Best Red Dot Sight

Guide To Finding The Best Red Dot Sight –

Finding a Red Dot Sight that best suits your shooting style or hunting is important. They are relatively cheaper than a powered rifle scope, but they can still be an investment that you want to get right the first time. Therefore, we have broken down a guide to learn how to find the best red dot sight for your rifle, shotgun, or handgun.

Comparison Summary 

BrandProductSight StyleRatingPrice
Vortex OpticsVenomOpen⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️$$
DeltaPoint ProOpen⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️$$$
FastFire 3Open⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️$$
Vortex OpticsCrossfireTube⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️$
TRS-25 HiRiseTube⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️$
Sure Shot ReflexOpen⭐️⭐️⭐️$
Vortex OpticsSpitfire 3X PrismTube⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️$$$
Carbine OpticOpen⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️$$$$
HHS III 518-2 W/G33 MagnifierTube⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️$$$$

History Of The Red Dot Sight –

Before we dive into why you should get a red dot sight, first we should go back and learn the history behind them. Understanding the initial uses and reasons behind the red dot sight, or commonly called reflex sights, will help you learn how the technology was developed have a better appreciation for the optic.

The reflex sight or reflector sight is an optic that allows the eye to look through a reflecting glass and see an illuminated aiming point or red dot in the field of view. It’s a very simple looking optic from the outside, usually its either a tube or open lenses design. Therefore, when you look through the sight you will see a clear lens with a dot, crosshair, or circle when powered on. Hence, the name “red dot sight.” 

However, the invention of the reflector sight dates back to the early 1900’s as it was used in fighter planes in WWII. It was adapted to some larger weapons such as anti-aircraft guns because it gave a heads-up display. This allowed fighters to aim over a target very quickly regardless of their eye position. It wasn’t until the 1970’s when the red dot sight was adapted for use on small rifles and handguns, mostly because of the LED as it’s reticle. 

Benefits Of A Red Dot Sight –

The benefits are simple – Red Dot Sights provide a simple and fast way to aim at your target. Red dot sights provide a shooter with a safe and effective way to aim at your target. Since a red dot is usually 1x power meaning it has no magnification, you can sight your target with both eyes open. This provides a safe and comfortable way to sight a target. For instance, when using iron sights, you have to focus the target, front sight, and rear sight. It takes a lot of practice to accurately make shots while focusing on three different objects. A reflex sight takes the front and rear sight out of the picture and it simply projects one aiming point, the “red dot.”

This is one of the reasons why a red dot sight is such an easy firearm sight to use. It’s one of the reasons why it’s perfect for beginner hunters and shooters. It takes some of the aiming right out of the picture and allows a shooter to focus on firearm safety and shooting safety first.

Because the red dot sight is so easy to use and accurate, it’s become a favorite for AR 15 owners. However, that isn’t the only application for using a reflex sight.  Handgun, and shotgun owners have adapted the optic as well for the ease and accuracy when target shooting or hunting.

Applications For A Red Dot Sight –

There are a few different applications for using a red dot sight.

Hunting – 

Since a red dot sight is more of a close range sight, 0-100 yards is optimal, but beyond 100 is still achievable. It has become well adopted for Turkey hunting and muzzleloader hunting. It can even be used for varmint hunting as well. Most people assume it’s designed only for tactical firearms. However, the red dot sight is perfect for hunting especially for young hunters as it makes aiming fairly easy. Therefore allowing a hunter to hit a target, making a clean shot.

Target Shooting – 

Hitting the target is the main point of target shooting, however, the traditional sit and shoot method has evolved quite a bit. Target shooting now can consist of tactical movements while shooting, sitting, standing, running, or kneeling. You name it, target shooters are challenging themselves on ways to hit a stationary target. The reason this has become possible is through reflex sights. The ability to quickly focus on the target and make a shot can only be done with these red dot sights.

Self-Defense – 

Similar to target shooting because the red dot sight makes aiming so easy. Many self-defense firearm owners use utilize reflex sights on their guns.

Competition Shooting – 

With the overwhelming growth of sport shooting, there have been numerous competitions that have started because of it. For example, 3 gun shooting is one that involves rifle, shotgun, handgun target shooting. Red Dot sights allow shooters to decrease the time it takes to hit a target while still maintaining accuracy.

Military – 

Last but certainly not least are the various branches of the United States military that utilize red dot sites for the close urban combat that is taking place in the middle east. Multiple special forces have also taken up using the optics for their teams as well.  

