7 Best Scopes for M&P 15-22 Rifle [For All Purposes]

Best-MP-15-22-Review

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So you just picked up (or thinking of picking up) a Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 and you’re thinking that the iron sights that come stock with it may not be enough for what you want to use the M&P for. You might be worried that there aren’t very many optic choices for .22’s, but you’d be surprised; there are actually quite a few.

We’re going to go through seven different scopes and optics you can use with your M&P 15-22 that will make it even better suited to how you want to use it.

Let’s Talk About The M&P 15-22

You may already be familiar with the M&P line. The 15-22’s big brother, the M&P 15, is a popular AR variant that has a great reputation for being solid & consistent but doesn’t come with a lot of bells & whistles.

The M&P 15-22 look almost identical to the M&P 15 but is, of course, chambered in .22lr rimfire instead of 5.56mm NATO. .22lr is a more affordable ammo type than 5.56 or .223 ammo.

This makes the M&P 15-22 a better option for beginner shooters, young shooters, or more affordable and comfortable plinking. The M&P 15-22 rifle comes with flip-out iron sights and a Picatinny rail which makes it compatible with a wide range of options. This begs the question…

PRODUCT

DETAILS

Products

BEST AFFORDABLE SCOPE

Leupold 3-9x40mm

Leupold 3-9x40mm

  • Diameter: 40mm
  • Magnification: 3-9x
  • Length: 12.39 in
2 MOA DOT SCOPE

Aimpoint Carbine Optic 2MOA 

Aimpoint Carbine Optic 2MOA 

  • Diameter: 30mm
  • Magnification: 1x
  • Length: 4.75 in
TURRET STYLE CAP SCOPE

Barska 3-9x32 Plinker-22

Barska 3-9x32 Plinker-22

  • Diameter: 32mm
  • Magnification: 3-9x
  • Length: 12 in
PARALLAX FREE SCOPE

Vortex Spitfire 1x-AR Prism Scope

Vortex Spitfire 1x-AR Prism Scope

  • Diameter: 25mm
  • Magnification: 1x
  • Length: 4.3 in
ARMORTEK SCOPE

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32

  • Diameter: 32mm
  • Magnification: 2-7x
  • Length: 11.3 in
MOTION SENSING SCOPE

Sig Sauer SOR52001 Romeo5

Sig Sauer SOR52001 Romeo5

  • Diameter: 20mm
  • Magnification: 1x
  • Length: 2.47 in
HIGH POWER SCOPE

Bushnell Banner 3-9x40mm

Bushnell Banner 3-9x40mm

  • Diameter: 40mm
  • Magnification: 3-9x
  • Length: 12 in

How Do You Choose The Best riflescope?

There are a few features that matter the most when you’re selecting a riflescope. Magnification is a big one, along with clarity, objective lens, and compatibility. You could even take into consideration the type of reticle, the BDC (bullet drop compensation), and the parallax.

We’ll take care of compatibility in this article by not including any optics that aren’t compatible specifically with the M&P 15-22. 

Magnification is an important consideration depending on how you are planning to use your M&P 15-22. If you want it for plinking up to 100 yards, well you’ll probably want a scope that gives you 9x magnification.

Considering the light weight and low velocity of .22 bullets, shooting further than 100 yards will introduce a lot of inconsistency, so 9x magnification is about as much as you would want to ever use.

If you’re planning on using your M&P 15-22 for home defense, though, then you might want to consider no magnification at all, which is why we will include powered dot sights in our recommendations here.

best scope for m&p 15 sport 2

Objective lens is another consideration. For those who aren’t sure what this means, the objective lens is the piece of glass at the end of the scope and the size of it refers to the diameter.

The bigger the objective lens is, the more light is let into the scope, but also the more attention you have to pay to buying big enough mounting rings, and the more it will affect the balance of your gun.

The nice thing about a .22 is that you’re not going to use it for anything long-range that would require a massive objective lens, so the largest you’ll see in our list here is 40mm.

Another important factor that’s easy to forget is whether you are buying this scope exclusively for your M&P 15-22, or whether you’ll also be using it for other guns.

It can be tempting to save money on a scope with less magnification because you simply won’t need it for your M&P 15-22, but if you end up using the same scope on a larger caliber rifle, you may regret that decision.

