Red Dot Sights versus Scopes [LPVO]

Red Dot Sights versus Scopes [LPVO]

Over the last few years, there have been some huge strides in the low power variable optics (LPVO) market, both in terms of quality and availability. Some instructors and other industry leaders have even suggested that cost is the only thing preventing LPVOs from completely replacing non-magnified red dot sights as the go-to option for defensive/fighting carbines. Budget-level and mid-tier LPVOs are getting better and cheaper, but are still usually lacking in visual clarity at 1x when compared to a top-shelf red dot like an Aimpoint. But how about a premium LPVO like the Nightforce NX8 1-8x24mm scope? Does it compete with an Aimpoint at close range? And at what distance does the lack of magnification in the Aimpoint give the LPVO a clear advantage? That’s what John Johnston and I set out to discover in this episode of “Stuff John and Chris Wanna Know.” We didn’t actually get the definitive answer we were hoping for, but I think we came away with some useful impressions.

Check out the raw data from our drills here:

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  1. Todd Jenest on July 20, 2022 at 7:24 pm

    I struggle with this all the time. My AR Pistol was supposed to be home/civil unrest, but I ended up removing the red dot for a LPVO. I only wish that my LPVO had a battery powered reticle for low light and CQB situations. For civil unrest, a 36 yard zero and the LPVO just seems to be the best option. Especially when the batteries die.

  2. SasquatchyCowboy on July 20, 2022 at 7:30 pm

    Rifles are lethal to 500yd, and beyond. I dont think that to fully exploit the capability of the intermediate rifle cartridge you need the ability to have magnification, and the ability to either dile for distance, have a substentiond retical, or both. That being said 50yd and in there is matching the speed and ease of use of a red dot

  3. Kelltrad on July 20, 2022 at 7:31 pm

    I like many gun review channels, but not many of them are as direct to the most pertinent information as this one. Great work

  4. Landon Wood on July 20, 2022 at 7:33 pm

    There isnt any better or worse in this case. Its all about preference. People who own an AR15 must avoid the mentality that an optic is the most important variable in any combat situation. You have to know what type of environment you are in and what kind of threats you will be facing. If you live in the country or in the mountains, you might want a 3×9, etc. Thats because you will have more awareness of what is coming at you and for somebody to get to you, they will need an optic that can see you from afar, etc. If you live in town or the suburbs, you might want to consider that youll likely be inside, with an enemy closing in at under 50 meters. Thats when you will be better served by a red dot or reflex optic.

    I used to have a 3×9 vortex on my rifle. Its a wonderful scope and it was zero’d. However, I have since then mounted a red dot optic because in reality, ill likely encountet an enemy up close and the likelihood of me retaining accuracy through my scope in a stressful, adrenaline inducing situation is lower..

    Id say, go with the optic that best fits where you live. Also, if you own an AR10 like I do, slap a scope on her instead and that way, you have capability across two platforms.

  5. Raptary on July 20, 2022 at 7:33 pm

    Personally if you’re going to use a LPVO you need to have a canted Red Dot period. The EOTech with 3x and especially 5x magnification is useful, but the higher the magnification the harder it is to line up for a shot then a LPVO at range. You already have to line up your dot and hold its position, but the second you use a magnifier it takes extra diligence to line up a dot and hold it steady when the slightest human movement knocks your dot out of your magnifier.

  6. Mirza Khalid on July 20, 2022 at 7:34 pm

    Tom Hanks with Beard 😊

  7. Teri Lee on July 20, 2022 at 7:35 pm

    Wow! Real bad. Not real rifle guys as you so stated but trying to make a youtube video on rifle optics? Please! Leave it to others that are more qualified. All you’ve doing is saying "Hey, I don’t really know what I’m talking about but let’s see how stupid I can make myself look."

  8. peter cheney on July 20, 2022 at 7:35 pm

    Deadlift Unicorn Shirt is AWESOME!

  9. Riley French on July 20, 2022 at 7:36 pm

    How an optic is mounted says a lot about a person

  10. barrett anderson on July 20, 2022 at 7:38 pm

    Damn, that scope is higher than Bob Marley.

  11. Drakeland Willitts on July 20, 2022 at 7:39 pm

    Not scientific, realistic

  12. disgustapated on July 20, 2022 at 7:39 pm

    Anyone know what the mount is for the LVPO?

