AR rifles are usually long, but guess what there are shortened versions, yes, just like a sawn-off shotgun.

Only, in this instance, its legal and was rendered in direct relation to The National Fire Arms Act of 1934 (NFA) which defined any rifle with a shoulder stock and barrel less than 16 inches in length and 26 inches overall to be a "short barreled rifle" (SBR).

Top-Rated Optic for AR Pistol List:

So, today we have a lot of SBR’s, or AR-15 pistols that come with a shorter barrel and a "pistol" buffer tube that does not let you attach a traditional stock.

Why the AR-15 SBR was developed was from a purely logistical point of view, the designers wanted a gun that didn’t require the long beurocratic process for registering a rifle, as such, today we have a plethora of AR-15 pistols flooding the market.

Guess what; they need accessories too.

Be it hunting in the dark or daylight using a few accessories can improve the overall shooting experience. For instance, Thermal scopes make night shooting possible like never before (ref: Thermalcameras.Guide), while many other rifle scopes come loaded with features that improve precision and aim.

These small AR-15’s do not perform as the big rifles do. Since the barrel sizes around 7” to 10.5”, there is a shorter gas system that causes over-gassing. This means the gasses cycle faster than in a standard AR-15, and this leads to more recoil and louder operation.

Another issue is the sight, you don’t want to put a full-length AR-15 sight on an AR SBR, the range is shorter, and the firing volatility is harsher, as such you want a special scope designed to sit on the AR Pistol.

In this article, I bring you the top 5 AR Pistol scopes that are excellent value for money and have been tested and proven to provide excellent results in every use and condition.

Best Optic for AR Pistol Reviews:

1. Holosun HS510C 2 MOA Dot

HOLOSUN Open Reflex, LED, Titanium Housing, 50,000 hr Battery, Quick Detach, Multiple Reticle System...
  • Holosun HS510C open Reflex sight
  • 1x, 30mm diag, 2 MOA Red dot + 65
  • Moa ring reticle, matte black, Absolute co-witness mount

The HS510C Open Reflex Circle Dot Sight is a rugged open frame sight that uses a solar cell for daily use and a battery for low light conditions. This is a rugged scope that sits perfectly on any AR-15 SBR.


The HS510C is a parallax free model that comes with unlimited eye relief. The reticle is switchable between a 65 MOA circle with 2 MOA dot, or either a 2 MOA dot only, or a 65 MOA ring only. This is easily controlled by a simple push-button switch.

The solar-powered sight gives elongated life expectancy from the CR2032 battery, which will now last up to 50,000 hours.

The scope is made of 6061 aluminum alloy body and  a shock resistant hood made from a Titanium alloy.

The Holosun comes with their Solar Failsafe™ which is the solar panel that provides sunny daytime performance and reduces the reliance on batteries. The array also acts as a light sensor, so the unit can adjust its brightness according to the ambient conditions.

Shake Awake™ is a great energy saver, it turns the unit off when no movement is detected, or vibration is felt. Once the unit feels a vibration or detects movement, it turns on and uses the last brightness level in its memory.

The Multiple Reticle System (M.R.S.) enables you to choose the reticle you want, as such you get to change the reticle offering with three options, and this provides you with maximum tactical advantages.

This system removes the need to re-zero, and you get to scope all the time perfectly.


Solar power is fun; it really does save on energy consumption. The MRS systems are great too, and all around this is an excellent run for your money and well worth the investment for serious hunters, and live field use.

2. Aimpoint PRO Patrol Rifle Optic

Aimpoint PRO Red Dot Reflex Sight with QRP2 Mount and Spacer - 2 MOA - 12841
  • Absolute co-witness with iron sights (with the supplied...
  • Features 2 MOA red dot for accurate target engagement
  • Includes front and rear plastic flip cap lens covers
  • Features 10 brightness settings including one extra bright...
  • Up to 30,000 hours (over 3 years) of constant operation from...

The Aimpoint® PRO sight is an exceptional all-round tactical scope devised by professionals for professionals and comes with a very reasonable price for the level of sophistication you receive.


The Aimpoint® PRO is constantly ready and comes with a 3-year battery, which means you get to shoot to your heart's content for 3 years without worrying about replacing the power source.

The red dot comes with a 2-minute angle, making this an extremely accurate scope for the range of distance it covers.

The speed of recovery between shots and the adaptability to night vision optics makes this an all-around versatile unit that outperforms most models in the same price range.

The body is made of a hard-anodized aluminum alloy and construction makes it waterproof to 150 feet. The front lens opening comes with a thread that allows you to add an anti-reflection device (ARD).

To secure your scope from damage while not in use, there is a simple flip cover for both front and rear sights, and they are both transparent, which makes it possible to scope and shoot even when the covers are closed.

The mounting devices let you place this firmly on any flat-top AR15, M4 Carbine and M16 rifles.

You can also use the removable spacer to connect this to shotguns and sub-guns, AK47, Type 81, BD08 and low line of sight weapons.


This is an extremely affordable multi-purpose solution. If you want a standard issue AR pistol sight, this is the one you should start off with before spending a fortune on new-fangled hi-tech machinery.

