Best Scope for AR 15 under $100 – 7 Top Rated Affordable Semi-Automatic Optics

Are you on a strict budget but looking for a good quality AR 15 riflescope? Our detailed review of the top picks for the best scope for AR 15 under $100 will help you find the right choice. AR rifles are built with versatility and reliability; making them a sought-after semi-automatic rifle type by many. Whether you want to use them for close- or long-range target shooting or hunting, these rifles are perfect. With a good quality AR 15 riflescope, your shooting experience will become even more exciting.

These optics don’t only improve your hooting range but also improve target accuracy and acquisition. Plus, just because they are cheap, the best AR scopes under $100 aren’t necessarily of poor quality. Therefore, you will still enjoy the same functional features you would get from a more expensive scope. You can find a wide selection of affordable AR15 scopes in the market.

So, to make it easier for you, we’ve compiled our list of the 7 best affordable AR 15 scopes for this year – to help you find the right option for your needs. Plus, if you are struggling to make the right choice, let our detailed buying guide walk you through to find the ultimate options. Happy shopping!

1. BARSKA 3-9×40 Compact Contour IR 4A Mil Plex Riflescope

If you are looking for a hunting or target practice riflescope, the BARSKA riflescope is what you need. Featuring a compact design, the riflescope is lightweight and easy to handle. The compact construction also makes the riflescope ideal for travel.

The compact riflescope is built with a 40mm objective lens and a magnification range of 3-9x to make it perfect for both short and mid-range applications. This magnification range doesn’t compromise too much on the field of vision whilst allowing you to view at a distance of up to 1000 yards.

Its illuminated 4A mil-plex reticle on the other end allows you to capture your target in different lighting conditions without compromising accuracy. Furthermore, the riflescope is designed with a long eye relief which makes it ideal for close range applications.

Its extra rigid shockproof construction handles help to reduce recoils which, in turn, allow you to use them for longer periods without any fatigue. For added durability and ruggedness, the riflescope housing features a waterproof and fog proof construction. The riflescope for AR 15 also comes with a set of 7/8″ Picatinny and Weaver-style rings with built-in scope caps for lens protection and a lens cleaning cloth.


  • 3-9x magnification and long eye relief facilitates short to mid-range shooting applications
  • Rigid construction reduces coils
  • Offers a field of view of 12.5 to 37.7 feet at 1000 yards
  • The lightweight construction of 14.81 ounces for easy handling


  • Not ideal for long range applications

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2. BARSKA AO IR Blackhawk Rifle Scope

A built-in sunshade edge of the BARSKA Blackhawk Riflescope helps to reduce glare during daytime shooting. Built with a 32mm lens and 3-9x magnification range, the riflescope offers pinpoint accuracy and superior durability.

Furthermore, the hunting and target shooting scope feature ¼ moa click adjustments for enhanced accuracy. An illuminated red and green mild-dot reticle comes with up to 5 different levels of brightness; allowing you to fine-tune the reticle for maximum performance in a range of lighting conditions.

Additionally, the scope lens features a multi-coated design which helps to improve their viewing capacity. On either side of the scope are flip-up scope caps which provide extra protection to the lens. External locking knobs for windage and elevation help to prevent accident knob adjustments.

Whilst the riflescope boasts a great range and viewing field, it also features a robust construction. Filled with nitrogen gas, the riflescope housing is fog proof – allowing it to withstand rapid temperature changes. Additionally, the scope housing is waterproof and shockproof.
nough, the scope also comes with a powerful and wide magnification power of 25-125x to cater to different viewing applications.


  • External windage and elevation locking knobs to prevent accidental adjustments
  • Built-in sniper sunshade edge to reduce glares during daytime application
  • ¼ MOA windage and elevation adjustment with turret clips for added accuracy
  • Up to 5 levels of brightness adjustments for use in different lighting conditions


  • Eye relief is not as long

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3. TRUGLO TRU-BRITE 30 Series Illuminated Tactical Rifle Scope

For added value to your investment, the TRUGLO TRU-BRITE Riflescope comes with a free monolithic aluminum scope mount with single piece 30mm rings. The tactical scope is fitted with a 42mm objective lens and boasts a magnification range of 3-9x.

