An opportunity arose to check out some Leupold Optics. I requested the Leupold D-EVO offset optic because it is such a unique optic design. For those not familiar with the D-EVO, it is an offset 6x rifle scope. It is not your traditional offset optic. There is no need to roll or tilt your gun to look through it. In fact, the D-EVO is the fastest 6X optic when switching from 1x to 6X. One aspect of the D-EVO that I wanted to explore is can I use the D-EVO with night vision? And surprisingly, it works, but more about that later.
Leupold D-EVO Offset Optic
D-EVO stands for Dual Enhanced View Optic. Nathan S. briefly wrote a short op-ed about it about 3 years ago. The story behind the Leupold D-EVO offset optic finds its roots in varmint hunting. According to sources, the designer of the D-EVO is an avid coyote hunter. He wanted an optic that allowed him to switch from 1x to full magnification as fast as possible. Most scopes have a dial or power ring to change the magnification. And it is only the Elcan Specter that I can think of that has a quick change lever. The other option is to have say an LPVO at full magnification and a red dot mounted on top or offset. While those options are faster than turning a power ring, it involves changing your head position or manipulating the gun to get the optic into view when you change back and forth.
The D-EVO is low profile and positions the 6x magnified image directly behind and below a standard lower 1/3 cowitness red dot. It acts sort of like a heads up display but inverted. Think of your red dot as your Heads Up Display and your gauges as the D-EVO.
All you need to do is glance down with your eyes. No need to shift your head, flip any levers or tilt the gun.
D-EVO CM-RW Reticle
Since the D-EVO offset optic hangs off to the right-hand side of the gun, the reticle compensates for this offset. At the top right of the reticle is a ranging reticle. Below the horseshoe is the BDC for 5.56. I looked up the D-EVO in my StrelokPro App and that reticle is in the program. So you can change calibers and StrelokPro will spit out what the subtension holds are.
Red Dot Compatibility
Due to the D-EVO offset design it makes it compatible with almost any red dot sight. Red dots that are lower 1/3 or taller work best.
However, there are certain accessories that will not work with the D-EVO. Such as iron sights.
Not only can you not see over the top of the D-EVO, but the BUIS blocks your view. Another issue is the somewhat short eye relief of the D-EVO. You want the D-EVO as far rearward as possible.
Another issue with the offset nature of the D-EVO is that some accessories may obscure the objective lens. Here I have a Cloud Defensive OWL hanging on the right side of the gun. You can see it shadows the sight picture of the D-EVO.
I can confirm that if you shoot left-handed you shouldn’t block the D-EVO. You just can’t C-clamp the handguard and super elevate your wrist otherwise it could block the D-EVO.
D-EVO Night Vision Compatibility
One aspect of the D-EVO that I have not seen explored is can it be used with night vision? There are two ways to approach this. Either by looking through the D-EVO with helmet-mounted night vision or use an offset clip on. I am proud to say it works either way.
When using the D-EVO with helmet-mounted NODs, it helps to use a riser. But this is the case with most optics and night vision. Surprisingly, you do not need to adjust focus on the NODs to see through the D-EVO.
Looking through the D-EVO with NODs is rather easy. But could I mount a night vision clip-on at an offset angle so the D-EVO looks through the clip on and then I can have a sort of fusion system? Yes. See the photo above where the red dot image is clear but the D-EVO sight picture is enhanced with night vision.
In order to get this to work, I used a Midwest Industries Ultra Light Weight MLOK handguard that has 45° MLOK slots and no top rail. This way I can use a Kinetic Development group Kinekt QD rail and mount the ATN PS22 clip-on.
The ATN PS22 is old and obsolete. It is Gen 2 but the proof of concept works. It is a small clip-on and adds night vision capability to the D-EVO offset optic.
Downsides To The D-EVO
The price tag for the D-EVO is a bit high. $1299.99 MSRP. You can get some pretty good LPVOs for that price. Also that price is only for the D-EVO. That does not include the Leupold Carbine Optic (LCO) or another red dot of your choosing.
Due to the position of the D-EVO, it sits directly over the ejection port. As you can see below, ejected brass has a tendency to bounce off the bottom of the scope.
The eye relief is rather short and I noticed light reflecting off the rear eyepiece especially when I was using night vision goggles to look through the D-EVO.
You also need to be wary of what red dots you pair up with the D-EVO. Some red dots like the Eotech and Vortex UH1 have their buttons on the back of the unit. The D-EVO can block these buttons if you are not careful.
The D-EVO was designed with the Leupold Carbine Optic. However, I am not sure why they decided to make the D-EVO offset optic adjustments in MILs but the LCO adjustments are in MOA. None of it matters because it’s not like I can measure how many MILs off my shot is from the reticle. I just have to sort of guess or have a friend spot me with a spotting scope that has a MIL reticle and he can tell me how many MILs off my shot is.
Another problem with the D-EVO is trying to use it on the left side of a barricade it is not possible since the objective lens will be obscured by the barricade. I wish the D-EVO could flip from right to left but then the reticle would be complicated and too busy.
Final Thoughts: D-EVO Just Whip It
When a problem comes along you must whip it with a D-EVO equipped firearm. Ok, that was forced and terrible. What isn’t terrible is the D-EVO offset scope. It is definitely an out of the box approach to a magnified optic. I can see how it is faster to transition from 1x red dot to the 6x magnification provided by the D-EVO. The eyebox is a little small but usable. Your head position is crucial to using the D-EVO. A consistent cheek weld will help you acquire your sight picture every time. If you deviate from this critical cheek weld, you will get scope shadow and not be able to see your target.
I was truly surprised that my night vision tests worked. I never thought that I could deploy the D-EVO using helmet-mounted night vision goggles. The setup does take a bit of getting used to but it works.
The BDC reticle worked well. I was able to hit everything from 100-600 yards. Barring I did my job and didn’t jerk the trigger.
The Leupold D-EVO is a cool optic and I can see it has definite value and usefulness. It is not a solution looking for a problem. You might want to give the Leupold D-EVO another look if you are looking to get a 6x powered scope.
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