A designated marksman (DM) fills the range gap in between infantry rifles and sniper rifles. A designated marksman uses an optic enhanced semi-automatic rifle to engage targets in the range of 330 to 660 yards. These rifles are called DMRs or designated marksman rifles and the optics mounted on them are of the utmost importance. They must be capable of providing rapid target acquisition, accurate holdover and windage corrections, and precise zero adjustments. Check out the list below to gain knowledge on what the best DMR scope is for you.
Running a DMR platform is not strictly limited to the military and law enforcement. Perhaps you are a firearm enthusiast who wants to replicate this type of rifle for range shooting or even hunting. Or maybe you are an airsoft player who wants to take up the designated marksman position for your squad. Whatever you use for a DMR is, the one thing that stays consistent is the need for a good scope.
Due to the fact that DMRs are generally of the semi-automatic variety, the AR-15 or AR-10 are excellent platforms to build off of. Rifles chambered in 5.56 are a great option for a DMR while 7.62 caliber rifles such as the Sig 716 are also great choices. As for airsoft players, DMRs are nearly always electric style rifles. They can also be gas rifles if built in the right way and, more rarely, spring rifles.
You’ve probably heard the saying that a team is only as fast as the slowest teammate. Something similar is very true about rifles; they are only as good as the scope mounted on them. Even if you build the best rifle in the world, it still needs a high quality scope to be accurate, precise, and reliable at any sort of useful range. Considering the ranges that designated marksmen need to be able to shoot at, the scope becomes even more important.
If you don’t have time for the details, check out the list below for the best rated DMR Scopes:
- Nightforce Optics 4-14×56 SHV Riflescope
- VLIFE 3-9×40 Optics R4 Reticle Crosshair Scope
- Pinty 3-9X40 Red Green Rangefinder Illuminated Optical Rifle Scope
- Nikon M-Tactical .308 4-16X42SF
- Sightmark AR 5-20×40 SCR-308 Riflescope
- Bushnell 3-9×40 Riflescope with DZ 223 Reticle
- Monstrum S330P 3X Prism Scope
- Nikon P-Tactical .223 3-9×40
- Primary Arms SLX 4-14x44mm FFP Rifle Scope
- Bushnell Elite Tactical DMR II 3.5-21×50 Riflescope
Table of Contents
- Things to Consider When Choosing DMR Scopes
- Best DMR Scope on the Market Reviews
- 1 Nightforce Optics 4-14×56 SHV Riflescope
- 2 CVLIFE 3-9×40 Optics R4 Reticle Crosshair Scope
- 3 Pinty 3-9X40 Red Green Rangefinder Illuminated Optical Rifle Scope
- 4 Nikon M-Tactical .308 4-16X42SF
- 5 Sightmark AR 5-20×40 SCR-308 Riflescope
- 6 Bushnell 3-9×40 Riflescope with DZ 223 Reticle
- 7 Monstrum S330P 3X Prism Scope
- 8 Nikon P-Tactical .223 3-9×40
- 9 Primary Arms SLX 4-14x44mm FFP Rifle Scope
- 10 Bushnell Elite Tactical DMR II 3.5-21×50 Riflescope
- Final Thoughts
Things to Consider When Choosing DMR Scopes
There are a few things to really keep in mind when shopping for a scope for a DMR.
Rapid Target Acquisition
In pressure situations, target acquisition needs to happen quickly and effectively. Some scopes allow for this better than others. A few of the factors that contribute to rapid target acquisition are the scope’s light transmission, the reticle design, and the field of view (FOV) at various magnification levels.
The more light that is gathered and transmitted through a scope, the brighter and clearer the sight picture will be. Most modern scopes are at least acceptable in this area, but some are better than others. Reticle design also plays a role. A simple reticle can make it easier to pick up a target faster because there is less in the way. However, this factor is a bit of a balancing act as a simple reticle design sacrifices some versatility. Field of view is the other important factor. A generous FOV makes it easier to pick up targets and zero in on them.
