7 Best Low Power Variable Optics

Looking for an rifle optic that can do both CQB and long range?

Here are some of the best low powered variable optic for AR and other platforms on the market today based on magnification, size, reticle and price.

Top LPVO Scopes

Vortex 1-10X Gen 3 FFP - Best 1-10X Overall

vortex razor 1-10x24 gen 3 lpvo

Why pick this low power variable optic - The RAZOR HD Gen 3 1-10X low power variable optics bridges the gap between CQB and long range capability into one super versatile scope. It's a great hybrid CQB and long range scope for the DD5.

Now 10X Magnification - Increased to 10X power to bridge the gap between a mid-range LPVO with a long range precision scope without compromising size, clarity or field of view.

Moving Target Hold - Get lead on moving target accurately with dotted moving target holds without any guess work 

Fast 1X Target Acquisition - 3 inward arrows quickly draws the eye to the illuminated center reticle and get on target fast at 1X. 

Range Target Fast - Just superimpose the hashmarked ranging subtension lines for on the target to immediately estimate the target distance as well as holdover and windage corrections.

Best Warranty Policy - You break it, Vortex will replace it at no cost with a lifetime, unconditional warranty.

Features:

  • Magnification: 1-10X
  • Objective Lens: 24mm
  • Focal Plane: First Focal
  • Tube Size: 34mm
  • Reticle Type: EBR 9
  • Turret Type: Capped
  • Length: 10.1 inches
  • Weight: 21.5 oz
  • Low capped Turrets
  • Fixed Parallax to 150 yards

Vortex Viper PST 1-4X SFP - Best 1-4X LPVO

Why pick 1-4X variable optic - This is the most budget friendly 1-4X scope from an reputable company, Vortex Optics. Let's take a look:

Competition Ready - Affordable 3 gun shooting scope with one-piece aluminum construction

Illuminated TMCQ MOA Reticle - Full ranging and holdover capability aiming reticle for day or night use

Tool-Less Turret Adjustment - Positive feedback turret with zero stop index point, it helps the user return to zero without getting lost in the rotations

Super Clean Glass - Optimal image sharpness using the XR low dispersion glass

Best Warranty Policy - You break it, Vortex will replace it at no cost with a lifetime, unconditional warranty.

Features:

  • Magnification: 1-4X
  • Objective Lens: 24mm
  • Focal Plane: SFP
  • Tube Size: 30 mm
  • Eye Relief: 4"
  • Click Value: 0.5 MOA
  • Reticle Type: TMCQ MOA
  • Turret Type: Capped
  • Length: 9.7 inches
  • Weight: 16 oz
  • Tactical Turrets

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Trijicon AccuPower 1-8X28 - Best Overall 1-8X

Img Referenced Stickman


Highest rated, Most talked about 1-8X - The Trijicon AccuPower 1-8X28 FFP is one of the highest quality LPVO with an increased objective lens diameter for better light gathering & top notch tactical turrets, which allows the shooter to quickly and accurately adjust the reticle on the go.

Competition shooters and hunters love the Trijicon AccuPower 1-8x28 for its superior optical quality and low light performance and optic clarity.

Great Eye Box on 1X - for scope shadow haters, this scope is your friend to quickly acquire targets at 1X like a red dot with generous eye box, less scope shadows when shifting your head position.


Among other 1 -8x scopes out there, the Trijicon Accupower 34mm size tube is among the very few that can deliver large field of view and generous eye relief for at 8X than 30mm.

In addition, the shooter can adjust the tactical turrets by hand on the go. Simply just pull, adjust and push back down to lock it, which is a great feature for high speed tactical shooters.

Lastly, the first focal plane reticle changes relative to the magnification, to give the shooter the most accurate ranging & holdover capabilities.

Features:

  • 1-8X Magnification
  • Exit Pupils (3.5 - 11.8mm)
  • Eye Relief (4 - 3.9 in)
  • Weighs 27 oz
  • 34mm tube
  • 28mm Objective lens
  • First Focal Plane
  • Segmented Crosshair Reticle
  • Turrets (0.25 MOA / Click)

Steiner M8Xi - Best For Military Applications

Why spec ops picked this scope - The Steiner M8Xi is the ultimate military grade purpose built LVPO. If you're looking for the best for your tactical SBR, then this is it.

It's super durable, and its short length design allows more space to mount night vision and thermal devices in front of the objective lens without bunch accessories taking over much space at the front of the rifle.

You don't hear about Steiner scopes lot in the civilian market besides their laser/IR products, and we're happy to show it to you.

Finer adjustment with MIL dot is preferred for precision shooting, and all Steiner optics are based on European mRAD system. Once you take the time to learn how to shoot a mRAD scope, it becomes much more precise than MOA.

Big/Easy to operate tactical turrets is another great feature on the Steiner M8Xi, which the shooter can very positively adjust the elevation and windage turrets, hearing and feeling every click without missing.

After you're done adjusting, just push the turret cap down to lock it in place, turret zero indicators are built in as well.

Also great for 3 gun competition, but there are more affordable options. For anyone, especially for people that are actively using their rifles with thermal and night vision devices, the Steiner M8Xi is the best combat LVPO for serious tactical applications.

