The New Leupold Mark AR Mod 1


It’s not often a writer is given the opportunity to introduce a new product before the company announces it. In this case it happened. When a Leupold representative asked if I wanted to review a new scope they would be revealing at SHOT in January. Of course I jumped on it.

In this case our readers get to hear about this new Leupold AR scope first.This scope is called the Mark AR Mod 1 1.5-4 x 20mm. This scope has a matte black finish with a Fire Dot-G SPR reticle.

These are some of the revisions:

– Tactical, knurled elevation dials

– Green illuminated FireDot reticles

– 0.1 Mil dials for true Mil-Mil adjustments.

This is a tactical scope made for civilian use as well as police and others who have a need for this scope configuration. The Mark AR uses a standard Leupold picatinny mount. The mount is very sturdy and mounts tightly to the rail as well as the scope itself. Unlike so many mount and scope combinations I’ve used there is no play which means it held zero through four hundred rounds fired.

The scope comes with a very in depth manual which not only covers scope use but goes into a great amount of detail in using the SPR reticle. Topics cover reading the mil-dot type reticle as well as turret reading and adjustments.

The center of the reticle is also lighted with an adjustable green dot if desired. This dot goes from extremely small to fairly large. The dot intensity increases with the larger dot size. The dot size is adjusted using the turret on the left side of the scope. When the user unscrews the turret the battery compartment is revealed. The battery is a larger flat battery. With a new battery is installed the dot can be left off or adjusted upwards in size. In the photo I’ve included you see a Leupold “L” in the center of the left turret. It’s surrounded by a heavy duty rubber piece. Each time the “L” is depressed the dot grows larger/brighter. Half way through the adjustment cycle there is one setting allowing the dot to flash and continue to flash until the next setting is chosen. This gives the user a wide variety of choices in dot sizes as well as the flash setting.One very positive point is with the smallest dot setting it doesn’t cover the target at longer ranges which is something common with many scopes with reticle dots.

The Mark AR can be used with one eye or both eyes open. It’s really the shooters choice. One thing I can always be certain of and that’s the clarity and quality of the glass used in Leupold scopes. This scope is no exception. The edges of the reticle are very clear and sharp as is the overall view with no distortion around the edge of the sight picture.

After using this scope for a few weeks I’ve been very pleased with it. In variable lower power type of scopes I’ve used it’s the best without a doubt.

The photo below shows a five shot 100 yard group using the Mark AR with the lowest green dot setting while mounted on my AR.

MSRP is $400 for the scope itself. The mount is sold separately and sells for roughly $140.Even if you already own a scope with a one inch tube this mount is in itself worth changing over from what you currently use. It’s just very rugged in construction. It never gets loose as many I’ve tried have.

Phil White

Retired police officer with 30 years of service. Firearms instructor and SRU team member. I still instruct with local agencies. My daily carry pistol is the tried and true 1911. I’m the Associate Editor and moderator at TFB. I really enjoy answering readers questions and comments. We can all learn from each other about our favorite hobby!


  • Garden Hose

    I’ve been trying to get my hands on a Mark AR Mod 1 in 3-9x. Hopefully, they’ll become abundant within the next few weeks.

    • Phil White


      I’ve seen several on websites lately. I think optics planet has them.

  • Noodles

    Not bad, but I’d consider second focal plane at 1.5 from 4x to be much too complicated math for most budget minded scope purchasers 🙂 joking mostly, because there is a 2x marked right next to it and no one is going to need 8mils for 556 on a 2x setting.

    That said, I wonder how many people could really utilize even 4mils at 4x with a 556? Still, nice to see Leupold making their lines better.

    • Phil White


      It really is a nice scope. I’ve sure enjoyed using it. In fact enough so I’m thinking seriously about buying this one. They really did the dot right in allowing you to not only make it brighter but larger or smaller. At distance so many have such large dots they cover the target.

    • Nadnerbus

      This was my thought. Are mil dot reticles really useful on a four power maximum optic? My experience with magnified optics has been limited to an entry level 3-9 power Leupold, so I ask that without any snark.

      I’m sure it is an exceptional quality scope, I have had nothing but good use out of the Leupold I own. Just not sure how much milliradian adjustments are coming into play with a relatively low power optic, something that seems more useful in bridging the gap between unmagnified red dots and the ubiquitous ACOGs.

      • Noodles

        It’s not only useful at 4. You could use it at 2 but since its second focal plane you just need to mutiply each dot by 2. So the 2 dot there circle passes through is 4 mils at 2x.

