Choose the Best M4 Scope – 9 Best M4 Optics

BEST M4 SCOPE

Wondering which optic is best suited to your M4? Sorting through the seemingly endless variety of scopes on the market may seem like an impossible task at first glance, but the good news is that choosing the right one doesn't have to be a matter of trial and error.

We've organized a list of some of the absolute best M4 scopes that money can buy, and we're going to cover everything you need to know to make an informed decision based on your specific needs.Enter your text here...

A Layman's Guide to M4 Optics

Rifle optics come in all shapes and sizes, and if this is your first time in the market for one, it can be hard to cut through the jargon and sales pitches to know what you're really looking for. Let's briefly go over the different types of M4 optics you are likely to encounter.

Dot Sight

Using simple projected LED technology bounced off of a spherical mirror, a dot sight creates an illuminated, colored dot reticle (typically red or green) that can be placed over your target for easy aiming at close range.

Because they allow for rapid target acquisition and are simple and intuitive to use even in high-pressure situations, dot sights are a popular choice for home defense.

m4 sights

However, since dot sights are battery-powered, it is critical to be aware of their battery life and diligently swap them out. While red dots are excellent at close range, their effectiveness tapers off quickly at longer distances, where the dot can easily cover up your entire target.

You may also come across smaller dot sights, such as microdots and reflex sights - while these can also often be spotted on handguns, some shooters prefer them for home defense optics or as back ups for their carbine’s primary optic.

Holographic Sights

Though they may appear similar to a dot sight at a glance, holographic sights, or holosights, use a laser transmission hologram in place of a reflected LED light to create their aiming reticle and greatly reduce the effect of parallax distortion.

In plain English, this means that a holosight can be used with both eyes open, allowing the shooter to focus on both the reticle and the target at the same time while also providing greater peripheral vision.

 For this reason, holosights are a popular choice among law enforcement, military, and anyone else who has to worry that what they're shooting at might shoot back. While many people view holographic sights as an upgrade over dot sights, it is worth keeping in mind that they are also substantially more expensive.

m4 sight

Magnified Scope

This is the image most people see in their head when they hear the word “scope”: a metal tube with a front and rear lens and adjustable knobs called turrets that allow the shooter to compensate for windage and elevation at long distances.

Magnified scopes can be further separated into two sub-categories: fixed-power scopes, which offer a single level of magnification and are typically seen in tactical scopes or scopes designed for hunting, and variable-power scopes, which are larger, more complex, and capable of different levels of magnification that allow the rifle to be used at a wider range of distances.

Now that we've got the basics out of the way, it's time to answer the most important question.

PRODUCT

DETAILS

Products

BEST FOR TARGET SHOOTING

Bushnell AR Optics 3-9x40 Reticle

1-Bushnell-AR-Optics-3-9x40-w-BDC-Reticle-Review

Bushnell AR Optics 3-9x40 Reticle

  • Diameter: 40mm
  • Magnification: 9x
  • Length: 12 in
Best For Hunting

NightForce Compact Scope 

NightForce-Compact-Scope-for-M4-Review

NightForce Compact Scope 

  • Diameter: 50mm
  • Magnification: 2.5 - 10x
  • Length: 11.9 in
BEST FOR PRECISION SHOOTING

Leupold Mark 4 MR/T 2.5-8x36mm

3-Leupold-Mark-4-MR-T 2.5-8x36mm-Review

Leupold Mark 4 MR/T 2.5-8x36mm

  • Diameter: 30mm
  • Magnification: 2.5 - 8x
  • Length: 11.3 in
BEST FOR TACTICAL SHOOTING

Vortex Optics Spitfire 3X Prism Scope

4-Vortex-Optics-Spitfire-3X-Prism-Scope-Review

Vortex Optics Spitfire 3X Prism Scope

  • Diameter: 32mm
  • Magnification: 3x
  • Length: 5.5 in
BEST FOR BUDGET SCOPE

Primary Arms SLx 2.5x Compact Prism Scope

5-Primary-Arms-SLx-2.5x-Compact-Prism-Scope-Review

Primary Arms SLx 2.5x Compact Prism Scope

  • Diameter: 32mm
  • Magnification: 2.5x
  • Length: 4.8 in
BEST CLOSE RANGE SCOPE

Vortex Optics StrikeFire 2 Red/Green Dot Sight

6-Vortex-Optics-StrikeFire-2-RedGreen-Do-Sight-Review

Vortex Optics StrikeFire 2 Red/Green Dot Sight

  • Diameter: 30mm
  • Magnification: 1x
  • Length: 5.6 in
BEST FOR HOME DEFENCE

Aimpoint PRO Patrol Rifle Optic

7-Aimpoint-PRO-Patrol-Rifle-Optic-Review

Aimpoint PRO Patrol Rifle Optic

  • Diameter: 38mm
  • Magnification: 1x
  • Length: 5.1 in
BEST FOR 3-GUN/MULTIGUN

