Nikon’s P223 Scope & IPhone/Pad AR-15 Software


By Brian Jensen

Nikon Hunting

Another new entry to the optics world is from well-respected optic manufacturer Nikon.  At SHOT show I got to see their brand new Nikon P223 3×32 BDC Compact optic for the AR style rifle.

This is a compact 3-power scope made just for the AR-15 style rifle.  The optic is a fixed power 3x magnification, with hash marks in the reticle for bullet drop programmed for 55 grain bullets built into the scope.

With such a flood of scopes out there for the black rifles out there, I asked Nikon’s Adam Goess what prompted the P223. He said that when the rush of buyers for AR-style rifles in recent years, many people were buying them who were only used to hunting rifles, and with them, hunting scopes.  These people were not “operators” or may not even have any background in the military; they just liked the AR-15 style rifle.  They were used to scopes with magnification like the ones on their hunting rigs.

The Nikon P223 3x32 (right) next to the Nikon P223 3-9x40 (left). Notice the compact design of the 3x32

The Nikon P223 3x32 (right) next to the Nikon P223 3-9x40 (left). Notice the compact design of the 3x32

Nikon put together these P223 scopes to make them simple.  No crazy bells and whistles, just good quality glass, with some magnification, and at a reasonable price.  (The P223 fixed 3-power will likely be in the $100-150 range.)

The P223 is fogproof and waterproof. It has a 100 yard parallax setting, ¼ MOA adjustment clicks, and a zero reset feature for the adjustment turrets.  Like mentioned before, it uses a BDC (Bullet Drop Compensator) reticle set for the 55 grain projectile.  With a zero at 200 yards, the hash marks of the BDC give you reference for 400 and 600 yards respectively.  Another model, the P223 3-9×40, comes with additional magnification in 3-9 power, and has a more elaborate BDC system.

The scope itself is very compact, and uses a 2-piece mount (sold by Nikon separately) to keep it securely on your rifle’s flat-top or other mounting system.  The magnification was nice at 3x, with enough to help out my eyes (that aren’t so young anymore) but not so powerful that I still could keep both eyes open to see well.  I felt the reticle picked up easily, even with both eyes open.  In all honesty, this is an ideal size for a carbine which is what Nikon designed it for, but would likely work well on any AR-style gun.

Nikon sells multiple mounting solutions for the Nikon P223, but the two piece is recommended due to its compact size.

Nikon sells multiple mounting solutions for the Nikon P223, but the two piece is recommended due to its compact size.

Along with this, was Nikon’s downloadable Spot-On ballistic system for your laptop, iPhone/iPod, or iPad.  The system can help you calculate bullet drop and ballistics for any weight bullet, whether it’s a factory round or your own custom handloads.  This is currently $4.99 from Icon in the Apple store on IPad, didn’t check it in IPhone but other reports from the comments below are already coming in that it is also not free. Overall the app compliments their scopes nicely, and compliments their scopes nicely.

Goess said Spot-On could be used in conjunction with the P223 3×32 scope to adapt the scope’s integral bullet drop compensator hash marks to whichever load you are working, whether it be 64 grain, or what have you.

The new P223 is a simple scope, made with quality, and makes sense for someone looking for that final touch for their personal AR.

The Spot On software can be installed on your iPad, iPod, or iPhone. Here it is on the display iPad.

The Spot On software can be installed on your iPad, iPod, or iPhone. Here it is on the display iPad.

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  • Bin October 21, 2015, 11:27 pm

    Nice scope, very crisp glass. Low light makes reticle a little hard to focus without loosing clarity on target. Only ran 200 rounds of 5.56 through my AR 15, and all seems well, 50-100 yd as well as tactical, zeroing the scope that day.
    Obvious not a tactical optic, but I was able to use with both eyes open at 15-25 yds and worked well.
    Nice product for the money, you wont be disappointed

  • Diego Martin August 12, 2013, 9:59 pm

    I love anything coming from Nikon, just a great manufacturer. Thks for the scope review. Cheers!