  13. Andy O. on July 20, 2022 at 7:40 pm

    Imo the best setup for me is a lpvo with a offset red dot. For around $725 you can get a Vortex strike eagle 1-8×24 with a quick detach mount, a Vortex venom with a Vortex 45 degree offset mount and a set of magpul flip up sights. This is the best of both worlds. You can reach out with the lpvo or lower the magnification for intermediate distances, and use the red dot close up or indoors. And if for some reason both take a shit, you can quickly pull off the lpvo and use the backup irons.

  14. Hounds of Valor on July 20, 2022 at 7:41 pm

    Hey Chris, let’s buy a $2,000 scope and test it! Great idea John, we can use these moldy boxes of no-brand Ammo I bought at a yard sale 10 years ago. That’s awesome Chris, since you work for an ammo company!!

  15. Rico on July 20, 2022 at 7:42 pm

    I have an atibal xp6 1-6 FFP. Pretty solid has hold zero with about 300 rounds through it. Have scratches on it from going prone still holding up pretty good. If it breaks I will be getting the slx micro prism.

  16. Isaac Taylor on July 20, 2022 at 7:42 pm

    His reason to put an LPVO on because you want to have close quarters capabilities but ALSO have distance fun at the range… yep that’s me haha

  17. Justin on July 20, 2022 at 7:44 pm

    I have a primary arms 1-6x in an American defense mount
    I love it but it’s considerably heavier than my red dot especially on my heavy barrel ar 15
    I agree the red dot handles way better especially since it doesn’t have a parallax it’d be my go to for home defense and my lpv is more for range fun

  18. jcows12 on July 20, 2022 at 7:46 pm

    What about for hunting? Up to 150 to 200yrds? I have scoped guns and red dots as well but I’m new to red dots and thought for my 12 year olds first deer hunt a 6.5 grendel and red dot combo could be more simplified, however that magnification, for me, seems so much easier to be accurate at 75 yards plus.

  19. Paul Lytle on July 20, 2022 at 7:46 pm

    What about red dot with a magnifier

  20. Nashville Kawboy on July 20, 2022 at 7:47 pm

    For dynamic situations, not having to constantly adjust for proper eye relief is a huge advantage to the red dot over the lpvo. I believe that’s a substantial reason why red dots overtook scopes for platforms intended to be used at <200 yds. Having a scope that goes down to 1x doesn’t really change the fact that it’s a scope and you must have the proper eye relief to see clearly through it.

  21. Farmer Ted on July 20, 2022 at 7:49 pm

    Does guy on left have ink poisoning?

  22. Doc. Holiday on July 20, 2022 at 7:49 pm

    Chris… just an idea. Just like here you might host an expert to kick around what variable power is best selected to shoot at a given range due to physical and atmospheric variables. I recently purchased a 5-25 optic for my 308. I previously had a 6-14 optic on it. I initially had a difficult time grouping rounds better than the old optic. (I understand parallax adjustment so those out there don’t feel a need to interject.) Once I started backing off the power, I was able to achieve better groups. The high power is excellent for target identification and examination of hits but isn’t necessarily used to shoot at all ranges. This is a subject not addressed much if at all.

  23. Father Larsathon on July 20, 2022 at 7:51 pm

    The most important thing we learned is that John can lie face down with his legs spread wider than any man in America. I’ve got a lot of work to do before I’ll be able to match that.

  24. Chip Whitley on July 20, 2022 at 7:52 pm

    Not a big fan of this channel

  25. Aaron Hooten on July 20, 2022 at 7:52 pm

    I have a nice red dot, and I agree some magnification can be a very good thing. So on that note I’ll be buying a Juliet red dot magnifier. Seems best of both worlds for my shooting style. All while being about 550$ tops

  26. reptilesgamers00 on July 20, 2022 at 7:54 pm

    I want the scope that allows me to hit my target reliably. Whatever that is gots my vote.
    Zoom doesn’t matter in most civilian uses, good pair of binoculars is underrated. It’s not a going idea to point a loaded gun at anyone just for identifying.
    lvpo Good idea for varmint.

  27. otetechie on July 20, 2022 at 7:55 pm

    SR15 with a 1-8 LPVO.
    Great all purpose rifle that can hit from 0-1000 yards with the right ammo and shooter.

