In this buyer's guide, let's check out the best optics for MK18 style rifles. We have tested & used over 18 different red dot optics and ranked them based on durability, reticle designs, battery life and cost.

Best MK18 Optics 

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EOTECH EXPS3-4 - Best Overall

mk18 eotech

Why Use The EOTech? This MK18 EOTECH setup is for serious CQB tactical shooters and home defenders within 50 yard to 300 yard distance. For CQB use absolutely!

CQB Holdover - Use the bottom of the 68 MOA ring for fast close range holdover to compensate CQB sight over bore offset.


Shoot With Both Eyes Open - Widen your situational awareness and not miss anything in the corner of your eye

Unobstructed FOV - Easily acquire the target while shooting on the move, shooting over barricade and around corners.

Night Vision Capable - Shoot in the dark with night vision goggles using the NV mode. Not many sights out there have this feature.

mk18 with eotech

Sight in at 36 yard for the tightest 5" shot group (25 - 100 yards)

Fast Ranging BDC Reticle - Range a 5'8" tall human size target inside the 68 MOA reticle to quickly estimate relative target distance. In addition, use a magnifier behind the EXPS3 -4 to Engage up to 600 yards

Raised Height - The sight sits at 1/3rd co-witness height for better cheek position for most shooters and clears over any iron sights.

Read EOTech EXPS3 Review


  • Magnification: 1X
  • Eye Relief: Unlimited
  • Reticle Type: 2 MOA Red Dot
  • Turret : 0.5 MOA / Click
  • Length: 3.1 inches
  • Weight: 4.7 oz

ELCAN SpecterDR - Used By Spec Ops 

mk18 elcan
Dual Role Prism Sight - The MK18 Elcan setup just go together. This is the U.S. special forces MK18 optic you have seen in combat. This dual role prism sight works extremely well for shooters with astigmatism either at 1X or 4X.

1-4X Instantly -  Skip 2X and 3X that shooters never use. Just flip the magnification between 1X and 4X like a switch.

ELCAN 1-4X switch lever

Compact For Dual Role Missions - It's much more compact two in one scope. 

Built Like A Tank - Raytheon Technology built the ELCAN for the warfighters in the field as tough as their aerospace defense weapon systems to win fights. It survives drop, kick, bump, shear and other physical abuses to retain zero.

ELCAN 4X 7.62 DFOV14-T2 reticle

BDC Reticle - Calibrated for the NATO 5.56 up to effective 1000 yards (100 yd zero) with fast ranging scale to estimate target distance without getting off the scope.

Clear Glass & Large FOV - The large FOV at 4X feels like looking at the target on a 50" TV through the scope right in front of the eye.


  • Magnification: 1-4X
  • Objective Lens: 32mm
  • Eye Relief: 2.75"
  • Reticle Type: 5.56 BDC
  • Turret : 0.5/ Click
  • Length: 6.02 inches
  • Weight: 23.2 oz

Aimpoint Micro - Best Durability

mk18 aimpoint

Why Aimpoint is the best - The MK18 Aimpoint Micro setup is for serious CQB shooters and people wanting a super low profile, low drag and lightweight MK18, even more so than the EOTECH EXPS3.

Insane battery life - Insane 50,000+ hours (~5 yrs), which means the sight is always on and ready!


Built like a tank - Throw it, kick it, drop it... nothing will throws off the zero. The forged 7075 T6 aluminum housing protects external and internal components against rough handling and shock.

CQB & Mid Range - Turn your MK18 into a CQB & mid range combat machine by adding a red dot magnifier behind it for more magnification & PID capability

scalar works leap night vision height aimpoint micro mount
Accepts various mounts - The Aimpoint Micro can accept many different mounts from various companies to suit your tactical needs, having a optimized mount helps retain zero and reduce weight.

There are many aftermarket mounts available, be sure to check out Scalarworks LEAP mount. By far the best skeletonized mount available


  • Magnification: 1X
  • Eye Relief: Unlimited
  • Reticle Type: 2 MOA Red Dot
  • Turret : 0.5 MOA / Click
  • Length: 3.1 inches
  • Weight: 4.7 oz

Holosun 515GM - Best Aimpoint Micro Alternative

holosun 515gm ar15

HS515GM for MK18 red dot - This is by far the closest mil-spec quality micro red dot to the Aimpoint Micro T2 but at 1/2 the price. 

See Through Flip Covers - Just like the Aimpoint Pro, it protects the optic from dust, and no need to flip up the lens covers before engaging

Motion Activated Reticle - ShakeAwake technology activates the reticle upon sensing any movement, and it turns off to save battery when sitting at rest

Mulit-Reticle - Just like the HS510C, cycle through different reticles for your specific need

Uses Aimpoint Micro Mount - Uses any aftermarket Aimpoint Micro mounts you like with various height options

Common FAQ

Can MK18 Optic Setup Be Multi Role?

Yes, A red dot + magnifier setup is great for rapid close up engagement and targets up to 300 yards. When done shooting long range, just flip the magnifier to the side or removal off the rifleto cut weight.

best optic for dd mk18

It's also a great configuration for shooters who generally shoot CQB distanced targets behind covers, barricades and through tight spaces like the 9 hole drill.

LPVO is a great hybrid between a 1X prism and a long range scope, but it takes up lot of space on the top rail. For a CQB designated rifle, a red dot setup is the best.

Check out other M4 carbine optics here