A good scope can help improve your M4’s sight, which is the key to yielding the highest level of accuracy when tactical shooting and hunting. In order to excel, you need the best M4 optics and a scope that maximizes the overall performance.

The M4 carbine is the evolved version of the M16 rifle. It often features a 14.5-inch barrel, which is not actually legal to own and carry. However, people can legalize their ownership of the rifle by creating an M4 that has an additional 1.5-inch barrel. Still, the authentic M4 carbine is an effective sporting and tactical rifle that many people love. Due to its popularity, many people wish to improve its performance. Fortunately, they can depend on highly reliable scopes and optics for the M4.

Quick Answer: The 13 Best M4 Scopes & Optics for 2020

First, let’s take a look at the top-rated M4 scopes & optics. Then, we’ll talk about how to choose the right one for you in our buying guide below.

Best Scopes for M4 Carbine Reviews of 2020

Best Overall
Our Score 9.5 Out of 10
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Best Mid Range
Our Score 9.1 Out of 10
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Cheaper Choice
Our Score 8.6 Out of 10
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Our Score 8.1 Out of 10
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Our Score 7.7 Out of 10
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Our Score 7.2 Out of 10
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Our Score 6.9 Out of 10
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Our Score 6.6 Out of 10
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Our Score 6.0 Out of 10
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Our Score 5.5 Out of 10
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Our Score Out of 10
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Our Score Out of 10
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Our Score Out of 10
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Vortex Optics Spitfire 3X Prism Scope

Vortex Spitfire 3x Prism Scope w/ EBR-556B MOA Reticle SPR-1303 Color: Black, Finish: Hard Anodized Matte, 22% Off w/ Free Shipping opticsplanet.com Check price

Color: Black Reticle: EBR-556B MOA Illumination Color: Green , Red Adjustment Click Value: 0.5 MOABattery Type: CR2032 Included Accessories: 2 Picatinny Rails, T-15 Torx Wrench, 2mm Hex Wrench, CR2...

It possesses a fully multi-coated lens, which also features an anti-reflective coating. This lens performs well in delivering bright and clear views, even when you are using it in an environment with low light. I also like the five brightness levels incorporated into its illuminated red or green EBR-556B reticle.

The presence of these variable settings make it possible to match them in various lighting conditions and in the specific environment where you are shooting. Another great feature is that the reticle is directly attached to the prism, giving you an efficient point of aim all the time. This effect is possible whether you use the illumination feature or not.

In addition, the special O-ring added into this scope works in locking out extra debris and moisture. The prism-based style used in this M4 scope promotes sharp and clear optics, while the fixed 3x magnifier provides users with superior views.

The eye relief is somewhat limited, at just 2.8 inches.

  • Rugged and sturdy construction
  • Great performance when used at close and medium ranges
  • Quick target acquisition for a speedy and accurate shooting guaranteed
  • Delivers bright and clear views
  • Comes with a special O-ring to prevent debris and moisture from penetrating
  • Limited eye relief

The Vortex Optics Spitfire Scope possesses features and benefits that make it worth the investment, including its rugged and weatherproof exterior and maximum anti-fog protection. If you’re looking for a prism scope that can aid you in close and medium ranges, consider this scope.

Primary Arms 2.5x Compact Prism Scope

OpticsPlanet Exclusive Primary Arms 2.5X Compact AR15 Scope with Patented CQB ACSS Reticle 710003, Color: Black, $20.00 Off w/ Free Shipping
OpticsPlanet Exclusive Primary Arms 2.5X Compact AR15 Scope with Patented CQB ACSS Reticle 710003, Color: Black, $20.00 Off w/ Free Shipping opticsplanet.com Check price

Make minced meat out of mid-ranged targets when you equip the Primary Arms 2.5X Compact AR15 Scope w/ Patented CQB ACSS Reticle. The illuminated reticle in these Fixed Power Rifle Scopes by Primary...

This scope uses the best materials and has a base that you can easily remove. This is specifically so that you can use it in either AR 15 optics or M16 carry handle. Another reason for its strong construction and design is its fog-resistant and waterproof properties.

For the reticle, it utilizes the ACSS (Advanced Combined Sighting System) CQB-M. This is one big reason behind its good and clear M4 sights. I also noticed that this reticle is attached or fixed into a glass, making it visible without using the illumination.

