Whether you are hunting or shooting in tactical competitions, sights are an important part of your weapon. The old iron sights have made their mark and they have enabled users to hunt and shoot efficiently. However, the red dot sight is modern and easier to use in all shooting conditions. Not only is it designed to simplify aiming, it enables users to quickly move between targets and hit them accordingly, eventually improving your accuracy as well.
The red dot sight was first introduced by the military and not many people could afford to use them for recreational purposes. However, more and more brands are becoming competitive, giving users more affordable prices and they have now become a staple among gun enthusiast for all shooting purposes as they allow you to improve the rate at which you fire and hit your targets.
Understanding the all the optic features can always be a daunting prospect and we have done some legwork to help make this a little easier for you. With our experience in the optics field, we have found some of the best red dot sight scopes that you can use and tested them to ensure they are really worth the price they command. In this article, you should easily find your ideal red dot scope and our buyer’s guide can also be used to ensure that you do find the right one for your needs and have a better grasp on all the technical aspects.
Our Selection Of Red Dot Sights On The Market Today:
Before we delve into all the technical aspects, you might be eager to see all of the scopes and which ones we would recommend. If you are an expert, you might even skip past the buyer’s guide and look for your much-needed red dot scope. Here are the top 10 red dot scopes we have found available on the market today:
First, on our list, we have the Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight Riflescope, featuring a waterproof and shockproof construction. The scope includes a holographic sight, surrounded by a tubular housing to keep it protected. One of the unique features is the amber coated lenses, creating a contrast from the front and back lens. This makes it much easier to use the scope in virtually any lighting condition.
Multicoated optics are used for the lenses themselves and this will help to keep the glare from the sun out. Additionally, it features a parallax-free design, enabling you to open both of your eyes as you are shooting. With an unlimited eye-relief, it is really easy to find a comfortable distance3 that does not put too much strain on your eye.
Considered a small scope, this scope is really light. It features a maximum weight of 3.7-ounces and the overall length is a mere 2.4-inches. The field of view is also unlimited and this is due to the eye-relief. It makes the scope perfect for those in the combat shooting arena looking to alternate between numerous targets in a hurry.
The dry-nitrogen filled housing is included for illuminating the scope when you need to. It is powered by a state of the art CR2032 battery that is included in the package and features a decent battery life to keep you going. With an additional adjustment knob in close reach, you have full functionality when it comes to making any adjustments.
Mounting is really easy as well and the scope is compatible with most rifles. It is recommended for both hunting and tactical shooting. With 11 brightness settings, the scope is perfect for all lighting conditions. However, the battery does seem to drain quite rapidly as you reach the higher settings. For the price, this is one of the top red dot sights you can find. We would definitely recommend it to both tactical shooters and precision shooters.
Available at: Amazon.com
The DD DAGGER DEFENSE DDHB Red Dot Reflex sight is a little more complex and features a reflex projection with an open style design. It features both the red and green dot reticles to make it more comfortable for you and with a screw attachment, you have more stability when making some of your adjustments.
Made from durable aircraft grade aluminum, this scope oozes durability and it has been tested to be shockproof as well as waterproof. The scope features a side rotary and this is for the battery compartment, switching between your different colored reticles as well as the brightness adjustment in low light conditions.
Choosing between reticle patterns are really easy and the scope enables you to do this on the go. At only 3.2-ounces, the scope is really light and mounting it is also quite simple. However, you will need some time and a couple of tools if you are to adjust the windage and the elevation. Some users have claimed that this can be a little frustrating and it eats up too much time.
The lenses might also tend to blur and fog up from time to time. However, a lens cleaning cloth has been included and this should make it a little easier for you to keep the lenses clean and ready for your next shooting venture. While they have included a decent CR2032 battery, it does not have the longest of life if you are shooting at the highest brightness levels.
