The 14 Best Red Dot Sights Reviewed for 2018

Red Dot sights offer quick target acquisition and make the decision process from a tactical perspective, very easy and straightforward. With a Red Dot sight, you don’t need to focus on the tiny details, you see the big picture and can hit what you’re aiming at quickly and while maintaining enough accuracy for a hit on target.

The recent increase in buyers for red dot sights shows a few things in stark reality: the gun business is booming, and the value of the red dot sight is high. The popularity of this type of sight proves the simple, intuitive interface of the red dot and makes it clear that consumers want choices, quality and results.

The right red dot sight can offer the type of accuracy and quick target acquisition that is desired without breaking the bank and without sacrificing the important things you may not even know you want.

This is our “Best Red Dot Sight” Review article to get you the information you need to make a good decision about the proper red dot sight for your firearm. This article will cover all you need to know to get the right red dot site and will give you valuable information on how to make the best use of it.

Premium Sight
Aimpoint M4s 2 Minute of Angle QRP2 CompM4 Sight
Excellent Quality
Compact
Superior battery life
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Budget Friendly
AT3 Tactical RD-50 Red Dot Sight
Great Entry Level
Very Affordable
Integrated Mount
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Types of Red Dot Sights

We are using an umbrella term for the “Red Dot Sight” moniker. It actually refers to all types of electronic sights. For the purpose of this discussion we will cover Holographic sights; True Red dot sights; and Reflex sights.

Their specific attributes are covered more in depth lower in this article. They are very different technologies and each of them function as their own umbrella term, as there is a lot of variation on the market.

Most of this will be explained in this article; at least enough to educate you on making a purchase. The umbrella term for the purposes of this article, of “Red Dot Sight” will be used basically interchangeably with the term “Electronic” sight.

That is only for the purposes of staying congruent, as not all “Electronic” sights are actually electronic. Don’t worry, we will help you make sense of all of this.

14 Top Red Dot Sight Options!

$437.00
$453.00
38 new from $426.00
1 used from $415.00
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$349.00
39 new
1 used from $323.17
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$248.29
$249.00
3 new from $239.99
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$774.98
$774.99
15 new from $760.00
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$129.00
41 new from $128.84
1 used from $154.50
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$83.99
$99.99
1 new from $83.99
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$523.95
60 new
1 used from $520.00
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$223.99
41 new from $205.40
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$409.00
$529.00
52 new
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$118.98
40 new from $118.83
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$16.99
$56.99
1 new from $16.99
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Last updated on July 13, 2018 10:23 am

1. Aimpoint PRO Patrol Rifle Optic

Aimpoint PRO Patrol Rifle Optic

$453.00
$437.00
38 new from $426.00
1 used from $ 415.00
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Features

  • Always red - always on; Turn it on for up to 3 years using one single battery; No need to fumble with switches prior to use
  • 2 minute of angle red dot for accurate target engagement at all distances.Battery type: 3V lithium battery
  • In service date and battery change date reminders makes inventory tracking and maintenance easy
  • Patrol Rifle

The Aimpoint is a great device and it’s also a bit bulkier than most of the other units on this list.

It offers a 2MOA red dot and is always on. The battery life is nearly 3 years and the quality is very nice.

PROS:

  • Robust build quality
  • Always on
  • Long Battery life/Good illumination

CONS:

  • A bit bulkier than other offerings
  • Starting to get expensive for the field

Always on, always ready for you to make a quick tactical decision whether in a personal defense situation or a field hunting situation.

The 2MOA gives some flexibility for all different target types. Aimpoint has a good history and a lot of credibility.

The Aimpoint PRO Patrol Rifle Optic offers long battery life with very good illumination at all times.

