Leupold’s D-EVO and LCO Look UN-Revolutionary.

At pre-shot coverage, Leupold introduced its new LCO red dot and the D-EVO.

The dual optic combo attempts to solve the age-old problem of having to move levers or shift your gun to switch from 1x to a magnified image. As you see, the D-EVO sits behind an underwhelming red dot sight (the LCO isn’t near as cool as I thought it was going to be), and its objective lens is to the right of the optic over the ejection port.

Up close, you peer through the LCO red dot, and then by peering down you can quickly switch to the 6x of the D-EVO. So what does this do that a Trijicon ACOG and RDS combo cannot do? Let’s compare these two setups as they attempt to solve the same problem, but differ greatly in execution.


Your sight picture(s).

The LCO / D-EVO vs Trijicon ACOG 4x with RDS

The D-EVO has one advantage over the ACOG/RDS: Your head remains in the same place to use both 1x and 6x. While it is a nifty idea to peer down and see your target with no head movement, the execution is awkward at best. The D-EVO looks to be well… unnecessary and full of fails. While the gun magazine world is fawning over this new piece of technology, I decided to break it down a bit into the nitty-gritty facts.

Let’s see:

  • Smaller objective lens gathers less light than a 4X ACOG
  • Heavier than an ACOG: 13.8 oz for the D-EVO vs 9.9 oz for the ACOG (not counting red dots)
  • Smaller field of view
  • Shooting tight against a R side barrier obscures the optic
  • It looks like it *wants* to snag things
  • Combo Cost: Optics Planet (tentatively) lists D-EVO / LCO for $2399 for the combo vs $1620 for the ACOG / RMR combo.

A sunshade / snag ring?

Couldn’t this have been designed inline with a MRDS on top instead of zig-zag? Having a low profile, in line optic would cut snag, possibly decrease weight, give the shooter the same look down 6x, look forward 1x experience, and would keep the optic out-of-the-way of the ejection port gasses. All this just seems unnecessary.

The ACOG will deliver a far superior 4x experience over the tiny 6x window of the D-EVO, and adding a 45 degree offset MRDS gives you a tried and true 1x system that protrudes far less than the D-EVO /LCO system.

Wrapping Up:

Maybe its the best thing ever, but I just don’t see how it will be a hit with the consumer when it comes in with a price tag like that. Even the LCO (which, did i mention, isn’t as cool as I thought it would be?) is priced in ACOG territory and it’s a red dot! I think this perspective… sucks.



Written by lothaen


  1. Toast Walker · January 20, 2015

    10 bucks says the author will have one on his favorite rifle before the end of the year. That thing is bad ass! If weight is such a concern, put your RMR (which breaks if you bump anything with it) in front of the D-EVO. Presto, you’re as light as the ACOG with more magnification, a reticle that doesn’t swim, and adjustments that track properly.

    • lothaen · January 20, 2015

      I don’t make enough to justify experimenting with the D-EVO… and the weight specs were for the magnified optics only. It’s heavier than the ACOG.

  2. E.D.M. · January 20, 2015

    Thank you! I’m glad to see I’m not the only one having these thoughts. It’s a novel concept, but it just seems too big and too expensive for what it does relative to what’s already on the market. At the price point they’re asking, you might as well go for an Elcan SpecterDR.

  3. Daniel Stoner · January 28, 2015

    I completely disagree about the usefulness of the D-EVO. I see those downsides as minor, with un-mentioned up sides and other un-mentioned downsides. First off, you can use ANY optic in front of the DEVO that has a long eye relief, whether ESD or scope such as a 2.5x scout scope, or a top-mounted flashlight for that matter (using the DEVO as the sole optic). Second, when a right handed shooter is shooting around a corner (that turns left), your shooting (right) eye is aligned farther to the left than the actual objective lens on the DEVO that sees the target, thus giving you a better view while exposing a slightly lower percentage of your head around that corner. This is the only reason I can think of why they didn’t put it on the left side of the viewfinder (since the downside is there- getting hit by the brass). Third, since it’s designed to be looked through lower than a standard-height ESD dot, it’s a LOW scope – therefore I see interesting application possibilities on other non-AR rifles where you want a low mount (and again, may just mount a light in front of it, or a 1x ESD). The new Leupold ESD itself is ho-hum, but this DEVO has possibilities. My main concerns are the eye relief of the DEVO itself, and the exit pupil due to small objective size for a 6x optic.

