Best AR-15 Carry Handle Scope Mounts – 2019 Buyer’s Guide

Owners of the more traditional version of AR rifles - the ones with permanently attached carry handles -  are a bit handicapped in terms of installing adequate optics.

Machining tolerances for mounting rails are another issue.

The increased height of the rifle is yet another obstacle in the way of getting a little bit more accuracy out of an AR.

Comparison of the Best AR-15 Carry Handle Scope Mounts

PRODUCT DETAILS
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UTG AR-15 Carry Handle Rail Mount

  • Designed for AR-15 rifles.
  • 12 slots for attaching scopes.
  • Made from high-quality materials.
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Weaver AR-15/M16 Single Rail (SR) Mount System

  • Fits most AR-15 and M16 rifles.
  • Made from high-quality materials.
  • Fits Weaver rail compatible scopes.
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Brownells AR-15/M16 Carry Handle Scope Base

  • Fits most AR-15 rifles.
  • Made from high-quality materials.
  • Works with Picatinny and Weaver-compatible scopes.
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Leupold Mark 4 AR-15/M16 Carry Handle Mount

  • Accepts Leupold’s PRW and QRW rings.
  • Sight channel maintains ability to use iron sights.
  • Thumbwheel for easy mounting to most AR15/16.
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How to Choose a Carry Handle Scope Mount

If you want to choose a carry handle scope mount, you’ll need to know some of the characteristics and features that make one stand out above those that flood the market and are of not so great quality. You’ll need to distinguish a great one from a not so great one to make the search process a lot easier. Here’s what you need to look for while choosing a carry handle scope mount of your own:

Price

Budget shoppers will look for the price tag first before they move on to the other parts of the scope mount. You should focus more on the other characteristics and features over price alone. Be sure to invest in a scope mount that will be the best quality you can afford rather than sacrifice quality for the sake of saving money.

Material

The best scope mount is always made with the best materials. The better the material, the more likely it will last. Durability should be one of the number one attributes that stands out. The reason being is durability will also lead to protecting your scope’s zero settings from being thrown off due to repeated amounts of shock (coming from recoil).

Installation

The models we have on the list are the easiest scope mounts to install. This means that you won’t have to rely on the services of a professional gunsmith to install these on your rifle of choice. These will often take only a few minutes and the right kind of tools.

Special Needs of the Carry Handle Mounts

The different tolerances of mounting rails often lead to a changed point of impact. The rails can shift in the groove of the carry handle. The differences mean your scope may be a fraction off, which at 100 yards is a significant issue.

Another drawback is the height of installed optics. The raised position enables the shooter to keep the iron sight functionality of a standard carry handle but it also compels the marksman to elevate the head position unnaturally in order to get a good sight picture. The carry handle mounts already make a pretty tall rifle, especially when a 30-round magazine is in place. They can practically disable the shooter when in the prone position. Consequently, a high mounted scope often causes canting of the weapon, which in turn, becomes a significant accuracy problem.

All in all, the most significant gripe with an AR carry handle mount is that the scope is mounted so high. It forces the bullet trajectory into a rainbow pattern since the barrel is about 2 1/2" lower than the scope. As most of us know, the scope should generally be mounted as low as possible to the bore of the rifle. That way, the flight path of the bullet will be close to the crosshairs of the scope.

A flat top AR is more suited to the full range of sights and scopes but the carry-handle design is robust, strong, and still offers a rigid platform for an optic or some other aiming device. The earliest mounts were not stable enough, really. They tended to lose zero after 20-25 rounds. Modern carry-handle mounts use much higher-quality, precision-machined components. This lets them be correctly fitted and adequately secured to the groove in the carrying handle.

Special Types of Mounts

A gooseneck mount, or Z-mount, is a longer rail in the form of reverse letter Z. It’s attached to the carry handle groove and extends across the upper receiver to accommodate a red dot or an optic.

