The Best AR-15 Scopes Under $200 – A Complete Buying Guide

If you are on a tight budget and you are looking for the best AR-15 scopes, it’s not impossible due to the AR-15’s popularity. Nonetheless, finding the best AR-15 scopes under $200 might not be a walk in the park if due to the sheer number of options available on the market.

As such, we have done most of the research for you so you won’t end up with a disappointing and painful purchase. Before that, there are some factors that you should consider before purchasing the best AR-15 scopes under $200. 

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The Buying Consideration for The Best Scopes

Budget

Although $200 might not be a lot of money when it comes to getting an AR-15 scope, it sure is enough for you to get great AR-15 scopes. Since it isn’t a lot of money, you should always look at the scope’s price/value ratio to achieve the most bang per buck.

Glass

For the best glass quality of your scope for under $200, you would want to look for glass coatings that are fully and multi-coated. You might want to beware of off-brand companies that have promises that are too good to be true as most of the time, they don’t have access to the best glass sources to produce great scopes.

Built quality

The best AR-15 scopes must be able to hold zero effect. If it doesn’t do that, then it wouldn’t be worth considering. In addition, you would want your AR-15 scope to be fully weatherproof so you won’t have to start looking for shelter or hiding when the weather turns unfavorable. For around $200, this is completely possible.

Reticles

The reticle design between AR-15 scopes is going to vary as it all boils down to the scope’s magnification and what your primary shooting applications are. For close quarter and true 1x LPVO scopes, you will most probably see a simple dot or aiming-typing reticle.

If you are a long range shooter/hunter, you would want an AR-15 scope that features a higher magnification power. With that, a ballistic compensating reticle is usually the preferred option among shooters.

Warranty

Getting great and generous warranties are also part of the reason why you would want to stick to well-known brands as they would cover most repairs and replacements for a lifetime without you having to do anything.

If you end up buying from a smaller brand, you might not even be able to find their customer service hotlines online. In addition, it’s practically impossible to get a replacement or your money back whenever there are any manufacturer defects.

Top 7 Best AR-15 Scopes Under $200

1. Vortex Crossfire II 1-4X24

Specifications

  • Objective Lens Diameter: 24 mm
  • Magnification: 1 – 4 x
  • Reticle: Illuminated V-Brite
  • Tube Diameter: 30 mm
  • Reticle Focal Plane: Second Focal Plane (SFP)
  • Exit Pupil: 6 – 24 mm
  • Field of View, Linear: 24.1 – 96.1 ft at 100 yds
  • Eye Relief: 4 in
  • Color: Black
  • Weight: 16 oz
  • Fabric/Material: Aircraft Grade Aluminum
  • Length: 9.8 in
  • Width: 3.5 in
  • Height: 1.18 in
  • Illumination Type: Non-Illuminated

Features

Vortex Optics had humble beginnings back ni 1986 and started out in a small outdoor retail store. Since 2002, the founders’ Dan and Margie have expanded to over 200 American team members strong with all their products designed, engineered, and pre-inspected in their modern facility to ensure that you receive nothing but the best products and services from them.

The Vortex Crossfire II 1-4X24 is no exception to their amazing line of products. Not only has the Vortex Crossfire II 1-4X24 scope a great value for money, but it has also been around long enough to have a flawless proven track record. Perhaps that is why it has been one of the most popular budget AR-15 scopes in the world.

The Vortex Crossfire II 1-4X24 comes with capped turrets that sit over 100 MOA elevation and windage travel, 30 MOA revolutions, and ½ MOA clicks. With features like that, there’s nothing not to like about this AR-15 scope.

The turrets will sit on a one-piece 30mm tube that’s constructed from premium aircraft-grade aluminum so you won’t have to start panicking during accidental drops on the field. In addition, the Vortex Crossfire II 1-4X24 is also nitrogen-purged and O-ring sealed.

This AR-15 scope is a 1-4x LPV (low power variable) scope. Therefore, the Vortex Crossfire II 1-4X24 would be ideal for you if you are buying it for tactical/home surveillance/hunting purposes thanks to its low magnification.

In relation to the reticle, the Vortex Crossfire II 1-4X24 features an SFP (second focal plane) reticle and as such, you will be enjoying nothing but consistent visuals of the V-Brite reticle that incorporates V-Plex crosshairs that feature an illuminated center dot for you to lock on your target quickly and easily.

With an illuminated center, you won’t have to worry about hunting/shooting at night/under low light conditions anymore as you will be getting the adequate visuals you need from this AR-15 scope.

