The AK-47 is the most commonly used firearm in the world, with experts estimating that there are over 100 million individual rifles in use today. There are lots of excellent reasons for this; for example, the AK-47 is durable and reliable even under heavy use and even in inclement weather or sandy conditions.
However, the AK-47 also provides reasonable stopping power and decent accuracy up close. Its ease of use and modularity make it modifiable for a variety of conditions or objectives. In short, the AK-47 is as much a Swiss Army knife rifle as its western counterpart, the AR-15.
That being said, the AK-47 has one major downside: low range, at least relative to other rifles. While it’ll certainly hit targets further out than most pistols, most other commonly used rifles are far better when it comes to hitting distant targets. The right scope can help fix that.
Best Scopes for AK-47
- Primary Arms SLX 4-14x44mm FFP Riflescope
- Aimpoint Pro Patrol Rifle Optic
- Bushnell AK Optics 1-4x24mm Riflescope
- Trijicon TA02 ACOG Scope
- Leupold VX-Freedom Scope
- Hi-Lux Optics CMR-AK
- Nikon Monarch 3 German 4 Riflescope
- UTG 3-9×32 BugBuster Scope
Primary Arms SLX 4-14x44mm FFP Riflescope
This quality rifle scope has a lot to like, starting with a partially illuminated reticle that includes a dozen different brightness settings, all adjustable via a side-mounted knob you can use for lowlight or daytime shooting conditions.
The scope overall is made with a durable and aluminum body, and it’s totally waterproof and fog-resistant. The SLX offers variable magnification settings between 4x and 14x and a first focal plane reticle.
Flip open lens caps round out its features and allow you to protect the lenses from degradation through exposure to intense sunlight. The lenses are, as a bonus, multicoated for increased light transmission and durability.
- Has an illuminated reticle and 12 brightness settings
- Made of lightweight but durable aluminum
- Has multicoated and clear optics and lenses
- Has flip-open lens caps to protect the lenses
Aimpoint Pro Patrol Rifle Optic
Aimpoint’s Pro Patrol rifle scope also has an illuminated reticle with a particularly long battery life (30,000 hours, in fact). The electronics and scope lenses are all housed in a waterproof body that can survive submersion in water down to 150 feet.
Furthermore, the body is made of anodized aluminum, which provides excellent durability and lightweight along with corrosion resistance. The illuminated reticle is a red dot variety with 2 MOA. Additionally, the front lens has a specialized coating that ensures compatibility with night vision devices.
- Has excellent battery life
- Made of durable aircraft-grade aluminum and anodized coating
- Is waterproof down to 150 feet
- Works well with night vision devices
Bushnell AK Optics 1-4x24mm Riflescope
Bushnell’s AK Optics rifle scope is calibrated in the factory for standard AK-47 rifles. It offers rugged reliability and an illuminated BDC or bullet drop compensating reticle, helping you to estimate where your shots will land at long distances.
The scope comes with multiple brightness settings (eight in total), and 11 intensity settings. The scope overall is quite lightweight and is fog, shock, and water-resistant. The optics are multi-coated to ensure adequate light transmission. It’s even relatively affordable, being cheaper than many other general use optics on the market.
- Offers multicoated and durable lenses
- Has a rugged and reliable body
- Designed specifically for use with the AK-47
- Has an illuminated BDC reticle
Trijicon TA02 ACOG Scope
Trijicon’s TA02 scope is a versatile and easy-to-use optic with an illuminated reticle powered by a single AA battery. The reticle’s battery lasts for 12,000 hours on moderate settings and comes with six adjustable brightness levels depending on the ambient light in your environment.
As a reflex optic, it’s mostly useful for short to medium-range shooting, so it’s not as appropriate for long-range hunting or target shooting as the other optics on this list. But it’s well constructed, easy to mount, and is compatible with night vision devices.
- An ideal short-range scope
- Easy to power with a AA battery
- Works well with night vision devices
- Very easy to mount on your rifle
Leupold VX-Freedom Scope
Leupold’s VX-Freedom rifle scope is an excellent choice for hunting due in large part to its patented TLMS or Twilight Light Management System. This system, including well-designed lenses and special body materials, collects a few extra minutes of shooting light at the beginning and end of the day: ideal times to hunt certain types of game.
The scope overall is weatherproof and very durable, and it comes with a lifetime warranty. With a 3-9x magnification range and a clean duplex reticle, it’s suitable for AK-47 users of all skill levels.
- Ideal for hunting situations
- Has special maximum light collection system and excellent lenses
- Made with durable materials
- Has a lifetime warranty
Hi-Lux Optics CMR-AK
Hi-Lux Optics’ CMR-AK illuminated tactical rifle scope is one of the few specifically designed for standard AK-47 use. Thus, it’s an excellent choice if you don’t want to fiddle with a scope clearly designed for AR-15s or other platforms.
It includes an illuminated reticle and multicoated lenses to guarantee fantastic light transmission and long-term durability. It also offers zero lockable and resettable windage and elevation turrets, so you can compensate for these variables without worrying about your elbows or fingers knocking them out of place by accident.
The scope comes with an additional cover to protect the lenses and the body is made of durable aluminum, affording it with waterproof, shockproof, and fog proof protection.
