So, you bought the AR 556, a great gun. But your quest to find the best accessories for Ruger AR 556 is not quite finished yet! What do I mean by that? Well, you didn’t get the most essential upgrade yet!
That’s right, I’m talking about the scope. In my opinion, scope is an integral part of a gun. Without one, the experience won’t be the same. The Ruger AR 556 is a versatile gun capable of doing a lot of things. That includes long-range plinking with the correct upgrades and close-quarter combat as well.
That wouldn’t mean much if you cannot find those “correct” accessories. That’s where I come in. That’s right, I’m here to help you find the best scope for Ruger AR 556. As the title suggests, let’s find the most versatile scope out there for our beloved AR.
What Is A Ruger AR 556?
That’s a really good question. What is it? Is it a DMR, an AR, short-barrel rifle perhaps? The Ruger AR 556 is a semi-automatic AR-15 style rifle made by Sturm, Ruger & Co. A U.S.-based firearm manufacturer that has been around the community for a long time! The gun was introduced back in 2014 as a beginner AR-15 rifle to help people ease into the AR-15 ecosystem.
It fancies a lot of things from an AR-15 including an impressive direct impingement action. Later, Ruger also introduced the AR 556 Pistol and AR 556 MPR. The MPR is a multi-purpose rifle and the pistol is, well, an AR pistol.
Is Ruger AR 556 A Good Gun?
In short, it is. It’s an excellent gun for beginners and people who just want a separate gun for plinking. Even if you own a bunch of AR-15-style rifles, this gun has a charm to it that will make you use it more often. The gun is durable, well-built, and doesn’t have issues that you will need to deal with every day. What more could you ask for?
What makes it a beginner rifle is the recoil and how easy it is to mitigate that recoil with a muzzle upgrade. You can also change the gun’s stock or add angled grips under it to make it more comfortable for you. Sounds like a good time, no?
What Is The Ruger AR 556 Good For?
The gun is good for many things. To the point where Ruger made a separate gun just for that task. The MPR variant of this gun is capable of doing anything you want. A little bit of game hunting, plinking, competitive shooting, practice, etc. While it’s not the absolute best gun for hunting by any means, it still can do a little bit of it if you are using the right ammunition.
Then again, hunters can’t settle down with “can do”. They want assurance. Which, unfortunately, you are not getting with this gun. So, I guess it can do pretty much anything besides serious hunting!
That’s still a pretty good remark, don’t you think?
How To Choose The Best Scope For Ruger AR 556?
Now that we know what are the best scopes for AR 556, how about we find out which one is the best for us? After all, we don’t want to spend mindlessly on a scope. So, let’s figure out which one is the best for us.
While the AR 556 is not the most powerful thing in the world, you still shouldn’t compromise on the quality of your scope. We want our scope to last for a long time. This is why, I will always keep recommending scopes that are made to last for a while. You can also consider locally made scopes that provide a really good warranty. This way, you can ensure a working scope always.
In my opinion, this is the most important part of a scope. I have said this many times and I will keep saying this for the rest of my life as well. Without a good pair of lenses, a scope is just an expensive piece of metal.
All the scopes I mentioned above have exceptionally clean lenses and their performance under low light is impeccable as well. And that’s exactly what we want from our scopes. To get as clear of a vision as it’s possible. Make sure to take a multi-coated lens optic. Those tend to have better light transmission and exceptional performance throughout the day.
As you know already, the AR 556 is a versatile weapon. From CQB to varmint hunting, it can do almost anything you want. That’s why I want to ask you a question, what do you want? Do you want to shoot at extreme long-range? Close-range? Something in-between?
Well, if you know what you want, then you can easily find the best optic for your needs. So, ask yourself what you want first.
Best Scope For Ruger AR 556 – [Editor’s Pick]
Now that we know a bit about the gun and what it can and can’t do, let’s find out the best scope for the gun. After all, that’s what you are here for. I won’t make you wait any longer, let’s start.
1. Vortex Strikefire II Red Dot Sight
As I mentioned earlier, the close-quarter performance of this gun is quite good. To have the best close-range performance, you would want to invest in a scope that is good in that. The Strikefire II is not made like an open reflex sight. The look can be deceiving sometimes.
The red dot is made out of high-quality aluminum alloy. It’s sturdy, lightweight, and incredibly well-built. When it comes to shockproof rating, Vortex doesn’t mess around. They mean business. This red dot from them is shock, water, and fogproof. That’s right, the lenses are fully sealed with gaskets. They prevent water from getting inside and the purged interior makes sure you don’t see a shred of fog inside.
