OpticsMag is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Read more.

10 Best Rifle Scopes Under $100 in 2021 — Reviews & Top Picks

Last Updated on June 13, 2021

Riflescope_Simmons_Amazon

While you’re not going to find a rifle scope for under $100 that can outperform the premium options on the market, you can undoubtedly find one that’s more than capable of getting the job done.

We tracked down the best 10 rifle scopes that you can buy for under $100. If you still don’t know what you’re looking for after reading the reviews, check out the comprehensive buyer’s guide that will walk you through everything that you need to know before and after you purchase your next scope!

scope crosshairs divider 2

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Simmons 511039 Matte Black Riflescope Simmons 511039 Matte Black Riflescope
  • Excellent magnification range
  • Seamless adjustments
  • Generous 3.75" of eye relief
  • Best Air Rifle Scope Under $100
    Second place
    Swiss Arms Soft Air Rifle Scope Swiss Arms Soft Air Rifle Scope
  • Affordable
  • Tool-free adjustments
  • Easy to use and sight in
  • Third place
    Pinty Illuminated Optical Rifle Scope Pinty Illuminated Optical Rifle Scope
  • Affordable
  • Great magnification range
  • It comes with mounting rings
  • CVLIFE 4x32 Tactical Rifle Scope CVLIFE 4x32 Tactical Rifle Scope
  • Utilizes a Weaver mount
  • Illuminated reticle
  • Crisp and clear image
  • MidTen 4-12x50 Dual Illuminated Scope MidTen 4-12x50 Dual Illuminated Scope
  • Great magnification range
  • 1" riser mount
  • Traditional scope
  • The 10 Best Rifle Scopes under $100 — Reviews 2021

    1. Simmons 511039 Matte Black Riflescope — Best Overall

    Simmons 3-9x32mm riflescope_Amazon

    If you’re looking to get the best rifle scope for under $100, it’s hard to beat the performance of the Simmons 511039 Matte Black Rifle Scope. The 3x to 9x magnification range is extremely versatile for most applications, and the HydroShield coating gives you an extremely clear sight picture.

    Moreover, the 3.75″ of eye relief is exceptionally generous, and making windage and elevation adjustments has never been easier than it is with the SureGrip rubber surfaces.

    However, for everything that this sight does right, you’ll probably want to replace the mounting rings that it comes with to get a snug fit. But since this sight is well under your $100 budget, you can get both!

    Pros
    • A great mix of affordability and performance
    • Excellent 3x to 9x magnification range
    • HydroShield coating gives you a clear sight picture
    • SureGrip rubber surfaces ensure seamless adjustments
    • Generous 3.75″ of eye relief
    Cons
    • You should replace the mounting rings

    2. Swiss Arms Soft Air Rifle Scope — Best Air Rifle Scope Under $100

    Soft Air Swiss Arms 4x32 rifle scope_Amazon

    If you’re looking for an incredible sight to throw on your airsoft rifle, look no further than the Swiss Arms Soft Air Rifle Scope. It’s extremely easy to use and sight in, and you can make both windage and elevation adjustments on the fly without any tools.

    Since it’s only an airsoft scope, it’s extremely affordable, but it can’t handle much recoil, which would be a problem if you attached it to a real weapon. Moreover, this sight only has one magnification level: 4x. This isn’t a huge deal for an airsoft gun, but it does limit its overall versatility.

    Pros
    • Affordable
    • Tool-free adjustments
    • Easy to use and sight in
    Cons
    • Only one magnification settings: 4x
    • Harsh eye relief: around 3″

    3. Pinty Illuminated Optical Rifle Scope

    Pinty 3-9X40 Red Green Illuminated riflescope_Amazon

    A top-notch scope for your rifle is the Pinty Illuminated Optical Rifle Scope. The 3x to 9x magnification range is exceptionally versatile, and the illuminated reticle makes it easy to see even in low-light conditions.

    Even better, you can cycle between both red and green illumination options on the reticle, so no matter the color of the target, you’ll be able to see it. Moreover, this scope comes with the mounting rings that you need, and it’s incredibly affordable, allowing you to stay well under your $100 budget while getting everything that you need.

