HUNTING

Best AR Optic under 200: Get the Full Value for Your Money

Best AR Optic under 200
Rita Warfield
Written by Rita Warfield

With the increased scarcity of games to hunt, you know the importance of maximizing every opportunity that comes your way. How else can you ensure you are not missing on that apart from having a reliable scope? The best AR optic under 200 can help you get over this effectively.

AR 15 rifles are meant for both defensive operations as well as hunting missions. However, getting the right scope for these rifles at low prices is always a challenge. We are going to offer you a comprehensive guideline to ensure that getting the best AR optic for your rifle is no longer a hard hill to climb.

AR 15 Scope

We understand that the process of sorting the best AR scopes from the good can be time-consuming and labor-intensive, but it’s worth them all. To save you from reading through unsorted contents, we have reviewed the best AR 15 scopes under 200 and made a comprehensive list. To get you started smoothly, the table below outlines the choices with their most relevant features.

Our Top Picks

ProductDimensionsWeightMagnificationPrice
Bushnell
Drop Zone-223
20x7x7 inches13.6 ounces1-4xCheck price on Amazon
Redfield Revenge
2-7x34
15.5x3.9x3.3 inches13.6 ounces2-7xCheck price on Amazon
UTG
3-9x32 BugBuster
15.5x3.9x3.3 inches13.9 ounces3-9xCheck price on Amazon
Beileshi
4x32 mm
6.9x3.1x3.1 inches9.6 ounces4xCheck price on Amazon
Nikon
P-223 3-9x 40
4x15.5x3.5 inches17.1 ounces3-9xCheck price on Amazon
Primary Arms
4-16x44
17.7x4.2x4 inches26 ounces4-16xCheck price on Amazon
Bushnell
Trophy TRS-25
5.4x3.4x2.2 inches8 ounces1xCheck price on Amazon
Barska
4x32 mm IR Contour
11x4x4 inches10.4 ounces4xCheck price on Amazon

Things to Consider Before Buying

Having the right optic device on your weapon is important since it will help you to avoid unnecessary losses and achieve your goals with precision. If a scope which has features of a light weapon is mounted on a high caliber rifle, there are high chances that it will break, lose settings, and also work inconsistently. These are the factors that you should consider before choosing on the best AR 15 scope under 200 to buy.

Ruggedness

It refers to the ability of the optic device to withstand harsh and unfavorable conditions. The environment in which majority of these optic devices are meant to operate on, is harsh by all means.

Using AR Scope

Thus, it is important to have tools and gadgets that will not fail you in the event of the unfavorable conditions happening. The device should be built from quality materials that are resistant to shock as well as high recoils effects. The ability to withstand extremely low or high temperatures should also be considered before making the final decision.

Optical Quality

If your device has the ruggedness required, but the light transmission capability or its functionality is compromised due to the quality of materials used, then, it will be of no better use. The glass used should be made from quality materials and be clear enough to offer no ambiguity in the image.

The light transmission capability of the scope should be around 95% or above 90% in the worst case. Anything below that might be substandard. Check for multi-coated lenses rather than the fully coated ones.

AR Scope Optics

Image credit: goodgamehunting.com

The objective lens and the magnification should be reason enough to give clear images in both long and close range. The device should also have the capability to operate optimally under conditions of low light.

Ease of Use

A good optic device to use on your AR 15 is the one that does not require a lot of orientation or long setting periods. Some scopes come fixed with settings of up to 100 yards and thus once confirmed, they hold to the settings as if they are from the factory settings.

This saves a lot of time when you are changing weapons or batteries; in some ordinary scopes, you might be required to re-zero after removing the batteries. The device should also be easy to mount; the turret should be lock and be easy to turn.

AR Scope

Image credit: ar15.com

It should have minimal parallax error or not have at all. The eye relief should be comfortable for a shooting session without forcing you to take too much care to your face.

Magnification

The higher the magnification value, the smaller the field of view and the more closer the image will appear to be. These have the advantage of eliminating unnecessary distractions as well as offering a better view to make a shot.

In most of the cases, however, the higher the magnification, the bigger the scope and the more costly it becomes. Thus when looking for an excellent optic device for your weapon, try to strike the right balance between the magnifications, cost, and size.

AR Scope Magnification

This is not to mean that smaller scopes have lower or no magnification, but the chances of having high magnification capabilities are minimal. However, in most of the daily defensive operations and game hunting, a magnification of between 3X and 6X is enough.

