Low-powered variable optics on patrol

From door-kicking building searches to downrange information gathering, LPVOs have you covered


This article is part of a series for Police1 registered members from Todd Fletcher titled "Police Firearms: Discussion, Drills & Demos." Todd writes about current hot topics related to police firearms training, outlines firearms training drills and demonstrates shooting techniques on video. If you have a topic you would like Todd to cover, or a training problem you need to solve, email editor@police1.com.  

Not long ago, it was unusual to see a rifle in a marked patrol car. The 1997 North Hollywood Bank of America shootout changed everything. Two heavily armed and armored criminals, hell-bent on escape, demonstrated why it is mandatory to equip officers with patrol rifles. A few years later, it became commonplace to see a rifle mounted between the seats of a patrol car.

In the early 2000s, most of these rifles were equipped with robust and durable iron sights. A significant number of department administrators and firearm instructors swore they would never switch to red dot optics on rifles because “iron sights never fail.”

However, the durability of modern red dot optics has been proven beyond any reasonable measure. Instructors have also witnessed how the use of red dot optics on patrol rifles has led to an increase in accuracy and overall officer competency. Today, it’s unusual to see a patrol rifle set up without a red dot optic. The next step in the evolution of optics on patrol rifles is the use of low-powered variable optics (LPVO).

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