One of the best selling points of the Vortex Crossfire II 1-4X24 is its unlimited lifetime warranty from its manufacturer – Vortex Optics. If you didn’t know, the Vortex Worldwide Lifetime VIP Warranty would cover your purchase worldwide through the distributor/dealer in your country where you purchased your Vortex Crossfire II 1-4X24.

As such, you can now buy with confidence without worrying about any defects that could come in the way.

You will like this product if:

You want great warranties. The Vortex Crossfire II 1-4X24, like all of Vortex Optics’ products, comes with an international unlimited lifetime warranty that would cover any manufacturer defects for you to purchase with confidence.

You are a tactical shooter. The Vortex Crossfire II 1-4X24 is perhaps one of the best 1-4x LPV scopes at this price point. This is probably why it is the preferred option for tactical shooting, short-medium range hunting, and home defense applications.

You might not like this product if:

You are a long-range shooter/hunter. As mentioned above, the Vortex Crossfire II 1-4X24 is an LPV scope. As such, it won’t be the ideal choice for long-range shooters/hunters.

2. Nikon P-Tactical .223 3-9X40 BDC 600

Specifications

  • Color: Black
  • Reticle: BDC 600
  • Finish: Matte
  • Tube Diameter: 1 in
  • Weight: 16.9 oz
  • Adjustment Click Value: 1/4 MOA
  • Reticle Focal Plane: Second Focal Plane (SFP)
  • Adjustment Type: MOA

Features

If you didn’t know, Nikon has been manufacturing bright, clear, precise, and rugged riflescopes since forever. Nikon only has 1 goal for every scope they make, which is for hunters, shooters, and sportsmen to have the best hunting optics money could buy while pushing the envelope in creating revolutionary capabilities for their scopes.

Their motto is largely reflected in the quality and reviews of all of their riflescopes. With that, the Nikon P-Tactical .223 3-9X40 BDC 600 is no exception to Nikon’s incredible lineup of AR-15 scopes.

One of the most notable features of the Nikon P-Tactical .223 3-9X40 BDC 600 is its affordable price, long-range reticle, and incredibly high magnification that sets it apart from its competitors. If you have hunter friends, you will definitely hear them brag about their all-new Nikon P-Tactical .223 3-9X40 BDC 600 to you.

The Nikon P-Tactical .223 3-9X40 BDC 600 is ideal for long-range shooters/hunters thanks to its 3x zoom. With a 3x zoom, it will push the limits of your AR-15’s shooting range and your shooting skills as there won’t be anything that’s too far for this AR-15 scope that you can easily get under $200.

The Nikon P-Tactical .223 3-9X40 BDC 600 features a simple ballistic reticle that’s set up to accommodate at least 600 yards of distance along with see-through circles as holdover points and intermittent 50-yard hash marks for enhanced tracking purposes.

Although the Nikon P-Tactical .223 3-9X40 BDC 600 doesn’t come with a 0 stop feature, it’s ¼ MOA turrets could be easily reset to 0 for you to get a quick reference after sighting in. If you are new to tactical-style kind of scopes, you will absolutely adore this baby.

In terms of durability, you won’t ever have to start hiding your AR-15 scopes as you shoot/hunt outdoors when the weather starts turning unfavorable. The Nikon P-Tactical .223 3-9X40 BDC 600 is fully weatherproof with its O-ring sealed and nitrogen-purged tube body.

You will like this product if:

You are a hunter. As mentioned above, almost every friend that hunts would have heard of and perhaps even own a Nikon P-Tactical .223 3-9X40 BDC 600 due to its amazing price point and weatherproof capabilities. This scope is particularly famous for hunters who hunt during the winter storm elk season.

You want to shop with confidence. If you think Nikon’s great reputation and products are a mere hoax, you won’t have anything to worry about because they offer a no-fault limited repair/replacement warranty for any manufacturer defects.

You might not like this product if:

You are a tactical shooter. There’s nothing wrong with the Nikon P-Tactical .223 3-9X40 BDC 600 if you are a tactical shooter. However, due to its long-range and weatherproof features, this AR-15 scope might be overkill for you.