Weight

The AR 15 is designed to be a lightweight rifle, and there is no need to burden it with heavy scopes. Choose the weight of your scope per the accessories installed on your gun. If a rifle is too bulky, it will have a poor aiming capability and also become hard to carry around.

AR 15 with Scope

Image credit: scopehaven.com

This may force you to look for a bipod or hanging slings to ease the weight while moving as well as when shooting. These too add to the bulk. Thus unless on special cases; lightweight scopes are always better.

Best Products on Today’s Market

The AR 15 rifles are the most popular in America and also the easiest one to acquire. Their ergonomic design, ease of use, recoil, and shooting capabilities make it very attractive. Thus, based on those factors you do not need a scope that is hard to operate or one that does not meet the aesthetic features desired on these rifles. Given below is a list of the best options for AR 15 scopes.

Bushnell Drop Zone-223 Reticle Riflescope

Price: Approx. $110Bushnell Drop Zone-223 Reticle Riflescope

Dimensions: 20 x 7 x 7 inches

Weight: 17.6 ounces

Specific features: 24mm objective lens diameter, 30 mm tube diameter, 0.1 mm click value for adjustment setting, second focal plane scope

Best use: Hunting and sport shooting

The Bushnell Drop Zone-223 Reticle Riflescope is a device that is designed for long-range shooting and has an aiming point up to 500 yards. It is also designed to be water and moisture resistant. Its lenses are purged with nitrogen and every opening fitted with O-rings.

It’s made from aluminum alloy that makes it resistant to rust and corrosion. It also does not easily get scratched. The device is expensively built to compliment even the most expensive AR 15 rifle. Its performance is uncompromised, optical precision is excellent, and its ruggedness gives it the reliability you require while out in the fields.

Despite the fact that the scope has a setting of 1x, hardly does it achieve the parallax free setting or the unlimited eye relief. Thus it is advisable to shoot with one eye closed just like in higher magnifications to avoid losing focus.

Its reticle and glass are clear; the scope maintains its focus even when magnification is changed. It’s zeroed at 100 yards.

PROS:

  • Fully multi-coated optics
  • Holds on zero well even after many shots
  • The scope has a lifetime warranty
  • Caliber specific reticle for extra precision
  • A fast focus eyepiece
 CONS:

  • The erectors caps at the bottom of the scope can prevent you from mounting it low on the rifle
  • It has no lens caps, and if you want them you have to buy from Butler Creek
  • It’s heavy compared to the majority of the scopes in this category

Related: A long scope like the Bushnell 1-4x/24 mm requires a cantilever kind of mounting system so that it maintains the stability needed for an accurate focus. Thus, to get optimum performance from the scope, it is advisable to get the CCOP MNT-1516 Mount Rings, made of aluminum because they fit well in 30 mm tubes.

Check the price on Amazon

Redfield Revenge 2-7x34mm 4-Plex Rifle Scope

Price: Approx. $130Redfield Revenge 2-7x34mm 4-Plex Rifle Scope

Dimensions: 15.5 x 3.9 x 3.3 inches

Weight: 13.6 ounces

Specific features: 0.25 MOA adjustment click rate, 16.2 mm exit pupil at 2x and 4.8 mm at 7x, windage and elevation maximum adjustment is 80 MOA, 1-inch tube size

Best use: Small game hunting

The Redfield Revenge 2-7x34mm Rifle Scope is designed for use on all shooting ranges. Though it is optimized for short to mid range shooting, it can take shots to 600 yards under optimum conditions. It is not a fragile scope, and its construction ensures that it can hold high recoil level without losing zero.

For the sake of clarity, it is worth noting that Redfield has discontinued its production, but hopefully, the mother company Leupold will reinstate its operations. However, this is no cause for alarm since there are many units already in the market and in the supply chains which are yet to be delivered to the final consumer.

A lifetime warranty backs the scope and comes with a bunch of accessories. These include: the lens covers which are corded, the lens cleaning cloth, and the instruction manual. It’s a second focal plane scope with 80 MOA settings in both windage and elevation.

Its field of view at 100 yards depends on the magnification level used. As you have noted, the scope has varying magnification levels with the lowest being 2x and the maximum being 7s. Thus, for example at 2x, its field of view is 43 feet.

