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LPVO Scope Maintenance: How to Clean Scope Optics

L.p. Brezny | Updated February 25, 2024 | Why You Should Trust Us | How We Earn Money
LPVO scope maintenance cover photo showing two hands holding a Burris scope

If you want to get the most out of your rifle, you need the best scope. Low-power variable optics (LPVO) are excellent for most needs, but are you getting the most out of your LPVO? When was the last time you cleaned and maintained it? 

Let’s break down the basics of keeping your scope in pristine condition.

Best 1-6 LPVO of 2024

After reading how to keep your LPVO working for years to come, see our review of the best 1-6 LPVO of 2024.

How Often Do I Need to Clean an LPVO?

Fortunately, LPVO scope maintenance is relatively hands-off. So, you don’t need to clean your scope very often, not even every time you use your rifle. 

In fact, many manufacturers will recommend not cleaning the glass often because you could remove valuable coatings that improve your scope’s clarity and visibility. Realistically, the only time you need to clean your LPVO scope is when you notice it’s dirty. Otherwise, leave it alone.

What Do I Need to Maintain My LPVO Scope?

At first, you might assume that a chamois and some elbow grease are all it takes to keep your LPVO scope clean. Unfortunately, you’d be wrong. We’ll go into more detail about the mistakes you want to avoid when cleaning a scope, but you likely don’t have the best tools on hand.

Think of it like this – if you’re spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on a high-quality scope, why would you clean it with a paper towel or regular cloth rag? Instead, it’s best to invest in scope-specific cleaning materials like:

  • Microfiber Cloth – These products won’t leave streaks or scratch the glass.
  • Soft Lens Brush – Dust is your number-one enemy when cleaning your LPVO scope. These brushes can remove dirt and dust without ruining the entire piece.
  • Isopropyl Alcohol – While you don’t need alcohol for every cleaning session, this liquid will be helpful if you have lots of dirt or mud on your scope (i.e., you accidentally dropped it while hunting).

How Do I Clean My Scope? Step-by-Step Guide

Cleaning a rifle scope is not like wiping away smudges or dirt from your glasses – never use your shirt or whatever’s handy. Instead, follow these steps to ensure your scope will look brand-new when you’re finished, not like a used piece from the bargain bin.

Step One: Remove All Dirt and Dust

Ideally, the scope will only have a light layer of dust on the glass, but there may be some more dirt or smudges. For this step, you should use a lens brush. These brushes will remove dust without scratching the glass and leaving marks everywhere. Some of these brushes are waterproof, too, for added convenience.

Step Two: Use a Cleaner (if Necessary)

If there are smudges or caked-on dirt, you’ll need to use isopropyl alcohol and a microfiber cloth. Water is a suitable alternative, but be sure to dip the cloth first so water doesn’t get into the scope by accident.

Step Three: Wipe the Scope

Work slowly and wipe in a circular motion. This way, even if an errant piece of dust or debris does scratch the glass, the mark won’t be as noticeable. Finally, let the scope air dry (if applicable). (Reference: LPVO Scope Maintenance)

What to Avoid While Maintaining Your Optic

The most common mistake is using regular towels or clothing to clean a scope. These products have harsh fibers and can trap dust, scratching the glass. Another mistake is using an improper glass cleaner that leaves streaks or residue. Harsh chemicals can also remove lens coatings, making the scope work less efficiently.

For more reading see our article on the different types of LPVOs that SOCOM uses.

Frequently Asked Questions

Primary Arms LPVO with rain droplets

What power LPVO is the best?

The best power LPVO depends on how you use it. For general purposes, a 1-6x scope works best. However, 1-4x are ideal for close-range shooting, while 1-8x models are best for mid-range hunting. 

What is an LPVO scope?

An LPVO scope is a rifle scope that can zoom from 1x to either 4x, 6x, 8x, or 10x. LPVO scopes are usually best for close-range combat, varmint hunting, and other mid-range shooting applications. 

What LPVO does the army use?

The Army uses the SIG SAUER TANGO6T rifle scope for most military applications. This scope is versatile and works well for close-quarters combat situations. 

What LPVO does the USMC use?

The standard LPVO scope the USMC uses is a Trijicon VCOG. VCOG stands for variable combat optical gunsight, and it comes with a 1-8x magnification range.


  1. Bob Humphrey, Rifle Scope Care. Retrieved from https://www.mossyoak.com/our-obsession/blogs/how-to/rifle-scope-care

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