The M4 carbine is known to be the best replacement for the M16 rifles. As an ideal assault rifle issued to the US Armed Forces and law enforcers, it also became popular among American shooters who love sport shooting and hunting. Because the M4 is such a powerful weapon but of a more compact size it also deserves to have the best M4 scopes. Thanks to its flat top upper design that allows mounting of optics you can now rarely see M4s without scopes.
According to some experts, the ideal scopes for the M4 which is a CQB (Close Quarters Battle) rifle are those capable of low magnification and with illuminated reticles. This is because the M4 carbine is an effective rifle both on close and medium range (5 meters to 100 meters).
Efficient in targeting medium size preys like coyotes and foxes it is also reliable in hunting larger preys like deer, boars and bear on woods where light is limited.
There are hundreds of scopes today that are said to be efficient optics for the M4. However, in reality, only a handful could best be considered as the best M4 scopes. To find the right one you have to set some criteria.
- 1 Standards to Have the Best M4 Scopes
- 2 5 Best M4 Scopes That Are Really Worth Your Money
- 2.1 1. Leupold Mark 4 MR/T 2.5-8x36mm (30mm) M2 Illum. Mil Dot
- 2.2 2. Nikon 8496 P-223 3×32 Matte BDC Carbine
- 2.3 3. Trijicon ACOG 4×32 BAC Riflescopes
- 2.4 4. Vortex Optics SPR-1303 Spitfire 3x Prism Scope with EBR-556B Reticle (MOA), Black
- 2.5 5. AR15 M4 CX4 SU16 Tactical Combo Set w/ NcStar MKIII 3-9×42 Rifle Scope + NcStar Red Dot Reflex Sight
- 3 Conclusion
Standards to Have the Best M4 Scopes
Capacity for calibration
The best M4 scopes are generally designed for the caliber .223/5.56 rounds but should be featured with reticles that have built-in BDC (bullet drop compensators) to let you calibrate them when necessary. And using the right ammo, a scope that has the capacity for different ranges can be perfect for hunting, targeting and for home defense.
The ideal magnification for M4 carbines should be 3 to 9X according to some experts. More than these, you will be entering the long distance hunting and long range shooting but that is if you have the 14.5” M4 version which is actually the military version.
Compactness and Weight
A compact M4 scope but with illuminated reticle is best for hunting on woods where trees and shrubs serve as covers but hindrance as well. Therefore, the more compact and lighter the scope but with adjustable illuminated reticle, the easier to aim your rifle and quickly zero-in on your target.
Picatinny Rail Compatible
The picatinny rail is a mounting platform like a bracket on the rifle that you could mount your optics with. Most commercial M4 carbine have already mounted “Pic rail” on them so if you’ll be buying your M4 scope, make sure it is picatinny rail compatible.
The best materials so far for the best M4 scopes are military grade aluminum alloy or forged titanium. These make the scope fully protected from harsh environment, wear and tear and shocks. Especially if you aim to use your M4 for hunting, a tough, ruggedly made scope is a must.
To show you the most popular M4 scopes that are among those that have been extensively and positively reviewed, we have came up with five that are always on the top list.
5 Best M4 Scopes That Are Really Worth Your Money
1. Leupold Mark 4 MR/T 2.5-8x36mm (30mm) M2 Illum. Mil Dot
The Leupold Mark 4 is known for its high compatibility with the M4 carbine and considered a very reliable tactical scope. With illuminated reticle for any type of lighting conditions, it also offers an adjustable 2.5-8 power magnification plus a large 36mm objective lens. With a 30mm tube optics, it is featured with super clear coated optics and these lenses are warranted by Leupold for a lifetime coverage.
For hunters, this scope is really appreciated. With Mil Dot reticle, this is also used by the military for their tactical operations. If you’ll be looking for the windage and elevation adjustment when targeting game on long range, this scope has it. With a fast focus eyepiece and a comfortable 11.3 inches eye relief this also suits AR15 and any M16 versions rifle.
Our Rating: (4.9 / 5)
- Belongs to the most favorite scopes among hunters.
- Perfectly designed for the M4.
- 2.5-8 power magnification and 36 mm objective lens.
- With windage and elevation adjustment.
- Audible ½ MOA adjustment knobs.
- Fast focus eyepiece.
- With illuminated Mil Dot reticle.
- Made of Matte Black Finish.
- Warranty: Optical and mechanical systems covered by Leupold for Full Lifetime Warranty, electronics are also under Leupold Electronics Warranty.
2. Nikon 8496 P-223 3×32 Matte BDC Carbine
This scope is also one of the best M4 scopes Nikon offers with a medium range 3×32 magnification. Actually calibrated for 5.56 rounds, it has a fixed rangefinder that is built into its cross hair. Good thing is, you can easily dial to 5.56/.223 rounds so whatever you are shooting from vermint to large game, you cannot go wrong with this scope.
Basically, Nikon says this scope is always precise and highly suited the AR rifles. Specifically made for quick sighting speed and efficient long-range accuracy if used on AR platform rifles, its optical fully multicoated system is the secret of why this scope can be reliable.
Our Rating: (4.6 / 5)
- Adjustable range finder at easy clicks.
- Fully multicoated optics to automatically adjust during extreme brightness.
- Can provide light transmission up to 98% from dawn to dusk.
- Highly suitable for AR rifles with its compact optic design.
- Featured with Zero-reset for easy field adjustments.
