Without question, it is important to use a solid red dot sight or rifle scope when you go shooting with your AR-15. You typically won’t use your AR-15 for ranges exceeding 400 to 600 yards. Therefore, you can find many scopes and red dots at a reasonable price that offer enough zoom and magnification for those ranges.
Using a reasonably powered rifle scope or one of the affordable red dot sights will increase your shooting accuracy and precision. You might be surprised what quality and features you’ll get for these optics when you’re looking at a price point under $100.
We evaluated some of the most common scopes and sights in that price range. The list below shows our recommendations for these optics for your AR-15 that are affordable and offer quality to let you enjoy your rifle scope or sight for years to come. We’ll point out what you can expect from those optics and what they are best used for.
- 1 Best Red Dots for AR-15 under $100
- 2 Best Rifle Scopes for AR-15 under $100
- 3 What can you expect from AR-15 Scopes under $100?
- 4 Choosing the Best Scope for AR-15 under $100
- 5 Why should you consider Scopes for AR-15 under $100?
- 6 Final Thoughts on the Best AR-15 Scopes under $100
Best Red Dots for AR-15 under $100
Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot
There’s probably no list that you can find today showing any of the best red dots around that won’t have the Bushnell TRS-25 in it. It’s one of the best yet most affordable red dot sights available. And, it’s a great sight to put on your AR-15!
Bushnell did not cut corners when they designed this sight, even though you would think that a cheap optic like this will not be of great quality. Far from it!
The TRS-25 is made with aircraft-grade aluminum which makes it rugged and durable. In addition, it’s waterproof and fogproof due to the nitrogen-purged tube and the O-ring seals.
The Trophy TRS-25 comes with a 3 MOA dot size and 11 brightness settings. The sight does not have any night-vision-specific settings.
The lenses are made with high-quality clear glass. The coatings reduce any glare. What you get as a result is a clear and bright sight image in nearly all light conditions.
Elevation and windage can adjust within 70 MOA. The adjustment grade is 1 MOA per click. These are not the smallest click levels you can expect, but they are acceptable when you consider that you really won’t be able to use a non-magnifying sight for anything more than 100 yards.
It’s easy to mount the Bushnell TRS-25 for either 1/3 or absolute cowitness on your AR-15.
Overall, you’re getting an excellent red dot for your AR-15 under $100. It’s compact and small with easy adjustments and a vivid sight image.
Tacticon Armament Predator V1 Red and Green Dot Sight
The Tacticon Armament Predator V1 is another affordable optic for your AR-15. It’s a bit larger than the TRS-25, and you can switch between a red and green dot depending on your preferences and surrounding light conditions.
The sight is made by Tacticon Armament, a Veteran-owned optics company. They produce sturdy yet affordable sights.
The Predator V1 is manufactured from high-quality aluminum alloy. It’s fogproof and waterproof so you can use the sight during any weather condition.
The 3 MOA dot diameter can either be illuminated in red or green. There are 5 brightness settings for each color. Being able to adjust the brightness and the color makes this sight usable in pretty much any environment and situation. The optic is powered by a single CR2032 battery which is good for up to 10,000 hours of battery life.
Tacticon Armament uses clear glass and is easy to adjust. You can adjust elevation and windage for varying conditions and distances.
The Predator V1 is parallax-free and comes with unlimited eye relief. The included mount is the height you need for absolute cowitness with iron sights.
Best of all, the sight comes with a lifetime warranty. That’s quite amazing to get with such an affordable AR-15 red dot sight.
Feyachi RS-30 Reflex Sight
The Feyachi RS-30 is a reflex sight that works great with the AR-15. Yes, it’s cheap, it’s from China, but it still does its job if you pick this sight.
A great feature you get with the RS-30 is that you can pick from four different reticles. You additionally have five brightness settings for each of these reticles.
The tubeless design is made from high-quality aluminum alloy. It’s sturdy and will last you a long time.
The Feyachi RS-30 is free of parallax impact, and the 40mm objective lens provides a crisp target image. You can adjust elevation and windage with Allen Wrench. It’s not as easy to adjust as the other red dot sights listed above, as you can’t perform any windage or elevation adjustment without a tool.
The mount positions the optic at a height to allow for absolute co-witness. Feyachi provides a 5-year warranty and 24/7 customer service.