I am also pleased with the inclusion of up to 11 brightness settings that include the daylight bright. These settings increase your chance of enjoying quick acquisition when shooting at close quarters. Another plus for this scope is that it delivers a generous 10.16-mm exit pupil, promoting a forgiving eye box and clear sight picture. Another strength is its ease of zeroing, brought on by the audible and tactile ½ MOA turret clicks.

This scope has poor battery life when used on higher settings. Fortunately, there is no need to illuminate it all the time, so it is not that troublesome.

  • Highly durable with its quality materials
  • Guaranteed to be fog-resistant and waterproof
  • Compact design, ideal for hunting and shooting
  • Up to 11 brightness settings provided
  • Easy to zero in
  • Poor battery life when set at a higher setting

Overall, this is a strong, solid, and hassle-free prism scope from Primary Arms. It is affordable, and due to its compact nature, it does not consume too much space.

Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-6×24 – BDC (MOA) Rifle Scope

Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-6x24 Second Focal Plane Riflescope - BDC Reticle (MOA)
Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-6x24 Second Focal Plane Riflescope - BDC Reticle (MOA) amazon.com Check price

The Strike Eagle 1-6x24 is defined by speed and versatility. Adjust to six power when you need to engage targets at a distance
High quality, fully multi-coated lenses deliver a clear, crisp sight p...

Mainly used for 3-gun competitions, you will find this rifle scope valuable in all applications that put more importance on speed to target, rather than the long-range tack-driving accuracy. The variable magnification range of 1-6x promotes superb accuracy when using it from a close range to a 600-yard distance.

I greatly appreciate the glass-etched and illuminated BDC reticle, which comes equipped with 11 illumination settings. This number of settings make it possible for the reticle to handle changing lighting conditions. It is also possible for you to store an extra battery in the included windage cap, which you can easily release.

Additionally, the built-in fast-focus dial in the rifle scope’s eyepiece stimulates the sharpness of the reticle. It is a tough and solid rifle scope designed to deal with all kinds of weather. Another huge plus for this rifle scope is its fully multi-coated and high-quality lens, which deliver crisp and clear sight pictures, while also delivering an optimal performance in low light.  The reticle also uses the second focal plane, which you can expect to stay at a similar size, regardless of the magnification you use.

This scope lacks an auto-off function for the illuminated reticle.

  • Can withstand all kinds of weather
  • Up to 11 illumination settings built into the illuminated BDC reticle
  • Provides variable magnification to match various situations
  • Crisp and clear sight picture delivered by its high-quality lens
  • The multi-coated M4 and AR optics guarantee excellent light transmission
  • Lacks an auto-off function for the illuminated reticle

This scope from Vortex has plenty of rewarding benefits and impressive features to offer to its users.

Bushnell AR Optics Drop Zone-223 BDC Reticle Rifle Scope

Bushnell Optics, Drop Zone Reticle Riflescope with Target Turrets, Matte Black, 1-4x/24mm
Bushnell Optics, Drop Zone Reticle Riflescope with Target Turrets, Matte Black, 1-4x/24mm amazon.com Check price

30 millimeter tube dia
Drop zone reticle; Field of view (feet at 100 yard) 90 feet at 1X to 23 feet at 4X
Fully multicoated optics
Fast focus eyepiece
Outstanding close quarters accuracy, with a dr...

It also works well for a carbine or tactical rifle users and excels when used in mid-range accuracy through the aid of its BDC reticle. I also like the built-in bright multi-coated optics added into the rifle scope.

It utilizes high-quality materials for its exterior construction, thereby boosting its ability to offer incredible protection against a number of factors. Another great strength of this rifle scope is that it promotes accuracy. The above-average optical system, combined with a turret targeting system placed in a superior aluminum housing, work in significantly enhancing the scope’s brightness. You will also find the fast-focus eyepiece to be very rewarding, as it works in boosting both the reliability and the accuracy of the scope.

I also find pleasure in the anodized finish used in this scope, as it allows the scope to have a scratch=proof, fog-proof, waterproof, and rustproof construction. The fact that the turrets are easy to adjust is a strength, too.

It is a heavy scope compared to other products.

