The AR-15 is perhaps the most popular rifle type in America, and for good reason. You enjoy solid stopping power and terrific accuracy even at range, and AR-15s are very customizable, unlike many other rifle types. Let’s take a look at the best AR-15 optics to make your shooting experience with this rifle even better.
Why You Need Ar-15 Optics
What to Look for in an AR-15 Optic
The AR-15 is a versatile rifle type that’s perfect for several situations. Many firearm enthusiasts like it for target practice at the range and for self-defense. That means there’s plenty of different optics that might be ideal for your needs.
For starters, consider the magnification options built with an AR-15 optic. Some optics will only zoom in about 1x-3x; obviously, these are ideal for close-quarters AR-15 builds or for self-defense situations. Chances are good that you won’t need long-range optics for hitting a home intruder!
On the other hand, you might want something with longer-range optics if you want to take your AR-15 to the gun range every weekend.
You should also pay attention to whether an optic is weatherproof—that is if it’s built with aircraft-grade aluminum and nitrogen purged. These optics work in any kind of weather and won’t be damaged from water. They’re excellent value for money.
You should consider whether an optic is illuminated or not. Some optics have illumination settings that allow you to use them in low light conditions like nighttime scenarios. Others may even have various illumination powers you can turn the reticle brighter or dimmer depending on your needs.
4. Fits the Build
Finally, make sure an AR-15 optic for your rifle actually fits the build. Some optics are sized for particular frames; others are more versatile. In addition, some are easy to install on your AR-15 while others may require the help of a gunsmith.
Top AR-15 Optics to Consider
1. Burris Fastfire III with Picatinny Mount
This is an ideal AR-15 optic to combine for tactical builds or for those who want to use their AR-15 for self-defense situations. It’s a red dot sight with lightweight construction and durable design.
It also features an automatic brightness sensor; this automatically adjusts the reticle brightness based on your environmental conditions. Even better, it comes with the mounting stuff you need to slap it on your AR-15 right out of the box.
If you already have a primary optic, you can combine this optic alongside it for closer-range target acquisition.
- Picatinny mount included
- Windage and elevation adjustments that don't require a Special tool
- Three levels of brightness
2. Nikon P-223 3×32 M BDC Clamshell
This is a much more long-distance scope that can magnify up to 3x with a 32 mm objective lens. This lens is bolstered by multi-coatings that can improve light transmission and allow you to use the optic from dawn to dusk. It’s even automatically adjusted for parallax.
We like this scope because it’s waterproof and fog proof and has a special BDC reticle. In a nutshell, this features special holdover points to let you automatically compensate for bullet drop over long distances. Suffice to say that it’ll improve the effectiveness of your AR-15 more than you can imagine.
- Fully Multicoated Optical System: Provides up to 98 percent light transmission and maximum brightness from dawn to dusk
- 100-yard Parallax Setting: Eliminates parallax for precise shooting
- Generous, Consistent Eye Relief: Keeps your brow safe even with the heaviest recoiling cartridges and severe shooting angles
3. Aimpoint Pro Red Dot Reflex Sight
This last scope also comes with the mount and spacer you need to start using it right away. It features a 2 MOA red dot reticle that can be illuminated between four nighttime and six-day time brightness settings. Front and back lens covers are included.
It’s an excellent tactical optic for short-range combat or target practice.
- Absolute co-witness with iron sights (with the supplied spacer installed)
- Features 2 MOA red dot for accurate target engagement
- Includes front and rear plastic flip cap lens covers
Pick the Right AR-15 Optics for You
All in all, any of the above AR-15 optics should be a great pick for your rifle. If our choices aren’t your favorite, remember the recommendations we made before and use those guidelines to find the best optic for your needs. Good hunting!
AR 15 Lower Receiver And Ammunition | Basics Of The AR-15 Part 2