    However, the most significant drawback to this scope is that it only has 2.7″ to 3.3″ of eye relief, depending on your magnification level.

    Pros
    • Affordable option
    • Great magnification range: 3x to 9x
    • It has an illuminated reticle: both red and green
    • It comes with mounting rings
    Cons
    • Harsh eye relief: 2.7″ to 3.3″

    4. CVLIFE 4×32 Tactical Rifle Scope

    CVLIFE 4x32 Tactical Rifle Scope_Amazon

    An affordable option for your rifle scope is the CVLIVE Tactical Rifle Scope. This scope comes with an illuminated reticle, and you can change the color from green to red to blue, depending on what you need.

    This sight does utilize a Weaver mount, which is a little rarer, but if that’s what is on your rifle, it means you won’t need an adapter to use this mount. This sight gives you an extremely bright and clear image, although it only has one magnification setting at x4.

    However, the worst drawback to this scope is the eye relief. Coming in under 3″, it’s extremely sharp, despite the single magnification setting at lower power.

    Pros
    • Utilizes a Weaver mount
    • Illuminated reticle in green, red, and blue
    • Crisp and clear image
    Cons
    • Only one magnification setting: x4
    • Harsh eye relief: under 3″

    5. MidTen 4-12×50 Dual Illuminated Scope

    MidTen 4-12x50 Dual Illuminated Scope

    The MidTen Dual Illuminated Scope is a versatile option for your rifle, starting with the 4x to 12x magnification range. It also has a holographic sight and a laser sight, giving you a three-in-one sight that does it all.

    Additionally, it has a 1″ riser mount, which allows you to mount it onto almost any rifle setup. This is a bulky and heavy setup, but that’s because of all the extra features that it has.

    Still, the laser sight isn’t bright, the eye relief is sharp at 3″ to 3.4″, and this sight maxes out your budget. It’s a versatile choice, but by going for all three options, you’re not getting the best of any of them.

    Pros
    • Great 4x to 12x magnification range
    • Traditional scope, red dot sight, and a laser sight
    • The red dot has four reticle options and two color options: red and green
    • 1″ riser mount
    Cons
    • The laser is not bright
    • Heavy and bulky
    • Maxes out the budget
    • Harsh eye relief: 3″ to 3.4″

    6. BARSKA Varmint Mil-Dot Riflescope

    BARSKA Varmint Mil-Dot Riflescope_Amazon

    An option that comes close to maxing out the $100 budget is the BARSKA Varmint Mil-Dot Rifle Scope. That said, there are tons to like about this scope.

    First, the Varmint line has four different magnification ranges that you can choose from, which means you get a ton of flexibility because you can get the magnification range that best suits your needs.

    Additionally, you get a decent amount of eye relief at 3.5″, and the sight is easy to adjust and use. Overall, it’s a great choice, but it’s going to use most of your budget.

    Pros
    • Four magnification ranges
    • Decent eye relief: 3.5″
    • Easy to use and adjust
    • Crisp and clear optics
    Cons
    • On the higher end of the budget

    7. Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Sight Riflescope

    Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight Riflescope_Amazon

    There’s little doubt that Bushnell makes excellent sights, and its Trophy TRS-24 Sight is no exception. This is a red dot sight, and if that’s what you’re looking for, it’s a perk. However, for those looking for a traditional scope, the 1x magnification is a huge drawback.

    Still, this sight comes with a lifetime warranty, the red dot utilizes a great 3 MOA size, and there are 11 different brightness settings that you can cycle through. When you add all these features up, it’s not hard to see why this red dot sight is on this list.

    We recommend installing this sight on an offset mount; that way, you can get the best of both worlds with a traditional scope and a red dot sight!

    Pros
    • Lifetime warranty
    • Red dot sight
    • 11 brightness settings to cycle through
    • Great 3 MOA red dot size
    Cons
    • Only 1x magnification

    8. Monstrum 3-9×32 Rifle Scope

    Monstrum 3-9x32 Rifle Scope_Amazon

    The Monstrum Rifle Scope is an interesting choice. Its 3x to 9x magnification range is extremely versatile, and the 3.5″ to 3.8″ of eye relief is pretty generous. Moreover, it has an illuminated reticle and comes with the rings that you need to mount this scope.

