Ins and Outs of The Best AR-15 Scope Mounts

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By Dennis Howard •  12 min read

Deciding which scope mount to use when adding an optic to your AR-15 can be an overwhelming situation. There are so many manufacturers offering different styles and types of scope mounts for AR-15’s that many shooters get confused. Many AR-15 owners wonder about the best options for scope mounts for their rifles are?

Often, the best scope mount to use on your AR-15 is determined by the type of scope you mount. In general, a single-piece cantilever-style scope mount is the choice for many AR-15 shooters. Our recommendation is to use a scope mount manufactured by the company that made your scope. This often ensures compatibility between the scope and the mounts.

There are, of course, many other considerations to be taken when choosing the proper scope mount for your AR-15. The style of scope you have chosen, your normal shooting habits, and your personal preferences all must figure into the decision. You also want to factor in quality, durability, and accuracy  as you select a scope mount for your Ar-15

What Are Your Options – Type, Styles, and Features

Every scope mount manufacturer has its own take on the most important in a scope mount design. This leads to such a wide array of features, styles, and types that it is almost impossible to catalog the different options. For example, a quick search of AR-15 scope mounts returns types and styles such as:

The differences in these mounts speak more to personal preference than they do to functionality. The primary goal of any scope mount is to mate your scope to your rifle in a safe, stable, and accurate way. These scope mounts can produce these results if the mount is properly matched to the scope and the rifle.


What Do We Look for in a Scope Mount?

When selecting a scope mount for your AR-15 rifle, you must consider several factors. Beyond your personal preferences, some technical considerations can affect your decision. Among these technical factors are:

With these things in mind, let’s look at the option in the market for your best choices for mounting an optic on your AR-15.


Best AR-15 Scope Mounts: Top 6 Picks

As we have mentioned, there are so many different manufacturers of ar-15 scope mounts that a comprehensive list is next to impossible. However, we do have our choices, and our recommendations for the best AR-15 scope mounts in several different styles and types. We urge you to do your own investigations before deciding to ensure that the scope mounts you choose to meet your needs and expectations.

Cantilever AR-15 Scope Mount DETAILS
  • Available in both 1 inch and 30mm ring sizes.
  • A full 2-inch or 3- inch offset in the forward direction.
  • Adjustment Per Click - 0.5 MOA.
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  • 6061 T6 extruded aluminum construction.
  • Anodized black finish.
  • Mil-Spec 1913 Picatinny Rails Mount.
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  • Slim profile for minimum weight on top of your rifle.
  • Designed for mounting on a Picatinny rail.
  • Weighs only 5 ounces.
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Overall Best Cantilever AR-15 Scope Mount – Vortex Optics Sport Cantilever Scope Mounts

Vortex Optics Sport Cantilever Scope Mounts

Cantilever mounts are widely popular for several reasons, especially on an AR-15 platform.  AR rifles are short and compact compared to bolt action rifles by design. If your AR-15 forearm doesn’t include an integral rail that mates with the rail on your upper receiver, the mounting options for a scope can be limited.

A cantilever mount allows you to move the scope forward. This can aid in getting the proper eye relief and allow the rifle and scope to balance better. A forward cantilever can also provide more room for accessories such as magnifiers on the rail behind the scope.

Vortex Optics has a reputation for building affordable optics that provide clarity and function beyond their prices. Vortex Optics also builds a host of mounts designed to provide the best mounting solutions for their scopes. The Vortex Optics Sport Cantilever mount includes such features as:

The Cortex Sport Cantilever Scope Mount gets consistently high marks from users. These rings are lightweight and work well to keep the weight of your AR to a minimum. However, you should match the scope weight with the mounts as well. These lightweight sport-style cantilever mounts may not provide enough support for large, heavy scopes.

  • Available in both 1 inch and 30mm ring sizes.
  • A full 2-inch or 3- inch offset in the forward direction.
  • Adjustment Per Click - 0.5 MOA.
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Runner up Best Cantilever AR-15 Scope Mount – Aero Precision Ultralight Scope Mount

Aero Precision Ultralight 1' Standard Scope Mount, Anodized Black, Model...

Weight can be a factor, especially when building an AR-15 platform. There are tradeoffs in strength and accuracy anytime you reduce weight in a critical component like a cantilever scope mount. Aero Precision is a leader in designing, engineering, and constructing lightweight aluminum products. Their ultralight cantilever scope mount is no exception.

The Aero Precision Ultralight Cantilever Scope mount comes with all the features you expect in a sport-style cantilever scope mount. This includes:

The design of this Aero Precision sport-style cantilever mount ensures rigid mounting for your AR-15 scope. However, these are ultralightweight mounts and may not suit larger and longer scopes.

  • 6061 T6 extruded aluminum construction.
  • Anodized black finish.
  • Mil-Spec 1913 Picatinny Rails Mount.
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Best Budget Buy Cantilever AR-15 Scope Mount –  Monstrum Slim Profile Offset Cantilever Scope Mount

Monstrum Slim Profile Series Offset Cantilever Picatinny Scope Mount | 1...

If you are on a budget, don’t lose hope. There are cantilever scope mounts for your AR-15 that won’t break your budget. We aren’t going to say that these cheaper cantilever scope mounts offer the same quality of fit and finish as some more expensive brands. However, many of the lesser-cost cantilever mounts function as well as their more expensive cousins.