- Has a durable and weatherproof body
- Comes with zero lockable and resettable turrets
- Lenses to boost light transmission
- Designed specifically for use with AK-47s
Nikon Monarch 3 German 4 Riflescope
Nikon’s Monarch 3 riflescope offers short-range but variable magnification settings between 1x and 4x, plus a 20 mm objective lens. While it is only suitable for relatively short-range shooting, it offers zero resettable turrets and a quick focus eyepiece that can help you acquire your target even if it’s moving quickly.
The reticle is clean and well-designed, with minimal obstructions or distractions. The scope overall is made with aircraft-grade aluminum and features large, tactile windage and elevation turrets to adjust for these elements. The included flip-up lens cover is a nice touch, though it is a little cheap.
- Comes with a flip-up lens cover
- Made with lightweight and durable aircraft-grade aluminum
- Has clean, streamlined reticle
- Has fast-focus eyepiece
UTG 3-9×32 BugBuster Scope
UTG’s affordable BugBuster scope is a particularly good choice if you need something budget-friendly for your AK-47. It has a shockproof and water-resistant body with zero lockable and resettable turrets to adjust both windage and elevation.
Also included is an illuminated reticle and lenses with emerald coatings to boost light transmission and ensure long-term glass durability. The scope offers variable magnification settings between 3x and 9x with a 32 mm objective lens, plus red or green options for the red dot reticle.
Eye relief is generous, ranging from between 3.2 and 4.2 inches, and the scope comes with additional accessories like a 2-inch sunshade and flip-open lens covers. All in all, there’s a lot to like for its affordable asking price.
- Comes with a few good accessories
- Has an illuminated reticle that comes in red or green colors
- Has excellent eye relief
- Good durability and longevity for its price
Does an AK-47 Need a Scope?
Simply put, a scope will help you maximize your AK-47’s combat effectiveness and accuracy at a distance.
In a vacuum, the AK-47 (with its standard cartridge load of 7.62 x 39mm ammunition) has a maximum effective range of around 350 m or 380 yards depending on your measurement system. However, that assumes perfect user accuracy, excellent maintenance of your firearm, and no negative conditions like wind or terrain differences.
In reality, most AK-47 users will struggle to hit targets accurately outside 150 yards. The AK-47 comes with standard iron sights, but the scope can help you actually hit targets accurately at the 300 yards or so range.
In this way, the scope can transform your AK-47 into a relatively close-range rifle into a firearm capable of target shooting or even long-distance combat (at least compared to unmodified AK-47s). While you shouldn’t expect your AK-47 to reach the effective ranges of dedicated hunting rifles or even modified AR-15s, you can still push the effectiveness of this firearm to the limit if you have a good scope and practice with it regularly.
What to Look for in an AK-47 Scope
No two rifle optics are alike, and it’s important that you choose a scope for your AK-47 that’ll actually suit your needs and fit your firearm.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the key factors you should remember when browsing the best AK-47 scopes.
First, consider the mounting options that a scope is compatible with. If your AK-47 doesn’t have a rail system, you’ll have to be especially picky and specific with the optic to purchase.
Unfortunately, there are few scopes designed for use with an AK-47 intentionally. As a result, expect to be a little creative when mounting the ideal scope on your firearm.
AK-47s are compatible with three different mounting steps, including a side mounting set up, a scout or rail-mounting set up, and dust cover mounting set ups.
Most individuals will favor the side mounting system. This allows the scope to sit closely to your face and lets you use the scope while walking. But it does mean that the scope will be off-center from your rifle’s barrel, so you’ll need to calibrate it carefully to ensure accuracy.
Dust Cover Mounting
Alternatively, you might choose scopes that can fit on the built-in AK-47 dust cover mount. The dust cover mounting system works best with lightweight scopes. When done correctly, your optic will have a low profile and be easy to install. That said, dust cover mounted scopes are held in place by the recoil spring of your rifle.
That means your scope may often lose its “zero” or calibration settings every time you burst fire your rifle, requiring frequent recalibration.
If you choose to follow the scout-style mounting system, you’ll need an optic that fits either Picatinny or Weaver rails (these are the two most popular mounting systems available). Mounting your scope this way takes more time and effort, but it provides better stability and allows you to clean your gun without taking the scope off.
Ultimately, most of the optics below should work with the mounting method. But consider how you plan to mount the optic carefully, as your mounting system may determine whether a given scope is a good choice or not.
Next, consider the magnification capabilities a given optic has to offer. The more magnification a scope provides, the more zoom factor you’ll experience when you look through the scope.
Some scopes offer fixed magnification settings, which means they magnify to one degree or another and that’s it. Variable magnification scopes can swap between different magnification settings, although they are usually only calibrated for one setting and might require recalibration each time you change the zoom factor.
Since you’ll be using your AK-47 to hit long-distance targets, we recommend going for a scope that can offer at least 6x magnification capabilities.
Weight and Size
Lastly, consider the weight and size of a given optic before making a purchase. The heavier the scope is, the more it will affect your weapon balance and the more you may need to practice with it before you are used to its presence. Lighter scopes are easier to mount but may also be a little less durable (since they may be manufactured with cheaper, lighter materials).
This isn’t always the case, however – some scopes are made with lightweight but durable aircraft-grade aluminum, which combines the best of both worlds.
Overall, each of the above scopes will work as an all-around excellent optic for your AK-47. Be sure to consider the factors described above before choosing, however – only by finding the ideal optic for your rifle will you enjoy the best shooting accuracy at long distances. Good hunting!