2. Vortex Optics Spitfire 3x Prism Scope

Vortex Optics Spitfire 3x Prism Scope

$349.00
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1 used from $ 323.17
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Features

  • The Spitfire 3x Prism Scope excels in close to medium range shooting applications where fast target acquisition and speed is of the essence. The prism based design allows for a compact optical system without sacrificing optical quality.
  • Fully multi-coated lenses with anti-reflective coatings offer bright views even in low light conditions. A selectable red/green illuminated reticle features five intensity levels to match the situational conditions.
  • The reticle is etched directly on the prism ensuring shooters have an effective point of aim at all times regardless of illumination. A fast focus eyepiece adjusts the reticle into sharp focus.
  • A multi-height mount system allows for 30mm and 40mm mounting heights. Dual picatinny rails mounted on the Spitfire allow the optic to be paired with an offset auxillary reflex sight.
  • With shockproof construction, the Spitfire withstands recoil and impact while nitrogen purging and o-ring seals ensure fogproof and waterproof performance.

The Vortex Optics Spitfire 3x Prism Scope is a very good looking and versatile optic that utilizes a bunch of different technologies in a single device.

This is a quality company, with good credibility and it is built very well for the price point.

A true multi-use optic that harnesses the power of multiple technologies into a single device.

PROS:

  • Great Versatility
  • 3x Zoom capability
  • 250-3000 hours of battery life

CONS:

  • Bulky
  • Focusing is slightly slower than unmagnified optics at distance

For those who need magnification and want multiple technologies available, this is a great option, especially since it is so well priced for the feature set that it has.

The unit is very well built for the price point and offers excellent variability on ranges from 0-500 yards.

The Vortex Optics Spitfire 3x Prism Scope is about the perfect single optic for a budget piece for the AR-15. Maybe the best red dot sight for AR15 platform under $400.

3. C-MORE Systems Railway Red Dot Sight

C-MORE Systems Railway Red Dot Sight

$249.00
$248.29
3 new from $239.99
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Features

  • Heads Up Display for Fastest Target Acquisition
  • Super Bright Red Dot with Adjustable Intensity and Interchangeable Dot Module
  • Infinite Adjustment for Windage and Elevation Featuring Positive Locking Screws
  • Polymer Body, Standard Intensity Switch (Dial Rheostat)
  • Attaches to Weaver or Picatinny Rail Mounts

C-MORE is one of the original designers of this spectrum of devices/optics.

The durability is good, and the system is built to last with a bunch of innovative features as a standard offering.

PROS:

  • A great heads up display
  • Very bright projection
  • Good mounting options

CONS:

  • Slightly limited without another optic option

This is one of the original designs and producers that built the red dot industry and the electronic optic industry.

The quality is excellent for the money, and the quick reaction time that we expect with an electronic sight is what this does best.

The open FOV of the C-MORE and the quick target/reticle acquisition is a game changer for those who need quick target decisions.

4. Aimpoint M4sSight with Mount

Aimpoint M4s Sight

$774.99
$774.98
15 new from $760.00
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Features

  • Part of Aimpoint's highest-end series, sight features improved energy efficiency, low battery compartment, and internal voltage regulator that allows operation on any AA battery
  • Integral mount eliminates need for separate ring, and can be customized with vertical and forward spacers to fit variety of weapon systems
  • Unique coating on front lens reflects dot's selected frequency of red light at near 100% efficiency to give highest possible dot brightness with least amount of energy
  • Shipped with QRP2 mount and standard AR15 spacer, and killFlash anti-reflection device and MILSPEC rubber lens covers
  • Includes limited manufacturer's warranties of two years for professional or competitive use, and ten years for personal or recreational use

The Aimpoint M4s Sight with Mount is well built and full of quality features. This allows an AR 15 user to easily find their target and generate a tactical decision very quickly with a fantastic lighted reticle and a durable build quality.

PROS:

  • Compact for a tube style optic
  • Long battery life
  • Good reputation
  • Strong feature set

CONS:

  • Pricey

80,000 hours to 500,000 hours of battery life is just the tip of the iceberg, and while that is an optimistic number on a low setting, it is still impressive.

The build quality is very high and the Aimpoint brand name and credibility is excellent.

Built specifically for the AR 15. As far as red dot sight reviews go, the Aimpoint M4s Sight with Mount receives some of the best reviews.