3. TRUGLO TRU-BRITE 30 Series 1-6X24

Specifications

  • 30mm tube for increased brightness and click adjustments
  • Includes two pre-calibrated BDC turrets in calibers .223 and .308 to engage targets up to 800 yards away
  • Scope includes a reversible offset
  • monolithic 30mm scope rings/mount CNC-machined from aircraft-grade aluminum
  • 1/2 MOA windage/elevation adjustments
  • Bright 24mm objective lens
  • Durable leaf-spring click adjustments for windage and elevation
  • Waterproof/fog-proof/nitrogen gas-filled

Features

As low powered scopes are getting better each day in terms of quality and affordability, the TRUGLO TRU-BRITE 30 Series 1-6X24 is perhaps one of the best in both of those factors. It’s why many shooters consider this AR-15 scope as such a viable option when it comes to shopping under a tight budget for scopes.

With the TRUGLO TRU-BRITE 30 Series 1-6X24, not only will you be getting an incredibly affordable price for the scope, but you will also be getting yourself with a bunch of included and handy accessories to go along with the scope. What a great bargain right?

Some of the accessories that come with the TRUGLO TRU-BRITE 30 Series 1-6X24 include an offset, reversible 30mm aluminum rings, and mount, scope caps, and 2 turrets. These turrets are specifically calibrated for the .223 and .308 rounds if you happen to also own an AR-10.

The TRUGLO TRU-BRITE 30 Series 1-6X24 comes with an excellent 1-6x magnification that most shooters consider as the ideal power range for an LPVO scope. With the true 1x power on this scope, you can easily keep both of your eyes open while taking your shots. Truly amazing.

Furthermore, with a stunning center-illuminated dot that would rapidly draw your eyes on to the target, you will be getting all of the attention on the range from your enhanced shooting accuracy. If you don’t fancy illuminations, the dot can be set to red, green, or non-illuminated to cater for that.

With a weight of around 2lbs, you know that the TRUGLO TRU-BRITE 30 Series 1-6X24 is great stuff as this added weight will provide you with a sense of security whether mounted or not.

You will like this product if:

You don’t want to shop for accessories. One of the reasons why the TRUGLO TRU-BRITE 30 Series 1-6X24 is such a great bargain is the sheer number of accessories that it comes with. For most AR-15 scopes under $200, a bargain like this is hard to beat.

You want to aim with both eyes open. Since the TRUGLO TRU-BRITE 30 Series 1-6X24 comes with true 1x power, aiming and locking onto your target is no longer as tiring as it used to be. You can now aim and shoot with both of your eyes open with the TRUGLO TRU-BRITE 30 Series 1-6X24. This is particularly practical if you plan to shoot/hunt all day.

You might not like this product if:

You are a long-range shooter. The TRUGLO TRU-BRITE 30 Series 1-6X24 is an LPVO. As such, it wasn’t specifically designed for long-range shooting. If you attempt to aim with max magnification, the scope might get a little blurry.

4. Bushnell AR Optics 1-4X24 Drop Zone-223

Specifications

  • Bushnell 1-4x24mm
  • Reticle: Drop Zone .223
  • Tube Diameter: 1 in
  • Reticle Focal Plane: Second Focal Plane (SFP)
  • Included Accessories: Standard
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 24 mm
  • Magnification: 1 – 4 x
  • Exit Pupil: 6 – 24 mm
  • Color: Black
  • Magnification Type: Variable

Features

Everyone knows that Bushnell has been the industry leader for manufacturing high-performance sports optics for more than 65 years. As such, they are widely known for producing some of the highest quality, most reliable, and affordable sports optics products on the market along with unmatched customer service in case you have any inquiries.

Introducing the Bushnell AR Optics 1-4X24 Drop Zone-223. This AR-15 scope is a low powered 1-4x scope that strikes the right balance between budget and performance. As such, many veterans would tell you that this AR-15 scope is perhaps the best entry-level AR-15 scope you can find on the market for less than $200.

The Bushnell AR Optics 1-4X24 Drop Zone-223 comes with a 30mm tube and weighs only 18ozs. Since this AR-15 scope was specifically designed for tactical close range applications, its low magnification power would be ideal for that. This scope’s reticle was specifically calibrated for .223 cartridges along with holdover dots that could easily reach out to 600 yards.

In relation to durability, the Bushnell AR Optics 1-4X24 Drop Zone-223 is waterproof as it comes with Bushnell’s RainGuard coatings which would be essential for you when the weather starts turning unfavorable as you shoot/hunt outdoors.

The Bushnell AR Optics 1-4X24 Drop Zone-223tures an exposed and tactical style of turrets that allows for a wide adjustment range with a 120 MOA/34.9 MIL elevation travel and 140 MOA/40.7 MIL windage travel all thanks to the scope’s 30mm tube. Another great feature is the pre-installed short power throw lever that many shooters love.

