The Best Scope Mounts for the AR-15 – 2019 Buyers Guide

The AR-15 was considered by the New York Times to be “the most wanted gun in America,” and with good reason. It’s incredibly popular for its light recoil, comfortable ergonomic design, and availability. But for many AR-15 owners, the biggest draw is the AR-15’s modular design.

The wide range of customizable options make it popular for people interested in gun mods. One of the most-bought modifications for any AR-15 is the scope mount. This article will look at a few different scope mounts and cover what to look for in a new mount.

Comparison of the Best AR-15 Scope Mounts

PRODUCT DETAILS
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American Defense Recon-S No Offset Mount

  • Single Piece Design Which Stays in Place
  • Quick Release Lever Lock System Clamps
  • Large Locking Bar on the Side of the Mount
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Vortex Sport Cantilever Mount

  • Intricate and Properly Spaced Design
  • Ideal for Scopes With Long Eye Relief
  • Horizontal Split Rings With Aesthetically Pleasing Finish
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Burris AR-PEPR

  • Extra Clearance for NVD and Add-On Accessories
  • Two Slot Rails on the Top for Mounting Additional Accessories
  • Smooth Contours and Radiused Edges Prevent Snagging
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CCOP MNT-1516 High Profile AR-ArmourTac Rifle Scope Mount

  • Universal Fit for Any 30mm Tube Scope
  • 12 Hex Screws Hold the Scope Firmly
  • Made from Durable 6061 T6 Aluminum for Durability
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Nikon P- Series 2 Pc. Scope Mount

  • Scope ring design.
  • It can fit most AR-15 scopes.
  • Made from high-quality aluminum.
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Atibal TPM 30mm Quick Detach Tactical Precision Mount

  • Made from Durable 6061 T6 Aluminum
  • Quick-Disconnect with Very Secure Hold
  • Universal Fit for Any 30mm Tube Scope
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What to Look For in a Scope Mount

When looking for a new scope mount there can be dozens and dozens of different styles and brands. But not all scope mounts are created equal. Just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean it will be the best. A cheap mount is more prone to breaking, coming out of alignment, or even damaging your gun.

The main things you’ll want to consider when picking a scope mount for your AR-15 are durability, construction, features, value, and how the scope fits your needs.

Durability is obvious since everyone will want a scope mount that doesn’t need to be replaced every month. But it’s worth considering how often you use your AR-15. Maybe you only use it once or twice a month at the range and keep it locked in your gun safe otherwise. In that case you may not need to shell out for the super-expensive, super-durable models. If you’re keeping your AR-15 on you for daily use or transporting it out of a case, a more durable scope mount is good to prevent it coming loose.

Construction is another consideration. Do you prefer certain materials? Is the scope you use shorter than most “standard” scopes? Is there a particular laser sight that you’d like to mount? Do you change your scope often? These sorts of questions should all be considered when picking your scope mount.

As far as features, scope mounts aren’t going to be as widely customizable as the AR-15 itself. But there are still a few options to consider. There are quick-release levers (QD), and some mounts will fit laser sights and other add-ons.

Value is another contestable element when buying a scope mount. Just because a scope mount is cheap doesn’t mean it’s bad (or good). Just because a scope mount is expensive doesn’t mean it’s the best option for you. How often you use your AR-15 and what features you want help determine if it is worth the price.

And finally, determining whether a scope mount fits your needs is important. I’ll discuss more of the challenges of picking a mount in the next section, but what the “best scope mount” comes down to is your own needs. There are objectively great scope mounts on the market. But the best, most durable scope ever can’t help you if it won’t hold your oversized scope or fit the laser sight you want.

Is There a “One Size Fits All” Solution?

Unfortunately there is no one-size-fits-all solution. There are a few mounts on the market that do their best to fit many styles and sizes of scope. Some mounts are available with adjustable lengths and a few other bells and whistles. These features allow them to accommodate more than one type of scope. But there are too many factors for any one mount to fit every type of scope.

The biggest factors you’ll need to adjust for are the types of rails your AR-15 has, and the width and length of the tubes on scopes you use. There are a few other considerations, but those will be the brass tacks for whether a scope will work for you.

As far as rail styles, most AR-15s are equipped with Picatinny rails. But some users may opt to have M-LOK or Keymod rails installed for one reason or another. The majority of the scope mounts we’ll look at are compatible with Picatinny and other flat-top rails.

Every scope mount seems to have a different way of addressing scope width and length. Adjustable-length mounts are much more common than adjustable width. It’s best to approach your scope-mount shop with an idea of what scopes you’ll intend to use. With a specific reference point, picking a mount that works for you will be much easier.