        That was my point about it being a 1.5x scope. Quick tell me what 3.25 mils at 1.5x is 🙂 … So for most people to use the mils you dial to 4x. It’s not really a problem because 556 at anything more than 4mils drop is beyond most owners of this type of scope anyhow, esp at 4x. So first focal would be a waste for this scope. It’s just a nitpick that it’s a 1.5x and not a 1x.

        The addition of mil/mil reticle and turrets is huge though. That’s the dumbest part about Leupolds VXR and even the M1 M2 M3 turrets on their nicer scopes! You need to get a Mark4 with the M5 turret before things start making sense.

        • Phil White


          Agreed and it was important enough for leupold to make a new scope with the mil/mil setup as well as adding a few other upgrades. I would imagine feedback from users had something to do with the changes.

  • Jesse

    The 3-9X are available now.

    • Noodles

      I don’t think I’d understand the difference between a Mark AR 3×9 firedot and a VX-R Patrol 3×9 firedot.

      • Jesse

        From a simplistic look, one is red and one is green. Max magnification on the Mark AR is 14+x and 9x for the VXR Model. In the scheme of things there are a lot of different specs and features when you compare the two.

      • Phil White


        I haven’t compared the two side by side so I can’t say for sure.I’m just very used to the real Mil’s. I’ve been using the old Mil Dot Master for a very long time. It does make this one easier to use.

      • I believe the VX-R series are all 30mm tubes. The last paragraph infers that this is an inch tube. That’s what stands out to me, at least.


        • Phil White


          It is a one inch tube.At first I avoided them thinking the field of view would be smaller but that’s not the case with this scope.

      • Noodles

        Thanks, so it seems to me…..
        New MarkAR – VR-X Patrol

        Green gets larger/smaller – Red stays same size
        25.4mm tube – 30mm tube
        Mil/Mil – Mil/MOA

        Now, I’d be torn… I’d want the larger tube, but I really can not stand the idiocy that is Mil/MOA. Leupold seems to be coming around to mil/mil but very slowly.

        Also, in the VX-R sample I used it was painfully clear that the illuminated dot was not centered. It was obviously lower right of the crosshairs. Very disappointing from a QC perspective.

        There may be more differences especially in the glass, not sure.

        • Phil White


          I can’t be sure as far as changes to the glass used but QC on this one is first rate. I’ve never heard of a leupold with the dot not centered.

      • Noodles

        I saw the dot not centered immediately. My local guy had some in stock and said he had personally gotten two returns for the same issue. And this guy has the same issue (first post)

        It’s a thing apparently.

        • Phil White


          That is strange. I can see anyone letting one get by but multiple scopes—strange.

  • Kav

    I really, really hate to say this. No, I hate myself for saying this, but…
    This entry just didn’t seem proofread at all, to the point that I was actually distracted from the content.

    • Phil White

      Kav, How so? It actually was proofread. No need in feeling bad about the comment.

  • Adam

    Nice write up. I’m interested to get a look at one of these. By the way what charging handle latch is that on the AR in the photos?

    • Phil White


      Thanks Adam. That latch is from Black Rain.

  • Supersonic

    Does anyone know how many inches of offset that cantilever mount has?

    • Sian

      just eyeballing it looks like 1″ rear and 2″ front.

  • Nicks87

    “The battery is a larger flat battery”

    Is that what I ask for when I go to radio shack to buy a new battery for it? 😉

    If its a 2032 that could be a selling point for me I have a few optics that run on that size.

    Why is Trijicon and Mepro the only two companies that offer battery-less technology? You would think some of the other manufacturers would jump on that band wagon as well.

    • Noodles

      “Battery-less” requires tritium. Tritium is radioactive and not only requires special handling and certifications by the nuclear regulatory commission, it pretty much prohibits Exporting to a lot of markets. So if you want a big hassle and tons of regulation, start working with tritium in your product.

      This is why Trijicon now has a battery powered ACOG, because its one they’ll be able to export is a major factor for them. It is also why almost no one in the states uses anything but pre-made Trijicon tritium vials in their sights.

      So now one is hopping on the “bandwagon” because it’s a rickety but armored stagecoach being driven by the government.

    • Phil White


      I’d rather not use batteries but these days units without them are in the minority. Yes Nick it’s a 2032:-)

    • Nicks87

      Thx guys for the info.

      I’m currently in the market for a 1-4x optic but I’ve been leaning towards the TR24 just because of the “battery-less” technology. It is a bit pricey but for what it offers I think it’s worth it.

  • noob

    is the lack of turret caps a consideration in a tactical environment?

    • Noodles

      Uh, how are you going to dail adjustments quickly if you have to remove caps first?

    • Phil White


      Not for my use. I usually take them off and leave them in my pack. I’ve never had any problems with catching them on gear.

  • A.K. for T-7

    You mean 1.5-4x20mm, right?

