When it comes to many different shooting applications, the common scope choices you come down to are: LPVO or ACOG.
Both are popular choices and offer different features and benefits, so it’s important to understand their differences before deciding. We’ll be discussing the key differences between LPVO vs ACOG scopes and other typical scope comparisons you might be debating.
Budget LPVO Scopes for AR-15 Rifles
Once you’ve read this article, it is worth taking a look at our article on some good budget LPVO scopes for the AR15 that are available on the market today.
LPVO vs ACOG
LPVOs (Low Power Variable Optic) and ACOGs (Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight) are both popular rifle scopes that offer different advantages and disadvantages depending on the shooter’s needs.
Now, LPVOs are designed for close to mid-range scenarios and typically have variable magnifications. They’re useful in warfare, as evidenced by the United States Marine Corp’s decision to equip their new M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle with LPVOs.
Compared to ACOGs, LPVOs are ideal for shorter-range shooting situations as they allow the shooter to quickly acquire targets, easily adjust magnification levels, and shoot accurately with a wide field of view.
In addition, they tend to be larger than ACOG scopes, so they offer a better overall sight picture with more detail at closer distances. If you’re searching for the ideal option that offers versatility, performance from close to mid-range, and fast-paced shooting with accurate target hitting from ranges of 500 to 800 yards, then LPVOs are your go-to. (Reference 1: LPVO Scopes)
On the other hand, ACOGs offer fixed but higher magnifications, making them better suited for long-range shooting scenarios.
As its name suggests, the Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight is also often used in combat situations. Since the United States Special Operations Command selected the ACOG as the official scope for the M4 carbine in 1995, a dozen new variants have been created. (Reference 2: ACOG Sights)
ACOGs tend to be smaller and lighter than LPVOs, allowing the shooter to carry them comfortably in the field and quickly acquire targets at extended ranges. They also often have improved shock absorption capabilities, which can help reduce vibration when aiming at distant targets.
Rugged, reliable, and lighter with longer-range capabilities, it’s the one to choose for a combat optic. LPVOs are, comparatively, not as durable, but it’s a more versatile option that can be used for hunting, target shooting, and combat as well.
VCOG vs ACOG
VCOGs (Variable Combat Optical Gunsight) and ACOGs are another two popular types of rifle scopes that are often compared. Both offer features and benefits that help shooters achieve accuracy, comfort, and convenience when aiming at targets.
So, VCOGs, like the ACOG, were also designed by Trijicon and are meant for close to long-range scenarios. It’s the step up from the gold standard, battle-tested ACOG, and features a rugged design, 1-8x variable magnification, and an LED-illuminated first focal plane BDC reticle.
Although it says ‘combat’ in the name, Trijicon has stated that the VCOG is for every application, and I’ve gotta say, that holds true. Whether it’s competitive shooting, hunting, combat, or just target shooting, the VCOG is the versatile optic you’d want for close-quarters battles and long-range marksmanship.
With it, you can quickly acquire targets and efficiently adjust magnification with the fin along the scope while maintaining a wide field of view. In fact, as law enforcement has become more militarized over the past several decades, many departments have adopted VCOG scopes for their guns as well.
In terms of magnification capabilities, ACOGs offer higher levels than VCOGs. This makes them better applied for long-range shooting scenarios requiring more precision. ACOGs are also smaller and lighter than VCOGs, allowing for easier transportation when out in the field.
Ultimately, in the debate between ACOG vs VCOG, it’s up to your needs to decide which optic is better for you. It’s a similar debate with the LPVO vs ACOG – do you need versatility or need an optic that works for long-range fixed distances?
ACOG vs Aimpoint
If you’ve never heard of an Aimpoint scope, it’s a high-end red dot aiming system used for more precise shooting. It projects a single, illuminated reticle that allows the shooter to line up the shot with their target instantly.
They’re frequently used by hunters, sport shooters, military, and law enforcement officers. In fact, both ACOGs and Aimpoints are primary optics used in the army, the former more utilized in the Marine Corps and the latter used by the U.S. Army.
