Top 5 Reliable Rifle Scopes under $500

Choosing the right rifle scope can seem like a daunting task especially when you want a rifle scope under $500, but buying a reliable and precise scope doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune. Based on our Customers shopping history, we were able to create this list of some top rifle scopes under $500 to help you stay on target and on budget.

Vortex Optics Spitfire AR Prism Sight 1x DRT Reticle Matte

Built from the ground up specifically to maximize the quick-handling performance of AR-platform rifles, Vortex’s new Spitfire AR 1X prism scope delivers incredible optical quality and ultra-fast functionality in a lightweight, streamlined package. The generous, parallax-free, sight picture and forgiving eyebox gets shooters on target effortlessly—even in high-stress scenarios.

Rear facing power and illumination intensity controls are easy to access, simple to operate, stay visually present from the shooting position and are protected from incidental contact. Ten intensity levels let you adjust to perfectly match ambient light conditions. Runs off a single, common, AAA battery. The DRT (Dual Ring Tactical) reticle is designed for rapid shooting at close distances. The dual ring design pulls the eye into instant alignment with the reticle center and target. Etched directly on the prism to assure consistent point-of-aim at all times with selectable red/green illumination of twelve intensity levels to match specific conditions.

An additional yardage-marked turret cap (ballistic-matched to the 5.56 cartridge) allows the shooter to swap out the factory-installed cap for rapid dialing of known-distance shots out to 700 yards. At 11.2 ounces, the lightweight Spitfire AR excels in close to medium range shooting applications where speed is of the essence, making it the ideal choice for AR shooters who needs to get on target fast.  Comes mounted at a lower 1/3 co-witness height of 40.4mm from optic center to base surface. Includes AAA Battery, flip-up lens caps, 556 BDC turret cap, 2mm hex wrench and 3mm hex wrench.




  • Ballistic Matched 556 BDC Turret Cap
  • Fully Multi-Coated
  • 12 Illumination Settings
  • Compact and Lightweight Single Piece Chassis
  • Nitrogen Purged with O-ring Seals delivers fogproof and waterproof performance
  • Shockproof
  • Hard Anodized Finish
  • Operating Temperature of -22°F-122°F
  • Red/Green Reticle
  • Up to 3000 Hour Battery Life on a Single AAA Battery

What Customers Are Saying

Wonderful for older eyes

I bought the Vortex Spitfire AR to replace, well everything else I have had in a red dot. My other more expensive dots all flared up in my vision. As I got older the red dots got less defined and at 100 yards are larger than my target. The Spitfire AR is sharp, quick to acquire and has all the features I've been looking for. The only thing that could make it better is a motion on activator. As for tactical use, the reticle can be seen from both ends of the optic. But unless I plan to do battle, this is not an issue for me. The Spitfire AR has also been a hit at my gun club. Thanks guys for making a dot us older shooters can enjoy.
- Coverfire, 3/7/2017

About Vortex Optics

People, Products, and Promises – at Vortex Optics, we’re about you. Our products are designed, engineered, and built to work for you, no matter the task. Whether it be punching paper from the bench, or taking that trophy buck from a distance, we’ve got your back with purpose-driven products made by shooters, for shooters. Every Vortex product is backed by our VIP Warranty, which is our promise to the customer that no matter what, we’ve got you covered. Here at Vortex, you’re not just a customer, you’re Family. Welcome to the Vortex Nation.

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Hawke Vantage Rifle Scope 3-9x 40mm Adjustable Objective Matte

Simplicity is underrated.  Sometimes, there isn't a need for bells and whistles.  All that is needed is a solid product to do a job.  Vantage scopes deliver performance beyond what is expected at this price point. With the design focus on functionality and performance in the field, the Vantage line represents tremendous value without cutting corners on the things that matter.

Vantage scopes feature a mono-tube chassis to provide stability and durability, to even magnum recoil. A mix of X-ACT ballistic and standard reticle options mean Vantage scopes are at home in almost any environment and with virtually any firearm.

Versatile, affordable, exceptional. Vantage from Hawke is redefining value in optics.




