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LPVO vs Prism Scope: Which to Choose? 

Alice Jones Webb | Updated August 31, 2023 | Why You Should Trust Us | How We Earn Money
Cover photo of LPVO vs prism showing a side-by-side image of an LPVO and prism scope

So, it has come down to the wire and the optic you need to choose between is a prism vs LPVO scope. Now, which is better? 

Before you go on and buy an optic only to regret it, take a look at this guide that’ll go over each optic to help you determine the scope to buy.

For more reading on LPVO scopes see our guide to the best budget LPVO money can buy.

Key Takeaways

  • Prism scopes are lighter, durable, and affordable with a simple and compact design, which gives them an edge over LPVOs
  • LPVOs have variable magnification, which makes them versatile and suitable for varying shooting situations.
  • Because of their versatility, LPVOs are ideal for SHTF situations.

Prism vs LPVO Scopes

Man peeking through a scope mounted on his rifle

The world of scopes has significantly evolved. Today, they’re more affordable, effective, and available in many options. 

That said, too many options can be overwhelming at times. To help you out, I’ll be highlighting the pros and cons of each to help you figure out which is right for you.

Prism Scope Advantages to LPVOs

Side view image of a prism and a rifle in the background

Let’s take a look at areas where the prism scope comes out on top:


Prism scopes have a compact design, which makes them lighter than LPVOs. If you’re hunting across a large area, you want a lighter weapon so you don’t tire as easily. So, if this is important to you, go with a prism scope.

Finger pointing at a reflex sight on a prism scope


Another benefit of prism scopes is that they’re more affordable because of their simple design and fixed magnification. Even though the brand, features, and specifications of a prism scope dictate the price, generally, high-quality prism scopes are more affordable than high-quality LPVOs.


Prism scopes are more durable thanks to their simple design. They have fewer moving parts, giving them an edge regarding durability.

Fun Fact

Researchers believed early humans waited in trees for their prey to pass underneath, rather than chase after animals the way hunters in the classical and Renaissance periods generally did. Source: factscrush.com

Prism Scope Disadvantages to LPVOs


Prism scopes usually come with fixed magnifications. That means if your scope is set to the power of three, that’s all you get. That inability to zoom gives an LPVO an edge over prism scopes.

Zoomed-in image of an orange target seen through the lens of an LPVO

Less Versatile 

Because of its inability to zoom in and out of a target, a prism scope can’t be used in many different situations. That means you’re limited in what you can do with it.

LPVOs Advantages to Prism Scopes

Man peeking through an LPVO mounted on a rifle

Now, let’s take a look at where LPVOs are better than prism scopes:

Variable Magnification

With LPVOs, you can adjust the magnification level because they come in a range of magnification settings, such as 1-4x, 1-6x, and 1-8x. What’s more, they have adjustable turrets that are essential for zeroing in on targets and compensating for environmental conditions.

Zoomed-in image of a vehicle seen through the lens of an LPVO


Thanks to their adjustable magnification, you can use them in different shooting situations. If you’re in a situation where you have targets at varying distances, you can adjust the magnification to meet your shooting needs with the best accuracy.

LPVOs Disadvantages to Prism Scopes

More Expensive

LPVOs are generally more costly than prism scopes. They have more moving parts and delicate glass, which explains the high price tag.

LPVO mounted on a rifle

Not as Durable

Although LPVOs are robust, they aren’t as durable as prism scopes. You don’t want to drop your LPVO too much, as a part can break easily.


LPVOs are larger and heavier than prism scopes. This is because of their complex design, which involves a magnification adjustment mechanism, complex optical systems, and other features. All these affect its weight.

Image of a prism scope mounted on a rail

Take a look at this video that compares a budget LPVO and prism scope’s abilities:

LPVO vs Prism Scopes for SHTF

When it comes to a SHTF (sh*t hits the fan) situation, I would suggest an LPVO. 

A SHTF situation is characterized by unpredictability, meaning you can’t be sure what you’ll encounter. So, a versatile sight like an LPVO that lets you adjust the magnification based on the situation is much better.

For more reading on LPVOs, take a look at our post on whether LPVOs are good for hunting.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is an LPVO as fast as a red dot?

An LPVO isn’t as fast as a red dot when it comes to target acquisition and engagement because it lacks the unlimited field of view and simple aiming point you will find in a red dot.

Which is better LPVO or red dot with magnifier?

To see which is better, LPVO or red dot with magnifier, you must assess the engagement distance and what applications you’ll use the optic for. 

If you need magnification flexibility, clearer glass, and a better field of view, an LPVO does well. But if you need faster acquisition times and are expecting to shoot under 200 yards (182.8 meters), a red dot with a magnifier is the better choice.

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