Not sure what optic to get for your M4?
Look no further.
I’ve tested ALL the best m4 optics (plus M4 optic mounts and accessories.)
By the end of this guide, you’ll find the perfect optic for your M4.
Let’s get started!
The M4 carbine is a rugged and reliable rifle built for precision and heavy combat use.
Although it’s mainly utilized by the United States Army and Marine Corps, the M4 carbine is also a popular rifle for law enforcement officers, shooting enthusiasts, hunters, and home-defenders.
If you’re planning on putting a scope on top of this powerful weapon, you’ll need one that’s just as versatile and accurate as the gun itself.
By the end of this article, you’ll know how to choose the best scope for your M4 carbine rifle.
Let’s get started!
The M4 carbine was built to solve the design issues of its predecessor, the M16. With a much-improved range, accuracy, and durability, it quickly became the primary infantry weapon and service rifle for combat units in the United States Military.
Additionally, the M4 carbine also replaced almost all submachine guns and handguns in the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. This robust rifle fires ammunition more effectively, which provides excellent stopping power and penetration of advanced body armor.
In short: No rifle is perfect, but the M4 comes pretty close.
If you’re on the market looking at scopes for your M4 carbine, there are a few key points you should consider before making the purchase.
If you’ve never owned a rifle scope or are relatively new to optics, here’s a quick video on understanding the basics of a rifle scope.
For those of you that already know, let’s dive in!
I’ve combined these two factors as they go hand in hand. The magnification range you need will depend on your use.
If you’re planning on using the rifle for close-range operations such as home-defense, get a magnification between 1-4x. This works well for shooting targets up to 150 yards.
On the other hand, if you intend to use the M4 for mid-range targets up to 300 yards, I recommend getting a magnification between 5-8x.
If you hunt varmints and prey in low-light conditions, also consider buying a scope that works effectively at night, such as a prism scope or one with an illuminated reticle.
Lastly, for those of you whose primary purpose is shooting long-range targets beyond 300 yards, a magnification between 9-12x will be the best choice.
You may hear a lot of shooters tell you to buy as much magnification as you can. That’s not entirely correct.
If you have too much magnification, you’ll waste money buying a feature you won’t even use. Therefore, make sure you get the right amount for your intended use.
Got it? Good. Let’s move on to eye relief.
Regardless of the rifle, eye relief is a crucial factor.
It protects your eyes from getting hit when using heavy recoiling cartridges and when shooting at unconventional angles.
The M4 carbine fires 5.56×45mm NATO (also called .223 Remington) ammo, which means the rifle produces slight recoil.
Therefore, a scope with 4 inches of eye relief will give you enough protection from getting a bruised eye.
The M4 carbine comes with a flat top upper design, allowing the shooter to place any compatible optic via the built-in Picatinny rail.
So look for scopes that come with a Quick Detach mount that adapts to the Picatinny rail. This will save you a lot of time and effort when mounting your scope to the rifle.
The best scopes for an M4 carbine are those with a compact and lightweight design.
I recommend getting a unit that’s under 16 ounces to prevent adding unnecessary weight to your rifle’s build.
In fact, there are even lighter optics on the market that go as low as 11 ounces: like the Trijicon ACOG, a military favorite.
A piece of advice: some of the super lightweight scopes may have fewer features or don’t last as long, which brings us to the next key point.
Scopes that are constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum alloy are the most durable and dependable.
It’s best to purchase an optic that’s nitrogen-purged and sealed with O-rings as they’re likely to be shockproof, fog proof, and completely waterproof up to at least 100 feet in depth.
Personally, an easy way I can tell whether a riflescope is durable or not is by checking the lifetime warranty. Almost all household names offer a great warranty; they trust in the durability of their product.
All in all, any solid red dot should work well on your M4 carbine.
As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. So don’t buy a $100 scope and expect it to perform flawlessly or last forever.
With the M4 carbine’s fantastic versatility, the options are endless.