Quick Take - The Best AR-15 Scope Mounts

These are our recommendations for the best scope mounts for the AR-15:

  1. American Defense Recon-S No Offset Mount
  2. Vortex Sport Cantilever Mount
  3. Burris AR-PEPR

Reviews of the Best AR-15 Scope Mounts

The following is a list of the best AR-15 scope mounts that are currently on the market. In total, there are five that you can choose from. Be sure to find the best one for you in terms of quality and performance. If you find one that matches the characteristics and features of a scope mount that you envision to be your “dream mount”, then you know that you have a winner on your hands. 

I selected these mounts for their popularity, their quality, and, in my opinion, their value. Each of these represents a few different options you may have for your scope mount as an example of what’s out there. This is far from a complete list of what’s out there, but it’s a great place to start and represents some of the better options.

Now, let’s kick off the list with our first choice:

Pros

  • Easy to install, lightweight, and intuitive to use.
  • Easily adjustable with quick-release lever systems.
  • Snug, no-slip fit on Picatinny rails even under heavy recoil.
  • Holds scope snugly while still allowing for quick change-outs.

Cons

  • Pricier than budget mounts.

The American Defense Recon-S No Offset Mount has a lot of great features for its price. It's a bit more expensive, but it's got some great features, like quick-release rings.

Features

  • Models available for 1”, 30mm, 34mm, and 35mm scopes
  • Works with flat-top rails such as Picatinny or Weaver
  • Quick-release lever
  • Can be adjusted with a basic flathead screwdriver

Pros

  • Fits on most rail systems.
  • Super sturdy construction.
  • Easy to install on most AR-15 rifles.
  • Easy adjustments for elevation and windage.
  • It can easily be able to fit most 30mm scopes.
  • Well-calibrated design.
  • Lightweight construction.
  • Strong materials and snug fit on both rail and scope.

Cons

  • Screws tend to strip easily.
  • Some scopes may not easily fit.
  • It may be a challenge to install at times.
  • Not customizable and no other features.

What Recent Buyers Report

Most new buyers were satisfied with this scope mount in particular. They used it mostly for hunting applications. One user said he was looking for a scope mount that would keep his scope steady through hundreds of rounds. He was quite happy with this mount once he was able to test it out at the range.

Why it Stands Out to Us 

The scope rings look a little offset. However, they are boosted up a bit. This will make the scope give you a better chance of hitting your targets accurately. It’s not too high of a boost, nor will make your shooting look a little off. Other than that, the overall construction is quite solid. Made from high-quality aluminum, it will absorb a good deal of shock.

The Vortex Sport Cantilever Mount is a great cantilevered sight mount. It's designed to accommodate correct eye relief and head placement. It’s got a lightweight aluminum construction and fits a couple different tubes sizes.

Features

  • Fits 30mm and 1” tubes
  • Lightweight aluminum construction
  • Cantilevered to a height of 1.59 inches
  • 2” or 3” offset

Who Will Use This Most 

This will be a scope mount that will work mostly with hunters. If you’re hunting for varmint or big game, you want a scope that will accept most hunter-friendly AR-15 scopes. This mount is close enough to perform that task with ease.

What Could Be Improved and Why

Extra screws should be included to ensure that you can have those handy in case you run into any trouble. Other than that, this mount should also have easier adjustments for windage and elevation right off the bat. This way, they won’t feel stiff right from the start.

Bottom Line

The Vortex Optics Sport Cantilever Mount will be a stable and sturdy mount that will handle all kinds of rifle scopes. Especially scopes that will be effective for when those big game targets stand out in front of it. If you want a scope where the chances of landing an excellent kill shot are likely, this scope mount is where it starts.

Best for the Money:
 Burris AR-PEPR

Pros

  • Super durable construction.
  • Fits 1-inch scopes perfectly.
  • Extra screws included for quick installation.
  • Easily can fit both Picatinny and Weaver rails.
  • Easy to install. It takes a few minutes and the right kind of tools.
  • Great value for the price.
  • Uses a cross-bolt system rather than a levered design.
  • Top-mounted picatinny rails accommodate accessories.
  • The nuts that hold this mount on your rails grip really well and have had no issues with coming loose.

Cons

  • Some scopes may not fit easily.
  • Some challenges may arise with the installation.
  • Some were not satisfied with this not being made in the USA.
  • May be out of alignment at maximum elevation.
  • Sights in this mount may come out of alignment with improper or continued usage.

