What are the Best Cheap Red/Green Dot Scopes for the Money?

Budget is always an issue even if you are a seasoned shooting professional or someone that just bought their first AR-15 or AR-10.  If you’ve done your planning right, you can often times put together a decent budget build of an AR-15 rifle for under $1000.00.

If you are starting out with a budget build and your goal is to spend 1k or less, then you are going to need to be pretty careful with every purchase.  Tactical rifles are like Legos and the costs can very quickly add up.

Finding the right scope on a budget can be a challenge, especially if you are looking for a sight that’s got a quality build and your budget is $200.00 or less.  Our detailed breakdown below should not only keep you within budget, but help you find something that’s going to keep you shooting straight without breaking the bank.

Let’s take a look at our Top 5 choices under 200.00 by first showing you our top 5 in a comparison grid, then highlighting both the benefits and differences of each model.  We’ve also provided you a quick jump menu if there’s a specific model you already have in mind.

Comparison Grid:

User ReviewsVideo ReviewsRatingPrice
User ReviewsVideo ReviewsRatingPrice
Vortex StrikeFire II Red Dot iconClick For The Vortex® Video$$
Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 iconClick For The Bushnell Video$
Truglo Tru-Brite Open-Dot iconClick For The TruGlo Video$
UTG 4.2" ITA Sight w/Riser iconiconClick For The UTG 4.2 Video$
Vortex SPARC II iconClick For The Sparc II Video$$$

Quick Jump Menu:

Best Red Dot Scope For The Money:  The Vortex StrikeFire

Vortex StrikeFireWe’ve highlighted the benefits of the Vortex Strikefire in previous articles, and there’s no mistake that it’s showing up here.  The StrikeFire is an extremely reliable choice and it’s the absolute best option for the money under 200.00.  We’d actually take this scope any day over several of the other more expensive models on the market.

The StrikeFires’ reticle options let you switch colors and dot intensity depending on your shooting setting or conditions.  It’s easy to zero in making it a great choice for beginners.  It handles recoil extremely well and the dots are easily visible on the lowest light settings.

It’s recommended that you look into purchasing a high rise mount or scope rings that will elevate the scope a little bit from your rifle.  Outside of that, there really isn’t a better choice until you start jumping up in price range to the Eotech or Aimpont models.

Top Red Dot Scope under $100.00:  Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 1x25mm with Tilted Lens

Bushnell Tilted LensThe Bushnell Trophy is a solid choice for anyone on a budget and it’s our #1 pick under $100.00.  It’s also the the top choice for thousands of people online, making it one of the most highly purchased tactical sights online.

Let’s be real here – don’t expect to get an Aimpoint (checkout the full Aimpoint AR-15 Scope review by clicking here) for the same cost as you are paying for the Bushnell.  When it comes to Dot Optics, you get what you pay for.

With that being said, the Bushnell Trophy does the job with a very crystal clear & sharp reticle.  You can fully adjust the dot of the scope by using the knob on the side of the optic.  This lets you control the intensity of the light which you will need to adjust based on the time of day or setting you are shooting in.

The 1×25 magnification ratio makes this a great choice for a beginner that has minimal shooting experience looking to keep their wallets intact.  Some people have also paired it with a magnifier to stretch the distance a little further as well and have had good results.

Our Favorite Open Red Dot Optic on a Budget:  Truglo Red-Dot Tru-Brite Open-Dot

Truglo SightThe Truglo Red-Dot fits nicely into this category, usually coming in under 100.00 online.  You won’t be getting much distance shooting out of this as that’s not what it’s designed for.  This optic is designed for quick target acquisition and making fast adjustments when changing directions with your aim.

The Truglo has a couple of nice features which include brightness control and two choices of reticle colors (red/green).  It’s built very well and has an integrated weaver mount system which help make it extremely versatile.  It can handle recoil very well and is a top choice for many law enforcement officials.  It also has 4 different shapes of reticles that make it enjoyable to shoot with while you cycle through your options.

Overall, this is a great  choice and a perfect selection for someone without a lot of shooting experience that plans on using their AR at closer ranges or needs the ability to swap targets quickly.

Great High Rise on the Cheap:  UTG 4.2″ ITA Red/Green Dot Sight with Riser Adaptor

UTG Tactical ScopeThe UTG is a good choice if you are looking for something that is already equipped with both a high rise block and a mount.  The mount hooks up directly with a pic rail and will definitely save you a couple bucks on scope mounts.  This is a great choice if you want to just slap it on and go, but if you are more experienced, the model that comes without a mount may be the more preferable choice so you can customize the optic to your liking.

The UTG ITA is one of the few models that can be used simultaneously with the iron sights that come standard on most rifles.  The scope’s natural height makes it a perfect addition to any rifle and with the quick detachable mounts, can be removed with extreme ease.  It’s also versatile and can be used on a wide range of firearms.

The riser block itself is engineered to be perfectly setup at eye level for most shooters when mounted to an AR-15.  Overall this is a great choice for beginners and takes the guesswork out of picking up mounting hardware.

Best Choice For Maxing Your 200.00 Budget:Vortex Optics Sparc II

Vortex SparcIf you are looking to hit the top end of your budget and get the most bang for your 200.00, the Vortex Sparc should be sitting at the top of your list.

Like the Bushnell TRS-25, the Sparc comes equipped with mounting hardware taking out the need for you to spend an extra 30 or 40 bucks on scope mounts.  The anti-reflective coatings on the optic make light transmission optimal.  It also comes with an auto shutdown feature that will help save battery life and keep your scope maintenance free for a very long time.

While the Sparc only has one reticle color, it definitely makes up for that with the clarity of the dot.  Sparc itself stands for “Speed Point Aiming for Rapid Combat.”  The sight itself was designed for open eye shooting and rapid target movement/acquisition.  For almost exactly $200.00, this is one of the best choices you can make if you are ok with maxing your budget.

Wrap Up:

Hopefully our layout of our top 5 picks will help you find what scope works best for you.  All of these are fantastic choices and no matter which option you are thinking of picking up, all of them should be suitable for your shooting needs while keeping your wallet just a little bit thicker.