With as popular and effective as the LPVO has become, I wanted one too.
I wanted to know if they're as fast to use as a red dot at 1x and if the extra weight is worth the magnification.
For personal experience, I tried one out, and I also wrangled up the best LPVO scopes available to create a short list suitable for lots of different types of applications.
Though there are similar features between all LPVs, I looked for various features, reticle designs, and price points to compare them all.
In this guide, I also include a quick introduction to these low powered scopes and things to keep in mind if you're interested in topping your AR-15 with one.
Top LPVO Scopes 2023
On average, when we hear LPVO, we immediately think of an AR-15 rifle to put it on. This is an appropriate thought process because semi-auto, do-it-all rifles are made for fast, and a lot of the time, close to mid-range work in both tactical and sporting applications. The LPVO is a natural fit.
What is an LPVO?
The LPVO (Low Power Variable Optic) was first in use with the United States military. As it trickled on through as a common-use scope by troops, it was inevitable that it would become popularized by the civilian market.
The LPVO stands for Low Power Variable Optic. It starts at 1x (non-magnified) power and offers magnification to a max of 10x. The concept behind it is flexibility for close-range defensive work but also fast target acquisition at common, extended ranges.
A LPVO has a few trademark benefits that it’s well known for:
- Close-quarter to mid-range use
- Red dot illumination
- 1x or 1.5x starting magnification
- Low magnification to a max of 10x
- 20-24mm aperture (objective lens diameter)
- Short length typically around 9-11”
- Heavy weight usually around 14-24 oz
- Bulky build normally with 30mm tubes
- Power throw lever
What is a LPVO good for?
With low magnification and a limited aperture size, an LPV is best for close-range applications especially for tactical work but has some inherent strengths for competition use. Close range can be considered from point-blank to 200 yards.
When I speak of mid-range use, the 1-4x, 1-6, and 1-8x serve distances up to 500-600 yards well. Long-range use from a LPVO would be the higher-powered configurations of 1-8x and 1-10x for 800 yards and possibly more.
Though these are some very generous guidelines, it all really depends on your application and how much magnification you find comfortable to adequately see and shoot your target.
I did some extensive research to come up with LPVO scopes of all kinds and for different purposes.
No one scope really does it all, but the LPV comes pretty close to being the King of the multi-purpose configuration on an AR.
15 Best LPVO Scope Reviews
1. Nightforce NX8 1-8x24 F1 -Best Under $2000
Overall, the Nightforce NX8 is a popular, high-end LPVO for both professional and competition work. Exposed turrets, zero stop, FFP reticle, and more makes the NX8 a feature-packed scope squeezed into a compact and lightweight form.
- High-end LPVO
- Short to mid-range
- FFP scope
- Zero stop
- Tight eyebox at 8x
The NX8 1-8x is lightweight and short for a LPVO in the 1-8x configuration. Weighing in at 17.6 oz and only 8.7” long, it’s a compact scope that marries to an AR setup rather well.
Interestingly, it not only has a FFP reticle that allows for accurate holdovers at any power setting, but the large, exposed turrets also have a Zero Stop if you prefer to dial in for those longer shots. I think you should know that the capped model lacks the zero stop.
With a 30mm tube, you have a wide 100 MOA of both elevation and windage adjustment travel. It has fixed parallax at 125 yards and an illuminated, daylight bright FC reticle in MOA or MIL.
There is some upset about the large 1.25 MOA center dot for long-range precision work, however, that’s why the reticle has up to 60 MOA worth of drop with thinner crosshairs – use it. It’s a top LPVO scope for Recce rifles!
Given the NX8’s tiny package, it does have a tight eyebox. If you plan on sitting at max power often in positions where you can’t get a consistent weld, I think you may want to reconsider the 1-8x configuration or the LPVO in general.
The think the scope is right up to par for a NightForce optic. It has fantastic glass, is incredibly tough, proven daylight bright illumination, and true 1x power with red dot-like performance. U recommend the NX8 for duty-use, home defense, and for the SHTF apocalypse.
2. Steiner T5Xi 1-5x24 - Best Under $1500
The Steiner T5Xi is a competition scope in form and function. It has a 3-Gun Tactical Reticle (3TR) that is ideal for 5.56mm and 7.62mm rounds for sporting and tactical applications. Though street prices will vary between online retailers, they often hit below $1500 making it a buy you can’t pass up.
- High-end LPVO
- Calibrated reticles
- SFP scope
- Capped turrets
- Locking diopter
- Quality control issues
I'm disappointed to see that there have been various defects that absolutely warrant a claim. Word is that Steiner has excellent customer service and you’ll be taken care of with an immediate replacement. At least there's that and the Heritage Warranty for the 'just in case.'
Overlooking any parts and labor defects, the T5Xi has a very simple BDC reticle for holding over to 500-600 yards (approx.) depending on your loads. The 5101 model is calibrated for 5.56 rounds and the 5102 for 7.62. As I always recommend, verify this with an app and time out at the range.
The 3TR reticle is in the SFP and is well suited to the 1-5x configuration. The center dot is illuminated and daylight bright. I think it's odd that the T5Xi strays from the norm with a CR2450 battery to operate the illumination instead of the CR2032. They look almost the same, but they're not. I like the fixed parallax for 100 yards, 0.1 MIL adjustments, and that it's completely waterproof.
I don't know that it's necessary but I love the locking diopter all the same. It's a high-end feature that ensures no unintentional adjustments are made, especially if you’re looking for true 1x performance for close-range work. The tapered magnification ring allows for instant power references without having to come off your weld.
