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Should You Back Up Your LPVO With Iron Sights?

Antonio Salituro | Updated January 9, 2024 | Why You Should Trust Us | How We Earn Money
Cover photo of Should You Back Up Your LPVO With Iron Sights showing a rifle with mounted sight and LPVO

Often, you’ll hear people discussing whether to back up an LPVO with iron sights. Some people think it’s important, while others find the setup unnecessary. So, which is it, in reality?

In this article, we delve into the pros and cons of this setup to help you decide what’s right for you.

Key Takeaways

  • Before deciding to back up your LPVO with iron sights, consider the benefits and drawbacks to help you make an informed decision.
  • One of the main benefits of this setup is reliability, so if your LPVO malfunctions or the battery dies, you still have an optic to use.
  • Including iron sights is an advantage if you need quick target acquisition in extreme close-quarters situations.

For more reading on LPVO mounts, see our roundup review of the top options on the market today, where we review the Zero Delta mount and other top products.

Backing Up Your LPVO With Iron Sights

Backing up an LPVO with iron sights is a practice you have likely noticed in gun competitions or target practice. It involves attaching iron sights on your weapon in conjunction with an LPVO, which is your primary optic. 

But we know that an LPVO is already a useful optic. Why add another one? Let’s discuss the benefits and drawbacks of this setup.

LPVO and iron sight mounted on a rifle


The main “pros” for backing up your LPVO with iron sights.


Iron sights can provide backup in case the LPVO malfunctions or fails. An LPVO is an electronic device that requires batteries to function and is prone to reticle failure. This can be inconvenient, especially in critical situations where you need a reliable aiming solution. 

Iron sights are mechanical devices that don’t rely on batteries to function. Therefore, they bring reliability to your setup.

You Don’t Have to Rely on Batteries

LPVOs use batteries to operate. If the battery dies, the LPVO won’t help you. Backing up your LPVO with iron sights ensures you still have a functional optic to use.

Makes Transitions Between Optics Easier

Man aiming at the target using a hunting rifle with a mounted LPVO and iron sight

The more you practice shooting with your LPVO backed up with iron sights, the easier it becomes to transition between optics. This training improves your adaptability with a firearm.

Iron Sights Are for Quick Target Acquisition

While LPVOs are great for close to medium-range distances, iron sights are ideal for quick target acquisition in extremely close-quarters situations.


These are the main “cons” for backing up your LPVO with iron sights.

Additional Weight

Instead of using one optic, you now have two. This means additional weight to your firearm. This extra weight is likely to affect the overall handling of your weapon. Users who prefer a lightweight setup might find this challenging.

Learning Curve

Hand holding an iron sight

It might take a while to learn how to transition between an LPVO and an iron sight. Some people will find switching between two aiming systems hard, especially in high-pressure situations.

Optical Quality

Iron sights lack the magnification that high-quality optics offer, limiting their effectiveness, especially at longer distances.

When Would This Setup Be Useful?

Backing up an LPVO with iron sights can be quite useful in certain situations like these:

  • LPVO malfunctions: Issues like glass damage, optic fogs, and reticle failure can make your LPVO unhelpful. The iron sights provide an immediate alternative.
  • Battery depletion: Since LPVOs with illuminated reticles use batteries, if the battery dies, an iron sight ensures
  • Close-quarter engagement: While LPVOs are great at close distances using a low magnification setting like 1X, iron sights offer even quicker target acquisition in very close-quarter situations.

The choice to back up LPVOs with iron sights will depend on the shooter. Some people prefer having an unobstructed view of the target; hence, they choose not to add iron sights. Others don’t mind, as they act as a backup optic if the LPVO fails.

Iron sights inside a box

Aside from that, there is a cost factor to consider. Even though iron sights are generally affordable, adding them to your setup comes with an additional cost. Shooters on a budget try to minimize expenses as much as possible and may choose not to use iron sights.

Bottom line, backing up your LPVO with iron sights comes down to what you plan on using your rifle for and each shooter’s individual situation.

For similar reading see our guide to how you zero your LPVO scope.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best backup sight for the LPVO?

The best backup sight for the LPVO is a Miniaturized Red Dot Sight. That’s because it allows for rapid target acquisition thanks to the red dot feature. The next best option is iron sights.

Can you use iron sights with an LPVO?

You can use iron sights with an LPVO. Just align the iron sights and LPVO well to use both effectively.

Are LPVOs durable?

LPVOs are durable optics, especially if you purchase quality products from reputable vendors.

Are LPVOs dead?

No, LPVOs aren’t dead. These versatile optics are still popular, especially among users looking for a great solution for close to medium-range shooting.

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