Quick Recap: we have both scopes and dot sights in this list, and we will discuss the best use cases & features of each one as we go through. All the products we have recommended have variations of a lifetime warranty as of the time of this writing.

1. Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x40mm

m&p 15 22 scope

This Leupold riflescope is the most high-end scope with magnification on this list, and it also boasts the most impressive specs. With a maximum of 9x range, this scope can be used on the range with your M&P 15-22, and still be a versatile scope for your other rifles.

The minimum 3x magnification means it’s not going to be the most well-adapted to close-range functions like home defense but can still work for hunting applications in wooded areas.

The Leupold is 100% waterproof, fog-proof, and shockproof, which makes it perfect for outdoor applications and use in colder weather.

The target turrets also feature ¼ MOA adjustment clicks for wind & elevation, which makes it fantastic for your long(er) range shooting.

**For those unfamiliar with MOA: MOA stands for “minutes of angle” and it is a measurement of the distance around the circumference of a circle.

At 100 yards, 1 MOA is equal to 1 inch. So when we see a scope has ¼ MOA adjustment clicks, that means you can make ¼ inch adjustments when shooting at a target 100 yards away. 

ar 22 scopes

My favorite thing about the Leupold is that it’s a fantastic scope for beginners; it has most of the functionality that you’ll find on higher-end scopes, but they’re simplified and basic.

This means that you can learn good habits and how to use the scope properly, and then when you get a more powerful rifle & scope combination, you won’t have to relearn everything.

The objective lens on this scope is 40mm, which makes it the largest in our list, multi-coated, and has a 1-inch main tube size. Along with the large objective lens, Leupold’s Twilight Light Management System is touted to provide improved light transmission and be better suited to low light conditions.

We should note that the Leupold doesn't actually ship with lens covers, so you'll want to find a solution for that.

Physically, the Leupold is just over a foot long, has an eye relief range between 3.66 and 4.17 inches, and weighs 0.63 pounds. The scope is made with an aircraft quality aluminum alloy.

Considering that your M&P 15-22 will have minimal recoil, this scope should perform well for you for a long time and is probably the overall best scope on this list. 

But hey, maybe you bought your M&P 15-22 for something a little more close-range…

Leupold 3-9x40mm

The price of Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x40mm varies, so check the latest price at

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

2. Aimpoint Carbine Optic 2MOA Red Dot Sight

m&p 15 scopes

This is the first of the two red dots on this list with 1x (or, in other words, zero) magnification. The ACO will usually cost you more than the other sights in this list , but the ACO has a phenomenal reputation and is a great piece of kit.

The stand-out feature of this optic for me is that it comes with an integrated rail mount that will go right onto the M&P 15-22 with no problem. Dot optics like this are different from scopes in a few important ways.

Obviously, there’s no magnification with an optic like this, which makes it less useful (but still usable) for medium-range shooting up to 100 yards, but the lack of magnification makes it more useful in close-quarter situations, such as home defense.

The reticle is also different; rather than having a crosshair, they simply have a dot, usually a red dot.

The Aimpoint is also waterproof up to a depth of 15 feet if you’re like me and often find yourself needing to fight off burglars but don’t really want to get out of the hot tub…

ar 22 scope

The Aimpoint uses a fairly standard button-style battery (like a watch battery) called the DL1/3N, which should be available at most stores.

Each battery should have phenomenal battery life (up to 10,000 hours) thanks to Aimpoint’s ACET technology. You’ll also find a fairly standard 2MOA dot in the center of the reticle.

Remembering back to our explanation of MOA, this means that if you’re aiming at a target 100 yards away, the dot would cover 2 inches of your target. If you’re aiming at a target 10 yards away, it would only take up .2, or ⅕ of an inch.

As far as physical dimensions go, the Aimpoint is 4.75 inches long and weighs 10.6 ounces with a black matte finish.

Because of the way these dot sights are designed, the eye relief is virtually unlimited, and the dot will always appear on top of where the bullet is going to hit once you’ve sighted it in, even if your eye isn’t perfectly lined up with the optic.