3. EOTech OPMOD EXPS2 Holographic Sight

EOTECH EXPS2 Holographic Weapon Sight
  • EOTECH EXPS2-0 - Holographic Weapon Sight in black with 68...
  • Side Button Operation - Compact design and side button...
  • Mount - Quick Detach lever fits 1" Weaver and MIL-STD 1913...
  • Adjustable Brightness - The EXPS2 has 20 brightness settings...
  • EOTECH HWS Prestige Warranty - Comes with a 10 year limited...

The EXPS2 HWS® is a lightweight, non-magnifying, optical sight designed for close engagements and as such is a perfect AR-15 Pistol scope.


The EXPS2 delivers real 2-eyes-open shooting and comes with some very easy to use features including their easy-to-adjust side buttons with a quick-detach lever.

The EXPS2 HWS® provides you with very fast target acquisition at short ranges and provides up to 300 meters of aiming capability. The HWS® gives extremely rapid reticle-on-target acquisition, which is a major combat advantage.

The holographic image is superimposed on the target image for immediate tagging; this enables you to retain eye contact on the target while placing the holographic reticle without shifting focus.

You can use the scope in either bright open reticle image mode or in a fine dot mode that limits the accuracy to that of the shooters eye.


This is a mid-range prices scope that comes with some nifty features and is a great middle of the range scope for both professionals and beginners.

4. TA31F: Trijicon 4x32 ACOG, Dual Illuminated Red Chevron .223 Ballistic Reticle w/ TA51 Flattop Mount

Trijicon Acog 4 X 32 Scope Dual Illuminated Chevron .223 Ballistic Reticle, Black
  • BATTERY-FREE ILLUMINATION: Features a tritium/fiber optic...
  • “BOTH EYES OPEN” DESIGN: The ACOG can be used as a CQB...
  • COMBAT PROVEN: No other magnified optic has been used more...

The Trijicon ACOG (Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight) 4x32 BAC is a powerhouse of action. This is a leading optical performance device that delivers both open eyes performance with perfect results.


If its value for money and real value for real money, then this is the scope to get for your AR pistol. There is none that come close to it, and this is perhaps why this scope costs as much as or more than your weapon.

It integrates the Bindon Aiming Concept (BAC) which allows the user to aim with both eyes open and this leads to some very capable short-range accuracy.

The chevron reticle delivers a great zero using the tip at 100 meters. The chevron base width is 5.53 MOA that translates to 19” at 300 meters. This factors in silhouette target range estimation.

The system comes with a tritium sight for night time use, and the ranging reticle is calibrated for 5.56 (.223 cal) flattop rifles out to 800 meters. This model uses both fiber optics and tritium light sources.

The housing is made from a CNC machines forging that provides exceptional field wear and tear.


If its military-style is scoping for immediate targeting and deadly accuracy, then this is the scope to get.

However, the price is high, and possibly rightly so, in fact, this is three times the cost of the Aimpoint Pro, but in my opinion, it is also three times better too.

5. Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II Second Focal Plane Riflescopes

Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II 1-6x24 SFP Riflescope VMR-2 MOA
  • The Viper PST Gen II takes incredible performance and rock...
  • Users who dial their turrets for drop and wind compensation...
  • The reticle offers users highly functional, intuitive, and...
  • Extra-low dispersion glass increases resolution and color...
  • O-ring sealed and argon purged, the Viper delivers...

The Vortex Optic Viper® PST™ series brings you the Gen II PST scope that is designed blow away the competition as well as your target.


When it comes to AR-15 pistols, you need a scope that can handle both long and short distance shots, as well as take advantage of the massive recoil and provide smooth recalibration free performance. This is where this beast comes into play.

It’s a patented design, US Patent 7,937,879, and it is specifically suitable for SBG’s due to its rugged body and optics.

The illumination dial is seamlessly integrated into the side focus adjustment knob delivering optimized access and smooth performance.

This model comes with their XD™ Lens Elements, Extra-low dispersion (XD) glass delivers a higher optical transfer and provides you with increased resolution, color fidelity, and sharp images.

The XR™ Fully Multi-Coating is a proprietary surface treatment that increases the optical light transmission through multiple anti-reflective coatings on all air-to-glass surfaces.

There is a Second Focal Plane Reticle that maintains the same sized appearance and is illuminated for improved low light performance.

The tube is 30mm diameter single piece aircraft grade aluminum alloy. Which means you get a rugged, durable and corrosion resistant lightweight scope.

The body integrates O-rings for maximum waterproofing, and the body is Argon purged to provide anti-fogging properties.

The body is covered with an anodized coating that delivers an extra barrier of hard strength, resisting impacts and damage.

The internal mechanism comes with a Precision-Force Spring System combined with a Precision-Glide Erector System, combined they deliver accurate zoom lens functionality to ensure smooth magnification changes in any condition.


This is a conveniently priced professional scope that is exceptionally useful in the range as well as in tactical use. The rugged design aims for AR-15 pistol use, and this scope fits perfectly, delivering great middle range accuracy on the go.


There is no “best” of the best; there is best in every category and in this review,  I presented you with the best in different categories of scopes for the AR-15 pistol.

Remember, the AR-15 pistol is a wild kicker, and you need strong hands, strong arms and great scope to accurately shoot with this design.

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About the Author Anton Scharff

Anton is a hunting expert who respects nature. Ask him anything about large game. Lover of the great outdoors.

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