Best Optics For M&P 15-22

When it comes to recreational shooting aka plinking and doing some side hustle in small-game hunting, nothing comes close to an AR 22 rifle. And when you talk about AR-22 rifles, you just can’t exclude the M&P 15-22.

An one of a kind rifle that has gotten quite a bit of attention over the years. The gun uses a polymer mainframe and upper rather than aluminum which you find in most AR-15 style rifles. Because of that, you will need to use proprietary polymer box magazines.

But what you don’t need to use proprietary, is the scope and sights. That’s right, the gun is capable of operating with both red dot sights and rifle scopes. But how do you find the best red dot sight for Smith And Wesson M&P? Well, that’s why you are here, no? As a bonus, I will also include some of the best scopes for M&P 15-22 you can buy right now.

Without wasting any more of your time, let’s get this started. Buckle in lads, it’s gonna take a while.

What Kind Of Optic Is Best For M&P 15-22?

Different people have different opinions. Some will prefer red dots over scopes for an AR-15-style rifle. While some will prefer the opposite. It’s up to you to decide on what kind of optics you want to rock. Whatever it is, you will enjoy the experience regardless. Anything is better than Ironsight at this point.

Also, red dots are usable during the night and regular riflescopes are not. So, you will also need to consider whether you are a night owl or not.

1. Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9x40mm Riflescope

If you have hung out here for a while, you know how good of a scope Leupold VX-Freedom already is. I have suggested this scope to you guys for a while now. It’s such a versatile scope for both tactical use and hunting use.

Even for plinking, the 9x magnification comes in super handy to help you see your target better. While it’s not suitable for big-game hunting by any means, it can hold onto small-game hunting extremely well.

The scope has fully multi-coated lenses and they are securely tucked inside a CNC machined aluminum housing with matte black anodization. The housing is shock, water, and fogproof simultaneously. Thanks to that, your scope will outlast most of its competitors in the market.

Does Leupold include any warranty with this product?

Yes, they do. They offer the lifetime warranty they are known for with all of their products. That does include the VX-Freedom as well.

Is Leupold’s twilight light management system also present on this scope?

Yes, it is. It’s a trademark of Leupold to include it in their red dot and riflescopes to increase its performance of it during low-light conditions.

What kind of rings do I need for it?

You will need 1” mounting rings for it. If you want to get one of the best in the market, then go for Vortex Pro Series Rings. If you want something light on the pocket, then you can take Leupold’s standard mounting rings. Vortex Hunter Riflescope Rings are also good on the budget.

2. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32 Scout Riflescope

The Vortex Crossfire series has always been a crowd pleaser. Whether you are talking about the first gen or the second, both of them had a fair share of users around the world. Especially for small-game hunting, their value is still quite unbeatable.

The scope is made out of durable aircraft-grade aluminum. It’s lightweight and durable at the same time. The inside of the tube is also purged with nitrogen to make it immune to internal fogging. Outside of the scope is also waterproof and shockproof.

The lenses are fully multi-coated and they are sporting a V-Plex reticle. It’s one of the easiest reticles to learn and you can do any kind of shooting with this. While the reticle is in the SFP, you don’t need FFP with a 7x magnified scope. Speaking of magnification, there is no distortion present on the scope at any angle. Really impressive what Vortex did on the budget.

Does Vortex offer any warranty with this scope?

Yes, they do. It’s part of their unconditional, no questions asked lifetime guarantee. As long as you have a product with Vortex’s serial number, they will take care of you.

Should I get an expensive pair of rings for this?

You can get them, yes. But I would recommend you to stick with something simple like the Vortex Hunter Riflescope Rings. But if you decide to buy something more expensive, you have the insurance to use those rings with other scopes that you might get.

Is this scope good for small-game hunting?

It’s excellent for small-game hunting. In fact, it’s the best hunting scope for M&P 15-22 on the budget you can buy.

