If you have your hands on a (legal) M4 carbine rifle, it’s safe to assume you want to invest in some equally high quality and effective accessories for this fun tactical weapon. There are a lot of options for an M4 scope, especially online, so we’ve sifted through the best of the best for you.
We’ve put together this review of the best M4 Carbine Scopes available, and we’ll let you know what we think is the best purchase for the average gunowner to make. When it comes to M4s, there’s no fooling around, so a lot of scopes you’ll find come with quite a hefty price tag. Does that mean the most expensive scope will be the best one for you? Absolutely not. Our review includes some high end scopes as well as some more cost friendly buys that you can get your hands on for under $1000.
Materials – The Vortex Spitfire Tactical M4 Scopes are a single piece constructions covered in a highly durable anodized finish in matte black for anti glare protection. All glass surfaces are also fully multicoated for anti glare and have nitrogen gas purging for fog and water proof capabilities. The special O-ring locks out any additional moisture and debris. The prism-based design delivers sharp optics, and the reticle is etched in to keep a consistent point of aim. It’s also capable of targeting without illumination, however, there are also red a green illuminated reticle options. The magnification is a fixed 3x, and adjustments can be made in half inch increments. The eye relief is a little over two and a half inches.
Performance – The Vortex Spitfire is a fantastic tactical scope that is incredibly durable, secure and is top of the line, thanks to the prism design. An etched in reticle ensures it won’t ever fade out on your or lose focus. The light transmission is really very wonderful with this scope, and there’s no glare to worry about. This scope is incredibly compact, despite the shorter eye relief, which we do wish there was a little more of. This Vortex Spitfire Scope also comes with all of the tools needed, including a CR2032 battery, so you can install this baby and get moving right away.
What we say – The Vortex Spitfire is the lowest costing scope within this review, coming in at around $350. We are starting a little higher than usual with our price ranges, but these are some high quality scopes. The Vortex is a well functioning accessory that is a worthy investment.
- Lowest cost
- Prism based design for light transmission
- Etched in reticle
- Less than three inches of eye relief
- The Spitfire 3x Prism Scope excels in close to medium range shooting applications where fast target acquisition and speed is of the essence. The prism based design allows for a compact optical system without sacrificing optical quality.
- Fully multi-coated lenses with anti-reflective coatings offer bright views even in low light conditions. A selectable red/green illuminated reticle features five intensity levels to match the situational conditions.
- The reticle is etched directly on the prism ensuring shooters have an effective point of aim at all times regardless of illumination. A fast focus eyepiece adjusts the reticle into sharp focus.
Materials – The Steiner 5.56 Scope for M4 is another prism based design house in a durable construction with a matte black anodized finish for anti glare. The 36mm objective lens is multicoated and delivers a sharp and highly contrasting image. It is, of course, shock, fog, and water proof, and it can even be submerged in up to ten meters of water. This scope offers a fixed 5x magnification power, which reaches out up to 700 meters. The ballistic reticle is illuminated, and it has ten different brightness levels, which allows this Steiner M4 Scope to be used during any time of day or night. It was windage and elevation adjustment knobs, and it comes with a Quick Detach mount that adapts to any Picatinny rail.
Performance – The Steiner M4 Carbine Scopes are another great 5.56 prism based scope, that offer similar features to the Vortex option, but are a bit of a step up, if you can afford to invest higher. This one is a 5x magnification, which we think most would prefer over a 3x for the M4 carbine. This one also boasts that it can be submerged under water. You may not be going for a swim with your weapon, but this is a handy feature to have with your scope. We also really love the ten levels of brightness, which ensures you won’t have any issues during a late night or early morning with the sun in your face. Again, don’t expect a lot of eye relief, but there are a lot more pros outweighing the cons here.
What we say – The Steiner M4 Carbine Scopes will run you for anywhere between $600 and $650. This is one of the best 5.56 optics you can buy for this price range before we cross over the $1000 mark. Don’t think that means you’re taking the cheap way out; this is a great scope to own.
- Fixed 5x power
- Can be under 10 meters of water
- 10 levels of brightness
- Minimal eye relief
- 5X Magnification for targeting out to 700 meters.
- Multi-coated Objective Lens and Bak4 prism construction for sharp, high-contrast image.
- Illuminated ballistic Lens with 10 brightness settings for day/night operation.
