Best Scopes for M4: Top 5 Optics in 2024

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As a seasoned shooter, I’ve seen the M4 carbine, which emerged from the highly popular M16A2 assault rifle, evolve into an indispensable asset in the United States Army.

Now, a true M4 carbine features a 14.5-inch barrel, which makes it illegal to own for most folks, but there are versions with an additional 1.5 inches. And it’s this extra bit of barrel length that transforms the M4, a formidable military weapon, into a beloved sporting rifle that’s genuinely “tactical.”

If you’re the proud owner of a ‘legal’ M4 like me, I bet you’re constantly looking for ways to enhance its performance. In my experience, there’s no better way to do this than investing in high-quality optics! That’s why I’ve decided to share a guide reviewing some of the best scopes for the M4, saving you the trouble of having to search endlessly for the right one.

My Top Pick – Burris Scout 2-7×32

Based on my assessment, the Burris Scout 2-7x32mm is the best M4 scope without a doubt. With its excellent glass clarity and forgiving eye relief you cannot wrong with mounting it on your M4. The multi-coated lenses provided me with exceptional light transmission for bright, clear images even in low light conditions.  You can read my full reasons why this is my top choice below along with 4 other suggestions.

My Top 5 Best M4 Scopes

I believe these are the 5 top choices for the M4.

1. Burris Scout Scope 2-7x32mm – Best Overall

Burris Ballistic Plex Hunting Riflescope, 2.75X-20mm , Black

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As I looked for the best M4 Scopes, this Burris Scout Scope caught my eye thanks to its excellent construction and several key features.

My Feelings After Using The Burris Scout 2-7×32

The Burris Scout Scope is an excellent optic through and through in part because of its exceptional durability. I found this M4 scope is compact and lightweight, but it’s also fog, water, and totally shockproof. After I did rigorous testing in various weather conditions from sunny days to heavy rain, I can confirm the scope maintained its waterproof integrity with no fogging or water penetration issues. As a result, I was able to use it in any hunting environment without worrying about integrating over time or it affecting my accuracy.

The glass clarity is very good for a scope in this price range, and it provided a bright and crisp sight picture even in low light conditions towards dusk. The ballistic plex reticle performs well for range estimation and holdovers out to 400-500 yards. I tested the parallax and found it was accurate down to 50 yards, adequate for most medium range shooting applications.

In addition, the Burris Scout Scope comes with a forward mounting design in front of the ejection port. This is a great element for pairing it with my M4 rifle. It boosts my target acquisition and it enables me to practice “both eyes open” shooting. The generous 9.2-12 inch eye relief facilitates shooting with both my eyes open while eliminating scope bite, even with heavy caliber rifles. If I plan to use my M4 for target shooting or competitions, this is an invaluable benefit if I have to move around the target shooting field.

The elevation and windage turrets provide accurate and repeatable adjustments in 1/4 MOA increments. The turrets produce an audible click when I turn them, and the markings are easy to see. I found the eye box to be about 3 inches wide at 2x magnification, providing a good sight window for acquiring targets quickly.

The lenses are multicoated, of course, which is an industry-standard for stellar scopes. But this optic also comes with a ballistic plex reticle. It’s simple, effective, and versatile, without a lot of excessive holdover points or other elements that can crowd my sight picture. After several range sessions, the scope has held zero reliably even when I mount and unmount it between uses. The matte black finish has proven durable, resisting scratches even when I bumped it against surfaces. In my opinion, this makes it a fantastic reticle for me hunting smaller targets or for target shooting at significant distances. The windage and elevation turrets are marked, audible, and tactile. Plus, they are easy for me to adjust with my fingers.

Product Highlights

Above all else, I was impressed by the Burris Scout Scope’s eye relief, which is extremely generous. It measures in at anywhere between 9.2 inches and 12 inches depending on my magnification settings. No matter how I use my M4 rifle, or which magnification setting I set this scope to, I won’t have to worry about my M4 weapon platform bumping into my orbital bone or causing other ocular damage.

When I consider the fact that recoil can be pretty powerful with an M4, it’s clear that this is an invaluable benefit. The ergonomics and user interface are well designed, with magnification and windage/elevation adjustments easily reachable while I maintain cheek weld and sight picture. It’s also a big reason why I would recommend this scope for M4 enthusiasts.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

This scope can be a bit expensive, although usually only if you purchase it with included Weaver or XTR signature mounting rings. It’s an overall minor downside, particularly since you can just purchase the scope if you want to save a bit of money. I did not face any major practical challenges while testing this scope. It performed reliably in all aspects from optical clarity to adjustments and durability. Aside from that, there are no major downsides, which is why it has the top spot on this list!