5. Sig Sauer SOR52001 Romeo5 1x20mm Compact 2 Moa Red Dot Sight

Sig Sauer Red Dot Sight

$129.00
41 new from $128.84
1 used from $ 154.50
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Features

  • 2 MOA Red-Dot provides 10 illumination settings (8 daylight plus 2 NV) for visibility in all light conditions
  • MOTAC (Motion Activated Illumination) powers up when it senses motion and powers down when it does not. Provides for optimum operational safety and enhanced 40,000+ hour battery life
  • Integrated M1913 Picatinny interface provides industry-standard mounting options for a wide range of applications
  • Dependable waterproof (IPX-7 rated for complete water immersion up to 1 meter) and fog-proof performance
  • Includes a M1913 Picatinny low mount riser and a co-witness 1.41in riser mount

The Sig Sauer Red Dot Sight may not be as robust as some of the other builds, but it does offer some very compelling features for a very low price point.

It offers a lot for the money and is compact and avoids dangerous damage scenarios because of this.

PROS:

  • Motion activation red dot
  • Good price point for the feature set
  • Co-witness riser and integrated mount

CONS:

  • Somewhat limited use case

A good quality device that has the backing of a major firearm manufacturer. This is a no-nonsense Red dot sight that offers 10 illumination settings with a 2 MOA red dot.

Sig Sauer Red Dot Sight gives some good versatility on target for those in the lower end of the market with a long life and reasonable durability.

6. AT3 Tactical RD-50 Red Dot Sight

AT3 Tactical RD-50 Red Dot Sight

$99.99
$83.99
1 new from $83.99
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Features

  • ACCURATE - Crisp 2 MOA red dot sight allows for accurate, both-eyes-open shooting. 11 red dot brightness settings provide optimal visibility in any light conditions. Multi-coated, scratch resistant amber lens provides enhanced image clarity.
  • DEPENDABLE - Fully waterproof with sealed housing. Lifetime Warranty. Shockproof circuitry resists damage from rough handling. Matte black anodized finish resists scratches while keeping a stealthy profile.
  • UNBEATABLE VALUE - Exceptional battery life - up to 50,000 hours at the lowest brightness setting. Genuine RenataTM CR2032 Lithium battery included. Factory direct pricing - no distributor markup.
  • INCLUDES RISER MOUNT - Med .83" Riser Mount for "absolute" cowitness with iron sights
  • INSIDE THE BOX - Red dot sight, Rubber bikini cover, Instruction sheet, Lens cloth, Allen wrench, Riser Mount

AT3 Tactical RD-50 Red Dot Sight is nicely finished but not necessarily the best build quality out there, that’s not really a knock, if you read the earlier commentary on pricing.

That said, you get a lot for the money and if you’re exploring the market segment, this is a very good entry point that will help you understand the need for a better device, without getting a bad one to begin with.

PROS:

  • Cheap
  • Co-witness riser and integrated mount

CONS:

  • Not the highest quality or the most robust feature set

Despite being exceptionally well built considering the price point, it is not on the same level as other more expensive options on this list.

It is still a viable option and offers enough for those exploring the red dot sight segment.

The co-witness ability is built into the base which allows a great transition from line of sight. The AT3 Tactical RD-50 Red Dot Sight is cheap in terms of value for money.

7. EOTech G33.STS.BLK G33 Magnifier with Switch to Side Mount

EOTech G33.STS.BLK G33 Magnifier with Switch to Side Mount

$523.95
60 new
1 used from $ 520.00
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Features

  • Split-second transitioning from CQB to medium range targeting
  • 2.2-Inch eye relief with windage and elevation adjustments that can be changed by hand
  • 7.3-degree field of view. Made in USA
  • Slap to side mount is durable and operates with the slap of your hand
  • Locking, quick detach lever for easy attachment and removal of the optic and the mount

Exceptional production quality, and a robust durability combined with incredibly nice feature set, the EOTech G33.STS.BLK is an optic that can go from 0-250 yards in an instant.

EO-Tech is sort of like a Godfather in the market segment that encompasses electronic optics.

PROS:

  • A top tier producer
  • One of the best all-in-one feature sets

CONS:

  • Pricey

Yes, this is a bit slower to grab the combination of eye relief and FOV through the optic. However, it is a brilliant design that makes for an incredible one stop shop for those who need a multipurpose tool from their optic choice.

