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Red Dot vs Low Power Variable Optic – Which is Better?

LPVO vs. Red Dot

The shooting community seems enamored with LPVOs, causing many red dot fans to challenge the new sight system upgrade. The battle between the LPVO vs. red dot seems to take its toll on newly recruited shooters. 

So, our team spent hours researching to help shooters understand the difference between these sights, including their pros and cons.

Both the red dot sight and LPVO have true 1x magnification. Still, only the LPVO sights can adjust at a higher magnification level. A red dot sight is used for close distance shooting, while the LPVO is helpful for short, mid-distance, and long-distance shooting. Red dot sights are more lightweight and affordable than LPVO sights.

LPVO or low power variable optic has an eye box to allow the shooter to aim, while the other sight uses red dots and unlimited eye relief. It is easier to shoot at a complicated position with the red dot sight, while it will be hard if you use the LPVO.

Red Dot

PROS

CONS

LPVO

PROS

CONS

Head to Head Comparison

In-Depth Comparison

How They Work

The red dot sights allow the user to get quickly behind the scope with both eyes open because of the unlimited eye relief. On the other hand, low power variable optic works like a traditional sight. Instead of a red dot, it has an eye box where the shooter will get behind to aim. The scope also comes with a bullet drop to compensate for the reticle. 

It would be challenging to shoot with LPVO if the user is in a difficult position, while the other sight is easier to use even at a complicated position. It works by allowing a small light to illuminate at the center of the glass. The center of the sight is slightly tilted to display the reticle.

Application & Purpose

Red dot sights are commonly used for home defense. Since it is an easy-to-use sight, target acquisition is impressive especially. Low power variable optic is often purchased by AR users, especially for 3-gun shooting. 

The scope has high accuracy on true 1x magnification and close to medium targets. The scope has a mount magnifier where the magnification can adjust for easier target acquisition. If a shooter wants to go fast at extended distances, our team recommends getting the LPVO.

Range

Red dot sights allow the shooter to engage successfully on close range and small-scale targets like home defense. The low power variable optic has a variable magnification level to adjust its magnification when working long-range.

Beginners can aim at targets at 200 yards with red dots even without following proper marksmanship. It is because the dot is illuminated and easy to see even in intense daylight.  

Low Power Variable Optic needs proper training and an etched reticle. With this, the scope can also shoot targets at longer distances. Low power variable optics has 1-6X optics, which is best for short and mid distances.

Range

Size

Red dot sights are smaller compared to LPVO. It is relatively compact, and most common designs come in tube-style and similar sizes. The open type is smaller and very popular with pistol shooters. 

In contrast, Low Power Variable Optic is more extensive and heavier than Vortex Razor Gen II. Since the optic gun needs more glass to magnify at a distance, the weight is bulkier for arms than other sights. The size of the optics is one of the cons, but most manufacturers are working on it. 

Speed

There is no significant difference between these sights; talking about speed. Engaging on the targets as fast as possible is dependent on the shooters who acquired it through practice.  

In addition to this, the features of both sights have a significant factor on the speed. For both sights, the glass should be clear and crisp with no edge distortion. The illumination on the reticle and the dots is also a factor that can affect the momentum when acquiring a target.

Target Identification

Target identification is another thing to consider when it comes to scopes. It would be easier to identify the targets in close engagement. Still, it is different when the threat is yards away. It would be hard to shoot the rifle on an unidentified target.

Our eye vision has limitations, especially in low-light conditions and longer distances [1]. The target identification of the dot is suitable. Still, it could be better to mount the red dot with magnifier.

However, LPVO has a more significant advantage because of its adjustable magnifiers.

Target Identification

Transition Drill

It is undeniable that sights have a significant factor when it comes to shooting speed and accuracy. However, shooting a rifle without enough training and practice may affect your performance.   

Red dot’s mechanism is more manageable, and with a transition drill, the mastery will not be complex. Spending time on the range to learn with this new scope is shorter. However, considering the eye box mechanism of a low power variable, transition drills would be challenging for beginners.

Eye Relief

Good eye relief is essential, especially if the shooter is wearing eyeglasses. One of the primary advantages of dot sights is unlimited eye relief. There is no specific distance between the eye and lens behind, so as long as you can see the reticle, you’re good to go.

On the other hand, the shooter must pay attention to the eye box when it comes to a low power variable. The scope eye box is defined by an exit pupil size, eye relief distance, field of view, and internal construction. On the contrary, LPVOs is challenging to work within difficult positions.

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Price

Spending on sights could vary depending on the type, brand, quality, and capacity. Red dot sights are not famous just for their ease of use but also for their price range. They are way more affordable vs. LPVO. 

On the other hand, the low power variable price range is far more expensive. It is because of the innovative features that it makes an LPVO a good scope upgrade. A high-quality, low-power variable can be expensive; you can buy multiple dot sights for the price of one.

price

Warranty

The Red dot sight/optic is battery-operated and very efficient. It can run up to 8 years with continued use. The scope is also known for its durable and sturdy properties. In case there are manufacturer defects, most suppliers offer a lifetime warranty.   

The low power variable has a sound and impressive quality as well. This optic is durable and can guarantee years of service. Brands typically offer good warranties or five-year limited warranties; some offer lifetime warranties without any questions asked.

LPVO & Red Dot Myths

There are many myths posted on the internet. The most common myth for red dot sight is that the optic is always faster and can’t shoot past 100 yards, but it can hit targets at 200 yards to 300 yards. There’s also a misconception that since these sights are cheap, they are fragile.  

Furthermore, the most common misbelief for LPVOs is that they are slower at close-range rifles but give high accuracy in shooting. In addition to this, this type of optics is so expensive that it costs thousands of dollars. There’s a grain of truth in both myths, but they are more of training issues.

FAQS

No, you cannot use a magnifier with an LPVO. It is because the low power variable is a magnified optic gun that starts from 1 – 8X. It has an adjustable magnifier that is outfitted on a focal plane. It helps with rifle accuracy and gives clarity on targets within its range.

Yes, you can replace LPVO with a red dot. Since the sight system for both optics is not connected with each other, you are free to do so. If you are having a hard time with the low power variable, it is wise to switch on these optics.

Should You Use LPVO or Red Dot?

The debate on which sight system is better is indeed a close fight. Red dot sights are for beginners and experts who consider the convenience of unlimited eye relief behind the scopes. LPVOs are suitable for shooters who intend to work with close, medium, and long-range because of their adjustable magnification.  

Weighing both sight systems is highly recommendable before purchasing one. Both optics have good advantages that are not far apart. However, with practice and mastery, any optics could best fit your shooting skills.

References:

  1. https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20150727-what-are-the-limits-of-human-vision

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