It’ll still coexist with the rifle's iron sights. The forward rail is very stable, but still depends on the fit of the mount to the carry handle, which will vary from one manufacturer to another by quite a lot.

Quick Take - Best AR-15 Carry Handle Scope Mounts

Review of the Best Carry Handle Scope Mounts

Let’s take a look now at some of the most useful scope mounts to use with your AR-15’s carry handle. The following is a list ​of the best carry handle scope mounts currently on the market. As you look through each one, you should note some of the characteristics and features.

That way, you’ll be able to find one that is closejust  to your ideal scope mount. If you find one that’s close, that might be the winner you’re looking for. Let’s begin with the first carry handle scope mount on our list:

UTG AR15 Carry Handle Rail Mount, 12 Slots, STANAG

Pros

  • Fits most scopes easily
  • Super durable construction
  • Fights nice and tight, no wiggle room
  • Good enough for slightly longer scopes
  • Attaches to most AR-15 rifles without issue

Cons

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

This scope mount was an excellent buy for new users. They were able to attach this easily to their AR-15 rifles and also were able to install their scope of choice. One user said once he had his scope attached to this mount, he noticed there was no wiggle room to speak of. The scope stayed in position, even through multiple amounts of gunfire.

Why it Stands Out to Us 

This scope mount is at a good length to support all kinds of rifle scopes, especially the ones that were slightly longer and more durable than most. It’s also made from high-quality aluminum and can take on all kinds of impact and damage. Plus, it’s simple to install, thanks to the pre-drilled holes included.

As one of Leaper's products, the UTG Model 4/15 Tactical Rail Mount presents superb mil-spec quality and design for standard weaver rings or military STANAG scope rings. The Leapers UTG offers a simple, "see-through," 5th Generation upper tail system that attaches to the carry handle of any AR-15.

This very affordable metal hardware for carry handle mounts featuring 12 slots that stretch across a rail 7.68 inches long. It measures a standard 20mm wide to flawlessly fit into the mil-spec AR-15 handle.  

The heavy-duty construction, secured with a knurled thumb nut make for a good fit to the AR-15 carry handle. There’s no movement or return to zero issues after removal, either.

Who Will Use This Most 

This scope mount will be used by many AR-15 users. As for the application, it will be considered a general-purpose scope mount, so it will do great for target shooters, competitive shooters, and hunters alike. This is the scope you’ll want if you want to get stability and reliability out of the whole deal.

What Could Be Improved and Why 

One thing that might be improved, despite not having any major cons of its own, is to make it so it can accept a good number of Weaver rail compatible scopes. This scope mount has a hard time accepting some rifle scopes that typically fit on a Weaver rail but usually favor Picatinny compatible scopes the most.

Bottom Line

The UTG AR-15 Carry Handle Rail Mount is what you might need if you want a solid scope mount that will work for most scopes. No matter what you use your AR-15 rifle for, you’ll need a mount that will do a good job supporting your scope of choice.

Pros

  • No wiggle room for most scopes
  • Easy to install on most AR-15 rifles
  • Protects most scopes from shock via recoil
  • It can fit both Weaver and Picatinny rail scopes
  • Super durable, can take on all kinds of impact

Cons

  • May not accept some scopes
  • Might be a little taller than expected
  • It might be a challenge to install for most users

What Recent Buyers Report

This scope mount has gained a lot of popularity among new users. They were able to install it on their AR-15s with ease and installed their scope of choice no problem. As a result, they were able to see their scopes stay intact throughout many rounds. Most importantly, they were happy to see their zero settings stay the same even after 100+ rounds.

Why it Stands Out to Us 

This rail system accepts both Weaver and Picatinny compatible scopes. So in other words, it’s quite versatile and as tough as nails, so it will absorb a good deal of shock and protect scopes from losing their zero settings. Since it won’t allow any wiggling around, it will keep your scope straight so you can make accurate shots every single time.

Who Will Use This Most 

This will be used by hunters and target hunters alike. It will come in handy if you want something that will keep your AR-15 scope in place all the time. Stability and accuracy are a couple of things that you want to get out of this kind of mount.