Additionally, it also comes with dual removable BDC target turrets in .223 and .308 calibers. With a generous 4-inch eye relief, the riflescope delivers great accuracy. Furthermore, the riflescope features a reticle that can be used in black without illumination to give you a target range of up to 600 yards.

However, the riflescope also boasts an illuminated duplex mil-dot center design; allowing you to use it under different lighting conditions. Its mil-dot reticle allows the user to determine the distance of sized targets and offers a quick trajectory and wind drift aiming references, in fact, the reticle can be calibrated at 8x magnification.

The glass-etched reticle can be adjusted using a smooth rotation rheostat. Furthermore, the tactical cope features a single piece aircraft grade aluminum tube fabrication with water-, shock-, and fog-proof performance.


  • The target range of up to 600 yards with reticle on black with no illumination
  • Comes with a free scope mount
  • Dual colored illuminated reticle allows you to use it in different light conditions
  • Long eye relief for added accuracy


  • It’s a little heavy

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4. UTG 3-9X32 1″ BugBuster Scope

Featuring a single inch aluminum tube construction, the UTG BugBuster Scope delivers great strength and ruggedness. The aluminum tube is filled with nitrogen and completely sealed; making the scope fog proof, rainproof, and shockproof.

Its 32mm objective lens is emerald coated for viewing clarity with maximum light transmission. Furthermore, the riflescope boasts an innovative EZ-TAP illumination enhancing system. This illumination system comes with a red/green dual color mode and a 36 multi-colored mode; allowing you to use the scope in a wider range of lighting conditions.

To make it easy and accurate to set up the right color mode, the scope is designed with a 1-click high tech illumination memory. The illumination memory feature allows you to get back to the color/brightness setting that was last used.

To guarantee target accuracy, the scope features premium zero lockable and zero resettable target turrets with precise ¼ MOA click adjustment. Additionally, a range estimating mil-dot reticle allows for superior aiming and shooting performance. Its large viewing angle and long eye relief on the other end allow for maximum critical CQB mission.


  • 2-inch sunshade to reduce glare
  • Flip open lens caps for lens protection
  • Red/green and multi-color modes for use in a wider range of lighting conditions
  • Emerald coated lens for viewing clarity with optimal light transmission


  • Shockproof functionality is not as reliable

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5. UTG 4-16X44 30mm Scope

Built with a 30mm aluminum tube, the UTG 30mm Scope is stronger and tougher. The 30mm tube offers more room for elevation adjustment whilst accommodating better depth and higher viewing magnification. Therefore, for long range applications, this is a perfect scope.

To complement the 30mm tube, the scope features a 4-16x magnification for long range applications. Its quick power selector ring on the other end makes zooming in and target acquisition easier. In fact, it also features a 1-click technology that provides quick access to your go-to color and brightness in the reticle.

To match its powerful performance, the 30mm tube is filled with nitrogen and fully sealed for superior waterproof, shockproof, and fog proof performance. Its emerald coated 44mm lens improves viewing clarity with optimum light transmission. To accommodate all weather and lighting conditions, the scope is designed with the innovative EZ-TAP illumination enhancing system.

The illumination system gives you the option of red/green in dual color mode and up to 36 colors in multi-color mode. For maximum accuracy, the scope features premium zero lockable and zero resettable target turrets with precise ¼ MOA per click adjustment. It also features a side wheel adjustable turret for parallax adjustment from 10 yards to infinity.


  • Built-in integral sunshade for reduces sun glare
  • 4-16x magnification range for long range applications
  • Quick power selector rings allow for easy magnification and perfect target acquisition
  • 1-click technology offers memory access to color and brightness in the reticle


  • The scope is a little heavy and bigger

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6. Sightmark Core Tx 8.5-25x50MR Marksman Riflescope

Sigthmark Core Marksman Riflescope is fitted with a fully multi-coated lens which delivers optimal light transmission in a wide range of conditions. This, in turn, provides exceptional edge-to-edge viewing. The riflescope also features an etched glass reticle with red/green color mode which enhances shot placement whilst withstanding usage for long periods.

Their exposed and lockable turrets on the other end improve your shooting experience by maintaining a constant zero. Nevertheless, they are still easy to adjust for quick adjustability; compensating for bullet drop and fly windage. Its MOA scale provides ranging targets for precise use.