What Recent Buyers Reports

This scope mount was a hit among the new users. Most of them were quick to say that the mount was sturdy and holds up scopes pretty well. No wiggle room was reported with a lot of these scopes. Most users also mentioned that this was one of the more affordable scope mounts on the market.

Why it Stands Out to Us 

Burris has long been one of the names that would be tied to one trait: reliability. That would be one word to describe their scopes. Sure enough, this scope mount lives up to its here. Granted, we didn’t choose this on the name alone. It can hold up scopes quite well and will protect the zero settings through multiple episodes of recoil.

The Burris AR-PEPR is my go-to budget scope mount. It’s got great adjustable features and doesn’t sacrifice durability for cost.

Features

  • Comes in 1 inch, 30mm, and 34mm sizes
  • Works with Picatinny rails
  • Features a Picatinny rails trip on the top for mounting a laser sight

Who Will Use This Most

This will be a scope mount that will be used across many applications. So it can be either for hunting scopes or target shooting scopes. Either way, you can’t lose. If you want a scope mount that provides great stability, this mount, in particular, will get the job done.

What Could Be Improved and Why

A great improvement idea would be to allow this to fit scopes with objectives larger than 30mm. This will give long-range AR-15 shooters a scope mount to rely on when they want to reach out and touch something from impressive distances.

Bottom Line

The Burris AR Permanent Mount is further proof that the Burris name stills lives up to its name when it comes to reliability. So if you’re looking for something that will give you a long time of faithful service without breaking the bank, this scope mount will be right up your alley.

CCOP USA 30mm Cantilever Scope Mounts

Pros

  • Fits most AR-15 scopes.
  • Super durable construction.
  • Affordable for most budgets.
  • Easy to install. Takes a few minutes.
  • High profile. Gives scopes a little more elevation than most.
  • Good for casual shooters.
  • Comes with a tool for mounting the scope.
  • Sturdy, high-profile construction on the rings.

Cons

  • A little weighty.
  • It might be a challenge to install.
  • Screws may come loose at times.
  • Mounting bolts are prone to stripping.

What Recent Buyer Report

A lot of users were happy with this mount. They were quick to remark that this scope mount was made for the more rugged, heavy-duty AR-15 rifles. As expected, they were able to attach their scopes with ease. As for applications, this turned out to be a general-purpose scope mount for AR-15 rifles.

Why it Stands Out to Us 

This scope mount is solid, sturdy, and easy to install. Plus, it has all sorts of screws that you need to ensure that not only the mount itself stays in place, but so should the scope you choose for your AR-15 rifle. Other than that, it also is a high-profile scope mount that will make your scope stand out even more.

The CCOP MNT-1516 is another good budget scope mount. It is comparable to the Burris scope mount at a slightly lower price point, though it does have drawbacks.

Features

  • Fits a 30mm scope
  • Designed for Picatinny rails
  • Aluminum alloy design
  • 2” extension

Who Will Use This Most 

This will be used by those who have an AR-15 rifle with a more rugged design. If you can fit this on any rails (Weaver or Picatinny), you can easily add this mount on with little to no trouble. Top it off with a rugged scope like a Vortex Optics or Nikon brand scope and you’ll be in business.

What Could Be Improved and Why

This scope mount can stand to lose a bit of weight. Yes, it can be fit for more heavy-duty rifles. But the last thing you want to do is add any more additional weight to the rifle itself. It can still be tough and handle all kinds of rifle scopes. But the heavy weight is unnecessary.

Bottom Line

The CCOP USA 30mm Cantilever Scope Mount might be right up your alley if you need a scope mount that is heavy duty and can handle any regular-sized AR-15 scope. No matter what the application is, you have a scope mount that can hold it all together and consistently give you accurate shots. 

Pros

  • Easy to install.
  • Great for many applications.
  • It can fit most AR-15 scopes.
  • Keeps scopes sturdy and wiggle-free.
  • Super sturdy construction. It can take on all kinds of impact and abuse.
  • Snug, well-fit bolts that don’t loosen easily.
  • The lightweight, low profile design makes it more compact.
  • Adjustable design means it can accommodate a wide range of shooting styles.
  • The two-piece design means this mount can accommodate a almost any length of scope in various configurations.

Cons

  • Bolts may rust after extended use.
  • I have had issues getting some versions of this scope to fit on my Picatinny rails.

What Recent Buyers Report

Many users were happy with the mounts. They said that these were considered to be the closest they could get to stand-alone scope ring mounts as possible. As expected, they mentioned that the rings kept the scope in place and did a good job preventing any wiggling or misalignments from happening.