EO-Tech is one of the original producers and innovators in the market segment and as such, they offer a lot for the money.

The EOTech G33.STS.BLK is a significant price point but one that has very well-balanced price to feature set.

8. Burris 300235 Fastfire III No Mount 3 MOA Sight

Burris 300235 Fastfire III No Mount 3 MOA Sight

$223.99
41 new from $205.40
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Features

  • Burris 300235 fast Fire 3 Reflex
  • Sight, CR1632 batt, 1x, unlimited
  • 3 MOA recital. This product is manufactured in United States
  • 3 MOA Dot Reticle
  • Tool-less wind age and elevation adjustments

Very simple to operate the Burris 300235 Fastfire III No Mount 3 MOA Sight offers a very simple profile that gives you plenty of versatility. Especially on pistols or where you only need a red dot for certain applications on a rifle/carbine.

The great adjustment allows easy implementation. The battery access and low battery warning make this very customer centric.

PROS:

  • Simple heads up display
  • Lightweight and compact

CONS:

  • Not as durable as some other options

For those who want an ultra-fast, ultra-lightweight heads up display with a 3MOA there are few options better than this.

The quality of the brand name and the quality of this unit are very high, though it is slightly less durable than some of the other options.

The Burris 300235 Fastfire is a bit less robust, materials-wise than some competitors, but the price is excellent, and the optic quality is very high.

9. EO518 EOTECH 518 W/68/1 MOA QD Mount blk

EO518 EOTECH 518 W/68/1 MOA QD Mount blk

$529.00
$409.00
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Features

  • 518 w/68/1 MOA QD mount Blk
  • High quality product
  • Highly durable product
  • This product is manufactured in United States

Durable, with a quick detach mount that allows for exceptional reliability and versatility between guns even.

The EO518 EOTECH is a top tier device and they have had years of innovation and are one of the more credible options on the market.

PROS:

  • Sturdy and well built
  • Great innovation from company

CONS:

  • Pricey

The company is one of the oldest producers of this type of optic, and really knows what they are doing when it comes to producing high availability, high versatility heads up optics.

A 1MOA dot on a 68 MOA ring offers an excellent contrast and the optic gives near instant recognition on target. The EO518 EOTECH is a legitimately great piece of hardware.

10. Primary Arms Advanced 30mm 2 MOA Red Dot

Primary Arms Advanced 30mm 2 MOA Red Dot

$129.99
1 new from $129.99
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Features

  • 2 MOA RED DOT: The true 1x field view and crisp 2 MOA dot combine for an unbeatable quick and precise picture while shooting with both eyes open.
  • BATTERY LIFE: Using a single 1/3N "button" battery, the PA30MMRD-AD will operate up to an estimated 14,000 hours at a medium setting.
  • RUGGED AND DURABLE: Constructed of 6061 aluminum with a hard-coat anodized flat dark earth (FDE) finish.
  • LIFETIME WARRANTY: If a defect due to materials, workmanship, or normal wear and tear has caused your product to malfunction, Primary Arms will either repair or replace.

A lifetime warranty on an electronic sight for under $150 USD means you get a lot of value for the money, because they will have made a very good product to be able to service it for life.

Primary Arms has a great reputation in the AR market and even in the AR 15 optics market. Quality features for low cost outlay.

PROS:

  • Lifetime warranty
  • True 2 eyes open sighting
  • Low Price point

CONS:

  • Entry level

Even though the price is low the feature set is pretty good, and the lifetime warranty makes a ton of sense for those who aren’t committed to the red dot/electronic options yet, but still can’t abide buying a poor product.

Primary Arms makes good equipment and has a very good optics program. Long battery life and a good outside finish color for most tactical builds.

11. Leupold New, DeltaPoint Pro Matte 7.5 MOA Triangle Sight

Leupold New, DeltaPoint Pro Matte 7.5 MOA

$348.97
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Features

  • DiamondCoat lens coatings on exterior lens surfaces provides the ultimate in abrasion resistance
  • Motion sensor technology automatically deactivates Illumination after 5 minutes of inactivity
  • Reactivates Instantly as soon as any movement is detected
  • Efficient circuitry maximizes Battery life
  • Locking adjustment System features two screws that lock in windage and elevation adjustments

Leupold is a quality manufacturer and offers a great design for a heads up type electronic sight.