I know there’s a wide variety of scopes on the market, and there isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” optic.
I hope this guide has helped you choose the best scope for your M4.
If you’re more interested in buying a scope for your AR-15, check out my latest review on the best AR-15 carry handle scopes.
If you’re pressed on time, here’s a quick list of the best m4 optics:
- Trijicon TR24 AccuPoint 1-4×24: Best Overall
- Trijicon ACOG 3.5×35: Best ACOG Scope
- Aimpoint PRO Red Dot: Best M4 Red Dot Optic
- Vortex Optics Crossfire II 1-4×24: Best for the Budget
The Trijicon TR24 AccuPoint is the best available riflescope for big game hunts and short range shooting.
I’ve personally bought and hand tested each feature to see if this claim was true.
Need the proof? Keep reading below to find it.
As expected of a scope of this quality, the glass is excellent.
It’s fully multi-coated, and the glass is crystal clear with no signs of distortion. It excels at drawing in ambient light for a better picture while the anti-reflective glass ensures there is no glare that can alert your target.
The illuminated reticle uses no batteries, and is always on using the fiber-optic technology. The reticle adjusts to the amount of light available, so you won’t need to worry about making manual adjustments on the fly.
The reticle is solid and does a great job in keeping from being too busy. It’s a reticle that is ideal for fast target acquisition, which is perfect for hunters trying to tag a fast moving target.
The eye relief is a generous 3.2” and is more than enough for this scope’s optimal range.
I also never experienced any eye fatigue even after several hours of use. There is no distortion and the glass is crystal clear, so it’s impossible to suffer from eye strain.
There were no issues with the eye box, and I was easily able to center the picture quickly.
The Trijicon TR24 AccuPoint, like several other Trijicon products, was designed around the Bindon Aiming Concept (BAC). This method was made for the user to aim with both of their eyes open.
This improves situational awareness, and makes rapidly switching targets or tracking a moving one far easier to accomplish.
The Trijicon AccuPoint was designed to be used in rugged terrain, and the durability reflects that.
During testing I dropped it, banged it around, and fully submerged it in water. The high levels of abuse didn’t even scuff the exterior of the scope, much less damage the interior. It also held my zero with no issues throughout the testing.
How was it able to come out undamaged?
It’s made from aircraft grade aluminum, and even cosmetic damage is hard to come by. It’s also waterproof and nitrogen purged, making it immune to any fogging issues.
The turrets are excellent on the Trijicon AccuPoint, and give crisp audible clicks when they are being adjusted.
They can either come capped or with zero stop adjusters, but either way there’s no chance that they can be accidentally adjusted or knocked out of place.
The best part?
Finding my zero was incredibly easy and fast. It only took me 15 rounds, but it still held my zero after nearly 200.
The parallax is fixed, and it caused no issues even at maximum magnification.
The magnification is 1-4X. This makes the Trijicon AccuPoint highly effective at low to lower mid ranges. On top of the ability to quickly change targets, the proficiency at lower ranges makes it a perfect hunting scope.
The Bindon Aiming Concept couples well with the magnification, making it an easy task to rapidly switch targets and land concise and accurate shots.
The Trijicon TR24 AccuPoint does not come with any mounting or rings.
The Trijicon RM65 RMR Mount is the best way to mount your scope. It’s an additional $120, but getting a quality mount is the only way to get the most out of your scope.
- Product Type: Sporting Goods
- Item Package Dimensions: 5.1 L X 7.5 W X 16.3 H (Cm)
- Country Of Origin: United States
If you’re looking for a hunting scope that can handle any type of environment while giving a crystal clear picture and rapid target acquisition, then look no further than the Trijicon TR24 AccuPoint.
- Great turrets
- Extreme durability
- Crystal clear multi-coated glass
- Perfect reticle for rapid target acquisition
To sum it up: the quality of features that the Trijicon AccuPoint boasts puts other hunting scopes to shame.