Why Get a Red Dot Sight –

Red dot sights have become increasingly popular for AR 15 owners and tactical rifles. However, that isn’t the only match for them. The benefit of getting a red dot sight is that it provides great performance at a pretty inexpensive cost compared to powered scopes. It also has so much versatility, it can be mounted on nearly anything and work once zeroed in. This makes them perfect for any type of rifle, shotgun, or even handgun.

When considering a red dot sight it’s best to keep a few things in mind. There are a lot of companies claiming they make the best Red dot sight. However, that isn’t always true especially since they can range in price from $40-$600. Now a higher price doesn’t always mean a better optic. However, a red dot sight that claims to have magnification or other features not typically found on reflex sights is a red flag for a poorly made optic. Therefore, when you stick to buying a red dot sight keep it simple and look for quality components instead of added features.

How Does a Red Dot Sight Work –

Red dot sights rely on using non-powered reflectors to project a red dot. Therefore, an LED creates a red or sometimes green colored dot of light, which reflects against a spherical mirror. The mirror then focuses the colored dot onto a lens, which is what the shooter is seeing.

The best red dot sight usually is fixed with technology that eliminates parallax. Parallax is where the dot adjusts as to where you are looking from different angles. For instance, if you held your rifle and optic still and moved your head position, the red dot would adjust to where you are located keeping your optic on target. Therefore, this increases the accuracy and ability to handle the optic and rifle. This is usually referred as parallax-free sights.

Various Types of Red Dot Sights –

There are two different styles of red dot sights: tube, and open style sights. The tube is similar to a scope while the open is more of a square lens that has no tube around the optic.

As for the dot size, there are a few sizes depending on manufacturer or preferences. Usually, most dots are between 1-5 MOA. Meaning at 100 yards 1 MOA is equivalent to 1″. There is a give and take with an MOA dot size. Smaller dot sizes are usually better for long distance targets. Because a large MOA can easily cover up your target at longer ranges. Which means the larger MOA dots can be more for close range targets. This is why you typically see people with a 2-3 MOA dot size.

Once you decide the size of a dot you prefer, you can also pick out the reticle image as well. Which can vary from a dot, dot with circle, crosshairs, or even dot with crosshairs. Last, but not least is the color of the dot which comes in either green or red. Red is the most common color, hence the name red dot sight.

How To Mount A Red Dot Sight –

Due to red dot sights being quite small in size and weight, they have a lot of freedom for mounting placement. Especially on a tactical rifle or AR 15 because of the rail system.

One of the great benefits of a red dot sight is they give infinite eye relief. So they don’t have to be mounted as far back on the rail closest to your eye. Doing so would prevent you from having a good field of vision since the optics allow you to shoot with both eyes open. Steer away from mounting the scope too close to yourself. It’s recommended to mount the optic in the forward portion of the upper receiver. This will solve the issue of mounting it too far forward or backwad. Of course, mount the scope where it feels best for you and play with small adjustments to help get your rifle weighted and balanced how you prefer it.

How To Zero Red Dot Sight –

1. Set up a target in a safe shooting location at 25 yards

2. Secure your rifle to a gun vise or gun rest. This will help ensure you are making precise shots without the variable of human movement.

3. Shoot once safe and aimed at the target. Inspect the target to see if you’re high, low, right, or left. Make adjustments that correspond to zero your rifle to the targets center point. Some targets include measurement squares so you know how many clicks of adjustment to make.

TIPS: For a more indepth article on sighting in scopes check out How to Sight in a Rifle Scope.

The Best Red Dot Sight – Handguns  

Vortex Venom – Best Red Dot Sight For Pistols

The Vortex Venom is one of three variations that Vortex carriers for open reflex sights. The reason we chose this as the best red dot sight for handguns is that it’s extremely accurate, lightweight, and comes in at a great value. It can easily be mounted on an AR, shotgun, or pistol. However, we chose this for our pistol class because it givesVortex Venom HG
such a clear field of view while shooting since it’s an open style optic. For any pistol or handgun, an open style optic is going to provide you with the best accuracy and lightest weight. Tube style red dot sights are just too bulky and heavy for a handgun.

Aside from style, the Venom is composed of a machined aluminum housing making it a very durable optic that can withstand the abuse of shooting. The glass or focal lens is coated with anti-reflective coating increasing the light transmission. It’s also O-ring sealed keeping moisture, dust, and, debris from getting inside the optic. It’s also coated with anti-scratch and abrasion resistance protectant. These features make this optic an extremely versatile and well-built reflex sight.

