Sunday, November 30, 2014

AR-15 Scopes

Due to the popularity of the AR-15 weapon platform in recent years, many manufacturers of rifle scopes have begun to design and market optics specifically for this weapon and the applications for which it is most often used.  There are models with bullet drop compensating reticles specifically calibrated to the .223/5.56X45 NATO cartridge for hunting and other long range uses, some with illuminated CQB (close quarter battle) reticles for defensive or duty use or 3-gun competitions and other shooting sports, and others that have both of these features and can be used for just about anything you desire to do with your AR-15.
Nikon P-223 3-9X40 With Nikon P-Series 2 Piece Mounts

In this blog post, we will highlight a few different riflescopes that are designed for the AR-15 platform or are at least popular with those who use an AR-15.  When I was younger, I remember reading an article in an outdoor sports magazine that suggested if you wanted a quality, dependable optic, you should be willing to pay twice what you did for your rifle.  Doing so may ensure you own and use a quality scope, but I don't believe it's necessary. The rifle scopes described in this post have been specifically selected because much like the AR-15 rifles and components we produce at DTI, they are products where quality and value meet.  Quality shouldn't be something you have to surrender for value, and the two characteristics do not need to be mutually exclusive.  They aren't at DTI, and they aren't in these 3 AR-15 scope options.

Nikon P-223 3X32
The least expensive scope models highlighted in this post belong to Nikon's P-223 series.  There is currently a fixed power 3X32 model, and two variable power models in this line:  a 3-9X40 and a 4-12X40.  The fixed power 3X32 is a great, lightweight duty or 3 gun option.  All three have bullet drop compensating reticles, and the variable power models are calibrated from 100 to 600 yards.  Nikon also offers two mount/ring combinations specifically for these scopes and AR-15 rifles, and the Nikon Spot On (TM) ballistic software program available on their website and mobile devices is an amazing tool to help you realize the accuracy potential of your rifle.  These high quality optic options from Nikon have an MSRP from $150.00-250.00.

The Millett DMS (Designated Marksman Scope) line of optics are a bit more expensive, but the long range (up to 500 yard) capability in the DMS-2 model and an illuminated CQB reticle for fast target acquisition make for a feature-packed scope. The illuminated reticle is known as a "Donut Dot" and has 11 brightness settings; especially on the lowest variable power settings, keeping both eyes open during use is not difficult.  There is a 1-4X24 and a 1-6X24 model, the former being available in black or ATACS camo, the latter having a ballistic compensating reticle.  All 3 models weight just over 18 ounces, and have 3.5 inches of eye relief.  The 30mm main tube also provides an excellent amount of light transmission and when coupled with the illuminated reticle, you have a great low-light AR-15 optic choice.  Like military grade scopes, these optics also have glass-etched reticles rather than wire, so you can depend on them when the environment and applications in which they are used gets tough.  You should be able to purchase the 1-6X24 (DMS-2) model for under $400.00, and the 1-4X24 (DMS-1) model for around $300.00.   

Millett DMS-1 ATACS
DMS-1 Reticle

The Leatherwood Hi-Lux CMR (Close Medium Range) is a 1-4X24 variable power scope similar to the optic just described.  Like the Millett models, it has an etched reticle, an illuminated reticle great for close to medium range applications, and ballistic drop compensating features.  It is a few ounces lighter in weight than the Millett DMS models, but also has less eye relief (3" compared to 3.5", according to technical specifications on each company's website).  The CMR is available with either a red or green illuminated reticle; if you prefer one color over another for your particular application, this may be a beneficial feature currently not available on the other scope models highlighted in this review.  Either of the illuminated models should be able to be purchased for under $350.00. 

CMR Reticle
Leatherwood Hi-Lux CMR

There are many other great optic options out there for the AR-15 rifleman, but these three seem to stand out from the rest, at least in terms of the characteristics mentioned at the beginning of the review. Here are 3 scopes, ideally suited for use on an AR-15 rifle that have an MSRP less than half of what the typical AR-15 rifle will cost. Paying double sure isn't necessary with these three CAN have quality AND value.

Thanks for reading our blog. If you have any questions about the AR-15 rifles we manufacture or any of the parts we sell at, please feel free to contact us.


  1. I remembered the time we had to stake out outside our home because a nuisance wild wolf has been spotted in the area. Having a lot of livestock, most our my neighbors are also up and making sure that everything is peaceful. I realized that without an excellent night vision scope, it would've been difficult for us to see in the dark, aim and fire on our targets. The best ones in the market today are more powerful, lightweight and affordable. I've seen some good reviews on this site that you must see:

    1. I liked the way you put together everything, there is certainly no need to go any further to look for any additional information. You mentioned each and everything that too with much of ease.
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  2. There are many AR 15 scopes on the market today, but my favorite is the Nikon P-223 3x32. I like this unit because it is generous and offers consistent eye relief. See more options here:

  3. Lenses are the most important things in the scope. This is what forms the image.
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  4. I have a Spotting scope of Nikon's P-223 series brand. I learn so many things from your post how to use that.I always prefer the straight through scope Thanks a lot.

  5. Thank you for sharing the nice article. I hope to hear more updates from you.
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