If you have heard of Vortex before, chances are you have heard high praises of their lenses as well. They are known for making some of the best lenses on the market for the money. That remains true for Strikefire II as well. Fancying a fully multi-coated 30mm objective lens, it gathers plenty of light to show through the eyepiece. Giving the lenses life is the 4 MOA illuminated red dot reticle.
If that’s not enough to convince you, this can be the best mid-range scope for you as well. How? Well, this optic is capable of working with a magnifier. Add a Vortex VMX-3T magnifier with a flip mount, and you can suddenly magnify up to 3x with your optic. From 1x to 3x, a noteworthy jump. As it’s a flip mount, you can easily flip it to the side and keep using the sight with 1x magnification if you want.
Adjustment on this optic is super easy and it comes with lens covers as well. So, if you want to keep the lenses from harm, you can do that easily. Another benefit of the scope is the packages it comes with. If you’re worried about buying a separate mounting system, then just go for the package that includes the mounting ring as well. Without a doubt, it’s one of the if not the best Ruger AR 556 red dot!
- Excellent build quality.
- Lens clarity is impeccable.
- Compatible with magnifier.
- Comes with a good number of accessories.
- Great warranty from Vortex.
- Illuminated reticle.
- It’s a bit on the heavier side for a red dot.
2. Trijicon 4×32 ACOG Green Dual Illuminated Chevron Reticle Riflescope
When it comes to making great fixed-magnification tactical scopes, Trijicon has almost no competition in that field. After all, this optic is used by the military as well! If you look at the listing of this sight, you will find many different options to choose from. All of them are essentially the same thing with minor differences.
The scope itself is made out of very high-quality aluminum through proper machining. Trijicon made sure the build quality of the scope was not compromised at all! That’s why, they made this scope water, fog, and shockproof as well. While you can submerge it, I don’t recommend doing that to any scope. There is no point in attempting to break a perfectly fine scope. Even if it is for the sake of science.
The lenses are some of the best you will lay your eyes on. They are fully multi-coated. They are extremely bright and vibrant. You will not see any chromatic aberration or color leakage of any kind in this optic. This is something I have come to appreciate as time went by. When you start your journey with a cheap knock-off scope and see the real thing for the first time, your mind will be blown.
Speaking of knockoffs, there are several counterfeits available of this on the market. Make sure to take a USA-made one with a warranty. Otherwise, you may get duped. Earlier I mentioned that there are several variants of this scope. That’s because the reticle comes in green or red illumination. A great part of this scope is its battery-free illumination process. If you are worried about running out of battery in the middle of a session, that’s not happening.
It uses fiber optics to illuminate the reticle. This also means that you are stuck with the color you choose. That’s why go for the color that you are comfortable with.
- The build quality of this scope is something else. Trijicon hit gold with this.
- Extremely clear lenses.
- Great reticle.
- Great for tactical shooting and competitive shooting.
- Extremely forgiving eye relief.
- Made in the USA. After-sales is spot on!
- The reticle can be complicated for beginners.
- Not suitable for hunting.
3. Primary Arms SLX 1-8 x 24mm Rifle Scope
Primary Arms SLX scope is known for its accuracy and the price-to-performance ratio. While it’s not the cheapest scope in the world, by no means anyone would call it overpriced after trying it out once.
It’s a very durable and rugged metal scope paired with equally good lenses. Primary Arms used fully multi-coated lenses. To make sure it’s a good hunting and tactical scope, Primary Arms went through all the industry standard procedures. It is shock, water, and fogproof. To prevent the inside of the scope from getting moisturized or creating fog in cold weather, the inside of the scope is purged with nitrogen.
Nitrogen purging removes all sorts of moisture left from the machining process and waterproofing ensures the inside doesn’t get moisturized ever again. Also, the turrets are not extremely high either. they are appropriate-sized capped turrets. The height is at the perfect length to ensure you can use the turrets with your bare fingers. Due to their size, adjusting them with gloves on may be a bit tough if not impossible.
Another great part of the scope is the reticle. While the reticle is on the second focal plane, it’s still illuminated. Having illumination in the reticle is quite helpful. It doesn’t matter if you are a hunter or a shooter, but you cannot deny the fact that during low light conditions, it’s always better to have well-light up lenses and an illuminated reticle.
If you are looking to pair your AR 556 with a medium-range riflescope that doesn’t have parallax issue or suffer from chromatic aberration, then you can consider this scope as your go-to.
- Durable housing.
- Water, fog, and shockproof.
- Multi-coated lens.
- The light transmission is quite good.
- Doesn’t have reticle-smearing issues.
- Lifetime warranty.
- The second focal plane reticle can be off-putting for some.