What Could Be Improved and Why 

This scope mount should be a little shorter in height. It will make your scopes more low-profile than it’s supposed to. Sometimes, a too high profile will give away your position if you’re hiding during a hunting application. 

Bottom Line

If you have a rifle scope, this is a mount that will fit it. The Weaver AR-15/M16 Single Rail Scope Mount will be the best possible option for you. You pick the scope and you can most certainly add this and your scope of choice to your favorite AR-15 rifle. 

Another legendary American manufacturer of mounting systems, Weaver Optics offers various sturdy and versatile mounts that easily attach to AR-15-style weapons.  Their Single Rail (SR) mount system installs on a carry handle. It measures 5¼" in length and provides optimal mounting height and eye relief.

This carry handle mount is machined from hardened, 6061 extruded aluminum with a hard-anodized finish. This mount is available for A2 carry handle or A4 flattop receivers. Both models feature ten cross-slots and accept all Weaver top-mount-style rings.

The lightweight SR mount securely attaches to the carry handle with steel thumbscrews, allowing unobstructed use of the factory sights through the sight tunnel in the handle.

Pros

  • Great for many applications
  • Keeps scopes nice and secure
  • Easily accepts most rifle scopes
  • Protects your scope’s zero settings
  • Easy to attach on most AR-15 rifles

Cons

  • Some fitting may be required
  • May stick out a bit further than expected
  • May be a little long for some rifles

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of new buyers were satisfied with this scope mount. They were happy with how easy it is to install on their AR-15 rifles. As expected, it allowed them to install their scopes with ease. Whether Picatinny scopes or Weaver scopes, they were able to fit them on this mount. Other than that, their scopes were mostly stable with little to no issues.

Why it Stands Out to Us 

This scope mount is once again another mount that will accept any scope that will otherwise fit on a Picatinny or Weaver rail. Other than that, this rail is so easy to install, a newbie can do it. It allows for scopes to be low profile and won’t give away your position if you’re hiding in a hunting or self-defense application.

As one of the biggest wholesalers of firearms parts, Brownells also offers their own precision-machined aluminum scope mount for standard AR-15/M-16s with either a detachable or fixed carry handle.

The scope base weighs only three ounces and the platform is seven inches long. This allows you to position the optics for proper eye relief while also delivering solid stability for repeatable accuracy.

This Weaver-style mounting system attaches securely to the top of the carry handle with a single hardened steel stud and knurled nut. It features eight cross-slots that would accept Weaver-style rings.  The see-through design allows for the use of the original front and rear metal sights.

Who Will Use This Most 

This scope mount will probably be used by beginners and seasoned vets alike. It doesn’t matter what application you use it for, it will be a scope mount that will keep scopes stable each time you fire a shot. Plus, it will keep your scope’s zero settings intact. If that’s what you’re looking for in a scope mount, you’ll probably want to give this mount a chance.

What Could Be Improved and Why 

One improvement is to shorten the length of it. This way, it won’t stick out like a sore thumb, as some users claim. Plus, it should be short enough to fit most standard rifle scopes. Especially those with a much larger objective than others (i.e.--objectives of more than 30mm).

Bottom Line

The Brownells AR-15/M16 Carry Handle Scope Mount is probably one of the more durable scope mounts for any AR-15 rifle out there. If you want something that will provide reliability, stability, and allows scopes to do their jobs, then this mount is likely the best fit for you.

Pros

  • Can handle most scopes
  • Easy to install on most rifles
  • No fitting or modifications needed
  • Excellent quality, can take impact and abuse
  • Optics sit at eye level, no need to look up or down

Cons

  • May not fit some carry handles
  • May be a little too short for some rifles
  • May not work well with some iron sights

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of recent buyers were happy with this mount. It’s easy to attach and only takes as little as two minutes. Once installed, they reported that their scopes stayed solid and were able to keep their zero settings even after firing 100 rounds. One user said the scope stayed at eye level and didn’t look like it was too high or low.

