8 Best LPVO (Low Power Variable Optics) Scopes | Top LPVO’s in 2021

Best LPVO

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Low power variable optics, or LPVOs, are a type of rifle scope that doesn’t give you a lot of magnification, but is designed to give you what you need for close range and mid range shots. Most low power variable optics are right around 1x to 6x. Some of them only open up to 2x, and some go as high as 8x, but anything below 3-9x is generally consider a low power variable optic (LPVO).

A lot of times these are compared to more high-powered scopes, but it’s more fair to compare them to red dot optics because they’re used in much the same way. Though some hunters and shooters are starting to use them for for long distance shooting and hunting, for the most part these are used when you need to get your target fast and get precise shots at mid and close range.

PRODUCT

DETAILS

Products

BEST FOR LIGHT WEIGHT

Vortex Optics Strike Eagle

Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-6x24

Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 

  • Magnification:1 - 6 x
  • Weight:18.5 oz
  • Eye Relief:3.5 in
BEST FOR LONG RANGE

Primary Arms SLX SFP Rifle Scope Gen III

Primary Arms SLX 1-6x24

Primary Arms SLX SFP Rifle Scope Gen III

  • Magnification:1 - 6 x
  • Weight:16.9 Oz
  • Eye Relief:3.50/3.30 in
BEST FOR DURABILTY

Leupold VX-6HD Riflescope

Leupold VX-6HD 1-6x24

Leupold VX-6HD Riflescope

  • Magnification:1 - 6 x
  • Weight:1.2 Pounds
  • Eye Relief:3.7 - 3.82 in
BEST FOR FAST FOCUS

Trijicon Credo HX Illuminated Hunting Riflescopes

Trijicon Credo HX 1-8x28

Trijicon Credo HX Illuminated Hunting Riflescopes

  • Magnification:1 - 6 x
  • Weight:25.7 oz
  • Eye Relief:3 - 4 in
BEST FOR HUNTING

Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II Riflescopes

Vortex Viper PST Gen II 1-6x

Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II Riflescopes

  • Magnification:1 - 6 x
  • Weight:22.7 oz
  • Eye Relief:3.8 in
BEST FOR PRECISE TARGET

EOTECH Vudu Precision Rifle Scope

EOTECH Vudu 1-6x24mm Riflescope

EOTECH Vudu Precision Rifle Scope

  • Magnification:1 - 6 x
  • Weight:19.75 oz
  • Eye Relief:80 - 100 mm
BEST FOR MID RANGE

Bushnell AR Optics Riflescope

Bushnell 1-4x24

Bushnell AR Optics Riflescope

  • Magnification:1 - 6 x
  • Weight:18 oz / 510 g
  • Eye Relief:3.5 Inches
BEST FOR FAST FOCUS

Monstrum G2 FFP Rifle Scope

Monstrum G2 1-4x24

Monstrum G2 FFP Rifle Scope

  • Magnification:1 - 6 x
  • Weight:1 lb
  • Eye Relief:4 - 4.5 in

Matters of Preference

When you’re looking at buying a low power variable optic (LPVO), there are two categories of things to watch for: things that are a matter of personal choice, and things that are objective quality. Here are the main ones in terms of personal preference.

Reticle Plane

The focal plane that the reticle is on doesn’t actually matter much for low power variable optics. A second focal plane scope is going to work just as well as a first focal plane scope. It becomes more a matter of simply practicing with whatever focal plane scope you choose to purchase. As the old adage goes, the best low power variable optic is the one you have.

Most of the scopes we look at are second focal plane optics, which is more common than FFP optics in this zone. FFP scopes are more common to see with higher magnification, because FFP scopes stay true and usable at all magnifications, while SFP optics are only true at the highest magnification.

Magnification

This is mostly a matter of preference, because even a 1-4x scope can take you out as far as most people are going to want to shoot. Magnification ranges of an LPVO rifle scope are usually between 1-4x and 1-8x, regardless of whether it’s a first focal plane or second focal plane scope.

Since the best low power variable optics open up to 1x, the maximum magnification is what tells you the most. Another matter of preference that goes along with this is the stiffness of the magnification ring.  Some people like it to be tough to switch the magnification while others like it to be easier. 

Reticle Design

Not surprisingly, a lot of low power variable optic reticles are designed with the AR-15 platform in mind. The ACSS reticle on the Primary Arms SLx, for example, can be used for other loads but is designed for 55-grain 5.56. 

You can also choose between a bullet drop compensation reticle and a more minimalist crosshair. BDC reticles can be nice as either a quick and dirty replacement for a rangefinder and clicking adjustments on the turrets, or with practice can become a legitimate means to get truly accurate shots even beyond mid range shooting.

