which also mean reduced chances for a damage.

More so, the scope has a parallax adjustment that can improve your shooting accuracy even at a long distance I also liked that the high-quality tactical AR scope under $500 is affordable even if it is made of rugged materials.

On the downside, the sighting device for AR-15’s is bulky and heavy, though.
  • Precision even at a long range
  • Compact and simple design
  • Matte black and scratch-free appearance
  • Versatile to match any bullet weight or caliber
  • Shockproof and waterproof
  • Heavy and bulky
Still, you should not miss it if you’re shopping around for a great scope that can offer you with long-term performance and more value for your money. It is also what you need for long-range shooting precision and compact design. Whether looking for ACSS reticle in a scope, you should not miss the Burris 4.5 x-14 x scope for its great quality.

Buying Guide

Who Are AR Optics Under $500 Best Suited For?

best scope for AR under 500

The high-quality multi-coated optical lens scope is for those who want to get more out of their investment. Buying a scope is an investment, anyway. It is why those who want to take advantage of its features, such as mil-dot reticle or ability to function in low light, should choose a high quality riflescope that can deliver them the performance that they want, especially when hunting in a place where there is low ambient light.

More so, the scope under 500 is for combat personnel, military, hunters, tactical shooters and sporting enthusiasts that want a satisfying shooting or hunting experience. As the sighting tool is made of premium quality materials, they can also look forward to years of use of the scope.

In addition, the AR sighting tool is for those who want to take advantage of great optics that can work no matter the hunting or tactical shooting conditions. One is with shockproof performance and solid materials, such as aircraft-grade aluminum alloy housing. In this case, the scope can resist bumps and drops and ensure of ruggedness for all terrains.

Nonetheless, the AR scope is for those concerned about the quality and durability of a sighting tool. It is for those that look forward to long-lasting use of their sighting tool for all terrains. If you’re one of those, you might want to get started in the selection process using the reviews earlier.

What to Expect from the AR Scope Under $500

best AR scope under 500

The hunting scope can offer precision performance and possess the special features that make it every hunter, combat personnel or sports enthusiasts are looking for. Whether or not you’re shopping around for a first or second focal plane for your scope, it must be made of premium quality materials and a compact design. For this reason, you can expect long-term use of the scope that can deal with the harshest elements and different shooting conditions.

You can also expect that the scope can offer optimal light transmission. In this case, you can hunt or use the scope in tactical operations even in a place with low lighting conditions. And if you’re a hunter, you can have peace of mind that it can give you a clear sight picture even if you’re hunting at dusk, dawn or low light conditions.

In addition to the great light transmission, you can expect that the scope is built to last. It can last for years of use without any problems because it is made of top-quality materials. It is also with a compact and solid design for ease of use and performance.

More so, the AR scope can offer waterproof, shockproof and fog proof performance. For instance, the scope can offer a shockproof performance that you don’t have to worry about the occasional drops or bumps it receives. It is also made of waterproof and fog proof lenses to ensure performance integrity. The scope can work on a rainy or foggy day without any issues. Nevertheless, the AR scope can offer you so much more than just a sighting tool. It can offer you with a clear sight picture and can work no matter the weather condition.

How to Choose the Best AR Scope Under $500

best AR 10 scope under 500

The best AR optics under $500 have special and unique qualities that make them the ideal choice for hunters and tactical users that want a scope to offer a reliable and repeatable performance. However, it can be hard to figure out what to choose among the scopes for a hunting rifle. A few characteristics, include a nice and stylish aesthetics, quality optical lens and a comfortable eye box, to name some. But for explanation on features to check, keep reading in the following.

Magnified or non-magnified

One of the things that many are concerned is the magnification. Is it magnified or non-magnified? For the many of us, we tend to go for more magnification than what we need. Some of us even think that a scope should have more magnification as a default. However, there is a problem with over-magnification, especially when from a standing position. If you would notice, a little bit adjustment here and there with the magnification leads to unnecessary crosshair movement.

In terms of the view field, you can take note that the visible area through the scope reduce with a bit more of magnification. So, with too much magnification, it can be hard to see what is going on down range nor to find a target.

Price and quality

If you want to spend on a scope that can last longer, you might want to balance between quality and price. Do not just buy something because it is the cheapest. On the other hand, the most expensive scope does not also mean the best value for your money. It might have the features that you don’t really need. But then, what you need is to strike a balance of the price and quality. Look for a sighting tool that is designed and built with better materials and for even the harshest conditions. It should also have better optics and have sealing against the harsh elements for long-term use. A reasonably priced scope also tends to be more durable than cheaper ones. For help, you can also read reviews of the best AR rifle scope under $500 with the balanced features, performance and price.

Objective lens

In addition to checking the most essential features like the eye relief of a compact scope, for example, you should check for the objective lens, too. For one, you might want to go for a larger objective lens that can collect more light. It just means that you can look forward to a clearer and better sight picture even when in a low lighting condition. The sight picture, as you might know it can make or break the shot. It can help you hit or miss your target.


Aside from the larger tube for better light-gathering capabilities, you might want to check for windage and elevation that you might be able to get from a larger tube. However, do note that the 30mm standard tube is heavier than the smaller 25.4mm tube is. The glass can also be heavier with a larger tube size.

Max shooting range

You must choose a scope that can adapt well to the max shooting of your ammo. Do not buy a riflescope that does not adapt well the range of the ammunition that you’re shooting. For example, remember that a .223 ammo is going to fall short of kinetic energy when shot at least 600 yards. On the other hand, a 1000-meter is possible if you’re using an AR-10 or any other .308 weapon.

Use case

What’s your purpose for using an AR-15 scope? Are you going to use it for sporting applications like a 3-gun competition or as a nightstand tool? Do you want to use the scope and rifle for hunting and getting shooting satisfaction at 500 yards? Determine your answer to what purpose or intention you have for using the rifle and the sighting tool.

(Source: [1], [2])


Are you ready to choose the best AR scope under $500?We’re hoping that you’ll be able to pick the right one for your needs, be it one with a bullet drop compensation reticle or not. What matter is that it is high quality and fits your budget. It should be easy to mount and operate and can offer you with bright and clear images in all shooting conditions.

The top-notch scope should also give you a waterproof and shockproof performance for all-weather use. Nevertheless, these qualities are only a few to check when buying a scope within this price range. Be able to weigh and compare your riflescope options well for the best results.

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