You’ll only have .5 MOA adjustments on this red dot, but for the close-range applications this product is designed for, .5 MOA will be plenty precise. The Aimpoint Carbine is an incredibly high-quality optic. 

Aimpoint Carbine Optic 2MOA

The price of Aimpoint Carbine Optic 2MOA Red Dot Sight varies, so check the latest price at

3. Barska 3-9x32 Plinker-22

m&p 15-22 scope

If these first two options are in a higher price range than you’re looking for right now…

The Barska is our best budget recommendation. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more affordable scope with as good of reviews and performance as the Barska Plinker.

You’ll find the same magnification range of 3x-9x, but an objective lens size of 32mm instead of 40. 

The click value for windage, holdover, and elevation adjustments is ¼ inch, and it is advertised as waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof. The main tube is 1” in diameter and virtually every spec on paper is similar to the Leupold.

So why wouldn’t you save the money and just get the Barska? Honestly, the Barska is a fantastic scope for the money, but the image clarity you get from the Leupold will be better than the Barska.

The Leupolds will be made with better materials, be rated to lower and higher temperatures, and will perform the way they’re supposed to more consistently under stressful conditions.

The difference is really in the name; if all you’re going to do with the scope is take your M&P 15-22 to the range and shoot a few times a year, the Barska Plinker makes the most sense. If you want something more versatile, dependable, or tough, then the Leupold will be a better fit for what you’re doing.

m&p 15-22 scopes

Another nice thing about the Barska - the scope comes with mounting rings to put it right onto your firearm without having to purchase the correct rings separately. For first-timers, this can actually be a great benefit. 

For those who are looking for high-precision performance out of the scope though, these rings would probably just get dropped right into the trash.

When you mount a scope, even the most minute differences in size and shape of your mounting rings can prevent your scope from being highly accurate, and where Barska is shipping these mounting rings for no extra charge, it is unlikely they have been held to the same exhausting manufacturing standards that more expensive rings would be.

In summary, the Barska is fantastic if you’re new to scopes, want to shoot casually and in generally fair conditions.

Barska 3-9x32 Plinker-22

The price of Barska 3-9x32 Plinker-22 varies, so check the latest price at

4. Vortex Spitfire 1x-AR Prism Scope

m&p 15 scope

If our recommendations were based purely on how cool the name of the optic was, the Vortex Spitfire would be at the top of the list.

The Vortex is similar in size and scope (no pun intended) to the Aimpoint we discussed before. It may be a bit confusing for it to be called a scope because typically we associate the word “scope” with some level of magnification.

Technically that’s true; scope means an optic with magnification and a sight is an optic without magnification, but the word scope is colloquially used to describe any mounted optic.

In the case of the Vortex, you’ll find no magnification here, which makes it great for the same types of situations that the Aimpoint is great, and in fact, these two devices are quite similar (both are red dots), but the Vortex is noticeably cheaper.

So what are the differences?

Well, the Vortex has a bit busier of a reticle, which you may actually prefer depending on how you like to shoot. Where the Aimpoint has just the center dot, which is 2 MOA wide, the Vortex has a 3 MOA dot, then a circle around it that is 44 MOA wide, and an outer circle that is 140 MOA wide:

smith and wesson m&p 15 scope

The real advantage to that set-up is with fast target acquisition; it’s easier, especially at close range (~25 yards), to just put your target in the middle of the 44 MOA circle than to use the center dot.

That said, having just a center dot without any other fluff keeps your sight picture from being junked up and obstructed. 

Your adjustment click value is .5 MOA same as the Aimpoint, and the size & weight are comparable, though the Vortex is a bit shorter and a bit heavier. The Vortex takes standard AAA batteries, and a single battery will last between 250 hours at the brightest setting and 3000 hours at the lowest setting.

The Vortex boasts more brightness levels than the Aimpoint and only needs to be turned on if you are not satisfied with the standard black reticle, which is pretty easy to see in daylight.

Overall, the Vortex is a fantastic optic as long as you have the right expectations when you purchase it.

Vortex Spitfire 1x-AR Prism Scope

The price of Vortex Spitfire 1x-AR Prism Scope varies, so check the latest price at

5. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32

smith and wesson m&p 15 22 scope

As it’s the only company to get two optics onto this list, we’ve been really impressed with Vortex.

