When it comes to rifle scopes, low-power variable scopes (LPVOs) are suitable for a wide range of applications, including home defense, varmint shooting, and target practice at the range. So, it makes sense to attach an LPVO to a versatile AR-15.
But with thousands of options flooding the market, it can be paralyzing to find the best LPVO for AR-15 for you. But don’t worry, we’ve field tested hundreds of options to bring you this list.
Best LPVO Scopes for AR-15 Rifles
Even if you’re familiar with LPVO scopes, the sheer number of models available can feel overwhelming. To make it easier for you, we’ve compiled a list of the top scopes, ranging from the best overall to the best scope for specific ammo types.
1 – SIG SAUER TANGO6T – Top LPVO for AR-15
- Rugged weather-resistant housing
- Fully waterproof and fog proof
- First focal plane (FFP) or Second focal plane (SFP) options
- Fiber optic illumination
- 150-meter parallax setting
- Night-vision illumination setting built-in
- Comes with SIG SAUER Infinite guarantee
- More expensive than other LPVO scopes
- Heavier than other scopes
Do you want an LPVO scope that can handle all weather conditions? What about a scope that offers exceptional image clarity from 1x to 6x, allowing you to pinpoint targets at any distance?
If you’re looking for a high-quality scope that works in virtually any situation, the Tango6T from SIG SAUER is it.
The only downside of this scope is the price, which is much higher than most other LPVOs in its class. However, this scope is rugged, meaning it can handle the abuse of shooting in different environments an will last for a very long time. So, you should look at it as a long-term investment, not an expensive toy.
With its durability and “Infinite guarantee”, you might be passing this down to your grandkids.
You can deploy the Tango6T in a wide variety of situations, from varmint hunting to personal protection to big-game hunting. So when everyone else is buying various optics, you’re sitting pretty with one scope that does it all.
Another component to point out is that it’s available in both SFP or FFP versions. If you’re not used to FFP scopes, it can take a little while to get comfortable with it. FFP reticles change sizes depending on the zoom distance, which can be hard to get used to, especially if you’re switching back and forth regularly.
Bottom line, the choice is up to you, as they’re both phenomenal products which top the list for the best LPVO for AR-15 rifles.
2 – Primary Arms Classic Series 1-6×24 SFP – Best LPVO for CQB
- Highly affordable scope
- Duplex reticle for better targeting
- Fast aiming and lightweight design
- Water-resistant and fog-proof lens
- SFP lens works well for close-range shooting
- Not as precise with long-range targeting
- Housing is not as rugged as other scopes
Generally red dot scopes are best for close-quarter battles (CQB) because they help you pinpoint your target quickly.
So, for an LPVO scope to be well-suited for CQB, it needs to be effective at shorter ranges and allow you to switch from long to short distances immediately. This model from Primary Arms does just that, which is why we picked it as our best CQB scope.
Part of the appeal of this scope is the duplex reticle, allowing you to find your target fast at any range. Think red dot style point and shoot with the flexibility of an LPVO.
Not to mention…
The optic is so lightweight and nimble, so you’ll barely notice it on your rifle. Quick, light and easy; perfect for a CQB sight.
With other LPVOs, eye relief is hard to find in a split-second situation, but not so with the PA Classic Series. You go from zero to firing in a faction of a second while maintaining accuracy.
Just point and shoot.
Bottom line, this is a perfect tactical scope for your AR. This scope is so good in fact that it nearly took the number one spot, which is astounding considering that the TANGO6 costs over 7 times more.
Oh, but it gets better.
We were able to work out a dealer directly with the manufacture to get our readers free shipping. This is deal is only going to last until September 29, 2023, so use the link below to ensure you’re getting this all time low price.
3 – Bushnell AR Optics 1-6x24mm Rifle Scope – Best LPVO for 6.8 SPC
- Fully multi-coated lens
- Mil rad adjustment reticle
- Compact and lightweight design
- BDC reticle for mid-range accuracy
- Fast targeting for short-range hunting
- Not as accurate at long distances
- Fixed parallax becomes noticeable past 200 yards
Generally speaking, a 6.8 SPC is suitable for mid and close-range hunting. So, you’ll want a scope that works well for shooting within 200 and 300 yards (180–270 meters). This LPVO from Bushnell fits the bill, thanks to its multi-coated lens, mil rad reticle, and lightweight design.
Plus, if you need to switch between multiple targets quickly (i.e., a den of feral pigs or rabbits), this scope can help you stay on target without needing to switch magnification settings between shots. So when everyone is going home empty handed, you’re bagging trophies left and right.
Overall, this scope pairs well with the stopping power of a 6.8 SPC, and it can also work at longer distances, up to 500 yards (over 450 meters). But to be honest, it’s a solid mid-range scope that fits perfectly not only with the 6.8 SPC, but any round of your choosing.
