Best Scopes for the M&P 15-22: Top 6 Picks From Rifle Experts

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By Dennis Howard •  12 min read
Best Scopes for the M&P 15-22

When it comes to 22 caliber rimfire rifles, the Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22 must be one of the most popular on the market.  The wide array of models and options make it easy to find a combination of features that fit almost any shooter’s needs.  Personalizing a Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22 includes choosing the right scope.

Choosing the right scope for your M&P 15-22 requires the same sort of diligence as fitting a scope to your most expensive hunting or competition rifle.  Such attention to detail is especially important if your M&P 15-22 is your go-to bug-out or survival rifle. 

Before we get to the list of my choices for the best scope for your M&P 15-22, it is important to understand the criteria used to make the selections. 

  • Great clarity and easy adjustments.
  • Long eye relief.
  • Second focal plane design.
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  • Well built using mil-spec aircraft-grade aluminum.
  • Waterproof.
  • Parallax Adjustment – 60 yards.
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  • Unlimited eye relief.
  • Excellent for target shooting, self-defense, or hunting.
  • Designed for both eyes open shooting.
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What I Look for in A Rimfire Scope

When I consider rimfire rifle scopes, I use some of my standard criteria for selecting a scope.  The most important that affect the choice of a rimfire scope include:

Best Rimfire Scopes for M&P 15-22: My Picks

With these criteria in mind, I looked at the multitude of rimfire scopes on the market and these are my choices in various categories.  My choices may not fit your needs exactly.  However, my choices may help guide you in your quest to find the perfect rimfire scope to mount on your M&P 15-22.

Overall Best – Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7X32 Rimfire

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7X32 Rimfire

With two of the largest scope manufacturers either getting out of the riflescope business altogether or cutting rimfire rifle scopes from their scope line, shooters must look outside the box.  My first stop is always to look at Vortex Optics.  That brought the Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7X32 Rimfire rifle scope to my attention.

Vortex Optics doesn’t skimp on quality or features on this rimfire scope.  All too often, scope manufacturers will build their rimfire scopes to a slightly less rigorous level than their large bore rifle scopes.  Not so Vortex Optics.  The Crossfire II Rimfire scope has all the features of every other Vortex Optics and carries the Vortex Optics no question asked warranty




A Great Compromise

Overall, the Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7X32 Rimfire riflescope is a great compromise scope for you Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22.  The variable magnification allows this scope to take you out to the very limits of the 22LR cartridge.  You can be comfortable taking this scope anywhere despite the conditions.  The basic V-plex reticle is suitable for hunting or target shooting.  I would have liked the option for a BDC reticle, but as with any compromise, you can’t get everything you want.

Vortex Crossfire II
  • Long eye-relief is a blessing and makes this scope a joy in the field
  • Holds zero and the reticle is clear and sharp even as extreme magnification
  • Dead-Hold BDS reticle
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Ultimate Scope for M&P 15-22 – Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9X40mm Rimfire Riflescope

Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9X40mm Rimfire Riflescope

If you can take the budget considerations out of the equation, the obvious choice for your M&P 15-22 is the Leupold VX- Rimfire Rifle Scope.  Leupold is always a top choice if you can afford the price.  If you intend to put the best possible rimfire rifle scope on your Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22, the Leupold VX-Freedom is the choice.

The Leupold VX-Freedom scope brings all the great features of the entire line of Leupold scopes.  The Leupold VX-Freedom scopes come with the Leupold patented Twilight Light Management System.  If you aren’t familiar with this system, you can’t imagine the amount and quality of light transmission possible in a riflescope.  These rimfire scopes bring all the other Leupold features to the field.




Paying for What you Get

You can spend more on a rimfire scope.  However, in my opinion, you are wasting money.  You won’t get a better scope even if you spend more money.  While the Leupold Rimfire MOA reticle is not a true BDC reticle, it offers the experienced shooter much of the same service.  If you aim to have the ultimate rimfire riflescope on your Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22, the Leupold VX-Freedom 3-9X40 Rimfire riflescope should be on your shortlist.

  • Rimfire MOA reticle
  • Waterproof and Fogproof
  • Quick change magnification using the easy-grip power selector
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Best Budget Scope – Barska 3-9X32 Plinker-22 Riflescope

Barska 3-9X32 Plinker-22 Riflescope

Many shooters overlook Barska when they are shopping for rifle scopes.  I have found Barska scopes to be reliable budget priced scopes.  For the price that many Barska scopes bring, the features and quality are above average.  The balance of budget price and features holds for the Barska 3-9X32 Plinker riflescope.

Barska brings together specifications and features that make the 3-9X32 Plinker-22 a scope to fulfill many roles in the field.  The 3-9 magnification allows you to push your M&P 15-22 to the extreme range of most 22LR cartridges without sacrificing image quality. 




