The AR-15 is the most popular rifle in the United States and, in modern nations, the most popular military rifle. In addition, countries across the world are adopting the military variants of the AR 15 en masse.
The AR 15 on the civilian side is remarkably popular among American shooters, with the flat top carbine being the most popular variant available.
That flat-top upper receiver is perfectly suited for an optic, and an optic truly allows you to take advantage of the platform.
The optic options out there are absolutely massive. In fact, it’s easy to find optics for the AR 15 that could cost as much or more than your rifle.
A good rifle and good optic can easily add up to around three grand because the rifle and optic cost about the same.
For example, Trijicon ACOG and a Daniel Defense AR could easily be between 2500 and 3000 dollars. There are also optics that cost right around 30 bucks and can be found at any Wal-Mart.
One seems way too expensive, and one seems way too cheap, right? So, what is the sweet spot? What is the right price to pay for a AR 15 optic?
Well, to establish this, you have to think about what your rifle is designed for or what you are using your AR for.
How Much Should You Pay for AR 15 Optics?
The AR-15 is a popular rifle that is used for many different purposes. One of the most important accessories to consider when purchasing an AR-15 is the scope.
Scopes are a great way to increase accuracy and make it easier to shoot at longer distances. But scopes are also expensive, which makes it difficult for some people to afford one.
So, how much should you pay for an AR-15 optic? This depends on what you plan on using the rifle for and how much you want to spend.
Some people only need an optic with crosshairs so that they can see where they are shooting accurately.
Others will want something more advanced like a scope with magnification and night vision capabilities. The price of these optics varies from $100-$1000+.
A defensive rifle is a serious tool for home defense or for police officers on the beat. You have a solid rifle, so you need a solid optic.
For a defensive rifle, meaning a rifle you may stake your life on, you want an optic your life can depend on. So, this is one of the more expensive roles for an optic.
You want a quality optic with a good warranty and reputation. These optics run around 350 with the Aimpoint ACO or the SIG Romeo 4 and bounce around at pretty much all price levels above this.
You can go as high as that 1,200-dollar ACOG if you choose to. However, a defensive rifle is going to need an expensive optic. I wouldn’t spend any less than 350 dollars unless you get an excellent deal on a high-quality optic.
The AR in various calibers is quickly growing as a popular hunting rifle. However, hunting with the AR does require a pretty good optic as well.
Hunting means you are going to be exposing your rifle to the elements. This could include severe temperatures, water, and shock. A cheap, crappy optic isn’t going to last long exposed to the elements.
Hunting optics can vary from highly magnified, massive scopes to more subtle and standard 3-9 power scopes.
This all depends on where you are hunting, but you really want to spend around two to three hundred dollars. You want an optic that is going to be good at gathering light and presenting a clear picture.
You also want an optic that can take some abuse, so going under two hundred may make it difficult to achieve all of this.
By sporting in this section, I mean both standard bullseye shooting competitions and action sports like 3 gun. These competitions do have a lot of flexibility in terms of price.
First off, competition target shooting with the AR can be done with a 3,000-dollar scope, or a 300-dollar scope; it’s all about what the shooter needs and the level of competition they are engaging in.
At a minimum, after doing a bit of research, I found the cheapest optics that offer the minimum for bullseye shooters are around 280 bucks. From there and up, you can spend a ton of money on a good optic.
Three gun shooters typically follow the same rules, and the average 3 gunner doesn’t need the same optic the Pros in Three gun nation need.
3 gun comps often have rifle targets ranging from 10 yards to a hundred yards in the same match, so the optic has to be versatile. For example, some shooters may prefer a variable scope, or others may want a red dot or holographic with a magnifier.
Taking a look at scopes in this category, the bottom of the barrel would be something like the Bushnell Throwdown 1 to 4 power which has a Throwdown lever for easy transitions for about 200 bucks.
You are probably looking at the Vortex Sparc with red dots with magnifiers, which will run you about 350 to 400 with both the optic and the magnifier.
The AR-15 market is massive, and why not? It’s a versatile rifle suited for many different rifles. However, to take advantage of the AR 15, you have to identify its intended use and how you plan to use it.
Different uses will require different optics, and to maximize the use of your rifle, and you’ll need to match the optic to its uses as well. But, of course, this heavily dictates the price, so also consider how your investment will work rather than how much I should invest.