Overall, the scope is really affordable and quite functional. It might not be the best scope for hunting at short ranges, but it is definitely recommended for tactical shooting. Precision shooters have also managed to use this scope, but it will take some getting used to. If you are looking for something extremely stable, this will definitely be the scope for you.
Available at: Amazon.com
The Field Sports Red and Green Micro Dot Sight stand out as one of the most affordable and functional red dot sights on the market today. It is designed from aircraft grade aluminum and features a shockproof design, helping you keep the lenses protected if it should accidentally be bumped or fall over.
With a reflex projection and tubular style, this is one of the ideal scopes for close range hunting. It is lightweight at only 4.2-ounces and features both the green and red dot sights for you to choose depending on the conditions. A Mil-Spec 1913 Picatinny mounting rail is also included, making it simple and effective to set up on your rifle.
Once again, this scope also features a parallax-free design, making it easy to be used with both eyes open. The unlimited eye relief will enable you to keep all your target in your view and quickly move between them. On the side of the scope, you will find an easy to use adjustment knob, making the adjustments simpler and faster if you are on the go.
With only 5 brightness settings, many users have complained about it not being bright enough in all conditions. Compared to the sun, it might blur out the dot and this could be frustrating when shooting midday. However, shooting numerous rounds have not done anything to change the stability and the scope remains zeroed after you have shot multiple shots through the barrel.
While the manufacturer does, recommend it for hunting purposes, this scope is much better suited for sports shooting. It is really affordable and the mounting is quite simple, making it the perfect budget option that you could select. If you find yourself strapped to a budget, this will be the perfect scope to invest in.
Available at: Amazon.com
Sightmark is one of the most trusted and well-known brands on the market today and the Sightmark SM26008 Ultra Shot is a state of the art reflex scope with an open style housing. It has also been constructed from durable aircraft grade aluminum and features the green and red dot reticles for your own versatility.
One of the best parts is the battery and the scope is powered by a common camera battery. The CR123 battery is one of the more affordable battery types on the market today and the manufacturer claims that it can power the scope for up to 2,000 hours. With a 1-hour automatic shut off, this does seem possible and the scope will save the battery.
In terms of the controls, this has been made a little different and you will have a digital control switch. We have found this to be a little more comfortable and easier to use, especially for beginners. With an unlimited eye-relief, it is quite easy to keep all of your target in your sight. This should also make it easier for close combat sports shooters with numerous targets in the sight.
If you have a problem with heavy scopes, you might find this one to be a little heavier than some of the others we have seen. The scope weighs in at around 5.2-ounces, which might add a little weight to your rifle. Finally, you should also know that the scope is shock resistant to the blast of a .50 cal and with an IPX4 waterproof rating; your scope can be used in the rain as well as on those steaming hot days.
The scope is considered an affordable high-end reflex scope and this is something that we can also agree on. If you are tired of spending, too much, this scope should be the perfect addition to your kit. We would highly recommend it for all the top quality features. Lastly, you will be protected by a limited lifetime warranty, helping you to have some peace of mind.
Available at: Amazon.com
Durability and safety are two of the keywords when looking at the Ozark Armament Rhino. Made from top quality metal construction, the scope features 2 protective covers on either side of the lenses and this will keep them protected from any damage. With a cantilever mount, this is also one of the easiest scopes that you could mount to your rifle.
The scope includes AR pattern sights and the 4 MOA, makes it much easier to acquire most of your targets compared to lesser scopes. You also have the opportunity to use either the red dot or the green dot reticle. However, this will come down to your conditions and your target you are aiming at for the best opportunity at a shot.
One of the most expensive parts is the CR2032 battery and this has been rated a top quality battery for scopes. However, we have seen that these batteries might lack when it comes to battery life, especially if you have your scope set on the maximum brightness. Once again, we find that this scope features the parallax-free design and this should ensure that your line of sight is never compromised when shooting numerous targets.
While this might not be the best red dot scope on the market, it is definitely one of the most affordable options that you could find. It also comes with a “no questions asked” 1-year warranty and this should be more than enough time to find out if the scope can actually do what it is supposed to. It is worth keeping mind that the adjustment might be a little tricky.