Don’t Underestimate this Budget Conscious Scope

If you want to go plinking or target shooting, the Barska 3-9X32 Rimfire scope is a great choice.  Not only will this scope provide you everything you need for some casual shooting, but you can also transition into a bit of serious small game hunting as well.  The Barska Plinker-22 scope is a great all-around rimfire scope that won’t break your budget.

  • Second Focal plane design.
  • Accurate and holds zero reliably.
  • Waterproof, Fog Proof.
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Best Prism Scope for M&P 15-22 – Vortex Spitfire 1x Prism Scope

Vortex Spitfire 1x Prism Scope

There are hundreds of prism scopes on the market.  Most of them are decent and probably well worth the price you will pay.  However, this list is about the best scopes for you M&P 15-22 and my choice for the best prism scope for you M&P 15-22 must be the Vortex Spitfire 1x Prizm riflescope. 

The Vortex Spitfire 1x Prizm scope is not technically a rimfire scope.  This little optic is rated for true AR platforms but is so versatile that it works equally well on the M&P 15-22 platform.  If you intend to outfit your M&P 15-22 with a quick reaction high-quality scope, you won’t do better than the Vortex Optics Spitfire 1X Prism Scope.




If You are a prism scope fan and want to mount the best prism scope you can find on your M&P 15-22, then the Vortex Spitfire scope is an obvious choice.  You won’t be doing any long-ranging shooting with a prism scope, but for short to medium-range shooting, a prism scope will give you an advantage in speed and target acquisition. 

  • Quick target acquisition at close to medium ranges.
  • Sharp, clear focus.
  • Waterproof, Fog Proof.
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Best Red Dot Scope for M&P 15-22 – Aimpoint Carbine Optic Sight

Aimpoint Carbine Optic Sight

The Smith and Wesson is not a military-grade weapon and many people wonder why I recommend a military-grade red dot sight.  If you want the best red dot sight on your M&P 15-22 rifle, the Aimpoint ACO sight is the top pick in my book.

Aimpoint has a reputation for building the best red dot reflex sights on the market.  The testament to this is the military acceptance of the use of Aimpoint optics.  You just can’t get a better testing ground than military operations.  Aimpoint has proven itself over and over in these conditions.




If Tactical is Your Goal

For shooters who want the tactical reliability of a mil-spec red dot scope, the Aimpoint ACO red dot scope is the best choice on the market.  You can find red dot scopes that are cheaper, but you won’t find one that offers better value. 

Aimpoint ACO
  • Unlimited field of view
  • Parallax-free operation
  • Unlimited eye relief
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Bargain Scope – Bushnell Optics Drop Zone-22 BDC Rimfire Reticle Riflescope

Bushnell Optics Drop Zone-22 BDC Rimfire Reticle Riflescope

Unfortunately, A fine rimfire scope is no longer available from the manufacturer.  Bushnell Optics has quit manufacturing the Drop Zone-22 BDS Rimfire Reticle Riflescope.  The Bushnell Drop Zone-22 scope has consistently been a winner when selecting and reviewing rimfire riflescopes.

I put the Bushnell Optics Drop Zone -22 BDS reticle scope on this list because it represents one of the best rimfire scopes for use on the M&P 15-22.  Many retailers still have these stocks in their inventory.  Doing a little bargain hunting might score you a great scope for a bargain-basement price.




Go and Shop

Search around and if you are serious about getting a great scope at a reasonable price, find one of these Bushnell Optics Drop Zone-22 BDS Rimfire Riflescopes.  There are still many retailers who are holding stocks of these scopes, but the supply is limited. 

  • Second focal plane reticle.
  • Budget-friendly.
  • Lightweight for the features and the construction.
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Finding That Perfect Scope…

If you are a target shooter, a casual plinker, or a serious hunter, the Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22 can fulfill your needs.  Putting the right scope on your M&P 15-22 can mean the difference in success or failure for your shooting experience. 

I hope that the information I have provided here helps you make the best decision.  There is no blanket best answer for every shooter.  You must weigh the options and features as well as your budget when choosing your scope.  Have fun and good shooting.

Dennis Howard

A life long hunter, fisherman, and outdoorsman, after surviving a devastating tornado in his home town, he saw the effects on people's lives as they struggled to cope. He built his first bugout bag a few weeks later and has been a dedicated prepper/survivalist since that time. After a career as a fireman, Dennis opened a retail store (FFL approved) catering to the military, law enforcement, and like-minded individuals. The store built their own AR platforms. Furthermore, Dennis was also an NRA instructor in both long gun and handgun as well as a certified range safety officer. Read his full interview here.