4 – Primary Arms SLx 1-8×24 SFP Rifle Scope – Best LPVO for 6.5 Grendel
- Extra magnification with 1-8x zoom
- Precise up to 800 yards
- Zeroing manual provided
- 12 brightness settings for the reticle
- Better precision with 1/2 MOA settings
- Not ideal for close-up viewing
- Not night-vision compatible
Compared to a 6.8 SPC, the 6.5 Grendel is a bit better at longer distances with less bullet drop and more power. For those reasons, we chose a longer-range LPVO that allows you to maintain accuracy up to 800 yards (730 meters) or less.
Plus, this scope has an MOA reticle, allowing you to zero your target with much better precision. If you’re unfamiliar with zeroing out a scope, this product comes with a companion manual that tells you how to do it.
Another reason we like this scope for longer-range hunting with a 6.5 Grendel is that it has 12 brightness settings. So, you can easily adapt to changing environments and still find your target almost immediately. No more eye strain, just clear shots, day in and day out.
5 – Swampfox Arrowhead LPVO 1-8x24mm Rifle Scope – Best for AR-10 Rifles
- Extended 1-8x variable zoom
- Relatively wide field of view
- 100-yard parallax
- Fully multi-coated lenses
- Shock and fog proof
- High water-resistance
- Not as fast in 1x zoom
- Heavier than other scopes
While AR-15s are suitable for mid and close-range hunting, AR-10s are designed for longer distances.
The Swampfox Arrowhead comes with a 1-8x zoom, meaning you can spot and shoot targets much further away. Plus, a relatively wide field of view makes it easier to pinpoint your next shot, so you don’t have to waste ammo with a second round.
This scope also works well for different weather conditions, so you can take your AR-10 out whenever you like without losing visibility or precision.
The Arrowhead is also beefy as all hell, meaning that it can take the beating and come back for more, season after season, at a working man’s price.
6 – Trijicon VCOG 1-6×24 Rifle Scope with TA51 Mount – Best for 7.62×39
- Durable shockproof housing
- Uses AA batteries for convenience
- Battery life of up to 700 hours
- Fully waterproof and fog-proof
- Fully multi-coated lenses
- Fast adjustment of windage and elevation
- Comes with a limited warranty
- More expensive than most other LPVO scopes
- Fewer brightness settings than other scopes
If you’re taking your AR-15 out to hunt medium game like whitetail deer, a 7.62×39 round will be ideal. So, you want to pair this ammo with a highly adaptable scope that allows you to target your prey quickly and maintain accuracy at mid-range distances.
The Trijicon VCOG is the most expensive LPVO on this list, but it’s also one of the most capable. Its high-quality lenses and brightness settings allow you to hunt virtually anything except the largest game with ease.
Also, it uses standard AA batteries for illumination, so you don’t have to worry about recharging a battery while out in the field.
7 – Monstrum G3 1-6×24 LPVO – The One to Avoid
At first glance, this scope actually looks like a pretty good deal, costing way less than others in its class. You can also find a 1-8x variable zoom version if you want some extra magnification.
However, we’re choosing to avoid this LPVO for a couple of reasons. First, the reticle is a bit small and awkward, so it’s harder to pinpoint your target, especially at longer distances. Second, the build quality isn’t stellar, meaning you have to treat it with more care than you would with a higher-end model.
Still, as far as a budget LPVO goes, the Monstrum is a decent pick but we’d recommend one of the others on the list for the best LPVO for your AR-15 rifle.
Buying Guide: Choosing an LPVO for Your AR-15
Looking at different LPVOs can make it hard to make the right decision for your rifle. So, let’s break down the various components and features to pay attention to when comparing these different products.
Rifle scopes are complex devices that use mirrors, lenses, and low-power batteries to work correctly.
So, something as simple as dropping your gun or bumping the scope can potentially dislodge a lens and make it impossible to shoot straight. For that reason, you want to invest in an LPVO with heavy-duty housing.
Most LPVOs have a variable range of 1x to 8x, with many models staying within the 1-6x range. Before choosing a higher magnification setting, consider how you’ll be using the scope.
If you’re not looking to shoot targets up to 800 yards (730 meters) away, it’s hard to justify a more expensive 1-8x scope. While it’s nice to have the extra power available, it’s also a bit of a waste of money if most of your shooting happens within 500 yards (over 450 meters). (Reference 1: Tactical LPVO Scopes)
A lens coating helps you see your target more clearly by allowing more light into the scope while reducing the amount of glare. Without these coatings, you could only fire on a semi-cloudy day, as everything would be too bright otherwise.
Generally, multi-coated lenses are the best for ranged shooting, but not all scopes have multi-coated lenses.
We could spend an entire other article describing the different types of reticles you can find on LPVO scopes. However, the most common options are:
- Bullet Drop Compensator – This reticle shows you how much the bullet drops at different distances so you can compensate accordingly.
