Interested in running an LVPO with an offset red dot mount? Maybe you’ve just heard of this arrangement recently and are wondering: does it work? Why do shooters use it?
Well, here is everything you need to know about running this kind of setup, including the advantages and drawbacks.
Up Next: LPVO Scope for AR-15 Rifles
Once you’ve taken a look at this, the next article worth reading is our summary of the best LPVO scope for the AR-15 rifle. We recommend the perfect LPVO optic for any shooter.
LPVO, Reflex and Red Dot
Before we dive in, we should first clarify the difference between an LPVO, reflex, and red dot sight, which is simple.
The LPVO is in a tube and has a variable magnification. The reflex, which most people call a red dot, is the one that looks like a window pane. A true red dot is in a short tube.
Some people do call the reflex a red dot, when in fact, a reflex sight is only a type of red dot. It is the reflex sight that you can run with an LPVO. The red dot reflex can be placed on the main scope or with an LPVO with a 45 degree red dot to either side.
In this article, we’ll refer to the optic that looks like a window (the reflex sight) as a red dot.
LPVO With Offset Red Dot Mount
An LPVO with a 45-degree red dot is called offset. The red dot is mounted at a 45-degree angle to the LPVO, usually on a separate Picatinny rail. You will likely need a short offset Picatinny rail to make this mount work.
Offset Red Dot in Front or Behind Scope
The red dot can, in fact, be mounted anywhere you can attach the add-on rail. Put the offset red dot in front or behind the scope or even in the middle.
A mid-mount does mean you have to put the offset rail under the scope. You may not have room for that. The right configuration of an LPVO with offset red dot is whatever your personal preference is.
You can set it on the right or left side. We find it works best to have the red dot opposite the ejection port. That way, spent brass flies toward the ground instead of flying up and away.
The advantage here is that when you use the offset red dot with LPVO, you’re only slightly rotating the rifle. You won’t have to move your head up and down.
This is a distinct advantage if you need to be as still as possible. Rotating the rifle is less likely to be seen than you moving your head.
Using the 45 degree offset red dot does change your grip position and the shoulder mount, but these are minor changes you can easily adapt to. It’s certainly easier to learn than moving your head or shifting the shoulder mount down to access a piggyback mount.
LPVO Piggyback Mount
Now, the chief advantage to an LPVO with a piggyback mount red dot is that everything is in the same sight plane. You don’t have to rotate the gun to look through the red dot. You can either raise your head or lower the gun to see through the red dot.
Mounting a red dot on top of your LPVO is done with a set of appropriate-sized rings. You can put it anywhere on the LPVO where the rings will attach. The LPVO mounting position is irrelevant.
At the same time, that is a disadvantage. By doing this, you are changing your shooting position, and it takes a bit to get used to that setup.
That said, as everything is on the same plane, when you lay the gun down on its side, it’ll be flat. Nothing will stick up to get in the way or bang on things.
This is very important when carrying your gun in a soft-side case. You won’t have a bulge sticking out to get knocked around.
The problem with this setup is you have a taller gun now. The extra inch or two in height may not sound like much. But that amount is the difference between fitting and not fitting in a soft gun case.
If you have a tactical case, the rifle will fit. But if you have one of the slim soft side cases like for a shotgun or rifle with a low scope, the gun will not fit.
Here’s a useful video that takes a look at several different piggyback arrangements:
ACOG With Offset Red Dot vs LPVO
You can use a 45-degree offset red dot with an ACOG scope. Given the large front bell on the ACOG, an inline or piggyback mount will not work. The hood on the front of the ACOG will hide the target when you look through the red dot.
The most significant difference between an ACOG with an offset red dot vs an LPVO with a red dot is the requirement to offset mount the red dot. You have the same bulge issue if you carry your gun in a soft side case.
The advantage is also the same – rotating the gun slightly is easier to learn to shoot than moving your head or the gun up and down on your shoulder.
Why Use Both?
The biggest reason to use both an LPVO and a red dot is for maximum efficiency and speed when shooting from close range to more than 200 yards. You use the red dot in close-quarters combat (CQB), such as sweeping a house in very thick cover. Then, when things open up, you have the LPVO to find targets 100 to 500 yards away. (Reference 1: LPVO Scopes)
The red dot loses efficiency as the range increases. Putting that dot on a target 250 yards away is difficult. So, you switch to ACOG or LPVO.
Finding the target at 25 yards or less through the tube of an LPVO or ACOG takes much more time than looking through the open window of the red dot. In mission-critical situations, fractions of a second spell the difference between success and failure. (Reference 2: Red Dot Offset)
Tracking a moving target is also easier with a red dot.
The red dot allows you to keep your other eye open and look for things just outside the field of view. With an LPVO, your attention is concentrated on the field of view available through the scope. That space can be quite small. In certain scenarios, situational awareness is critical.
For more reading, I’d highly suggest our article on red dot vs LPVO scopes or our article comparing LPVO vs ACOG sights.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you need an offset red dot with LPVO?
You do not need an offset red dot with an LPVO. A true red dot scope is an LPVO. However, you can use an offset reflex sight with an LPVO.
Can you use a LPVO as a red dot?
You can use an LPVO as a red dot if the scope is a true red dot scope. This means it is in a tube. A reflex scope is a different optic.
What is the difference between LPVO offset red dot and red dot magnifier?
The difference between LPVO offset red dot and red dot magnifier is the LPVO is a scope with a reticle and adjustments. The magnifier does not have a reticle and has no way to zero. It just zooms in.
Why run a red dot with an LPVO?
You run a red dot with an LPVO for very close shooting. You can get a shooting solution almost instantly versus trying to find the target by looking through the tube.
What is the best LPVO and red dot setup?
The best LPVO and red dot setup is lightweight and easy to use. You need to be comfortable with the specific optics and mounting system you choose.
- Travis Pike, Why the Marines Chose an LPVO (It Makes Sense). Retrieved from https://nationalinterest.org/blog/reboot/why-marines-chose-lpvo-it-makes-sense-196984
- Sig Sauer, Red Dot Sight or Scope: What is the Best Optic for Your Rifle? Retrieved from https://www.sigsauer.com/blog/red-dot-sight-or-scope-what-is-the-best-optic-for-your-rifle
Dakota Potts is a gunsmith, armorer and gun rights advocates. He enjoys learning about firearm history and technology. He has his own website at pottsprecision.com. You can also find more info on Barret Rifles here. Or follow Dakota Potts on Youtube.