The Best LPVO Scopes: From Rimfire to Long Range

For those exploring the world of firearm optics, the rise of the Low Power Variable Optic (LPVO) presents a fascinating convergence of versatility, technology, and user-friendly design.

Originating as an answer to the evolving needs of modern marksmen, LPVOs bridge the gap between the short-range rapid target acquisition of red dot sights and the distance performance provided by traditional scopes. Their magnification flexibility, ranging typically from true 1x to 8x, allows for swift transition between close-quarters and medium-range targets, sometimes at distances exceeding the usual 200-yard mark.

While many think of LPVOs as entry-level optics, they are incredibly versatile. Historically used for hunting and competition scenarios such as 2-gun and 3-gun events, as firearm enthusiasts explored the depths of these optics, it became evident that their utility extended into the realm of close encounters like tactical scenarios, defensive setups, and even casual target plinking. Their focus on holdovers and ease of use generally means LPVOs include capped turrets, so they’re useful in both distance and dynamic shooting environments.

LPVO reticles can be designed as either first or second focal plane, with illumination options to adapt to various ambient lighting conditions. Furthermore, the choice between Minute of Angle (MOA) and Milliradian (MRAD) as measurement systems, and a near overwhelming array of reticle layouts, further tailors the user experience, enabling precision shots adjusted to personal preference.

The LPVO universe is broad, with many models, sizes, and configurations available, so it’s essential to go beyond what the boxes and brand tell you and delve deep into the anatomy of these optics. Understanding not just their specifications, but also their evolution, historical context, and the challenges they’ve been crafted to overcome will ensure you’re armed with all the right info.

Over the past years, we’ve field-tested or competed with hundreds of LPVOs, reviewing both new releases and model-specific updates as they are made available. From this unwieldy pile of glass, we make our final cut each year, focusing on the best of the best as it relates to price, features, design, and use cases. Our goal is to help you land on the right LPVO for you, whatever your criteria may be.

By Kenzie Fitzpatrick

Kenzie Fitzpatrick is a professional 3-gun competitive shooter, an NRA-certified Pistol Instructor & Range Safety Officer, a certified AR-15 Armorer, an NROI-certified Chief Range Officer, & host of the Reticle Up Podcast.

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