Best AR-15 Scopes Under $100 – [2019] Top Picks Reviewed

A scope is essential to have an accurate shot, whether it is for hunting or for military purposes. With AR-15 being a semi-automatic rifle, having a scope attached can provide you with high accuracy. However, buying one can be slightly tricky.  

Make your way through this article in order to explore some of the best AR-15 scopes that sell for under $100. Although the cost is low, this does not mean you can underestimate the performance of these scopes for your AR-15.

Comparison Chart of the Best AR-15 Scopes Under $100

Product

Rating

Price

UTG 3-9X32 1" BugBuster Scope

Best Overall

Tacticon Armament Predator

Runner-up

CVLIFE 2.5 Scope

Best for the Money

Bushnell Banner 3-9X 40mm

UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope

Are All Scopes The Same?

We’d be lying if we say that all scopes are the same; they simply aren’t. Manufacturers offer multiple scopes that include the following:

  • Shotgun scopes
  • Target scopes
  • Rimfire scope
  • Centerfire scope
  • Tactical scope

All these scopes vary in the trivial features that make them different from each other. A premium scope would be an exceptional product and, therefore, highly-priced. As there is a common saying, you get what you pay for. 

A premium product will get you better low-light performance, better clarity, and a bunch of features to enhance your overall experience. Similarly, the quality construction matters the most, especially if you intend to use the scope over a period of time. 

When it comes to magnification, you’ll find two types of scopes. A variable scope lets you change the magnification setting according to your desire. On the other hand, a fixed scope lacks a variable zoom, and therefore, you can’t adjust the magnification settings. 

To put in a nutshell, a scope that perfectly mounts an AR-15 rifle and features a robust construction along with variable zoom is the favorite pick of most customers out there. 

Can You find a Quality AR-15 Scope Under $100?

Generally, equipment and attachments for rifles are expensive. However, getting a quality AR-15 scope under $100 is actually a reality. The market is in high demand for them. 

A good scope is usually equipped with a number of exceptional features to mark perfection. Of course, you won’t get all the “tacticool” features in a $100 scope. However, it does not mean it can’t provide enough. You just need to stay well-informed in order to get the model with the best value. 

Instead of fancy reticles and other top-notch features, you can simply invest your money in the ones that’ll do you fine such as quality build, clear glass, and accurate reticle. 

What to Look For When Buying a Scope

When it comes to picking the best AR-15 scopes under $100, you can’t let the expectations get too high. However, this doesn't mean you'll have to abandon all the standards.

We have summarized a few crucial features that you must look for to make a valued purchase at such a low price.

Best Magnification Range

Magnification is quite essential to achieve your shooting goals. Depending on your AR setup, you must look for a scope that has more magnification to handle more distance seamlessly.

Budget-Friendly

You can find multiple scope models under $100, and the products listed below are just some of those. It is generally recommended to opt for a model with basic features that really matter. 

UTG 3-9X32 1" BugBuster Scope

Quality Construction

Although the price range is low, you should not compromise on the quality of the scope. It needs to be strong, durable, and dependable, even under rough working conditions. Make sure your model is O-ring sealed and waterproof to ensure the scope’s internal integrity. 

Best Reticles

You need to consider this feature according to your shooting style. Whether you prefer dots or duplex crosshairs, précised shooting requires simple aiming points. Moreover, the illumination intensities are great for target spotting in low-light and shaded conditions. 

Quick Take | Best AR-15 Scopes Under $100

Before diving into our review of the best AR-15 scopes under $100, here is a quick take of our top 3 picks:

Review of the Best AR-15 Scopes Under $100

Now that we are done with the important features that you must look for while making a purchase, let’s move forward to the review of our hot-favorite models available in the market. Read on to find out the one best suited for your demands!

Pros

  • Lens offers excellent sight picture
  • Made from high-end materials to mark durability
  • Mil-dot reticle allows précised aiming and shooting
  • Comes with a great design that is appealing to look at
  • A waterproof and shock-resistant model that can endure every harsh condition

Cons

  • A bit bulky design
  • Battery door might become unscrewed
  • Eye relief feature is relatively not impressive

What Recent Buyers Report

Users have appreciated this model for a number of reasons, which is why it has made it at the top in this list. It is quite loved for its robust construction and emerald coating that ensures better picture quality. Moreover, its shock-resistance and waterproof capabilities mark its reliability, which users highly appreciated.

Why it Stands Out to Us

An extraordinary model, the UTG 3-9X32 1” BugBuster Scope mainly stands out to us for its quality construction. The attractive design is well-complemented by a black matt finish. Similarly, the adjustment knobs can be turned and clicked according to your desire. Moreover, the reticle can be illuminated with a red or green light to meet the hunting scenarios.