  • Anodized finish, boosting the tough construction of the scope
  • Improved brightness, thanks to its optical and turret targeting systems
  • Guarantees accuracy
  • Long-lasting and protective construction
  • Improved accuracy and reliability brought on by the fast-focus eyepiece
  • Quite heavy

With its magnification range, reliable functions and features, and high-grade exterior materials, this scope is a top choice among many shooters and hunters.

Trijicon ACOG 4 X 32 Scope Dual Illuminated Chevron .223 Ballistic Reticle

Trijicon ACOG 4x32 Rifle Scope w/ Dual Illuminated Red Chevron .223 Ballistic Reticle Similar Products
Trijicon ACOG 4x32 Rifle Scope w/ Dual Illuminated Red Chevron .223 Ballistic Reticle Similar Products opticsplanet.com Check price

Features of Trijicon ACOG 4x32 Scope w/ Fiber Optics & Tritium Illumination:
Military-Grade Aluminum Alloy Housing Forged 7075-T6 aircraft aluminum alloy housing provides for a nearly indestructibl...

I describe this scope as nearly indestructible. This is primarily due to how tough it is constructed with shockproof, fog-proof, and waterproof coatings. Because it uses tough aluminum material, combined with a Cerakote finish, this scope will last a long time.

Another rewarding advantage of this scope is that it operates without the need of a battery. This is because it is entirely illuminated through a tritium and fiber optic cable, thereby ensuring that you no longer require the use of a battery. What is good about this structure is that it further leads to increased durability, which is necessary for most survival rifles.

The reticle also works in such a way that it adjusts brightness automatically depending on the light that is presently available. It also utilizes the Bindon Aiming Concept (BAC) in its structure, which makes it possible for the illuminated reticle to aim while both your eyes are open. This promotes a superior awareness of the situation.

The eye relief is quite short, making it a bit hard to do target reacquisition.

  • Indestructible and tough construction as it resists a lot of things, like fog, water, and shock
  • Operates without needing a battery
  • Makes an automatic adjustment on brightness based on available light
  • Promotes high situational awareness with the BAC structure
  • Promotes a decent accuracy when used at long ranges
  • Short eye relief

The Trijicon ACOG 4×32 is a great choice for anyone looking for the most dependable scopes and sights for M4 carbine.

Nikon P-tactical .223 3×32 Matte BDC Carbine

Nikon P-Tactical .223 3x32 Matte BDC Carbine (16526)
Nikon P-Tactical .223 3x32 Matte BDC Carbine (16526) amazon.com Check price

The BDC carbine reticle provides a 200 yard Crosshair with "hash marks" at 400 yards and 600 yards
One inch body tube
Spring loaded instant zero resets turrets
Elevated windage and elevation turret...

It has a truly flexible 3x zoom range or ratio, which works in providing a field of view found at the low end while showcasing the important detail at the high end. With this, it is capable of satisfying the majority of the shooting demands of a wide range of hunters and shooters.

The ruggedness of this scope is also unquestionable. I am super happy with its shockproof construction, as it works in shrugging of hard recoil as well as the potential damage caused by heavy and rugged use and abuse. Also, this scope is O-ring sealed, which works in preventing moisture in coming inside its body.

It is also nitrogen-purged, offering complete reliability when it is dealing with thermal shock. The fog-proof and waterproof structures of this scope for M4 are also instantly noticeable. I also find its bright and fully multi-coated lens or optics rewarding as it works in brightening all environments, even those that appear dismal.

In addition, the optic system has a rugged housing in the form of the main tube constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum. I am sure you will also love the precisely and ergonomically designed turrets. You can even use the spring-loaded knobs for windage and elevation that you can easily reset to zero once you sight it in. This promotes ease of reference each time you need to do some field adjustments.

It lacks an audible click for its turrets.

  • Boasts of a versatile zoom 3x ratio
  • Can meet the shooting demands of most users
  • Rugged and shock-proof construction
  • O-ring sealed and nitrogen-purged
  • Easy to reset to zero, thanks to its spring-loaded knobs
  • Does not feature an audible click for the turrets

Overall, it is a fantastic M4 Carbine rifle scope for its reasonable price, paired with plenty of high-quality features and structure.