  4. Daniel Stoner · January 28, 2015

    Also, another advantage and two disadvantages: First, the fact that you have to zero it separately – this is both a simultaneous downside and upside. Downside is it’s more work. Upside, you can have a different zero, appropriate for the range at which iyou’re shooting with that optic (longer ranges – say, 200 yard zero). Other downside potentially is that since it’s not in line with the bore windage-wise, you’re going to need to sight in so that your bullet impacts about 2″ left of where the scope shows the reticle, then hold the reticle 2″ right at all distances to get dead on, or simply hold dead on, because that’s “close enough”. But what you don’t want to do is zero impact to match reticle dead on at say, 100 yards, because then you’d hit too far right on a really long shot – you’d hit about 4″ right at 300 yards in that case.

  5. Daniel Stoner · January 28, 2015

    EDM, no the Elcan Specter DR is not a substitute – you still have to move your hand to flip a switch, and it’s 4x, not 6x, and it’s still a lot more expensive isn’t it? I’m thinking an RMR-DI with 12 MOA green triangle with this DEVO would be the shiz nizzle.

  6. writethisdownforme · February 16, 2015

    Where are you pricing an ACOG w/ RMR for $1620? Trijicon’s cheapest listed ACOG w/ RMR is $2149 for the TA33-C-400119

  7. Cody · February 18, 2015

    So your comparing the 4x ACOG with the 6x DEVO. Hell, the 1.5x ACOG is waaay smaller than both, why didn’t you just compare that to the DEVO? The 6x ACOG is a brick, the DEVO weighs less than half what it does. Try comparing apples-to-apples next time, instead of attempting to manipulate your viewers into agreeing with your preconceived dislike of a product that hasn’t even been released yet.

    When compared with the 6x ACOG, the DEVO is smaller and lighter, but falls short in optical performance (light gathering, field of view, etc.). But with the DEVO you get a red dot, with massive field of view and a bright, fast reticle. If you throw a RMR on an ACOG, you have to significantly alter head position to see through it, which is typically either raising your cheek weld to a chin weld or rotating the rifle around the barrel axis for offset sights. Both options are slower than the simple eye movements the DEVO requires, and offset red dots often offer a similar snagging potential that the DEVO has. The limited optical performance of the DEVO isn’t a terribly big issue either: when hunting for targets with magnified scopes a large field of view allows you to pick up your target faster, with the DEVO you use the red dot. Your left with limited low-light performance as your primary shortfall due to the small objective, for a system that’s both lighter and faster than the alternatives. Of course we’re going to have to wait and see if it lives up to the hype, the key to that being wait, rather than prematurely condemn an innovative product in an otherwise stagnant industry.

    While I will agree, a MRDS mounted on an in-line low profile magnified sight designed to share the dual field of view capability sounds more practical, the sights objective would sit extremely low on the top rail. Flip up sights, laser aiming devices, maybe even offset flash light mounts on the 12 o clock rail could compromise it’s use, obscuring the shooters view of the target. If you say,”mount it higher”, you’ve reinvented the ACOG RMR combo which, while I like both sights, are not an optimal solution.

    • lothaen · February 19, 2015

      The Devo is trying to fix a problem that’s already been executed well by many other optics. Your taking an offset eye-piece which sits directly over the gas port of an M16/Ar15 type rifle with a ridiculously small field of view, a high price tag, and very little bang for the buck.

      I won’t compare the DEVO to the 6x ACOG because the 4X Acog, optically, slaps it around all day. Brighter image, illuminated reticle, and wider field of view all translate to a very effective optic despite being only 4x.

      If the military wants a gunsight which can instantly be switched between low magnification and high magnification, Sandia Natl Laboratory has developed a “wet lense” “Razor” that allows push button instant magnification and can be coupled with many of the optical gun sights currently in the military’s inventory.

      Even a proper 1-6x variable gives the shooter many capabilities, but if big army wants “instant” switch capability then so be it. If you want to waste money on a gimmicky gun sight, please go right ahead.

      • Cody · February 19, 2015

        All the other sights don’t execute the high-low magnification well. A good full size red dot is superior to any other sight up close, but don’t do long range well. Magnifiers suck, and micro red dots piggybacked or offset provide a smaller field of view and make the dot harder to find. Variable power scopes are heavier and slower, and most only offer 24mm objectives versus the DEVO s 20mm so increased light transmission will be minimal. And comparing a 4x scope to a 6x in not apples to apples, due to inherent differences in exit pupil and field of view: lower magnification, bigger field of view, larger exit pupil. And as I’ve already stated, the field of view of a red dot is far superior to that of any magnified sight. To make a valid comparison, you have to consider BOTH optics, where the DEVO falls short the red dot takes up the slack. While I’m not totally sold on the design, it’s definitely something I’m gonna check out because I recognize the potential advantages, and weigh then against the drawbacks. Honestly I’ll still probably wind up with Leupolds own Mark 8 CQBSS as my general purpose optic, but if I’m gonna spend 2-4 grand on an optic I want to weigh all my options.

