How The LPVO Scope Can Benefit Law Enforcement

For several decades, law enforcement officers working the streets were equipped with a handgun. Some, but not all had a shotgun as a backup. Carbine-style rifles and long guns were reserved for SWAT Teams and other specialty units.

If a situation warranted these types of rifles, then the office had to make a call to request one of the SWAT Teams and then wait for the response. Law enforcement leadership never saw the need to equip patrol officers with rifles. That was until February 28th of 1997.

On the morning of February 28th, 1997, two heavily armed bank robbers robbed a bank in Northern Hollywood. The responding officers confronted the two men which resulted in a 44-minute gunfight with several wounded law enforcement officers.

The responding officers carried 9mm handguns and 12-gauge shotguns as a secondary option. Both weapon platforms were ineffective against the body armor worn by the bank robbers and at the distance they were engaging during the gunfight.

The two bank robbers wore body armor and were armed with semi-auto rifles. Some of those rifles had been converted to full auto as well. Needless to say, the responding police officers were outgunned.

That incident was a turning point for law enforcement weaponry and tactics. They realized the need to better equip patrol officers and allow them to carry rifles. Today rifles are commonplace for patrol officers.

With the increased use of rifles by law enforcement officers, there comes a need to modernize them with better optics to make them more effective and able to adapt to different situations on the fly.

There are many optics on the market and choosing the right one is essential when you depend on that rifle every day you’re on duty. Enter the LPVO (Low Power Variable Optic).

How The LPVO Scope Can Benefit Law Enforcement
(Photo: Clandestine Media Group)

What is an LPVO Optic?

LPVO stands for low-powered variable optic. It refers to a magnified optic that starts at a 1x setting and then varies to a higher setting of 4x, 6x, or 8x depending on the manufacturer of the optic. In the past, scoped rifles were reserved for designated marksmen or trained snipers.

With the advent of a true 1x scope with a daytime visible reticle has truly changed the game. That technology has merged the red dot sights with a traditional scope design which resulted in the creation of the LPVO optic.

For this article, we’re going to be using the Crimson Trace Hardline Pro 1-6×24 LPVO optic as an example.


at Crimson Trace
Prices accurate at time of writing

Why The LPVO

Looking at traditional RDS (red dot sight) sights, they are generally going to come in with a price point of around $300 depending on the manufacturer.

The advantage is that you have a single plane of reference for aiming. The red dot sight also cuts down on training time and increases accuracy and speed. The disadvantage of the red dot sight is that if there is any positive identification needed you can’t really do that past what the naked eye can accurately identify.

By adding magnification in the form of an LPVO to the same gun, you’re now able to positively identify and engage threats out to 400-600 yards depending on the shooter’s skill.

The Crimson Trace Hardline Pro 1-6×24 is one of the best LPVO buys on the market right now. It’s a true daytime visible reticle, true 1 power, and goes up to 6 power. For a sub $1000 optic, the platform really is hard to beat.

Crimson Trace also went with a first focal plane design allowing for more consistent range estimation through the different magnification settings.

First focal plane means that when you adjust the magnification, the reticle is going to change size as the magnification changes.

As a result, if you’re using your reticle for range estimation, no matter the magnification, your range estimation is going to be true.

The Crimson Trace Hardline Pro LPVO uses an illuminated custom competition reticle taking the guesswork out of range estimation.

Crimson Trace Competition Reticle

Moving Forward With the LPVO

With an LPVO, law enforcement agencies can transform a stock AR-15 into a hybrid carbine capable of close CQB work at 1x and then dial up the magnification to 6x for mid-range engagements out to 500 yards.

This gives law enforcement the ability to go from 1x to 6x on the fly without having to change guns or optics.

By using lessons learned from previous fights and acknowledging the evolution of weaponry will keep law enforcement as effective as possible moving forward.

From kicking in doors to mid-range hostage situations, the Crimson Trace Hardline Pro 1-6×24 LPVO has you covered.

Best Budget LPVO

Still would like to get into an LPVO but don’t have the funds for a higher-end option? The good news is we have a quality budget option for you to consider.

The Primary Arms Gen III 1-6×24 second focal plane is a proven performer trusted by thousands of shooters to deliver consistent performance.

Primary Arms SLx 1-6x24mm SFP Rifle Scope Gen III

at Primary Arms
Prices accurate at time of writing

This tough LPVO optic features both red and green reticle illumination, a quick focus eyepiece, and finger adjustable turrets covered by turret caps. The second focal plane construction keeps the reticle the same size at all magnifications for quick sight acquisition in all conditions.

With the high-quality construction, a solid brand reputation, and a sub $300 price this LPVO is likely the best budget LPVO currently on the market.

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