Why it Stands Out to Us 

The Leupold Mark 4 proves, without a doubt, that anything from Leupold can still be as durable as their scopes. Yes, the mount is made from high-quality aluminum, so it’s no wonder why it's durable and dang-near indestructible. At the same time, the mount looks like a Picatinny rail. So it will be a great fit for scopes that would otherwise attach to a Picatinny rail. 

One-piece Z-mounts are too long for many smaller optics, so the rest of our reviews will focus on mounts for smaller and compact sights. The first comes from the reputable American manufacturer of rugged and reliable mounting systems, Leupold & Stevens, Inc.

The battle-tested Leupold Mark 4 AR-15 Handle Mount is machined from a single heat-treated aluminum billet for added rigidity and strength. The Mark 4’s base fits into the sight channel of the carry handle. It offers proper support for any rifle scope or red dot while allowing extra adjustment space for optimal eye relief. This four-inch long, cross-slot, base-mounting platform will accept any of Leupold's QRW and PRW rings or Weaver cross-slot rings.

There’s just a single complaint: some shooters complain that the sight hole for the iron sight is partially obstructed by the mounting screw assembly. This makes only the top half of the iron sights visible.

Who Will Use This Most 

This might be a great mount for those who want a great mount for their scope. It will excel as a general purpose mount, so it will be great for hunters, target shooters, and even competitive shooters. If you want something that will keep your scope stable and the zero setting nice and even, this mount might just be exactly what you’ll need.

Bottom Line

The Leupold Mark 4 is tough as nails and can work with just about any scope you choose. If you want your zero settings protected and your scopes straight and sturdy throughout a long time of use, this scope mount will definitely work to your advantage in almost any application. 

Global Gear’s anodized aluminum see-through optic mount lets you place scopes on non-flat-top AR-15's with its two levels of rails.

With a total length of 11.22”, Global Gear's top rail connects to the hole in the carry handle and the bottom section rests above the barrel. It also features side rails for mounting lights and lasers.

This solid, well-made rail is attached to the carry handle by a knurled knob with holes drilled in it. This will allow you to use a small screwdriver as a lever to tighten the mount.

The Global Gear Z-mount offers a comfortable cheek weld and natural shooting stance. At the same time, it keeps plenty of clearance between the Picatinny rail and the hand guard.

Tips for Installing a Carry Handle Mount

Still, when it comes to mount stability and the rigidity advertised by manufacturers, your carry-handle mount may not be as stable as you hope. If your mount shows slight signs of wiggle or shifting in the groove of the carry handle, there are a few tips to help you stabilize disobedient hardware.

In order to get the best possible fit for the rail and minimize the possibility of it shifting, you have a couple choices. You can remove a small layer of metal from the mount using a file or Dremel, or you can use some epoxy. Another way would be to glass-bed the mount into the rail with a quality glass-bedding kit.

The right optic is challenging to install reliably atop a carry handle. It requires exceptionally stable mounting, so the best option for most AR-15s is to attach a rifle scope directly to the carry handle.

An example of a scope with an integral mount is an expensive ACOG scope. It will fit tightly into the sight channel of the carrying handle, providing a consistent sight picture. You could also install a multi-slot platform that attaches to the carry handle and then mount your preferred scope and ring set to this platform.

Conclusion

Attaching optics or sights to the carry handle of your AR firearm is not an insurmountable obstacle.  Often, a more affordable option is replacing the upper receiver with a flat-top. Plus, many shooters prefer mounting rifle scopes on the carry handle to bring the optic closer to eye level when shooting from the shoulder. At the same time, they can use the carry handle sights through the mount channel.

New mount designs and advanced technological processes allow reliable installation of your optics without removing the carry handle. A carry handle mount is not an ideal mount but it has worked for decades. Even today, many accomplished shooters still use carry handle mounted optics.

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