Best Rifle Scopes for AR-15 under $100
When it comes to rifle scopes, the selection for a cheap AR-15 scope under $100 is pretty much endless.
UTG 3-9×32 BugBuster
The UTG 3-9×32 Bugbuster is our top choice when you’re looking for a riflescope for your AR-15. It’s a proven scope that is used by thousands of hunters and shooters.
The scope is built around Leapers True Strength platform to provide a sturdy, lasting, and reliable optic for your AR-15. It’s fogproof, waterproof, and shockproof.
The objective lens has a diameter of 32mm, and the lenses are Emerald coated. The tube has an industry-standard 1-inch diameter. This provides enough light transmission and adjustment range for short-range and medium-range shots.
The rear focal plane reticle provided in the UTG Bugbuster is a Mil-Dot reticle with red or green illumination. A great advantage compared to red dots is that the reticle and scope stay usable even if you run out of battery! The reticle also features range-estimating dots to simplify holdover estimations when shooting.
The field of view at 100 yards ranges between 37.7 feet and 14 feet. The eye relief is 3.2 inches at maximum (9x) and 4.5 inches at minimum magnification (3x).
The turrets are easy to adjust. They are lockable and feature zero-reset for quick readjustment. The click-value for both windage and elevation is 1/4 MOA.
Last but not least, Leapers throws in a lifetime warranty. The scope comes with rings and a battery.
The only downside is that the price is just around or above the $100 mark. However, in our opinion, it’s worth it even if you only can find it at slightly above $100.
Pinty 3-9×40 Red/Green/Blue Illuminated Mil-Dot Scope
The Pinty 3-9×40 is a solid scope for the AR-15 under $100. Actually, it’s quite a bit under the magic $100-mark.
Despite all that, it does come with solid construction and features. First, you get a riflescope with a 1-inch tube diameter combined with a 40 mm objective lens which provides reliable performance and a sharp scope image.
The scope tube is made from high-quality aluminum and is sturdy. The Mil-Dot reticle is on the second focal plane and is illuminated, and you can switch between red, green, and blue illumination. If you run out of battery, then you can use the scope and reticle without the illumination.
The Pinty 3-9×40 has a field of view at 100 yards ranging between 39.3 feet (3x) to 13.1 feet (9x). The eye relief measures 3.3 inches at 3x and 3.1 inches at 9x magnification. That’s not outstanding but does work well when mounted on the AR-15.
The uncapped turrets are easy to adjust and provide solid feedback. The click value is 1/4 MOA.
The Pinty 3-9×40 is a solid scope for the AR-15 if you’re looking for a budget option. It comes in the most commonly used magnification and objective lens diameter and will not let you down for many shots to come!
Monstrum 2-7×32 AO Rifle Scope
The Monstrum 2-7×32 AO scope is a great scope for shorter ranges for the AR-15. The magnification allows you to target out to a few hundred yards without a problem.
The scope is built from aircraft-grade aluminum and is quite sturdy and compact. The tube diameter is 1 inch, and the objective lens measures 32mm in diameter. The scope is nitrogen-charged and sealed to provide fogproof and waterproof characteristics.
Monstrum added an illuminated rangefinding reticle that is located on the rear focal plane. The reticle stays usable even without illumination. You can switch between red and green illumination and adjust the brightness settings in 5 levels. You need a single CR2032 battery for the illumination.
The scope comes with adjustments for parallax. The field of view at 100 yards is between 58.9 and 16.9 feet, and eye relief ranges from 3.5 to 3.8 inches.
The Monstrum 2-7×32 AO riflescope comes with Picatinny scope rings. It’s an overall reasonably good scope for short to medium-range shooting for the AR-15 while staying under the $100 price point.
Feyachi 6-24x50mm AOEG Scope
The Feyachi 6-24×50 is a good scope for shooting long-range for the AR-15. You either have to hunt for small prey and varmint at medium-range distances or shoot at the maximum ranges of your AR-15 to use a scope with 6-24x magnification.
The tube measures 1 inch in diameter and is equipped with a 50mm objective lens. You’ll get enough light into the scope for a crisp scope image in most decent light conditions.
Feyachi uses aircraft-grade aluminum to manufacture the scope tube. The lenses are multi-coated to increase light transmission and reduce glare.
The rear focal plane reticle on the Feyachi 6-24×50 AOEG is illuminated. It is a rangefinding reticle that can be used with red or green illumination. The reticle illumination comes with five brightness settings. You can also use the scope without any illumination and use the etched reticle. The battery used to power the scope is a single CR2032.
