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Review of AR-15 Rifle Scope: Nikon P-223 3 x 32mm Matte BDC Carbine


p-223 3x32 on a rifleConsidering the popularity of the AR-15 platform as well as the .223 Remington/5.56 NATO cartridge, I have often wondered why scope manufacturers did not produce an AR-15 specific scope for long range shooting. So I was extremely pleased to see Nikon introduce the P-223 AR-15 rifle scope series.

Nikon has gone above and beyond the call of duty when designing the new P-223 scopes by incorporating some highly innovative features such as the BDC-600 reticle and the Rapid Action Turrets with spring loaded, instant reset, zero.

Along with the Spot On Ballistics Match Technology which is specifically designed for use with the .223/5.56 cartridge and thus, enables the shooter to determine the exact aiming points on the reticle for the specific load they are using.

Due to the fact that it is made by Nikon, the quality and construction are second to none and superior to many and thus, you can be certain that the P-223 will not fail you in your moment of need!


Specifications and First Impression

Designed specifically for use on the AR-15 platform with the .223 Remington/5.56 NATO cartridge, the Nikon P-223 3 x 32mm BDC Carbine rifle scope provides shooters with every imaginable feature they could possibly ask for in a short range, AR-15 specific, scope.

For instance, with a one inch tube, a 32mm objective lens, and a 10.7mm exit pupil, it provides a 35.6 foot field of view at 100 yards. Also, with a 41mm (outside diameter) eye piece and a 3.4 inch eye relief, acquiring a target with the P-223 BDC Carbine scope is both quick and easy and, the clarity provided by the multi-layer coated objective lens combined with 3x magnification provides a crystal clear sight picture even in low light conditions since it transmits up to 98% of the ambient light.

p-223 from the front


In addition, this scope is both waterproof and fogproof and thus, it is the perfect choice for use in inclement weather.

However, that is just the beginning since this scope also features a BDC Carbine Reticle which was specifically designed to mate with the trajectory of the .223 Remington/5.56 NATO cartridge with a 55 grain, polymer tip, bullet and, the new BDC Carbine reticle provides a 200 yard crosshair with “hash marks” at 400 yards and 600 yards.

Another innovative feature is the 1/2″, hand-turn, tactical-style, turrets which provide positive click reticle adjustments that enable you to get you zeroed in more quickly and maintain your setting; even when firing in either three shot burst or full auto mode.

Furthermore, in order to simplify field adjustments, Nikon has incorporated a Zero-Reset Turret Feature which enables a shooter to zero the scope as usual and then simply lift the spring-loaded adjustment knob, rotate it to “zero”, and then reengage and thus, field adjustments are as simple as dialing in your subsequent ranges.

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On The Range

With an overall length of just 8.1 inches and a weight of 12.2 ounces, I found the Nikon P-223 3 x 32mm BDC Carbine scope to be both relatively compact and relatively lightweight.

I really like the large diameter eyepiece and the 3x magnification since the large eye piece makes it very easy to acquire a target and the 3x magnification is just enough to provide a clear sight picture at longer ranges but not too much for close range use.

Also, I found the sight picture to be both very bright and very clear and the 3.4 inch eye relief made easy to see through.

p-223 mounted on a AR-15
Mounted on AR-15, looks great huh?

I was pleased with the BDC reticle ( another Nikon cheap scope uses it too ) which consists of several small circles similar to mil dots spaced evenly along the vertical crosshair interspersed with hash marks.

However, I have to admit that I fail to understand why they included 400 yard and 600 yard hash marks on scope specifically intended for the .223 Remington/5.56 NATO cartridge since it is barely effective at 400 yards and negligible at 600 yards.

On the other hand, I love the concept of calibrating a scope specifically those cartridges since it makes determining the correct amount of holdover much easier.

Furthermore, I especially like the prominent, tactical style, turrets since they make adjusting the windage and elevation on demand extremely easy.

Plus, in order to return to zero, all you have to do is press down on the turrets and then release them and they automatically return to zero!

Also, with Nikon’s Spot On Ballistic Match technology, you can actually tailor the reticle to your specific load so that the circles and hash marks will be “spot on” at given distances with the particular load you are shooting.

With a retail price of just $149.00, you will not have to mortgage your house just to purchase a high quality optic for your AR-15.

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Wrap Up

So, all things considered, I would have to say that I am extremely pleased with the Nikon P-223 3 x 32mm BDC Carbine scope.

In fact, I am actually quite surprised to find that Nikon is able to incorporate so many innovative features into such an inexpensive rifle scope!

Having said that, I also have to say that I don’t feel like they cut corners on quality since the scope seems to be sturdily built and features like a multi-layer coated objective lens is normally reserved for more expensive optics.

Plus, they managed to keep both the size and the weight down and thus, it doesn’t add excessive bulk to your rifle. Last, with features like Spot On Ballistic Match Technology and Zero Reset tactical style turrets, this scope is a real jewel for AR-15 owners and that`s why we listed it as one of the best AR-15 scopes in our buying guide.


Click Here To See Our 12 Optic Comparison Table!



Be Sure To Check Out These Optics Too:

Bushnell AR Optics Drop Zone-22 BDC
Bushnell AR Optics Drop Zone-22 BDC
ANS 30mm 1.5-4x30 5" Long Eye Relief Carbine Scope
ANS 30mm 1.5-4×30 5" Long Eye Relief Carbine Scope








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  1. […] Bought this for a lightweight AR-15 build that I just completed. Wanted a little magnification for my aging eyes instead of holographic as I've used in the past, also it is way cheaper that your average holographic. Overall it is relatively small and light. Mounting was easy (of course) but the best part is how quickly I was able to zero it in and make field adjustments afterward. After getting it on paper with a laser cartridge it took me exactly two shots to get it dead centered at 25 yards. And it was under $200 if I remember correctly. It seems like the whole net is full of positive review too like this one: http://rifleopticsworld.com/review-of-ar-15-rifle-scope-nikon-p-223-3-x-32mm-matte-bdc-carbine/ […]