Scope for an AR-15


March 21, 2010, 06:40 PM
I just picked up my AR-15 and it is time to dress her up. I am an iron sights guy so I will need some help finding the scope that I want. Keep in mind, in the scope world I am a rookie so don't laugh at my question. ;)

I am looking for a scope that can cover everything from "zero magnification" to at least "5X magnification." This will allow for close quarters use and it will also allow for shooter out to 200-300 yards. Does a scope of this sort even exist?

And as usual, feel free to take advantage of this opportunity to post a few picks of your AR/scope combinations. :D


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March 21, 2010, 07:15 PM
Yup, Nightforce has a scope thats exactly what your looking for. It's the real deal though, so don't freak when you see the price.

Check out They offer combos with a real nice QD mount for a fair price.
Trijicon has a 1-4x Accupoint that is very nice as well. But I heard the eye relief is a bit too long, even though the spec is less than Nightforces.

I use Aimpoint ML3's and an Trijicon Accupoint 5-20x 50mm. Both in Larue Mounts so I can swap without loosing zero.

Charles S
March 21, 2010, 07:25 PM
Leupold also has the MKIV in 1.5 to 5 that is not exactly what you specify, but quite close and is a great scope for your purposes.

March 21, 2010, 07:29 PM
Whats the expected price range? Is an elcan spectre DR an option? What about an ACOG or an Aimpoint with a magnifier on a flip mount?

March 21, 2010, 09:00 PM
There's pretty much no such thing as "zero to 5x" magnification.

You can get pretty darn close, though, with various options. Close enough to where it should serve your needs. 1x, 1.1x, 1.5x to 4, 5, or more powers are available.

Probably one of the better options in the cost/durability/value/usability range is the Trijicon 1-4x scope, the TR-24 accupoint series.

Now, depending on your eyesight, you may be able to make do with an Aimpoint out to 200-300 yards. If you need a bit more help, putting an Aimpoint magnifier in a LaRue pivot mount (flips to side) is an excellent option. Burris makes a cheaper magnifier option that is probably worth looking at.

The best advice you can take away from this is to spend some money on good glass AND good mounts. It'll hurt at first but will often be less frustrating in the end. Also, don't use crap like A.R.M.S. mounts, buy quality mounts such as LaRue or ADM...good QD mounts are a great asset if you ever need to ditch a failed optic to put your BUIS to work.

March 21, 2010, 09:32 PM
I have a 4X32 Trijicon ACOG which I have found to be the best purchase I have ever made.
The price is steep though, I paid 1100.00 plus for it.But I do not regret the price after using it.If you are looking for a more affordable scope and it has to it that 5 power then Leupold as mentioned about has a few good offerings..

Al LaVodka
March 21, 2010, 10:33 PM

March 22, 2010, 09:26 AM
Check out the Millet DMS.

March 22, 2010, 09:41 AM
+1 on the Millett DMS-1, its the best value and quality on the market today. I have two and am VERY satisfied.

March 22, 2010, 10:56 PM
eh...Millett's good, but its Chinese.

Get yourself a nice Made in America 1-4x24 by Leupold:

in the $275 range

March 22, 2010, 11:02 PM
I put a 2 to 7 power Nikon 32mm scope on my RRA M4 and it does a wonderful job. I think at 2-3 hundred yards the 7 power adds alot, and unless you are going to Iraq, for $ 130 you can't beat it.

March 22, 2010, 11:19 PM
... huh? i can hardly see clear at 200 yards with a 9x scope..

March 22, 2010, 11:34 PM
What about the leupold mark AR series?

Anyone have any experience with these? I'm seriously looking at a 4X12 mildot for my 20"

March 22, 2010, 11:47 PM
A good overview by THR's own Zak Smith, applicable to both military/LEO and ordinary civilian shooters:

Fighting Optics for the AR-15 (

March 22, 2010, 11:49 PM
I have a 2-7x33 Leupold for sale if interested.

March 22, 2010, 11:51 PM
There is a Zero to 6x scope, but for $2K it might as not even exist

As far as choosing an optic, you have to figure out what you want to do with it first. There really are a ridiculous number of options to suit any style. If you want a fighting rife, don't put a traditional 3-9x scope on it. If you want a precision rig, an Aimpoint and magnifier probably isn't the best choice. For my personal use I prefer a bit of both, and I think the ACOG TA11's are the best out there. The field of view is wide enough for CQB even with magnification, and the reticle is precise enough for precision shots at range using the BDC. Of course I can't pay $1200 for every rifle I have, so for some I use the Primary Arms fixed 4x ACOG style optic for $120 and like it a lot as well. It has a similar reticle that allows precise range shots but is a bit more limited in it's field of vision.

March 22, 2010, 11:55 PM
There is a Zero to 6x scope, but for $2K it might as not even exist

***? what a waste.. 2k for that scope? i'd buy a new gun instead.. Those scopes made by that company is always over priced.. maybe even over-rated too..

like mac vs pc.. Mac is over priced yet a PC with a lower price tag can do the same.. if not more..

March 22, 2010, 11:59 PM
Swavorski's are the best, period. They're not a waste for somebody who depends on their rifle.

March 23, 2010, 12:35 AM
Zak's article is well worth reading. It's easily one of the best writeups on the issue on the internet.

TF? what a waste.. 2k for that scope? i'd buy a new gun instead.. Those scopes made by that company is always over priced.. maybe even over-rated too.

I don't have any experience with the Swarovski scopes, but good glass costs good money, often times more than the gun it's mounted on. Ultimately it all depends on what you plan to do with the gun, but in circumstances that would involve shooting from contact distances out to 500 yards, scopes like the Swarovski, Schmidt and Bender Short Dot or the new Premier Reticle V8 can be a good option.

Such scopes aren't cheap, but they work extremely well for their intended purpose. If you don't need such a scope, a more reasonably priced option is the way to go, of course.

Zak Smith
March 23, 2010, 12:44 AM
Thanks, Justin.

There is always some tension between the requirements and limitations of the recreational plinker compared to the really serious shooter - competition or tactical. There is no need to spend a ton of money on optics if you don't need their capabilities. AR-15 scopes can range from maybe $100 - though I'd set the "worth it" minimum around $300, up to $2500. There are many different combinations of features and capabilities in this range. It's always better to evaluate your actual needs and requirements and put a rifle together to meet those needs, than to blindly copy something else or use someone else's criteria.

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