3. UTG 3-9X32 1″ BugBuster AO RGB Mil-dot Scope

While the name of the scope may be BugBuster, it can bust something more than tiny bugs. The BugBuster is a budget scope that can offer you a taste of long-range shooting. While the M&P 15-22 is not the best for long-range, it certainly can imitate a long-range rifle.

The scope is made out of high-quality aluminum. The aluminum body has a matte black finish that looks gorgeous. With an accent of green ring on the turrets, the scope looks like it costs way more than it actually does.

The lenses are fully multi-coated as well. Thanks to that, you will not see any chromatic aberration or similar color alteration issues. The long-range vision is clean and there is no flaw in the corners of the scope either. Overall, it’s a clean looking and performing scope fancying an RGB MIL-Dot reticle.

Does the scope come with its own rings?

Yes, it does. It comes with a pair of QD rings that you can easily take off of your weapon with minimal effort.

Does this scope have any warranty?

Yes, it does. UTG is a part of Leaper and they also have the same never-rest warranty that Leapers is known for. You are in good hands, my friend.

Do I need a riser with an AR-15 M&P model?

No, you don’t. But depending on the mount, you might want to use some risers to suit your desired height.

4. Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn 3-9×40 Multi-X Reticle Riflescope

When it comes to a cheap dusk and dawn scope, Bushnell got everyone’s number. The banner is an inexpensive offering from Bushnell that can operate really well from dawn till dusk. While not using any ED or HD lenses, the scope performs exceptionally well during low light conditions.

The scope is made out of durable aluminum. The lenses are also fully multi-coated to aid you with vision during the entire day. While the scope is not capable of shooting at night by any means, the dusk performance of this scope is surprisingly good.

The inside of the scope is purged with argon to make it immune to internal fogging. The scope is also shock and waterproof at the same time as well. The Multi-X reticle is perfect for hunting and plinking. If your main requirements are that, you are set for a long time.

Does it come with any scope rings?

Unfortunately, no. You will need to buy your own pair of rings. As always, go with the ones that fits in your budget.

What kind of warranty does this scope come with?

It comes with a limited lifetime warranty provided by the manufacturer.

Does this scope support sunshade?

Yes, it does. You can try the silicone sunshades from Down Under. They are good and they block the sun really well.

5. Barska Plinker 22 3-9x40mm riflescope

How can you forget Barska when you are talking about 22 rifles specifically? The Plinker 22 is a riflescope that is actually made for pinking and nothing else. Yes, the users might claim they had success in small-game hunting or even tactical usage, but the gun’s main purpose was to be used for recreational shooting.

The scope is made out of solid aluminum. It’s a lightweight and durable material that you find in most scopes nowadays. The inside of the scope is also purged with nitrogen to make it immune to internal fogging.

The exterior has no sharp edges and it does well in a lit environment. While the scope is also available in 4x fixed magnification, I will urge you to get the 3-9x variant to get the best plinking experience.

Does the scope come with its own ring?

Yes, it does. I know it’s hard to stomach, a dirt cheap scope including some rings. But hey, it’s a competitive world we live in.

What’s the tube diameter?

The tube is 1” thick. You can use 1” rings instead of the stock rings if you want.

How is this so cheap?

I cannot answer that. Barska can answer that better. They probably have a small profit margin on this.

Now that you are aware of some of the best scopes you can buy for M&P 15-22, it’s about time you learn about some red dots as well.

1. Aimpoint ACO Red Dot reflex sight

When it comes to red dot sight, Aimpoint always nails the product. The ACO reflex sight is a great one for people who enjoy short-range plinking. The red dot is made out of durable aluminum.

The tube of the sight is also purged to make it immune to internal fogging. The lenses are crips and the 2 MOA red dot is also illuminated. The red dot features a total of 9 low light and daylight brightness settings. In short, a perfect companion for short range plinking.

What kind of battery does this need?