  28. Ali MK Raja on July 20, 2022 at 7:55 pm

    Can you have both in one? i know scope has red dot in it

  29. DanGoodShot pewpew on July 20, 2022 at 7:56 pm

    The answer to my question(and probably most watching this) is at 6:57.
    Thanks guys.

  30. Steven Kennedy on July 20, 2022 at 7:58 pm

    Fun stuff!

  31. Indialantic Rob on July 20, 2022 at 7:59 pm

    LPVO with offset red dot. Love it !

  32. Paul on July 20, 2022 at 8:01 pm

    Just get a primary arms 3x prism or 5x prism. Its a size of a red dot and 6 times cheaper.

  33. orion45acp on July 20, 2022 at 8:02 pm

    Here’s what I want to know. At what point does a RDS + magnifier lose in performance to a LPVO? At what point does an LPVO loose out to an RDS at CQB?

  34. Arluvr 1 on July 20, 2022 at 8:05 pm

    What is the mount on the LPVO.

  35. Mr. Handsome on July 20, 2022 at 8:05 pm

    Red dot with magnifier?

  36. Ken Merritt on July 20, 2022 at 8:05 pm

    As a newbie to this I appreciate the honest answer of "It depends" vs trying to dogmatically defend your preference. Thanks!

  37. deepmarsh on July 20, 2022 at 8:06 pm

    So the answer is ACOG ?

  38. Miles on July 20, 2022 at 8:09 pm

    2:20 who in TF lays prone like that lol

  39. Ben Rent on July 20, 2022 at 8:11 pm

    I had a vortex red dot on my AR for a long time. It was stupid quick. But grouping wasn’t the greatest and at 200yds I was getting all over the map. I got a vortex 1×4. Now it’s a tackhammer. Getting rounds touching at 200yds lol. Is it as quick? No. A lil slower but it’s not even noticable to anybody but me(I don’t time that shit lol)

  40. Kev Hippo on July 20, 2022 at 8:14 pm

    lol… "Civil unrest, like Katrina" *Goes and checks date of video….*

  41. Vincent DeGennaro on July 20, 2022 at 8:15 pm

    Love you guy’s but what the f**k all that talk with No Real explanation

  42. OneEye Man on July 20, 2022 at 8:15 pm

    How about a Red Dawn scenario? Gotta be prepared bruh

  43. Optimus primer on July 20, 2022 at 8:15 pm

    I’ll keep my variable optic scope no batteries needed

  44. Duke Makedo on July 20, 2022 at 8:16 pm

    For civilian self defense, it’s hard to imagine realistic need to shoot targets beyond 75 yards. Well, more like not beyond 30 or 50 yards.

  45. RONALD Sjr on July 20, 2022 at 8:16 pm

    Shots for defense at more than 100 yards for the majority of people watching your videos is called murder. At the least for self defense scenarios. So red dots are perfectly fine for protection . They are excellent for use in low light and fast without magnification. Shooting targets on your range is fine but it’s not the same as defense. You failed to also cover one aspect in your whole scenario and that is SHOOTING while you are actually MOVING. You can’t do that well with magnification compared to a red dot or reflex optic when you are trying to avoid getting shot as well.

  46. Graham Duncan on July 20, 2022 at 8:17 pm

    I saw a red dot can hit as far away, but a magnifying optic can identify who or what exactly being aimed at. And too far away to accurately hit.

  47. ikazukison2 on July 20, 2022 at 8:17 pm

    "we’re both shotgun nerds"

    Yeah, that’s why I love this channel. You can find a million people talking about their AR-15 or their Glock on the internet, but I’m a shotgun and revolver guy in my heart.

    Then again, I actually started watching Chris Baker’s videos before I ever got my first guns, so maybe he influenced me to become a shotgun and revolver guy. It’s a real chicken-or-egg situation

  48. Mark Case on July 20, 2022 at 8:18 pm

    I can’t for the life of me understand not standardizing the ammo for the test. Seriously guys? Why bother? Ammo Company, right???!!!

  49. ICU_Corey_RN _ on July 20, 2022 at 8:18 pm

    I use an eotech 512 I used to have a vortex strike eagle. The LPVO is heavy and clunky and sometimes awkward to use to adjust magnification. The eotech is good out to 200 MAYBE 3 if u practice. I like the simplicity and speed of the RDS better but that’s just me

  50. Jonathan Curry on July 20, 2022 at 8:21 pm

    I wasted 9 minutes

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