This is a very nice device and offers a triangle at 7.5MOA with a durable build. Although it may seem cheap at times due to the inclusion of polymer and the finish quality being slightly less compelling compared to other offerings from the company or on this list.

PROS:

  • Great quality
  • Mid-range price point for nice feature set

CONS:

  • Despite nice quality build can still feel a bit cheap

It’s lightweight, fast to fire and made from a high-end producer. The Leupold Delta Point is a great “both-eyes-open” device that has a motion sensor to help with battery/power management.

The optical quality is top notch with great abrasion resistance for durable long-term wear characteristics.

12. TRUGLO Tru-Tec Tactical 20mm Red-Dot Sight

TRUGLO Tru-Tec Tactical 20mm Red-Dot Sight

$118.98
40 new from $118.83
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Features

  • 20mm objective lens with multi-coating for ENHANCED CLARITY AND CONTRAST; 2-MOA red-dot reticle for PRECISION AIMING; unlimited eye relief
  • ULTRA-LIGHTWEIGHT and compact design; includes both high and low mounting bases that mount to standard picatinny or weaver-style rails
  • ULTRA-LONG BATTERY LIFE gives thousands of hours on a single battery; programmable auto-off feature (2-8 hours); requires one CR2032 battery (included)
  • QUICK-TOUCH POWER ON lets you tap anywhere on the optic to turn it on; digital push-button controls lets you easily adjust MULTIPLE BRIGHTNESS SETTINGS
  • Click windage and elevation adjustments; turret caps feature a BUILT-IN ADJUSTMENT TOOL

TRUGLO TRU-TEC is lightweight but perhaps a bit too cheaply made, and the question is about the long-term durability of the item.

That isn’t to take anything away from their nice feature set, because for the money, this is an impressive offering.

PROS:

  • Cheap
  • Good reviews
  • Long battery life

CONS:

  • Not as high a quality as might be needed for most users
  • More complex to adjust

A lower quality build than most units on this list but still a compelling offering from a company that does have some good innovation in the industry.

This is a solid choice for those who are wading into the market for red dot or electronic sights.

TRUGLO TRU-TEC  is very lightweight and has a long battery life that makes the illumination an ever present focal point.

13. Trijicon RM06-C-700216 RMR 3.25 MOA Adjustable LED Red Dot Sight

Trijicon RM06-C-700216 RMR 3.25 MOA Adjustable LED Red Dot Sight

$399.00
3 new from $399.00
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Features

  • 3.25 MOA LED WITH ADJUSTABLE BRIGHTNESS: Features an automatic brightness mode and controls for eight adjustable settings including 2 NV and 1 super bright
  • EASY PUSH BUTTONS: The brightness adjustment buttons are designed to be easily manipulated and accessible
  • UNIQUE PATENTED HOUSING SHAPE: Forged 7075-T6 aircraft aluminum-alloy housing shape diverts the force of an impact away from the lens, greatly increasing the durability of the sight
  • TRUE-COLOR MULTI-COATED LENS: Creates a wide-band light transmission for minimal change in target area color
  • ADJUSTABLE WINDAGE / ELEVATION: Easily adjustable without special tools. 1 MOA per click

Trijicon is one of the original producers that basically built this industry along with EO-Tech and a handful of others.

This is a proven design with a great reputation and unmatched durability meaning you can actually get in the mix and count on it in the most extreme scenarios imaginable.

PROS:

  • One of the originals
  • Made for and used by military and elite law enforcement
  • Super durable
  • Tried and true technology

CONS:

  • The technology is getting older as newer companies come into the market with different innovation

Of all the heads-up-display type electronic sights this has the best long-term proven history. Along with the best reputation for being in legitimate use scenarios; and for durability, it is unmatched.

That said, the Trijicon is not as innovative as it once was, but still commands a good, lofty price point because it is a stellar performer.