Monstrum is one such brand. The Monstrum Slim Profile Series Offset Cantilever Scope Mount is well-manufactured, giving almost any casual AR-15 shooter perfectly acceptable results. The design of this mount is well thought out, and the fit and finish won’t leave you lacking.

In many ways, the features provided by Monstrum rival or exceed most other cantilever scope mounts in this price range. Consider what you get with this Monstrum cantilever scope mount.

Integral recoil stops are included with the Picatinny-style base mount. You won’t find this feature on many scope mounts in this price range. The stops ensure that the base won’t slip when the rifle is fired.

  • Slim profile for minimum weight on top of your rifle.
  • Designed for mounting on a Picatinny rail.
  • Weighs only 5 ounces.
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Best Single Piece AR-15 Scope Mount – Burris Optics PEPR Scope Mount

Burris Optics 410342, 410343, 410344 P.E.P.R. Riflescope Mount, Ideal...

If a cantilever-style mount is not your cup of tea, we recommend going with a standard single-piece scope mount. Single-piece scope mounts make a lot of sense on a lightweight platform like an AR-15 with limited rail space on the receiver.  A single-piece mount offers rigidity and durability.

Burris builds some of the best scopes on the market. The Burris line of scope mounts maintains this reputation.  Our choice of Burris single-piece scope mounts for your AR-15 is the Burris Optics PEPR mounts. Burris won’t leave you without the features you need, as evidenced by this list.

If you prefer a more traditional single-piece scope mount but need additional forward room for proper eye relief, the Burris PEPR scope mounts are a perfect choice. These are robust, well-machined scope mounts that provide years of trouble-free service.

  • It can be configured to give an additional two inches of forward positioning.
  • Available with smooth or Picatinny ring tops for mounting additional accessories.
  • Durable construction of air-craft grade aluminum.
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Best Individual Scope Ring Mounts for an AR-15 – Vortex Optics Pro Series Scope Rings

Vortex Optics Pro Series Riflescope Rings - 30mm - Medium Height [1.0...

There are advantages to using individual rings to mount your scope on an AR-15 platform. Individual rings get you more flexibility with the mounting position on your Picatinny rail. This allows you to mount a wider range of optics than single-piece mounts.  

If your preference is using individual scope rings to mount your optic on your AR-15, you won’t go wrong with Vortex Optics Pro Series Scope Rings. The Pro Series ring mounts from Vortex are well-built and sturdy. You can expect all of Vortex Optics’ features on its other products in these scope rings.

Mounting a scope on an AR-15 using individual rings can be a bit more challenging than using a single-piece mount. More care in aligning the rings is required and lapping the rings may be required.

  • Available in various ring diameters and ring heights to solve almost any scope mounting problem.
  • Machined from high-quality aluminum to the tightest tolerances.
  • Four screws secure the upper half of the rings for exceptional stability.
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Budget Single Piece AR-15 Scope Mount – LOCKOSS Dual Ring QD Scope Mount

LOCKOOS Dual Ring QD Scope Mount 30mm with Quick Release, for Picatinny,...

We hesitate to recommend budget options for individual ring mounts. All too often, manufacturers that offer cheaper ring mount options cut costs by using cheaper materials and less rigorous quality control. However, we are confident in recommending the LOCKOSS Dual QD Ring Mount system in this case.

These rings are manufactured overseas, but the material and machining quality seems better than most low-cost imports. We wouldn’t recommend these rings if you are headed into a combat situation or for more rigorous shooting applications. The LOCKOSS rings are not short on features.

If you are on a budget and prefer individual rings mounts for your AR-15 rifle, the LOCKOSS rings could be your answer. The fit and finish of these rings are above what you would expect for the price.

  • Available in one-inch and thirty MM tube sizes.
  • Ring heights range from one inch to 1.35 inches.
  • Picatinny mount base for easy and quick installation on an AR-15 top rail.
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What About Quick Detach Scope Mounts?

We can see the arguments for quick detach scope mounts, especially on an AR-15 platform. There are times when you may want to move a scope from one rifle to another quickly. In some instances, it is necessary to remove the scope from the rifle to change the battery if the reticle is illuminated. These are valid arguments for a quick detach scope mount.

However, in our experience, there is always a question about the accuracy of these quick detach mounts. Most claim that you can detach and return your scope to the same rifle without a loss of zero. This has not been our experience.

Quick detach mounts often use levers that can pose a problem. If the lever snags and opens or loosens, the accuracy of your scope and rifle can suffer without your knowledge. We prefer screw-type mounts that can be secured. These mounts offer a cleaner option that is not subject to accidental changes. A touch of blue thread lock makes this type of scope mount almost foolproof.


Selecting A Scope Mount for your AR-15

No matter which style of scope mount you prefer, there is a solid and dependable choice on the market in your price range. Understanding the pros and cons of each style of scope mount can make your choice better and leave you with a rifle and scope that perform up to your expectations.

Dennis Howard

A life long hunter, fisherman, and outdoorsman, after surviving a devastating tornado in his home town, he saw the effects on people's lives as they struggled to cope. He built his first bugout bag a few weeks later and has been a dedicated prepper/survivalist since that time. After a career as a fireman, Dennis opened a retail store (FFL approved) catering to the military, law enforcement, and like-minded individuals. The store built their own AR platforms. Furthermore, Dennis was also an NRA instructor in both long gun and handgun as well as a certified range safety officer. Read his full interview here.