Accurate Holdover and Windage Estimations
Unlike a sniper, designated marksmen won’t have as much time to make on the fly scope adjustments when a target needs to be engaged. Having a scope that allows shooters to adjust to estimate holdover and windage corrections is extremely important. Being able to lead moving targets is also vital.
This mostly comes down to reticle design and a DM’s familiarity with that design. There are a plethora of different reticle designs to choose from, so make sure to pick one that you are willing to learn how to use.
Precise Zero Adjustments
Being able to dial in the scope on your DMR to the exact zero your purposes require is key. The turrets on the scope are the thing to pay attention to here. Look for turrets that can lock, be reset to zero, have precise incremental adjustment measurements (clicks), and feature a knurled or textured design for easy grip.
Now that you have a little more knowledge on what to look for, let’s dig into the list that you clicked on this article for. Check out the list below to find the best DMR scope for your rifle and your needs.
Best DMR Scope on the Market Reviews
1 Nightforce Optics 4-14×56 SHV Riflescope
Nightforce Optics is known for designing and building some of the best scopes in the industry and their SHV line of scopes is no exception. With a magnification range of 4-14x, the SHV riflescope functions perfectly in the range of a designated marksman. The large, 56mm objective lens diameter lets in a ton of light and the fully multi-coated optics ensure a bright and clear sight picture.
The capped turrets feature precise click values of .250 MOA and are finger adjustable. This scope is equipped with a MOAR reticle that makes holdover and windage estimations fast with 1 MOA elevation and windage markers and .140 MOA lines. The floating center crosshair on the SHV reticle makes target acquisition a breeze while the side parallax adjustment keeps the image sharp.
2 CVLIFE 3-9×40 Optics R4 Reticle Crosshair Scope
The Optics R4 scope from CVLIFE is an excellent option for airsoft players who want to fill the designated marksman role in their squad. This lightweight scope fits into any budget and comes with Picatinny rail mounting rings. With scratch resistant and fully multi-coated lenses, the Optics R4 boasts an impressive 90% light transmission rate.
This scope is built to last with a machined 1” tube and a specially designed interior structure that prevents the reticle from rotating or moving during scope adjustments. Completely sealed and nitrogen filled, this scope is waterproof and fogproof for reliable performance in any weather conditions.
3 Pinty 3-9X40 Red Green Rangefinder Illuminated Optical Rifle Scope
The Pinty 3-9×40 Rangefinder Optical Rifle scope is another great option for airsoft players. This scope features an illuminated reticle and plenty of magnification to get the designated marksman job done. Marksman can switch the reticle color between red and green and cycle through five brightness settings. This ensures top performance and targeting in nearly all light conditions.
This scope from Pinty includes a pair of Picatinny mounting rings that makes mounting a simple task. The designated airsoft marksman can expect solid performance in even wet conditions thanks to the scope’s O-ring sealing and nitrogen filled interior.
4 Nikon M-Tactical .308 4-16X42SF
For the designated marksman operating off of a .308 rifle platform, the Nikon M-Tactical .308 4-16x42SF is a great scope to consider for the money. This scope was designed and built especially for .308 Winchester/7.62 NATO 168 grain hollow point boat tail match bullet. The BDC 800 reticle offers extremely precise holdover and windage subtensions for that 168 grain round. However, it can still be used with other rounds and calibers as well.
The aggressive tactical design of this scope pairs perfectly with tactical rifles such as the Sig 716. It is equipped with raised and knurled turrets that both feature spring-loaded instant zero reset. The turrets are also engraved for optimum readability in the field. With a robust 30mm main tube diameter and fully multi-coated optics, the Nikon M-Tactical .308 is an excellent scope for DMRs.
5 Sightmark AR 5-20×40 SCR-308 Riflescope
For the more budget minded designated marksman who prefers a .308 caliber rifle, the Sightmark AR SCR-308 should not be overlooked. The 5-20x magnification range easily handles the 330-660 yard range that a DM mostly operates in. This scope’s illuminated reticle has subtensions that are calibrated for 150 grain .308 rifle cartridges right out of the box.