    But despite all the perks, there’s no doubt that this scope is a lower-quality option. It’s certainly not a bad choice, but the lens isn’t as clear or sharp, and it’s a little expensive.

    Pros
    • Excellent 3x to 9x magnification range
    • Good eye relief: 3.5″ to 3.8″
    • Illuminated reticle in both red and green
    • It comes with scope rings
    Cons
    • Lower quality than some other options

    9. UTG 3-9X32 BugBuster Scope

    UTG 3-9X32 1 BugBuster Scope_Amazon

    The UTG BugBuster Scope is an extremely popular choice, but it’s a bit of a mixed bag from start to finish. The 3x to 9x magnification range is exceptionally versatile, and the optics are clear and crisp, but this sight completely maxes out the $100 budget.

    You get 4.2″ of eye relief when you use this sight at 3x magnification, but when you power it up to 9x, you only get 3.2″! Finally, you get an illuminated reticle that you can change from red to green, which does help you see it in low-light conditions.

    But at this end of the budget, we expect a smaller range in eye relief.

    Pros
    • Excellent 3x to 9x magnification range
    • Illuminated reticle in both red and green
    • Good top end eye relief: 4.2″
    • Crisp and clear image
    Cons
    • Sharp low-end eye relief: 3.2″
    • Maxes out the budget

    10. Gamo Air Gun Scope LC4X32 with Rings

    Gamo Air Gun Scope LC4X32

    The Gamo Air Gun Scope is not a bad choice if you’re looking for an airsoft scope, but it can’t handle anything more powerful.

    This scope does have an illuminated reticle and the ability to make windage and elevation adjustments, but it only has one magnification setting at x4. Finally, this sight does come with all the necessary mounting equipment, but just be sure to only use it for an airsoft gun!

    Pros
    • Affordable
    • Illuminated reticle
    • You can make both windage and elevation adjustments
    • It comes with the mounting rings and lens cover
    Cons
    • Only works on airsoft weapons
    • It only has one magnification setting: x4

    scope crosshairs divider 2

    Buyer’s Guide

    With so many specs and options out there, it can be challenging to determine which numbers matter and which ones to ignore. That’s why we came up with this comprehensive buyer’s guide to walk you through everything that you need to know to help you make your decision.

    How Much Magnification Do You Need?

    By far, the most important decision to make when selecting a rifle scope is determining how much magnification you need. The more magnification you have, the larger an object will appear in the lens, making it easier to shoot.

    But more power isn’t always better because as you increase the magnification, the parallax increases at closer distances. This means what you see at a closer range is distorted, making it impossible to aim and hit.

    That makes finding the right balance critical when selecting a scope. For most hunting and target shooting applications, a 3x to 9x magnification is ideal. This allows you to hit targets close to 300 yards out if you know what you’re doing, but you can still hit targets as close as 10 yards!

    If you’re unsure of how much magnification you need, think of it this way: A scope with 10x magnification will make an object that’s 100 yards away look like it’s 10 yards away, while a scope with 5x magnification is going to make that same object look like it’s 20 yards away.

    Furthermore, keep in mind that more magnification doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be able to hit a distant target. The smallest movements will still cause your bullet to sway off course, which is why practice is more important than magnification.

    Sniper gun scope view, target

    Image credit: Evgenius1985, Shutterstock

     

    Zeroing Your New Scope

    No matter which scope you choose, you won’t be able to hit a thing without zeroing it in. The good news is that zeroing your new scope is easier than you might think.

    Keep in mind that while most people sight in their scope at 100 yards, you can sight in your scope at any distance, and the only thing that changes when sighting it in for a different distance is the MOA adjustments.

    When sighting in at a closer distance, each MOA adjustment is going to increase. For instance, while a 1 MOA adjustment will move your round 1″ at 100 yards, if you’re sighting in your rifle at 50 yards, that same 1 MOA adjustment will move the round over 2″.

