When it comes to mounting scopes, there tends to be a bit of controversy. Everybody has a method that they think is best. There are merits to all the different types of scope mounts.
Top AR-15 Scope Mounts in the Market Today
Scope Mount Factors
In general, the best scope mount for you depends on a few factors:
1. Your Scope
The thing we’re talking about here is the objective lens diameter. You can read more about scopes in this article, but the objective lens diameter is the size of the lens on the end of the scope that faces the target.
You need scope mounts that are high enough to mount your scope so the objective lens doesn’t touch your rifle. The larger the objective lens on your scope, the higher your scope mounts need to be.
2. Your Backup Sights
If you want to run a scope and backup sights, you’ll need to make a choice: what sort of backup sights you’re going to use.
If you use angled sights, your scope mount is less of an issue, since your scope won’t interfere with your line of sight through your backup sights.
If you want to run flip-up sights, you’ll probably need high profile scope mounts, with a see-through cutout so you can see your front sight through your scope mounts.
If you plan on mounting a secondary sight on your scope, like a red dot sight, you should use the lowest profile scope mounts possible to minimize the mechanical offset of your backup sight.
If you plan on running without backup sights, then get the lowest profile scope mounts that will accommodate your scope.
3. Your Other Accessories
For bolt guns and hunting rifles, this won’t be much of an issue, since there aren’t very many bolt gun attachments, besides scopes and bipods.
However, the AR-15 platform is like a Lego kit. You can add all sorts of stuff to your rifle, until you’re running around with some kind of Starship Troopers gun. So, for an AR-15, you need to plan ahead a bit when you mount your scope on it.
Essentially, it boils down to this:
If you plan on putting some sort of optical assist on your rifle that works in conjunction with your scope, like a scope magnifier or iron sights for co-witnessing, get low profile scope mounts. This minimizes the mechanical offset and keeps your rifle balanced by bringing the extra weight closer to the chassis of the rifle.
If you’re the type that likes to add lights and stuff to the forend of your rifle, and might use some of the real estate on top of your hand guard for mounting accessories, get high profile scope mounts. This way, your scope is less likely to interfere with your other tactical accessories.
4. Scope Mount Footprint
Up to this point, we’ve dealt just with how high your scope mounts are, and whether or not you can see through them.
This is the most important factor to consider when you’re choosing your scope mounts. However, there is one additional thing to consider: your scope mount footprint.
This refers to how much space on your rail or the top of your rifle your scope mount takes up. In general there are two types of mounting footprints:
- One point of contact.
- Two (or more) points of contact.
There’s some discussion over which setup is better. Some say that one point of contact is less stable, and allows the scope to move, even if it’s very slight movement.
Other’s say that one point of contact is fine, since quality scope mounts are made from machined aluminum and other high-rigidity metals.
I won’t speculate about which is more stable, since I haven’t seen any undeniable evidence that one is better than the other. But I will say this: a single point of contact usually leaves more room on your picatinny rail to mount tertiary optics or devices, whatever those may be.
So if you’re the type who uses a lot of weapon-mounted tools, you might opt for a single point of contact mount. Those of us who have fewer devices mounted on our rifles will probably be happy with one or two points of contact.
So now, with all of the considerations covered, let’s get into the best scope mounts for an AR-15. These reviews will be broken down by manufacturer, since you’ll need to get rings that fit your scope (if I told you that 1 inch scope mounts were the best, but you have a 30mm scope, those scope mounts are actually the worst for you, because they won’t work).
Here are the best scope mounts for an AR-15:
3 Best AR-15 Scope Mounts
1. Modkin Scope Mounts - Best Value Scope Mounts for AR 15
Modkin Scope Mounts are built on the philosophy that good mounting hardware for your scope shouldn’t be a limiting expense. As such, Modkin delivers high quality scope mounts at outstanding prices.
Most Modkin scope mounts are a two-piece design, that gives two points of contact on the rifle. All Modkin scope mounts are machined aluminum, for rock solid rigidity and repeatable accuracy.
Inside the scope rings, Modkin scope mounts are fitted with tape that helps hold your scope securely, and prevents the rings from marring the finish of your optic.
Modkin builds a variety of high and low profile designs. The high profile designs feature cutouts for those who want to use standard backup sights.
Something to note about Modkin scope mounts: most Modkin mounts are designed for scopes with a 1 inch (25.4mm) body tube. So your options may be limited if you have a scope with a 30mm body tube.
Overall, Modkin scope mounts are some of the best scope mounts for the money, while still being very high quality enough to use with high-end optics.
2. UTG Scope Mounts - Best Quick Detach Scope Mounts for AR 15
UTG is known for manufacturing high quality goods that are reasonably priced. This holds true for UTG Scope Mounts.
One thing that UTG does well, which many scope mount manufacturers don’t, is produce excellent quick detach scope mounts. While some shooters prefer not to use quick detach mounts for anything other than reflex and holographic sights, quality quick detach scope mounts are solid enough for most shooting contexts.
UTG quick detach mounts lock down securely and provide plenty of stability for repeatable accuracy. UTG is confident enough in their quick detach scope mounts that they include them with many of their 3-9x scopes.
Most UTG scope mounts are a two piece design, which provides two points of contact on the rifle. Those that feel one point of contact isn’t secure enough will appreciate this.
All UTG hardware is machined from aircraft grade aluminum, for excellent rigidity and holding power. Additionally, the rings come with synthetic tape along the inside to prevent slipping, and protect the finish of your optics.
Lastly, UTG scope mounts are designed to remove as much material as possible from the mount, so the hardware is as light as it can be.
In the end, UTG scope mounts aren’t the absolute least expensive on the market, but the quality is high enough for any optic, and UTG manufactures rings for scopes of all sizes.
3. Aero Precision Scope Mounts - Best Scope Mounts for AR 15
Aero Precision Scope Mounts are the cream of the crop when it comes to scope rings. They’re certainly not the cheapest mounting hardware, but they’re very high quality.
The big selling point of Aero Precision rings is that they’re super light. This is ideal for those who have ultra-lightweight rifles or who want to save some weight because their AR-15 is already a bit loaded down.
To keep the weight so low, Aero Precision machines their scope mounts from a solid piece of aircraft grade aluminum, and removes as much material as possible, without compromising the rigidity of the mount.
Not only are these scope mounts light, they’re rigid enough for spot-on precision, shot after shot.
For improved stability, Aero Precision scope mounts utilize a one-piece design that emulates three points of contact. The base is long, with three screws that secure the mount to the rail. This provides a slightly smaller footprint, but just as much stability as a two-piece mounting setup.
The rings come with synthetic tape on the inside to keep your scope from slipping, and protect the finish of your optic.
Finally, all Aero Precision hardware is anodized with a black, hard-coat finish for ultimate durability.
While these aren’t budget scope mounts, they provide outstanding stability and precision for both extreme long range and tactical shooters.