Covered by the Steiner Heritage Warranty, this competition scope has the best coverage a manufacturer can offer – no registration/receipt, fully transferable, and it’s covered for life. I think that's competitive with the best warranties around.
3. Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8x24 FFP - Best Under $1000
Vortex released a FFP LPVO, the Strike Eagle 1-8x24 with the new EBR-8 FFP reticle. It’s a mid-range scope that performs well throughout the entire power range. For the money, you’re getting a scope that’s good enough as an entry-level duty-use LPV but would be a workhorse for the hunt.
- EBR-8 reticle
- FFP scope
- Mid-range quality
- True 1x performance
- Great illumination
- Flip-up caps
Target Tamers purchased and field tested the Strike Eagle 1-8x FFP scope. The new EBR-8 is a versatile BDC reticle that allows for some long-range shooting. Unfortunately, I must disclose that it's only available with an MOA reticle right now.
Being in the FFP, the reticle gets small at 1x and 2x magnifications. I don't consider it a drawback as the .75 MOA center dot and 12 MOA ring (with 2 MOA thick segments) shrink to provide red dot-like benefits. In the higher powers, it’s obviously easier to see and is accurate to use regardless of the power.
At 1x magnification and with adjustment of the diopter, I find that the SE provides true 1x performance free of FOV edge distortion. At max 8x, it is only slightly unfocused but is crisp enough to put shots downrange on a threat or steel target.
The illumination is incredibly dynamic as the whole reticle is illuminated but only the dot and ring appear to be in daylight conditions. The rest of the reticle shows illumination that appears to be appropriate for the conditions in low light.
I'd say the only downside is that the flip-up caps weren’t the best. They do the job, but they can unintentionally slip off when you’re flipping them up.
Mounting the Strike Eagle to an AR was a faultless experience. But also mounting and shooting it off a bolt action was an experience that highlights how it can be a good option for a hunting rifle if you feel so inclined to put a LPVO on there.
4. Swampfox Arrowhead 1-10x24 SFP - Best Under $500
The Swampfox Arrowhead 1-10x LPVO is a highly rated riflescope for the money. It falls within the entry-level range for a self-defense and duty-use optic. With various reticle and illumination colors available in this configuration, the Arrowhead is likely to fit the budget and the need.
- Locking turrets
- Red or green illumination
- MOA & MIL reticles
- SFP scope
- Blurry focus at max mag.
First off, I like that the Arrowhead 1-10x has commendable weight for a high power LPV of 20.36 oz. It’s certainly in the lightweight category for a scope of this configuration in the LPVO market.
Like with most LPV scopes, you must use the diopter at 1x to get a natural-looking FOV to get as close to what the naked eye sees. The only downside is that at high, max power, things do become slightly unfocused, and the eye box is a lot less forgiving. This is true of the Arrowhead and especially true of 1-10x LPV scopes in general. I think this could be a problem for those who hold over since it has a reticle in the SFP.
However, there are excellent reports of its optical quality and long-range use out to 800 yards and beyond.
The Swampfox LPVO has a lot offer. It has the push/pull locking turrets that are resettable to zero, intermittent ‘off’ positions on the illumination turret, NV compatible settings, and it comes with included accessories such as a throw lever, flip-up caps, and a battery. I think that's a lot of bang for the buck.
5. Burris RT6 1-6x - Best Under $400
The Burris RT6 is a quality option for buyers on a budget. Even if the RT6 1-6x is just for recreational use or a back-up AR scope for home defense, the Burris offers decent quality and ease of use to satisfy the beginner.
- SFP scope
- 1-6x configuration
- Ballistic 5X reticle
- Intermediate ‘off’ settings
- Not daylight bright
- Not the crispest turrets
On average, most LPVO scopes in the budget category will be entry-level quality and good enough for beginner use. One such LPV that meets the description is the Burris RT6 1-6x scope.
It has the all-time favorite 1-6x scope configuration that many find to be a great balance between 1x performance and eye relief, eyebox, and focus comfort at max power. I think these features are ever more of a necessity given that it’s a SFP scope.
The RT6 has the Ballistic 5X reticle that provides holdovers out to about 600 yards. I personally like that the dot and ring are illuminated while the crosshairs are not. This is a pro for some and a con for others. Either way, the reticle is extremely visible without illumination, and this may be important as it is daylight visible but not necessarily daylight bright.
The ½ MOA turrets are capped and have been reported to lack tactile clicks. Given their design, this is more of a set-it-and-forget-it scope, so if you don’t do a lot of dialing, I would say it's an acceptable flaw.
Overall, the RT6 doesn’t pretend to be a heavy hitter in the high-end department. It’s an entry-level scope that provides 1x two-eye-open benefits with some long shot opportunities at an affordable price point.
6. Primary Arms SLX 1-6x - Best Under $300
Primary Arms is proud to boast the SLX 1-6x LPVO receiving a “Silver-tier rating by the National Tactical Officers Association.” Beginner quality along with value is something the SLX series is well known for.
- 1-6x configuration
- Multiple reticles
- Not NV compatible
For the money, it’s not unreasonable that you aren’t getting night vision compatible brightness settings with the SLX LPVO. It’s something you’ll have to pay more for.
The Primary Arms scope offers 11 brightness settings and there are multiple reticles to choose from with the ACSS as the most popular. Reticle brightness seems to be daylight visible but not so much daylight bright. This is also true of the GLx 1-6x FFP version though the black reticle is highly visible.
I really like the changes made to the Gen III scopes that includes switching out the center dot to a center chevron, a shorter length of 10”, and a lighter weight of 16.9 oz. With eye relief of 3.3” at max power, it makes having the 1-6x configuration a good option especially since the reticle is in the SFP. The GLx model features the ACSS Raptor M6 reticle that I really like, and the chevron is extremely crisp. I also found the eye relief to be closer to 5".
