January 22, 2018

Best AR 15 Scope Under 200 – Rifle Scope Buying Guide

Best Scope for AR 15

Scopes are an integral part of long distance shooting. The introduction of newer scopes made with advanced technology has made it possible to increase their effectiveness even more. Irrespective of whether the rifles are being used for military purposes or simply for the sake of hunting, a scope can help in seeing the target with greater clarity so that the shooter can make a very precise aim.

I have been shooting for quite some time now and have learnt a great deal about scopes through trial and error. After much consideration, I have chosen the following 5 best ar 15 scope under 200 for review.


Budget's Pick

Bushnell Optics FFP Illuminated BTR – 1 BDC Reticle – 223 Riflescope

Via Amazon.com

This riflescope has illuminated the reticle with ballistic calibrations. It measures 9.4 /240 in length and can be adjusted to 0.1 mil click and is especially meant to be used for 5.56 rounds. The reticle can be adjusted to 11 different settings as per the need of the hour. It can give very accurate measurements for up to 500 yards and can work perfectly well even in low light conditions. This particular scope offers a very quick focus, good amount of brightness and high accuracy. Therefore, I would recommend this as the best ar 15 scope under 200. Furthermore, it has a PCL lever using a throw down mechanism so that the batteries can be changed almost instantly.

The scope is efficient enough to magnify the target by about 4 times and is therefore highly reliable. It is purged with nitrogen so as to prevent moisture build-up on the interior. Also, it has a sealed ring which keeps dust particles from entering. Made out of very high-quality aluminum, it is quite durable and gives a good lasting. It is resistant towards scratches and rusting. To top it all, the scope has a great finishing and is as appealing as it is functional. This would easily make this the best ar 15 scope under 200 of all the products reviewed here.


  • The lenses are multi-coated and offer excellent magnification
  •  Features an illuminated reticle and can, therefore, be used even in the low light conditions.
  • It is resistant towards damage from the outside materials


  • The scope is a little expensive
  • The adjustment piece does not fit well with all the rifles
Runner Up

UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope

UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope

Via Amazon.com

This is another one of the highly functionally rifle scopes and can be ranked immediately next to Bushnell Optics FFP illuminated BTR in terms of efficiency. It is equipped with a large number of interesting features such as mil-dot, nitrogen filling, sealed insides, resistance against rain and fog and more. It is even resistant to shocks. The lenses used in the scope are coated with emerald, there is a sunshade at the front in order to prevent the glare from disturbing the focus. The scope has a very special housing and offers consistent adjustment and very accurate focus. Furthermore, it comes with a warranty of a lifetime.


  • It has been put to various difficult and highly demanding tests and has passed all these tests
  • It has a very strong construction
  • The turrets in the scope can be adjusted and locked as per the need of the hour


  • The windage reticle may not move at times
  • The crosshair does not work
  • Maybe a bit blurry after 100 yards
Budget Pick

Nikon 8496 P223 3 by 32 Matte BDC Carbine

Nikon 8496 P-223 3x32 Matte BDC Carbine

Via Amazon.com

This is one of best ar 15 scope under 200 while also being the cheapest one in the category. It is designed especially for the rifles using an AR platform and a 55-grain bullet with a polymer tip. The scope is designed for an extremely clear vision and accurate aiming over the long range. It gives consistent results. It gives consistent results even with the tough angles of shooting without making it too straining for the eyes. It is specially designed for eye relief and provides protection during recoiling.

The scope has a reticle with a crosshair for 200 yards. Furthermore, there are hash marks at 400 and 600 yards that allow for a very easy aiming. It is designed especially for a trajectory of 0.223 Rem/5.56 NATO. The optical system is entirely multicoated and offers exceptional vision during all times of the day. It transmits 98 percent light and therefore can be used form dawn till dusk. It uses zero-reset turrets, a tactical hand turn adjustment and click reticle, all of which help to set the aim quicker. The scope is capable of retaining the exact adjustment even with frequent recoiling.


  • O ring sealed which keeps the dust particles from entering the compartment
  • It is both fog and waterproof
  • Compact design with short barrels and lightweight
  •  Optimized for exact aiming
  • Safe for the eyes


  •  The cross may break away in as little as 100 shots.
  • Wobbles
  • The graduation marks are almost nonfunctional
Upgrade pick

Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12 by 40 Dead-Hold BDC Reticle – 1-inch tube

 Vortex Optics Diamondback 4-12x40

Via Amazon.com

This is the highest budget scope in the category of the best ar 15 scope under 200 and is loaded with the most advanced of features. It is made out of aircraft grade aluminum which makes it very tough and lightweight. This also gives the riflescope high protection during heavy recoiling. There are customized dots that allow the shooter to make a distinct aim with accurate wind correction. Furthermore, it has argon purging which makes it resistant to fog and water. This makes it usable even in the harsh weather conditions. The scope uses to zoom in lenses and offers a smooth magnification, making it perfect for long distance shooting.


  • Crosshairs for sharp aiming
  • Optics with multicoating
  • Gives very sharp and bright images
  • One piece construct


  • Eye relief is not good
  • Not great for low light conditions
Niche Pick

 Nikon P 223 3-9 by 40 Mate BDC 600

Nikon P-223 3-9x40 Mate BDC 600

Via Amazon.com

This rifle scope is designed especially shooting with a trajectory of 0.223 Rem/5.56 NATO round during the use of bullets with a 55-grain polymer tip. It features an open circle and hash marks in from 100 to 600 yards in order to allow the shooter to make an aim. This is an imported product and uses only the highest quality materials during its manufacturing. The body is entirely made out of polymer which makes it very lightweight and more applicable to a long-term use. Furthermore, it is designed to be very relieving on the eyes. Therefore, it can be used quite safely even when there is heavy recoiling.

The scope gives an accurate and consistent aim with all the different shooting angles. It requires to be turned by hand during the adjustment of focus, has zero-reset turrets and gives off a clicking sound during the adjustment of the reticle. All of these features allow for a very quick and easy target setting. Also, the scope maintains the same setting over repeated recoiling.


  • The scope has a 100-yard parallax for precise aiming
  • It is O ring sealed and is filled with nitrogen for the purpose of fog proofing and waterproofing
  • Offers for a very fast refocusing
  • One piece construct


  • The glass used is not if the best quality
  • The adjustment knob may start to rattle with use

How to Choose the Best AR 15 Scope Under 200?

Since the rifle itself can be quite expensive, not everyone would be willing to spend a large amount of money for scopes. However, there are a lot of variants within the ar 15 scopes available for under $200. With a careful consideration of the features, you will easily be able to come upon a scope offering exceptional features even in the mid-price category. Having used the ar 15 for a long time, I can suggest you the following buying tips that can help you get hold of a highly efficient scope with maximum accuracy.


Magnification is the most important thing while selecting a scope. The higher the magnification, the better aim you can achieve for long distance ranges. So get clear about the type of shooting you get involved on a general basis. For example, if the target is gradually moving closer to you, a high magnification may not be required. This mainly applies in case of hunting. However, if you air aiming at still targets over a long distance, an intense magnification is a must.


The reticle is the dot that falls over the center of the target while setting an aim. Since the entire width does not fit perfectly over the image, the reticle helps to set a more precise aim with the target in the background. This also makes is easier if the target is constantly moving. Irrespective of what you are, the reticle makes the whole thing much easier. Furthermore, there are reticles that can be adjusted for different light conditions, contrasting the light between the image and the dot, so that you can fix your aim very accurately.

Battery life

The battery life is another important consideration while choosing a scope. With advanced technologies and frequent upgradations, the battery life is getting better and better. Scopes mainly use replaceable batteries. So you can always carry a few spare ones for back up.

However, if you are constantly on the move, changing batteries too often may not be quite convenient. Therefore, look for the ones that offer the longest runtime. This is also because the scope batteries are often very expensive and would definitely cost you a loss if you go out shooting frequently. The best ar 15 scope under 200 should not let you lose hold of a target simply because you were busy changing the batteries.


Parallax is the small error that crops up whenever you are using any magnifying object. It may not affect the short distance ranges too much. However, even a slight amount of parallax can severely affect the long distance ranges. Therefore, make it a point to check the amount of parallax error present in the scope and the correction offered on it.

Eye Relief

Whenever you make a shot, the gun experiences a recoiling. Since you have your eye fixed on the reticle, this can prove to be hazardous. Therefore, eye protection is a must. Eye relief is nothing but the distance between the lens and the eye. Most scopes offer an eye relief of 4 inches. This arrangement can absorb a maximum amount of shock. However, while looking for the best ar 15 scope under 200, you should also consider the mounting and the clarity of vision offered together with the eye relief. You would definitely to want to compromise one for the other. For best eye protection, always go for scopes of shorter length.

How to Make the Best Out of A Rifle Scope?

Owning the best ar 15 scope under 200 may not be quite useful unless you know how to use it the right way. Given below are the tips on how to use a rifle scope properly.

  • Calculate how far the bullet is going to travel and adjust the elevation accordingly so that the elevation makes up for the loss of distance through arising due to a vertical drop
  • Go through the rifle scope’s on where to place the reticle in order to compensate for the speed, weight, and caliber of the bullet.
  • Take the wind and direction into consideration
  • Make a careful adjustment for the parallax


Of all the products reviewed, I would definitely announce the Nikon P 223 3-9 by 40 Mate BDC 600 as the clear winner. There are many reasons why I choose to go with this particular scope. It is very easy to handle, offers a firm mount and retains the preset adjustments even after heavy recoiling, thereby preventing the need to readjust after every shot.

It is also very lightweight and durable and does not add to the overall weight of the rifle. It offers excellent magnification and focusing. With the open circle and hash marks for 100 and 600 yards, it becomes easy to track a moving target and make accurate calculations of the distance. Furthermore, it has a parallax correction for 100 yards and is entirely sealed away from moisture and dust particles.

Alex Ramsey

Work hard & live to hunt! Countryman Hunter , Archery, shooter, Freelance outdoor writer and Love USA. founder of thebigdeer.com where I share my hunting experiences and gear reviews to help you become more prepared. Knowledge will save you, but great gear will help! Let Get Out & Go Hunting

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