When it comes to recommendations, we won’t recommend this scope to the more advanced and professional shooters as you might be frustrated. However, it is the perfect option for beginners and since it is really affordable, you won’t be wasting too much. Eventually, you can upgrade to a more advanced option.
Available at: Amazon.com
At only 3.6 ounces and with a length of 2.4-inches, the AT3 Tactical RD-50 Red Dot Sight is a budget sight designed for the advanced shooter. It features a durable aircraft aluminum construction and an additional rubber coating to make the scope shock resistant and impervious to virtually anything that nature might throw at it.
With a nitrogen-filled construction, the scope will illuminate your target in lowlight conditions. The design is parallax-free and this means that you have an unlimited eye relief, combined with an unlimited field of view to keep your targets in sight at all times. This MOA compact scope includes an easy to use adjustment knob with clear settings to help you find all the adjustments needed to improve your shooting experience.
With a CR2032 Lithium-Ion battery, the manufacturer claims that the scope is capable of giving you up to 50,000 hours of battery life on the lowest setting. This will come down to an impressive 5,000 hours if you are using the scope on multiple brightness settings. Additionally, the multi-coated optics will remove any potential glare from the sun, making shooting that much easier in the middle of the day.
The Hi-Riser mount is one of the additional extras that you can receive. This will slightly life the scope to make it a little easier to use and setting this up on your rifle is not that hard either. The Riser also works perfectly on your AR, allowing you to co-witness the iron sights and alternate between the two if you need to.
It is rated as one of the top scopes in this price range and while it might be a little expensive to some, the scope certainly stands out for the quality and the value it offers. You will be able to adjust it as needed and the cloth makes it really easy to clean on the go. We would definitely recommend this scope for the price and the quality it will offer.
Available at: Amazon.com
If you are looking for a more advanced scope, the Vortex Optics Strikefire II Red Dot Sights are a little more advanced they have some of the best features that you would expect to find in a mid-range red dot sight. It has also been constructed from durable aircraft grade aluminum and features a nitrogen purged o-ring for better lighting.
Fully coated optics are the choice for the lenses and this offers decent light transmission. It also features a parallax-free design, giving you unlimited eye-relief and an unlimited field of view to keep all targets in sight. With an adjustment of 100 MOA, the scope is fully adjustable and offers excellent versatility for anyone looking to change the scope settings on the go.
If you have a flat top AR, this scope also includes a Hi-rise mount, making it possible to use the iron sights and alternate between the 2 as needed. Some users do say that it is rather heavy and the weight is around 7.2-ounces, compared to many other sights with a weight that is under the 5-ounce mark and well shorter.
The battery is quite expensive and this scope features a CR2 battery. According to the manufacturer, it will offer you around 400-hours of use on the normal settings. This is more than enough to last you a couple of days on your trips. The scope is also really durable and this durability will keep you protected from all weather conditions and situations.
While this scope is a little more expensive than some of the previous scopes, it is packed with a couple of high-end features. These features should enable you to have a much better shooting experience. You will be backed by a limited lifetime warranty; giving you peace of mind to try out the scope and see if does do exactly what you need from a top quality scope.
Available at: Amazon.com
The CVLIFE 1X22X33 Red Green Dot Gun Sight is the ultimate budget option and it is one of the most affordable scopes on the market today. Designed from top quality aluminum alloy, the scope features a state of the art red and green dot reticle that you can alternate depending on your needs. It also features a parallax-free design, made to give you unlimited eye-relief and a field of view of 15.8m at 10o meters.
With 4 different reticle patterns, uses will have all the functionality in their hands. The adjustment knob is also really easy to access as it is situated directly on top of the sights. With 5 brightness settings, the scope should not leave you in the dark and this is powered by a decent battery to ensure that you will always be ready.