The eye relief ranges from 3 inches to 3.2 inches. The scope has a field of view at 100 yards between 13 feet and 53 feet.
Elevation and windage turrets are easy to use. The click-value is 1/8 MOA per click.
The Feyachi 6-24×50 AOEG is a good scope for long-distance shooting for the AR-15 under $100. You get a scope with good features and capabilities.
Simmons 8-Point 3-9x50mm Rifle Scope
The Simmons 8-Point 3-9×50 is a durable and reliable scope for under $100 for the AR-15. It provides great magnification combined with a large objective lens for improved light transmission.
The combination of the fully coated lenses and the large objective lens provides crisp and vivid sight images. The large 50 mm objective lens provides to capture enough light for good images in low-light environments.
The scope tube is made from high-quality aluminum. The Simmons 8-Point 3-9×50 comes with a 1-inch tube diameter. The scope is waterproof and fogproof due to it being nitrogen-purged and sealed. Simmons built the scope to be shockproof and safe to use even with rifles with high recoil.
The Simmons 8-Point scopes come with the reticle on the second focal plane. The reticle used is a Truplex reticle which allows for good holdover estimations.
The turrets on the scope are capped. The click-value is 1/4 MOA per click. Windage and elevation can be adjusted within 60 MOA.
The riflescope comes with a 3.75 inch eye relief. It has a field of view of 31.4 to 10.5 feet at 100 yards.
The Simmons 8-Point 3-9×50 scope is a great match for the AR-15. It provides great images and quick target acquisition at a price of less than $100 for the AR-15.
What can you expect from AR-15 Scopes under $100?
First of all, don’t expect that you get a scope that matches a $1000 or $2000 scope. A scope under $100 will be a solid scope for everyday use.
Will you get a scope that allows you to win any regional or national long-range shooting competitions? You might have to think about opening your wallet a bit more than just looking at $100…
But, just because you mount an expensive high-quality scope on your rifle also doesn’t automatically result in you being a champion shooter…
Don’t be fooled into thinking that you can only get low-quality scopes at that price point. That’s definitely not the case.
You can get some good and solid scopes, as we showed in our short reviews above. They will do the job reliably and allow you to use the AR-15 according to your needs.
In the end, your expectations have to be in line with the capabilities of the scope. If you’re looking to shoot long distances and then pick one of the red dot sights we reviewed above, then you will not be happy.
However, if you’re looking to use your AR-15 for home defense and mount one of the above red dots on it, then you’ll end up quite satisfied. The scope or sight you pick needs to match what you want to use it and the AR-15 for.
One advantage that you have is that AR-15 scopes under $100 don’t have all the latest and greatest bells and whistles. This makes them much easier to mount, zero, and use.
You will have to assume that cheap scopes will get worn out faster than expensive scopes. That doesn’t mean that such a budget scope will fall apart after a few shots, but it typically won’t last as long as some of the top-of-the-line optics you can get. However, you can get a lot of $100 scopes until you reach the cost of a single high-end scope!
Choosing the Best Scope for AR-15 under $100
There are a few considerations to keep in mind when you’re looking for a suitable scope for the AR-15. And no, it doesn’t matter whether you’re willing to spend $1,000 or want to be under $100.
The most important consideration is always that you know what you want to use the scope for. If you’re going to go to the range and shoot 600 yards, you’d be pretty disappointed with a red dot on your AR-15. However, if you’re looking for home defense or short-range, then the red dot is the perfect match.
Generally, there are a few features and requirements that you have to think about first. We’ll guide you through these so you can figure out what the best scope or sight is for your AR-15 if you want to stay under $100.
It goes without saying that picking the correct magnification for rifle, ammo, and use case is crucial. In the case of the AR-15, you have a typical maximum range of around 400 to 600 yards.
If you’re using the rifle and scope for target shooting, then you want to go pretty high on the magnification. The target is not moving, and therefore you can deal with the small field of view at high magnifications. Using a scope with a 24x maximum magnification wouldn’t be out of the question.
Are you hunting? In that case, you will rarely hit those ranges, to begin with. You also will require less magnification as your game (at least in the case of deer and similar) is pretty large. It’s often more important to have a large field of view so you can track your target comfortably when it moves. You would typically go up to a 9x scope.
