Schmidt & Bender 3-12x50 USMC M8541 Engraved Gen II reticle M40 Riflescope

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Schmidt Bender USMC M8541 3-12x50 Sniper Riflescope


The M40 USMC correct rifle scope, with actual USMC engraving - M8541

Schmidt & Bender’s 3-12x50 PMII/LP Riflescopes are among the most proven and tested optics around the world, and a favorite of the US Marine Scout Sniper. The 3-12x50 PM II model is a versatile military grade scope. The reticle is located in the first focal plane with a mil-dot based reticle. Parallax compensation from 50m to infinity and illumination. Turret is modern DT - double turn for a full 23 mils of elevation.

This M8541 scope is a special edition made for US Marine sniper rifles.  The S&B 3-12x is most often associated with the M40 rifle series, but also has been used on the M110 sniper rifle and other Marine Corps sniper rifles.  This scope has the military's Gen-II illuminated first focal plane reticle, for added authenticity.

The Schmidt Bender USMC 3-12x50 Sniper Riflescope, known by its military designation as the M8541, embodies precision and durability for the most demanding long-range shooters. Crafted for the elite U.S. Marine Corps snipers using the M40A3 and M40A5 platforms, when this scope was first deployed in the mid 2000's. The scope was the best of the best, and moved beyond standard optics to deliver unparalleled clarity and reliability in any operational environment.  Today, the scope is still produced by Schmidt and Bender, and while other scopes deliver longer range performance, and others more LPVO type short range functions, the 3-12x is still a very popular mid-range magnifiaction, and this model has withstood the test of time.


  • Solid Military Tested Scope, military clone correct for USMC long-range precision rifles
  • Special Production, Limited Production from S&B M8541
  • Variable 3-12x Magnification - covers a wide range of medium distance targets
  • 50mm Objective Lens - gathers enough light and also is lighter in weight, making the rifle platform more carry-friendly
  • Modern military Gen II reticle - Mildot based
  • Counter Clockwise Turret (American style)
  • 34mm tube - modern common tube which allows allows for greater turret travel
  • First Focal Plane - allows for easy distancing and precision target shooting
  • Illuminated center for better target acquistion

The 3-12x50 PMII Riflescopes offer a light transmission of 90%, and deliver maximum definition, clarity, and contrast. This S&B scope is equipped with a separate side focus adjustment allowing to set the parallax from 50 m until infinity. The illuminated reticle is located in the first focal plane permitting a distance evaluation in all magnifications. In order to give the shooter the needed confidence while operating, side focus adjustment and illumination control are located at different positions.

The M8541 Schmidt and Bender 3-12x scope combines parallax compensation, illuminated reticle control, and .1 MRAD MTC (More Tactile Clicks) turret adjustment, resulting in one of the most sophisticated, complete scopes ever built. The entire magnification adjustment range can be covered in just two turns of the elevation knob, while the entire 3-12x magnification range is covered in just one–half turn (180 degrees).

Parallax adjustment is located on a separate turret, as are the illuminated reticle controls. The reticle brightness is fully adjustable with 11 graduated settings, allowing precise selection relative to ambient light. As with all Schmidt & Bender illuminated reticles, it turns off between settings, saving battery power and allowing you to easily return to a preselected illumination level.

The Gen II Illuminated reticle is used in this scope, and is a variation of the traditional mildot reticle.  This scope was one of the first scopes to adopt a mildot-based reticle in a first focal plane with a milRAD turret.  The Leupold Mark 4, for example, had a milRAD reticle, with MOA turret clicks, and was widely used on precision rifles in the late 1990s and in the beginning of the GWOT period.

US Marine Corp M8541 development and deployment

The M8541 sniper scope is built with the unique needs of Marine Corps snipers in mind, as seen in its adoption in November 2005 and active combat use since January 2006. The scope's variable power has was a major development at the time in the sniper community.  The first confirmed combat kill recorded with this optic was near Fallujah, leading to its endorsement as a combat-proven asset (Cpl. Mark Sixbey, 1st Marine Division, March 9, 2006).

According to Gunnery Sgt. Paul Starner from the USMC, the scope's introduction marked a transformative moment for precision engagement capabilities with the M40A3 rifle system. Its metric system, while initially a point of contention, has since proven to be adaptable and beneficial for precision operations. Metric meaning that this scope had both a milRAD turret and a milRAD reticle.  Previous military sniper scopes, back to the 1970s, when the mildot reticle was first adopted were second focal plane and had MOA turrets.  We take it for granted today that a match grade riflescope should be FFP and the turret clicks are the same as the reticle:  Mil to mil or MOA to MOA.  But, before this scope, most military sniper scopes were not. The illuminated reticle and larger objective lens enabled clearer target identification over vast distances, while the rugged, reliable build withstood battlefield demands, maintaining alignment without the zero shifts common with earlier models. 

At the time, 50mm was a large objective lens.  Other scopes used during the Global War on Terror in Afghanistan and Iraq had 36mm and 40mm objective lenses.  The 50mm lens allowed for more light capture and crisp target identification.  Today, the 50mm remains very much a standard for mid-range scopes, but at its debut in 2005, a 12x magnification was an improvement over other scopes which typically had 10x as the maximum, like the Leupold fielded on the Mk11 and Mk12 sniper rifle systems.  Today, 3-12x is a great magification range for targets 100 to 900 yards in distance, which is where the 7.62mm NATO round best performs.

The M8541's inception came from rigorous field-testing by Marine sniper instructors at Quantico, leading to its selection over several competitors. It mirrors the USMC's commitment to a combination of superior weapons, optics, and professional training, which resulted in elevating the effectiveness of their sniper platoons at the time.

The M8541's illuminated reticle was, at the time, a standout feature providing critical advantages during low-light engagements. This precision instrument's illumination not only allows for precise shot placement but also instilled confidence in shooters, knowing that their scope performed consistently regardless of operation duration or lighting conditions.

Model:  644-911-972-89-64A68

Gen II Reticle

The Gen II reticle is a modern Mil Dot reticle with illumination in the middle and featuring a first focal plane.




Scope Weight: 29.2oz
Scope Length: 13.8"
Magnification Range: 3-12x
Scope Objective Diameter: 50mm
Scope Tube Size / Mount: 34mm
Turret Adjustment (Click Value): 1 cm CCW revolution
  Schmidt Bender MTC Double turn turret
  23 mils of elevation travel
Elevation Turret Details: DT MTC (Double Turn; More Tactical Clicks)
  0-22 mrad
Windage Turret Details: ST ZS CT (Single Turn; Zero Stop; Capped Turret)
Parallax Adjustment: Side Focus Parallax 50m->∞
Reticle Position: First Focal Plane
Reticle Details: Gen II Reticle
Field of View: 33.3'
Exit Pupil: 14.4 - 3.4 mm
Eye Relief: 3.54"
Twilight Factor: 12.2 - 31.6
Light Transmission: 90%
Illuminated Reticle: Yes
Scope Finish: Matte Black
Scope Turret Rotation: Counter Clockwise (CCW)