        • lothaen · February 20, 2015

          I admit, it could be the best thing ever if I get a chance to run one, perhaps my mind will be changed… but its hard to see its feature-set as something worth the high cost of entry for the military or civilian sales.

  8. Cody · February 18, 2015

    In addition, while I do agree the price point to be steep, Leupold has in the past dropped MSRP on scopes shortly after release, although I doubt this will ever reach ACOG RMR prices due to the increased complexity. In addition, it’s no secret that Leupold is gunning for the new military 1-6x combat optic contract. The ability to combine existing aimpoints and eotechs with the new optic will appeal to those In charge of the acquisitions budget, as it will no doubt be a cheaper option than Trijicon’s VCOG, for example. Civilian shooters could see a similar benefit, using optics they already own and are familiar with in conjuction with a system far better than a flip to the side magnifier.

    As far as the LCO, I don’t understand the MSRP either. If the street price brings it down to Trijicon SRS or Comp m4 prices ($900 +/-), then maybe.

  9. Carlos · October 31, 2015

    I was wondering why Leupold did not make a straight-through version instead of the zig-zag configuration. Until I picked up one of my ARs that still had the fixed A-frame front sight and the light went on.

    What a lot of people still has not grasped is there is no perfect answer. No matter what configuration you adopt, it will be a trade-off. I just gave a dedicated 1-6 power scope a try and determined that it still does not have the same capabilities that a dedicated RDS provides. I’ve also tried the swivel-mounted magnifier as an option and that had its shortcomings.

    Also, this scope is probably not mean to replace a dedicated 4x or 6x scope like this so-called author seems to suggest. I think he is just biased against the D-EVO, not because he has given it or the other options an honest try. But because he does not like it, period.

  10. zach · November 27, 2015

    Looks to me like Leupold is catering to the “look how much geardo shit I can hang off my gun” crowd. That thing’s gonna snag on everything, plus when it does, thanks to the stupid-ass placement of the objective lens, it’s gonna scratch your glass all to shit. And if that’s not enough, they’re charging an arm and a leg for it. For what that thing costs, you could run a Nightforce 1-4 on top, an RMR canted at 45, all in LaRue mounts and still come out ahead. That said, the D-EVO is a really interesting idea, but I seriously doubt they’re onto the next big thing here.

  11. Quint · December 23, 2015

    Watch the video Leupold posted looking through the scope while coyote hunting and see if it still looks “unrevolutionary”.

  12. John · October 23, 2016

    This is the video that got me really interested. I’m not sold on the concept because I haven’t yet found a comparison of its optical quality and light transmission compared to other options, and it seems like a lot of weight to have off of the rifle’s centerline–something I didn’t like about magnifiers.

    But after watching that video I definitely couldn’t care about the FOV–it seems like you can do all your scanning and initial rifle alignment with the red dot, and then flick your eyes down to have precise aiming or identification without having to lose track of your target like you would if rotating your rifle or moving your face upward, or even adjusting a scope in some cases.

  13. John · October 23, 2016

    (Sorry about that double post above, feel free to delete)

    As to the idea of having the design be in-line, it seems this was one of the early design concepts but it didn’t pan out as well:

  14. TROGDOR · January 13, 2017

    Snag? Wtf are you guys talking about? Basically by your statements NOTHING can be placed on the left or right rails of the forerail. Well let me tell you PLENTY of guys put lasers and flashlights on the left and right rails and don’t get snagged or hung up on door frames, ladders or anything else. Imagine if BUIS were ever placed at a 45 to the top rail….total chaos. Or what if a 3x red dot magnifier was on a swivel and hanging off to the side when not in use? Pure disaster waiting to happen.

    The elcan with throw lever is useless, it’s not a reflex sight in 1-4x nor is it a reflex sight in 1.5-6x. Eye relief is needed for both at their lowest setting.

    The rifle with an A frame front sight is a good argument.

    I’d like to know if this optic could be a straight optic with same objective lense with a doctor sight on top…. like the hammr but without losing cheek weld. Only good for rifles without the A frame probably.

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