The right optics can make the difference between an adequate shot and perfection on an AR-style rifle. Depending on the type, they can increase visibility, provide magnification, or simply offer more precision than the factory sights. The best AR optics are tailored to a specific purpose, such as long-range shooting, are resistant to fog and other bad weather conditions, and are precisely calibrated for accuracy. We looked through the options on the modern market to find the top ten options based on their price, durability, and performance within their intended role.
10. Sig Sauer ROMEO4S
The ROMEO4S from Sig Sauer is a simple red dot sight that uses the combination of a battery and solar power to get extended battery life. The LED in this model is highly efficient, so it can last for a long time even when the sun is hidden, but it does work best in sunny climates. Four reticle options are available, and you can set all of them to activate when they detect motion. It costs more than most red dots, but it is a solid choice for people that want to use that style of optics.
9. Simmons Predator Quest
The Predator Quest from Simmons is optimized for hunting small pests. It has a massive degree of magnification to help aim at those small targets. While the lens is treated to resist water and fog to make sure hunters can do their work in any environment. The scope produces a bright and clear image, especially compared to others at its price point. This is a great budget scope for any new shooter, but even experts should consider this to mount on a varmint gun.
8. ATI Specter DR
|Manufacturer||Armament Technology Incorporated|
The Specter DR from ATI is an unusual scope because it adjusts its magnification without zooming. It switches directly between an unmagnified view and 4x magnification with a lever, so it does not pass through intermediate stages. That enables fast adjustments and allows the scope to remain calibrated throughout the transition. Both modes offer an excellent field of view and the option of using an illuminated crosshair for easy aiming. These features make this a great choice for new users who need variable magnification without difficult adjustments.
7. ATN X-Sight II HD
|Manufacturer||American Technology Network Corp|
The X-Sight II is essentially a digital camera in the form of a scope. It produces an HD image and runs it through a ballistic calculator to provide statistics on the target. Multiple profiles are available to hold settings for different weapons or situations. A recoil-activated camera system records those images and saves them after the trigger is pulled to create a record. The scope can even transmit data to a phone or tablet with the right app on it. Technophiles should seriously consider this system, but people who prefer simplicity and easy maintenance will prefer a traditional scope.
6. Leupold Mark 8 CQBSS
The Mark 8 from Leupold is a hybrid scope that is designed to function in both competitions and combat. The scope functions at plenty of ranges for any task, and it is easy to quickly adjust the brightness settings to the appropriate level. It resists water, fog, and shocks reasonably well, so it can function in any environment. The eyepiece offers a respectable field of view and helps the eye to focus quickly, which is vital in emergencies. It is hugely expensive, but it can replace a collection of scopes, which makes it a good deal for people who would otherwise need several specialized optics.
5. Nikon M-Tactical .308
The M-Tactical .308 from Nikon is designed specifically for use with .308 cartridges, and it is one of the best AR optics for the few AR-style rifles in that caliber. You can adjust the scope for a wide variety of ranges, and all of those adjustments assume the trajectory of a .308 cartridge. The lenses have a coating that helps them attain 95% light transmission and a clear sight picture, and the scope allows for several inches of eye relief. Those features make it comfortable to shoot and accurate enough for almost any situation. It’s a wonderful choice for a .308 rifle, but there are better options for other calibers.
4. Trijicon TA31F ACOG
The TA31F from Trijicon is one of the best AR optics for shooters that need to operate under a variety of lighting conditions. The system provides battery-free illumination via fiber optics during the day and a tritium system in the dark, which allows it to function well at all times. The level of magnification is acceptable for most ranges, but the inability to adjust it means that the level is rarely perfect. Shooters should choose this scope if they need the variable illumination, but there are cheaper options that perform just as well for other users.
3. Zeiss Conquest V6
|Manufacturer||Carl Zeiss AG|
The Conquest V6 from Zeiss is a versatile and powerful scope, but it also costs more than many of the rifles that can use it. It offers a range of magnification that suits most normal operational ranges, and the lenses have a coating to protect them and provide excellent visuals. It also offers a wide field of view that makes it easy to find targets, which is particularly useful for hunters. The V6 is one of the best AR optics for any shooter that is willing to invest in it, but many shooters will be better off with something cheaper. You can see here a list of AR optics under 300 dollars.
2. Eotech XPS2
The XPS2 is a highly compact holographic sight. The case is fairly tough, and it resists water up to 10 feet, which makes it acceptable but not ideal for use in rough conditions. This model encourages quick target acquisition and a high level of precision at short and medium ranges, but there are better optics for particularly distant shots. This is one of the best AR optics for shooters that want to leave space for more accessories on their weapon, but it has less to offer to people who can mount a bigger model.
1. Aimpoint PRO
The PRO from Aimpoint is among the best AR optics for shooters that don’t need magnification. It lasts for three years on a single battery, so it isn’t necessary to turn it on and off to conserve power. The aluminum housing is waterproof up to 150 feet, resistant to shocks, and comes with protective covers for the lens. The rear flip cover is transparent, so rapid aiming is possible even when the cover is down. These traits make it ideal for hunting trips in the wilderness, but it will perform well for anyone who can make do without magnification.
Making The Right Choice
Investing in the best AR optics you can find for your rifle will make it as precise as possible. It is important to find optics that are tailored to your needs. But weather resistance, precise calibration, and a good value are always vital. If you find good optics that we overlooked, point them out in the comments so others can do their research on them and make an informed choice.