Materials – The Trijicon ACOG M4 Optics is a high grade scope housed in forged T6 aluminum in a matte black anodized finish. It’s less than six inches long, and it only weighs about ten ounces. Talk about compact! Depending on where you purchase this scope from, you can also choose from a variety of reticles including the Green Donut .223 Ballistic, Red Chevron, Red Crosshair, Green Chevron, and both a Green or Red Horseshoe and Dot reticle. The reticle is illuminated by both fiber optics and tritium, so this is another scope that can be used at any time of day. The 32mm objective lens is shock, water, and fog proof, and the whole scope is adjustable for windage and elevation. This is a fixed 4x magnification.
Performance – The Trijicon ACOG M4 Carbine Optics is an incredibly durable and well oiled machine that will ensure nobody is getting past you. We love how lightweight and compact this scope is, and we also love the variety of reticles that you can choose from. While we have complained in the past about the types of fixed reticles that comes with certain scopes, we really can’t do that with the Trijicon ACOG. Even the standard features of this scope are impressive because of the Trijicon name, which we have a lot of trust in, and you should too. It’s really hard to find anything to complain about this scope, unless you were to receive a defective product. It does come with a hefty price tag, but it’s definitely worth saving your money for! In case you can’t justify spending that much money on a scope, have a look at ACOG clones.
What we say – The Trijicon ACOG M4 Carbine Optics will cost you between $1000 to $1300. $300 is a big difference, so we definitely suggest doing a little shopping around before click “buy” online. This is especially important if you’re seeking out a particular reticle.
- Can choose from multiple reticles
- Illuminated by fiber optics and tritium
- Very lightweight
- Costs up to $1300
- BATTERY-FREE ILLUMINATION: Features a tritium/fiber optic illuminated reticle that automatically adjusts the brightness based on available light
- RUGGED ALUMINUM-ALLOY HOUSING: Forged 7075-T6 aircraft-aluminum-alloy housing provides for a nearly indestructible sighting system
- "BOTH EYES OPEN" DESIGN: The ACOG can be used as a CQB sight when shooting "both eyes open," utilizing the Bindon Aiming Concept
Materials – The NightForce Compact M4 Optics are a different style of compact scope for those looking for a lower profile and perhaps slightly more eye relief. This is made of a single tube construction which is finished in an anodized matte black. The objective lens is a whopping 42mm, and is shock, water, and fog proof, as always. The night vision compatible settings are made of an illuminated reticle with multiple brightness levels and the choice between red or green. This scope is also a little different because it offers a 2.5x to 10x magnification range. The magnification can transition within a fraction of a second for lightning fast target acquisition. The adjustments knobs click in ¼ inch values. The NightForce Compact M4 Optics also offer three and a half inches of eye relief, which is a little more than the other scopes were offering.
Performance – We realize that fixed magnifications may make our readers feel a little limited with their options, so we included the NightForce Compact which we think offers similar capabilities as the prism based scopes with a little more flexibility. This range of magnification and larger objective lens allow for more accurate shooting. We’re most impressed with how quickly and fluidly the magnification powers transition, making this a high end scope that operates very smoothly. It offers a low profile that is discrete and can be impossible to detect during night or very low lighting. This is another scope that we’re having a lot of difficulty finding anything to complain about, but it is another investment with a high price tag attached to it.
What we say – The NightForce Compact M4 Optics between $1900 and $2000. If you have the money, you should definitely look into this. This is the best M4 carbine scope for anyone who doesn’t want to be limited by a fixed power or rely on a prism design for illumination. You’ll find more versatility and freedom with a scope like this one.
- 2.5x to 10x magnification
- Low profile and discrete look
- Over 3 inches of eye relief
- $2000 price tag
Our Favorite M4 Carbine Scope
Our top pick will have to go to the Steiner M536 Prism Sight as the best choice for your M4 carbine optic. If you have over $1000 to spend on an accessory like this, then we want you to first look into the Trijicon ACOG. However, considering that the general public probably doesn’t have that kind of cash for a scope, we think the Steiner optic offers a nearly equal level of quality and functioning for around half the cost. This scope should be able to withstand a lot, including some nasty weather conditions. If it gets wet for any reason, you’ll feel safe. Plus, a fixed 5x magnification power is a good level to be at if you don’t have the option to switch between magnifications. We also love the ten levels of brightness this piece offers. We can absolutely stand behind the Steiner optic for your M4 Carbine.
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