Scopes for AR-15 platform weapons come in all shapes, sizes, and price brackets. In the mid-to-top end of the price range, some optics will put a large hole in your wallet.
However, sometimes the opposite is also true. To prove this point, we will take a good look at 8 of the best scopes for AR-15 under $100.
Our list includes some firm, well-established favorites, along with models from manufacturers of repute. As will be seen, you do not have to spend a small fortune on a scope that will improve your AR-15 shooting experience.
An informed choice will mean money well-spent…
It would be wrong to say that scopes under $100 come with the bells and whistles of higher-end models. The question is: Do you need all of these features?
When it comes to certain types of hunting, home/self-defense, target shooting, and plinking, a quality sub-$100 scope can do the job.
With this fact in mind, let’s get started with the…
Top 8 Best Scopes For AR-15 Under $100 in 2023
1 Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight Riflescope – Most Popular Scope For AR-15 under $100
In our introduction, we mentioned manufacturers of repute, and Bushnell is certainly that. It is a renowned optics manufacturer that offers quality products at prices to please.
A red dot sight to be reckoned with…
The Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 red dot riflescope sight is a worthy consideration. It offers excellent value for any shooter looking at a range of best scopes for AR-15 under $100.
Coming in a matte black finish, it is of durable metal construction and built to withstand shock. There will also be no worries about shooting in inclement weather. This quality red dot scope is nitrogen purged, and O-ring sealed to give water and fog-proofing abilities.
You can then add the fully multi-coated lenses, which are designed to give a crisp, clear image view.
It is a red dot sight that will mount easily on the vast majority of picatinny/1913 and weaver rails. This means compatibility with pistols, rifles, shotguns, and muzzleloaders.
A point to note: Due to rapid target acquisition and unlimited eye relief, many would say this red dot sight is best suited to handguns. However, it can still be mounted effectively on an AR-15 rifle with a flat top receiver. All that is required is the Hi-Riser Block installed to raise the sight. Once mounted, you can co-witness the red dot and your iron sights.
Easy, flexible use
This red dot enclosed reflex sight includes a 3 MOA Dot reticle with elevation/windage adjustments in 1 MOA clicks. True 1x magnification and a 25mm aperture are also yours along with 11 easy-access brightness settings. Due to the already mentioned unlimited eye relief, this means that ‘both eyes open’ shooting is possible.
The benefits of this very well-priced red dot are seen in its application flexibility. Whether you are out in the woods hunting smaller prey, spending a day at the range, or pitting your plinking skills against friends, this scope is up to it.
The huge number of Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 red dot sights sold shows it is a favorite choice for shooters. However, there have been regular comments on quality control issues. This is relating to such things as sub-standard red dot illumination, questionable construction, and problems holding zero.
While such issues affect only a small number of TRS-25 models released, you do have a safety net. This scope is covered by a Bushnell 1-year warranty, which means quick replacement is an option.
- Very popular model.
- Well-priced for what is offered.
- 3 MOA Dot reticle
- True 1x magnification.
- Unlimited eye relief.
- 1-year warranty.
- ‘Batch’ Quality control issues have been seen.
- Low profile on AR-15 rifles (although a Hi-Riser block can solve this).
2 Bushnell Banner Riflescope – Best Hunting Scope For AR-15 under $100 for Dawn and Dusk Shooting
We stick with Bushnell to take a look at their Banner 3-9×40 riflescope.
We are well aware that not all hunters have large amounts of money to spend on scopes. This should not prevent anyone from buying an optic that will enhance their pursuits. Behold, the Bushnell Banner 3-9×40 riflescope!
It is a well-constructed one-piece design and finished in a matte black coating. Due to it being 100% water, fog, and shock-proof, it will also withstand the rigors and robust use of hunting.
For the price, it is a solid hunting choice…
You get between 3-9x variable magnification, a 40mm objective lens, and a Multi-X reticle. It is 13 ounces in weight, 12-inches high, and offers between 6 inches and 3.3 inches of eye relief. Field of view examples over magnification are: (based on 100 yards): 40-feet @ 3x and 14-feet @ 9x. As for exit pupil values, you get 13.3mm @ 3x and 4.4mm at 9x magnification.
Thanks to the fast-focus eyepiece, you will rapidly acquire targets while ease of adjustment is also yours. This comes through the scope’s fingertip 1/4 MOA windage and elevation adjustability feature.
The dawn and dusk advantage…
Bushnell’s multi-coated lenses come with a DDB feature. This stands for Dusk and Dawn Brightness.