With a generous 4 inches of eye relief and a compact, lightweight design, the Sightmark AR scope is comfortable to both shoot and carry. The single piece construction of the 30mm main tube makes this scope extremely durable and shock resistant. Combined with the fully multi-coated optics, IP67 waterproof rating, and the hard anodized finish, this scope will endure even the most rugged of shooting conditions.
6 Bushnell 3-9×40 Riflescope with DZ 223 Reticle
The Bushnell AR Optics 3-9×40 Riflescope is a great fit for AR-15 rifles chambered in the .223/5.56 caliber. With an array of notable features and a budget friendly price, the AR Optics has a magnification range that is useful for designated marksman distances and a specially calibrated bullet drop compensating reticle. Designated marksman can quickly change magnification levels with the customizable throw lever and always stay in focus with the side parallax adjustment knob.
The AR Optics 3-9×40 scope features Bushnell’s DZ 223 reticle. This reticle is calibrated specifically for 55 to 62 grain .223/5.56 loads and features easy to use holdovers for distances out to 600 yards. The target turrets on this scope are MIL based and exposed for on the fly adjustments.
7 Monstrum S330P 3X Prism Scope
While the designated marksman is typically firing in the 330-660 yard range, sometimes they still need to engage targets in close quarters combat (CQB). The Monstrum S330P 3x Prism Scope strikes a good balance between being CQB ready while remaining useful out to about 500 yards. The S330P features a glass prism optical system which offers better optical quality when compared to more traditional refracting systems.
This prism scope’s reticle is visible with or without illumination which gives it a decided advantage over red dot sights. The illuminated circle dot reticle can be adjusted to red or green with various brightness settings when turned on and shows up black when turned off. The Monstrum S330P is an ideal choice for a wide variety of DMRs.
8 Nikon P-Tactical .223 3-9×40
The P-Tactical .223 3-9×40 is another great option for the AR-15 .223/5.56 platform. It’s BDC 600 reticle has open circle aiming points and hash marks for ranges from 100 yards to 600 yards. These reticle features allow for quick target acquisition and easy holdover and windage corrections.
The P-Tactical .223 from Nikon is equipped with fully multi-coated optics, a one inch aircraft grade aluminum tube, and exposed, knurled turrets. The turrets are spring loaded for instant zero resetting and the fast focus eyepiece keeps your sight picture focused and clear.
9 Primary Arms SLX 4-14x44mm FFP Rifle Scope
With a first focal plane reticle and a magnification range of 4-14x, the Primary Arms SLX is an ideal DMR scope for a variety of weapon platforms. This scope’s ARC-2 MOA reticle stays the same size throughout the magnification range for consistent bullet drop compensation and the subtensions match the turret click values for lightning fast and accurate adjustments. With a reticle illumination and a side parallax adjustment knob, the SLX scope can perform in any lighting conditions.
This DMR scope from Primary Arms is also built to withstand rough conditions and tough use. The durable aluminum construction and nitrogen purged interior make this scope shockproof, waterproof, and fog resistant.
10 Bushnell Elite Tactical DMR II 3.5-21×50 Riflescope
The Elite Tactical DMR II 3.5-21×50 is Bushnell’s flagship rifle scope and is also one of the greatest DMR scopes available for purchase on the market today. It incorporates all of the usual scope features serious shooters look for, such as fully multi-coated optics, durable construction, and O-ring sealing, and adds on an impressive list of advanced features not found on typical scopes.
These advanced features include an oversized, locking windage turret, a removable magnification throw lever, Bushnell’s EXO Barrier lens coating, a locking diopter, and a revlimiter zero stop for increased confidence in the scope’s zero. In other words, the Elite Tactical DMR II excels at every job a designated marksman could throw at it. The illuminated G3 reticle tops off this top of the line DMR scope.
The scope on a DMR can make or break a mission. It must be capable of accurately engaging targets in the 330-660 yard range while maintaining the versatility to adapt to ever changing shooting situations. Rapid target acquisition, accurate holdover and windage estimations, and precise zero adjustments are all important factors to consider. Whether you are the DM for a military or law enforcement squad or the DM on your airsoft team, use the list above to find the best DMR scope for your needs.