Best M4 Red Dot Sights Reviews of 2020

Aimpoint PRO Patrol Rifle Optic

Aimpoint PRO Red Dot Sight 30mm Tube 1x 2 MOA Dot with Picatinny-Style Mount Matte
Aimpoint PRO Red Dot Sight 30mm Tube 1x 2 MOA Dot with Picatinny-Style Mount Matte midwayusa.com Check price

The Aimpoint PRO (Patrol Rifle Optic) was designed with the input of current and former professionals to create the most dynamic Red Dot sight available. Featuring band-pass lens coating, the PRO i...

This scope is waterproof. In fact, you can submerge it in up to a 150-feet deep water. With that, this optic is also a dependable choice for law enforcement marine patrols. It uses hard-anodized aluminum material for its body so the Aimpoint PRO will have a sturdy and rugged housing.

I noticed the effectiveness of this strong and solid body in protecting the electronics and glass, especially when used heavily. I also noticed the recessed front glass, which protects it from scratches. Furthermore, it is multi-coated, giving you an optimal viewing experience.

I am fond of the special band-pass coating used in the front lens, too, because this makes it appropriate for night vision devices. The optic’s 30-mm, matte black housing is also attached to a QRP2 mount, which has a torque-limiting knob, promoting quick installation and lowering the risk of over-tightening.

The Aimpoint PRO also boasts of its 1x magnification, which is actually a good thing because it means that you can use it conveniently even with your two eyes open. This promotes a complete peripheral vision and quick target acquisition.

The only flaw I detected is that it is quite heavy for a red dot optic.

  • Guarantees military-grade reliability and ruggedness
  • Boasts of night vision capabilities
  • Quick and easy to install with the least risk of over-tightening
  • Can be submerged in water because it is waterproof
  • Promotes quick target acquisition and complete peripheral vision
  • Slightly heavy

This is a great option, especially for those in search of a good optic for home defense.

Bushnell TRS-25 Red Dot Sight

Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight Riflescope, 1x25mm, Black
Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight Riflescope, 1x25mm, Black amazon.com Check price

Matte black featuring a 3 MOA Dot reticle with 11 brightness settings; Mounts easily on most picatinny rails and is compatible with pistols, shotguns, rifles and muzzleloaders
Waterproof constructi...

It sports a compact and small design while still being housed in sturdy metal construction. With this strength, it can withstand heavy abuse and beating while still delivering excellent performance for various shooters and hunters. I am also very glad that this red dot sight from Bushnell is easy to mount.

It is also compatible for use with the majority of Picatinny rails. Furthermore, you can use it in various activities, like competitive shooting and hunting long beards. The rifle scope also features an adjustment dial, which makes it possible for you to adjust its brightness easily based on your preference and on the present situation.

The dot of this rifle scope, which is taken from a LED, works with 11 adjustments for intensity to suit various lighting situations. For its price, it can deliver excellent clarity of pictures. The glass lens can even deliver a sharp picture, which is on the same level as the costlier red dots.

It operates using a CR2032 battery. You can also enjoy the inclusion of a convenient and protective lens cap. I am also pleased that I can submerge it in water up to 10 feet in depth. This sight is waterproof, too, while having the ability to prevent it from fogging up during humid conditions.

It is quite hard to adjust the lighting when you are using this optic in indoor settings.

  • Compact and small design while remaining sturdy
  • Easy to mount
  • Compatible with the majority of Picatinny rails
  • Great clarity delivered
  • Waterproof and fog-resistant, especially during humid situations
  • A bit hard to adjust the lighting when used in indoor settings

Overall, the Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 works as an amazing red dot rifle scope designed for target shooting and training due to its durability, waterproof and anti-fog construction, and versatility.

CVLIFE 1x22x33 Red Green Dot Reflex Sight

CVLIFE 1X22X33 Red Green Dot Gun Sight Riflescope Reflex Sight for 20mm Rail
CVLIFE 1X22X33 Red Green Dot Gun Sight Riflescope Reflex Sight for 20mm Rail amazon.com Check price

Screen Size: 22mmx33mm;Weight: 130g; Length: 82mm
Reflex Sight Reticle Type: Circle Dot, Cross, 10 MOA & 3 MOA(Red and green illuminated)
4 reticle patterns offer unlimited eye-relief and corrected...

It is suitable for use in whatever shooting adventure you are planning to experience that requires a more enhanced accuracy. The different green and red dot reticles included in this gun sight give the opportunity to choose your preferred target acquisition.

