Would like to here from the community on Low Variable power optics vs Red dot that has a magnifier on an AR 15. For me i have tested both. I have a holosun AEMS with a holosun magnifier vs the steiner 1-4x24 p4xi. Both 25yard zero.
I train from 1-25yards pistol and AR. Training with LVPO is the way to go. The steiner has a true 1x no distortion or any black on the sides- crystal clear picture. Am I fast as using my red dot for multiple follow up shots no but i am not slow either. I need to practice low and high ready drills to get my cheek weld consistent. For distance 10- 25yards that is where i find the LVPO has an advantage i can turn up magnification to 1.5 or at max and see my target clearly meaning i can identify my target with these old eyes. CQB range the Steiner red dot in the crosshair is bright and usable!.. I am ditching red dot for a LVPO.
LPVO (low power variable optics) are quite popular. I think some people may use them where something more simple and lighter is better, but, LPVO’s do a hell of a lot very well.
Lots of great true 1X out there the days, with 1-4 and 1-6 and 1-8 and even 1-10 (!) being available.
I have owned a number of them, including Trijicon, Razor, and Kahles.
I love the Trijicon Accupoint for no-batteries simplicity and I love the Vortex Razor GenII-E 1-6 for a superb almost-red-dot 1X (no LPVO has unlimited eye relief like a true read dot does, however, and eyeboxes aren’t quite as big) and beautiful glass plus well proven durability.
I REALLY like the look of this coming soon
I also like an offset RMR or Holosun micro red dot in an Arisaka offset mount or mounted piggyback to an applicable scope mount as well because it is much faster than breaking grip to reach up and dial down the magnification
So, to expand, in my personal opinion and experience, my least favorite option (I have run multiple variations of each) is a read dot with 3x magnifier.
My order of preference goes
Fixed power primary optic (like, Trijicon ACOG) with micro red dot sight (like Trijicon RMR or a Holosun 507/508) in an offset mount or (depending on your situation/uses) mounted on top of the ACOG
LPVO optionally with an offset micro red dot or micro red dot attached to the scope’s mount
Red dot with flip/rotate out of the way/back 3x magnifier (or 5x available now)
My reasons: I like simplicity. I like something that can’t accidentally be turned off when needed, or at the wrong magnification setting vs what is expected. I don’t like an optic you stop to screw around with to get how you want it, I like set it and forget it it just works. So, ACOG. Now, a red dot also qualifies there, but when you add a magnifier, that goes away.
The LPVO doesn’t have that simplicity, and is heavier than the above, but you can get so much more magnification that that cannot be ignored. Many choices in the 1-6 and 1-8 range out there. If you want to be able to hit a discrete target at 200 yards or more, the LPVO will really help you out, but you can dial it down as well.
But also with how good the micro red dots are, I’d consider a 2-10 or some kind of variable that does NOT start at 1, and just use the offset micro red dot as the sole 1x (seriously)
Disclaimer, I have never run offset irons. I have run fixed as well as folding BUIS, but offset I’ve only done the micro dots. I am sure the micro dot offset is just plain better than offset irons, provided that money isn’t a limitation because RMR’s aren’t cheap, and provided you keep the battery replaced often enough (the Holosun options are better for this). But if you’re going to run an LPVO I really think a true 1x dot or irons that are immediately available without doing anything but canting or moving the rifle is a huge deal from a defense/practical shooting perspective.
Bring your rifle up for a 1 second react/up/shoot to a close up threat (say, that home invader just presented themselves as imminent deadly threat for real world crossover), but your LPVO is on 6x for whatever stupid reason…you want to be able to just cant the rifle over to the offset dot or irons in 0.2 seconds, not be forced to only point shoot or have to break grip and reach up to screw around with the optic
Learned that mistake the hard way deer hunting. Had been at the range to verify zero. Left the magnification on the highest power. Of course the next opportunity at a whitetail was at spitting distance and it goes in the books as a lesson learned.
Long story short, I always turn my scopes back to the lowest magnification now!
Imma be the oddball of the group…I decided to go with a PA 3x prism. I have a viper on one of my pistols, but my eyes have a little trouble with it. I had an lpvo on a previous rifle and liked it, but decided to try something different. Couldn’t be happier.