The M4 carbine rifle is a solid, reliable, and versatile weapon. It’s capable of not only replacing its larger less effective predecessor, the militarized AR-15 or “M16”, it has also made its way into the hands of collectors, enthusiasts, home-defenders, and even hunters. The M4 is designed to be extremely customized, accurate, and powerful. This means that when it comes time to put a scope on an M4, you want to find something just as rugged, just as durable, just as versatile, and just as reliable as the M4 itself. This alone can make choosing the best M4 scope a bit challenging, because you want the best of the best for your rifle and we do not blame you.
That is why we have created a list of the top M4 scopes.
5 Best M4 Scopes
M4 Carbine Scopes
Those on a budget. Under $100
Best value for the money spent
Best for under $500
Long range tactical shooting
#1 Pick. Best M4 optic hands down
Before getting to the nitty-gritty details of each scope and attempting to discern which is the best choice for your specific needs, let us consider some important factors. First, if you are going to research scopes for your M4 you’re going to want to know a few key details to look for.
What to Look for in a M4 Scope:
- Lightweight (for easier handling)
- Picatinny Rail compatible
- Illuminated reticle (highly recommended for the M4’s typical uses)
Because the M4 is a carbine rifle (compact and shorter than full length rifles while typically shooting the same caliber), you will want a short compact scope with good eye relief.
Here are some more things to think about before making your M4 scope purchase:
What is the primary use of your M4?
If you have your rifle for home-defense, you’re going to want to chose a scope that is best suited for close range and one that has effective measures to counter darkness. Likewise, if you plan on using your M4 for hunting, then the scope you choose will depend on many other factors such as season, game, typical lighting conditions, environment (understanding average distance of shots taken), and of course many other similar aspects will need to be considered.
What is your scope budget?
This is important not only for your wallet and so your significant other doesn’t freak out, but also because scopes are meant to be used for what they are. All though it might look really cool to have a scope mounted on your rifle that cost thousands, it may not be the best choice in the long run. Additionally you want your scope to be utilized, and too often have I seen people mount expensive scopes designed for combat only to ever shoot them once or twice a year at the range. I would consider that a waste, but to each their own I suppose.
What do you want to get out of your scope?
Scopes today have many features to choose from, and if you are a meticulous person or just someone who is particular about their rifles, you’ll have to consider things such as material, scope type, reticle variation, magnification, eye-relief, or even such details as the scope rings themselves.
Now that you have some questions and features in your mind to consider, let’s dive into our reviews of the top 5 M4 scopes.
In no particular order, we begin with the NcStar Rifle Scope Combo.
NcStar MKIII 3-9×42 Rifle Scope Combo
Designed to fit on a picatinny rail, the NcStar MKIII Combo Scope is a great choice for the money. Usually found for under 100 dollars, this is the best M4 scope for the money. You won’t find other scopes under one hundred dollars that deliver as much performance or offer as much as this scope does.
A word of caution when buying a cheaper priced scope: You get what you pay for. This scope is by no means top of the line, but if you’re not shooting daily, or even weekly, this could be a great choice for you. It is best suited for home defense, small game hunting, and general target shooting. It has great target acquisition, medium or “OK” eye relief, decent zoom, and a large objective lens to gather more light for darker scenarios.
The NcStar features a 3-9X42 zoom ratio, easy reticle adjustment knobs, and of course the option to look through the additional red dot sight mounted on top. It also features green and blue reticle illumination. All in all, if you’re looking for something affordable, that looks great, and you don’t shoot daily, this is a great option.
Nikon P-223 3×32 Matte BDC Carbine
The P-223 carbine scope from Nikon is a wonderful long range scope that comes in a compact package. This scope has been specifically designed to cater to all the demands of an AR while providing great distance target acquisition. This is perfect for more compact rifles such as the M4 because it offers great eye relief, a decent fixed variable zoom which is perfect for quick handling, and a large objective lens which is ideal for low light situations.