It requires one piece of DL1/3N battery. You will find one included in the package. You can buy them for cheap almost everywhere.

How much battery life am I going to get from them?

You are going to get 1 year of continuous battery life with the single DL1/3N battery at standard medium brightness. At high brightness, you will get way less.

2. HOLOSUN – HS510C Reflex Red Dot Sight

Holosun is not a new name in the red dot industry. Despite not being American, they are one of the most trusted red dot brands in the USA right now. Holosun has always made great reflex sights.

The HS510C is no different. It’s a reflex sight made out of aircraft aluminum featuring a fully multi-coated lens. The lens is coated to be highly accurate and durable at the same time. The 2 MOA reticle is illuminated and you will get crisp vision throughout the day. You will find 10 daylight and 2 night vision brightness settings on the red dot.

Does Holosun offer any warranty?

Yes, they do. They offer a limited lifetime warranty with their products. They have provided good service in the USA for a while now and I’m sure they will continue to do so.

What kind of battery does this scope run on? And is it waterproof?

It runs on one CR2032 battery and you will find a battery included in the package. As for waterproofing, it’s rated IP67. So, yes it’s waterproof and submersible (in clean water).

3. Vortex Optics Spitfire 1x Prism Scope

While Vortex does market it as a scope, it’s more of a red dot sight than anything. The Spitfire is equipped with top-end aluminum and fully multi-coated lenses. The lenses are crisp and extremely visible during both day and night time.

That’s right, the scope is capable of being used during the night. That’s right, the optic is equipped with 12 levels of brightness setting. On top of that, you also have an option to change the focus of the reticle. And that’s not all, the scope is also equipped with mount risers as well. It’s truly a 1x scope by all means.

Does the scope come with any warranty?

Of course, it does. It’s the Vortex we are talking about. They offer a lifetime warranty with their products. That’s unconditional and unlimited.

Will this work on an AR-15 rifle?

Yes, it will. It will work on the M&P 15-22 rifle.

4. Sig Sauer SOR52001 Romeo5 1x20mm Red Dot Sight

Boy, I can write an essay about this thing right here. Sig Sauer Romeo 5 is one of the most sold items made by Sig. The Romeo 5 is a compact red dot with 2 MOA reticle. The reticle is, of course, illuminated.

The reticle has 8 daylight and 2 night vision brightness settings for visibility during the night and day. It is also equipped with a MOTAC sensor. It will automatically turn on when the scope senses a bit of movement and will turn off when it doesn’t sense any movement for a while.

What is Spectracoat?

It’s an efficient lens coating system that reduces surface reflection and makes the lens perform extremely well during low-light conditions.

What kind of battery does this use?

It uses a CR2032 battery to operate. With that single battery, you can expect around 50k hours of battery life at standard setting. Depending on light intensity your battery life will vary.

5. Sightmark Ultra Shot Multi Red & Green plus reflex sight

If you want to spend as little as possible but still want to get the full plinking experience out of the M&P 15-22 rifle, then the Sightmark Ultra is one of your best choices. The red dot optic is made for short-range shooting. Whether it’s plinking or some small-scale hunting, that’s up to you to decide.

The housing of the optic is made out of cast aluminum alloy. While it’s not as smooth and refined as CNC machining, the chassis of the optic is still flawless and has no visible errors or sharp edges. The lens is coated and it sports an illuminated red and green reticle with unlimited eye relief.

Is Sightmark a trustworthy brand?

Yes, they are. While their optics are manufactured and imported from China, their USA service is quite good and praiseworthy.

What kind of battery do I need for this?

You will require one CR123 battery to turn on the optic and use it for around 1000 hours.


Told you to buckle in. I know that was a long read. But I hope you found something useful to take from the discussion. Whether it’s the best scope for M&P 15-22 or the red dot, I will let you decide on what sails your boat. With that said, that’s all for now. Thanks again for reading and I appreciate you all. Till we meet again, sit tight and have fun.

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