    However, if you think that you can shoot at a closer target to sight in your rifle, the bullet drop will change if you don’t sight it in at the correct distance. If you want to sight your rifle in at 100 yards, don’t cut corners — place your target at the proper distance.

    Mounting Your New Scope

    insert scope_Iakov Filimonov_Shutterstock

    Image Credit: Iakov Filimonov, Shutterstock

    Before you order a scope, it’s essential to verify that you can mount it on your rifle. Otherwise, you risk your new scope arriving only to realize that you can’t use it.

    When you’re looking at mounting your scope, there are two different factors that you need to consider. First, you need to look at the rail system on your rifle. The most popular mounting styles include the Weaver and Picatinny rails, but Dovetail mounts are relatively common too.

    Weaver and Picatinny rails are often interchangeable, but if you have a Dovetail mount, you’ll need an adapter. Moreover, while those are the three most common types of mounting systems, they’re far from the only options out there.

    From there, you need to ensure that you have enough clearance from the sight over any other attachments that might be on your rifle. The most common type of attachment that you’ll need to look over is the iron sights. If your scope isn’t situated high enough on your rifle, all you’ll see through the scope is the sights. But there’s good news if you’re worried about that. Most of the time, you don’t need to change the sights, you just need to get a different mount.

    There are tons of different mounts out there, from low-profile mounts that can’t see over a thing to absolute co-witness mounts that can clear just about any hurdle.

    Do You Need an Illuminated Reticle?

    rifle scope_Piqsels

    Image Credit: Piqsels

    The truth is that you don’t need an illuminated reticle, but they can make things easier during low-light situations. This is especially true for lower-end optics. That’s because while top-end optics have special coatings to increase light transmission, lower-end optics don’t usually have those coatings. That means they’re more sensitive to low-light conditions, and the first thing to go is often the visibility of the reticle.

    Illuminated reticles eliminate that concern and allow you to shoot in lower-light conditions. Also, keep in mind that if your sight has an illuminated reticle, it’s best to have more than one color option. While it’s rare that it will matter, occasionally, you can run into problems if the background color of your target is similar or doesn’t contrast well, as you won’t be able to see it.

    Finally, keep in mind that you don’t want to rely solely on an illuminated reticle. If you do, your trip can end before early if the batteries die.

    Instead, it’s best if your scope has both an illuminated reticle and a glass-etched reticle; that way, you get the best of both worlds, and you won’t be entirely out of luck if the batteries die out in the field.

    What Is Eye Relief and How Much Do You Need?

    rifle scope_andreas160578_Pixabay

    Image Credit: andreas160578, Pixabay

    An extremely important specification that you need to look at when selecting a scope is the eye relief. This refers to the distance that you need between your scope and your eye to see through it.

    It’s an extremely important number because if you don’t have enough eye relief, the recoil will send the scope straight into your eye when you pull the trigger. Furthermore, you’ll have to sit more “on top” of your rifle when looking through the scope, or you’ll have to mount the scope farther back on the rifle, both of which can make it more challenging or uncomfortable to look through your scope, especially for an extended period of time.

    Considering all these things, we recommend a scope with at least 3.5″ of eye relief, but you can get by with a little less. However, scopes that have less than 3″ of eye relief are extremely difficult to use, and those that are closer to 4″ are even better.

    Finally, keep in mind that eye relief typically shrinks at higher magnification levels. So, a scope with 3.5″ of eye relief at the lowest power setting likely has far less at maximum power.

    scope crosshairs divider 2

    Conclusion

    If you’re still unsure about what scope is right for you after reading the reviews, why not stick with the top option on the list? The Simmons 511039 Matte Black Riflescope earned the top nod for a reason, as it’s incredibly versatile and delivers top-notch performance.

    But if you’re looking to spend as little as possible, the Pinty Illuminated Optical Rifle Scope is a great choice too.

    Hopefully, this guide walked you through everything that you need to know about these great accessories and gave you the confidence to get your next rifle scope on order today!

    About the Author Robert Sparks

    Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.