The price is very reasonable for the quality received. The glass, durability, and turrets all combine into a top notch scope.
It may take some getting used to shooting with the BAC style, but not many other scopes allow that type of style and it really pays off with this one. It was built around it and this form of shooting is incredibly efficient for hunting.
So if you need a great hunting scope that can perform perfectly in even the harshest conditions, then look no further than the Trijicon TR24 AccuPoint 1-4X24.
- Magnification: 1x - 4x
- Objective size: 24mm
- Illumination source: fiber optics & tritium
Advanced Combat Optical Gunsights are the top choice when it comes to mid-range shooting and the Trijicon ACOG 3.5×35 is the best ACOG scope around.
In fact, this scope is used by law enforcement and military and is combat tested.
I’ve tried many different scopes and this Trijicon ACOG has quickly made its way to the top of my list.
Want to know why? Keep reading…
Trijicon ACOGs are all made with superior glass quality and the 3.5×35 is top of the line.
With tritium/fiber optic illumination, you get a crystal clear sight picture in almost any light condition. Plus, it adjusts the illumination automatically based on the surrounding light. And, it’s all completely battery free, so you’ll never have to worry about the illumination going out when you need it most.
I chose the green crosshair 5.56 reticle and I’m glad I did.
It’s made specifically for the AR-15. It has green crosshairs that are easy to see at night and it looks like a standard black reticle during the day. On top of that, it allows for bullet drop compensation for the 5.56 out to about 1100 yards.
Eye relief is a little tight with this scope at 2.4 inches.
However, this seems to be plenty as long as you’ve got a good cheek weld and position. Plus, the 3.5×35 has the longest eye relief I could find in an ACOG.
Plus, you can get a little extra eye relief and comfort if you purchase the Trijicon eyepiece for your scope.
- Package length: 13.004 cm
- Package width: 7.62 cm
- Package height: 5.588 cm
While the ACOG is known for its medium range superiority, it does well in close quarters combat too. That’s because this scope uses the Bindon Aiming Concept.
This means you can have both eyes open when you shoot, which offsets some of the issues with eye relief and makes for super fast target acquisition. And, you get the full use of your peripheral vision for ultimate situational awareness.
The Trijicon ACOG 3.5×35 was built to last, maybe even longer than you will!
It’s housed in aircraft quality aluminum that’s rugged and durable. I’ve banged mine against my truck and dropped it a few times. There’s not a mark on the scope!
This scope is also waterproof and fogproof, thanks to the dry nitrogen that fills it. It’s also shockproof and can stand up to the recoil of any rifle it’s mounted to.
You’ll also get a limited lifetime warranty from Trijicon. It covers pretty much everything but the tritium/fiber optics and that should last close to 15 years on average.
The elevation and windage knobs use a tactical MOA adjustment with a maximum MOA of 40.
The turrets are easy to adjust and are about ⅓ MOA per click. ACOGs have an internal prism housing that adjusts, which makes the scope even more durable, since there’s nothing external moving.
What about zeroing?
Zeroing this Trijicon ACOG was a breeze! It only took about 15 minutes and at that point I was shooting holes through holes.
I’ve had it for a few years now and it’s definitely the scope that I use the most. So far, I’ve never had to readjust it, so the zero seems to be holding well.
As it says in the name, the Trijicon ACOG 3.5×35 has a magnification of 3.5x.
This is the perfect power for medium range distances around 100-200 yards. It even does pretty well at 50 yards, which is amazing given that I’d normally use a 1x for that distance. I’ve also been able to make pretty accurate shots out to 300 yards without a problem.
The total amount of accurate range that you get with this magnification is pretty much the perfect sweet spot for all around shooting.
Plus, it’s parallax free! Well, nothing is completely parallax free, but this is as close as it gets. I’ve noticed a tiny bit of distortion side to side if I don’t have a good cheek weld, but it’s negligible.
It comes with a flat top adapter that fits military style rails, so it’s easy to mount on any AR-15 style rifle.