Weight1.1 oz
Length1.9 in
Optic StyleOpen
Dot Size3 or 6 MOA

Leupold DeltaPoint Pro – Best Red Dot Sight From Leupold

Leupold is probably better known for their long range rifle scopes. We actually have a couple of their scopes on our best long range rifle scope article which you can view here. Nonetheless, they make a really solid and well-built reflex sight that is made for handguns. Similar to the Venom, it features a wide field of view making it a perfect fit for handguns.

Red DotThe optic is built from lightweight aluminum meeting the quality and durability needed for a handgun reflex sight. One of the best features of the DeltaPoint is that it has Leupold’s patented Motion Sensor Technology, which in essence reduces the light signature. The optic also is featured as a waterproof optic up to 33-foot depths. The DeltaPoint is extremely accurate in any tactical or hunting situation. Which is why Leupold has it coated in their DiamondCoat, an abrasion resistant coating to help protect the lens for whatever it encounters.

Lastly, Leupold does give a couple options for dot size depending on your application and preferences. The DeltaPoint is the higher priced optic in the handgun class, however, it’s built with the legacy of Leupold behind it.

Weight1.95 oz
Length1.83 in
Optic StyleOpen
Dot Size2.5 or 7.5 MOA

Burris FastFire 3 – Best Red Dot Sight From Burris

Burris Company has almost 50 years of experience in making rifle scopes. They are based out of Denver, Colorado and set out to build a higher quality scope than what was on the market at the time. With multiple advancements and inventions, they garnered quite a bit of attention – enough for Beretta to acquire them in the early
Red Dot2000’s. It wasn’t until 2007 that the FastFire red dot optics were launched and created quite buzz for their high quality and low-cost value.

The FastFire 3 has evolved over the last ten years into a light and rugged reflex site perfect for handguns. Don’t let the price make you think this is a low-quality optic. The FastFire uses a high-grade optical glass giving off excellent brightness and clarity. It also is coated with anti-scratch protection and is waterproof. In addition, the outer frame is an aluminum shockproof design meant to withstand multiple recoils.

One of the best features of the FastFire is the automatic brightness sensor which helps match the environmental conditions. Therefore, if you are in bright or dark settings the optic will adjust accordingly.

Weight0.9 oz
Length1.9 in
Optic StyleOpen
Dot Size3 or 8 MOA

Best Red Dot Sight – Shotguns

Vortex Crossfire Red Dot Sight

When it comes to finding a red dot sight for your shotgun, look to Vortex first. As you picture placing a red dot sight on your shotgun, you need to keep a few things in mind. A shotgun is already pretty heavy, to begin with. Therefore, finding a red dot sight that is lightweight, compact, and small is important. More than likely you are using your red Red Dotdot for competition, target shooting, or turkey hunting.  Therefore, you need to have a red dot sight that is accurate and reliable. This is why the Vortex Crossfire is the best red dot sight for shotguns.

The Crossfire features a 2-MOA dot providing a great optic size to see your target from various ranges. Considering the shotguns will be used in low light settings while hunting. Vortex has fixed the sight with 11 different intensity levels for brightness. This way the optic will work on a wide spectrum of outside lighting conditions. However, if you do keep the optic at medium to lower brightness settings, you can expect up to 7,000hrs of battery life. The red dot is parallax free giving the shooter a great field of view.

Lastly, you need to make sure a shotgun red dot sight will live up to tough conditions. This is why the Crossfire is equipped with O-rings sealing any mositure, dust, or debris, making it waterproof.

Weight5.2 oz
Length2.5 in
Optic StyleTube
Dot Size2 MOA

Bushnell TRS-25 HiRise Red Dot Sight

Bushnell may not be your first choice when you are looking at installing a red dot sight on your shotgun. However, they make a great optic with an even better price. Bushnell Red Dotdesigned the TRS-25 to be very simple and yet reliable. Even though the optic is fairly inexpensive, it still offers 100{209bd58f90af0ceb66889e2480632d3a9918d39fd8a1f6558651adb42d8fa97c} waterproof, shockproof, and fog proof protection.

Next, you would expect a less expensive optic to not have higher-end features. However, like the Vortex Crossfire, the TRS-25 has 11 brightness settings providing the shooter with optimal sight no matter the lighting. The TRS-25 also features a Multi-coated lens to help protect the optic from any scratches or abrasions. Lastly, the optic runs on one CR2032 battery offering a very long battery life when using the low to medium brightness settings. The TRS-25 is a great optic for your shotgun, especially for the low cost.

