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Zooming In: Some Throw Lever Love

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Throw levers, cat tails, power levers–they have many names, but they all add up to one thing: the ability to rapidly change the magnification level of your variable optic.

This is a useful option with any optic, but when we're talking low-power variable optics (LPVOs) they're definitely worth some extra consideration. Instead of having to grasp a ring or wrap your hands around the rear objective to swap magnification levels, you grab the stick and go (there's a joke there someplace…) This means that you can swap from scanning or shooting at close range with a lower magnification to upping the level for a longer precision shot very, very quickly.

For a quiet day at the range with grandpa, you have all the time in the world. For gaming, hunting, or playing for keeps, time is a little more critical. The acceptance and adoption of throw levers is yet another example of practical competition upgrades becoming tactical. It should further be stated that throw levers give a shooter more mechanical advantage, making it not just faster but also easier. Win/Win.

Aftermarket throw levers have become so popular that many optic manufacturers have simply integrated them into the latest designs, to the point that when we don't see it as an OEM option we scratch our heads a bit.

Scopes in the newer EOtech VUDU line have removable levers (such as the 5×25 Super Short), as do some (but not all) in the Bushnell Elite Tactical line. Even the budget-minded Atibal scopes have throw levers you can customize.

But what if your optic doesn't have one? You've got options at every price point.


Firstly, you can get one that was tailor-made for your optic. The more popular your optic of choices, the more choices you have for your optic. If you're running a Vortex, for example, their site lists compatibility.

Yes, if you want an OEM-marked SwitchView for your Strike Eagle 1-6, it ups the overall price by more than 25%.

Similarly, NightForce has their own add-on throw levers, called the PTL.

Generally, if there is an OEM add-on option, it will be the easiest to fit and install, but you're going to pay a little more for the pleasure. You can save a few dollars and still have a high end product if you buy directly from MGM or Warne.

Because all of the screws we're dealing with are small, be sure to use threadlocker (not red) and don't torque it so hard as to strip out the threads.


Photo Credit: Amazon

For the most common universal, which is simply a breakaway nylon coaster, we'd like to say ‘Universally Ugly'. What it lacks in looks and finesse it makes up for in cost, as they run ~$10 each. If you're looking for something for an old ratty scope or need a right-now solution, it will work.

Much better is the MGM Switchview Universal Eagle Eye Lever. Not only does it allow for a custom fit around any protrusion or nubbin on the magnification ring, it doesn't break the bank and works well. If I have a scope where I can't find the correct throw lever, this is the default I fall back onto.
Take special note to the instructions when installing–you're supposed to leave some adjustment in the tensioning screw so when the band stretches a day or two after installation it can still be further tightened.


Aside from making cheap chinese toys at home and guns, a 3D printer can make a custom throw lever very quickly and cheaply.
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If you have your own 3D printer, ThingVerse has many options available you can just download and print. Or, you can modify for the scope you want.

If you don't have your own 3D printer, all is not lost either. MK Machining has a decent selection of printed options for around $15-20/ea. If the idea of using plastic skeeves you out, they have some aluminum levers available as well.


There's little doubt we'll see throw levers becoming more of a standard option in the future–but until then, if you want to try out the efficacy for yourself, snap one up. It wouldn't be unheard of to start with a cheaper option to wade in the water before going full hog.

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