Features:

  • 1-8X Magnification
  • Exit Pupils (3.5 - 11.8mm)
  • Eye Relief (4 - 3.9 in)
  • Weighs 28 oz
  • 34mm tube
  • 24mm Objective lens
  • First Focal Plane
  • DMR Reticle (Multi Caliber)
  • Tac Turrets (0.1 MIL / Click)

Primary Arms SFP 1-8X24 - Best LPVO For The Money

Why we picked Primary Arms - the SFP 1-8X24 is the best LPVO under $500 for the money, and it's also the lightest LPVO for beginners.

The features we like the most one of the best budget LPVO optic is the price point and it's ACSS reticle.

The ACSS reticle gives shooter simple to understand reference point in the crosshair to estimate ranges.

It's a great reticle for new shooters to start using. Another great feature is the added moving target holdover reticle to help shoot moving targets accurately at longer ranges.

However, the ACSS reticle is only true at 8X because it's a second focal point scope.

Features:

  • ACSS (5.56 / 5.45 / .308) illuminated reticle
  • Capped turrets (0.5 MOA/Click)
  • 30mm Tube
  • Weighs (16.9 oz)
  • Second Focal Plane
  • 24mm Objective Lens
  • 1-8X magnification
  • Exit Pupil (9mm @ 1X, 3mm @ 8X)
  • Eye Relief (3.3 - 3.5")

Best known price $399at OpticsPlanet

Vortex Razor HD 1-6X24 Gen 2 - Best For 3 Gun

m1A socom 16 with vortex razor hd

It's the gold standard for LPVOs - the Vortex Razor HD 1-6X24 is best 1x6 scope among other models.

What we like about the Razor HD is it's glass clarity from edge to edge. At 6X the image remains very crispy without getting blur compared to other scopes.

You can really feel it right when you pick this 21.5 oz scope up and look through it.

At 1X, the Razor 1-6X felt nearly identical to a 1X red dot, but if you keep shifting your head too far away from the center, then the scope shadows will start to creep in.

But if you practice consistent cheekweld and sight acquisition, you can get in that sweet spot every time and the shadow no longer bothers you.

Overall, Out of dozen other options, the only downside to the Razor 1-6X is the weight. It's not the lightest, but its overall top notch qualities make up for it.

Features:

  • 1-6X Magnification
  • Exit Pupils (4 - 24mm)
  • Eye Relief (4 in)
  • Weighs 21.5 oz
  • 30mm tube
  • 24mm Objective lens
  • Second Focal Plane
  • JM-1 BDC & VMR-2MRAD Reticles
  • Capped Turrets (0.25 MOA / Click)

* Be sure to also check out our review of the new Vortex Razor HD 1-10X, which has a wider eye box than Vortex Gen 2 1-6X, and the additional 4X magification makes the scope a hybrid CQB and long range capable LPVO

EOTECH Vudu 1-6X24 FFP - Best LPVO For CQB

eotech vudu 1-6x

This is EOTECH's newest, and one of the best 1-6 LPVO product. It works great on semi auto or bolt action rifles. Here are couple great features especially the new reticle design:

Multiple Reticle Options - Choose between 3 different reticles (SR1, SR2 or SR3)

Lightest 1-6 Scope - Better quality and still doesn't compromise weight increase

EOTech Reticle Meets LPVO - The iconic 68 MOA holographic reticle works as is on 1X. At max magnification, the BDC speed ring comes into view for more precise aiming (SR2 or SR3 reticle)

Wind Correction - Same 68 MOA ring as the EOTech HWS with wind and BDC holds (Vortex 1-10X was a great choice until EOTech came up with this!)

High Quality Glass - Same glass quality as other major optics companies (Made in Japan)


Common FAQ

Does It Matter ? 6X vs 8X

It doesn't matter which one you pick, but when it comes to distance shooting and dealing with low light.

A 8X is always better than a 6X as far as target identification during day light, and it's much more expensive.

If you pick the 8X, make sure the glass is clear and the low light performance isn't worse than the 6X you're comparing to side by side. If the 6X performs better, then go with the 6X.

There are other factors involved:

  • Eye box
  • Field of view
  • Glass quality
  • Price
  • Reticle
  • Looks
  • Weight
  • Tactical turret designs

For people who have access to long distance shooting ranges and get to do cool stuff, you might consider getting the 8X, and it will be a little more expensive than the 6X as the magnification increases.

We highly recommend going to a local store and test it out first in person before making a decision. Optics are those products that you must physically try to get a sense of the quality.

Tube Size For a LPVO Sight

30mm is the most common scope size in the industry, but a 34mm tube provides several performance advantages including:

  • Much wider field of view and eye box for 1X action with a LPVO
  • More adjustment clicks

Close Quarter Eye Relief VS Red Dot Eye Relief

vortex razor 1-10x lpvo at 1x engaging targets

The eye relief at 1X on a LVPO is not exactly the same as an red dot sight. The biggest difference is that the LPVO scope shadow creeps in when the head position is almost out of the eye box.

Yes, the eye box exists for LPVO, but not a 1X red dot sight.

The eye relief distance for an red dot is unlimited, but most low power variable optic has a generous eye box.

Why Low Power Variable Optics On SBRs

LPVOs are the best alternatives for red dot and magnifier combo, for positively identifying targets far away, and provide way better reticle options.

Even though it doesn't look sexy when you have a big scope on a short gun, but the capabilities are there for SBR shooters to explore.