  • Brandon March 27, 2012, 11:21 am

    The P-223 scopes are no on the iPhone app for SpotOn. Glad I paid $4.99 to find out that I can’t use the software. What a bunch of crap!

  • Mike March 12, 2012, 11:17 am

    The p223 is zeroed at 200 yds. What if your shooting at 50 or100 yds with this scope. Can you use this model for a shorter range shot.

  • Oddball January 25, 2012, 11:25 am

    Wake me when they finally decide to release ANY scope in 30mm as opposed to the outdated ( for tactical use anyway) one inch tube variation.

    One inch is fine for hunting but the light transmission and field of view compared to even the lower end 30mm scopes is poor, if they are going for the “tactical” market then they need to make a serious “hard use” scope tailored to that environment specifically .

    Yes I know a LOT of people hunt with their AR pattern rifles , as do I but with that said building something better than it needs to be ALWAYS beats the “good enough for the poor schmucks it’s for” approach.

    They have the tech they have the skill and they make good glass , why not just go “whole hog” and make something that just bats the competition right out of the park ?
    Why just settle for “average” when you can truly create something wonderful?

  • 2bigabear January 24, 2012, 11:42 pm

    Seems to me “pushing” a 168gr BTSP to 800yds the compensator would have to evaluate for something like 72in drop. Not sure I would have any trust in this. Also if velocity of 168gr is 2820fps, at 800yd all you are humanely going to kill is paper. This is primarily a hunting scope that would be good to 300yds and iffy at 400yds.

  • Larry Mandrell January 24, 2012, 7:32 pm

    I personally love Nikon optics but this article is suppose to be about a .308 scope with bdc and its not,
    very poor editing by someone.

    • Administrator January 24, 2012, 9:25 pm

      Watch the video. That was the point of the update.

  • JohnH January 24, 2012, 1:22 pm

    Call me back when Nikon comes up with a calibrated 6x18x50 for .308.

  • david at F E Enterprises January 24, 2012, 10:24 am

    where is the info on the .308 calibrated Nikon scopes ???

    • Administrator January 24, 2012, 10:33 am

      In the video.

  • ed anderson January 24, 2012, 6:38 am

    opened the article to read about a scope calibrated for the 308.. all i see is 223!!!!!!!

  • Brian Jensen January 19, 2012, 6:49 pm

    The scope should work on your bolt gun. I am not sure how the barrel length will affect it. However it may need a rail adapter because the scope is so short. A better alternative is the P223 3-9 powered gun shown in the picture above. It’s longer and would have a better chance of fitting your rings/mounts

  • Ed333 January 19, 2012, 1:47 pm

    I have a CZ 527 Mannlicher stock carbine in .223, with one inch CZ rings, would this compact scope work OK on that, or should it be restricted to AR type rifles/carbines?

  • Phil January 19, 2012, 11:22 am

    Looks like a good coyote scope to me!

  • bob January 19, 2012, 10:19 am

    i don`t get what the scope in the video has to do with the article!they`re different scopes!

  • Chris January 19, 2012, 8:23 am

    The nikon app is NOT FREE! What a rip off, get the free winchester app

    • KenJ January 19, 2012, 12:08 pm

      Chris. Thanks for that tip. Can you tell us a link to it or specifically what it’s called?

  • mark January 19, 2012, 8:07 am

    the app is currently priced at 44.99 on the app store…

    • mark January 19, 2012, 8:19 am

      should read $4.99 not 44 the shift key didn’t work

    • Bigmo June 2, 2014, 1:44 pm

      I dont know about the scope app but I was looking for aapp that would keep track of range visits so I can track how Im shooting better/ worse from week to week based on ammo etc. A shooting buddy told me to check out app called “The Target Master” on app store for 9.99. Its cool lets me track scoring from each session take pics of targets to compare, track ammo types I use etc. Also has a nice little gun inventory for insurance purposes and tracks cleaning intervals. Overall very happy with it. Heres the link if anyones interested.

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