14. Feyachi Reflex Sight

Feyachi Reflex Sight

$56.99
$16.99
1 new from $16.99
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Features

  • Reticle allows for 4 different styles. Dot, Circle/Dot, Crosshair/Dot, Crosshair/Circle/Dot combinations. All in one sight!
  • A 33mm lens provides quick target acquisition. Wide field of view to maintain situational awareness.
  • Very sturdy and secure rail mounting system. Will not come loose, made to last.
  • Parallax corrected & unlimited eye-relief, where the dot goes, so does the bullet!
  • Ultralight, waterproof and shockproof - Powered one 3V lithium battery (included).

Feyachi Reflex Sight is a cheap sight with a poor build quality, but it’s almost comical how much you get for how little you pay.

If you really want to know if you have an inkling of interest in electronic sights you might grab one of these, prefaced by the concept that you know it’s meant as a novelty.

Once you see what it can do, you’ll realize that spending some real money on a proper electronic sight, you will get much more value from it.

It’s a lot of value for the money, but ultimately in electronic optics, you get what you pay for, so tread lightly.

PROS:

  • Cheap

CONS:

  • Cheap quality
  • No real feature set
  • Not durable
  • A novelty really

We seem to take a negative approach on this one, but it should be noted, we recommend it to help get more shooters understanding the reason why electronic optics are so useful.

We believe this may enhance the shooter’s ability to gather information and understand the market segment.

Note: no one will promise this is a great experience with this sight, simply that it is a good entry point for those who really want to know what you can do with even a base level device.

Given it’s so cheap and limited in its operation, the Feyachi Reflex Sight still accomplishes quite a bit for the time and money you’ll invest in it.

Advantages of Red Dot Sights

Cowitnessing is when you can either use the iron sights or use the Red dot/electronic sight. Cowitnessing is allowed due to the open nature of the architecture, as the sights are unimpeded generally by the electronic sight.

Predictability of performance is a nice thing to have; electronic sights are very consistent and predictable. Battery life is massive nowadays in the newest models; the proven reliable technologies have matured, and your level of risk is miniscule to get into the game.

Two eyes open shooting and an easily identifiable target with a marker to make snap decisions more accurate and quicker.

Projection Type and Electronic vs Battery Powered Sights

Projection type essentially comes down to two concepts: electronically projected and illuminated by tritium/other.

There are combination sights.

Let’s talk about some of the basics:

Holographic sights are non-magnifying glass gun sights that have a holographic image superimposed upon a piece of glass through a sandwiched glass laminate arrangement and allows a user to see this image as an outline on top of a target in the optic.

Reflex sights are reflecting glass optics that superimpose an image or reticle onto the field of view as it appears in the optic.

A battery powered sight will contain a battery to feed a laser or other projection device which will provide the light source for the projected image whether it be a red dot or a reticle or other image. Battery life and conservation of power/power management has been improved dramatically since the first generation of these devices.

A tritium-based reticle is lit by a live nuclear radioactive isotope that provides light for the reticle/image. It is less effective in low light situations than a battery-based device.

Reticle Style

First and foremost, is the fact that some items project image/reticle in green and some in red, this can have a drastic impact on how you use your device due to your own personal preference and the human eye. Green light tends to be more easily identifiable in high brightness applications, as the human eye is evolved to pick up on that spectrum of light color.

There are many different reticle types, some of the most popular are as follows:

  • straight red dot and green dot
  • bullseye; which features a circle around a dot
  • cross; which is like a standard old scope crosshair
  • Star; which is a combination of a bullseye with extensions to show the crosshair’s legs also.
  • Mil-dot; which references adjustments for point of aim to point of impact
  • Triangle; which places a triangle’s upper most tip directly beneath your point of impact

There are also other variants, but they change based on the maker, generally, and the application.

The style of reticle may also incorporate a difference in sizing like a 2 MOA or a 4 MOA size. MOA is the minute of angle, which roughly equates to 1 inch at 100 yards. So a 2MOA is equivalent to 2” at 100 yards 4MOA is 4 inches at 100 yards, and so on.  This grows as you move out further. A 1 MOA at 1000yards is going to be 10 inches. Not that you’ll be shooting with an electronic or red dot sight at 1000 yards, but for comparative purposes, the sizing grows the further out you go to accommodate for the angular direction.