Key Features

  • 2-7x magnification
  • 32mm objective lens
  • SFP scope


  • Excellent design and durability
  • Versatile and simplistic reticle
  • Phenomenal eye relief
  • Good lenses
  • Stellar windage and elevation turrets


  • Can be a little expensive if you purchase accessories

The Bottom Line

All in all, I’d easily recommend the Burris Scout Scope as the best M4 scope overall. It is ideal for hunters, target shooters, and everyone in between.

My rating: 5/5

The Burris is also my top choice for the M1A.

2. Leapers UTG 3-12x44mm Compact Rifle Scope

UTG 3-12X44 30mm Compact Scope, AO, 36-color Mil-dot, Rings , Black
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UTG’s 3-12×44 40mm Compact Scope is another excellent M4 optic, and not just because it’s one of the most affordable on the market.

My Feelings After Using The UTG 3-12×44

The UTG Compact Scope has a lot to like, starting with some of the best-in-class multi-emerald coated lenses I’ve ever seen. These coated lenses don’t just boost light transmission and color contrast to the max; they also protect the lenses from wear and tear and dirt scratches. Upon personally testing the scope, the lenses provided exceptionally clear and sharp views at all magnifications with minimal distortion. The emerald coating helped maintain vivid color rendition and brightness even in low light environments. As a result, it’s a phenomenal scope for long-term results and hunting performance.

However, this scope is also bolstered by overall durability, facilitated by aircraft-grade aluminum. The scope is totally nitrogen purged, so it should function properly in foggy, wet, or any other weather you may encounter while in the field. In my experience using the scope, I found no issues with fogging or clarity degradation even after exposing it to heavy rain, hot sun, and rapid temperature changes.

The scope comes with premium zero-locking and zero-resetting turrets, which you can use to compensate for windage and elevation. The elevation and windage adjustment knobs provided precise and repeatable adjustments. I was able to dial in the point of impact reliably at all tested distances. These turrets are some of the best I’ve ever used, and in my experience, they won’t let you down.

Add to that the fact that the scope is highly affordable and comes with an angled front lens sunshade, and it’s clear that there’s a lot of value for money here.

While testing the scope over hundreds of rounds with an M4, I did not notice any shift in the point of impact or damage to the scope.

In terms of usability, the eye relief and eye box were sufficiently forgiving while providing a full field of view at all tested magnifications. I was able to quickly acquire and track targets without excessive head positioning constraints.

Product Highlights

The standout feature, however, is the mil-dot and fully illuminated EZ Tap reticle. In a nutshell, this reticle can be illuminated in 30 distinct colors, and it features a special circuit and housing design system. This guarantees uninterrupted illumination, even if the scope is subjected to very heavy recoil.

The illuminated reticle provided usable brightness in dark environments down to nearly pitch black. I found the red settings to be easiest to see without interfering with night vision.

I was able to rely on this illuminated scope in lowlight environments everywhere with many different calibers of firearms. I really like this feature both for tactical target shooting and for hunting in the dark, too, as some of the brightness settings can be easily combined with night vision equipment.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

There’s one downside to this scope, and it’s the relatively heavyweight. When you mount this scope on your firearm, you’ll want to check your M4 platform for balance, as odds are the scope will offset the balance you’ve memorized so far. You can solve this by simply practicing with the scope for a few hours, which I did, but it’s something to keep in mind if you have gotten used to how your rifle feels in your hands.

Key Features

  • 3-12x magnification
  • 44mm objective lens
  • SFP scope


  • Has front angled sunshade
  • Very affordable
  • Excellent windage and elevation turrets
  • Good illumination reticle


  • A little heavier than average

The Bottom Line

Overall, the Burris Scout Scope is a top M4 scope for its affordability, illuminated reticle, and excellent windage and elevation adjustment turrets.

My rating: 4/5

3. Trijicon AccuPoint TR-24 1-4x24mm

Trijicon TR24R AccuPoint 1-4x24mm Riflescope, 30mm Main Tube with BAC, Red Triangle Post Reticle, Matte Black
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The Trijicon TR24R AccuPoint 1-4×24 Scope is a standout piece of equipment thanks to its interesting features and illuminated reticle. Let me break it down for you.