Why it Stands Out to Us 

Scopes rings have long been the most reliable types of mounts on the market. So it came as no surprise when today’s version turned out to be sturdier and more reliable than ever before. And yes, the installation has become quite a breeze. These stand out not only because they are reliable and sturdy, but they work quite well with almost any regular rifle scope on the market.

The Nikon P-Series is another great value budget mount. It’s lighter in construction than either the Burris or the CCOP. Unlike the other two it is a two-piece construction so it can accommodate a wider variety of scopes.

Features

  • 1” tube width
  • Accommodates Picatinny rails
  • 2-piece design
  • Alloy construction

Who Will Use This Most 

This will probably be used by a lot of AR-15 users. But we think this will excel the best in a hunting situation. Because hunters need a scope mount that will allow for the best stability possible. The last thing they’ll need is a misaligned scope that will cost them that big trophy target.

What Could Be Improved and Why

In case the screws are defected or easily stripped, it’s always a great idea to include extra screws. This way, you can switch out the bad ones with the good ones and be back in action in a matter of minutes. If that isn’t an impressive on the fly adjustment no matter where you are, we don’t know what is.

Bottom Line

The Nikon P-Series 2-Piece Integrated Scope Mounts are hands down one of the best scope rings on the market. These are how modern scope rings should be. In short, these are not your father’s (or grandfather’s) scope rings of ages past. 

Pros

  • Easy to attach on most AR-15 rifles.
  • Easy adjustments for windage and elevation.
  • Most 30mm objective scopes will fit without any issues.
  • Easily can protect your scope’s zero protection from shock.
  • Super sturdy construction. It can take on the bumps and bangs of impact.

Cons

  • It might be a challenge to install.
  • Some scopes may not fit properly.
  • Some wiggle room has occurred with some scopes.

What Recent Buyers Report

Most recent buyers were satisfied with this scope mount. They were able to attach their scopes with ease and gave their AR-15 rifles a considerable boost in accuracy. One user said that he was using this scope mount for his competition AR-15. He stated that his scope remained in place and never wiggled around through 250 rounds.

Why it Stands Out to Us 

This has a combination of a straightforward flat mount and scope rings. So you get the best of both worlds. It will provide stability, protection from constant episodes of shock, and will be reliable for just about any application you can put your AR-15 to use with. No matter what, it’s a must-have accessory for any AR-15 scope you choose.

Who Will Use This Most 

This mount will work perfectly across many applications. Whether you hunt, shoot targets, or compete in shooting competitions you’ll have a scope mount that will hold its own once you have it installed on your rifle. It will do a good job supporting your scope and allow it to keep its zero settings for a long time. 

What Could Be Improved and Why

A possible improvement would be to make the windage and elevation adjustments as easy as possible. This way, you can be able to make adjustments on the fly if you ever find your shots to be a little off to the left or a little higher than they should.

Bottom Line

The Atibal TPM 30mm Quick Detach Scope Mount will work to your advantage in any given application. But if you find the right scope that will fit, you’ll have a mount that will prove itself that it can be reliable and impervious to any impact or shock.

Benefits of Investing in a Quality Scope Mount

If you invest in a really good scope mount, there are a few benefits that you’ll get to enjoy. Not doing so will lead you to miss out on something you won’t find on scope mounts that are low in quality and crappy. Here’s what kind of benefits you’ll get out of these scope mounts:

Better Stability

The better stability your scope has, the better chance you’ll be able to shoot quick and accurate shots with your AR-15. A scope that wiggles around a bit may be a detriment to your shooting ability. So if you need a scope mount, make sure it does not allow for any wiggle room at all.

Keeps Your Zero Settings Intact

Most scopes will hold their zero settings for quite some time. However, you’ll end up losing it after hundreds of rounds. The reason being is due to the amount of shock that is associated with recoil. After being exposed to a good amount of it, it can throw off your zero and cause your shots to be off-kilter.

Easy Installation

You don’t have to rely on a gunsmith to install a scope for you (or a scope mount). Either way, these mounts will allow you to do the job in a few minutes tops. So you’ll want a scope mount that will be simple to install as itself and can be able to accept the scope you choose.

Conclusion

These scope mounts are a good indication of the types of options available on the market. They run the range from budget to expensive and show the sorts of features you can expect at that price point. None of the budget options will let you down.

But even the more expensive brands show you the kind of bells and whistles you can expect to find as the price increases. Remember to consider durability, construction, features, and value when looking at any scope mount. You’ll end up with a great option that will last you a long time.

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