Don Edwards

Low-Power Variable Optics

Don Edwards
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Duration:   9  mins

PDN Contributor Don Edwards of Greenline Tactical discusses low-power variable optics (LPVOs). This is a type of scope that has really come into its own in the past five to six years. Prior to that, we didn’t have anything with its capabilities—until optics such as the Vortex Razor came on the market. Now several companies are making low-power variable optics.


It’s a scope that can also be used for close-quarters engagement distances. It has an illuminated reticle, so it can be shot similar to red dot optics that are used for CQB. Plus, it has the ability to be turned up to 5 or 6X. In short, it gives the shooter optic capability for both red dot and magnification.

What you get from low-power variable optics is a combination of magnification, reticle, and the speed of a red-dot sight (RDS). The tradeoff is that it’s not the best red dot. Don has found he can shoot it quickly on 1X, but has to work harder to do it. The plus side is the LPVO can be turned up to 6X and Don can ID what he’s going to shoot at distance.

This ability to dial the magnification up and down is what shooters had been looking for in a combat-grade optic.


If you don’t work outdoors or if your home-defense weapons are for use indoors or around an urban or suburban home, you probably don’t need low-power variable optics.

If you live out in the country or on a ranch, you may want to consider adding an LPVO to one of your working rifles as part of your defensive gear.


Don has an offset mini RDS at a 45-degree angle and attached to the scope. If he needs to, he can turn the rifle and look straight through the mini RDS, bypassing the scope. Some shooters have offset iron sights installed—same idea as the offset mini RDS..

Another popular configuration is to raise the LPVO via a tall mount, so the shooter doesn’t have to lower his head very far to look through the scope.

Don talks about other setup options for low-power variable optics and more in this extended video.

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