It’s both fog and waterproof, has FMC coatings, and is covered with a lifetime warranty. For a budget scope, I like that it has all the basics – every feature you’re supposed to have at this price point.
7. Vortex Crossfire II 1-4x24 - Best Under $200
The Vortex Crossfire riflescope series has always been relied upon for excellent value and performance. With the 1-4x configuration, the Crossfire II is a beginner’s ultimate LPVO for close-quarter to mid-range distances for recreational, back-up defense, and perhaps some hunting applications.
- 1-4x configuration
- 4” eye relief
- Vortex tough
- Not daylight bright
As is expected for an entry-level Vortex scope, it has FMC coatings, a single-piece tube, has a hard anodized finish, and is O-ring sealed and nitrogen purged. It’s about as tough as you can expect a $200 Vortex optic to be, and from personal experience, they're rugged.
Now the 1-4x configuration is one of the lowest LPVO configurations available. It is excellent for CQB use but it can also provide some mid-range benefits. I personally appreciate long eye relief and the Crossfire LPV has 4” of it. It’s a lot easier to stay inside that eyebox for rapid target acquisition whether you’re at 1x or max 4x power.
In terms of its physicality, the 1-4x should be the most lightweight option, and the Crossfire II proves this true. It weighs only 14.8 oz and is 9.61” in length. I wouldn't say that it's the shortest LPV out there, but I know it's certainly among the lightest.
The V-Brite is a very simple but effective reticle. Crosshairs are black and dark while the center 1.5 MOA dot gets you on target. The dot is illuminated via 11 intensity settings but has been described as lacking in sunny conditions. It’s barely visible as a daylight dot but is not daylight bright.
Overall, the Crossfire will offer wide FOVs, fantastic lowlight performance, and can even be a hunting scope for various types of game. So, whether you’re shooting with an AR or bolt action rifle, the Crossfire II is one of the best LPVO scopes for 556 right up to .45-70 rounds.
8. Firefield RapidStrike 1-6X - Best Under $150
For the quality, the Firefield RapidStrike LPVO is one of the best affordable options you can consider. No, it will not be your duty-use LPV, but it will provide a lot of recreational satisfaction for target shooting and maybe some varmint control too.
- 1-6x configuration
- Multi-color illumination
- 4” eye relief
- Minor fish-eye distortion
- Not daylight bright
You must commend the RapidStrike that it’s able to pull off decent 1-6x LPVO performance for an incredibly low price point. No, I do not recommended it for professional applications. But it will certainly suffice as a first-time LPV for the beginner or for seasoned owners that want a daily scope for the range, plinking, or varmints.
It has the 1-6x configuration which offers a fantastic weight of 14.5 oz and a length of 9.8”. Optically, I'm satisfied with its 4” of eye relief that makes it a comfortable and forgiving scope to be behind at max power.
At 1x, it’s no surprise that you will get some fish-eye distortion around the edges of the FOV even with eyepiece adjustment. It has five illumination settings with red and green illumination, so I applaud the dual illumination, but it should be expected that it will not be daylight bright.
The reticle has ACSS-style flair to it and offers some extended range performance. However, I'd say it’s likely best to stay inside 200 yards for hunting and possibly 400 yards for target shooting practice to hit steel.
9. Tacticon Falcon V2 1-4x - Best Budget LPVO
The Tacticon Falcon V2 is an impressive cheap LPVO for the money. It has sound features that will attract serious shooters such as its glass-etched, mil-dot reticle and 1-4x configuration.
- 1-4x configuration
- Exposed turrets
- Glass-etched reticle
- 11 brightness settings
- Included cantilever mount
- Quality control issues
To be frank, not every model that ships out of the factory will be perfect. There are complaints related to quality control issues. Problems include defective magnification rings and turrets. You will want to give the Falcon V2 a test run within two months as it only has a 60-day return policy, but it is covered by a lifetime warranty if you decide to keep it.
However, for a budget LPVO, it’s astronomically popular and I feel that it's accurately described as a scope that fits the need and does the job.
I really like the illuminated mil-dot reticle that sits in the SFP, is glass-etched, and remains easy to see and does not clutter the FOV. The Falcon V2 has ½ MOA adjustments and oversized, exposed turrets. You’ll either like that or you won’t. Fortunately, the V2 also has push/pull lockable, resettable turrets. For range work, I find value in all of the above!
Most importantly for an economical scope is the issue of zero retention. Tacticon includes a 30mm cantilever mount in the box for immediate mounting and shooting. From the reports, it’s held zero and the mount screws hold their torque. Can I just say that this is a steal? With almost every other LPVO, the cost of a cantilever mount is on you - I rarely see one included in the box as an accessory.
Even with 11 brightness settings, it’s not going to perform to daylight bright expectations. However, for the money, the Tacticon Falcon V2 is hard to beat when you need a semblance of quality for very little cost.
Available at: Amazon
10. S2Delta LPVO - Best for AR-15 or AR-10
There are many top LPVO scopes for the AR-15 and AR-10 platforms. But one primary concern AR owners have is cost. When a few hundred dollars is the budget, consider the S2Delta 1-4x or 1-6x LPV riflescopes to outfit your setup.
- ½ MOA adjustments
- Capped turrets
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Not daylight bright
As is the case with most LPVO scopes in the under $300 range, the S2Delta struggles with providing daylight bright reticle intensity at max illumination. To give you my honest opinion, this is not unusual for its price point and the S2Delta follows suit with the unfortunate trend.