4. UTG 3-12X44 30mm AO 36-color Mil-Dot Compact Scope
In case you didn’t know, Leapers is the factory behind UTG. They release great budget scopes for AR, SMG, bolt-action, and other rifles. Their scopes are often overlooked due to the low price. People tend to think they are not worth it or they are poorly crafted. But none of those claims are true. UTG scopes aren’t poorly crafted and they are not fragile either.
In fact, the housing of the scope is made out of aluminum alloy. The same type of material you will find in the majority of scopes. Without getting to technical, the material is extremely durable and rugged. It will last you a long time for sure. The inside of the scope is also purged to make it immune to moisture and fogging. Anti-fogging is super important if you are planning to use the scope in cold weather.
If that wasn’t enough to sway you, UTG made sure the scope is also waterproof. While they claim you can submerge it a bit, I don’t recommend or support it. If the scope can repel rain, that’s more than enough for me. After all, I don’t want to stop shooting just because it’s raining.
I keep telling this and I will continue to do so, lenses are the most important part of a scope. They are the second pair of eyes. Which in this case, is capable of magnification as well. If your eyes are not working properly, then how can you see targets? I’m glad UTG made sure to not use cheap lenses they found laying on the ground. Instead, they are using fully multi-coated lenses that are treated to be bright, colorful, vibrant, and high-contrast.
If you want to do a little bit of hunting during the dusk, you can do that as well. While AR 556 is not the best weapon for hunting, you can continue to use the scope further if you buy a separate hunting gun.
- Great build quality.
- Clear lenses.
- Great pricing.
- Good for medium-range plinking.
- Can do basic hunting.
- Made by Leapers.
- Not the best choice for long-range shooting. Not even for plinking.
5. Barska 6.5-20×50 AO Varmint Rifle Scope
It’s been a while since I last recommended an optic from Barska. Barska is the type of brand that you cannot forget easily. They tend to make products that will leave a mark on you. Positively, of course. You might be wondering, what’s a varmint rifle scope doing in the suggestion list? After all, I can’t possibly hunt Varmint with the Ruger AR 556.
Unless? As I mentioned earlier, you can do a little bit of hunting as long as it’s legal. So, in a sense, it can be used for varmint hunting. But that’s not the only reason why it’s on the list. If you take a look at the name, you will see just how monstrous the amount of magnification it packs! That’s right, this is a 20x magnification scope! 20x is a lot of magnification for a scope.
The chassis of the scope is made out of high-quality aluminum. And the exterior of the scope is hard anodized. There is no scratch-resistant rating here, but it can handle a little of an accident without ease. Don’t worry, the inside of the scope is also purged. So, yes, it has a fog-proof rating as well.
If you are thinking that they cut corners on the lens department, they didn’t/ The scope features a pair of fully multi-coated lenses. They are extremely bright and vibrant. As you can see from the name, the objective lens is 50mm big. It gathers plenty of light to work with. The low-light performance is also great as well.
Fair warning, This is not suitable for short-range shooting. The base magnification of this scope is 6.5x. That’s more than any red dot+magnifier combo you can find. It’s also more than Trijicon Acog. So, think twice first if you need this much magnification or not. If you find yourself in a position where you can use this much magnification, then it’s an absolute beast! AO reticle is one of the best beginner-friendly reticles you will find. Without a doubt, it’s one of the best scopes for 556.
- Great build quality.
- Clear lenses.
- Good for hunting.
- Good for long-range plinking.
- Not suitable for close-quarter combat.
6. Bushnell Optics TRS-25 Hirise 1x25mm Red Dot Riflescope
Bushnell makes scopes that you can take in war. The Trophy TRS-25 is one such product as well. Trophy TRS-25 has many features that close-quarter combat enthusiasts will like. The TRS-25 is made for AR as the name suggests. Whether you are using an AR pistol or a 556, you can use this sight.
The optic is made out of high-quality aluminum. The entire housing of the scope speaks volumes of Bushnell’s craftsmanship. The scope is both internally and externally fogproof. On top of that, the scope is also shock and waterproof at the same time.
If you are worried about light transmission, don’t be. It’s capable of gathering tons of light and can work great under low-light conditions as well. This is one of the main reasons why even hunters like this optic so much. But the most capable range of this optic is around 50 yards. If you want to do long-range shooting with it, you can do that with a magnifier.
But neither Bushnell nor I can assure you the accuracy of the optic at 600 yards. The total length of the optic is around 2.4 inches and weighing at 3.7 oz. Thanks to the lightweight feature of this scope, you can use this in almost any weapon that you can think of. 3 MOA reticle on this is illuminated as well. On top of that the unlimited field of view is an amazing feature to have.
