OPINION: My Thoughts on the Leupold D-EVO

Released to a collective “Huh?”, Leupold’s D-EVO scope is certainly a step somewhere away from the status quo. Various Subject Matter Expert’s will argue that the scope is a solution looking for a problem and others will laud its ability to think out of the box. Regardless of one’s reaction, its hard to argue that the D-EVO is not unique. Its the first n-shaped optic that I am aware of.

My gut reaction at its launch mirrored the industry as a whole, though rather than dismiss it, the novel design stoked my curiosity. Now having handled it a few times, I see what Leupold was going for.

From the perspective as a general scope, the glass is Leupold’s typicaly brilliant glass with clear sights. The reticle is a bit busy for my tastes, but considering its a fixed 6x optic, its not meant to be a primary sight (especially true with its design) so the ability to make quick shots at a range is good. One can get used to any reticle and this is no exception. If it was a scope review of a standard straight tube, most would agree that its excellent.

However, one must then take into account the shape. Its certainly an interesting approach to reducing the footprint of an optic on a rifle. It is drastically shorter than similar fixed power optics, especially those at 6x and with the offset objective lens, it sits to the side of any accessory or iron sight that would be mounted centerline to the rail and bore. Its designed that a standard red dot can be put directly in front of it and the shooter then has a seamless transition. In this respect it works well. It is near seamless and the set-up is better than a MRDS on top of an ACOG or ELCAN.

But therein is my first complaint on the optic. A red-dot has to be a separate optic and mounted forward of the main optic, which seems entirely unusual for an optic that is attempting to reduce rail footprint. When accounting for the red dot, it takes up the same space as the mentioned competing fixed power optics and in some cases like Leupold’s own LCO, nearly as much as a variable 1-6x optic. Simply put, the lack of an option to mount an MRDS including Leupold’s own Deltapoint is a major oversight which Leupold can easily fix.

The second issue is setting the zero. While I have not seen the actual manual, I can’t find it online to warn shooters NOT to zero the optic as one would for a standard piece of glass. With the offset objective, the light is coming in about 1″ to the right of the bore, and while very capable of zero at 100 yards, it runs into an issue further out. As the range increases past the zero point, the optic reads off center. Assuming a 100 yard zero, point of impact at 200 yards will be 1″ to the right. At 300 yards, 2″ and so on. While perfectly usable as a combat optic assuming center of mass, the detailed reticle screams DMR work, so I expect POA-POI. This can be off-set by zeroing the optic offset to the POI, but for one expecting true plug and play, its annoying.

While these annoyances are certainly capable of being overcome, the optic still shines. The concept of rapid transition between no and usable magnification with only a slight movement of the chin is fantastically interesting and executed well (especially when used with the LCO). Its near seamless, or at least as much as technically possible assuming that optics must have a seam for the metal mounting of the glass.

For example, in 3-Gun there is no need to remove a hand from the weapon to change to distance shooting. Its just sad the D-EVO with LCO counts as multiple optics by most rules and could only be used practically in Open classes.

To me, the optic makes sense, just requires a small amount of changes to perfect its form. Its a step in the right direction, especially when one looks at what it can mean for seriously short bended light optics and their future applications on space-limited weapons.



Nathan S.

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

Nathan can be reached at [email protected]

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


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  • GSC

    I believe you’re supposed to zero at 200 yards, then the BDC, which “bends”, adjusts for both drop and lateral offset at long distance.

    • spotr
      • Blake

        Interesting concept, but personally that’s just too complicated for me to use in a hurry.

        An entry-level Redfield or Nikon 2-7x scope zeroed at MPBR on a Mini-30 or Marlin 336 is plenty of optic (& rifle) to get those Zombie Deer tenderloins from the forest to the freezer…

        • Sunshine_Shooter

          It’s not any more complicated than any other BDC on the market. Determine range, put corresponding dot where you want your bullet to land, squeeze trigger. The left – right offset has already been factored in, as has wind holds.

          • Blake

            How do the “wind hold” dots know the speed & BC of your bullet? Even if it’s specific to a single cabliber e.g. .223 there’s still a pretty big difference between a 40gr bullet & a 77gr bullet…

          • Sunshine_Shooter

            That’s a problem with all BDC reticles, not specific to this one.

          • Lee

            It does give you a solid reference point though. Get out and actually see where your point of impact is versus your bcd hold over mark with whatever load your shooting. Ironically pending density altitude, even with the matched to reticle ammo, hold overs won’t be accurate.