For long-range shooting scenarios, an ACOG would likely be a more suitable choice due to its higher levels of magnification and higher number of reticle options, which are great for shooting past 200 yards.
On the other hand, an Aimpoint may be more suitable for short-range shooting scenarios. This optic system can reliably take fast shots within 300 yards and, as typical for red dots, works excellently for CQB while being as durable as an ACOG.
However, when considering an Aimpoint with magnifier vs ACOG, the former can be a great option for short to mid-range shooting, but it still won’t be as good as the ACOG in the game of distance.
In the end, you’ll need to identify your purposes and preferences to select which is better. Both are great options, and even in comparing Aimpoint vs ACOG for SHTF, choosing one over the other will be hard.
VCOG vs LPVO
As you probably know by now, VCOGs and LPVOs are pretty similar when you look at their features. That’s because VCOGs technically fall under the LPVO category.
They both have variable magnification, share a similar weight, and are great for various applications. But the most significant difference is in the VCOG’s superior durability.
The whole idea of a VCOG is to be able to take a beating in military applications like the ACOG. You also won’t need to level your scope, which can be convenient, but you will be limited on heights. LPVOs will give you the freedom to choose on that front and is better for piggyback mounting.
I will say there are many different LPVOs out there from different brands, and you’ll probably find something you’ll particularly like that’ll beat the features of a VCOG. If you’re not going to engage in very rough conditions or aren’t going to use your scope often, then you can probably forego the tough-as-nails VCOG and go for a favored LPVO.
ACOG/RMR vs LPVO
When a military unit needs to do battle in close quarters and needs additional magnification to shoot an enemy at a greater distance, an ACOG/RMR (ruggedized miniature reflex) scope may be what is needed.
ACOG/RMR is a dual-sighting system that has a small reflex sight mounted on an ACOG. This combo is designed for fast target acquisition while giving you precise aiming capabilities for longer distances, and it gives you the best of both worlds.
That said, it doesn’t have the adjustable magnification settings that give the LPVO such versatility. The ACOG/RMR certainly fills a need in the military and is what you’d want in a soldier’s hands, but that might not be what you would need.
Ultimately, as it most often does, it comes down to personal preference and needs. The arguments between ACOG vs LPVO and ACOG vs VCOG are a bit clearer to decide on, but choosing between this combo comes down to you.
If you plan on doing a lot of fast close-range shooting but need longer-range capabilities, then an ACOG/RMR scope might be the right choice for you. However, if you plan on shooting from close to mid-range distances, then an LPVO scope may be the better option.
If you want to dive deeper into the details of these differences, take a look at this video:
For more reading see our article on the red dot with LPVO offset rifle setup and the differences between LPVO vs fixed power scopes.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is better than ACOG?
There are many scopes that can be considered better than ACOG, but that comes down to the intended use of the scope and the shooter’s preferences. LPVO and VCOG scopes can be better than ACOG scopes because of their versatility in magnification, but the ACOG beats both for long-distance shooting.
Is LPVO better than red dot?
An LPVO scope is better than a red dot for longer-distance shooting. Where the red dot shines is in CQB and close-range shooting. However, LPVOs are typically more precise and have more versatility as they can utilize a variety of magnification levels to provide more accuracy and detail in the view.
What is the distinction between a standard scope and an LPVO scope?
The distinction between a standard scope and an LPVO scope is the magnification range and the amount of variable zoom available. A standard rifle scope’s magnification usually starts at 1.5, 2x, or higher and doesn’t start at 1x magnification like LPVOs.
Is an LPVO safe to use while hunting?
Yes, an LPVO scope is safe to use while hunting. However, if you’re looking for something with fast target acquisition at a longer range, you may want to switch to a sniper scope.
Is it possible to have too much magnification from an LPVO?
Yes, it’s possible to have too much magnification from an LPVO scope. If you’re in a close-quarters combat situation, setting the scope at a higher zoom makes fast target acquisition harder.
- 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
- Military Wiki, Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight. Retrieved from https://military-history.fandom.com/wiki/Advanced_Combat_Optical_Gunsight
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.
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