You would most likely be well-served for tactical situations and home defense applications using a 1x sight like a red dot or reflex optic.
Objective Lens and Light Transmission
It’s similarly a concern whether you’re target shooting or hunting what objective lens size to use. We’ll leave the tube diameter out of this discussion as you typically will not see a 30mm scope tube under $100.
A large objective lens is always desirable… Or not?
Again, it depends on what you’re using your AR-15 for. For target shooting it’s probably a true statement as you set up your rifle, have time to aim, and fire your shot. It’s less of an issue that you pack more weight and that your setup might be slightly out of balance.
When you’re hunting, you typically want less weight to carry with you. You also want to have a good balance of your rifle and scope. In that case, you’re often better off with a slightly smaller objective lens.
The eye relief is the optimal distance between the ocular lens of the scope and your eye. Most variable power scopes come with an eye relief that gets shorter when you go high on the magnification.
The above scopes come with sufficient eye relief for the AR-15. You usually will not run the risk of scope eye.
Reticle and Focal Plane
Most modern reticles for rifle scopes have some sort of bullet-drop compensation (BDC) included. The least you get are some holdover points to compensate for elevation drop and wind.
The scopes above come with a Mil-Dot reticle or rangefinding reticle. Any of the reticles makes it fairly easy to support you with estimations for bullet-drop or wind.
The red dot sights offer exactly what they promise. A red dot that works well at short ranges and allows rapid target acquisition.
Many of the reticles on the riflescopes listed above are illuminated. With most, you can switch between red or green or use the scope without illumination. An illuminated reticle can be helpful in less-than-perfect lighting conditions.
All riflescopes for the AR-15 under $100 that we listed above are second focal plane reticles. The reticle stays the same size across all different magnifications. This is usually a good choice for hunting but can have some downsides when it comes to long-range target shooting.
All of the scopes come with easy adjustment capabilities. The turrets are easy to use.
None of the scopes offers all the whistles and bells or the absolute precision you would expect from a scope in the $1,000 range. Yet, they are all simple and easy to use and adjust and do their job.
Parallax adjustments are not that common for AR-15 scopes under $100. Yet, some of the scopes offer them. If you are going for a high-powered riflescope, it gets more important to have parallax adjustments built-in.
Durability and Ruggedness
Buying a cheap AR-15 scope does not mean you have to forego the durability and ruggedness of the optic. You can expect that the scope is constructed with high-quality materials, including aircraft-grade aluminum.
In addition to using such top-rated components and materials, you have to ensure that the scope is constructed shockproof. You don’t want it to lose zero after being exposed to the recoil of an AR-15.
Lastly, you have to check that the scope is waterproof and fogproof. Typically, modern scopes and sights have the tube nitrogen purged to make it fogproof. Nearly all scopes are also tightly sealed to make them waterproof. Please be aware that this does not mean that they can be submerged for long periods in any depth. They have a certain resistance to allowing water into the scope but are usually not designed to be taken on a dive trip!
Why should you consider Scopes for AR-15 under $100?
Most expensive scopes result in being high-quality scopes. In turn, this does not mean that most cheap scopes are crap!
All scopes that we listed above are made with high-quality materials and components. Often, these scopes would have been much more expensive when you’d look at them a few years in the past.
If you don’t need the clearest of clear glasses and can accept that these budget scopes come from China and other Asian countries, you can get quite a good AR-15 scope for the money. It won’t be able to compete with a good $1,000 scope, but it will do the job.
The list of cheap AR-15 scopes we reviewed above represents solid and dependable riflescopes that you can use in a variety of settings. Each one will serve you well except in the most demanding environments and situations.
And even if such a scope is not quite as sturdy as its expensive cousins, you will save a lot of money down the road.
Final Thoughts on the Best AR-15 Scopes under $100
We provided you with the list of the top-rated scopes for AR-15’s that cost less than $100. All these scopes and sights are a good match for your AR-15.
They will perform well, and they won’t let you down. You are getting the standard features you’d expect in a scope if you’re looking at under $100.
Depending on your shooting and hunting requirements, you can pick the matching scope or sight from our list above. While the overall best scope is, in our opinion, the UTG BugBuster, it by no means does mean that the other optics listed are bad. They are typically for different requirements.
Pick any of the scopes or sights above, and you’ll be satisfied for years to come!