Having an integrated Picatinny rail is perfect for mounting, it speeds up the mounting process, but adjusting the windage and elevation will take some time as you need to break out the Allen wrench. If you love shooting in the daytimes, an anti-reflective coating has been applied to the lenses. This will block out any potential glare you need to deal with from the sun.
While the scope features 5 different brightness settings for the reticules, it can still be rather hard to see during the day. If the sun is beaming down directly at your scope, you might need to adjust your position slightly. Users have also complained that adjusting the elevation and windage can be a timely process and you always need to carry along your Allen wrench.
This scope might not be the ideal scope for the professional hunter or shooter, but it offers excellent versatility and functionality for a beginner. It is not protected or backed by any warranty, but this will still be ideal for you if you need a budget scope. We highly recommend it for most rifles to ensure that you can get off to a great start when shooting.
Available at: Amazon.com
The Barska AC12176 ARX Multi Reticle Red Dot Optics is a state of the art, yet affordable red dot scope. It has been constructed with a durable aluminum base and features multicoated optics to block out as much of the sun glare as possible. Designed for close combat situations, the scope only features a magnification of 1X, but the 3.7-inch eye-relief will combine with the 60-yard field of view to help you keep all of your targets in your line of sight.
The tubular design is incorporated for different lighting situations and due to the tubular construction, this scope will block out light that might be troublesome. It comes with both the red and green dot reticles, enabling you to alternate between the two whenever needed and with 4 different reticle patterns; you should easily have a comfortable way of hitting your targets.
With a powerful 3V lithium-ion battery, the scope will give you plenty of hours of use. It includes a standard 5/8 mount and this should fit most rifles used for close combat or tactical purposes. Unlike many of the other scope, windage and elevation can be adjusted on the go with the adjustment knob, this improves your versatility as well as accuracy when shooting from different ranges.
One of the biggest complains we have had is the size of the red dot. This can be rather small for those with bad vision and you might need to use the scope a couple of times for your eyes to adjust. The scope is also lightweight at only 13.6-ounces, but with a length of over 5-inches, it might be somewhat too long for certain rifles.
Fortunately, the scope is really affordable and it has been constructed by one of the leading brands in the business. Barska has built up a reputation of making state of the art security equipment and this scope is no different. While it might not be the ideal option for hunters, it is perfect for those in the sports shooting business. With the addition of the Hi-Riser Picatinny rail, this scope is the ideal option to add some versatility to your AR rifle.
Available at: Amazon.com
Last but certainly not least, we got to try out the Tacticon Armament Predator V1 Red Dot Sight and this scope is designed by a company that is owned by an ex-combat veteran, using his knowledge and expertise to design state of the art optics and sights. It is constructed from durable aluminum and the scope features sealed o-rings that will ensure it is waterproof and fog proof.
With 5 different levels of brightness, the scope is ideal for all lighting conditions. It is powered by a decent CR2032 battery for a long lasting shooting experience and it has been tested to fit virtually any rifle that you can think of. We also found the mounting to be really easy and simple if you have limited rifle experience.
One of the main features that users love is the adjustability. With this scope, you are able to adjust the windage and the elevation in a heartbeat. This means that the scope will be zeroed much faster, improving the speed at which you can shoot. Additionally, it also features a parallax-free design, giving you an unlimited eye-relief and the maximum field of view to keep your target in your sights.
The scope has one of the same problems we have seen with many of the other budget options and the reticle does seem to be a little blurry at times. However, your eyes will gradually become used to the scope and shooting will be easier. It is also worth noting that the anti-reflective coating works very well at keeping the glare from the sun at bay.
For the price, this is one of the more affordable options on the market today. The scope features all the basic things you need for tactical shooting and the additional lifetime warranty will also keep you protected. If you are a beginner and you are looking for a scope to get you started, this will be one of the top options that we would recommend.
