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Which LPVO is best?

Target shooting requires a few accessories that can make it a lot easier. A bipod is best for long-distance tracking, while night-vision goggles help you to see better in low visibility.

A magnification scope is also one of the best tools that you have. This allows you to see objects and target some distance away from you. But if your static magnification is too powerful, it will hinder your overall vision. For different scenarios, it is best to use a low-powered variable optic (LPVO) scope like the Vortex Optics Strike Eagle.

What to know before you buy an LPVO

First Focal Plane or Second Focal Plane?

Low-powered variable optic scopes are generally available in two different kinds: First Focal Plane (FFP) and Second Focal Plane (SFP). While there are several technical differences between the two, the most important has to do with the reticle. With FFP scopes, the reticle is in front of the magnification lens. So, when you increase the magnification, the reticle will also increase. Scopes that use SFP work differently, as the reticle is behind the magnification lens. This results in the reticle staying the same no matter the magnification. 

They are heavier than regular scopes

There are a lot of parts that go into any hunting scope, and LPVOs are no different. They tend to be much larger than regular hunting or ACOG scopes, and have more heft to them as well. The higher the magnification of the scope, the longer and heavier it will be. If you are deep in the forest, the extra weight can be burdensome.

The price is determined by the quality

Standard scopes are fairly expensive to start with, but LPVO scopes are more expensive due to their functions and construction materials. The majority of LPVO scopes are used for long-distance shooting, which increases their size, which in turn leads to a more expensive price tag. The quality of the scope and the manufacturer also play a huge role in the price. 

What to look for in a quality LPVO

Etched glass reticle for low battery

Low-powered variable optic scopes make use of a small battery to power the reticle. If the battery runs flat, most scopes won’t be able to show you where you are aiming. A quality LPVO scope will have a reticle etched into the glass so that you can accurately aim even if the battery power isn’t available.

LPVOs can be used for close quarters

Most users of LPVO scopes prefer the long-distance capabilities of the weapon-mounted device. But that doesn’t mean that it can’t be used for close-quarters combat (CQC). In fact, LPVOs work perfectly well in CQC, but you must factor in their size. With added length and bulk, it can be difficult to round corners or aim quickly.

Switching magnification easily

The starting one times magnification is made for speed. If you need to aim at something quickly, this is the setting for it. But to bring faraway objects closer, you need a good magnification range. A quality LPVO will allow you to quickly change magnification settings without having to fumble with knobs and dials.

How much you can expect to spend on an LPVO

The average price of an LPVO will depend on the functions and the weapon it is made for. An entry-level LPVO retails for around $80-$100. LPVOs from well-known manufacturers can retail for between $300-$400, but top-tier scopes can retail for up to $2,000.


What’s the difference between LPVO and ACOG?

A. Low-powered variable optic scopes can have a much greater magnification than other scopes and have a tighter eye relief. That means you really need to get in there to see clearly. An Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight (ACOG) scope is a wider eye relief, and usually only magnifies up to four times. ACOG scopes are popular with military branches, and not completely suited for hunting. 

Which is better, an FFP scope or an SFP scope?

A. That depends on what your preference is, but both scopes have advantages and disadvantages. The key to remember is that the subtension of the reticle with SFP scopes will only be accurate at one magnification level, which is usually the highest. An SFP scope is perfectly suited for use below six times magnification and is usually a bit more affordable.

What’s the best LPVO to buy?


Vortex Optics Strike Eagle

Vortex Optics Strike Eagle 

What you need to know: A versatile scope for any situation.

What you’ll love: An updated version of the original Strike Eagle, this LPVO has a one to six times magnification with less than an inch objective lens diameter. The magnification level can be seen without taking your eye off the scope and features a new illuminated BDC3 reticle. Focusing the scope has also been made faster, and it is also water and fog-proof.

What you should consider: This scope doesn’t come with rings or a mount.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top LPVO for the money

Sig Sauer Sierra 3 BDX

Sig Sauer Sierra 3 BDX

What you need to know: A simple to use scope that’s lightweight and durable.

What you’ll love: A trusted brand in firearms, this LPVO scope has a two and a half times magnification, with a maximum of eight times. The objective lens diameter is 1.65 inches, and the eye relief is 4.41 inches. It has a 40-degree field of view at 100 yards, is fog and waterproof, and can also be used on shotguns and crossbows. 

What you should consider: It’s not the most affordable scope, but it’s good value for money.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Bushnell AR Optics Drop Zone

Bushnell AR Optics Drop Zone

What you need to know: A high-performance sport scope that can withstand almost anything.

What you’ll love: With multiple layers of anti-reflective coating, this scope produces high-contrast images. The sturdy construction also allows it to withstand bumps and drops and is made waterproof through a rain-guard coating. It has a magnification level of one to four times, with 3.5-inch eye relief. The illuminated SFP reticle is a Drop Zone-223, accurate for targets up to 600 yards.

What you should consider: This scope doesn’t come with scope rings or mount.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Charlie Fripp writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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