Who Will Use This Most

This ultimate scope is an ideal choice for hunting enthusiasts. It is equipped with the major features that come in handy for all types of hunting trips. Since it is shock-proof and water-resistant, it can be easily carried around on rough adventures. Moreover, this scope can be equally used by military men engaged in professional activities.

Bottom Line

In case you love hunting and have a large rifle, then you must get your hands on the UTG 3-9X32 1” BugBuster Scope. Its illuminated reticle ensures a bright picture in order to spot your target quite easily. Moreover, the lens is protected by the cap, while the rest of the robust construction is meant to last long.

Pros

  • Perfectly works when combined with iron sight
  • Mounting is quite easy, making it user-friendly
  • Backed by a lifetime warranty to guarantee reliability
  • Waterproof and shock-resistant, ensuring its durability 
  • Brightness can be adjusted, depending on the light conditions

Cons

  • A bulky design
  • Suitable for only 300 yards range
  • Might face some quality control issues

What Recent Buyers Report

Like our best overall model, the runner-up has also received many positive reviews from customers. Apart from its durable construction, it is highly admired for its easy installation. Since it comes with a pre-installed mount, you don’t have to struggle much. Moreover, the waterproof capabilities save the user from the expenditures of repairing and replacement.

Why it Stands Out to Us

If you want a scope with a great set of exceptional features, the Tacticon Armament Predator should not be missed. Not only does it have a compact and user-friendly design, but it is also shock-resistant. Similarly, the red or green reticle can be adjusted via a small dial. Also, this reticle can be easily combined with an iron sight to improve the overall experience. 

Who Will Use This Most 

This scope is specifically designed for shooting at smaller distances. You can take this model on hunting adventures without worry since its robust construction prevents any damage. Moreover, it is quite easy to install and, therefore, can be used by beginners as well to have the maximum fun on their hunting trip.

Bottom Line

An ultimate scope, the Tacticon Armament Predator is built to last long. The red or green reticle can be adjusted to get the required illuminance, plus it works well when combined with a backup iron sight. This easy-to-install scope is manufactured from heavy-duty materials and is therefore capable of enduring almost any rough condition.

Best for the Money:
CVLIFE 2.5 Scope

Pros

  • Mil-dot reticle to allow precise shooting
  • Equipped with a good magnification range
  • Top-notch features to provide great clarity 
  • Manufactured with high-grade aluminum to stay strong
  • Undoubtedly the most affordable scope available in the market

Cons

  • Might break if dropped
  • Relatively poor lens quality
  • Not suitable for high recoil rifles

What Recent Buyers Report

This scope has become immensely popular among the people for its attractive price and durability. It is equipped with some significant features and that too at a very affordable price tag. Moreover, it is easy to use since the reticle can be adjusted at 5 different intensities according to the surrounding conditions. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

Another amazing product, the CVLIFE 2.5 Scope boasts a reticle that can be illuminated either green or red. Moreover, its intensity can be easily adjusted to suit daytime as well as nighttime conditions. The scope is made from heavy-duty aluminum and is, therefore, quite durable. Plus, it offers a generous view of the field.

Who Will Use This Most

One of the most reasonably priced scopes; this model is a suitable option for those on a tight budget. It comes with all major features that are essential for making a great scope. It can be used by hunters as well as military men to aid them in their professional tasks.

Bottom Line

Not everybody can afford to spend tons of money on a scope; therefore, this model is ideally designed for such people. This great budget pick comes with decent optics in addition to a targeting laser that is hard to find at this price. Moreover, the reticle illumination levels can be easily adjusted to use in ambient light conditions.

Pros

  • Offers waterproof and fog-proof capabilities
  • Focus can be easily adjusted according to your desire
  • Multi-coated lens helps hunting, even in low-light conditions
  • Great magnification range to allow the user to see a clear picture
  • Robust construction prevents anything from going inside the scope.

Cons

  • Precision is not too impressive
  • The mounting system can be improved
  • Dot might turn blurry under certain light conditions

What Recent Buyers Report

Users have mixed reviews about this scope according to its performance. First of all, it is greatly admired for its high-grade construction and HD picture sight that allows easy targeting. Moreover, the focus can be easily adjusted to aid the user. Although there are some concerns over the mounting system, this scope is a great steal. 

Why it Stands Out to Us 

Another ultimate scope on the list, the Bushnell Banner is well-known for its potential performance. It is equipped with quality optics to provide quality pictures in any sort of situation. Moreover, you don’t have to worry about its durability thanks to its reliable construction. Similarly, the DDM multi-coated lenses ensure precise shooting, even in low-light conditions, to mark perfection.

