A designated marksman rifle (DMR) fills the gap in the effective range between infantry rifles and sniper rifles. A designated marksman (DM) uses an optic-enhanced semi-automatic rifle to engage targets between 330 and 660 yards.
A DMR must allow rapid target acquisition while providing accurate holdover and windage corrections, and precise zero adjustments. Check out the list below for more information on finding the best DMR scope for you.
The DMR platform isn’t just for 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. However you plan to use your DMR, the need for a good scope remains consistent.
The AR-15 and AR-10 platforms are perfect for building a DMR. 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.
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.
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
- CVLIFE 3-9×40 Optics R4 Reticle Crosshair Scope
- Pinty 3-9X40 Red Green Rangefinder Illuminated Optical Rifle Scope
- Trijicon ACOG 4 X 32 Scope
- Sightmark AR 5-20×40 SCR-308 Riflescope
- Bushnell 3-9×40 Riflescope with DZ 223 Reticle
- Monstrum S330P 3X Prism Scope
- EOTECH Vudu 1-6x24mm Precision Riflescope
- Primary Arms SLX 4-14x44mm FFP Rifle Scope
- Bushnell 1-8×24 AR Optics 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 Trijicon ACOG 4 X 32 Scope
- 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 EOTECH Vudu 1-6x24mm Precision Riflescope
- 9 Primary Arms SLX 4-14x44mm FFP Rifle Scope
- 10 Bushnell 1-8×24 AR Optics Riflescope
- Final Thoughts
Things to Consider When Choosing DMR Scopes
There are a few things to really keep in mind when shopping for a DMR scope.
Rapid Target Acquisition
In high-pressure situations, target acquisition must take place quickly. Some scopes allow for this better than others. Factors that contribute to rapid target acquisition are light transmission, reticle design, and field of view (FOV).
The more light that is transmitted through a scope, the brighter and clearer the sight picture. Most modern scopes are at least acceptable in this area. However, some are better than others. Look for a scope with ED glass and fully multi-coated lenses for best results.
Reticle design also plays a role. A simple reticle makes target acquisition less confusing because there isn’t much to clutter up the sight picture. However, this factor is a bit of a balancing act as a simple reticle design can sacrifice precision at longer ranges.
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 snipers, designated marksmen won’t have as much time to make on-the-fly scope adjustments. A scope that allows shooters to adjust to estimated holdover and windage corrections is extremely important. The ability to lead moving targets is also vital.
This mostly comes down to reticle design and a DM’s familiarity with that design. There are plenty of reticle designs to choose from, so make sure to pick one you are willing to learn how to use effectively.
Because DMs often have to engage targets at distance, windage and holdovers may need to be dialed using the scope’s turrets. Look for locking turrets that provide precise incremental clicks, feature a knurled or textured design for easy gripping, and have a zero-reset feature.
Best DMR Scope on the Market Reviews
1 Nightforce Optics 4-14×56 SHV Riflescope
Nightforce Optics is known for designing some of the best scopes in the industry, and their SHV scopes are 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, 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 allows shooters to make holdover and windage estimations quickly and easily with 1 MOA elevation and windage markers and .140 MOA lines. The reticle also has a floating center crosshair that 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 DMRs. 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 one-inch tube and a specially designed interior structure that prevents the reticle from rotating or moving during adjustments. Completely sealed and nitrogen-filled, this scope is waterproof and fogproof for reliable performance in any weather condition.
3 Pinty 3-9X40 Red Green Rangefinder Illuminated Optical Rifle Scope
The Pinty 3-9×40 Rangefinder Optical Riflescope is a highly affordable option for airsoft players. This scope features an illuminated reticle and plenty of magnification to get the designated marksman job done. Marksmen 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 includes a pair of Picatinny mounting rings. The designated airsoft marksman can expect solid performance, even in wet conditions, thanks to the scope’s O-ring seals and nitrogen-filled interior.
4 Trijicon ACOG 4 X 32 Scope
The Trijicon ACOG (Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight) has proven its worth on real-world battlefields around the globe. This compact, fixed-power scope is the standard-issue optic of US Spec Ops and Marine Corps DMs.
Ultra-lightweight yet extremely durable, the ACOG has proven its worth as a DMR scope in some of the toughest shooting conditions on Earth. The ACOG features a rugged housing made from forged 7075-T6 aircraft-grade aluminum.
The ACOG is built around the Bindon Aiming Concept (BAC), which allows shooters to engage targets with both eyes open, preserving peripheral vision during CQB.
The ACOG’s most notable feature is its battery-free reticle illumination. The optic relies on fiber optics and tritium phosphor to guarantee visibility in any lighting condition.
5 Sightmark AR 5-20×40 SCR-308 Riflescope
For the more budget-minded DM who prefers a .308, the Sightmark AR SCR-308 should not be overlooked. The 5-20x magnification range easily handles the 330-660 yard range common for DM operations. This scope’s illuminated reticle has subtensions calibrated specifically for 150 grain .308 rifle cartridges.
With a generous four-inch eye relief and a compact, lightweight design, the Sightmark AR scope is comfortable to shoot and carry. The single-piece 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 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. With an array of notable features and a budget-friendly price, the AR Optics has a magnification range useful for designated marksman distances. Designated marksmen can quickly change magnification levels with the scope’s customizable throw lever. The scope also comes with a handy side parallax adjustment knob.
The AR Optics scope features Bushnell’s DZ 223 BDC 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 need to engage targets in close quarters combat (CQB). The Monstrum S330P 3x Prism Scope strikes a good balance between CQB effectiveness while remaining useful out to 500 yards. The S330P features a glass prism optical system which provides a more compact, maneuverable design than traditional refracting systems.
This prism scope’s reticle is visible with or without illumination, giving it a decided advantage over red dot sights. The illuminated circle dot reticle can be adjusted to red or green with various brightness settings.
8 EOTECH Vudu 1-6x24mm Precision Riflescope
Although EOTech is most famous for its holographic sights, the company’s riflescopes are top-notch. The EOTech Vudu line are some of the best LPVOs (low power variable optics) on the market today.
Built from a single piece of durable aircraft-grade aluminum alloy, the Vudu is tough as a tank. It also features a hard-anodized finish for extra protection for rough use and harsh elements.
The Vudu features high-density, low dispersion glass, and fully multi-coated lenses, producing a bright, crisp sight picture. The Vudu also features high-quality target turrets and a one-piece eyepiece with a removable throw lever, two features that designated marksmen will find particularly useful.
9 Primary Arms SLX 4-14x44mm FFP Rifle Scope
With a first focal plane FFP 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. The subtensions match the turret click values for lightning-fast 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 1-8×24 AR Optics Riflescope
Bushnell AR Optics are insanely popular and this 1-8x version works well for designated marksmen applications. It incorporates all of the usual scope features serious shooters look for, including fully multi-coated optics, durable construction, and O-ring seals. The scope also has an impressive list of advanced features.
These advanced features include Bushnell’s EXO Barrier lens coating, an illuminated SFP (second focal plane) reticle, and a throw-down power change lever for near-instant magnification changes. In other words, Bushnell AR Optics can handle pretty much anything a DM can ask it to do.
The scope on a designated marksman rifle can make or break a mission. Any optic you choose to mount on your DMR must be capable of accurately engaging targets in the 330-660 yard range. It must also 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.