Vortex Optics Razor HD Gen II-E 1-6x24

8-Vortex-Optics-Razor-HD-Gen-II-E-1-6x24-Review

Vortex Optics Razor HD Gen II-E 1-6x24

  • Diameter: 24mm
  • Magnification: 1 - 6x
  • Length: 10.1 in
BEST FOR MULTIPURPOSE

Trijicon ACOG 4x32

Trijicon-ACOG-4x32-USMC-0-RCO-Riflescop

Trijicon ACOG 4x32

  • Diameter: 32mm
  • Magnification: 4x
  • Length: 5.8 in

The Big Question: What Are Your Needs?

Let's cut right to the chase: there is no single “best” M4 optic. The M4 carbine is one of the most versatile and modular shooting platforms in the world, and your ideal optic is going to depend on several factors, including your budget, your purpose, and what distances you plan on shooting at.

 Someone looking for a reliable, no-frills home defense option is going to need a very different scope than someone who is building their M4 to hit stationary targets 600 yards away for fun, and no scope, no matter how fancy, will excel at everything.

best m4 scope

In most cases, the biggest determining factors are going to be cost and magnification level—while some of the scopes below are particularly suited to certain tasks, many of them are flexible enough to be used in multiple roles.

And if it isn't a matter of life or death, most shooters are willing to sacrifice a bit of durability or battery life in exchange for a more affordable scope that otherwise performs just as well as a significantly more expensive model.

Similarly, if you only plan on shooting at indoor ranges, you should probably avoid slapping a 10x power rifle scope on your M4, while a red dot sight with a low fixed magnification just won't cut it for a safe and humane hunting rifle.

1. Bushnell AR Optics 3-9x40 w/ BDC Reticle

best m4 optics

Bushnell's AR Optics riflescope is an ideal scope for anyone who is looking to push their M4's long-range capabilities to their limit.

As the name implies, this high-quality optic comes equipped with bullet drop compensation markings that allow for precision shooting out to 600 yards—and because it is a second focal plane optic, those BDC markings won't obscure your sight picture if you're shooting at more moderate distances.

The scope boasts waterproof, fog proof, shockproof, and nitrogen purged single-piece main tube, protecting it against the elements.

And since it is designed specifically for the .223 ballistic profile, this scope is more than capable of weathering the M4's recoil while maintaining a rock-solid zero. The exposed turrets are smooth and very tactile, letting you make fine-tune adjustments to elevation and windage in a matter of seconds.

The adjustable throw down PCR level allows for rapid magnification changes with the flick of a wrist, and combined with the side focus parallax turret, you won't have to worry about missing the closer shots either.

The glass itself is incredibly clear and has excellent light transmission even in dark conditions, ensuring that you'll always have a crisp, high-contrast image, while the crosshair is sharp enough to achieve pinpoint accuracy, but not so thin that it becomes hard to see.

If you are looking for a high-quality scope that will give you everything you need to ring the gong at long distances, look no further than the Bushnell AR Optics 3-9x40.

best m4 optics

Bushnell AR Optics 3-9x40 Reticle

The price of Bushnell AR Optics 3-9x40 w/ BDC Reticle varies, so check the latest price at

2. NightForce Compact Scope for M4

best scopes for m4

The NightForce Compact Scope is a lightweight, streamlined, high-performance scope that would be perfectly at home on any M4 rifle meant for hunting or precision mid-range shooting.

 Thanks to a relatively slim objective lens, the NightForce Compact Scope can be mounted low on the rail without sacrificing brightness in dim or dark light, and at under a pound you won't be feeling the weight even after a long day of hunting.

The included power throw lever allows you to adjust magnification instantly, and its adjustable parallax—from 25 yards to infinity—is a rarity among 10x power riflescopes.

The roomy field of view and fantastic IHR reticle make for fast target acquisition at every level of magnification, and the optical quality of this scope is head and shoulders above many other medium range scopes at this price point.

If you are building your M4 rifle with hunting in mind, the NightForce Compact Scope should be at the top of your list.

NightForce Compact Scope

The price of NightForce Compact Scope varies, so check the latest price at

3. Leupold Mark 4 MR/T 2.5-8x36mm

m4 scope

Leupold riflescopes are renowned for the industry-leading quality and clarity of their glass, and the Mark 4 MR/T is no exception.

With excellent multi-coated lenses and Leupold's patented Xtended Twilight Lens system, this optic offers a crystal-clear sight picture, high-visibility crosshair, forgiving eye relief, and excellent light transmission for increased brightness, contrast, and detail in low light conditions.