PROS:

  • Water and fog resistant due to construction design and nitrogen purged optics
  • Optimum eye relief at 3.5 in
  • Fully multi-coated lens for enhanced light capture and conversion rate
  • Fast focus eyepiece
 CONS:

  • The reticle is not illuminated
  • It is not parallax free

Related: For protecting the lens from scratching, consider getting a Butler Creek Flip-Open Scope Cover. In addition, it also protects the lens from moisture, water, and dust. The advantage with this product is the capability to choose the cap that fits your tube.

Check the price on Amazon

UTG 3-9×32 BugBuster Scope

Price: Approx. $82UTG 3-9x32 BugBuster Scope

Dimensions: 8.1 x 2 x 2 inches

Weight: 13.9 ounces

Specific features: 3-9x magnification, objective lens is 32 mm, tube diameter of 1 in

Best use: Hunting and target shooting

The UTG 3-9×32 BugBuster Scope is a dual optic device with both green and a red illumination. It is fully sealed and filled with nitrogen to make it water and fog proof. It’s sturdy and is made from quality materials that make it withstand high shock levels and recoils without losing its settings.

It has an accommodating eye relief which makes it easy to use even if you have your glasses on. It has sunshades to protect the lens from excessive direct sunlight as well as reduce the glare for accurate viewing with minimal hindrances.

Its turrets are designed and made to function properly with zero or no chance of adjusting themselves by mistake. They are locking turrets and thus to adjust them you have to lift them up and turn. Resetting the scope with these knobs is easy.

The scope has parallax-free viewing from 3 yards up to infinity. Thus, the scope can almost be termed as parallax free. This is a major contributing factor to the excellent eye relief. It has 11 brightness adjustment features.

The scope is suitable for use either during a stormy day or at dawn or dusk. If you are considering buying this scope pay close attention to reticle settings; a majority of the people complain about the alignment of the axis. A windage adjustment can cause the un-proportionate change in the elevation.

PROS:

  • Can be used in diverse lighting conditions
  • Emerald coating on the 1-inch tube
  • Mil-dot reticle for optimum aiming
  • Water and fog resistant
  • Quick target acquisition
  • It holds zero well even after installing and reinstalling severally
 CONS:

  • The reticle illumination does not stand out on a bright sunny day
  • The objective lens rotates to adjust for parallax
  • The instructional manual is not tailored to specific brand but meant to serve more than one optic brand

Related: For convenient use of the scope and the iron sights, you will require a low mounting rail to avoid raising the scope too high. Among the options to consider for a rail is the UTG Tactical Low Profile Rail Mount, made from aluminum.

Check the price on Amazon

Beileshi 4x32mm Triple Illuminated Rapid Range Rifle Scope

Price: Approx. $60Beileshi 4x32mm Triple Illuminated Rapid Range Rifle Scope

Dimensions: 6.9 x 3.1 x 3 inches

Weight: 9.6 ounces

Specific features: Its objective lens is 32 mm, matte finish, 7 degrees field of view, metal housing, 30 mm tube diameter, 2.5-inch eye relief, a field of view of 36 feet at around a 100 yards, and an 8 mm exit pupil

Best use: Hunting and target shooting

The Beileshi 4×32 Rapid Range Rifle Scope is built to offer quality and efficiency. Its reticle is fixed at 100 yards but with the capability of ranging out up to 600 yards. It has quick target acquisition features, and there are no for multiple adjustments to acquire a good positioning.

Its reticle is illuminated, and it has three different colors, namely red, green, and blue. Each color has three brightness settings. It only lights the center of the reticle and eliminates any glare related disturbances.

The added advantage of having this scope is its capability to provide a crosshair even without a battery though black, but this is due to lack of light. Thus batteries are essential for laminating the reticle but not critical for its functioning. In that respect, it’s prepping, and wilderness score capability is higher than a majority of the scopes in the market.

The device is ergonomically designed, and it won’t look out of place even on expensive rifles. It’s easy to zero in and maintains its settings well above normal operations. Thus in line with your weapon, this scope won’t let you down in the middle of an assignment. It’s a CQB scope, and thus nothing has been left to luck. The knobs are very flexible and easy to adjust when a need arises.

PROS:

  • Multi-coated optics
  • Its reticle can relay a crosshair even without the batteries
  • 100% resistant from recoil shock, fog, and water
  • Comes with a fiber/optic sight
 CONS:

  • Heavy
  • Uncomfortable eye relief

Related: If you have a rifle loaded with all the accessories for efficient performance; then, it is no doubt that your weapon is getting bulky and cumbersome. To avoid getting worn out before accomplishing your mission, we recommend the CVLIFE 6- 9 Tactical Rifle Bipod to place your rifle on when shooting from stationary points. The bipod can be adjusted up or down. It has a quick mount system as well as an adapter.

