We’ve mentioned it in past articles, AR-15 and M-16 rifles can be a lot of fun to modify to your liking! Between upgrades and accessories, every rifle can be made unique to the owner. If you’ve chosen to equip your rifle with a carry handle, you’ll still want a scope. We’ve put together this review of the best carry handle scopes online, and we’ve picked our favorite for the end as well.
The biggest factor in choosing the right carry handle scope is the mounting system. You can decide between attaching a Picatinny rail or you can buy a scope that mounts directly to the carry handle. Direct mounting tends to give you more stability, and this is definitely best for scopes with higher magnifications and more weight to them. At the same time, this style is a little more difficult to find. We’ve offered a little variety in this review, but we found some great scopes that mount directly to the carry handle!
Materials – This Ultimate Arms Gear option includes both a scope and the carry handle mounting system. The mount is a Picatinny/Weaver rail made with aircraft grade T6 aluminum alloy. It can easily install on the carry handle, and anyone can do it at home. The reflex sight attaches to the mount and requires only an allen key to properly screw the piece into place. On the sight, you can choose between four reticle patterns. Each reticle can be illuminated in green or red, and there are three brightness levels for each color you can choose from. Aside from the knob to select your reticle, there are also adjustments for windage and elevation.
Performance – This is the cheapest option within this review, but you get a good deal for the money. We all know these reflex sights are pretty basic, and they’re just there to give you that 1x magnification. You may even consider mounting this on another carry handle scope you own to work as a duo. Ultimate Arms Gear doesn’t offer the most advanced technology or the most durable housing, but we love that you can pick between essentially eight different reticles. No matter your lighting and no matter your mood, you can’t really be disappointed with your options on this one. The mount that comes with the reflex sight has some extra rail space in it too, so you can adjust your eye relief or maybe even take advantage of the space with another accessory.
What we say – This is the best carry handle scope for those with a tight budget or for those who really don’t have use for a 3-9x scope on their rifle. You still get plenty of versatility out of this little guy.
- Lowest cost
- Four reticle shapes in red and green
- Includes Picatinny rail
- Nothing out of the ordinary, a little fragile
- Tubeless Open Reflex Design
- 4 Separate Reticle Patterns In Both Red and Green
- 6 Diferent Brightness Settings (3-Red 3-Green)
Materials – Instead of purchasing a separate mounting rail system, this scope from TAC Vector installs directly onto your rifle’s carry handle. The tactical style tubing is 34 mm and holds a 22 mm objective lens in housing made of high quality aluminum alloy that’s been finished in a matte black coating. The lens has been purged with nitrogen to be totally waterproof and fogproof. It’s also shock proof against up to 1000g of force. The R3 reticle is crystal clear through multiple coatings on the lens for full light transmission. There are four magnification levels, and the viewer can see up to 500 yards away from their target.
Performance – If you can handle something with a little more weight on your rifle, this tube style scope is a good transition. We definitely prefer that this scope mounts directly to the carry handle. There’s no rail to fuss with, and it’s less likely you’ll have a part of the construction snap or crack down the line. 1000g of force may sound like a lot; in case you need some help with the math, that’s only about 2-3 lbs of force. For recoil, you should feel confident in that aspect, just don’t be fooled by the flashy descriptions from the sellers. Other than that, the scope performs very well. The magnification levels give you the opportunity to get some great shots, and your reticle doesn’t get all blurry at the max power.
What we say – This is one of the best carry handle scopes for those who need more than a 1x power and don’t want to mess with a mounting rail. On one hand, your scope will be far more stable when attached directly to the carry handle. On the other hand, you can’t transfer the scope to other Picatinny rails.
- Direct attachment to carry handle
- 4 magnification levels
- Shock proof
- No mention of brightness adjustments
- Direct Installation on Carry Handle
- Fit Real Fire Caliber
- R3 Reticle
Materials – The appearance of the BARSKA Electro Sight Scope is very similar to that of the previous option. A tube constructed of aluminum alloy houses a 20mm objective lens. Through the objective lens you will see a mil-dot reticle with four levels of magnification. Use the large side knob to adjust windage and elevation. This carry handle scope was designed specifically for M-16 and AR-15 rifles, and it will install directly into the track of your rifle’s carry handle – no mounting rail required. The see-through style also allows you to utilize your rifle’s original iron sights. The built in bullet drop compensation system works for up to 500 yards.
Performance – By just looking, yes, this BARSKA scope is very similar to the previous option. It has a few differences that maybe edge out its competitor though. For one, BARSKA is (we think) a better known brand. It’s also more associated with AR type rifles, so you may get a better scope from them. The other differences will only be beneficial based on preference. The reticle style is different, but you get the same amount of magnification and field of view. Installation is also the same, but the good news is that you can utilize the original iron sights. Again, with this type of installation, you’re stuck using it only on carry handle weapons. You can’t attach it to Picatinny rails, so make sure this is what you want on your AR-15 or M-16.
What we say – This is the best carry handle scope for those who prefer the mil-dot reticle as well as the confidence in a well-known brand name. BARSKA will make your rifle very happy!
- Direct attachment to carry handle recoil resistant
- Allows use of original iron sights
- Mil-dot reticle
- Not compatible with rail systems
- Magnification 4x . Objective Lens 20mm
- Reticle Mil-Dot . Exit Pupil 5mm
- Field of View (ft@100yds/m@100m) 22/7.3@4x
Materials – This final selection from NcStar is usable on both a carry handle as well as any standard Weaver or Picatinny style rail. The rail included integrates into your carry handle in minutes, and you can attach the scope with the easy quick detach levers. The rail features a see-through channel that allows you to use the original iron sights on your rifle. The 34mm tube scope offers a brightly illuminated picture that has seven settings. The magnification levels are 2x to 7x. Included with this scope are additional batteries, lens covers, and all the tooling needed for installing.
Performance – We are really happy to see there’s an option that can be mounted to both carry handles and Picatinny and Weaver rails. This allows you to get the most out of your money. We aren’t 100% thrilled with the 2x-7x magnification level, but this scope allows you to mount other hardware to it. If you can pick up a cheap 1x reflex sight, you can mount that baby right on top for the ultimate setup. However, make sure you’re not getting too top heavy and your accessories can handle any recoil. Quick detach levers are also always a big plus, as long as they’re secure.
What we say – This is the best carry handle scope for those who think they’ll use it on other weapons or rail systems. The quick detach lever makes it easy to transfer as needed or to remove for storage.
- Compatible with carry handles and rails
- Seven brightness levels
- See-through channel
- Most expensive option
- 2 - 7 x 32mm xrs scope with modular upper scope rings and convertible base mount
- Large 34mm scope tube diameter allows a bright clear image of your target
- Blue illuminated scope reticle for Use in low light conditions. 7 brightness settings
Our Favorite Carry Handle Scope
For AR style rifles, we decided the best carry handle scope was the BARSKA 4x20 Electro Sight Scope. At first glance, the tube style scope is very sleek and discrete. It streamlines a great look on your rifle. Plus, the tube style is a little better for carry handles since there’s a higher chance of hands and fingers brushing up against it. You won’t be able to smudge lenses or mess up the internal components. The 4x magnification is exactly what any rifle owner needs without being too much or too little. You can still use the original iron sights and the reticle style is pretty straight forward and standard. At an affordable cost, anybody should be able to purchase the BARSKA Electro Sight Scope.
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