Matters of Quality

We’re going to go into this more after the recommendations, since a lot of our readers already know these, but they fall under glass clarity, magnification ranges, and a few other things.

1. Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-6x24

1-6 scope

The Vortex Optics Strike Eagle is a pretty affordable option and also comes in a 1-8x flavor depending on what you are looking for. It’s a second focal plane riflescope, so the BDC on the reticle will only be accurate at full magnification of 6x. For the most part that shouldn’t be a problem since you’ll be at 6x for shots at distances where you need a bullet drop compensator.

The magnification of 1-6x gives you the ability to comfortably go out to 300 yards and uncomfortably out to 600 yards. The Vortex Strike Eagle is a scope that is great in the mid range and can even do well at long range depending on how you define it. For me, long range is anything beyond 200 yards, but plenty of other shooters define it differently.

Eye relief is a comfortable 3.5” at 6x, but it does shift noticeably when you’re at 1x, which can make it difficult to have a perfectly consistent shooting form. The eye box is fairly narrow as well, but for such an affordable scope that’s a fairly easy compromise to make. You also get reticle illumination.

The Vortex Optics Strike Eagle will do everything a red dot optic can do except unlimited eye relief, and give you the magnification you need to get out a lot further if necessary. 

Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 1-6x24

Vortex Optics Strike Eagle Riflescope

The price of Vortex Optics Strike Eagle Riflescope varies, so check the latest price at

2. Primary Arms SLX 1-6x24

1-6x scope

The Primary Arms SLx is another affordable scope option, and is very similar to the Strike Eagle; it’s second focal plane, has a BDC reticle which I’ll talk more about in a minute, and is also illuminated. 

I honestly love the ACSS reticle on the Primary Arms. In my opinion, it gives you so much information without being too obtrusive. There are a lot of things to like about the SLx, but I think its strongest feature is the reticle itself. The magnification range of 1-6x makes it great for out to 300 yards and passable out to 600 yards.

The reticle gives you bullet drop info as far out as 800 yards but at that point the reticle lines are so thick and magnification is so little that you can barely see anything except in absolutely perfect conditions. Eye relief is right at 3.5” at 6x and 3.3” at 1x, and the field of view is nearly identical to the Strike Eagle.

The Primary Arms compares to a red dot just like the Strike Eagle; with the illumination it functions essentially the same as a red dot when at 1x, and you have the added benefit of giving yourself higher magnification if and when you need it. The Primary Arms ACSS reticle is the same size throughout the range and enables fast target acquisition.

Primary Arms SLX 1-6x24

Primary Arms SLX SFP Rifle Scope Gen III

The price of Primary Arms SLX SFP Rifle Scope Gen III varies, so check the latest price at

3. Leupold VX-6HD 1-6x24

1x6 scope

The Leupold 6HD is a much more premium option than either of the first two we’ve gone over, so if you have excruciatingly high standards of clarity, image quality, and durability, this is where you really need to start paying attention. It’s a lot more expensive than the either the Vortex or the Primary Arms, but it may 100% be worth it to you.

It’s still a second focal plane reticle (SFP) because it does make a great deal of sense in this magnification. Leupold’s reticles take a far more minimalistic approach, and you won’t find a Bullet drop compensator here, but instead a straightforward duplex with an illuminated reticle dot in the middle.

You don’t have an especially high magnification range (1-6x), but just about everything the first two scopes will do, the Leupold will do better, but you pay for the privilege of using it. The Leupold VX 6HD 1-6x has generous eye relief at 3.7 inches and a visible aiming point courtesy of the reticle options.

There is no comparison between the Leupold 6HD and a red dot. With how sharp the reticle is and how bright and clear the picture is, this is very much a step above.

Leupold VX-6HD 1-6x24

Leupold VX-6HD Riflescope

The price of Leupold VX-6HD Riflescope varies, so check the latest price at

4. Trijicon Credo HX 1-8x28

best 1 6x scope

I originally wanted to include the AccuPower 1-8x, but it has been discontinued and replaced with the Credo. Trijicon brings a lot of value to the table, and while the price tag reflects that value, their scopes are downright impressive. The objective lens is slightly bigger than any of the others on this list and you get a choice of BDC reticles, which is unusual for an LPVO scope.

This is the only scope on the list to go all the way up to 8x. 6x is what most people would consider the standard for an LPVO, but it’s nice to have a few options that go either higher or lower to look at. The Strike Eagle also has a 1-8x version that is much more affordable than the Credo, so if you like the idea of 1-8x but don’t want to drop the money for this one then you can look at the Vortex.

Trijicon is similar in a lot of ways to Leupold. They have a lot of military contracts, so ultra durability and consistent use is the rule for them. Where Leupold goes the minimalist direction, Trijicon goes tactical, and the reticle reflects that. It uses a cross-hair, but it adds MOA lines on all four axes to give you aiming points to work with for holdovers.

The Credo is going to be your best option out of these for long distance shots. You can still hit those close range targets by opening up to 1x, but you have the added flexibility of getting comfortably out to 400 yards and even as far out as 800 yards with practice.

It’s made of 6061 Aircraft Grade Aluminum, which is actually pretty common despite how impressive it sounds. Common doesn’t mean “bad”, and the design of the construction is just as important as the material used to build it. 

Eye relief is between 3 and 4 inches depending on what magnification you are at.

Trijicon Credo HX 1-8x28

Trijicon Credo HX Riflescopes

The price of Trijicon Credo HX Riflescopes varies, so check the latest price at

5. Vortex Viper PST Gen II 1-6x

1-6x24 scope

The Viper PST Gen II is a bit of a middle ground between the Strike Eagles and SLx’s of the world and the Leupolds. The quality control on the Viper, image quality, and everything else is nearly indistinguishable from the Leupold for a noticeably lower price. So if you’re willing to pay for quality but don’t quite have the resources for a Leupold, the Viper PST is a great option.

The spec sheet looks very similar to the scopes we’ve already talked about; it’s an SFP reticle, has a cross-hairs with hash marks to serve as aiming points for holdovers, has a 1-6x magnification for mid range and long shots, and eye relief is right at 3.8 inches.

The reticle has illumination, and the quality of this scope make it as great at CQB as a red dot with the added benefit of being able to perform at distance as well. You also get very minimal side distortion when you adjust your head position to get more accurate shots.

Vortex Viper PST Gen II 1-6x

Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II Riflescopes

The price of Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II Riflescopes varies, so check the latest price at

6. EOTECH Vudu 1-6x24mm Riflescope

lpvo scope

I know EOTECH best for their holographic weapon sights, so I was very curious when I found out they have a line of LPVOs as well. They’re not very well-known, but they are pretty incredible. The Vudu brings an FFP (first focal plane) reticle to the conversation. 

What I like about FFPs in this magnification range is that at 1x the reticle is small enough to serve functionally much like a red dot with an illuminated ring, while at 6x it’s at full size ready to go for long distance shots.

The Vudu is designed even better, though, and functionally gives you two different reticles when you’re at 1x and 6x. Here’s one of their three options:

lpvo optic

That little tiny crosshair in the left at 1x? That grows into what you see on the right. 

The standard 1-6x magnification gives it the same flexibility and versatility as any of the other scopes we’ve talked about, and will be just as good at mid range and long range shots as any except the Trijicon thanks to the extra magnification.

Eye relief is surprisingly forgiving on this rifle scope, with nearly 3/4 of an inch of play back and forth while still getting a complete picture through the scope. Much like the Viper, Leupold, and Trijicon, it almost feels silly to compare this to a red dot, since it does everything that those do and much, much more.

EOTECH Vudu 1-6x24mm Riflescope

EOTECH Vudu Precision Rifle Scope

The price of EOTECH Vudu Precision Rifle Scope varies, so check the latest price at

7. Bushnell 1-4x24

1 6x24 scope

I also wanted to dive into the 1-4x options a little bit, because honestly 4x is a remarkably versatile magnification, and you often don’t need more even though it feels like you do. The Bushnell is by far the most affordable scope on this list, which may be all you need to hear before going to buy it, but let’s talk through the specs.

It’s a second focal plane reticle, and it does have a Drop Zone-223 reticle to help calculate holds out to 600 yards. Now, being real, shooting at 600 yards with only 4x magnification is a bit of a stretch. Your vision at 600 yards with 4x would be essentially the same as 150 yards with 1x. In other words you’re not seeing much, but if you’re just trying to hit a man-sized target, then sure.

If you’re sticking with a 1-4x, I’d say your happy place is anywhere from point-blank to 200 yards. Anything beyond that and you will need to up your training and your skills significantly. Eye relief is right at 3.5 inches and field of view is pretty much in line with the other scopes on the list.

This compares a lot more directly to a red dot than the more expensive scopes here. A red dot will give you unlimited eye relief, so it can be mounted anywhere on the rifle, and will give you better parallax performance at less than 50 yards depending on the optic. The Bushnell will get you out a lot further and give you better parallax at 100 yards and beyond.