There are currently two models in this line, the 1-4x and 1-6x carbine LPVO rifle scopes. Though the BDC reticle is “calibrated” for 5.56mm calibers, it’s load dependent on 62 grain ammo. However, with a ballistic app, you can essentially use it with any load you want, but it’s much more popular with .223 and .308 calibers aside from the 5.56mm. And yes, it holds zero with 308s!
The S2Delta scopes cover the fundamentals. It’s made from aluminum, is nitrogen-purged and O-ring sealed, and it has capped turrets with ½ MOA adjustments. At this point, I don't see a lot of difference between it and similar alternatives.
But if you’re looking for a quality LPV for your AR that doesn’t break the bank, I'll point you towards the S2Delta. Though not an unconditional, unlimited warranty, the limited lifetime coverage is not bad for an affordable scope from a new, American, veteran-owned brand.
Available at: Amazon
11. Vortex Razor Gen II-E 1-6x24 - Best for LPVO for 3-Gun
It should come as no surprise that the Razor Gen II-E 1-6x LPVO ranks in as a top 3-Gun and match scope. It’s one of Vortex’s most high-end tactical and sporting rifle scopes to date. As a high-quality model, it’s a LPV that’s worth serious coin and serious consideration.
- JM-1 BDC reticle
- Excellent optical quality
- Excellent mechanical integrity
- 4” eye relief
- Capped turrets
- No included throw lever
It must be said that the Razor Gen II-E will not be for everyone. It is a SFP scope with a max of 6x magnification and a throw lever is not included. Thumbs down - I like included throw levers, and for the money, it really should come with one.
If more power, a reticle in the FFP, and a throw lever is desired, the Razor Gen III 1-10x FFP scope is a better fit. You must be warned - the price tag can cause heart palpitations - it's true, it happened to me. As a lower priced alternative, the Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8x FFP may be a better, mid-range fit and is worth the money - speaking from my personal experience.
But back to the Razor Gen II-E... It has the works in glass quality complete with APO, Optically Indexed Lenses, Premium ED glass, etc. It also has the works in mechanical integrity starting with the erector tube system to the friction reduction system and ending with turret screws. Basically - glass is awesome, sharp, and clear, and it's rugged, tough, and holds zero.
It has additional, premium features such as a locking illumination turret, oversized capped ½ MOA turrets, and 4” of eye relief. I think it better since it costs at least one arm and maybe a leg.
The JM-1 BDC reticle with an illuminated .5 MOA center dot allows for holds out to 600 yards (approx.) that was formulated with design feedback from Jerry Miculek - he’s a big deal in the competitive shooting world.
The Razor Gen II-E isn’t the final word on what’s best for 3-gun and competition use, but I recommend it since it's a proven runner in this arena. Though there are competitive alternatives, Vortex is hard to pass up when the warranty they offer is rock solid.
12. EOTech Vudu 1-6x24 FFP - Best for Duty Use/Law Enforcement
When your life depends on the quality of your gear, budget is a non-issue. Though dear, the EOTech Vudu 1-6x FFP LPVO is not out-of-this-realm kind of expensive and comes in under $1500. For tactical applications that includes home defense/SHTF and duty-use for law enforcement, the Vudu is worth checking out.
- FFP scope
- Multiple reticles
- Excellent optical quality
- Excellent build quality
- Push button illumination
- Non-locking turrets
For as awesome as the Vudu is, I am just a little bit concerned about the non-locking turrets. I think that this could be a legitimate drawback for duty use. To date there have not been many, if any at all, complaints about unintentional turret movement. Still – it’s something I'd recommend keeping in mind.
There are BDC reticles that are calibrated for 5.56 and 7.62 rounds, so it goes without saying that the Vudu will be a high-quality LPVO for the AR-15, Scar 17, .300 AAC Blackout, and more. The FFP reticle provides drop to approx. 600 yards, though I doubt you'd ever need it for duty use. With 1x magnification, you’re seeing that Ring of Death with true 1x performance, and that is something that is a must-have when considering EOTech.
One noteworthy feature is the push button illumination. It’s different, but I think I like it. I like that it has auto shut-off after a couple hours if you forget to deactivate it. It’s a battery-saving feature that can go a long way when battery life counts.
Though the Vudu is not the where the buck stops when it comes to viable options for duty-use LPVO scopes, it certainly is a quality option that deserves being on the shortlist of candidates.
13. Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6x24 SFP - Best LPVO for Hunting
Hunting is not typically one of the first applications that comes to mind with an LPVO. However, it can serve hunting and service needs whether it’s the primary or secondary application that one has in mind. The Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6x in the SFP is an excellent LPV scope if hunting is on your mind.
- SFP scope
- AR-BDC3 reticle
- Low capped turrets
- Full accessories included
- Tight eyebox
With a 3.5” eye relief and 6x magnification on the top end, I'd say it's reasonable to deduce that there is going to be little wiggle room to land within the eyebox offhand for a rapid shot. However, it can be done, and you’ll need to determine your tolerance level for it.
It has an adjustable eyepiece to get as close to true 1x performance as much as possible, and 6x magnification is doable to reasonably hold over past 100 yards. For those who are hunting, you may find best performance inside 300 yards even though the reticle offers up to 600-yard hold overs. I'd think it really comes down to your comfort and skill levels.
The AR-BDC3 reticle is illuminated with a 1 MOA center dot. The SE takes a CR2032 battery to operate, and I really like the glass-etched reticle that is visible without illumination. Though I haven't tested the SFP model, the FFP version was highly visible without illumination. Turrets are capped and low profile – just the way many no-nonsense hunters appreciate.