  • Adjustable objective allows parallax free accuracy
  • Fully multi-coated lenses
  • Low-profile fingertip turrets
  • High torque zoom ring

What Customers Are Saying

Pretty Much a Sure Thing!!

Clarity on par with Leupold VX2 and Sightron S2 (not quite Big Sky level). Outstanding for the price!!! AO goes WAY past 15 yards, into unmarked zone that allows me to focus 15 feet across the room. Hawke X-ACT software, free from the Hawke website, allows you to calculate holdover for ANY zero, any mildot at any distance, with whatever cartridge you want. Effectively adds $200 in value for FREE. Built solidly, enough to handle springer airguns to 7mm Rem Mag in my own stable. These scopes are huge in Europe, basically unheard of here. You won't be disappointed.
- Larry aka GARLANDSEPT, 4/23/2016 Shop Now

Vortex Optics Diamondback Tactical Rifle Scope

Try not to spit out your coffee as you check the price of the Diamondback Tactical FFP after reading about its impressive performance and features. The first focal plane reticle, a feature ordinarily reserved for 4-figure-priced optics, allows shooters to use the information-packed EBR-2C reticles for ranging, holdovers or windage corrections on any magnification. Housed inside its durable, one-piece aluminum tube is a 4x optical system delivering excellent edge-to-edge clarity and sharp resolution. Exposed elevation and windage turrets are low profile enough to stay out of the way in packing situations, but offer the quickness, ease and precision of dialing accurate shots at distance. A side adjustable parallax gives shooters peace of mind by removing parallax error from the equation from 10 yards to infinity.


  • Extra-low dispersion glass
  • Fully multi-coated lenses
  • Aircraft-grade aluminum, single-piece tube construction
  • First focal plane reticle
  • Exposed tactical turrets
  • Fast focus eyepiece
  • Fiber optic radius bar 
  • Water, fog, and shock proof



What Customers Are Saying

Awesome Scope for the Price!!

I recently purchased a new Browning X-Bolt 6mm Creedmoor and was in the market for new scope to outfit it with. I wanted something with tactical turrets because I prefer to dial my yardage when possible. When I saw this new Diamondback Tactical model was available in 6-24x50 with FFP, I did not hesitate to order it. In my opinion, Vortex did a great job with this scope. For the price point, you get a lot of features that you don't even get with certain more expensive scopes (FFP, Sunshade, 24x Zoom, etc.). And the quality is what I would expect from Vortex. Magnification is clear throughout the zoom range and the turrets have positive clicks and didn't feel mushy to me. Not quite at the level of the Viper PST that I have on my Ruger Precision Rifle, but that's a whole other level of scope, and for my hunting rifle this scope fits the bill perfectly. I mounted it and after zeroing it in, I was consistent with sub-MOA groups. Vortex produces some great optics and their warranty is hard to beat as w...
- M. King, 8/20/2018

About Vortex Optics

People, Products, and Promises – at Vortex Optics, we’re about you. Our products are designed, engineered, and built to work for you, no matter the task. Whether it be punching paper from the bench, or taking that trophy buck from a distance, we’ve got your back with purpose-driven products made by shooters, for shooters. Every Vortex product is backed by our VIP Warranty, which is our promise to the customer that no matter what, we’ve got you covered. Here at Vortex, you’re not just a customer, you’re Family. Welcome to the Vortex Nation.

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Primary Arms SLx Gen III 5x 36mm Prism Scope Illuminated ACSS-AURORA Reticle Matte

The Primary Arms SLx Gen III is part of the SLx optics line. SLx optics built the reputation for innovation, reliability and value. All SLx optics undergo rigorous field-testing during development to best serve you in any environment. The Primary Arms 5X Compact Prism Scope Gen III with improved ACSS 5.56 reticle is the most powerful prism scope design. The 5X magnification and bright illuminated horseshoe and chevron reticle allow for surprisingly fast, both-eyes-open shooting at close range, while the ACSS reticle allows for consistent hits on targets out to an impressive 800 meters. The Gen III scope has been equipped with our next generation ruggedized mounts to provide flexible mounting options with incredible clamping power.

