These are optics for your rifle that allow you to shoot with a magnification of only 1, like a red dot, or with up to 6 for a shot out to several hundred yards and that with ease. I know, what you think now. You ask yourselves why you should go with such an optic that is heavier, bulkier, and cost you more than a combo of a red dot and a magnifier. Indeed, this question is definitely justified.

Choosing an LPVO (Low Power Variable Optics) allows you to adjust the magnification to your specific needs in the situation you are in at this moment. You can choose 1 time, 2 times, 3, or up 6 times magnification. A combo of red dot and magnifier allows you to switch only between 1 and 3, 1 with only the red dot and 3 with the red dot and magnifier. There is no 2, 4, 5, or 6. That limits your option.

An LPVO in its lowest setting of 1 times magnification allows you to aim at close range targets almost as fast as red dot. Also, it does not require a battery to function, and it offers you a ranging scale. With this one, you can estimate the distance to your target quite precisely, and you can hold your weapon at the right point of aim. Of course, the combo of red dot and magnifier has its own advantage. First, it is a little bit faster in a close-range situation. Also, you can use it at greater ranges, and you definitely get a better illumination.

Compare the two options, and you can see, that both have their distinctive advantages with quite some overlap. However, both are not completely interchangeable. Each one has its best use. The red dot and magnifier combo is best used when you expect short range targets. In such a situation, you excel with the red dot sight and the magnifier gives you the option to extend this, albeit, at a little bit less precision. If you expect long range encounters, the LPVO is your best choice. You can shoot long range with way more precision, and you can dial the magnification down in case you get some targets at closer range.

This means, the red dot and magnifier is indeed rather a close-range setup with the possibility to reach out a little bit further while the LPVO is a good setup for longer ranges with the possibility to go in close too. Let`s take a look at our LPVO options. There are several which offer distinct advantages and come at different prices. You can choose what fits your needs and your budget best.

6. Vortex Optics Strike Eagle Second Focal Plane Riflescopes

We start with the Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6 magnification. I have used it in several competitions over the years. It gave me an advantage when the ranges varied a lot. In some setups, we started with close encounters like storming through trenches. After the trenches came several long-range stations.

In the trenches, at rather close ranges, I just aimed over the barrel. The targets were man sized and only a few yards away. I did not miss the red dot much. The long ranges, however, I could do very fast with the magnification on 4. I did not change it as that would have cost me valuable fractions of a second. For the trenches, the barrel aim was good enough. For the long-range station, the 4 times magnification got me through. The field of view was reasonable wide and the picture was clear enough.

Many competitors tried it with a red dot/magnifier combo. They did reasonably well in the trenches but started to lose ground in the longer-range stations. What gave me the edge was the last setup. There were different targets at different ranges that were rearranged after each round. Thanks to the reticle and scale, I could easily estimate the range and use the right elevation.

Rounds in the morning and afternoon where the best. At noon, when the sun was the brightest, it was not always the perfect scope for me, but I could do with it. What makes the Vortex Strike Eagle a really good choice is the price. I got it for a little below 300 dollars. This made it the decision to buy it quite easy for me.

Vortex Optics Strike Eagle Second Focal Plane Riflescopes

5. Primary Arms SLX 1-6x24mm SFP Rifle Scope Gen III

If you want an LPVO with an even better price, you can choose a Primary Arms ACSS with 1-6 magnification. While it is basically in the same price range as the Vortex Strike Eagle, namely below 300 dollars, it comes with some extras. If you buy it directly from Primary Arms, you get free rings or you can get a single-piece mount at a discount. If you do not know which extra you should choose, my recommendation is to go with the single-piece mount. It might come in a little bit heavy, but you can take it off and put it back on without losing your zero.

With the Primary Arms ACSS 1-6 magnification you get a clear picture at 1 time and a very clear picture at 6 times magnification. Better yet, the reticle gives you a lot of option. There is a single arrow for a precise shot at 200 yards. Around it is a bold circle that you can use when it is more about speed and a high shot count than a precise one shot hit.

The reticle shows you to scales for the estimation of the range based on the width or height of the target. What ever gives you a better calculation point, you can use. With this, you can work a variable range setup easily and even deal out good hits up to several hundred yards. The illumination, however, is more just for dusk or dawn. In the middle of the day, it will not be of any help.

After more than 3000 rounds fired, it still holds its zero. For a scope of less than 300 Dollar, that is quite impressive. That brings you another problem to consider if you want to buy it. It is in a pretty high demand. If you see it somewhere, do not think twice, buy it if you want it. If you wait, it might take quite some time before you might see it again.

Primary Arms SLX 1-6x24mm SFP Rifle Scope Gen III

4. Vortex Optics Viper PST Gen II 1-6×24

If you like a more red-dot feeling, go with the Vortex Viper PST II with a 1-6 magnification. You need to spend more on this one, but you get a scope that can compete with a red dot. Even on the day, it shows you the way. The reticle is floating, uses big black bars in the outer and thin black lines in the inner areas. And it is forgiving. Even if you do not position your eye perfectly, you will get a nice picture of the cross hairs.

You can use it with no magnification and you will be as fast as you can be without a red dot. It lends itself easily for fast and for precise shot placement. The picture is clear over all the settings. This helps you not only with the actual shot, but it also keeps you from straining your eyes.

With the Aero mount, you do not need to worry about the zero and it is easy to manipulate the adjustment rings. With a lever, you can easily change the magnifications between the different stages in a shooting competition. If the price is not a problem for you, then the Vortex Viper PST II will definitely suit your needs.


3. Vortex Optics Razor HD Gen II-E 1-6×24 SFP

If you are really into shooting competition and are willing to pay considerably more for a slight edge in performance, the Vortex Razor HD Gen 2E in 1-6 magnification might be the right choice for you. You can get it on Amazon for 2000 dollar, but you will know what you spend your money on. The illumination is so bright, that the sun does not have a chance against it. It has a very forgiving eyebox so that it is no problem to get on target. This gives you the advantage of speed. You just get your shots faster on where they should be.

Vortex Optics Razor HD Gen II-E 1-6x24 SFP

2. Swarovski 1-6×24 L Z6i 2nd Generation

If this price is not yet the end for you, you can go with a Swarovski 1-6×24 Z6i for almost the same money. Not only does it come with the advantages that the others have too, you also get it in a very light package. This means you schlepp less weight around, but have still a good illumination, forgiving eyebox, clear picture in all magnifications, and an easy to use reticle.

Swarovski 1-6x24 L Z6i 2nd Generation

1. Kahles K 1-6×24 illuminated SI1 Reticle 10517

For a few hundred more, you can also afford yourself a Kahles K 1-6 G4B. In bright daylight, you get a good competition for a red dot and a super long-range reticle. This is all you can ask for.

Kahles K 1-6x24 illuminated SI1 Reticle 10517

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