The Low Power Variable Optic (LPVO) is coming into its own in the shooting community in force at the moment and the questions keep rolling in as to… why?
Why do I need this high priced LPVO optic compared to a red dot or fixed power sight? Even in the affordable optics categories lower cost LPVOs are 2x-3x the cost of a dot.
Do I need this?
Aaron Cowan over with Sage Dynamics takes an objective look at some of the information surrounding this question. (Yes he says LVPO not LPVO, we’re a dyslexic bunch and we talk a LOT for a living, same same)
But incase you don’t want to watch the video (shame on you) this gist of it centers on a few points
- An LPVO can do everything a red dot sight can to nearly the same efficiency a red dot can. The only thing the red dot excels at functionally is the issue of eye relief.
- A red dot cannot do everything an LPVO can, especially when it comes to target observation at any significant distance. You can hit a static target at distance with irons, a red dot, or an LPVO, but only the magnified optic will give you the ability to discern detail. After about 50 yards positive identification with the unaided eye gets harder and harder without extra information.
- Mission requirement is a very important point. If the rifle you are equipping is not meant to push outside a short distance defensive envelope, a red dot serves your needs just fine. If you want the rifle, even SBR, to have enhanced capability beyond the unaided vision distances a LPVO is a better option
For a quick run down out of my personal inventory:
- My SCAR 16: My go to all purpose rifle runs an ACOG. I’m favoring my training bias on this one but the TA31 gives me greater vision over distance while I can still shoot CQ with the Bindon Aiming Concept, BAC is a learned skill just like mastering a DA/SA trigger but it is still my preference.
- My LWRCi PSD: My “EDC” rifle is an SBR running a TA44 1.5X ACOG, it’s essentially a red dot +. The TA44 gives a small advantage at slightly greater distances over red dots but is functionally still in the shorter distance envelope. I’ve been equally happy running an Aimpoint CompM5 in that role too. Close distances set up.
- My SCAR 17: Running a LPVO/MPVO US Optics B-10 the advantages on detail observation at all distance beyond 50 meters are substantial. Detail becomes key in a shoot no shoot whether you are engaging a threat or picking your shot on a game animal. The only real trade offs are weight and hands off control.