If you are not looking for something to give you the best performance and bang per buck, the Bushnell AR Optics 1-4X24 Drop Zone-223 is definitely worth considering.

You will like this product if:

You shoot/hunt under unfavorable weather conditions. There are many scopes, especially those under $200 that aren’t built with waterproof capabilities. However, the Bushnell AR Optics 1-4X24 Drop Zone-223 is an exception to that as you’ll be able to hunt/shoot just as usual even if it’s raining out there.

You want the most bang per buck. Considering its extreme affordability even for AR-15 scopes that are under $200, the Bushnell AR Optics 1-4X24 Drop Zone-223 is perhaps the scope that gives you the most bang per buck in terms of performance.

You might not like this product if:

You want all the bells and whistles. If you have a $200 budget and you’re looking for an AR-15 scope that comes with all the bells and whistles, it’ll be difficult. The Bushnell AR Optics 1-4X24 Drop Zone-223 is one of the AR-15 scopes that doesn’t come with anything flashy. However, it definitely has grit when it comes to performance.

5. Leapers UTG 3-12X44

Specifications

  • Color: Black
  • Reticle: Mil-Dot
  • Finish: Matte
  • Tube Diameter: 30 mm
  • Weight: 23.1 oz
  • Attachment/Mount Type: Picatinny
  • Adjustment Click Value: 0.25 in at 100 yds
  • Reticle Focal Plane: Second Focal Plane (SFP)

Features

The Leapers UTG 3-12X44 is incredibly affordable, compact, and comes with a bunch of great features. This is perhaps why it’s the preferred choice of scope for many AR-15 shooters. This nifty little scope has never failed to put a smile on most shooters’ faces.

The Leapers UTG 3-12X44 is widely advertised to come with an adjustable objective (AO). You might think that this is too good to be true for a scope at this price point. You are right. Instead of coming with an AO, it comes with a side wheel adjustable turret (SWAT) for parallax and focuses correction.

Essentially, the SWAT serves the same purpose as the AO. As such, you won’t have anything to worry about for that matter. Furthermore, the side focus is the 3rd turret located on the left side of the scope’s body. This turret is easily adjustable from 10 yards to infinity.

Normally, you won’t come across anything like this, but the Leapers UTG 3-12X44 comes with lockable and re-settable turrets. This is something that’s pretty rare for an AR-15 scope under $200. Usually, these lockable turrets could only be found on scopes that cost at least 3 times more!

The Leapers UTG 3-12X44 features a 300mm tube, and it ships together with flip-open caps and rings, and a stunning 36 color palette for its range estimating reticle. All of these are added bonuses for this budget buy as you won’t find anything of this sort that comes with a scope at this price.

In relation to eye relief, it falls on the short end of the stick, laying in between 303.4’. Since the scope features a wider tube body, higher magnification, and a side focus, it will definitely come with a little extra weight. The Leapers UTG 3-12X44 might be a little heavy for you if you are not used to shooting with a scope.

You will like this product if:

You want the best value. One of the major selling points of this AR-15 scope is its lockable and resettable turrets that you could generally find on scopes that cost at least 3 times more. Along with its wider tube body and higher magnification, this is a bargain hard to beat.

You want to shop with confidence. If you worry about manufacturer defects, the Leapers UTG 3-12X44 comes with a best never rest warranty that would cover any of their manufacturer defects. As such, you won’t be exposing yourself to any risks when making a purchase.

You might not like this product if:

You want the best quality control. Some users have complained about the Leapers UTG 3-12X44’s slightly poorer quality control as compared to others. However, with a scope of this price, a few defective models are definitely going to get past quality control. Nonetheless, you have nothing to worry about thanks to UTG’s best never rest warranty.

6. Barska 1-4X28 SWAT AR

Specifications

  • Color: Black
  • Reticle: Illuminated Red / Green Mil-Dot
  • Finish: MatteTube
  • Diameter: 1 in
  • Weight: 16 oz
  • Attachment/Mount Type: Cantilever Mount
  • Adjustment Click Value: 0.25 in at 100 yds
  • Reticle Focal Plane: Second Focal Plane (SFP)
  • Included Accessories: Dual Cantilever Ring Mount, Flip-Up Scope Covers, Lens ClothW/E Travel at 100 Yds: 50 MOA
  • Adjustment Type: MOA
  • Illumination Color: Green, Red

Features

The manufacturer – Barska is known to produce nothing but great optics at an affordable price tag so everyone could enjoy shooting/hunting outdoors. The Barska 1-4X28 SWAT AR is essentially the beginner’s introduction to using an LPVO, and it remains as one of the most affordable options in its lineup.