Weight6.3 oz
Length2.4 in
Optic StyleTube
Dot Size3 MOA

Sightmark Sure Shot Reflex – Red Dot Sight

Sightmark Optics is a new optics company providing multiple red dot sights for a very reasonable price. This is one of the main reasons to consider using them for your shotgun. The simpler the better when purchasing a red dot sight for your shotguns.

Red DotThe Sightmark Sure Shot is a very inexpensive optic that will give your shotgun the accuracy you are looking for when hunting or target shooting. The Sure Shot features multiple reticles to choose from, it runs on one CR2032 battery, and you can select a 3 or 5 MOA dot. It doesn’t have the same brightness settings similar to the others in this class. However, it does offer 7, providing a pretty large spectrum of various types of light.

The Sure Shot is designed for sporting firearms and shotguns, due to its lightweight and durability. You’ll be happy to find that this optic won’t break the bank giving you the ability to purchase that nicer shotgun you’ve been dreaming of.

Weight4.76 oz
Length3.23 in
Optic StyleOpen
Dot Size3 or 5 MOA

The Best Red Dot Sight – Rifles

Vortex Spitfire 3X Prism Scope

Finding the best red dot sight for a rifle can be hard to do since there are so many more options. Keeping price, features, and quality in mind, we selected the Vortex Spitfire Prism scope as the best red dot sight for a rifle. It features one of the most unique designs for a red dot optic. As most red dot’s don’t offer any magnification, the Spitfire is offered in 3x power. Making this scope possible for making shots 0-500 yards.  I know we said to be leary about magnification claims, but this optic acts more like a scope and has a very effective zoom.

Red Dot

The Spitfire is designed to be your go-to optic for close to medium range shooting. Not only is it meant to be an accurate optic, it’s built with top components, making the optic highly durable. The lenses are multi-coated with anti-reflective coatings helping increase light transmission. The Prism based design helps deliver high-quality images and offers five levels of brightness with either red or green reticles.

Lastly, the optic is very rigged and is O-ring sealed making it 100{209bd58f90af0ceb66889e2480632d3a9918d39fd8a1f6558651adb42d8fa97c} waterproof and fog proof. It also is coated with a matte black finish making it anti-reflective and great for any hunting or shooting.

Weight15.4 oz
Length5.5 in
Optic StyleTube
Dot SizeEBR-556B Reticle MOA

Leupold Carbine Optic – Red Dot Sight

Leave it to Leupold to provide the sleekest red dot sight offering no knobs, scope housing, or dials that protrude from the sides. This makes the sight very comfortable when aiming as all you see is the reticle. In addition to the appearance, the optic is offered in a matte finish, preventing any light reflection.

Red DotThe Leupold Carbine optic is made of aircraft-grade aluminum making it extremely durable. The Carbine is capable of being submerged in water up to 66ft and also fog proof. The optic is ready for being in the field for a lifetime and capable of being used in any condition.

Aside from the overall design and quality, the Carbine is offered in a 1 MOA dot option. This produces an extremely accurate close and medium range optic. It’s also one of the smallest optics in length allowing it to fit most rifle and tactical rails. The optic does have a more expensive price tag, however, you will not be disappointed.  This optic is designed to outlast the competition.

Weight9.5 oz
Length3.6 in
Optic StyleTube
Dot Size1 MOA

EOTECH HHS III 518-2 W/G33 Magnifier

EOTech is one of the premier optics offered for rifle owners. The sights are holographic which is a little different than a red dot sight. This can be explained in more detail in our best AR scope article. Similar to the Vortex optic, EOTech offers the 518 with their 3x magnifier. What’s unique is the power optic can be flipped down so you can move from 1x to 3x with a simple release. This makes shooting short and medium range shots very quick and easy.Red Dot

The optic is constructed with an aluminum body making it extremely durable, one of the reasons why our US military uses them in close urban warfare. Obviously no civilian will put as much abuse on them when hunting or target shooting as our Military does. So you can rest assured that this optic will stand the test of time through any abuse.

The EOTech has a long battery life that, unlike others, uses 2 AA batteries, making them quite inexpensive compared to other optics.

Weight25 oz
Length9.5 in
Optic StyleTube
Dot Size1 MOA