Who Will Use This Most

This waterproof, fog-proof model is an ideal choice for anyone who loves to go for recreational hunting. It is meant to provide all the facilities in hunting for a long time. The optics ensure the best outcomes from your hunting adventure, plus even the weather conditions can’t cause damage to its durable design.

Bottom Line

The Bushnell Banner is packed with many exceptional features to the brim. The reticle is capable and sharp to produce great results in most types of situations. Similarly, reliable construction and multi-coated lenses allow a seamless shooting experience. You can easily focus on the prey and make a worthy shot.

Pros

  • Suitable for heavy use in all conditions 
  • Reticle does not blur even under heavy recoil
  • Accuracy can be easily maintained due to the turret
  • Made from high-quality materials to allow durability
  • Manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty to guarantee reliability

Cons

  • Wheels do not click firmly
  • Mounting is relatively difficult
  • Illuminated reticle may cause trouble at times

What Recent Buyers Report

Similar to our above-mentioned picks, this amazing scope has been well-received by most customers. They mostly like it for its accurate precision and reticle performance under all types of surrounding conditions. Some users have shown their concern over the stability of the wheels; however, the majority of them are quite impressed with this scope.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The firm and precise reticle settings aid this scope in making its way to our list. Manufactured from the best material out there, the UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope is totally waterproof and, therefore, meant to serve the user in the long run. Moreover, it comes with a special circuit to allow the maximum illumination of the reticle. Plus, it ensures uninterrupted sight assistance even during the heaviest use. 

Who Will Use This Most

Easy to use, this scope is a great option for rapid-fire. Thanks to its waterproof capabilities, you can use it even under harsh conditions during a hunting trip. Similarly, the reticle can be changed to 36 variations, making it ideal for forest hunting when the surrounding colors are hard to differentiate between. 

Bottom Line

The UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope stands out from its competitors for its personalized settings. The lens is clear and coated to prevent any scratches, plus the reticle is built to provide consistent performance even under heavy stress from the recoil. In short, this ultimate small scope is a powerhouse of features.

Aspects to Consider Before Buying

Choosing a great AR-15 scope can be a hard nut to crack, especially when you are on a tight budget. Well, we are here to help you. You can easily find the best scope for your AR-15 rifle if you keep some important factors in mind. This will not only ease the search but also bring value to your bucks.

Below are some factors you must take into consideration before picking a scope.

Lenses

The quality of the scope is undoubtedly measured by the lenses. If the lens is not good, you won’t be able to have a clear picture sight. Therefore, a great lens is quite essential for having a brighter view. Multi-coated lenses are quite popular these days in serving a sharp picture quality.

Durability

This is a concern for many people out there. Make sure to go for a model that is manufactured from high-grade materials in order to endure harsh working conditions and serve you in the long run.

Magnification

Good magnification of scope is quite essential in order to have a precise aim and shoot at your target. It is generally recommended by experts to opt for scopes featuring variable zoom to enhance your hunting experience. 

Mounting

Another crucial thing to consider is the mounting of the scope. Steady mounting is essential to work comfortably in all sorts of situations.

How to Mount an AR-15 Scope

Mounting a scope on an AR-15 rifle can be a bit annoying. Therefore, in this section, we have simplified the steps in order to ultimately have a perfectly mounted scope. Let’s get started with the step-by-step guide to reducing your odds for the error.

Preparation

The first step is to get your rifle ready and make sure it is empty and unloaded to avoid any incident. Additionally, double-check the tools you are going to need.

Add Scope Mount

Place your scope mount above the upper receiver and tighten it to make it stable. You can finish the tightening process by using a torque wrench for your complete satisfaction. 

Scope Placement

Once your scope mount is secured, it’s time to add your scope. Make sure the rings sit on the flat surface of the scope and tighten the rings.

Leveling Everything

Make sure the reticle is aligned horizontally and vertically and then place the bubble level on the scope.

Finishing

Finish the process by tightening the scope rings and make sure to tighten each side equally. Now you are ready for hunting.

Tips:

While working with the scope mounting, there are some tips to keep in mind in order to ease the task.

  • Always use a bubble level to ensure level setting
  • Do not overtighten your mount since each scope mount has a certain torque level
  • Tighten the scope rings in an X pattern 

For better clarity, check out the video below for a full overview of what was just described.

Conclusion

So far, we've discussed the different types and essential features to look for in a great AR-15 scope. Before finalizing a product, make sure you go through the buying guide in order to make a valued purchase. Hopefully, this post helped you in finding the right AR-15 scope you are looking for!