Though there are riflescopes with features dedicated to hunting, a LPVO can service the need. If you favor the low magnifications and you want your scope to double for tactical or other sporting applications, a Strike Eagle LPVO may be the jack-of-all-trades scope you need.
14. Trijicon Credo 1-6x24 SFP - Best for Home Defense & SHTF
It’s a real toss-up between the Trijicon Credo HX, Credo, and the Accupoint. They’re all fantastic LPV scopes. The Accupoint has a long-time reputation, the Credo HX is geared towards hunting and is more expensive, so I looked to fill the gap with the Credo 1-6x SFP LPVO.
- Trijicon quality
- 1-6x configuration
- Good eye relief
- ¼ MOA adjustments
- Capped turrets
- Many Trijicon scopes to choose from!
The Credo 1-6x SFP is a Trijicon-tailored LPV scope for 3-gun and LEOs. It goes without saying that if you can depend on a scope that’s good enough for the cops, it’s going to fill the need at home and for a SHTF world.
The Credo is available with the Segmented Circle reticle in either BDC (MOA) or MRAD. Though the SFP model is more affordable, it also comes in the FFP. I like that the 1-6x configuration offers more magnification, and interestingly, also more eye relief versus the 1-4x. It has 3.9-3.5” versus the 3.9-2.6” of the 1-4x.
When painstaking accuracy is desired, I recommend ¼ MOA turret adjustments, and the Credo delivers. It comes with a power knob, Scopecoat, bikini caps, and a few other things. I like its good build for a 1-6x scope since it has an 18 oz-ish (approx.) weight and 10.9” length.
Though aimed towards the tactical field, the Credo can also work for “hunting” purposes too. If you’re stopping the home intruder, fending off infectious zombies, or hunting for a protein source for your family in SHTF aftermath, the Credo is a scope you can depend on. That’s some serious thinking, right? You’ll need a serious scope to get it done.
15. Bushnell AR Optics 1-4x24 - Best LPVO for Recreational Use
The Bushnell AR Optics 1-4x LPVO is somewhat of an underdog. Recognizing what it has and what its limitations are will indeed be key to successful and satisfying performance. The AR LPVO is an entry-level scope made for recreational use to get the most enjoyment out of plinking and target shooting.
- 1-4x configuration
- SFP scope
- MIL turrets
- Drop Zone-223 BDC reticle
- PCL (throw lever) included
- No illumination
In general, LPVO scopes tend to have illumination as they aim to offer red dot-like performance at 1x magnification. It’s easy to understand that the lack of illumination keeps costs down, but in a LPV riflescope, I think it’s sort of an odd move especially when similarly priced alternatives offer illumination.
However, I must acknowledge that not everyone chooses to have illumination. Since the Drop Zone-223 BDC reticle is in the SFP, it doesn’t change size and remains highly visible. The reticle has holdovers to approx. 600 yards with .223 rounds, but no scope can really guarantee precise calibration. With 1-4x magnification and fixed 100-yard parallax, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever need to stretch the distance, but it’s there if the need arises. Practice and training first!
The exposed turrets offer 0.1 MIL adjustments and are non-locking. Once again, this is an affordable, entry-level LPVO for target practice or small varmint control. I really like that Bushnell includes a multi-height PCL (Power Change Lever) to suit your needs. It’s not just a nub as it offers full-length usability for rapid power changes.
If there’s any doubt, let it rest. The AR Optics LPVO is covered under Bushnell’s Ironclad Warranty. As a first LPVO for a first-time owner of an AR-15, the Bushnell will get them square in no time – hint, hint, it will make a good gift!
What to Look for in the Best LPVO Scopes
There are many features of a LPVO scope that determines its suitability for a certain application. From budget to focusing, illumination and more, the following features will explain the basics in a way that can help narrow down which LPVO is best for you.
LPVO riflescopes vary in price range depending on quality and additional features. They are priced as affordably as $200 but can also cost $2000. With a wide variety of price points to consider, quality always comes first before the extra bells and whistles of additional features.
LPVO Scopes for $100-$300
Budget LPVO scopes will fall into the under $300 range. They will likely have trouble achieving true 1x benefits and may have mechanical and quality control problems. These affordable options are best for recreational use.
LPVO Scopes for $300-$600
Quality entry-level LPVO riflescopes will fall into the under $600 range. They are better than budget scopes with improved optical and tracking ability. This is a good starter range for beginners, recreational use, and some hunting applications.
LPVO Scopes for $600-$1000
Mid-range LPVO scopes start around $600 (street price) though the MSRP is likely around $800. Mid-range price points include scopes that can run up to $1000. This entails a large variety of quality features and manufacturers.
FFP scopes tend to start in this price range and true 1x is expected. These scopes have great LPVO performance that can serve most applications better than expected.
LPVO Scopes Over $1000
High-end LPVO scopes can start around the $1200 price point, but you may see more options begin around $1400-$1500. They can run over $2000 in some cases. These can absolutely serve professional applications well when your life depends on your gear, say for home defense, law enforcement, and SHTF.
|NightForce NX8||Under $1800|
|Steiner T5Xi||Under $1200|
|Vortex Strike Eagle FFP||Under $600|
|Swampfox Arrowhead||Under $500|
|Burris RT6||Under $400|
|Primary Arms SLX||Under $300|
|Vortex Crossfire II||Under $200|
|Firefield RapidStrike||Under $150|
|Tacticon Falcon V2||Under $150|
|Vortex Razor Gen II-E||Under $1500|
|EOTech Vudu||Under $1300|
|Vortex Strike Eagle SFP||Under $400|
|Trijicon Credo||Under $1000|
|Bushnell AR Optics||Under $150|
Magnification on an LPVO normally starts at 1x or 1.5x and maxes out at either 3x, 4x, 5x, 6x, 8x, and 10x. This is considered low when compared to many higher powered, variable configurations such as 2-12x, 3-12x, 4-16x, 5-20x, etc.