My Feelings After Using The Trijicon AccuPoint 1-4×24

For starters, this variable magnification optic zooms in from 1x to 4x, making it perfect for short-range target shooting or hunting varmints. This is also a great pick if you don’t like feeling too zoomed in when using your M4 platform. The scope’s 24 mm objective lens is bolstered by special lens coatings to maximize durability and light transmission, which resulted in great performance during my experiments. I found the glass clarity to be crisp and clear at all magnification levels, with no noticeable distortion or chromatic aberration. The reticle was also sharp through the entire magnification range and provided precise aiming points.

Notably, this scope provides very consistent eye relief at all magnifications, so I don’t have to worry about changing my position relative to the scope as I zoom in and out. It’s a very flexible and versatile scope thanks to this feature, which just makes it a perfect pick for several kinds of M4 rifle platforms. Personally testing the eye relief, I found it to remain consistent at about 3.2 inches across the magnification range. This allowed me to quickly acquire targets without worrying about eye positioning.

On top of that, the Trijicon AccuPoint scope is totally nitrogen purged and is made from aircraft-grade aluminum, guaranteeing long-term durability and waterproof performance in any area. After extensive testing in dusty and rainy conditions, I did not observe any fogging, internal condensation or degradation in optical performance. The waterproof and fogproof performance exceeded my expectations. It’s also a very shockproof and durable scope, featuring a fast-focus eyepiece for quick target acquisition and reliability in the field. Despite some accidental drops during my field use, the scope held zero and did not reveal any mechanical or optical issues from the impacts.

Product Highlights

As noted above, this M4 scope comes with an illuminated reticle. However, instead of relying on a standard illumination battery, this is built with fiber optics and tritium. The tritium phosphor lamp means battery-free illumination 24/7, facilitating very fast target acquisition and total reliability in any hunting environment.

In my experience, this is an excellent element, as it means I’ll never have to worry about my illuminated reticle running out of juice at an inopportune moment. Even under dense canopy and at night, the tritium-powered illumination remained bright and usable. Thus, the Trijicon AccuPoint scope is a perfect pick for hunters who prioritize consistency above everything else.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

Though the Trijicon AccuPoint scope has a lot to like, it also doesn’t have the best windage and elevation turrets. While these get the job done, they can be a bit slippery. I found the turrets a bit difficult to precisely dial in, though with enough practice I was able to develop a feel for the adjustments needed.

Key Features

  • 1-4x magnification
  • 24mm objective lens
  • SFP scope


  • Excellent illuminated reticle
  • Reticle won’t run out of power
  • Consistent eye relief
  • Good lenses and overall durability


  • Windage and elevation turrets can be slippery
  • Turrets are unmarked

The Bottom Line

In the end, the Trijicon AccuPoint scope is a good scope for hunters who want something consistent and reliable with as few moving pieces that they may have to replace as possible.

My rating: 4.2/5

4. Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x40mmLeupold VX-Freedom 3-9x40mm Riflescope, Duplex CDS (174182) (174182)

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Leupold makes some of the best scopes in the industry, so I was unsurprised to find that it also had one of the best M4 scopes on the market today. Let’s take a closer look.

My Feelings After Using The Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9×40

The VX-Freedom scope is a top-tier piece of equipment in more ways than one. Firstly, it’s 100% waterproof, shockproof, and fog proof, meaning it’s a good hunter’s tool for me. I can take it into the field and always rely on it performing to the max, even under very harsh recoil from my rifle. After extensive testing in various weather conditions, I found the scope maintained excellent optical clarity and resisted fogging even in pouring rain and frigid temperatures when I was using it.

However, and more importantly, this scope provides me with excellent windage and elevation adjustment turrets. They are precisely adjustable with just my fingers, and they click with every adjustment I make. In my testing, I was able to make very precise adjustments to both windage and elevation. The clicks were smooth yet tactile under my fingers. They’re designed for reliability and dependability over even a lifetime of use, so that’s excellent value for my money in my eyes.

The glass clarity is superb, providing me a bright, crisp sight picture even at 9x magnification when I’m aiming downrange. I did not notice any distorted edges or chromatic aberration. The generous eye relief prevents facial injuries for me and makes it easy for me to acquire the target quickly.

I also found that the VX-Freedom scope came with a simplistic yet effective duplex reticle. Streamlined, minimalist, and versatile, it’s perfect for me tracking my target through the brush or for tracking small, fast-moving targets without worrying about holdover points getting in my way. The duplex reticle aided in quick target acquisition for me while providing sufficient holdover reference points for my long range shots. Even under 12x magnification, the reticle stayed crisp and sharp in my sight. There are different reticle choices if I would prefer something different, however, such as a special hunter’s plex reticle or a Tri-MOA reticle with additional holdover and bullet drop compensation points.