This leads to better shooting accuracy and a more customizable shooting experience. The amazing optical clarity that you can anticipate from this sight also ensures that you will not be bothered by whatever weather condition you are facing, whether it is the heavy rain, glaring sun, or snow.

It has a lens with an anti-glare reflective coating, which further improves the clarity of the optics regardless of your present environmental situation. What I am fond of even more about this scope is that it has a limitless eye relief with the aid of its four reticle patterns. This also results in easy to correct parallax.

Built using the high-grade aluminum alloy material together with its anodized matte black finish, I am sure you can see right away how durable this sight is. Even when it is built with durability in mind, it is still lightweight.

Furthermore, it comes with an Allen wrench, which you can actually use in adjusting the elevation and windage effortlessly.

The battery is quite difficult to put on.

  • Promotes amazing optical clarity
  • Comes with an anti-glare reflective coating
  • Boasts of a limitless eye relief
  • Showcases its durability and lightness through its high-grade aluminum construction
  • Allows you to choose your preferred target acquisition
  • The battery is slightly difficult to put on

For its price, I think you will get a really great deal by investing in the CVLIFE 1x22x33 Gun Sight. It has all the basic features you need, plus it lets you enjoy its versatility and durability.

#10 Sig Sauer ROMEO 5 Red Dot Sight

Sig Sauer SOR52001 Romeo5 1x20mm Compact 2 Moa Red Dot Sight, Black
Sig Sauer SOR52001 Romeo5 1x20mm Compact 2 Moa Red Dot Sight, Black amazon.com Check price

2 MOA Red-Dot provides 10 illumination settings (8 daylight plus 2 NV) for visibility in all light conditions
MOTAC (Motion Activated Illumination) powers up when it senses motion and powers down w...

It has a side-loading battery that allows quick replacement when needed. It also boasts of battery life of at least 5,000 hours. This is because this sighting system automatically shuts down when unused. You can only activate it once it senses vibrations or movements.

I like the versatility of this specific sight. It has a solid aluminum design, further boosting its performance and making it as long-lasting as possible. The waterproof and fog-proof nature of the Sig Sauer Romeo5 is also impressive, making it possible to use it underwater and perform incredibly, even when the weather is foggy. I also like its ability to promote perfect visibility regardless of the condition.

It features 10 illumination settings, with eight of them suitable for daylight, while the remaining two are for night vision. It also promotes an easy and quick mounting process, as it suits most applications and platforms. In terms of durability, this sight also excels through its robust yet lightweight aluminum housing.

This scope does not hold the appealing tactical style and look sported by other popular red dot sights.

  • Versatile, as you can easily mount it into various platforms
  • Can be used underwater and in a foggy weather
  • Promotes a quick and easy mounting process
  • Uses a robust yet lightweight aluminum housing
  • Provides a long battery life of at least 5,000 hours
  • Not as stylish as its competitors

This scope is a great option due to its durability, accuracy, and speed in target acquisition.

Best M4 Holographic Sights Reviews of 2020

EOTECH 512 Holographic Weapon Sight

EOTECH 512 Holographic Sight
EOTECH 512 Holographic Sight amazon.com Check price

EOTECH 512.A65 - Holographic Sight in Black with 68 MOA ring & 1 MOA dot reticle
Mount - Compatible with both 1" Weaver and MIL-STD 1913 Rails
Adjustable Brightness - The 512 has 20 brightness sett...

I find it easy to distinguish this sight because of its square lens and body, as well as open design. This specific structure promotes more efficiency when it comes to seeing over the sight, as it widens your field of view. This also results in better situational awareness. I like the fact that the sight is built to be neat, compact, and lightweight.

You will not have a tough time managing and using this sight. It makes use of a low-profile box for its main body containing all the electronics, as well as a couple of AA batteries and a projector. It is also built to hold the highest level of protection from extreme hunting conditions.

Its 20 brightness level provide the right brightness control and clarity of vision. If you pair that with good contrast, you will love using it, even in conditions with low light. The simple yet attractive design of this optic also makes it effortless and easy to mount. It is very robust and shock-absorbent. In addition, it is fully fog-proof and waterproof. In fact, it is known to be submersible by a max depth of 10 feet.

Its battery life is lower compared to other high-end tactical optics.