|NightForce NX8||1-8x||24 mm|
|Steiner T5Xi||1-5x||24 mm|
|Vortex Strike Eagle FFP||1-8x||24 mm|
|Swampfox Arrowhead||1-10x||24 mm|
|Burris RT6||1-6x||24 mm|
|Primary Arms SLX||1-6x||24 mm|
|Vortex Crossfire II||1-4x||24 mm|
|Firefield RapidStrike||1-6x||24 mm|
|Tacticon Falcon V2||1-4x||24 mm|
|Vortex Razor Gen II-E||1-6x||24 mm|
|EOTech Vudu||1-6x||24 mm|
|Vortex Strike Eagle SFP||1-6x||24 mm|
|Trijicon Credo||1-6x||24 mm|
|Bushnell AR Optics||1-4x||24 mm|
Why choose a lower powered LPV?
As a bit of context, LPVOs serve their best purpose with the lower configurations i.e., 1-3x and 1-4x. The FOV remains wide as possible even with magnification, and the eyebox is extremely generous making target acquisition incredibly fast.
How much LPVO magnification do you need?
Though arguable, 1x power for every 100 yards is doable for skilled shooters with good vision. When you’re introducing adverse light and weather conditions, various hunting terrains, and shooting inside 400 yards, you may want 2x power for every 100 yards.
If your eyes are bad or you’re trying to spot groupings at the range, perhaps more is needed like that from a 1-8x or 1-10x. Personal preference is important here, but I should point out that a spotting scope will do better for spotting groups when shooting with LPV scopes.
Is there such a thing as too much power from a LPVO?
Adding more power narrows the FOV, tightens the eyebox (affecting cheek weld), shortens eye relief, reduces light transmission, and can impede target acquisition speed. On the other hand, more magnification is needed by some to see better, and it’s usually always needed to gain more accuracy at greater distances.
Always choose the right equipment for the mission. I.e., the magnification and specs should be suitable to the application. How much magnification do you need?
|NightForce NX8||3.75 inches||106 – 13.2 ft @ 100 yards|
|Steiner T5Xi||4.3 – 3.5 inches||108 – 21 ft @ 100 yards|
|Vortex Strike Eagle FFP||3.9 inches||113.6 – 14.1 ft @ 100 yards|
|Swampfox Arrowhead||3.54 – 3.46 inches||115.6 – 11.5 ft @ 100 yards|
|Burris RT6||4 – 3.3 inches||106 – 18.5 ft @ 100 yards|
|Primary Arms SLX||3.5 – 3.3 inches||110 – 19.3 ft @100 yards|
|Vortex Crossfire II||4 inches||96.1 – 24.1 ft @ 100 yards|
|Firefield RapidStrike||4 inches||102 ft @ 100 yards|
|Tacticon Falcon V2||4.5 – 4 inches||96.1 – 24 ft @ 100 yards|
|S2Delta||3.5 – 3 inches||107.6 – 26.7 ft @ 100 yards|
|Vortex Razor Gen II-E||4 inches||115.2 – 20.5 ft @ 100 yards|
|EOTech Vudu||3.9 – 3.1 inches||102.4 – 16.7 ft @ 100 yards|
|Vortex Strike Eagle SFP||3.5 inches||116.5 – 19.2 ft @ 100 yards|
|Trijicon Credo||3.9 – 3.5 inches||113.4 – 18.8 ft @ 100 yards|
|Bushnell AR Optics||3.5 inches||112 – 27 ft @ 100 yards|
Focusing a LPVO is worth its very own subsection. Many discard the LPVO at first impression due to the distortion that is seen mostly around the edges of the FOV at 1x magnification. It is usually described as a fish-eye lens effect or like looking through a fishbowl. This is to describe the amount of off-axis aberration that is noticeable.
The solution? You need to adjust the eyepiece. The eyepiece/diopter is what focuses the reticle for your vision. In the case of a LPVO at 1x power, it has everything to do with acquiring a natural-looking image and how true that 1x magnification appears to be.
Only you can make these adjustments for your eyes. It may make the reticle or target seem slightly out of focus at max magnification on scopes with 8x and 10x. But it’s not exceedingly distracting when you’re focused on putting a bullet in a target downrange, if you notice it at all.
The best sight picture focus will be at the parallax setting. If the LPVO has a side focus, you can use it to acquire a sharper, clearer picture at distance.
|NightForce NX8||Fixed 125 meters|
|Steiner T5Xi||Fixed 100 yards|
|Vortex Strike Eagle FFP||Fixed 125 yards|
|Swampfox Arrowhead||Fixed 100 yards|
|Burris RT6||Fixed 100 yards|
|Primary Arms SLX||Fixed 100 yards|
|Vortex Crossfire II||Fixed 100 yards|
|Firefield RapidStrike||Fixed 100 yards|
|Tacticon Falcon V2||Fixed 125 yards|
|S2Delta||Fixed 100 yards|
|Vortex Razor Gen II-E||Fixed 100 yards|
|EOTech Vudu||Fixed – distance unknown|
|Vortex Strike Eagle SFP||Fixed 100 yards|
|Trijicon Credo||Fixed – distance unknown|
|Bushnell AR Optics||Fixed 100 yards|
FFP VS SFP
The conversation about FFP and SFP scopes has usually been reserved for long-range magnified optics, but it is becoming a topic of interest in LPVO riflescopes too. The same rule applies to LPVO scopes as it does conventional scopes: buy the type that suits the application.