This makes the riflescope perfect for long range applications. Furthermore, the marksman riflescope also features a second focal plane reticle. With this design, the reticle size is perfect for viewing at any magnification.

In the exterior of the riflescope, you will still enjoy excellent durability, the scope features a durable 30mm aluminum tube housing for exceptional strength and ruggedness. The hard-anodized aluminum housing is fully sealed and nitrogen filled for shockproof, fog proof, and waterproof finish. Its easy-to-access side focus adjustment allows for parallax adjustment.


  • Fully multi-coated optics for increased viewing clarity
  • Aircraft grade single piece aluminum housing with hard anodized finish
  • Lockable and exposed turrets maintain a consistent zero
  • Side focus adjustment for parallax removal


  • Issues with durability

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7. Firefield Tactical Adjustable Objective IR Riflescope

The Firefireld Tactical Adjustable Objective IR Riflescope is built with a 42mm multi-coated lens which delivers increased viewing clarity thanks to the superior light transmission. With the lens’s anti-reflective coatings, the riflescope offers reduced reflected light for better contrast, resolution, contrast, and color fidelity.

The anti-reflective coating also reduces reflections, light scattering, and glare. Its 4-16x magnification range on the other end makes the scope great for a wide range of applications. These include hunting, airsoft, and tactical applications.

In fact, the riflescope is designed for easy adjustability of variable magnification. Additionally, the riflescope is fitted with a red/green illuminated mil-dot reticle. The mil-dot reticle provides proper range estimation to help the distance between the target and the reticle in low/poor lighting conditions.

Furthermore, the scope allows you to use the reticle in a range of states. You can use it in black, red, or green illumination states. The red and green illumination states offer 5 different levels of brightness to accommodate a variety of lighting and weather conditions. The scope boasts a magnification ring that allows you to easily adjust it to the desired settings.


  • Illuminated reticle enhances visual distinction between the target and reticle in low light conditions
  • Up to 5 brightness levels for red and green modes to cater to different weather/light conditions
  • The adjustable objective lens design
  • Second focal plane reticle to accommodate long range applications


  • Turret caps become loose over time

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How To Choose The Best Scope for AR 15 under 100

When choosing the best scope for AR under 100, you want to pay attention to the features it offers. This ensures that you pick the best option for your needs. Even though you are choosing cheaper priced riflescopes, it doesn’t mean that quality will be compromised.

After all, high prices don’t necessarily mean high quality. However, you have to accept that whilst affordable AR 15 riflescopes offer the basic and key features, you will not enjoy extra and add-on features such as superior quality glass lenses or night vision mode. You can however find separately sold affordable night vision scopes.

Magnification Range

When choosing the ideal riflescope for a AR 15 rifle, you want to pay attention to the magnification range. For a smoother transition from low power variable optics, you want to choose the ideal magnification range. It all depends on what you want to use the rifle for.

However, the magnification range is an important factor to consider when choosing tactical riflescopes. You also want to pair it with the lens size. A larger objective lens size offers a clearer and crispier viewing capacity. Similarly, a wider magnification range offers clearer viewing at longer ranges. This means that for long range applications, you want a larger objective lens and magnification range and vice versa.

You can also choose to pick between a fixed or variable magnification scope. A fixed one doesn’t offer as much flexibility thus, you want to choose it if you are using it for specific applications. Yet, this scope type is more durable. A variable scope on the other end is more flexible and allows for faster and easier target acquisition.

Typically, for AR 15 hunting, a magnification range of 1-6x or 3-9x is ideal, depending on your hunting preferences. Alternatively, for added versatility, a riflescope with a magnification range of 2.5-10x is a good portion.

Objective Lens

Just because you are on a budget, it doesn’t mean that you should get a cheaply made plastic lens. After all, a properly working lens is what determines the functionality of your riflescope. Typically, you want to opt for a scope built with a glass lens. Look out for emerald or multi-coated lenses to ensure clear viewing as they promote optimal light transmission in different lighting conditions.


Never opt for riflescopes made out of plastic – always opt for aluminum constructed housing. Aluminum riflescope housings deliver increased strength, ruggedness, and durability. You will have a choice of single-inch and 30mm tubes. 30mm scope tubes are stronger and allow for better elevation adjustment. When paired with the right lens, they offer a better depth of field even at higher magnifications.