  • Boasts of a military-grade, sturdy, and lightweight structure
  • Ideal for close-combat deployment and close-range shooting
  • Highly versatile, thanks to its simple A65 rifle
  • Better situational awareness guaranteed
  • 20 brightness levels provided
  • Lower battery life compared to the other high-end models

Undeniably, the EOTECH 512 Holographic Weapon Sight is a wise and sound investment for anyone interested in versatility, accuracy, and fantastic performance, no matter what situation or field you are in.

Vortex Optics Razor AMG UH-1 Holographic Sight

Vortex Razor AMG UH-1 Gen II Holographic Sight AMG-HS02 Color: Black, Magnification: 1, Reticle: 1 MOA EBR-CQB, 38% Off w/ Free Shipping opticsplanet.com Check price

Color: Black Reticle: 1 MOA EBR-CQB Illumination Color: Red Adjustment Click Value: 1/2 MOAAttachment/Mount Type: Picatinny Battery Type: CR123A , Lithium Included Accessories: Lens Cloth, CR123A B...

This further showcases the sturdiness of this holographic sight, while getting rid of the need to use an obstructive secondary shroud. It utilizes a single-fused holographic element without any moving component, which is beneficial as it produces a sharp and clear image without fade or distortion.

I am also very pleased that this sight is constructed in a way that visible stray light emissions, as well as eyepiece glare, are almost eliminated. Another impressive advantage of this sight is that it utilizes a highly efficient power system, which promotes a long battery life.

It comes with a micro USB port, which I find useful when I am using a rechargeable battery since this means that I can charge it anytime. The fact that it appears in matte black is also a huge advance as it works in lessening the reflection of light from the optic.

This holographic sight is easy to install because of the integrated mount that you can use in effortlessly installing the sight on a wide range of Picatinny or Weaver-style bases. You will also like the shock-proof aluminum base, which works in protecting all the interior parts.

However, some complained about it being bigger and having a larger footprint than what they initially expected.

  • Built to be really tough, solid, and sturdy
  • Eliminates the need to use an obstructive secondary shroud
  • Can produce a sharp and clear image without any signs of fading and distortion
  • Long battery life promoted by its efficient power system
  • Promotes ease of installation in a wide range of bases, particularly Picatinny or Weaver styles
  • Bigger size and a larger footprint than expected

Overall, this great holographic sight continues to leave a positive impression on most of its users. Aside from being tough, its amazing performance on various shooting and hunting scenarios is something to look forward to.

EOTECH EXPS3 Holographic Weapon Sight

EOTECH EXPS3 Holographic Weapon Sight
EOTECH EXPS3 Holographic Weapon Sight amazon.com Check price

EOTECH EXPS3-0 - Holographic Weapon Sight in TAN with 68MOA ring & 1 MOA dot reticle
NIGHT VISION COMPATIBLE - Works with all Gen 1-3 night vision devices
SIDE BUTTON OPERATION - Compact design and...

I discovered upon regular use that this holographic weapon sight perfectly meets the goal that all reflex sights should strive for. It works in meeting such a demand by making it as versatile and sturdy as possible. I like the compactness of this sight.

Combine that with being lightweight and I am sure you will instantly find it easy to maneuver. It is compatible with shotguns, carbines, and rifles, proving its versatility. Despite being compact and lightweight, causing it to fit in just a tiny space in your weapon’s rail, it is still built with amazing technology.

In fact, it makes use of a really unique clear lens, which further improves the accuracy of your shots and the speed of your target acquisition. I am also impressed with how it is designed as it guarantees ease when it comes to mounting it. Another thing that truly caught my interest is its tough and protective build.

It is built in a way that it can withstand almost all negative scenarios and elements. In fact, it can handle a shotgun’s or a high-caliber rifle’s aggressive recoil without causing any damage to its overall accuracy.

Furthermore, it is parallax-free and boasts of several brightness adjustments that you can use for night vision and daylight.

However, I discovered that it tends to consume its batteries too quickly.

  • Promotes quick target acquisition
  • Sturdy while remaining compact and lightweight
  • Versatile as you can use it together with shotguns, carbines, and rifle
  • Uses a distinctive clear lens, improving accuracy and speed of acquiring targets
  • Easy to mount
  • Tends to consume battery too fast

All in all, you will be amazed by the overall quality of this optic as well as its numerous high-end features, so it is truly a wise move to spend your money on it.

Factors to Consider When Buying a Scope/Optic for M4

The M4 Carbine is the more compact version of the M16A2, and although it is smaller and lighter, it is still the better rifle. This is the primary reason why the M4 replaced the M16 in the military. Because the M4 has a rather long reach, it will be much more accurate when you install a medium-range M4 carbine optic. Hitting targets that are 500 yards away is simply too difficult to do using the iron sights alone.

Here are some of the things that you need to take into consideration before buying an M4 scope.


Do you actually have a license to own an M4? In order to legally own an authentic, fully-automatic M4 carbine, you have to get a Federal Firearms License, which is a license to own and operate a gun store.

Intended use

Decide on its use. What will you be using the firearm for? There is no one scope on the market that is designed to do everything well. You must first decide on what you will be using the scope for. For instance, if you will be using the M4 mostly for plinking on the shooting range, then you can get a rather powerful scope. Something that can give a clear sight picture at 500 yards is fine.


The rule of thumb when choosing a rifle optic, not just M4 scopes, but for all rifles in general, is to not choose a scope with a magnification that goes well beyond the effective range of the rifle itself. For the M4, which has an effective range of a little over 500 yards, meaning there is not much bullet drop at said distance, a medium range scope with a zoom of 5-20x will do you fine.

However, do not go over 32x and definitely stay away from the long range scope selections. Keep in mind that higher zooms will need larger lenses. Also, glass is heavy so it will add quite a lot of weight to the rifle.


If you will be using the M4 mainly for hunting, you will need a scope that can handle everything that Mother Nature can throw at it. The scope should at least be purged with nitrogen or argon to make it fog-proof.

It should also be O-ring sealed at all sides to make it waterproof. It will also be good if the scope you get can handle a couple bumps and dings if you will be using it in the great outdoors.

Lens Coating

The lenses of riflescopes need to be coated with a special film that reduces the amount of glare that the user gets and the light the lenses reflect. It also improves the lenses’ light transmission. Glare removal makes aiming your rifle easier because you do not have to deal with excess light hitting your eyes.

On the other end, it is also important that your riflescope has good anti-reflective properties because even a distant twinkling of the scope’s lens will give away your location to the prey that you have been stalking for quite a while now.

Light Transmission

Regardless if you are out in the shooting range, or up in a blind somewhere deep in the forest, you would need a scope that can give you a clear sight picture regardless if you are in a bright area or in an environment with low lighting.

You need to find the best balance between light transmission and scope weight. The bigger the objective lens, the more light it gets. However, it also adds more weight.


Also called the crosshair, the reticle helps the shooter align his/her shot to hit the target every time. For an M4, whose effective range is just a tad over 500 yards, a basic ballistic reticle, or a high-quality yet budget red dot will be more than enough. The bullet drop at 500 yards is not that much that you need a Bullet Drop Compensation, or BDC reticle.


The M4 has a full-auto setting, so you need to mount your scope on a base that is solid and secure. This prevents the scope from losing its zero, or not too much of it at least, when you empty the magazine. Ideally, the scope mount should be one piece, which means that the base and the scope rings are milled from one piece of steel or aluminum billet.

Eye Relief

The eye relief of a scope is the maximum distance between your eye and the eyepiece of the scope that you can get a clear sight picture. Ideally, the eye relief should be more than 4 inches because the M4 can have quite a kick when it fires. When your face is too close, the eyepiece will hit your eye socket and it might even cause serious injuries.

These are only some of the basic factors that you need to take into consideration when you are out shopping for the best scope for M4 carbine rifle. Don’t believe the nay-sayers who always tell you that you do not need a scope for your M4 as the iron sights will do just fine. Any firearm will benefit when equipped with a scope.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a red dot scope?

A red dot scope or sight is one of the common classifications of non-magnifying reflector (also known as reflex) sight for firearms. This type of scope gives the shooter an illuminated red dot for a reticle and since it is on a fixed zoom scope usually, it is faster to acquire targets using a red dot. In addition, there is little to no parallax adjustment that you need to do even when shooting at long distances.

What is the difference between holographic and red dot reticles?

Aside from the construction and how the reticle is projected onto the lens of the scope, there are many differences between holographic and red dot sights. First of all, a holographic reticle has a wider field of vision, thanks to its rectangular window compared to the smaller, circular eyepiece of the red dot reticle scope.