- MOA (Minute of Angle) or Mil-Rad – These reticles have small hash marks on each line of the reticle, so you can adjust your shot based on distance, windage, and bullet drop. This option is best for precision shooting.
- Standard Reticle – If you’re not concerned with precision, you can use a standard “cross-hairs” reticle that just allows you to pinpoint your target.
- Dot Reticle – LPVO scopes are often compared to red dot sights, so you can get a dot reticle that works well for close-quarters shooting. These reticles are also great because they don’t interfere with your visibility.
Warranty and Support
If your scope breaks or has trouble zeroing out, you need to be able to contact the manufacturer. Warranties are ideal for defects and errors during the build process, but they don’t cover wear and tear.
So, it’s best to get a limited warranty that allows you to shoot with the scope a few times to verify if it works correctly. Generally, a one-year warranty should be sufficient.
My Personal Notes and Findings
LPVO scopes are highly versatile and fun to shoot, making them an all-around good option to mount to your AR-15. However, what I’ve discovered is that dropping thousands of dollars on a scope doesn’t necessarily make sense if you’re just using your firearm for target practice or varmint hunting.
Overall, combining an LPVO and an AR-15 makes the most sense for self-defense, varmint hunting, or small-game targeting (i.e., feral pigs or coyotes). So, a mid-priced scope should be more than sufficient for your needs. (Reference 2: AR-15 Rifles)
Best 1-8x Scope Under $1000 Dollars
If you’re looking for more recommendations specifically for 1-8x zoom optics, our article on the best 1-8x scope under $1000 dollars is worth a read.
Top LPVO Sights
If you’re looking for recommendations on the top LPVO sights regardless of the zoom, the article linked here would be a better choice.
Where Do You Buy LPVO Scopes?
Unsure where to buy your LPVO scope? No problem, we recommend the industry leaders to make sure you’re getting the lowest prices and superior customer service.
What Is an LPVO
Or lastly if you’re still not in the market for an LPVO, I’d suggest an informational piece like the one on what is an LPVO scope exactly.
What is the best budget AR-15 LPVO scope?
The Primary Arms Classic Series 1-6×24 SFP is the best budget LPVO scope for AR-15s that also delivers sharp image quality and works for most situations. While this scope is not as durable or precise as some of the high-end models we’ve seen, it’s a good budget scope that makes it easy to identify targets quickly.
What scope do Navy SEALs use?
For CQB, the scope Navy SEALs tend to use is the EOTech XPS3-2, but special forces can also use the Aimpoint Comp M2 for many different combat situations. For long-range shooting, SEALs typically use the Nightforce Advanced Tactical Riflescope.
What is the best duty grade LPVO?
The best duty-grade LPVO is the Vortex Razor HD 1-6x24mm, which has seen lots of combat in military settings and warzones. The Razor is a heavy-duty scope that can take a beating and still work perfectly, which is why it’s deployed so often with soldiers.
Is Leupold or Vortex better?
It’s hard to say whether Leupold or Vortex is “better” because shooters have individual preferences. Both brands are high-quality and have impeccable reputations within the industry.
Objectively, Leupold scopes are built slightly better, but Vortex scopes are a bit more affordable. Typically, the choice comes down to personal preference, as both brands perform excellently in the field.
What magnification do I need to shoot 500 yards?
As a rule, the best magnification you need to shoot 500 yards (around 450 meters) is 10x. While you can see your target with a 5x magnification, 10x allows you to be more precise with your shot, making it easier to take the target down, regardless of size. If you really want better precision, we recommend a 12 or 15x zoom to have a little buffer.
What is better a red dot or LPVO?
When deciding if a red dot or LPVO is better, you can say that a red dot scope is almost exclusively best for close-range shooting, while an LPVO is a better all-around scope.
A red dot scope is best for close-quarters combat since it lets you pinpoint your shots quickly and accurately. However, an LPVO is much more adaptable, working for CQB and mid-range shooting.
SIG SAUER TANGO6T – Our Top Pick
- Vortex Nation, Making Sense of Magnified Optics on a Tactical Carbine Part 1. Retrieved from https://vortexoptics.com/blog/making-sense-of-magnified-optics-on-a-tactical-carbine-part-1.html
- Sara Swann, The history of the AR-15 and how it became a symbol of American gun culture. Retrieved from https://www.poynter.org/fact-checking/2022/what-is-ar15-rifle-history-of-firearm/
I have been writing firearms and outdoor material for over 50 years to date. I have hunted across the world, including Russia, and a great deal of time professional hunting in Australia. I currently live in the American West and hunt all across the Black Hills of South Dakota and the Big Horn Mountains. I have specialized much of my work as a load developer in shotguns and rifles. I have run a small company that builds suppressor barrels of my design and load tests for writing purposes and consulting. My commercial names include Ballistics Research & Development / Metro Gun Systems TM.
Or contact me at: