How to Choose a Red Dot Sight?

Jan 08, 2024

What is A Red Dot Sight?


Red dot sight, also known as reflex sight, is a non-magnifying reflector that can be used on rifles, pistols, and air rifles. It is mainly used for fast and close-range shooting. 


Reflex sights are common in speed-shooting sports such as IPSC. Besides, military units and police forces have also adopted them. Red dot sights are also popular among paintball and airsoft players for similar reasons.


Simple to use, parallax-free, and fast acquisition make reflex sight a fundamental optic for many shooting enthusiasts. But how to choose a red dot sight?

Choosing the right and good red dot sight is not an easy task. There’s too much to consider, such as moa dot size, weight, tube or open style, color, battery life, and cost. Of course, the cost is the most important factor about which many shooters care. Except for this, it is also essential to choose a high-quality and durable red dot sight that can meet your different shooting scenarios.

This blog will introduce different types of red dot sights and the characteristics of reflex sights. After reading this blog, you can choose the right red dot sight for your firearms.

History of Red Dot Sights


In 1975, a Swedish company launched the first red dot sight. It was a tube design and could be mounted on a rifle just like a telescopic sight. In addition, the LED installed in this reflex sight could run for 1,500 to 3,000 hours. Half a century later, many reflex sight manufacturers upgraded it and the battery life can last as long as 50,000 hours.

In  2000, the U.S. military introduced a red dot sight into field use.

Advantages of Using a Red Dot Sight


What are the advantages of a red dot sight? And why do you choose a red dot sight other than a holographic sight or an iron sight? Next, let’s talk about two other types of scopes: holographic sights and iron sights. 

Holographic Sights VS Red Dot Sight


A holographic sight can project a laser onto a mirror, which reflects onto a lens. While a red dot sight emits a light produced by an LED, the light is reflected against the mirror, thus the red dot on the lens.

Moreover, a holographic sight allows for dot sizes as small as 1 MOA. While the smallest red dot sight dot size can only reach 2 MOA. The former technology is more complicated and expensive than red dot sights.


Two MOAs sound not a problem, right? But things can get tricky if the sight goes with a magnifier.

Reflex Sight Combined With A Magnifier


As we mentioned before, a red dot sight is a non-magnifying optic. Therefore, if you need precise aiming at long distances, a red dot sight is not enough. 


Fortunately, magnifiers are designed to compensate for this. 

You can mount a 2x magnifier behind a red dot sight. In this way, you can get a magnified image. 


Suppose that if you need to achieve precise shooting, a magnifier is a good help. If you use a 3x magnifier, a 2 MOA red dot sight will become a 6 MOA dot, which will obscure the target and make it hard to ensure shoot precision.


In this case, a holographic sight with a smaller dot size is a better choice. 

Red Dot Sight with a Magnifier

5 Factors You Should Consider When Choosing a Red Dot Sight


Before purchasing a red dot sight, you have to choose between various characteristics, such as dot size, reticles, dot color, battery life, and functions. What’s the difference between them? Now, let’s take a look at these features.

Reflex Sight Dot Size


Red dot sight dot size is also worth considering. It is estimated that a 4 MOA Dot reflex sight can cover about 4.15 inches at a distance of 100 yards. And 2 MOA dots can cover 2 inches at 100 yards away.


The larger the dot size, the more target it will obscure.

In general, the closer the shooting distance, the larger the dot most people prefer.

What’s the popular dot size of a reflex sight?

The most common reticles used today in red dot sights, both for handguns and rifles, are small dots covering 2 to 5 MOA. A large MOA size can help acquire the target quickly, and it is commonly used in competition shooting.



Red Dot Sight Multi Reticles


In addition to dot size, reticle patterns are also varied. Some red dot sight manufacturers design multi-reticle red dot sights. The multi-reticle pattern includes a simple sot, circle, and circle with a dot. The circle pattern helps you acquire your target quickly and the simple dot improves accuracy.


Dot Color


Although we are accustomed to calling it a red dot sight, it also comes in other colors.

Yes, a green dot sight is also common on the market. 

Why was the green dot sight invented?

Because red dot sights are difficult for people who suffer from astigmatism,

The brighter the red dot, the astigmatism is more serious. As a result, they will see a divergent red dot and can’t achieve precise aiming. 

Therefore, a green dot sight is also indispensable.

Battery Life


Most red-dot sights on the market can last for 50,000 hours. But the battery life decreased when the red dot became the green dot.

Green dots consume more power than red LEDs.


Functions Help Extend Battery Life


Nowadays, many red dot sight manufacturers have designed red dot sight with multiple functions, such as solar power and auto shut-off.

Solar power functions enable you to use a red sight even without a battery when the sight is exposed to light. Those with solar power functions can even be used for as long as 80,000 hours.

The auto shut-off function, also known as a motion sensor or shake awake, can automatically sense motion and turn itself on instantly. 

Auto shutdown red dot sight victoptic

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