You’ll also get a scopecoat and a large pelican case with your scope.
If you’re going to be using the scope primarily for hunting, this Trijicon killflash is a good purchase because it reduces glare so you don’t give away your position.
If you’re looking for the best rifle scope on the market, look no further than this scope.
- Rugged durability
- Crystal clear glass
- Visibility day or night
- Fast target acquisition
- Green crosshair reticle
- Battery free illumination
- Short-medium range accuracy
The Trijicon ACOG 3.5×35 is well worth the cost. If you want the best of the best, try this scope. You won’t be disappointed.
- ACOG 3.5x35 scope with Green Horseshoe BAC Reticle and Target Reference System is calibrated for 5.56 (.223 cal) flat-top rifles to 1000 meters Includes flat top adapter
- Daytime illumination is provided by fiber optics
- With TA51 Mount
I’m going to start off by saying the Aimpoint Pro Red Dot sight is one of the best reflex scopes.
For the price, this guy could be number one. In fact, once I put this red dot on my AR, I haven’t changed back.
Wondering how that’s the case? Keep on reading…
The glass for the Aimpoint is great. The lens is multi-coated so scratching is not likely to happen.
The red illumination with the dot is great. I did notice some distortion at the highest setting, but it was manageable.
The reticle is a MOA so it registers distances in yards and inches.
The ability to aim with this scope is off the charts. It’s so quick to just look through the clear glass and it’s already on target.
If you’re on the lookout for similar scopes, check out this link.
The eye relief is incredible. There is nowhere you look that isn’t normal vision.
The eye box is rather large and shows a great field of vision with clear images.
This guy is a beast in durability. I have yet to see damage after accidentally dropping it a couple times.
Not only that, but it is waterproof and can be in some pretty extreme temperatures.
The reason for these nice features is from the high grade aluminum.
Elevation and windage knobs are easy to manipulate and are accurate.
The only issue I have with the knobs is that they are backwards. Moving up and down moves the sights right and left and visa versa.
Once you get over this hump, adjustments can be made quickly and accurately.
Once I got the adjustments I needed, the target held zero with relative ease. I was able to adjust my dot over the target quickly and it held true for several rounds.
For parallax and magnification there is no problem. It doesn’t magnify so there is no blurring around the target when moving your head.
This is a quick aim and shoot type of scope so once elevations are checked it’s locked and loaded.
If perhaps you need a mid to long range scope, check this list and find one that suits you.
This scope comes with a handy mount. I didn’t bother buying any other accessory because this is actually one of my favorite things about the scope.
The only drawback to the mount is that the knob is rather large. However, it holds strong to my barrel and no amount of shooting has loosened it yet.
Not only does the Aimpoint come with a mount, but flip caps protect both ends of the scope.
Unless they snap off someday, I highly doubt I’ll need other ones.
This scope is definitely for anyone interested in short distances. It’s quick and easy target finding makes for an exciting time at the range.
Here are a few reasons why:
- Great Clarity
- Easy Installation
- Fantastic Durability
- Rapid Target Finding
If this doesn’t convince you, perhaps the 10 year warranty will.
So if you’re on the lookout for a nice red dot scope, try out the Aimpoint PRO Red Dot. It’ll be worth every penny.
- Absolute co-witness with iron sights (with the supplied spacer installed)
- Features 2 MOA red dot for accurate target engagement
- Includes front and rear plastic flip cap lens covers
Looking for a do-it all optic that has quality glass, but is easy on the wallet?
Look no further than the Vortex Optics Crossfire II 1-4×24. It has an illuminated reticle, dependable design, and bright lenses.
Keep reading to see how awesome this optic is…
With fully-multi coated lenses, Vortex designed the Crossfire II as a budget scope with quality glass. I have edge-to-edge picture clarity. The edges of objects in my view are crisp.
The lenses are treated with an anti-glare coating that increases light transmission to my eye, giving me a surprisingly bright sight picture. The glare-eliminating coatings also prevents objective lens glare from giving away my position.