Nikon’s P-223 is the definition of keeping it simple without sacrificing quality. It features a lightweight design for greater mobility, a BDC Carbine Reticle (designed for the .223 trajectory) with reticle marks at 200, 400 and 600 yards, and easy turn zero-reset turrets allowing for quicker adjustments that will stay in place. It also is nitrogen filled and o-ring sealed, so it’s fog proof as well as waterproof.
This is the perfect scope for predator hunting and supreme target shooting. It is the best M4 scope for the money, and overall this is a well built scope that will give you a long life. It will prove to be all you need for your M4.
Vortex Optics SPR-1303 Spitfire 3x Prism Scope [LINK]
If you want the next level in M4 scopes then look no further than Spitfire Prism Scope from Vortex Optics . This has been built with the prism design so you can have a more compact scope without sacrificing any quality, clarity of shot, or the speed of acquiring your target. This has been designed for use on all AR’s but is specifically incredible for the light and compact M4. It is easily one of the top M4 scopes around.
It features a fixed zoom of 3X with a prism etched EBR ( Enhanced Battle Reticle ) -556B reticle for the most consistent point-of-aim. The reticle can be switched between red or green, and has five levels of illumination so you can pick the best for your current light conditions. It has a decent eye relief of almost 3 inches and a field of view of 31 and a half feet/100 yards.
This a great M4 rifle scope, and it is rated accurate from 0-500 yards. This is a perfect choice for small game hunting, predator hunting, target shooting, and home defense.
Leupold Mark 4 MR/T
If you want the best scope for M4 carbine rifles, and are looking for something that has superb range, the Mark 4 MR/T from Leupold is what you need. Like all Leupold scopes, this one is top of the line and built to last. It has an illuminated Mil-Dot reticle, and overall was designed for the U.S military. It has a longer 30mm tube so there is more room for elevation and wind adjustments , and features a 2.5-8 zoom variation with a decent 36mm objective lens for superb light gathering. Everything from its strong and lightweight design, to its easy adjustment knobs make this an incredible M4 scope.
Other key features include a quick focus eyepiece with eye relief that has been designed for AR’s. It is of course waterproof and fog proof, and has a compact design without sacrificing any level of performance or power. This makes for the perfect M4 rifle scope. All in all, this is a fantastic tactical scope, perfect for hunting or target shooting, and is wonderfully backed by Leupold’s lifetime guarantee.
Trijicon ACOG 4 X 32 Scope
The ACOG (Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight) from Trijicon is undoubtedly the best scope for M4 carbine rifles. That is if you do not intend on hunting with it, although I bet small game and some predator hunting may be fun to take down with this advanced combat scope. It has been designed to all the specifications required by the U.S military, and it undoubtedly delivers. It has unmatched target acquisition with its combat optic dual-illuminated red reticle. The ACOG has superb accuracy even from greater distances because of the bullet drop compensator, and has been ranged at almost 800 yards accurate in perfect conditions.
Some of the great features:
Incorporating fiber-optic technology and dual open eye technology, this is the perfect scope specifically designed for the M4 carbine. If you want the best tournament ready combat target course scope, this will blow all others out of the water. Aside from being made specifically for the M4, everything about this screams perfection, accuracy, and combat effectiveness.
This scope self illuminates without any manual adjustment and the aiming points will light up even without the use of batteries. The bulb is ranked to have a 15 year lifespan and that can be coupled with Trijicon’s lifetime warranty to make for a very appealing purchase. Other notable features include state of the art lenses that are distortion free and reflective free, very large eye relief, and it is made from military grade aluminum alloy for maximum durability and mobility.
This combat and performance scope is about as good as you can get. It is fogproof and completely waterproof up to 100 feet in depth. The reticle is a “Chevron with Target Reference System” and has been made to be completely battery independant.
If you want the top of the line, the best of the best, the most accurate, reliable, tough, and technologically advanced, this is by far the best choice. Whether you’re in the military, a combat competition target shooter, or just looking to impress everyone around, you cannot go wrong with the Trijicon ACOG scope.
When looking to scope out an M4 carbine rifle remember the key things to look for. Most importantly the scope should be lightweight, compact, and picatinny rail ready. You will also need it to be rugged, durable and versatile. Thanks for reading, and hopefully this guide has helped you find the best M4 scope for you on this list.