Red Dot or LPVO? – Scalarworks Leap and Kick Mounts

Two optics installed together
Shooter’s Eye View of the Scalarworks Leap and Kick optics mounts. Photo courtesy of Scalarworks.

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Red Dot or LPVO?

Most people have strong opinions in the red dot vs. LPVO (Low Power Variable Optic) debate.  There are valid points on both sides.  In late March of 2023, the arguments reignited online after the Nashville Metropolitan Police responded and took down a shooter at the Covenant School after one of the officers was seen with an LPVO on his rifle in the body cam footage.  Both sides argued their point of view.

Scalarworks Leap Optic
The Scalarworks Leap has no levers or bolts to catch on your gear or clothes.

My personal opinion falls somewhere in the middle.   Multigun competitors have been running an LPVO with an offset red dot for years with great results.  The LPVO is ideal for long shots out to 600 yards and beyond while the offset red dot is ideal for most targets inside 50 yards where speed is paramount.  Depending on what rifle you are running, and its other accessories, you may not have room to mount both to the receiver.  Sometimes you can compromise and mount the offset red dot to the handguard but it is not ideal.

Why Not Both?

Enter the Scalarworks Leap and Kick mounts which allow you to run both, even in a small space.  I have been using an older version of the Leap mount for 34mm optics for a few years on my competition rifle (Read more here) and it has been fantastic.  The new version of the Leap features several key upgrades.

Tech piece for the Leap Mount
The new version of the Leap has twice as many knuckles for added strength and durability. Photos courtesy of Scalarworks.

They doubled the material thickness and number of knuckles to increase the safety factor of the ring hinges to add more reliability and durability; the base where it attaches to the Picatinny rail was also changed so they could add the accessory pocket.  These changes were made without adding weight to the mount and it is still the lightest that I am aware of on the market at 5.43 ounces.

Hardware diagram for the Leap Mount
The Click Drive system – photo courtesy of Scalarworks.

Accessory Pocket on the Scalarworks Mount

What is the accessory pocket?  That is what allows you to attach a Kick mount to your Leap mount.  Together, the two mounts let you mount a 30mm or 34mm LPVO and an offset red dot at the same time. You also get all the great original features of the Leap line.  They are machined from 7075-T6 aluminum and have no bolts, levers or knobs to get snagged on your gear or smash with your fingers.  The Quick Detach Click Drive lets you attach or detach your optic fast but stays secure when mounted.  It would take a lot of crazy things to happen for one of the Click Drive wheels to loosen on you.

Scalarworks Kick Mount
The kick lets you mount an offset red sot and attach it directly to the Leap which holds your conventional optic. Photo courtesy of Scalarworks.

Scope Leveling Made Easy With Scalarworks

The LevelDrive is what really sets Scalarworks mounts apart from the rest of the industry.  It is the reason they are my favorite mounts.  There are many tools available to make sure your scope is mounted level.  Plumb bob, multiple bubble levels, wedge/channel, and more.  They all work with varying degrees of speed. LevelDrive is the fastest and easiest.

READ MORE: The Ultimate 3 Gun Rifle – Part 3

The bottom of the mount has a threaded hole for the red LevelDrive screw.  Mount your optic in the rings and leave the rings loose enough that you can twist your optic.  Tighten the LevelDrive screw until it makes contact with the flat on the bottom of your optic, and tighten rings.  That’s it.  I remove the LevelDrive screw after mounting but you can leave it in if you prefer.

Switching Optics On the Fly

Back to the Kick.  It puts your red dot at 35 degrees.  That makes it very fast to rotate the rifle slightly to use the red dot for close targets without moving your head or adjusting your cheek weld.  This allows you to rapidly switch between near and far targets with ease.  Depending on your optic setup the 35 degree Kick may be a little tight.  I tested it with a Nightforce ATACR 1-8 (34mm) and a Trijicon SRO.  It is very tight to get my sausage finger on the up brightness button of the SRO on the left side.  Anyone using a 30mm optic should be fine.


Closeup on Scalarworks Kick red dot
Depending on your optic choices getting to the button can be tricky.

Red Dot Footprints

The Kick currently comes in two footprints.  RMR cut which fits the Trijicon RMR and SRO, Holosun 407C, 507C, 508T, and many others.  The other is an ACRO cut for the Aimpoint ACRO and Steiner MPS.  Scalarworks plans to offer Kicks with HS 509T, Delta Point Pro, and Aimpoint Micro footprints as well as 40-degree offsets in the future.  Learn more about red dot footprint cross compatibility here.  Red Dot Footprints

Scalarworks Leap and Kick Mounts installed on AUG A3
Leap and Kick mounted to an AUG A3.

Scalarwork Mount Heights

The Leap mount is available in two heights.  1.57 for most folks and 1.93 for night vision guys.  The Leap/08 is for 30mm tubes and the Leap/09 for 34mm tubes.  All versions are $439, but if you get a bundle with an optic you can usually save a couple of hundred bucks if you buy from Scalarworks.  Optics Bundles.  Kick mounts are $119 and Scalarworks offers similar bundles for red dots.  Kick mounts.

Scalarworks Leap and Kick Mounts on an SBR set in the gravel
Scalarworks Leap and Kick mounts on an SBR.


I spent about 6 months testing the Scalarworks Leap/Kick combo on my 3 Gun rifle, mostly in competitions.  The only issue I had was reaching the brightness button on the SRO and that was specifically for that optic combo.  Otherwise, it was fantastic.  The Leap/Kick may not settle the RDS vs. LPVO debate, but it does offer you a great way to run both, especially on rifles where pic rail real estate is minimal.

Author’s Note: Kick mounts are now available in 40 degree offsets and footprints for Aimpoint Micro, Leupold Delta Point Pro and Holosun 509T.

Scalarworks Leap and Kick Mounts
Scalarworks Leap and Kick Mounts

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