    • denny

      That’s what I thought too…. 1.5×4 20mm does not make lots of sense. Nice looking product; thumbs up for Leupold !

      • Phil White


        My typo sorry. It is one of the better scopes of the type that I’ve used.

    • Phil White


      Yes sir that’s it.

  • gunslinger

    nice write up, but can you be more specific with the battery size?

    • Phil White


      Sorry about that—it’s a 2032.pretty standard size for most scopes using that size battery.

  • denny

    That is my observation too. I’d have thougt that the units of adjustment were wrongly written – 0.1 Mildot instead of 0.01.

    • Noodles

      100 clicks per revolution would be a bitch!

    • Phil White


      It is one click 0.1 mil at 100 meters. I changed the article to indicate that. I cut and pasted that into the article from an email by a rep. I should have seen that but the reps don’t normally make errors like that.

      • denny

        Makes sense now. Thanks!

        • Phil White


          You bet glad to clear it up.

  • Kyle

    “Tactical, knurled elevation dials”
    Since when was knurling considered being tactical? I guess my grandfathers pocket watch is an operator’s pocket watch because of the knurled knob at the top.

    • Phil White


      An overused word no doubt about that. That’s what they call them though.

    • summ_guy

      A comma between two adjectives indicate the words are not associated with each other. Thus tactical is in response to the elevation knobs, not the knurling. I think that’s enough grade school rehash for today, class.

      • Kyle

        I was poking fun at the buzzword “Tactical”, not the knobs themselves.

  • Jason

    What is the battery life? Also, what is the weight with and without the mount?

    • Phil White


      The battery life isn’t listed with specifics. A lot has to do with the dot size/intensity you tend to use. This one has been on the lower setting for approx.10 hours.No problems yet. I keep an extra battery or two since it’s difficult to know how much time you have left.
      As far as weight I’ll get the figures for you.

  • Mike Knox

    Wicked grouping there..

    • Phil White


      Thanks Mike. I surprised myself on that group.

      • Mike Knox

        If you could do that, try it on portrait targets. I had fun lining out Larry the Cable Guy’s face with a 10/22..

        • Phil White


          Lol I may have to try that. It would be a challenge at 100 yards.

  • 7.62x25FTW

    I want to stick one on my 7-08 savage. Maybe put one one on my 5.45 ak?

    • Phil White


      It would certainly be good for the AK but the computing would be a little off probably.I’d give Leupold a call and ask their opinion.

  • Tony

    Seems to be a good scope at a descent price.

    • Phil White


      For a Leupold it is a good price. Not great but not a bank breaker:-)

  • Lance

    Looks like a awesome competition scope for a AR. But like everything now days overpriced.

    • Phil White


      It’s not cheap but not bad either. I bought a Millet designated marksman for $279 and it was terrible so I’d rather buy a good one for a bit more.

      • me

        It’s kind of a shame about the Millett DMR scopes. There was a lot of positive press about them when they were newly released, but QC appears to be poor or nonexistent.

        An acquaintance of mine bought one of the Milletts and was very enthusiastic about the clarity of glass and the illuminated reticle–until he tried to zero it. He could get on paper with it but not on target due to very sloppy, very inconsistent adjustments. He sold it off for $150 and got a Weaver V3 1-3x variable instead.

        • Phil White


          It really was a shame. It looked very nice but mine had shadows at the edge of the field of view which was a smaller field of view than it should have. Also the red horseshoe could not be seen during daylight.Zero was also hard to adjust like the person you spoke of.

  • I already have a Leupold Mark AR 3-9×40 Mil-Dot with Bullet Drop Compensator I bought this past Fall with intention to mount on a SIG 556 SWAT rifle – the BDC turret is calibrated for yardage with M193 55g ammunition. I plan on getting custom dials for Federal Gold Medal Match 77g, but I’m just waiting for a SIG556 DMR (Designated Marksman Rifle) lower, which has a MagPul CTR adjustable stock and enhanced trigger. SIG was to have delivered in Nov’12 but it’s been delayed until “early 2013”. On the SIG556 with the exiting Swiss-style lower, it works fine.

    I just ordered the new Mark AR Mod 1 3-9×40 FireDot-G TMR model scope – supposedly In-Stock at Optics Planet, but most Leupold scopes drop-ship and can be a week or so out even when “In-Stock”. I will put it on a QR AD-Recon mount like my old model scope, which I find can go on/off with little POI change. I’m just not sure what the FireDot-G TMR reticle will look like, as the various descriptions differ it seems. If this new model work well, I’ll get custom turrets with my own specifications for yardage engraved, and hopefully have the best of both scopes. I’ll report back when received.