    • jonp

      Wouldn’t that just adjust the cant and not the actual aiming point? Just turning a rifle on it’s axis will adjust the impact but there is no way of knowing how much unless it is actually done. This depends a great deal on twist, bullet weight, velocity etc..
      To run it up and move it is an interesting solution but would most likely be bullet specific

      • no

      • Russell W.

        No, the cant is not affected. The horizontal stadia running down the BDC remain parallel to the top line and parallel to each other. If the reticle was going to affect the cant then they would stay perfectly perpendicular to the center line.

      • Joshua

        If you would like some historical context I would recomend looking at the Japanese sniper scopes of WWII, they had a requirement that the optic not interfere with clip loading of the rifle, to that end the early rifles had the scope mounted offset to the left, to correct the “lean” that introduces they then tilted the vertical axis of the reticle, it works because you aren’t actually tracking the bullet, you’re tracking the bore, for the most part, the bullet regardless of weight, velocity and barrel length, will travel straight from the muzzle, as a result all your actually looking to do is put each individual aimpoint on the poi

      • jonp

        Thanks for the replies. I understand what everyone is saying, not sure why I was thinking about it differently but everyone makes sense.

  • Ranger Rick

    I have been intrigued by this setup since it’s debut at the SHOT Show a few years ago, unfortunately I dont have the spare change to play with it nor have I ever seen anyone using it, irregardless it is another quality Leupold product.

    As for the offset, the easy fix is to use a zeroing target with the printed squares or a regular circular target, measure the offset needed and calculate the windage adjustment. For most uses the 1″ offset is not important.

    • GSC

      The offset does not remain at 1″ over distance. At 600 yards it is quite significant.

      • Tom Currie

        Assuming that the physical offset is actually 1″ and assuming a 200 yard zero, the error at 600 yards is 2″, not necessarily trivial, but rarely very significant. I would expect the cumulative total of other errors to exceed that 2″ factor even if the reticle wasn’t already designed to compensate for it (as GSC already pointed out)

        • FarmerB

          With a 6 power scope at 600yds, you cannot resolve 2″ anyway

  • Matthias

    Not a new idea. There was a family of Russian optics like this.

    • SP mclaughlin

      1P29 scope?

  • yodamiles

    I am really surprise that no one pick up or even have a proper review (none of the big YouTubers at least) of D-EVO after 2 years….. I would be super interested in proper review of the scope.

    • PersonCommenting

      Scopes and red dots are kind of hard to do. They are pricey and they dont typically T&E them out. Also its hard to show what they do as well. Not many optic reviews out there. Mac has a couple from sig I believe but that was also a 299 Red Dot which he probably got at dealer cost since he runs a store.

      • Audie Bakerson

        Clearly Leupold’s best option is to get it featured in video games.

        • Sunshine_Shooter

          Actually, yeah. Video games drives interest from viewers, who then influence the big name reviewers, who end up doing the reviews.

    • roguetechie

      I’ve read multiple d-evo reviews and the reason you’re not going to see a YouTube review is because they’d lose any and all credibility if they said anything nice in the review

      • Mystick

        Reviews don’t need to be fluffy-positive love-fests for the product. Some of the best end up with the product being tossed into a waste bin.

        • Blake

          … & the reviewer not getting any more products from the manufacturers to review…

          See also how Taofledermaus was surprised that no reviews existed of the craptastic Chiappa M1-9 carbine, so he bought one for himself & found it to be junk:

          But all the high-profile reviewers receive factory samples & know full-well that a strongly negative review will result in receiving no more samples to review…

  • gunsandrockets

    Did someone say DEVO?

    • Klaus Von Schmitto

      In regard to the review at hand wouldn’t “Mongoloid” have been a better choice?

  • toast

    So have you shot with this thing?

    • QuadGMoto

      Last year I had a chance to shoot an AR that had one mounted. Even with that particular AR’s horrible trigger I was able to consistently make hits on steel out to 300 and 400 yards from the bench. (The first opportunity I’ve had to shoot at that distance.) In principle I think it’s excellent. But that price tag!

      • toast

        This write up is using images from a different article and he never gives insight about how the scope performed. I think he just looked at pictures and wrote a review. How is that acceptable?

  • PersonCommenting

    I like the simple lay out of it. I had a Vortex prism that I hated because it was too crowded with stuff. I would prefer a simple cross-hair with dots or lines and Ill memorize the rest. I dont want it all obscured. This is still pretty cluttered but better than PSA and Vortex as far as whats on the scope. Quality of the vortex is fine though.