Bushnell 1-4x24

Bushnell AR Optics Riflescope

The price of Bushnell AR Optics Riflescope varies, so check the latest price at

8. Monstrum G2 1-4x24

1x6 ar scope

The Monstrum G2 is almost as affordable as the Bushnell, and really has no business being as good as it is. Full disclosure, out of all of the LPVOs I’ve had the opportunity to try out, the Monstrum G2 is what I ended up putting on my SHTF AR-15 that also doubles as a home defense weapon.

A lot of that had to do with price, but there were a lot of sacrifices I wasn’t willing to make and the Monstrum G2 did not require me to make those sacrifices. The image quality is phenomenal, eye relief is long at between 4 and 4.5 inches, and the BDC reticle works well at either end of the magnification range.

When I took this out for the first time, I mounted it myself, quickly zeroed at 50 yards, forgot to adjust the reticle focus or the parallax and did some quick timed drills at 100 yards and hit a man-sized target 25 out of 30 rounds. Image is nice, bright, and sharp, and as I fine-tuned it it’s become one of my favorite scopes.

Monstrum2

Monstrum G2 FFP Rifle Scope

The price of Monstrum G2 FFP Rifle Scope varies, so check the latest price at

Buying Guide

Light Transmission

For a low powered variable optic, light transmission and low light performance isn’t as big of an issue as it is for higher magnification ranges. A large part of this is because as magnification increases the exit pupil shrinks, which reduces the amount of light that can pass through. That said, at 6x and 8x especially, you can (and likely will) experience a dip in brightness.

What you want to look for is scopes that have crystal clear image quality and good low light performance even at the max magnification. The best 1-6x scopes will have nearly true-to-life brightness throughout their whole range.

Image Clarity

1 6 scope

The best low power variable optic is going to have high contrast images and razor sharp image clarity. Glass clarity is critically important for the best LPVO scope. Dust inside the scope, especially when you have an illuminated reticle, can make the scope much more difficult to use.

This is one of the problems with affordable optics like the Primary Arms SLx and the Monstrum G2. Sometimes they’ll come with dust or dirt inside the scope that you can’t get out, and when the illumination kicks on it lights up the flecks of dust so that they obscure your sight picture.

There are some cases where the barrel length may cause a problem as well when at 1x. In cases like these you just need to decide whether having the barrel visible at the bottom of your sight picture is a problem for you.  

Strength and Durability

low power variable optic

To make a truly versatile scope, in addition to variable magnification it needs to be strong and durable. This is the great thing about iron sights; they can basically handle as much abuse as the gun itself, and they will last for literally centuries. Even the best 1-6x scopes will not last that long, but you want something that you won’t have to replace in just a few years.

Price

The price of a mid range LPVO, a budget LPVO, and an expensive LPVO can vary widely, so part of this is just coming to terms with how much you’re willing to spend and how much you can get for that price. Not surprisingly, this will correlate with what type of things you’re doing with your rifle and how often.

Field of View

We haven’t talked about this much, because most of these variable scopes are right in the same range, but field of view can be an important determining factor when choosing something to replace a red dot or iron sights. It’s a bit counter-intuitive, but a scope with identical specs as another scope might actually have a wider field of view than the other.

Field of view is how much around the center of the scope reticle you can see, and it’s measured in feet, so can you see 100 feet from one side to the other? Or only 85? Generally more is considered better. Don’t confuse field of view with eye box, which is a measurement of how far to the left and right of a scope your eye can be and still see the whole picture.

FAQ

What is an LPV Scope?

An LPV scope is a type of scope that offers some magnification but not very much. The best LPVO scopes open to 1x and go up to either 4x, 6x, or 8x. Good examples of these are the Vortex Strike Eagle, the Leupold VX 6HD 1-6x, and the Primary Arms SLx. 

What LPVO Does the Military Use?

The Marines use the Trijicon VCOG, which stands for Variable Combat Optical Gunsight. The military also commonly uses the Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight (ACOG) from Trijicon, which is a low power fixed optic. 

What Magnification is Considered LPVO?

Generally speaking any scope with less magnification than 3-9x would be considered an LPV scope. The highest would be 2-8x, and the lowest would be 1-4x.

Final Thoughts

LPVOs are the type of scope that I get the most mileage out of. I find them to be versatile, flexible, and most importantly useful. As you’re shopping for an LPVO, don’t forget to consider what optic mounts are going to work best for you. Hopefully this article was helpful to you as you choose between different scope options. Let me hear your thoughts in the comments.

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