- Optimized with any Nikon Spon-On Ballistic Match Technology.
- With generous eye relief to keep your eyes safe.
- Can withstand heavy recoils.
- With BDC Carbine Reticle that provides 200 yard crosshair and with “has marks” at 400 and 600 yards.
- Fog-proof and waterproof.
- Nitrogen-filled and O-ring sealed.
- Very clear images up to 500 yards.
- Warranty: Can be requested from Customer Service.
- Rubber seal O-ring can have issues.
3. Trijicon ACOG 4×32 BAC Riflescopes
This ACOG by Trijicon also belongs among the best M4 scopes because of its many astonishing features. Housed in forged T2 aluminum matte black anodized finish, you’ll know this is designed and made for serious hunters. Very compact, it is lightweight at less than 10 ounces thus easy on your rifle and on your shoulder. It also comes in a variety of reticles and there’s the Green Donut, Red Chevron, Rec Crosshair and with Red Horsehoe and Dot reticle.
With illuminated reticle by tritium and fiber optics (no batteries), this will perform efficiently from dawn to dusk. The fiber optics will provide the illumination during the day while the tritium takes care of your night hunting. So as long as there’s a little available light, you’ll get very clear target. With 4x magnification and 32mm objective, this scope can be your all-weather dependable scope because it’s basically waterproof, shockproof, fogproof and with adjustable elevation and windage.
Our Rating: (4.5 / 5)
- Doesn’t need battery.
- Housing that is extensively durable and weatherproof.
- Lots of reticles to choose from.
- Used by military and professionals and match USMC specifications.
- With illuminated reticles provided by fiber optics and tritium for use anytime and anywhere.
- 4x fixed magnification, 32 mm objective lens.
- Very durable, lightweight, compact and with super clear multi-coated anti-reflective lenses.
- Lightweight, compact and always reliable.
- Automatically work on image contrasts including light adjustment.
- Specifically designed for the M4 and M4A1.
- With Bullet Drop Compensator that can estimate distance up to 800 meters.
- All-weather resistant.
- Featured with TA51 Picatinny flat top rail adapter mount.
- Warranty: Tritium lamp has 15 years warranty. Riflescope has lifetime warranty.
- So far, no issues found but frequently imitated and sold as a fake product. Genuine indicators should have serial numbers on the eyepiece, on top of the scope and main housing as well as the Trijicon ACOG trademark forged on the main housing.
4. Vortex Optics SPR-1303 Spitfire 3x Prism Scope with EBR-556B Reticle (MOA), Black
The Vortex Optics physical features alone can say that it’s all made for a rougher job but with precise output. Made of tough anodized matte black finish, its lens are fully multicoated and in-between them is nitrogen to prevent fog and water from coming in. It is also featured with a special O-ring to make this scope fully waterproof.
The special features of this scope are its sharp, highly defined optics with an etched red and green reticle for consistent aiming on targets even without illumination. It also offers 3x fixed magnification power that can be adjusted on half inch increments. And with 2.5 eye relief, your brows will be safe in case of recoils.
Our Rating: (4.7 / 5)
- Fully multicoated lens for anti-glare.
- Nitrogen purged with O-ring seal for total waterproofing feature.
- Body is made of anodized finish in matted black to prevent glare.
- Prism-based design for super clear optics and for efficient light transmission.
- Featured with etched red and green illuminated reticles to ensure perfect point of aim.
- 3x fixed magnification and 2.5 inches eye relief.
- Comes with CR2032 battery.
- Field of View: 31.5/100 yards.
- Elevation and Windage Adjustment: 120 MOA
- Best for medium range shooting.
- Warranty: Lifetime warranty.
- For some users, eye relief distance is still insufficient.
5. AR15 M4 CX4 SU16 Tactical Combo Set w/ NcStar MKIII 3-9×42 Rifle Scope + NcStar Red Dot Reflex Sight
The Red Dot feature of the NcStar MKIII is said to be best feature of this scope. Because this scope is made specifically for the AR15 and M4, the use of the iron sight for short range and transitional to long range with the use of the red dot reticle can provide a great advantage. But aside from these, this scope is also featured with a green a blue illumination light so depending on the surrounding of your target, you can choose which reticle can provide you the clearest image.
With a 3-9 magnification power for long distance shooting plus an incredible 42mm objective lens and illuminated reticle, no wonder this can really fit among the best M4 scopes that shooters most likely want to have. To make it adaptable, it also has a built-in scope mounting base for picatinny rail.
Our Rating: (3.7 / 5)
- Designed for AR15s and M4 versions.
- 3-9x magnification power.
- With backup red dot sight and green and blue illumination.
- Quick release mount for picatinny rail.
- Some issued products are said to be not very well constructed or could be fake.
Frankly, among these best M4 scopes, I really like two of these: the Leupold Mark 4 and the Trijicon ACOG. The Leupold is always a reliable scope for me. Very slim, compact and has the Mil Dot reticle which is not common among other shooters’ scopes.
However, I am always impressed with the Trijicon ACOG 4X32 BAC because this has always been an all-weather, all around scope with illuminated reticle but doesn’t need batteries. I’m sure I can even hunt in the night with it. I can use it on close and long distance targeting and because it is a military-grade tactical scope, my M4 can always be my reliable home defense rifle with this ACOG.
How about you? Which among these 5 best M4 scopes could best fit your M4 carbine? Remember that we have chosen these products because they were all tested extensively in the field and gathered the most positive reviews.