But what does that mean for you? As all hunters know, the larger game is often found in edge shadows of various terrain. They also like to graze during those dusk and dawn periods.
The clarity received from this scope will ensure good sighting, ease of tracking, and ethical kill-shot accuracy.
- A solid choice for hunting.
- Robust, durable.
- 100% water, fog, shock-proof.
- Good magnification and objective lens sizes.
- Fast focus eye-piece.
- Performs well during dawn and dusk hunting.
- Some may want a better reticle.
- No parallax adjustment turrets.
- The objective lens is non-adjustable.
3 UTG 3-9×32 1″ BugBuster Scope, AO, RGB Mil-Dot, QD Rings – Best Hunters Scope For AR-15 under $100
The best scopes for AR-15 under $100 do not come much better than this Leapers UTG BugBuster model.
The UTG BugBuster is built on a Leapers True Strength (TS) Platform and will take whatever is thrown at it. Shooters will find this scope is completely sealed as well as nitrogen filled to ensure shock, fog and waterproof abilities.
Built on a proven construction platform…
What is the TS Platform? It is a long-established and innovative signature scope construction platform. The major feature to note is the inclusion of a Smart Spherical Structure (SSS). This works by controlling long-lasting, reliable joint-like interaction between the inner and outer scope tubes.
The result is that these interactions maintain precise and responsive windage and elevation adjustments over the life of the scope. This build platform has been tested above and beyond the call of duty for over a decade now. You can be assured of reliability regardless of the recoil your weapon comes with.
Find your prey in the densest of foliage…
Avid hunters who thrive when it’s time to get ‘down and dirty’ will appreciate this scope. The design is a 1-inch tube construction, and the lens has an emerald coating to give maximum light transmission.
Among the useful features on-offer, you have dual red and green illumination options. This can be changed to suit your environment and works to increase prey spotting, even in the thickest of foliage.
This next feature cannot be dismissed: Normally only found on much higher-priced optics, you will benefit from the included premium zero lockable and resettable turrets. These are finger-adjustable and come with 1/4 MOA per click adjustments. A large field of view is also yours, along with highly acceptable eye relief.
As for the adjustable wide-angle front objective lens, this gives impressive and unparalleled parallax free viewing from 3-yards to infinity.
Ready to shoot out of the box…
This UTG BugBuster will fit on any 21mm Picatinny rail and has quick detachable rings. It also features a range estimating Mil-Dot reticle to ensure aiming and shooting performance is optimal.
Along with the purchase, you get a wide set of accessories. These include:
- Two lithium metal batteries.
- Quick-Detach (QD) Picatinny scope rings.
- A 2-inch sunshade.
- Good quality flip-open lens caps.
- 2.5 mm wrench.
- 4mm Allen wrench.
- Cleaning cloth.
- Mil-Dot chart.
- Owners manual.
For the very keen price paid, you are buying into an optic that is ready to shoot ‘out of the box.’
- Robust, reliable scope that has been proven over time.
- Built on an excellent platform.
- Parallax-free viewing.
- Wide-angle, adjustable objective lens.
- Red and green laser functionality.
- A great choice for hunters.
- Includes accessories.
- Comes with a Leapers lifetime warranty.
- Ergonomically not the best, nor prettiest.
- Due to its popularity, beware of counterfeits shipped directly from China.
4 Barska 3-9x42mm Contour Rifle Scopes – Most Durable Scope For AR-15 under $100
The quality just keeps on coming. This Barska model offers a very nice reticle and features galore.
A rugged, dependable scope…
This Barska infra-red contour riflescope offers between 3 and 9x magnification and a 42mm objective lens. Of monotube construction, it offers a tube diameter of one inch and a design built with rugged hunting applications in-mind. Shooters will also appreciate the good image quality received from the fully coated optics.
This scope is water, fog, and shockproof, and is ready to perform under any conditions you find yourself in. With a design centering around technical precision and advanced illumination technology, this tells us one thing. It is a very good choice for all-weather or low-light shooting conditions.
Many will appreciate the reticle…
Dimension-wise, this Barska riflescope is 9.8-inches long, 2.375-inches wide, 2.5-inches high, and weighs in at 16 ounces. It also offers an acceptable 3.9-inch eye relief.
In terms of the reticle, you get a quality 4A Mil-Plex illuminated IR red reticle. This sits in the SFP (Second Focal Plane). The scope also comes with adjustable range and trajectory features to aid target acquisition and shooting accuracy.
Powered by a CR2032 3V Lithium battery, some other specifications to note include:
- The exit pupil is between 4.6-14mm.