FFP scopes have the reticle in the first focal plane meaning that as magnification is turned up or down, the reticle seemingly grows larger or smaller. In an FFP LPVO, the reticle can become very small in the lower powers and can be difficult to see.
The silver lining is that when you’re in the lower powers, you’re acquiring red dot-like performance. With FFP, you can use BDC holdovers at any magnification. This would be better suited to some 1-6x scopes but is well suited to 1-8x and 1-10x configurations.
SFP scopes have the reticle in the rear/second focal plane meaning that as magnification is turned up or down, the reticle remains static and does not grow or shrink in size.
This allows for maximum reticle visibility regardless of the magnification setting. However, it means that any BDC holdovers would only be accurate at max magnification. LPVO scopes with the reticle in the SFP would work cohesively in 1-4x and 1-6x configurations.
|Product||Reticle Focal Plane||Magnification|
|Vortex Strike Eagle FFP||FFP||1-8x|
|Primary Arms SLX||SFP||1-6x|
|Vortex Crossfire II||SFP||1-4x|
|Tacticon Falcon V2||SFP||1-4x|
|Vortex Razor Gen II-E||SFP||1-6x|
|Vortex Strike Eagle SFP||SFP||1-6x|
|Bushnell AR Optics||SFP||1-4x|
Apart from having magnification, LPVO scopes have another standard advantage over red dot sights – a BDC (Bullet Drop Compensation) reticle. They feature holdover points for extended ranges and sometimes windage holdover points for wind.
Reticles will vary between LPVO scopes and manufacturers. Some are calibrated for common AR loads such as the .223/5.56mm and .308/7.62mm cartridges. However, not all LPVOs have calibrated BDC reticles even when they say they do (as is the case with riflescopes).
Whether you’re using “calibrated” cartridges or completely different loads, it’s always recommended to use a ballistic app to get drop data and confirm it at the range.
|Product||Reticle Type||Other Reticle Choices|
|Vortex Strike Eagle FFP||EBR-8 MOA||No|
|Swampfox Arrowhead||Guerrilla Dot BDC||MOA & MIL|
|Burris RT6||Ballistic AR 5X||No|
|Primary Arms SLX||ACSS||Yes|
|Vortex Crossfire II||V-Brite||No|
|Firefield RapidStrike||Circle Dot||No|
|Tacticon Falcon V2||MIL-DOT||No|
|Vortex Razor Gen II-E||JM-1 BDC||VMR-2 MOA & MRAD|
|EOTech Vudu||SR1||SR2 & SR3|
|Vortex Strike Eagle SFP||AR-BDC3||No|
|Trijicon Credo||Segmented Circle BDC MOA||MRAD|
|Bushnell AR Optics||Drop Zone-223 BDC||No|
Many LPVO scopes will have illumination. This is to provide fast and high visibility of the reticle at low power much like that of red dot sights. Additionally, it also provides good lowlight benefits, target acquisition in shaded terrains or on dark colored targets.
Some scopes may only illuminate the center portion of the reticle while others provide complete reticle illumination. Most of the time, only a portion of the reticle will be illuminated.
Illumination requires a power source that is usually a CR2032 battery. Brightness levels will vary between scopes as will battery life.
|Product||Illumination||Illumination Color||Brightness Settings||Battery Type|
|Vortex Strike Eagle FFP||Yes||Red||9||CR2032|
|Swampfox Arrowhead||Yes||Red or Green||12||CR2032|
|Primary Arms SLX||Yes||Red||11||CR2032|
|Vortex Crossfire II||Yes||Red||11||CR2032|
|Firefield RapidStrike||Yes||Red & Green||5||CR2032|
|Tacticon Falcon V2||Yes||Red||11||CR2032|
|Vortex Razor Gen II-E||Yes||Red||11||CR2032|
|EOTech Vudu||Yes||Red or Green||10||CR2032|
|Vortex Strike Eagle SFP||Yes||Red||11||CR2032|
|Trijicon Credo||Yes||Red or Green||10||CR2032|
|Bushnell AR Optics||No||N/A||N/A||N/A|
Many may not give enough thought to mounts in general including when pairing it with a LPVO. Let this sit with you for a minute.
Quality scope in quality mount on quality rifle equals good shots and solid, dependable performance. Quality scope in bad mount on quality rifle equals inconsistent performance and perhaps a rabbit hole of problems.
There are all sorts of mounting options for a LPV including cantilever, quick detach, bolt on, and rings – vertical or horizontal split? Personal preference tends to drive the choice of mount here. It’s worth considering if you’ll be using offset red dot sights or zeroed backup irons sights.
Also, how do you shoot? Say, nose to charging handle? Your position to adjustable stocks can influence the type of mount that may be best for your setup. Don’t skimp on the mount.
Cantilever mounts are usually the go-to type for an AR. They offer fixing points on top of the receiver rail to ensure the scope holds zero, but it also allows the scope body to be far forward enough to gain the desired eye relief.