Correct Placement/Positioning

The eye relief of the Red Dot sights on a whole is open. This means that you need to think about how you are placing the sight. It’s meant to project a dot/image onto a target so that you can make a trigger pull decision instantaneously.

If you must take the time to get your eye relief adjusted by finding a distance for positioning your head, you will not be able to make a near instantaneous decision on pulling the trigger. You should be working to use a red dot or similar sighting device as a “two-eyes-open” sight.

In order to do this, you will probably be positioning it further forward than you are used to mounting a scope or set of sights. That is not true of more magnified telescopic type red dots, but it is for reflex, holographic and other open field of view sights.

An important note: Eye relief and FOV (Field of View) are not the same thing, but they are correlated to the usage of these types of sights.

Field of View

Field of View is roughly equivalent to the amount of the target that you can see in relation to the breadth of the sight you have. For scopes, this is the sight you have looking through a scope to be. For two eyes open shooting, this may be more of a moot discussion.

Eye Relief

Eye Relief is the amount of distance between the viewing start point and your eye, and a device tube’s optics means how close is your eye going to be to the start of the ocular lens in order to properly use the optic.

Red dots (and substantially similar sight types that are covered under this umbrella as in this article), are going to be unaffected by eye relief, as they are made for both eyes open and offer a generally open architecture. There are some small variances to this rule (tubed red dots), but generally, these types of sights can be moved further down the length of the firearm because of this architecture.

A Note About Pricing

It’s not a horrible idea to buy cheap red dot/electronic sights, but it’s not a great idea either. The only real reason to buy a cheap unit is to test your desire to actually use one in the long term and to determine which features you want when you do drop more money on a unit.

You might also consider buying cheaper devices for inexpensive guns if you are spoiled by the experience of using one.

Otherwise, it makes little sense to buy a cheaper unit, because these units, while they may enjoy good reviews and have a great feature set, are less accurate, less robust, less useful than any of the moderately or high-priced models. The technology that makes up an Electronic sight is still expensive, it is not yet a cheap commodity. Therefore, you will not see premium quality units for cheap like you might see with slings or even glass-based optics.

A good general rule of thumb is at the $190+ mark in USD. At this level of cost (while not foolproof) generally separates the good quality, longer lasting units from the novelty items that are not a very good decision to buy. You truly do get what you pay for, for the most part when buying red dot/electronic sights.

The types of concerns you have with the cheaper units are as follows:

  • Bad battery life/expensive batteries/drains batteries
  • Plastic optics that scratch easily
  • Weak housings that allow misalignments to occur
  • Lack of ruggedization
  • Cheap, non-calibrated adjustment
  • Poor quality altogether
  • Lack of legitimate mounts to keep your zero
  • Poor fit and finish/attention to detail
  • Bad material choices that lead to easily breaking the unit
  • Not made well enough to withstand environmental aspects/normal use

Note: we cover a few lower priced items in this article, and they are “high quality” in a relative sense, but the quality level is relative to the others in their pricing tier, not comparative to the total spectrum of competitors. We almost unreservedly would not buy a unit that was lower than the $250 range and even then, we would be very selective.

This is mostly due to the quality of the materials and the longevity of the components used in the manufacture of the units. We will admit however, it may make the most sense to experiment with a lower priced unit to determine if you really do want to make the bigger purchase later.

Bottom Line

It’s pretty hard to choose the best red dot sight because most of the measures of a fine option are subjective or material to the individual only.

There are some best practices with manufacturing and a bevy of features and details that are common place among the best sights. Choosing of the penultimate sight will rely upon a combination of what you’ve learned, what you want to accomplish and what you have on a normal activity list for this sight.

What we think we have done however, is give you the tools needed to determine the best fit for your individual needs.

In the end this is all we can hope for, because shooting sports have become something of a customization and individualization exercise of late.

This is a great trend for the industry because it allows for more passionate, loyal fans to join and benefit from the sporting aspects of shooting.