Leupold supplying Marines with heavy MG scopes

The Marines have decided to adopt the Leupold Mark 8 1.1-8x24mm CQBSS for use with their .50 BMG M2 and 40mm Mk19. machine guns.

Leupold Mark 8 1.1-8x24mm CQBSS

Military.com reports

The urgent need statement was submitted in April 2010, and endorsed by operating forces with 3rd Marine Division out of Okinawa, Japan. The M2 and MK19 have effective ranges of at least 3,500 meters and 1,700 meters, respectively, but no optics were fielded that allowed Marines to consistently engage enemies at those distances, the documents state.

The scope, originally designed for sniper use, is an interesting choice for a heavy machine gun scope. I would have thought the heavy duty Trijicon ACOG 6×48 Machine Gun Optic would have made more sense.

[ Many thanks to Lance for emailing me the link. ]

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • charles222

    I’m guessing the Leupold might be less expensive than the ACOGs; also, their 1x setting makes using them up close easier that an ACOG.

  • hardmack

    Wheew… Leupold must of racked up some hella charges on their reps spending accounts.

  • zincorium

    Good to know it can handle that level of recoil- shows a lot of confidence in the product’s manufacturing.

  • Rob

    Well leupold aint dirt stuff that’s all I can say
    Guess they found it just to be that much better? i don’t know

  • Gerald

    Has anyone else been impressed with the Marine corps procurement efficiency? So far, they have adopted the IAR (in limited numbers not all at once to make certain they work before taking the plunge), managed to refurbish and retool newer models of the 1911 and LAW, and now seem to be purchasing high-end Leupold scopes. I think that the Army could learn some lessons in that department.

  • Falcon500

    The MK19 is a automatic grenade launcher.

  • HT4


    Anyone else find it odd that we need a CQB sight on M2’s and MK19’s? It’s been a while since I’ve been in the loop, but I know that Marines are not clearing rooms with them. Further, they are smoking some strong stuff if they think that a 8x scope with a 24mm objective lens will allow Marines to “consistently engage enemies at [3500 meters].” Even with magnification, they barely be able to SEE vehicle-sized targets at that distance. With the minimal light let in by that scope, they might be better off with their naked eyes.

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

  • shockfish08

    Hey dosn’t this concept of mounting large scopes to heavy MGs remind you of one sniper Gunny Hathcock?

    “Hathcock generally used the standard sniper rifle: the Winchester Model 70 .30-06 caliber rifle with the standard 8-power Unertl scope. On some occasions, however, he used a different weapon: the .50-caliber M2 Browning Machine Gun, on which he mounted a 10X Unertl scope, using a bracket of his own design.[5] Hathcock made a number of kills with this weapon in excess of 1,000 yards, including his record for the longest confirmed kill at 2,500 yards.”


  • Lance

    Leupold is a excellent brand Steve. yes very expensive on Premium scopes. The reason I think they went with Leopold over Trijicon is that it variable power and the ACOG is fixed power and doesn’t have a auto bullet drop compensator.

  • armed_partisan

    Wow. More expensive than an ACOG and the only benefit is it also has a 1x setting? Has nobody heard about open sights? That’s always 1x and it’s free. Then again, we’re talking about the .gov, so it’s fortunate that they didn’t decide to buy new M2’s and Mk.19’s to go with the scopes.

  • Edward

    This reminds me of the story of Carlos Hathcock with a modified (to semiautomatic fire) M2…

  • Bob

    M2’s don’t need to be modified for single shot, They are select fire.

  • G


    A lower magnification usually means a larger field of view (FOV). A larger FOV makes it easier to find a target fast.
    Compare the field of views of S&B 1-8×24 PM ShortDot, S&B 3-12×50 PM II/LP/MTC and S&B 5-25×56 PM II/LP. At 100m..
    ..the 1-8x24mm scope has a FOV of 35.3-4.9 m
    ..the 3-12x50mm scope has a FOV of 11.1-3.4m
    ..the 5-25x56mm scope has a FOV of 5.3-1.5m

  • G

    “Even with magnification, they barely be able to SEE vehicle-sized targets at that distance. With the minimal light let in by that scope, they might be better off with their naked eyes.”

    You are wrong.

    A 24mm scope at 8x magnification will project a large picture on your retina than a 56mm scope at 25x magnification.

    With 8x magnification an object that is 3500 meters away will appear as if it is only (about) 440 meters away.

  • charles222

    1x optics are going to be inherently as fast as a set of iron sights (or arguably even faster; a 68 reduces the act of aiming your M4 to the level of simplicity for aiming a shotgun). The variable-zoom lets you keep lightning-quick close-in engagement (about 90% of all engagements in Iraq were under a hundred meters, with the majority at 50 or less) and also be able to reach out and touch someone, and also let you take a good look at potential threats before you come into their kill radius.

  • charles222

    Edit-having served as a vehicle gunner alot over three deployments, I can tell you that the vast majority of what a vehicle gunner does is observation of potential threats. You have the best view of anyone in a HUMMV or MRAP series and it frequently falls on you to do the immediate recon mission, particularly for lead and trail vehicles.

  • charles222

    And Gerald-yeah, they’re…okay at best…. at buying small arms. Take a look at any of their actually big-deal programs (MV-22, EFV, B model of the JSF) and tell me the Marines are “great at procurement”. V-22 started in the late 1980s and finally got working examples into the field in 2005; EFV started under a whole different program name (AAAV) in the early 1990s and was never completed; and the Marine version of the JSF is the most delayed and snag-filled portion of the program.

    In the same time frame that the Marines have adopted the IAR and MV-22 (retooling the M1911 does not count as procurement as 1) it’s a design that’s literally a hundred years old and 2) was already in stock; buying more of them and changing the nomenclature is not a procurement miracle any more that the Army buying new M9s last year is) the Army has fielded the M320 grenade launcher, the M24 upgrade (which is virtually a whole new rifle, as opposed to a 1911 with new sights on it) the M240L upgrade, the MK46, Mk48, MK17 SCAR, Mk14 EBR, M2A1, Stryker (fielding and equipping nothing less than eight complete brigades with them too, with more on the way), AN/PSQ-18 Thermal/Night Vision Optic, (the first NOD to be able to see in both infrared and traditional light spectrums) UH-60M, and CH-47F…and that’s just off the top of my head.

    Marine procurement is small-scale and frankly pretty wasteful alot of the time. Here’s a fun one: The CH-53K, the next iteration of the H-53 series that first flew in the late 1960s, is apparently going to take approximately twelve years to reach service. Rough civilian equivalent: Here’s the 2012 Ford Taurus, coming to dealerships in 2023.

  • Brandon

    Does anyone think these optics might end up on weapons other than the heavies? I could definitely see the Corps procuring these under the guise of heavy MG optics then putting them on M16A4’s or whatever the SDM rifle currently is. You know, like the rumors that the IAR is really a testbed for a carbine replacement?

  • Brandon

    Other thought: did they consider eye relief when they procured optics like these to be used on a mounted weapon? What the heck?

  • G
  • Billy carter

    Marines can figure it out and make it work. Glad to see the grunts get good equipment (not kit, we are Americans) to get the jo done