  • d

    I didn’t get a chance to shoot it, but I saw it mounted on a rifle at SHOT. I thought it was really cooI concept until I tried it. I found the eye pocket to be small and very difficult to align. I will pass.

  • MrBrassporkchop

    Did you mean there hasn’t been another N shaped firearm optic or optic in general? Because it’s basically just half of a binocular.

  • Lord Dratsab

    I don’t think this was designed to save rail space, but rather to offer magnification as a secondary option on a rifle set up for CQB, with a primary use red dot and an over the bore flashlight. I would like to see a version of this that is just a straight scope with a high viewing angle and a mount for a MRDS at standard height on top. Maybe they could get the price closer to $1000 without all the extra light bending.

  • WhoopsE

    I went to stores and looked at it, a week later tried again, and I gave it one more try another week mounted on different firearms. I was left disappointed with how tiny the eyebox was and did not think I would ever be comfortable with it. Ended up buying a Vortex Razor HDII 1-6x, with Vortex rings, eye caps, quick throw lever, and a new torque driver and still came out hundreds cheaper for a product that felt like it would last a lifetime and was very easy to adapt to.

  • Suppressed

    Thanks for writing something on this Nathaniel, me and some others were just discussing this optic in the comments here a couple weeks ago. One piece of constructive criticism, I think when a item carries such a high price as the $1,500 for this, it needs to be at least noted in the review, if not fully considered.

    Sorta related, if you need an idea for another article, I would love to see a head-to-head comparison/review of several of the RDS magnifiers out now (EOTech, Aimpoint 3x and 6x, Vortex, Lucid 2x-5x, Atibal, a cheap Sightmark 3x and also a 5x, and any I’m forgetting).

  • Lead Kisses

    I played with one of these for a few hours. The eyebox is so small that I couldn’t get into it.

  • 22winmag

    I have no opinion on this particular model, but like all Leupolds, you can beat on it with a hammer and expect it to survive.

  • valorius

    It’s neat, but i’d never pay $1100 for it.

  • Tom Currie

    I have one question… What the heck are we supposed to be seeing in that artist’s conception fake photo at the top of this article?

    • Joshua

      that is the sight picture of the D-evo combined with a red-dot, co-sighted with a front sight, that is the entire point of the optic, it gives you red-dot capability, and 6x magnification, without having to tilt the rifle or adjust your cheek-weld

  • noob

    quite interesting – I wonder if the next gen could work some prism magic to get an inline design instead of the V-shape but still preserve the half moon shape so you could mount an optic forward of the optic on some kind of a tunnel riser – that way you get your red dot and your magnified picture in line as above, but with less rim around the red dot and without the funky z shape and balance and aesthetic issues.

    • Joshua

      What I’m really wishing for is an integrated optic that has one objective that goes to two outputs, one to a 1x red-dot style reticle, and the other to a 4x, 6x, or even better something variable, with the same set-up of a sight picture as shown above

      • I think you’re essentially describing the ELCAN Spectre, which is a lever actuated two output 1x to 4x.

        • Joshua

          sort of, it would do what I want, and a lot more, but I can’t afford one. I can’t afford a D-Evo right now either, it’s all a “one day…” fantasy for me

          • Well, think on the bright side, by the time you’re ready to buy one, something cooler will have hit the market, and you’ll be happy you waited 😉

          • snmp

            NPZ PSU 1-4x Solde by Wolf in US

      • noob

        interesting – I guess the only thing would be how visible the tube would be: for a magnified optic you can forgive a very visible tube ring in the sight picture where the body of the optic is right in your face, but for an unmagnified red dot you want to have the tube to be thin enough visually and far enough away you forget it is there.

        I had a dumb idea for a spotting scope that might be optically impossible but I was thinking that maybe they could make a scope that had 1x magnification or maybe even wide angle fish eye on the periphery of the visual field and then a transition and the middle of the visual field transitions up to 20x.

        if you made the scope big enough and the eye relief generous enough you could scan using the upper third of the scope and the periphery, and then slightly raise your weapon to get the target into the magnified region.

      • roguetechie

        You’re going to see one hit the market sooner than later.

        Until then the Eagle Eye bifocal optic is way closer to what you’re looking for.

  • I think it’s a really cool system, and preferable to a RMR mounted to an ACOG in terms of ergonomics.

    But a nice 1-4x or 1-6x variable offers more versatility and a nicer viewing experience.