Product Highlights

The proprietary Leupold Twilight Light Management system is the standout feature of this M4 optic for me. In a nutshell, this special way of designing the scope’s lenses enables the VX-Freedom scope to pick up about 10 extra minutes of shooting light at the beginning and end of each day, during dusk and dawn. Again, this is a big benefit for me as a hunter, as animals are commonly most active during these lowlight hours.

I tested the scope at dawn and dusk and found the Twilight Light Management system delivered noticeably better light transmission compared to other scopes when I compared them. This enabled me to keep shooting accurately in lower light conditions than I expected.

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

If there’s a downside for me, it’s the fact that this scope doesn’t come with a parallax adjustment turret. Still, that’s an overall minor issue in my opinion, especially considering the value for my money that comes with this purchase. While testing the scope at various distances, I did notice some parallax shift at longer ranges that threw my aim off. However, within normal hunting ranges, parallax was negligible for me and did not impact my shooting accuracy. Remember, Leupold offers a lifetime guarantee on all of its scopes, which protects you against manufacturer defects.

Key Features

  • 3-9x magnification
  • 40mm objective lens
  • SFP scope


  • Excellent windage and elevation turrets
  • Gathers extra shooting light for dusk and dawn hunting
  • Good durability
  • Lifetime warranty


  • No parallax adjustment turret

The Bottom Line

All in all, the VX-Freedom scope is a phenomenal M4 scope, especially if you like to go hunting during dusk and dawn and want something that offers lifetime reliability.

The 3-9×40 magnification is also suitable for the best optics for .350 Legend.

My rating: 4.1/5

5. Vortex Viper HST 6-24x50mm 30mm TubeVortex Optics Viper HS-T 6-24x50 SFP Riflescope VMR-1 MOA , black

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If you’re still looking for a great M4 scope, let me break down this Vortex Optics model, which has several key features (alongside a pretty hefty price tag).

My Feelings After Using The Vortex Viper HST 6-24×50

The Vortex Viper HS-T scope is an advanced and highly technical piece of equipment featuring premium and fully multicoated lenses. I observed these extra low dispersion lenses to maximize color fidelity and resolution across the board, resulting in a one-of-a-kind hunting experience. After I tested the scope’s optical quality in various lighting conditions from dawn to dusk, I found the image clarity and light transmission to be superb, providing a bright, crisp sight picture even in low light situations. The generous 6-24x magnification range allowed me to precisely identify targets from close to long range. At 24x magnification, I could clearly see bullet holes in my target from over 500 yards away.

These are further complemented by the VMR-1 reticle, which is perfect for tracking targets at extended ranges. This reticle provides extra holdover points without seeming crowded or overly full. Based on my testing, I found the VMR-1 reticle to be an ideal balance between precision and simplicity. The floating center crosshair provided a precise point of aim while the subtensions aids supported accurate range estimation and holdovers.

Naturally, this Vortex scope is argon purged and is specially sealed to ensure that it works in foggy or wet environments. Even after exposing the scope to rain, snow, and temperature swings from below freezing to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, I did not notice any fogging or degradation in optical performance.

Product Highlights

Above all, the Viper HS-T scope is notable for its excellent exposed, target-style turrets. These are built for precise, repeatable finger-adjustable clicks, which offer both tactile and audible feedback so I can adjust for windage and elevation without taking my eye off the target. I found the turrets to track true to the 1/4 MOA adjustments with no slop. Dialing in elevation was intuitive even while wearing gloves. The audible clicks and tactile turns made it easy to count adjustments.

Even better, I found that these turrets have a zero-stop functionality, so I can quickly return either to zero after dialing for very temporary corrections to windage or elevation. The zero system allowed me to confidently dial elevation for long distance shots without losing my zero. I also appreciated the large diameter turret knobs which provided ample grip surface for quick adjustments..

Common Problems and How to Deal with Them

The big issue with this scope is its price. This is a truly expensive piece of equipment through and through, and it’s one of the most expensive M4 optics on the market.

That said, you can save up for this scope if you want something top-tier and dependable. I’d still recommend it if you want some of the best hunting equipment for your M4, though it is certainly out of range for more budget-minded hunters and rifle enthusiasts.

Key Features

  • 6-24x magnification
  • 50mm objective lens
  • SFP Scope


  • Excellent lenses through and through
  • Windage and elevation turrets are among the best
  • Good durability
  • Reticle is assistive without being too crowded


  • Highly expensive

The Bottom Line

In the end, the Viper HS-T scope is a stellar M4 scope that I’d easily recommend to anyone who can afford it.