Check the price on Amazon

Nikon P-223 3-9×40 Scope

Price: Approx. $174Nikon P-223 3-9x40 Scope

Dimensions: 15.5 x 4 x 3.5 inches

Weight: 17.1 ounces

Specific features: Its objective lens is 40 mm; its field of view is 11.3 feet

Best use: Hunting

The Nikon P-223 3-9×40 Matte BDC 600 is a quality built device that can take a shot at up to 600 yards. It has magnification range of 3-9x and it might not be the optimum magnification desired for a shot. Thus unless unavoidable circumstances force you, it is always to use a magnification of less than the maximum and always try taking shots at ranges of 400 yards and less.

The scope is an excellent choice for AR 15 rifles, but you will certainly need a mounting device to put the scope at the desired height and avoid contact with the tube of the gun. Its objective lens is 40mm wide, and under all consideration, this is not a small scope.

The best thing regarding this scope is the ability to lock the parallax free setting at 100 yards, just configure it and forget about it. It has an eye relief of 3.6 with maximum settings of 80 MOA on both elevation and windage settings.

It has no zero stop audible clicks, but that is excusable bearing in mind the price, that is a feature of high-end scopes, but under all other measures, the scope portrays a real value for money. It is nitrogen purged to ensure that it does not get fogged up. Every opening point is fitted with an o-ring to prevent it from moisture and water.

PROS:

  • Cover caps to protect the lens
  • The lenses are multi-coated for maximum light transmission
  • You can integrate it with the Nikon spot on program for easy and accurate shots
  • Bullet drop features to compensate for the trajectory of the bullet
  • Easy to zero the device and maintain its settings even under intensive firing session
 CONS:

  • Heavy and bulky
  • The mounting systems are sold separately

Related: In some instances, there is no second chance shooting. In such scenarios you are supposed to put all the factors into perspective. One of the elements that can distort the accuracy of a shot is glare. To curb this, you can buy Nikon Sunshade Spotting Scope. It is made from aluminum and despite reducing glare; it also protects the objective lens.

Check the price on Amazon

Primary Arms 4-16x44mm Dot Scope

Price: Approx. $160Primary Arms 4-16x44mm Dot Scope

Dimensions: 17.7 x 4.2 x 4 inches

Weight: 26 ounces

Specific features: It has different point magnification ranging from 4x to 16x. Objective lens is 44 mm, tube is 30 mm, and it is a second focal plane scope. It is 14.75 in long with 4-inch eye relief

Best use: Hunting

The Primary Arms 4-16x44mm Dot Scope is a good daytime optic device to use even under conditions of low light. It has no night time vision capabilities. It can work with or without the batteries, the only difference between the two scenarios is the lighting of the reticle where one is on, and the other is off.

Due to its magnification settings, you can switch between long and short range viewing. Its turret settings lock at every 0.25 in, and this gives it a greater accuracy. The locking aspect makes it hard to change the setting by mistake.

Its windage and elevation settings are 80 MOA. Under optimal conditions; it can take a shot up to 600 yards. It has 11 brightness settings. It can hold high recoils and shocks from high-caliber rifles.

The purchase kit consists of the scope, the cleaning cloth, the lens caps, and the instructional manual. After buying, your money is protected for one year by an unlimited warranty. During the ordering process, you will be provided with an option to select the right mount or cover that meets your taste.

PROS:

  • Water and fog resistant
  • Crystal clear images due to its large objective lens
  • Highly affordable
  • Highly rugged and built to withstand harsh weather conditions as well as intense use
 CONS:

  • No sunshade protection
  • No night vision capabilities

Related: A majority of the scopes with objective lens exceeding 40 mm can hardly fit well in a rifle with low mounts. This is due to their design and the way it is made to align with the iron sights. However, if you do not use the iron sights together with the scope, you can opt for lower mounts. UTG 30mm Weaver Rings are an option to consider if you are considering getting this scope.

Check the price on Amazon

Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight Riflescope

Price: Approx. $73Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight Riflescope

Dimensions: 5.4 x 3.4 x 2.2 inches

Weight: 8 ounces

Specific features: Objective lens diameter is 25 mm, uses a red dot, it’s parallax free, 3-MOA dot, 2.4 in long, tilted front lens

Best use: Patrols, home defense, and hunting

 The Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight Riflescope is built for the extremely unfavorable conditions like low light, moving targets, harsh weather conditions, for example, rainfall and fog and more. Under all those situations an ordinary riflescope will have difficulty sighting well and relay the correct information.