    Rather then looking through either a small red dot or small 6x optic, you look through a big, super clear 1x, 1.5x, 2x, 3x, 4x etc as needed.

    The ability to instantly transition from 1x to 6x is awesome though. Just not sure how often that is necessary, and whether those times outweigh the viewing experience of a slightly slower, but much nicer LPVO.

    • gusto

      how often do you need the inbetween stuff? I never, regardless of what scope I use

      • I actually keep mine at 1.5x most of the time, as I like a bit of zoom, while still having the ability to use it quickly like a red dot.

        But I agree, most shooters will use it either at 1x or 4/6x most of the time.

        For what it’s worth though, not aware of any competition shooters using the 2 power 1x-4x Elcan Spectre or DEVO, even though it would probably be faster then a LPVO at getting to zoom. So I suspect they are using the in between powers a bit; 3x on a 6x scope is likely a pretty versatile setting for engaging targets at mixed distances at speed, for example.

  • roguetechie

    Personally I was impressed by the leupold d-evo until I found out about the eagle eye bifocal optics that come in 1x/3.5x combo and other combos with progressively higher magnification levels. Plus they only cost $2000 which is actually pretty OK comparatively.

    Judging by the number of patents dropping for optics like these last yeat, we’re very likely to see several more options on the market shortly.

    At least one Chinese optics company and affordable entry level companies like lucid have also filed patents.

  • gusto

    You americans seem spoiled when it comes to prices and what is considered expensive when it comes to scopes.

    I guess you can buy all the guns you want so there is little money over for scopes (:

    Here in Europe it is not uncommon for dudes to buy relaticly cheap used rifles of a quality maker for around 500dollars and stick a 2000dollar scope on it

    • Cal S.

      Wow. Yeah, we’re spoiled!

    • Blake

      Plenty of reasonably-priced options on this French ecommerce site from e.g. Nikon etc.: http://www.cdiscount.com/search/10/riflescope.html

    • iksnilol

      Yeah, why bother with crappy cheap scopes? Might as well save the hassle and use a real optic or stick to irons.

      Only “crap tier” optics I’d use are the Vortex and Primary Arms.

      • Paul White

        those are crap teir to you?!

        Buddy, we gotta get you a bubble packed Tasco scope sometime

        • iksnilol

          Well crap tier in what’d I consider usable. A tasco or NCstar that falls apart after a box of ammo isn’t really usable.

          • Paul White

            I gotta say though, I wouldn’t consider the Vortex Diamondback or Viper to be crap tier; they’re fairly solid scopes.

            The Crossfires are definitely lower end but they work reasonable well.

          • iksnilol

            They aren’t crappy, but they’re the “worst” I’d use money on.

  • gunsandrockets

    Great sight for a BREN LMG!

  • Bradley

    You spent about half of this article talking about how the product failed to do things it wasn’t designed to do. The design has nothing to do with saving Rail space. The entire point is to allow transition without major head movement or switching zoom. The the ranging reticle is offset to compensate for the windage offset as well. Maybe the thing is crap. I haven’t used one, but I just don’t know where you got some of these notions.

  • Cm

    once again no consideration for a left eye/shoulder shooter. why do manufacturers (and firearms journalists) continually ignore a potental 10% market share?

    • iksnilol

      Because 90% is about 9 times larger than 10%.

  • I’m sorry but a friend of mine got a set, the optic and the red dot, and refuses to even mount them. His issue is the damn Leupold logos all over the damn things. I counted six bright white logos on the two units plus the bright white adjustment info. Frankly, it looks like ass. I mean, if I was on the Leupold shooting team, I’d dig it. But come on!

    Eye relief on the 6x was much too critical as regards to eye placement. I didn’t even turn on the red dot.

  • Seth Hill

    The N (or Z) design could be interesting, especially with variable zoom, for old bolt actions like the Mosin Nagant. Instead of mounting a side mounted elevated scope while using a bent bolt or even a long eye relief scout/pistol scope, you could mount one of the N (Z) scopes at the front of the receiver and still use the straight bolt.

  • Bryan Hadley

    It needs to be illuminated! try one out and you will see how hard it is to see at times

  • ChiptheBarber

    I’m quite late to this party, as usual. I checked these out when they first showed up and thought this was what I needed at the time. THEN I checked the price. Holy cow. I think the combo was nearly $3 grand. That may be wrong now but at the time. I’m not a government. I just want to go shoot. For someone, just not me.