Machined from aircraft-grade aluminum and backed by a lifetime warranty, the Mark 4 MR/T's 30mm main tube has been rigorously torture tested to ensure dependable performance under conditions much harsher than the average shooter is ever likely to encounter.

 Impressively, this scope weighs in at just under a pound, which means that durability doesn't come at the cost of a heavy, imbalanced optic.

The Mark 4 MR/T holds a rock-steady zero, and the 3:1 zoom ratio, fast focus eyepiece, and ion-assist lens coating make this scope a reliable and versatile option for mid-ranged shooting. But don't just take our word for it—the United States Marine Corps chose the Leupold Mark 4

MR/T for use on its M38 Designated Marksman Rifle in 2018, and prior to that the scope could be found fielded on the MK12 Special Purpose Rifle.

m4 scope

Leupold Mark 4 MR/T 2.5-8x36mm

The price of Leupold Mark 4 MR/T 2.5-8x36mm varies, so check the latest price at

Want to know more about leupold scopes? here is our complete guide.

4. Vortex Optics Spitfire 3X Prism Scope

m4 with scope

We've looked at the Vortex Spitfire's extreme durability and impressive flexibility in our list of Top AR15 Scopes, and we still stand by our assessment.

 The Vortex Optics Spitfire 3x is optimized for the M4 carbine, eliminating much of the guesswork and fiddly sighting adjustments that a more general-use optic often requires.

As well, the fixed three-power magnification and etched Enhanced Battle Reticle eliminate the risk of drift or loss of illumination that come with a more traditional red dot design, ensuring rapid target acquisition and accurate shooting out to 500 yards.

One of the major benefits of using a best prism scope is getting great optical performance out of a much lighter and more compact form factor, and the Spitfire 3x certainly delivers on that end.

At only 15.4 ounces, the Spitfire is well-balanced and highly maneuverable, making it an excellent choice for shooters who value speed and control.

Thanks to its single-piece aluminum chassis, the Spitfire 3x's light weight doesn't come at the expense of durability. A sturdy anodized matte finish, o-ring seal, and multi-coated shockproof and fog proof lens make it more than capable of dealing with any punishment you throw at it.

m4 with scopes

Vortex Optics Spitfire 3X Prism Scope

The price of Vortex Optics Spitfire 3X Prism Scope varies, so check the latest price at

If you want to know more about that products and its alternative, then check out our detailed Vortex optics Spitfire 3x review.

5. Primary Arms SLx 2.5x Compact Prism Scope

m4 carbine scope

For the more budget-conscious shooter, the Primary Arms Slx Compact Prism Scope is an ideal jack-of-all-trades optic that plays to the M4 carbine’s strengths without sacrificing quality or reliability.

The larger “horseshoe” reticle allows for extremely fast target acquisition and both-eyes-open shooting at close ranges, while the smaller reticle and intuitive bullet drop compensation markings allow for accurate fire out to 600 yards.

The Primary Arms Compact Prism Scope offers excellent clarity, a handy diopter to quickly and easily adjust focus when shooting at variable distances, and a high visibility glass-etched reticle that can be used even if the battery-powered illumination fails.

And of course it is also worth mentioning the impressively compact, lightweight, and durable build quality.

While more specialized scopes may outperform the Primary Arms Compact Prism Scope in their specific niches, this scope is a great choice for shooters who want a single optic that performs adequately at all ranges.

m4 carbine scopes

Primary Arms SLx 2.5x Scope

The price of Primary Arms SLx 2.5x Compact Prism Scope varies, so check the latest price at

6. Vortex Optics StrikeFire 2 Red/Green Dot Sight

best optics for m4

The StrikeFire 2's 4 MOA mil-dot and unlimited eye relief make it an ideal choice for home defense or other CQB shooting applications that demand split-second target acquisition and shooting under pressure.

In fact, the StrikeFire 2 is designed to be used with both eyes open so that peripheral vision is not impacted and the sight picture is not thrown off by improper eye placement or cheek weld.

The varying brightness settings combined with a choice of red or green illuminated reticle make it easy to adjust the dot sight to suit your shooting conditions, and while this scope may not be as feature-rich as some of its competitors, that same simplicity is what makes it so well-suited to its role.

The included cantilever mount is also a nice touch, allowing for a lower 1/3rd co-witness and providing ample room for both backup iron sights and a magnifier on a single picatinny rail.

If you're looking for a reliable, no-frills close quarters tactical scope that won't break the bank, the StrikeFire 2 is hard to beat.

best optic for m4

Vortex Optics StrikeFire 2

The price of Vortex Optics StrikeFire 2 Red/Green Dot Sight varies, so check the latest price at

7. Aimpoint PRO Patrol Rifle Optic

m4 optics

Aimpoint's PRO Patrol Rifle Optic boasts all of the typical benefits you'd expect of a quality red dot sight—unlimited eye relief, parallax free, multi-coated anti-reflective lens, and a lack of distortion—along with a few other handy features and an impressively rugged build quality that make it an attractive option for anyone who prioritizes functionality and reliability at close quarters.