However, this scope is engineered with amber, bright optics that has been filled with nitrogen to ensure that it gathers as much light as possible. Its construction is rigid and highly rugged to withstand high recoils and shock from heavy caliber rifles like the AK47.

You can use the device while both eyes are open and this enables you to scan a wide area range. These enable fast target acquisition as well as know what is going on in the surrounding environment.

It is an economic power consumer and the fact that it uses CR2032 batteries even makes it better. The device cannot turn on by mistake since the knob is designed to have some resistance before it switches on the equipment.

To avoid instances where people complain that the dot is not bright and crispy, only use maximum intensity settings in exceptional high light conditions. For the device to work efficiently on an ar15 rifle, you might be required to buy a riser so that it co-witnesses well with the iron sights.

PROS:

  • Unlimited eye relief and field of view
  • Fflip-up caps for lenses protection
  • It easily clamps to the mount and attach securely to the rail
  • Easy target acquisition capabilities
 CONS:

  • Battery life is not long as you can desire
  • The brightness or the power knob is hard to turn

Related: Since Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 is a low-lying rifle scope, you might require a riser to acquire optimum results when using it on an AR 15 rifle. One of the alternatives available is the UTG Hi-Profile Compact Riser Mount, made from quality aluminum metal.

Check the price on Amazon

Barska 4×32 IR Contour Riflescope

Price: Approx. $55Barska 4x32 IR Contour Riflescope

Dimensions: 11 x 4 x 4 inches

Weight: 10.4 ounces

Specific features: Objective lens diameter is 32 mm, 1-inch tube diameter, 3.3-in eye relief, 0.25 impact point correction for elevation and windage, flip up lens caps

Best use: Hunting and short range shooting games

The Barska 4×32 IR Contour Riflescope has an illuminated reticle by various colors like green, black, and red. Green, as usual, is most suited for daytime conditions and red is good for low light conditions. These settings in respect to color brightness are selected using a dedicated side turret.

The scope is ideal for close range sighting due to the low magnification and long eye relief. It is well designed for use in rifles, pistols, and even crossbows. It can stand high recoils due to its rigid construction thus it won’t lose zero if used on shotguns and pistols. It’s made from corrosion-resistant aluminum metal.

The lenses are filled with nitrogen to make them more resilient to moisture build up, and the waterproof housing enhances its capability. Its field of view is 31.5 meters at 100 yards. It’s an excellent choice for hunters since it combines both innovation and performance to improve its functionality in respect to ruggedness, dependability, and craftiness.

A lifetime warranty protects the purchase of this device. When you order this gadget, you will get a Picatinny mount, rings, battery, flip covers, and a cleaning cloth. To ensure that the scope aligns well with your iron sights you might require a riser.

PROS:

  • The tube has a built-in sunshade to reduce glare when using it on sunny days
  • Weather resistant housing
  • The optics are fully coated for enhanced brightness and clarity
  • Fog and waterproof
 CONS:

  • The eye relief is not long enough
  • Not parallax free

Related: Sighting in an optic device or a rifle can get costly especially if you use ammunition to zero your devices. It is advisable to buy bore sighters to help you zero in your optics cheaply and efficiently to save much on those costs. One of the options on these bore sighters is the P2M In-Chamber Laser Bore Sight, made from high-quality aluminum.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrap Up

Price is oftentimes the primary determinant factor of what we end up ordering. The selection process of a good scope even gets harder if you are purchasing for a specific rifle like the Ar-15 especially if you want to get it right the first time.

Getting the best AR optic is easy as long as you look for it in relevant stores. The above-reviewed brands are best in their respect since they optimize their efficiency based on different factors. Thus, all of them hold the same weight, and none can be said to be better than other based on cumulative features. But based on price differentiations you will have better choices.

Do you think we have missed to highlight some of the best AR scopes in the market? Tell us all about your favorite models. The comment section is down below!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rita Warfield

Rita Warfield

Fully passionate about the outdoors and totally committed to a life of exploration and learning, Rita is the perfect guide when it comes to choosing the right gear for your adventures. She gathered years of practical experience in testing her survival skills and knowledge in a wide range of difficult situations but she is also a passionate mountain climber. Even more, Rita loves hunting, she knows her way around a weapon, and she doesn’t back off in a difficult situation.