This mid-range scope is a great option if you’re looking for a middle ground between the Barska and the Leupold; you want something that can be used reliably & safely for hunting & higher caliber rifles but will mostly be used just for target shooting with your new M&P 15-22. 

The Crossfire II is a highly-rated, well-respected scope. You’ll see that its max magnification is only 7x, but considering 100-yard shots can be made with no magnification at all, 7x will be plenty. Again, beyond 100 yards the ballistics of .22lr will stop it from being supremely accurate regardless of your magnification.

That is one of the limitations of 22 LR rimfire cartridges, and one of the reasons why the best scope for your M&P 15-22 may not be the same as the best scope for a .308 or .270. 

The Crossfire II is longer than either the Leupold or the Barska, almost 2 inches longer in fact, and that can play a role in the balance of your rifle, so that’s something to consider.

It also weighs a lot more; coming in at 1.5 pounds compared to the Leupold’s 0.63 pounds. With this extra weight comes a level of toughness and durability beyond the Barska, and about on par with the Leupold.

The Crossfire II is waterproof and fog proof and has what Vortex describes as, “long eye relief and an ultra-forgiving eye box”, which essentially means that you don’t have to have your eye in exactly the right spot to get a good sight picture. This particular feature is handy not only for beginners but also anytime you are in a hurry to make your shot. 

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32

The price of Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32 varies, so check the latest price at

6. Sig Sauer SOR52001 Romeo5

smith and wesson m&p 15 22 scopes

Even though the Romeo5 is significantly cheaper than either of the other two sights in this list, I hesitate to call it the “budget” option, because it is an absolutely phenomenal sight with great performance.

On the Romeo5 you’ll find a 2MOA red dot, and what I would consider to be the standout feature - motion activated illumination.

Sig calls this MOTAC, and it’s a highly-sensitive motion sensor that will only kick on the illumination when it feels any vibration or movement. The Romeo5 can purportedly get up to 40,000 hours of battery life thanks to MOTAC.

Experienced shooters may have already spotted a problem with this, however. MOTAC sounds great as long as it’s working correctly, but every time you add another variable, especially an electronic variable, to your set-up, that’s just one more link in the chain that could fail just when you need it the most.

Alabama Arsenal did a torture test of the Romeo5 by submerging it in water, freezing it in a solid block of ice, thawing it, throwing it up into the air and letting it land on the ground 10 times, and even blasting it with birdshot, and throughout all of it, MOTAC continued to work perfectly and the sight was even still zeroed.

I highly recommend the Romeo5, especially as a companion to the M&P 15-22.

Sig Sauer SOR52001 Romeo5

The price of Sig Sauer SOR52001 Romeo5 varies, so check the latest price at

7. Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn 3-9x40mm

smith and wesson m&p 15 scopes

No list of optics would be complete without at least one Bushnell, right? The Dusk & Dawn is only a bit more than the Barska and has the same specs as both the Barska and the Leupold.

Unlike the Vortex Crossfire II, the Bushnell is roughly the same length and close to the same weight as the Leupold, which will make it even easier to mount on your M&P 15-22. 

Honestly, it’s not the sexiest scope on the planet, but the optics are multi-coated, is 100% waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof, and has ¼ MOA adjustment clicks just like you’d expect any great scope to have. 

If you’re looking for a reason not to buy the Bushnell, the crosshairs are pretty thick:

This makes it something that you probably wouldn’t want to use for competitions or beyond 100 yards. It’s a little thing, but it makes a big difference for long-range shooting.

I would consider this the scope-of-choice if you will be using it exclusively for your 15-22 and not on any larger caliber rifles. 

Bushnell Banner 3-9x40mm

The price of Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn 3-9x40mm varies, so check the latest price at

If you are looking for some other options with same magnification, then must check out our guide on best 3-9x40mm scope. 

Conclusion

As with everything firearms-related, the best product depends on what you’re planning on doing. We’ve covered most situations with the recommendations above, but if you have questions about a specific situation, drop a comment and we’ll do our best to point you in the right direction. If you want to learn more about scopes, we’d highly recommend you check out our article on best rifle scopes & optics. Also, if you want to add night shield for your M&P then check out our guide.

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