AR15 scope or red dot recommendation?


September 23, 2013, 10:54 PM
Bought a friend of my a S&W Sport AR15. He did me a big favor. His wife called me today and said he wants a scope for his birthday. She needs help. I know absolutely nothing about AR accessories.

So, I need some recommendations for a quality AR scope or red dot, not exceeding about $250 in price.

Thanks all!

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September 24, 2013, 03:24 AM
I'm not a red dot or scope expert by any means but I will say that as in many things, you get what you pay for when it come to optics.

$250 is fine for plinking and sport use so I suppose it depends what he is going to use the AR for. You can get a decent Primary Arms or Bushnell red dot for under that.

Stretch your budget a bit closer to $500 and you can get some used Aimpoints, Eotechs and even a new Aimpoint PRO. Closer to $1000 will get you Trijicons and high end optics.

September 24, 2013, 07:21 AM
I really like the Nikon 3X P223 scope. Nice and clear, small, 3X isn't too much for anything but fast up close work on multiple targets which isn't likely to happen, and for 100ish and beyond is much easier to shoot with than a red dot.

But I also like tube type red dots on ARs, like the Bushnell TR-25 or the Primary Arms equivalent. (Which I like better) The Bushnell TR-32 Aimpoint knockoff is pretty good too.

Plenty of choices at $250 and under.

September 24, 2013, 09:55 AM
You might also look at the Redfield Battlezone 3-9x ( Nice scope for under $200 with a lifetime warranty.

September 24, 2013, 10:01 AM
What is the task? Choose the right tool for the given task. Using a pair of pliers to hammer a nail in is stilly. Smiliarily a 3-9X40 scope on something you'll shoot 200m or less is silly (to me anyway).

What distances do they plan on shooting at? Is this to be a tack driver, a range queen, a "CQB" setup, etc...?

September 30, 2013, 01:07 PM
TyGuy is right - knowing what type of shooting he does, and at what distances will help to narrow down the choices.

In red dots, the Vortex SPARC is under budget, I bought one based in large part on a review over at and the fact that I get to borrow night vision from work, but didn't have a NV compatible optic.

FastFire III with the AR-F3 mount is slightly over budget, but I certainly like mine.

At the distances I have access to locally (200 yards and less) a 1-4x works for both plinking and target shooting:

Mark H.

October 4, 2013, 07:33 AM
A 1-4X20 scope is the most versatile optic for an AR. I like this one, but most any will work. They tend to be about as light and compact as most red dots at around 8 oz. On 1X are actually faster for close rapid fire shooting. Most dots cover too much of the target for any accuracy beyond 50-100 yards. Most have coarse adjustments which makes zeroing difficult.

In low light it is easier to see the red dot than the scopes crosshairs, but a scope makes it easier to see the target so that is about a wash. With the scope set on higher powers they are accurate enough for shooting at ranges farther than the 223 round is going to be good for. With a $250 budget you are going to find a much higher quality scope than a red dot in the same price range.

A more powerful scope such as a 3-9X40 will allow more precise shooting at longer ranges because of the greater magnification. But even on 3X are a handicap up close because they magnify too much. They are also heavier and longer. But a good choice if more magnification is wanted and the rifle is not intended as a close range SD gun.

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