- Linear FOV (Field of View) @ 100 yards is between 12.5-36.7-feet.
- Adjustments are MOA.
- Adjustment click value is 0.25-inches (1/4) @ 100 yards.
- Turret style is capped BDC.
Included accessories and a warranty to be aware of…
This Barska 3-9x42mm Contour IR riflescope model certainly offers value. Along with the scope, you get 2 Weaver Rings, 2 Lens Caps, a lens cloth, and the mentioned CR-2032 Battery.
The purchase also comes with the Barska limited lifetime warranty.
- Robust, solid construction.
- Illuminated IR red reticle.
- All-weather/low-light shooting.
- Acceptable eye relief.
- Barska limited lifetime warranty.
- Right at the top end of your $100 budget.
5 BSA Optics Sweet 22 3-9x40mm Scope – Best .22LR Scope For AR-15 under $100
This BSA model is attractively priced and fits very easily into the best scopes for AR-15 under $100 category. Having said this, shooters who have purchased it are sometimes split between the ‘excellent value’ and ‘there are better’ camps. See for yourself what it offers.
Calibrated specifically for .22 LR ammo…
The BSA Sweet 22 model is a good option for shooters whose ammo choice is .22 LR. You will find three ballistically calibrated rapid change turrets for 36-gram, 38-gram, and 40-gram cartridges.
It weighs 22.3 ounces, measures 12.2-inches in length, and 1.5 inches in both width and height. This is a non-illuminated, 1-inch tube diameter scope with fully coated lens, with lens covers included.
It offers 3-9x magnification, along with an adjustable 40mm objective lens. The benefits of this flexible, adjustable objective lens are clear. It means you can adjust target light and brightness to suit your preference and environment. There is also a 30/30 reticle included.
Good for small or large game hunting…
With a black finish, shooters will find the BSA Sweet scope is made from acceptably durable aluminum. Further benefits in this respect come with its water, shock, and fog proof abilities. The design also means it will fit all standard Weaver-style rails.
FOV (Field Of View) is narrow to ensure ease of targeting, and wind/elevation adjustments can be made by hand. This scope will withstand rugged use and is seen as an acceptable choice for hunting small or large game.
A point on eye-relief…
The scope offers just 3 inches of eye relief. This means extra care and a very firm grip are required when firing. ‘Scope Eye’ injury must be avoided.
- Designed for .22 ammo.
- Three quick caliber change turrets.
- Good choice for small or large prey hunting.
- Low price.
- Issues with the reticle regularly mentioned.
- Adjustable objective lens may take some getting used to.
- Majority of shooters will want more.
6 Truglo 4x32mm Compact Rimfire and Shotgun Scope Series – Best All Round Scope For AR-15 under $100
Price-wise, the finest AR-15 scopes under $100 do not come much better than this Truglo offering.
For the price offered, you should not expect excessive features from this model. Indeed, in many cases, a straightforward, no-nonsense scope is what many are after. This compact Truglo scope certainly sits in that category.
A straightforward scope…
It is a reasonable choice for training and/or general-purpose ranch use. As the model name suggests, it is designed for rimfire and shotgun use. Magnification is 4x, and the objective lens comes in at 32mm.
You have a choice of black or Realtree Xtra finish and two reticle types. The duplex reticle model comes with 3/8-inch scope mounting rings that are good for rimfire and air rifles. The Diamond reticle models have been specially designed for those shooters who go hunting with a shotgun. This reticle is effective when hunting prey, such as turkey and deer.
While prices differ depending upon the finish/model chosen, they still come in well under the $100 mark.
Features to be aware of…
This compact scope measures 6 inches in length, 0.5-inches in width and height, and weighs in at 1 lb. It has a durable, scratch-resistant, non-reflective matte finish along with fully-coated lenses. These lenses afford shooters sufficient brightness, clarity, and contrast.
For most, it will offer acceptable eye relief and also comes with a rubber eye guard for added protection. Those looking for an easy to mount, easy to use, and acceptably reliable scope should appreciate this Truglo 4x32mm optic.
- Straightforward scope.
- Good for training/ranch use.
- Compact design.
- Choice of reticle.
- Choice of color finish.
- Well within $100 budget.
- Many shooters will want more.
7 Centerpoint Optics 1-4×20 MSR Rifle Scope – Best 250 Yard Scope For AR-15 under $100
Our best quality scope for AR-15 under $100 focuses firmly on a good quality offering from Centerpoint Optics.
