Nikon M223 vs P223 AR Scopes

Nikon jumped right on when it saw a huge demand for scopes for the AR rifles and launched many wonderful scopes under the Series of M223 and P223 models.

These scopes were built for the AR-15 and AR-10, so if you’ve got one of these and are looking for your next scope, you will be happy to know that I am going to go deep into the features of the scopes offered by Nikon under these two series.

Usually, scopes are only good for up to 200 yards or even less, but thanks to the Bullet Drop Compensation (BDC) technology, hunters could actually shoot up to 600 yards with fair precision.

The M223 series introduced BDC-based scopes that were well-received by the community, and shortly after, another BDC-based series of scopes was launched- the P223 models of rifle scopes.

There was one thing that catapulted Nikon into fame, and it was that the scopes by Nikon were super affordable for even a beginner. And as the quality was top-notch, there was really no reason for anybody to not get one.

In this short article, I compare the scopes in each model under the P223 and M223 series to see how they

Let’s get right into it!

The M223 Series by Nikon

Launched in 2010, the M223 featured a BDC feature that made shooting up to 600 yards very practical. The scope was designed to work with a .223/5.56 cartridge and a 55-grain polymer-tipped bullet.

1 – 4x 20mm

The Nikon M223 1 – 4x may seem to have a small objective lens but don’t let that distract you from the fact that this scope is a beast.

The scope is ideal for close-quarters as the magnification range does not suit long-range hunting. I would say that this is good for shooting at mid-range distances, and to be fair, 600 yards isn’t that short.

Built on a 1-inch tube, the M223 scope actually came in two options for the reticle. This may have been because it was still early days for the BDC reticle.

You could get the Nikon Point blank reticle or BDC 600 reticle, and either of them would suit your needs. Personally,

I would go for the BDC one but that’s just personal preference.

You also get a fixed parallax at 100 yards which is good to know.

1.5 – 6x 24

Next up, we have the Nikon scope with a magnification range of 1.5 – 6s which is a step up from the previous in both the improved magnification range as well as the size of the objective lens.

The scope gathers more light which just means that you get brighter images, and the clarity of the image on this is no doubt impressive.

Built on a 1-inch tube, this scope features a BDC 600 reticle or an illuminated reticle with BDC 600.

Personally, I am a huge fan of illuminated reticles and would definitely go for the illuminated BDC 600 at that time.

You also had a fixed parallax at 100 yards just like with the previous scope. What I like the most about this is the fact that this has the only illuminated reticle out of all the models offered in the M223 series by Nikon.

2 – 8 x 32

Featuring a 32mm objective lens and a magnification range of 2 – 8x, this scope offers a 1-inch tube construction which is kind-of standard on scopes.

What I like about this is that it comes in both BDC reticle configuration as well as Nikoplex reticle option.

If you don’t know what a Nikoplex reticle is, it’s basically just a modified duplex reticle.

Much like the easy-reset option on modern-day turrets these days, this scope offers something called Rapid Action

Turret System which just lets you adjust the turrets rapidly. Simple as that!

This model scope also has a fixed parallax at 100 yards.

3 -12 x 42

This model of 42mm objective lens scope featured a magnification range of 3x – 12x.

Built on a 1-inch tube, this scope has magnification power for some serious long-distance shooting.

You get the option to choose between a BDC 600 reticle or the Nikoplex reticle. I would personally go for the BDC 600 but if you do choose the Nikoplex reticle, you would have gotten the Rapid Action Turret system.

What I used to love about this scope model is that it also had a side focus adjustment that worked like a charm when working with all magnification ranges.

4 – 16x 42

This model of rifle scope by Nikon has awesome magnification. The objective lens on this is also huge at 42mm which makes for images with impressive clarity and brightness.

You get up to 16x magnification which is pretty cool so you can shoot far targets with ease.

You could get this model in either a BDC 600 option or the Nikoplex reticle. What’s cool about the Nikoplex reticle on this is that it’s actually an improvement over the Rapid Action Turret for BDC.

There is also the side focus feature that helps you smoothly adjust for any errors.

Nikon P223 scopes

Launched in 2012, the P223 Series rifle scopes were regarded as the budget option for hunting enthusiasts who couldn’t afford premium scopes at the time.

Nikon put out two scopes- the 3×32 and 3 – 9x 40 scope models in 2012, and two more – 1.5 – 4.5x 20 and 4 – 12x 40 scope models the next year, so there are a total of four scope models in the P223 scope lineup.

The P223 and M223 are very similar, and the P223 uses the same BDC feature that the M223 featured.


Unlike most rifle scopes on the list, the 3×32 is a fixed magnification riflescope intended to be used in close-quarters combat.

The scope was made with a frame of a 1-inch tube. It has a fixed parallax at 100 yards like the above scopes.

What I like about this scope is that it caters to beginners who may be very limited from a price standpoint. Nikon has gone out of its way to make sure that rifle scopes are accessible even on a low budget.

1.5 – 4.5 x 20

This scope model features a powerful magnification in the mid-range shooting distance.

The selling point of this 1-inch rifle scope was that it offered a BDC 600 reticle and good-quality lenses.

There is also a fixed parallax on this at 100 yards.

3 – 9x 40

This riflescope model features a good magnification range. I find the 9x magnification pretty high-powered, and it will be perfect for anybody who needs to work in a long-range situation.

There is a fixed parallax just like on the other scopes, and you can only get it on a BDC reticle.

4 – 12x 40

I think you might be able to find one of these models as these were running up until 2019.

Just like the other scopes on this list, this Nikon scope has got a fixed parallax at 100 yards. Built on a 1-inch tube, the scope was pretty good quality.

I really liked the wide objective lens on this as well as the good magnification range which is ideal for anybody looking for high-magnification scopes.

Nikon M223 vs P223 AR Scopes Final say

The main difference between Nikon M223 and P223 is I find M223 series scope models to have a higher brightness than the P223 ones. The difference is really subtle but noticeable. Maybe it has got something to do with the price, and the fact that M223 scopes also have a side-focus adjustment makes them a bit better than the P223 in my opinion.If you are looking for options on the reticle, the M223 offers more options, as it also has an illuminated reticle that you just might love.On the budget side, however, the P223 model does have a fixed magnification scope model which is suited for those who would like a cheaper scope with just the mid-range magnification options for close-quarters combat.


Thus, we had a look at the scopes offered by Nikon under Series M223 and P223. The scopes share many similarities amidst some differences.

It’s sad knowing that Nikon has discontinued these scope models but it’s good to know what they used to offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I buy the Nikon M223 1.5 – 4.5 x 20 scope?

Nikon has since discontinued the rifle scope series, so it’s hard to find any that are brand-new. You can look up online marketplaces to see if somebody is selling good condition Nikon scopes.

Does the M223 scope mount work with a P223 scope?

Yep, the M223 scope mounts work well with every P223 scope other than the fixed magnification 3×32 scope.

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