Another difference between these two reticles is the size of the scope themselves. The holographic M4 carbine scopes have bigger housings because they have more parts and lenses. If you want something more low profile, you should go for red dots as it only needs room for the LED projector and the lenses.

One more difference is that the reticle of the holographic scope will not change in size when you zoom in compared to the red dot reticle where the dot also gets bigger when you zoom in on your target.

What optics does the military use of the M4?

The US Military utilizes a specially-made rifle scope for the M4 and the M16A4. It is called the Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight (ACOG) – the ACOG series of telescopic scopes for M4 that are exclusively manufactured under government contract by Trijicon. Originally, the ACOG was designed for the picatinny rail systems of the original M16 rifle, and it is modernized to also fit its successor, the M4.

The different models of the ACOG military optics for m4 provide different fixed magnification levels ranging from 1.5x up to 6x. There are also several choices in ACOG reticles. Some have both night vision illumination through an internal phosphor while others have both night vision and enhanced daytime reticle illumination through the use of a fiber optic illuminated reticle or an LED light.

The TA01, which was the first ACOG model, was released way back in 1987. Some of the ACOG models are actually designed to make use of the “Bindon Aiming Concept”, a technique developed by the founder and head optics designer of Trijicon, Glyn Bindon. This technique uses the illuminated reticle and the focusing eyepiece as a collimator sight.

This means that the shooter does not necessarily have to look through the scope. The user keeps the collimated image of the reticle in focus with the dominant eye, which the other eye is kept open to get the whole field of view so target acquisition is much faster and easier.

With this technique, the human brain will superimpose the image of the reticle on the target. Aside from having a wider field of view, this technique also makes shifting focus to the dominant eye. This solves the problem of getting a good sight picture on fast traversing targets, which is a common problem with telescopic scopes.

How to install a scope, red dot, or holographic on an M4 carbine?

First, you need to choose the kind of scope that you want to use then pick an appropriate mounting base for it. You do not simply just slap the scope on the M4 and expect it to fit perfectly. For the M4, it is highly recommended that you use a single piece design of scope base. This holds on more securely than separate base and scope rings designs.

Now that you have gathered all the necessary pieces, you can continue with the mounting process. The first thing that you need to do is to make sure that the M4 is unloaded and that there is no cartridge chambered inside. It is better to be safe rather than sorry, especially when it comes to handling firearms.

Once the rifle is rendered safe, place it on a workbench vise. Make sure that it is padded to prevent scratches on the rifle. Before you completely tighten the vise, check if the rifle is level. Do this by placing a small level on the rail.

Once the rifle is secured on the vise, get a small rag, dip it in some mineral oil, and wipe it all over the rail. Do the same with the bottom part of the scope mount. The oil will prevent rust from forming on the surfaces.

Place the scope base on the rail and check if it is at the right position. When you are happy with the placement, tighten the mounting bolts at the sides of the scope base. Tighten them just enough that they would not get jogged loose when the rifle is fired.

Once the base is locked down tight. Take off the tops of the scope rings and then place the scope into the cradle. Place the top part of the rings but do not tighten the screws fully just yet. The scope should still be able to slide inside the scope rings for now.

Take the rifle off the vise then start to adjust it for eye relief. To do this, close your eyes then hold the rifle normally. Open your eyes and see if you can get a clear sight picture from the scope. If you can, measure the distance between your dominant eye and the eyepiece. It should be far enough away that you would not get hurt when the M4 recoils after each shot.

When you are happy with the eye relief, place the rifle back on the vise, and make sure that it is once again level. This time, you need to align the reticle so that the crosshairs are perfectly vertical and horizontal in relation to the rifle.

After you are finished with all of the fine adjustments, gently take out the screws one-by-one. Place a bit of blue Loctite into each hole and replace the screws. You have successfully installed your first scope on your M4. The only thing left to do now is go to the range and zero in your scope.

(Source: [1], [2])


The M4 Carbine is a masterpiece of technology, but it will still work better with a scope or optical system to improve its accuracy. One could argue that if you own an M4 Carbine, then you should be skilled enough to hit targets at full range using just the iron sights. But then again, scopes and optical systems allow you to achieve target acquisition faster, as well as aim significantly better. Start you search for the best scopes and optics for the M4 Carbine here, best scope for M4.