Is Red Dot for You?
Discriminating marksmen looking to find the best red dot sights for their particular wants and needs can find themselves bogged down in the huge wealth of options available. The information below is intended to help you navigate the almost endless options on the market, and choose the red dot optic configuration that will work best for your rifle, your situation, and your personal shooting skills.
Getting It Clear in General
What exactly is a red dot sight, and just how do they work?
Unlike glass rifle scopes, red dot sights do not magnify the target. Instead, they present the shooter with an illuminated dot, or reticle, which indicates where the bullet will go. (The user can, however, attach a separate red dot magnifier as a handy upgrade.) The dot, which is available in red or green, and can appear as different-sized, different-figured shapes, is created by a reflected red dot laser or LED light.
Both reflex-illuminated reticles and holographic sights fall into the general category of “red dots,” although they produce the illuminated reticle differently. Below are listed some of the distinctions between the two.
Reflex VS Holographic
- Battery life – The reflex-illuminated red dot sights use a significantly lower amount of battery energy than the holographic sights.
- Parallax error – The problem of parallax error is almost nonexistent in a holographic sight.
- Weight and bulk – When weight and heft matter, most users prefer red dot optics to the slightly heavier holographic mechanisms.
- Ambient temperature – Red dot sights perform somewhat better than holographic sights when the ambient climate is extreme.
Open VS Tubed Housing
The red dot sighting mechanism is mounted on top of the gun rail, and its housing may be open or tubed. The smaller open sights, sometimes referred to as “micro-red dots,” are lighter-weight than tube sights. Tube-housed red dots are designed to accept popular add-ons such as interchanging filters, which the open sights are not designed to accept. This is a real advantage for accessorizing users.
Focusing on the Best Red Dot Sights
- Aimpoint – The Aimpoint red dot offers state-of-the-art tactical optics for top-mounting rifles such as the AR 15. The Aimpoint Pro and the Aimpoint Comp M4 are vastly popular with professionals such as those in the police force or the military. The Aimpoint M4 offers the advantage of locking onto the rifle’s sight rail without requiring a ring mount. Aimpoints use tubed housing, rather than the open configuration. The popular Aimpoint red dot sights provide the longest-lived batteries and the most-durable construction in the industry. Fans of the Aimpoint red dots extol these spotting scopes for their reliability, accuracy, and user-friendly performance.
- Bushnell red dot sights – Bushnell makes one of the finest red dot sights in this competitive market. The most-acclaimed iteration belonging to the Bushnell red dot sight line is the Bushnell TRS25. Red dot sight reviews give this unit high scores in ease of viewing, due to its high-contrast optical projection design, as well as its reliable performance. The Bushnell TRS25 is a mid- to lower-priced red dot sight that gives its user consistently predictable results.
- EOTech – The EOTech red dot sight is an excellent choice, but requires a separate riser and specialized mount. The EOTech sight is rectangular, as opposed to the much more common cylindrical configurations. This provides an improved field of view, compared to the ubiquitous circular and cylindrical formats. If you are looking for a holosight that allows you to keep both eyes open, the red dot EOTech is a good bet. Many shooters claim that EOTech sights have a slight edge over even top-of-the-line Aimpoints, considering critical factors such as projection style, reticle, and overall design.
- Leapers Golden Image – Leapers is a well-known manufacturer with a world-class reputation for making accessories that are functional and affordable. The Leapers Golden Image is one of the best choices a shooter can make for an entry-level AR 15 red dot rifle sight. Its nicely made tubed housing flips open to expose the inner optics when you want to employ them, and you can change the reticle color using a knob on the top of the unit.
- Leupold red dot sights – Widely used Leupold red dots include both the Leupold Mark 4 Hamr and the Leupold DeltaPoint Reflex red dot systems. The two are very different in configuration and performance, and the price difference is notable as well, with the usual cost for a Leupold Mark 4 running around three times that of the Leupold DeltaPoint. Choose from big dots to a red or green lazer dot. These very good sights, designed to give you quick acquisition, are a favorite choice among both hunters and competitors.
- Sightmark red dot – Sightmark optics are famous for their accuracy and comfortable field of view. Many a Sightmark red dot review will mention advantages such as its lower battery consumption, durability, and water-resistant body. Its manufacturers point to the unit’s ability to correct for parallax and to find the target quickly, as well as the ease with which a hunter can shoot at a moving target.
- Truglo red dots – Users appreciate the Truglo red dot for its affordability and superb performance. This little baby comes from a company that also makes hunting equipment such as crossbows and gun accessories. They are dedicated to providing their customer base with dependable products which will be highly functional, durable, and economical. The red dot Truglo uses a 6,000-hour lithium battery and is perfect for use at distances up to 100 yards.
More Detailed Red Dot Information