The downside to these types of scope tubes is that they tend to be bigger and heavier. Additionally, they are costly. Due to their heavy duty design, they may not be the best option for short range applications. So, for long range shooting and hunting, these types of riflescopes are better.

Reticle Type

There are several types of reticles. These include illuminated reticle, DC reticle, duplex reticle, and mil-dot reticle.  Generally, for people looking for all-around usage, illuminated reticles are a perfect option. This is because scopes designed with illuminated reticles improve functionality in low light conditions. So, if you want to enjoy AR 15 varmint hunting, these types of riflescopes are ideal. For beginners, red/green dot reticle scopes are ideal as they are easy to use.


Illuminated reticles are designed to glow thus, improving viewing clarity, even in low light conditions. Depending on the scope design, you will have the option to adjust the color and brightness when using illuminated reticles.


A BDC reticle is a basic crosshair reticle that features dots or marks. These marks are what align it to a specific range. BDC allows you to figure out the corresponding range to the marking; for bullet drop compensation. The advantage that comes with this reticle is that you can change the range whilst still aiming at your target without any loss of accuracy.


The duplex reticle features a simple design and offers less obstruction when it comes to viewing. In the reticle, the crosshairs narrow down to thin lines as you get to the center. This allows for increased target viewing. However, the reticle limits range changing when you are viewing your target.


A mild-dot resembles a BDC reticle. However, instead of crosshairs, it has a large circle for its focal point. It can be quite complex to use as a beginner, but when used to it’s quite reliable.

Focal Plane

In addition to choosing the reticle type, you also want to look at the focal plane. There are two types of focal planes which include the first focal plane and the second focal plane. The first focal plane reticle enlarges and shrinks as the magnification level changes.

Thus, at different ranges, you will experience different red light intensities. This type of reticle focal plane is useful for short range shooting – especially when dealing with fast moving targets.  A second focal plane reticle on the other end accommodates long range shooting applications.

Plus, it is quite cost-effective compared to a first focal plane. However, with the second focal plane, you want to ensure that the target aligns to the magnification level to keep windage and elevation stable.

Eye relief

If you want to indulge in long range targeting and shooting, you want a longer eye relief. Eye relief represents the distance between the ocular lens and the eyes. Thus, longer eye relief is great for long range applications as it strains your eyes less. It also offers a safe distance to prevent eye injury in case of recoils.


Parallax Is when the intended target doesn’t fall within the reticle focal plane.  Thus, you want to choose a riflescope that offers a precision parallax preset to adjust the reticle so it can align with the target. Doing so guarantees precision shooting.


Are Scopes For AR 15 Under $100 Any Good?

The best scopes for AR 15 under $100 are good enough. After all, expensive scopes don’t necessarily mean good quality. Whilst you will enjoy great features, in most cases, you will only the key basic features. You may have to pay more for extra features. Plus, they are a perfect option for beginners who just starting in the sport so you don’t dig deep into your pockets.

What Are The Benefits Of The Best Scope For AR 15?

Scopes for AR 15 come with a heap of benefits. These include;

  • Increases the range of your rifle
  • Increased accuracy for long range shooting
  • Improves target acquisition and shooting
  • No need for using flashlights or supplemental lighting
  • No need for target distance guesswork
  • Enhances shooter safety as you can shoot from longer distances
  • Extends hunting and shooting duration as you will experience less eye fatigue
  • Reduced ammunition usage and loss as you will experience less missed shots

How Many Types of AR 15 Riflescopes Are There?

You will find 5 common types of AR 15 scope types. These include variable power, magnification, red dot, reflex sights, and holographic sight scopes.


With the best scope for AR 15 under $100, you don’t have to worry about finding the best quality option on a tight budget. At less than $100, you can still find a riflescope that will enhance your performance in the field – whether you want a scope for hunting for large game or target shooting.

Our personal favorite option for the top pick is the BARSKA 3-9×40 Compact Contour IR 4A Mil Plex Riflescope. For long range applications, our recommended pick is the Sightmark Core Tx 8.5-25x50MR Marksman Riflescope.

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