Here are some specs you can compare to help determine if the LPVO is right for you and what mounting system is best.
|NightForce NX8||8.7 inches||17.6 oz||30 mm|
|Steiner T5Xi||11.3 inches||19.4 oz||30 mm|
|Vortex Strike Eagle FFP||10.4 inches||23.9 oz||30 mm|
|Swampfox Arrowhead||10.67 inches||20.3 oz||30 mm|
|Burris RT6||10.3 inches||17.4 oz||30 mm|
|Primary Arms SLX||10 inches||16.9 oz||30 mm|
|Vortex Crossfire II||9.8 inches||16 oz||30 mm|
|Firefield RapidStrike||9.8 inches||14.5 oz||30 mm|
|Tacticon Falcon V2||10.5 inches||17.3 oz||30 mm|
|S2Delta||10 inches||20.8 oz||30 mm|
|Vortex Razor Gen II-E||10.1 inches||21.5 oz||30 mm|
|EOTech Vudu||10.63 inches||20.1 oz||30 mm|
|Vortex Strike Eagle SFP||10.5 inches||18.5 oz||30 mm|
|Trijicon Credo||10.9 inches||18.9 oz||30 mm|
|Bushnell AR Optics||12 inches||19 oz||30 mm|
Where non-magnified red dots champion close-quarter use and instant target acquisition, high-power magnified scopes are best for long-range precision work. LPVOs are seen as the jack-of-all-trades, do-it-all scopes as they fill the gap between red dot sights and high-power, long-range riflescopes.
Many LPVOs provide excellent versatility for use in professional applications such as military, law enforcement, and security occupations. You can clear a building and take out a threat at 200 yards with the same optic with incredible ease.
It’s also proven to be a great competition scope for many of the same reasons – quickly hit close-range targets and dial up the power to take out 300-yard targets. These applications are why the LPVO is extremely popular with AR/MSR rifles as the do-it-all tac carbine or home defense AR-15.
Here are some of my recommended applications for each LPVO based on quality, features, and expected performance.
|NightForce NX8||Law Enforcement, Home Defense, SHTF, Long Range|
|Steiner T5Xi||3-Gun, Law Enforcement, SHTF, Home Defense|
|Vortex Strike Eagle FFP||Hunting, SHTF, Home Defense, Target Shooting, Recreational, Some Competition, Long Range|
|Swampfox Arrowhead||Long Range, Home Defense, SHTF, Target Shooting, Recreational, Varmint Hunting|
|Burris RT6||Recreational, Target Shooting, Varmint Hunting|
|Primary Arms SLX||Recreational, Target Shooting, Varmint Hunting|
|Vortex Crossfire II||Recreational, Target Shooting, Varmint Hunting|
|Firefield RapidStrike||Recreational, Target Shooting, Varmint Hunting|
|Tacticon Falcon V2||Recreational, Target Shooting, Varmint Hunting|
|S2Delta||Recreational, Target Shooting, Varmint Hunting|
|Vortex Razor Gen II-E||3-Gun, Law Enforcement, SHTF, Home Defense|
|EOTech Vudu||Law Enforcement, SHTF, Home Defense, Hunting|
|Vortex Strike Eagle SFP||Hunting, Target Shooting, Recreational|
|Trijicon Credo||Law Enforcement, SHTF, Home Defense, 3-Gun, Hunting|
|Bushnell AR Optics||Recreational, Target Shooting, Varmint Hunting|
Is the LPVO good for hunting?
There’s less emphasis of LPVO scopes on hunting rifles. Some drawbacks to consider would be its overall weight, bulk, and smaller front aperture. However, the LPVO can provide a lot of benefits for shots inside 200 yards and who favor the lower magnifications.
We field tested the Vortex Strike Eagle FFP on a bolt action .270 and results were excellent. Tina reckons the Strike Eagle 1-8x FFP is a one of the best 1-8x scopes for 308, 6.5 Creedmoor, and other hunting cartridges from a bolt action rifle. Even with that said, there are other aspects of a magnified scope that are better suited to the job (hunting) than an LPVO.
The takeaway is that an LPVO isn’t necessarily for everyone. Determining what your primary use is 80% of the time will help to narrow down if an LPVO can serve you well.
Overall, the warranty can have as much to do with your decision as the budget. Not all LPVO scopes come the same warranty as granted to other scopes from the same manufacturer. The key component that usually changes a warranty is the electronics.
Read the warranty to determine if full coverage is applied or if there is are limitations when it comes to the illumination.
|NightForce NX8||Transferable Limited Lifetime Warranty|
|Steiner T5Xi||Heritage Lifetime Warranty|
|Vortex Strike Eagle FFP||VIP Warranty|
|Swampfox Arrowhead||50,000 Round Guarantee|
|Burris RT6||Burris Forever No Questions Asked Warranty|
|Primary Arms SLX||Transferable Lifetime Warranty|
|Vortex Crossfire II||VIP Warranty|
|Firefield RapidStrike||Non-transferable 3-year Warranty|
|Tacticon Falcon V2||Lifetime Warranty|
|S2Delta||30-day Return Policy/Lifetime Warranty|
|Vortex Razor Gen II-E||VIP Warranty|
|EOTech Vudu||EOTech NoBS Lifetime Warranty|
|Vortex Strike Eagle SFP||VIP Warranty|
|Trijicon Credo||Non-transferable Lifetime Warranty|
|Bushnell AR Optics||Bushnell Ironclad Warranty|
This LPVO guide explained a lot of beginner information for the first time LPVO buyer. But like all things, there is always more to learn and many rabbit holes to dive into headfirst.
The takeaway is that a quality LPVO can be a decent multi-purpose scope for an AR for close-quarter, competition, duty, target shooting, and many more applications.
Red dot sights would be the best option for those who are consistently shooting point-blank and under 100-yard ranges. For those shooting beyond 300 yards most of the time, a magnified scope that starts at 3x or 4x is the better option.
The LPV comes in to fill the gap. As a sort of combo between red dot sights and magnified optics, it’s good for close-range use but can stretch the distance a little without too much issue.
It’s easy to see why the LPVO has become the next target of obsession – for good reason too.