There isn’t any fuzz or haze through the entire magnification range on the Crossfire II. I don’t feel like I’m looking at my target through heat-waves, which is one of the only ways I can think of to explain what it’s like to use other lower-quality, budget optics.
1x seems pretty true to its power. There isn’t much picture distortion. I like that I can engage close-range targets with both eyes open, maintaining situational awareness and improving my reaction time.
For about $200 you can get the Vortex Crossfire II 1-4×24 with an illuminated, V-Brite reticle. Yes, you read that right, this scope has a red dot.
The second focal plane dot has variable brightness and I found that it improves shot placement and target engagement on close to middle-range targets.
The battery powered dot is centered between two wire crosshairs, making for a beautifully simple sight-system. I found the dot easy to use in almost all lighting conditions.
Its exceptionally bright in low-light or for indoor shooting. I did have a harder time seeing it on a bright, sunny day. In that instance, I was grateful that I could rely on the crosshair.
This version of the Crossfire has an eye relief of 4 inches and a generous eye box. I could easily engage my target from defensive cover positions.
With the illuminated reticle and forgiving eyebox, I could easily sight-in my target as I was bringing my weapon to my shoulder at the ready.
This sped up my firing times and improved my defensive shooting efficiency considerably.
I’ve mounted my Crossfire II to my defensive AR15. In my tactical situation training, I’ve really tried to beat this scope up. I’ve smashed it diving for cover. I’ve thrown it between transitions in competition.
It’s been in puddles, muddied, and thrown in the back of my car without covers or caps. I’ve hardly dinged the hard anodized coating. The protective lens coatings have held up.
Through all of this, it hasn’t fogged, shattered, or lost zero. For $200, this is a ruggedly designed scope that’s held up against everything I’ve thrown it into.
Okay, my only qualms with this scope are the turrets. I think this is where Vortex chose to cut a few costs to keep this scope firmly within the budget range.
The elevation and windage knobs on the Crossfire II are plastic and finger-adjustable. The turrets have metal caps that need to be removed before adjustments can be made.
They don’t have an audible click and I can’t quite tell when they finally give enough to adjust. They are advertised as having 0.25 MOA clicks, but they feel more like 0.5 MOA to me.
While the turrets aren’t top quality, they are still functional. I was able to sight my AR15 to zero within 5 shots.
It’s a good thing this optic is resilient despite the abuse I’ve given it. Because of its shockproof design, once it’s set, I don’t have to go through the hassle of sighting it in again.
If plastic, mushy turrets are a deal-breaker, consider the scopes on this list.
The 1-4x magnification range on the Vortex Crossfire II is perfect for close to mid-range shooting situations. I can turn the magnification up to better identify targets or to shoot targets farther down range.
I wish it had a throw lever built in so I could slam through the magnification range faster. Thankfully, several manufacturers make decent aftermarket one that work quite well. This one is my favorite.
- LOW PROFILE: Fits with any mounting setup.
- SIMPLE & QUICK SETUP: One piece construction, one bolt to tighten, and one minute installation on this Vortex throw lever.
- DURABLE CONSTRUCTION: This throw lever is made with nylon material to leave your scope unscratched.
The Crossfire II 1-4×24 has a 30 mm tube. Almost any 30mm ring should fit. If you don’t have a favorite ring set, these are what I use.
I definitely think that the Vortex Crossfire II 1-4×24 is worth every penny. It is, hands-down, one of the best budget scopes on the market.
To recap, the Crossfire II’s top features:
- Budget friendly
- Indestructible design
- Fully multi-coated lenses
- An illuminated dot reticle
If a 1-4x isn’t quite your style, or you want more than one, Vortex makes a line of Crossfire IIs to suit every shooting style.
I hope you enjoyed my best m4 optics guide.
Now I want to turn it over to you:
Which optic will you pick for your M4?
Let me know by leaving a quick comment down below.