Good choice for shooting to the 250-yard range…
This Centerpoint scope, in terms of design, may not be the newest kid on the block. However, it will suit AR rifle users wanting ease of targeting and accuracy up to 250 yards. Coming with a between 1-4x magnification and a 20mm objective lens, it covers distances that many hunters shoot at.
Beginners to the shooting sport will also find this sort of maximum distance a good starting point. Indeed, many new to hunting can class this as an effective ‘stepping-stone’ scope. Once mastered, someone can then look to purchasing longer-distance optics.
Solid build and a quick-aim reticle…
It has been constructed to withstand the wear, tear, and recoil that your hunting activities necessitate. Built with a 1-inch diameter tube, the SFP (Second Focal Plane) glass-etched reticle is classed as ‘Quick-Aim’ and comes with a 3 MOA center dot. This reticle offers fast target acquisition. And there is also a 65 MOA ring that offers good versatility.
Eye relief is stated as a generous 4.1 inches. But some owners’ comments are worth noting. This comes from the fact that when on the 1x magnification level, eye relief is much shorter and gives a shooter difficulty in aligning with the eye box.
Having said this, at 1x magnification, you do have the ability to shoot with ‘both eyes open.’
Dual illumination and included accessories…
You get dual illumination in both red and green colors, each coming with five setting levels. If center reticle illumination is not required and is switched off, the dot remains visible while in black color.
For the acceptable price paid, you also get Picatinny rail mount rings and lens covers. From purchased comments, it would seem that this scope suits many shooters looking for close to mid-range shooting.
- Built for AR rifle use.
- Accurate out to 250 yards.
- Good choice for beginners.
- Quick Aim reticle.
- Green and red illumination, with five settings each.
- Short eye-relief at 1x magnification.
- Good quality scope, but included accessories may need upgrading.
8 Barska 1x30mm Red/Green Dot Sight – Best Short Range Scope for AR-15 under $100
We finish off our review of the top scopes for AR-15 under $100 with another Barska model.
Close quarter target acquirement and accuracy…
This scope is not designed with magnification in-mind. You get 1x magnification coupled with a 30mm objective lens. Being a dual-illuminated (red and green) dot sight, this configuration affords shooters two major benefits: rapid target acquisition and excellent accuracy in close-quarter situations.
In terms of the dual illumination feature, the scope comes with a rheostat knob. This gives ease of use in two ways:
- The reticle can rapidly be switched from red to green.
- The brightness level functionality ensures accurate targeting in different lighting situations.
Quality build, choice of mounts…
For ease of fitment, this scope has a 30mm tube diameter and is built in a very solid fashion from aluminum. This fixed scope is both fog and waterproof, while the fully coated optics provide crystal clear images.
You have the choice of two mounting options for Weaver and Picatinny rails. The first comes with one high-rise cantilever mount and one low-rise mount, the second with a mounting base. The SFP (Second Focal Plane) reticle is a 4 MOA red dot design, with the already mentioned red/green illumination choices.
Some important specs…
At 4.5 inches in length, 2.5 inches in height, and just 8 ounces in weight, this scope is powered by a CR2032 battery. Shooters will find eye relief is unlimited. As for adjustment, this is MOA with adjustment click values of 0.5 MOA. The scope is also parallax-free.
The exit pupil is 26-30mm, and your field of view is 70 feet at 100 yards (1x magnification). Included in the purchase are a CR2032 3V Lithium battery and flip-up lens covers. All-in-all, this fixed scope is particularly effective for close quarter encounters.
- Good choice for CQB use.
- Keen price for what is on offer.
- Compact, lightweight.
- Dual illumination reticle options.
- Unlimited eye relief.
- Some may want more magnification.
So, which is the Best Scopes for AR-15 under $100?
One thing is clear from our selection of best AR-15 scopes under $100. You do not need to pay a small fortune for an optic of acceptable quality.
We hope the choices provided in this review include a scope to meet both your specific requirements and your wallet. However, if pushed to make a top choice, we have to recommend the…
UTG 3-9X32 1″ BugBuster Scope, AO, RGB Mil-Dot, QD Rings
This is a robust, reliable scope that is built on an excellent platform. It has been proven over years of use and is a great choice for anyone looking at value over cost. Along with 3-9x variable magnification, you get a wide-angle adjustable objective lens and red/green laser functionality.
The fact that you get lockable and resettable turrets at this price is also a huge plus. Then top this with the included accessories and the Leapers lifetime warranty.
By doing so, you are buying into a scope that will enhance your shooting experience without causing too much damage to your wallet.