In relation to the scope’s reticle, the Barska has specifically designed it to be laser-etched onto the glass for maximum performance. You won’t be getting your hands on a laser-etched reticle on a scope under $200.

In addition, the Barska 1-4X28 SWAT AR features fully multi-coated optics that come with waterproof and fog proof features. As such, you won’t have to put your hunting/shooting to a pause just because the weather starts turning unfavorable.

Furthermore, the Barska 1-4X28 SWAT AR is extremely compact and lightweight being only 10’ long and weighing a mere 16 oz. As such, this AR-15 scope is going to be a great CQB scope as you will be able to swiftly move around without any excess weight and length from the scope.

From the above description, you might think that we’ve made a mistake by including something out of budget due to the scope’s amazing features. However, you’ve got it wrong. The Barska 1-4X28 SWAT AR is even one of the most affordable options on this review (it costs less than $150!). So there’s great news for you.

You will like this product if:

You want something compact. The Barska 1-4X28 SWAT AR is perhaps one of the most compact and lightweight AR-15 scope on the market weighing at a mere 16 oz and measuring at only 10’ in length! You won’t have any problems moving around with this scope mounted.

You want something that doesn’t feel under $200. Honestly speaking, there aren’t many AR-15 scopes that come with a reticle that’s laser etched onto the glass as this is a pretty premium feature. That said, you have it on the Barska 1-4X28 SWAT AR so significantly enhance your shooting and aiming experience.

You might not like this product if:

You don’t want any zeroing issues. Although most users are very satisfied with the Barska 1-4X28 SWAT AR, some have complained about having reticle/zeroing issues with this scope.

7. Nikon P-Tactical 300BLK 2-7×32 Riflescope

Specifications

  • Color: Black
  • Reticle: BDC SuperSub
  • Finish: Matte
  • Tube Diameter: 1 in
  • Weight: 16.2 oz
  • Adjustment Click Value: 1/4 MOA
  • Reticle Focal Plane: Second Focal Plane (SFP)
  • Adjustment Type: MOA

Features

A brand like Nikon definitely needs no introduction as they have been producing great optics at a reasonable price for a long time. Widely recognized for being one of the best Nikon .300 Blackout scopes, the Nikon P-Tactical 300BLK 2-7×32 Riflescope would be your preferred choice as it offers a unique open circle aiming point.

Featuring increased hash-marks on limited distances (based on 115 gr bullets at approx 2280 fps), you will enjoy the elevated windage and the scope’s uniquely designed elevated turrets. Besides that, the body tube measures 1’ and comes with a spring-loaded instant zero-reset turret.

With all the features above, you know that the Nikon P-Tactical 300BLK 2-7×32 Rifle Scope will be pretty easy and straightforward to use. If you are new to scopes and optics, you won’t have an issue with using this scope.

The Nikon P-Tactical 300BLK 2-7×32 Riflescope is one of the AR-15 scopes that could make your shooting experience filled with joy thanks to its constant eye relief feature. Along with that, the scope also features a shock-proof construction which makes it way more durable against hard recoil.

Another great feature about this scope is its versatile zoom range that would bring a smile to most shooters. Moreover, the scope also offers distinctive open circle aiming points and hash marks from 100 – 600 yards. Shooting at long ranges accurately will never be as easy with the Nikon P-Tactical 300BLK 2-7×32 Rifle Scope.

You will like this product if:

You want a durable optic. Made from Nikon to be water-resistant, shockproof, and fog proof, you won’t be hiding your AR-15 scopes when it starts to rain on the shooting range or as you hunt. The shockproof feature also enhances the scope’s durability against hard recoils from your AR-15.

You are a long-range hunter. If you are looking for great clarify in a scope to shoot/hunt at ranges beyond 300 yards, the Nikon P-Tactical 300BLK 2-7×32 Riflescope would be one of the best picks as it comes with open circle aiming points and hash marks for up to 600 yards.

You might not like this product if:

You want an audible click. If you are looking for scopes that feature audible clicks, the Nikon P-Tactical 300BLK 2-7×32 Riflescope will not be able to provide you with that. That said, it is still an outstanding scope for its price and has not put a smile on most shooters’ faces.

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