Overall, easily one of the better red dot sights you can get for AR 556.
- Great reticle.
- Fog, shock, and waterproof.
- Lifetime warranty.
- Bright and vibrant lens setup.
- Battery life is not the best.
NIKON P-223 3-9×40 BDC 600 Rifle Scope – Discontinued
Who hasn’t heard of Nikon here? You probably used or tried a Nikon product in the past already. If you are big into cameras and love doing wildlife photography as well, then you probably like Nikon as well. Through various products, they have built up a good name for them. When they entered the optic industry, it was given that they would do their best to uproot other brands.
The P-223 does exactly that! It’s a trump card from Nikon that is supposed to disrupt the mid-range market. Glad to announce, Nikon managed to pull off this extreme feat with ease! That is, thanks to Nikon’s exceptionally good engineering and even better pair of lenses.
The scope is made out of high-quality aluminum. It’s lightweight and extremely rugged as well. The exterior is hard anodized and the interior is purged with chemicals. If you purge a metal, it gets rid of the stuck moisture and prevents the metal from gathering moisture from the air. And the lenses are just incredible! They are fully multi-coated and they are extremely bright.
The BDC 600 reticle offers a unique open-circle aiming experience. Each hash mark on the reticle stands for 100 meters. It starts from 100 meters and ends at 600 meters. So, yes, this scope is quite capable at 600 yards and beyond. If you go over the hash marks, you will need to understand the bullet drop and ballistic statistics that you are working with.
At the end of the day, Nikon made a killer scope that happens to support our beloved AR 556 as well. In my opinion, it’s easily the best option for plinkers and competitive shooting. If I had to nitpick, I would not recommend this to anyone who does close-quarter shooting. After all, it has a base magnification of 3x. So, if you want a close-range to long-range scope, this is not it. But if you want a medium to long-range scope, then it can be it.
- Excellent build quality.
- Beast for tactical shooting.
- Suitable for competitions.
- Great for medium to long-range plinking.
- Extremely clear lenses.
- Low-light performance is impeccable.
- Generous eye relief.
- Multiple reticles to choose from.
- It’s hard to find this in stock, to begin with.
7. Steiner T5Xi 5-25x56mm Rifle Scope
The final Scope I want to recommend for the Ruger AR 556 is from Steiner. I know you are wondering why such a long-range scope doing on a list for AR-oriented scope. Well, I know for a fact that not all of you here are competitive shooters. Some of you want a long-range scope for the kick of it and there is nothing wrong with that. Even if we get to one time a week, long-range shooting soothes the heart.
While the AR 556 is not a DMR and cannot maximize the potential of 25x magnification, it still can take benefit from the accuracy of this scope. As for the build quality, it’s beyond excellent. It’s easily one of the if not the most durable scope in this list today. The inside of the scope is purged with nitrogen and the purging makes it fogproof. On top of that, the scope is also waterproof and rated to be submersible.
While I never condone the attempt of submerging your scope in water, you can try it out if you are feeling bold enough. The lenses are fully multi-coated and they are extremely bright. Their vibrance and color contrast are simply put, amazing!
On top of that, it features resettable turrets and a locking diopter. Both features are handy for hunters and competitive shooters. Especially, the locking diopter feature is too good! Once you get a taste of it, you cannot go back!
I know it’s not a cheap scope. It’s expensive and it’s a long-term investment. If you are willing to invest in a scope that you want to use for a long-time, then this is the ultimate scope to get. After all, the performance of this scope is one of the best for Ruger AR 556!
- Aircraft-grade aluminum.
- Resettable zero stop.
- Constant eye relief.
- Generous eye box.
- SCR competition reticle.
- Suitable for long-range.
- Heritage warranty from Steiner!
- Includes a lot of accessories.
- Battery life is a bit poor.
You are using one of the most versatile guns on the planet for an AR enthusiast. It’s also a durable and low-recoil weapon loved by beginners and veterans alike! So, it’s understandable that you would want the best scope for Ruger AR 556!
After all, why settle for less when you can have more? That’s exactly what I provided you guys with. Scopes that are capable of doing more than you expect them to do! And I hope you found the answer you were looking for. I know it can be confusing to choose only one from the list. But I know that you are capable of identifying your needs and going for the best from there. Hope I was able to help you in your decision-making.
That’s all for now. Will see you guys on the next one. Take care and have fun till then.
Hi, I’m Brent Hansford. A writer turned hunter & now sharing my love for the sport through writing. As I practically breathe weapons, I firmly believe I’m capable of providing you with new knowledge about firearms and hunting. My mission is to help more people get better at hunting & master the weapons. Let me help with unleashing the beast within you!