Available at: Amazon.com
Key Features To Consider When Buying A Red Dot Sight:
The red dot sight might seem a like a simple thing to buy, but there are many intricate features you also need to keep in mind. Now that you have seen some of the top-rated red dot sights, we have also included this buyer’s guide. With the help of some experts and veterans, we have found some of the key features you should keep in mind:
When it comes to a top quality red dot sight, you will see that they are found in different sizes. When you are choosing a red dot sight, you should keep in mind how much space you have available on the rifle. You should also keep the size of the reticle in mind and this will be directly correlated to the size of the scope.
Some users do complain that the dots look a little blurry, but you should also keep your vision in mind. A true way to test this is to look at the dot with both eyes and see if you notice any difference. Advanced shooters might even prefer having crosshairs in the red dots and this can be really beneficial when it comes to hunting and shooting on the go. However, your scope must be zeroed correctly.
The materials used for the construction of the red dot sights are also really important and while steel might be more affordable, it is also a little too heavy. Aluminum alloy made from aircraft grade aluminum is the best option and this will not only reduce the weight but also offer decent durability in all weather conditions.
Some of the elite brands have also included a rubber coating and the coating is used to keep the aluminum protected from any damage. Having a rubber coating will ensure the scope is waterproof and protected from rust as well as improve the ability to absorb some of the shocks that it might have to absorb from constant use.
When looking at the lenses themselves, we generally recommend looking for something that has been multicoated. Multicoated lenses will not only look better, but they have the ability to block out some of the glare you might experience from the sun. Multicoated optics will enable you to use the scope at virtually any time of the day for the best efficiency.
Red dot type:
The red dot sights will come in many forms as we have mentioned and these are generally measured in MOA (minutes of angle). The only way for you to understand which sight and pattern will be best for you is to test them, as you are the only one who will understand your own vision. In general, we recommend having a sight with an MOA of between 1 and 4 as this is the most common range that most people feel comfortable with.
The color can also play an important role and generally, you need to choose between the green dot and the red dot. However, most brands are now adding more versatility to their scopes and you will be able to choose a decent scope that offers you both of these dots. Talking to professionals, we also learned that they prefer both for different conditions and situations.
Believe it or not, but there are many knock-offs on the market today and people are losing a lot of money when buying these bad products. For you to ensure that you do get the best possible value for your money, we recommend that you stick to a reputable brand. Doing some research on the brand you like is quite easy and with the web being so advanced, you can easily find out some other comments from people.
Brands Like Vortex and Sightmark are two of the most common brands and they have impressive reputations. If you don’t know which brand to choose when you are buying your very first scope, one of these two should be the perfect starting point. However, you will be drawn to your very own brand as you become more of an optic expert.
Red dot sights are either tubular or “open” and the tubular design is much more traditional. The tubular style might make the red dot a little easier to see in the sun, as the housing will keep the lenses protected. These sights are also more commonly found with multicoated lenses, as they will block out some of the glare that the sun offers.
When it comes to the “open” Style configuration, you will see the bare minimum. However, these sights do offer a much better field of view to keep your targets in your sight. If you are looking to use the scope for hunting, the tubular option might be a little better, while the “open” style is much better for those doing sports shooting competitions.
Holographic sights are a little more advanced and these are commonly found in your tubular lights. The sights are illuminated from the front and this will light up the sigh to create a holographic image in the form of a red dot. These sights can also be much more expensive because of all the additional technology that is used for the holographic projection.
Reflex sights are more common and these sights usually require the bare minimum to work functionally. They generally reflect an LED light that has been placed behind the sight to offer you an illuminated red dot to use. In terms of the overall price, you will find the reflex sights to be a little more affordable and easier to find.
Most, if not all modern scopes will have an adjustment knob attached and this can be used to adjust some of the features of the sights. When it comes to adjustability, you might need some quick adjustment for windage and elevation and sometimes, this needs to be done with an Allen wrench. While this will mean the scope will keep these settings longer, it could also mean you need to take more time to make these adjustments.
