US Marine Corps Selects Leupold Scope for M38 Designated Marksman Rifle

Matthew Moss
by Matthew Moss
USMC M38 DMR (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Michaela R. Gregory)

Late last year we reported that the US Marine Corps had begun fielding the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle as the M38, a designated marksman rifle. The M38 is essentially a standard M27 mounting a variable power Leupold TS-30A2 Mark 4 MR/T scope instead of a standard ACOG.

The Corps previously fielded the Leupold TS-30A2 Mark 4 MR/T 2.5-8x36mm on the Mk 12 Special Purpose Rifle, used by some elements of US SOCOM in Afghanistan.

The TS-30A2 Mark 4 MR/T has a ‘Tactical Milling’ reticule, weighs 14.5 oz and has an 11.30 in tube. It was developed with mid-range applications in mind. It features ‘tactical turrets’ and is waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof. The Mark 4 MR/T 2.5-8x36mm is not currently available from Leupold.

Close up of the M38’s scope taken during a range day in 2017 (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Michaela R. Gregory)

While its unclear if the Marine Corps has ordered more optics from Leupold, the company released a statement announcing the TS-30A2 Mark 4 MR/T’s selection. President and chief executive officer for Leupold & Stevens, Bruce Pettet, said in the press release that the company “pride ourselves on building optics that deliver elite optical performance and unparalleled reliability. We’re ecstatic that the Marine Corps selected the TS-30A2 Mark 4 MR/T. The men and women of the U.S. armed forces deserve the very best, and we’re proud to deliver it.”

Sam Horstman, Leupold & Stevens, Inc. director of military sales said: “The TS-30A2 Mark 4 is the perfect optic for those looking to deliver fast, precise rifle fire. Further, like all Leupold optics, it’s been strenuously tested for durability, and fully meets the rugged standards set by the Marine Corps.”

Marine with an M38 DMR (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Michaela R. Gregory)

The use of the M27 as a DMR is not a new application with the first Marines using it to qualify as Designated Marksmen in 2016. Similarly, the Norwegian Army, which currently uses the HK416N as its standard-issue infantry rifle, also fields the rifle in a DMR configuration. Whether further purchases of the optic from Leupold are planned is not yet known by from the US Navy’s recent budget estimate report it appears the Marine Corps is looking to expand its use of the M38.

Matthew Moss
Matthew Moss

Managing Editor: & Overt Matt is a British historian specialising in small arms development and military history. He has written several books and for a variety of publications in both the US and UK. Matt is also runs The Armourer's Bench, a video series on historically significant small arms. Here on TFB he covers product and current military small arms news. Reach Matt at:

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  • Optic Optic on Mar 06, 2018

    How does it compare to the Nightforce NX8?

  • Forrest1985 Forrest1985 on Mar 09, 2018

    Okay i’m confused. Are the Marines getting M27’s to then make M38’s or is the plan still to replace all M4’s with the M27, with some of those becoming M38’s in the process?