The heart of the tough Gen II 5X Prism Scope is the ACSS Aurora reticle. The feature-rich and intuitive reticle design is uncluttered, designed to communicate vital information in an efficient manner to not only increase first-hit probability but drastically reduce the time necessary to reach a firing solution to get that hit. From 300m and in, the illuminated chevron aiming point provides wicked-quick snap shooting capability and both-eyes open engagement, so you never lose peripheral vision. The outer tips of the chevron pull double duty as leads for targets moving 3.1 mph perpendicular to the shooter. For targets moving a bit faster, the two lead dots on either side of the chevron are leads for a target hustling along at 8.6 mph. Aurora even compensates for mounted targets up to 40mph!
For engagements 400m and out, the integrated bullet drop compensation and wind leads come into play. The tried and true ACSS auto-ranging system allows for near-instant range estimation, which enables rapid transition to the BDC system that offers holdovers in 50m increments out to an impressive 800 meters. The real world often involves wind, and ACSS Aurora provides full value 5 and 10mph wind holds. Is the wind a little stronger or softer, maybe coming at an angle? Use the holds as a reference point and adjust accordingly. For operators in the field, no other reticle provides the combined capabilities and intuitive use of the ACSS Aurora.
The SLx 5X Gen III has even greater strength and flexibility than ever before with our next generation ruggedized mounting system. Primary Arms upgraded everything about the mount from materials and finish to the design to create a mount that will not just clamp securely to your rail, but stand up the rigors of real-world use. Integrated recoil lugs help lock your mount in place against the heaviest recoil while large diameter crossbolts give you significantly improved clamping power and will hold up to significant torque. The included riser is the perfect height for AR-15s and AR-10s, but can be easily removed for carry handle or AK use as well.


  • Ruggedized mount provides exceptional clamping power
  • Includes AR-height riser
  • ACSS Aurora reticle is MIL-based with ranging and hold overs to 800m
  • Partially illuminated reticle is visible even in bright daylight with red or green illumination
  • Battery Life at Median Setting: 3000 hrs
  • Red or green illumination available on the same optic for greater flexibility
  • Removable M1913 picatinny top rail for accessories or piggy-backed red dot sights
  • Generous 7mm exit pupil allows for a bright and forgiving eye box
  • 18.8ft field of view at 100 yards provides easier tracking of mobile targets
  • 2.5" - 3.0" of eye relief
  • 1/3 MOA turret clicks are tactile and audible for easy zeroing
  • Tough prism scope is waterproof, fog resistant, and shockproof
  • Durable hardcoat anodized black finish
  • Compatible with standard carry handle mounts
  • Protected by a lifetime warranty


What Customers Are Saying

Excellent clarity just wish eye relief was .5 or 1 in longer

So I put this in the rear most position on my AR15 and have to crane my neck forward about .5 to 1 inch not ideal. I wish I had that extra bit of eye relief. Although I do understand how the ootc functions when your not in the eye relief zone and you have the illumination on utilizing co witnessing it should still function if you are not in the sweet spot
- Marcus, 3/9/2023

About Primary Arms

Founded in 2008, Primary Arms® Optics is a leading innovator in tactical optics, offering a comprehensive selection of rifle scopes, prism scopes, red dot sights, optic mounts, and accessories. Their Advanced Combined Sighting System (ACSS®) is a high-performance reticle solution to the challenges of modern marksmanship, distilling complex mathematics into intuitive holdovers that enhance your speed and precision. Each ACSS reticle is specially designed to outperform in real-world applications, incorporating a mix of tools to deliver instant firing solutions. Primary Arms Optics offers several tiers of products to fit any budget. The premier PLx® optics line prioritizes clarity and craftsmanship with first-class materials. The mid-tier GLx optics incorporate premium technologies with approachable pricing, while the popular SLx® optics offer both proven reliability and value. Primary Arms Optics products are inspected at their Houston headquarters and come with a lifetime warranty.

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