If your sights can be adjusted with the knobs, they can be modified on the go. However, the downside is the that they might not stay with these settings if the weapon hits something or something adjusts the knobs. This will be one thing you need to keep in mind and it will all depend on the purposes of using the scope.
The mounting should be easy to do and you should also look at the different mounting options that are available. If you are using an AR, you can use the Hi-Riser mount and this adds more functionality to the sights. Now you will also be able to use the standard iron sights when you have troubles with the red dot, something that may happen from time to time.
Sometimes we forget about the objective lens and this lens does have a special feature. The size of the objective lens should also be considered and you need to ask yourself where you will be using the scope. The objective bell is generally housed in the objective lens and this is the part of the scope that light passes through before you see your target.
As a rule of thumb, the larger your objective lens, the better your light transmission will be. While this is not possible with the “open style” scope, it does make a difference when you are using the tubular design. When you are accustomed to shooting in low light conditions, the objective lens will be one of the top things to look at and it will definitely improve the light transmission.
These sights will be used in the field and you need a decent battery to keep the sight powered. Understanding the battery life is really important this also means you won’t be caught out in the worst possible situations. We have found the CR123 batteries to be quite functional and they are also used for some of the best cameras you can find.
Frequently Asked Questions:
When using your red dot scope, you are simply mounting it and shooting. However, there are many people who still have a couple of questions regarding the red dot sights. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions that we have found. This should help you when selecting your next red dot scope:
Are red dot sights compatible with handguns?
If you don’t have a rifle, you should not worry too much as red dot sights can be mounted on your handgun as well. The red dot sights are small and lightweight when compared to most larger scopes and this makes them the perfect option. However, using a tubular design might ad some complications and make it harder for you to focus. The “open style” reflex sights are the best option for quick focus and to help you fly between targets.
What does co-witness mean?
To co-witness your weapon is not something you have to do, but it does add some versatility. For this, you will need to look at the rail that has been included. To co-witness your iron sights with your red dot sights are something that is possible with a Hi-Riser mount. This will enable you to line up your red dot sights with your iron sights and alternate between the two whenever you feel the need.
One of the main reasons you should do this is to help you when the red dot is caught up in the light. If you are on the course or doing a competition and the light catches you off guard, you now have the opportunity to use the iron sights to keep you going.
How should I clean my red dot scope?
Eventually, dust and other debris might build up on your red dot sight and this can be a little frustrating. Cleaning the lenses can be rather daunting and you should be careful not to scratch them. Using normal glass cleaner is your best option and with most of these sights, the ideal cleaning cloth will also be included. This can be used in conjunction with one another to ensure your lenses are clean and ready to use.
If you ignore cleaning the lenses, they might still be usable. However, with different lighting conditions they might be harder to use. We have seen that many people complain about the red dot being too dim and once the lenses are cleaned and some of the dust is removed, the reticle is open and clear to be used again.
Does a red dot scope need magnification?
Red dot sights do come with a magnification, but it is worth noting that this will also spike the price somewhat. The magnification is much more technical and it is generally used for longer distances. When using your red dot sight for close combat purposes, you don’t need to spend the extra amount of cash on the magnification.
The red dot sights on our list don’t have any magnification and this makes them perfect for close range shooting. They will enable you to switch between targets with real ease when on the training course and effectively hit all of your targets.
How long will the batteries last?
The battery life will mostly depend on the quality of the sights. If they have massive brightness settings, this will influence the battery life. However, you should also keep the quality of the battery in mind and with a better battery; your sights will last longer. Batteries used in sights like the Trijicon ACOG are designed to last up to 4 years when stored in dark conditions.
With a better understanding of red dot sights, you should now be able to make an informed decision when it comes to choosing the right one for your needs. We have found multiple to red dot sights and all of these are highly recommended for the quality and value they offer. In terms of recommendations, we would definitely stick to Vortex as the best brand.
We would like to thank you for reading this article and encourage you to share some of your thoughts on these sights. Let us know in the comment section if you have used any of them and which ones you would recommend.