Technology often has a fantastic trickle-down effect. Anti-lock brakes used to be fully optional – now they’re standard safety features.
The same kinds of dynamics are at play in the world of AR-15 optics. You’d be surprised what you can get in an AR-15 scope under $100 – while these aren’t going to be as feature-packed as more expensive options, the truth of the matter is for a recreational shooter or someone who’s not interested in dropping half their paycheck on a new scope, rest assured – there are lots of options to consider.
That said – these scopes aren’t going to be all things to all people.
In fact, you have to be realistic about what a budget scope for an AR-15 can do – and you won’t find premium brands on this list – but if you’re going to drop your hard-earned money on a new AR-15 scope rest assured we’ve done thorough testing with experts to help ensure we can steer you in the right direction.
To find the best budget scope, we had a professional shooting instructor spend over 20 hours field-testing 18 pairs against his own $2,500 high-end rifle scope.
After using our test budget scopes in the mountains and hills of Eastern Idaho, then on a mountain trip through Montana, he found that the UTG BugBuster Scope was the best of the test group, offering performance comparable to his premium scope on a few fronts for a fraction of the price.
This means you’ll see hit more targets and spend less on gear than any of your shooting buddies. This article is part of our ongoing Guide to Everything AR.