The Aimpoint PRO Patrol Rifle Optic is an “always-on” red dot sight, and before you start worrying, the battery life has been tested at a staggering 3.4 years. The red dot itself is small, crisp, and capable of 2 MOA, but bright enough to avoid losing it even on a hot summer day.

The scope includes two unique features that are worth mentioning. First, the auto-torque mounting knob allows you to quickly and easily detach the optic even under emergency conditions without the need for tools and without the risk of damaging your picatinny rail.

Second, the scope's rear lens cover is clear, which, thanks to the always-on design, allows the optic to be used even with the covers on.

Are you likely to need to use this feature? Probably not, but it speaks to the fact that Aimpoint designed the scope with real-world applications in mind, and in an emergency home defense situation where the user might be disoriented and so full of adrenaline that they forget about their lens caps, such a small but thoughtful detail could make all the difference.

m4 optics

Aimpoint PRO Patrol Rifle Optic

The price of Aimpoint PRO Patrol Rifle Optic varies, so check the latest price at

8. Vortex Optics Razor HD Gen II-E 1-6x24

m4 carbine scopes

We've already featured the Vortex Razor HD's higher-powered cousin in our rundown of the 16 Best Long Range Rifle Scopes, and the 1-6x24 version is just as impressive.

The Vortex Razor HD Gen II-E is a favorite optic among many top-tier 3-gun competitors, and it's easy to see why: with an incredibly forgiving eyebox and eye relief, the Razor boasts near-perfect edge-to-edge sharpness and field of view at all levels of magnification, and the scope's clarity rivals that of optics that cost thousands of dollars more.

The Razor's illuminated reticle is highly visible even in bright sunlight, and at 1x power is the perfect size to ensure rapid target acquisition in close quarters.

The scope is also quite easy to adjust on the fly—especially with the addition of a throw lever—allowing the shooter to seamlessly move between rapid close range shooting and precision shooting at longer ranges, making it one of the most versatile options available for the M4 carbine.

Thankfully, the Razor is also built like a tank, and while it weighs a bit more than many of its competitors, it makes up for it by holding a perfect zero no matter how much abuse it is subjected to.

While this level of performance does come with a hefty price tag, the Vortex Razor HD Gen II-E is the first and last scope you'll ever need for any short to medium-range applications.

m4 carbine scope

Vortex Optics Razor HD Gen II-E 1-6x24

The price of Vortex Optics Razor HD Gen II-E 1-6x24 varies, so check the latest price at

9. Trijicon ACOG 4x32

m4 scopes

No rundown of the best M4 scopes would be complete without the venerable Trijicon ACOG, and we've already put it through its paces in our ACOG vs. EOTech showdown.

Designed specifically for the M4 platform and beating out all contenders to become the US Military's optic of choice, the ACOG has long served as the gold standard for M4 scopes.

The crystal-clear fixed 4x magnification sight picture combined with a precise and highly visible chevron reticle allow for rapid, precise fire at close and mid range, and because the illumination is achieved through a fiber optic / tritium blend, there is no risk of the ACOG ever running out of batteries.

Though other manufacturers have followed suit, the ACOG’s instantly recognizable reticle is also what allowed Trijicon to pioneer the Bindon Aiming Concept, where both eyes are kept open while aiming in order to track a moving target while maintaining peripheral vision.

Not only that, the Trijicon ACOG is also virtually indestructible, holding up to some of the harshest conditions in the world and surviving extensive torture testing.

And if you somehow do manage to damage your scope, Trijicon's lifetime warranty covers repair or replacement in full.

The ACOG's price tag may cause some shooters to balk, but the scope's legendarily high quality, performance, and durability make it worth every penny to those who are truly looking for the best of the best for their M4.

Trijicon ACOG 4x32

The price of Trijicon ACOG 4x32 varies, so check the latest price at

Parting Shots

Sifting through the sea of cheap knock-offs, low quality glass, and overpriced gimmicks to find the perfect scope for your M4 may feel like searching for a needle in a haystack,

But once you've narrowed down your budget, what you plan to use your rifle for, and what kind of distances you expect to be shooting at, it becomes much easier to pick the optic that is best suited to your specific needs.

Whether it's defending your family, putting meat on the table, or getting involved in the world of competitive shooting, you've got all the information you need to pick the perfect scope for your rifle.

Do you have experience with any of the scopes on this list? Did we leave off one of your favorites? Sound off in the comments below, and be sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to Rifle Slings if you're looking to complement your new scope!

If you are looking for a best special purpose rifle scopes, then check out our guide.

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