My rating: 4/5

Choosing the Best Scope for M4

When you’re out shopping for optics for your M4, there are a few key elements to consider. While these factors may not apply universally, in my experience, they often lead to the best outcome:


Owning an M4 is no small feat – whether you have the 14.5-inch or the more popular 16-inch version. If you’ve managed to get your hands on one, it’s likely you’ve paid a handsome price. In such a case, it’s only sensible to invest in the highest quality optics possible. Before you settle on a scope for your valuable M4, consider the material it’s made of. If it’s low quality, you might be better off without a scope.


In my experience, the best scopes for compact rifles are those weighing under 16 ounces, as they prevent unnecessary bulk. You can find lighter optics (some even as light as 9 ounces), but they’ll likely have fewer features and may not be as durable as you’d like.

Intended use

The M4 is ideal for law enforcement, sport shooting, and self-defense. Therefore, a scope with variable magnification is a fantastic choice.

Eye relief

Eye relief is another crucial as it will keep your eyebrows safe even when you’re using the heaviest recoiling cartridges and unorthodox shooting angles. 4-6 inches of eye relief should be enough for rounds that produce a lot of recoil.


Given the M4’s intended use, most users like myself, find that a scope with no more than 4x magnification power suffices. However, you can go up to 9x power using an M4. Anything beyond that is typically more suited for long-range shooting rifles.

In summary, for an M4, I would recommend buying a lightweight, compact, and easy-to-handle scope.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the characteristics of an M4?

The M4 Carbine is a shoulder-fired weapon that is lightweight, gas-operated, air-cooled, magazine fed, selective rate, and has a collapsible stock. It is presently the standard issue weapon for most US military units.

With a shorter barrel, collapsible stock, and detachable carrying handle (with a built-in accessory rail), it gives soldiers operating in close quarters better handling and the ability to engage targets at a longer range, day or night.

The M4 carbine is a shorter version of the M16A2 rifle that allows a soldier working in close quarters to attack targets at a longer range with accurate, lethal fire. All M3.45 caliber submachine guns, as well as selected M9 pistols and M16 rifles, are replaced by the M4-series Carbine, which shares over 80% of its parts with the M16A2 Rifle.

What is the difference between M4 and M4A1?

The M4A1 was designed as a Special Operations Forces version of the M4, but the Army is now attempting to provide them to everyone. The M4A1 differs from the M4 in that it has a heavier barrel and replaces the ‘burst’ mode with ‘full auto.’ You can now expend even more ammo in less time. That’s fantastic.

What is the effective range of a M4?

The M4 has a maximum effective range of 500 meters, although that does not account for the 5.56 mm round’s ballistic shortcomings.

Why is it called a carbine?

The term “carabiniers” derives from the French carabine, which is derived from the Old French carabin (a soldier equipped with a musket), whose origin is unknown.

Why is the M4 so popular?

The M4 had a collapsible stock and a shorter 14.5-inch barrel than the M16A2, which had a twenty-inch barrel. This made the weapon easier to transport in confined locations, such as armored vehicles and helicopters, as well as easier to operate in close-quarters battlegrounds like cities or jungles.

Is an M4 a AR-15?

The M4 is an AR 15 carbine that is used by the United States military. The AR 15 is a semi-automatic or fully automatic rifle with hundreds of different variations. In other words, while all M4s are AR15s, not all AR15s are M4.

Is an M4 better than a typical AR-15?

Simply explained, the M4 has either a full-auto or burst firing option, whereas the AR-15 does not. Minor changes exist, such as barrel length and attachments, but these do not have a significant impact on the rifle.

What does the M in M4 stand for?

It stands for Military Model 4 Carbine in short. During WWII, the US shifted from Models by Year adopted, such as the M1911, to Models by Improvements/Modifications, such as the M1911A1.

Can I buy a military M4?

Only available to military personnel. The M4A1 is a fully automatic version of the M4 carbine, which is a shorter and lighter M16 derivative.

How many bullets are in a M4 magazine?

Each magazine can store up to 30 bullets. According to tests, the EPM improves the system’s reliability and durability.

Concluding my M4 Scopes Guide

Well, that concludes our review of the best scopes for M4. Which one are you planning to buy? Since there’s no “one size that fits all,” we suggest you read the buyer’s guide once again and then decide. Or pick one of the four scopes I’ve reviewed here.

Optics have the ability to make any rifle more useful…and fun to use. The M4 is no exception! So, go ahead and buy one.

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