For the past few decades, when we say “reflex sight”, we usually refer to “red dot sight” for most of the time, but since there is growing popularity of green dot sights on the market, things are becoming a little different.
With the advent of the aiming device market, a lot of options are available for all shooting applications. However, there seems to be too many options that make many novice shooters reeling. Nowadays, if you are planning to buy a red dot sight for your airsoft pistol, besides the applications, price, material, you have to make another decision; red dot or green dot?
In this article, we will compare red dots and green dots in 3 aspects: how they work in a certain shooting environment, are they friendly to shooters with astigmatism problem, and whether they are suitable to use with a night vision device, so to help you decide which sight is the best for you.
How do red dot sight and green dot sight work in a certain shooting environment?
For example, if you are shooting in the woods or against a green background, would you choose the red dot sight or the green dot sight?
The answer is quite clear, most shooters will go for the red dot sight because the environment would wash out the green dot.
A red dot sight has a richer color pickup than a green sight. As you can see in Picture 1, when you use a red dot sight on a green background, you will see it much faster; however, the green dot will blend into the background and it won’t be as easy to shoot the target quickly.
Therefore, a red dot scope would be more practical for shooting with a green background, such as hunting.
Red dot or green dot, which is more friendly to shooters with astigmatism problem?
For people with astigmatism problems, the stop light always looks like a blurred and smeared mass of red light. The same thing happens with a red dot sight. Picture 2 show how people with astigmatism problem see through a red dot scope.
The reflex sights themselves are very bright, and the red color can put extra pressure on your eyes. As you can see in the above picture, a pistol owner with astigmatism may find red dot sights functionally useless.
However, a green dot sight can be an alternative option for users to minimize the effects of astigmatism in most scenarios. Because the red rays of light have a very high wavelength and a small frequency, so the red dot can strike your eye fast and accelerate your speed of target acquisition, but it can strain your eyes if targeting for a long period of time; the green color is less irritating to the human eye, allowing the human eye to see more clearly.
Red dot or green dot, which is more suitable to use with a night vision device?
Picture 3 is a good example, you can see that red has a sharp contrast with dark colors like blue or black, at night or in a low-light environment the red dot is very visible. However, in a bright environment, the visibility of red dot would be greatly reduced, so the red dot would be too weak to acquire targets.
The green dot can sometimes work with night vision, but it depends on different devices. Sometimes if your night vision device has ANVIS (Aviator’s Night Vision Imaging System) lenses, then the green dot wouldn’t show up at all. So to combine the green dot with night vision, you have to check with the manufacturer first and find out if it works.
A quick summary: Green Dot Vs Red Dot
The pros of red dot sights:
They can meet most shooting scenarios, good for fast target acquisition and low light shooting, they are also more suitable for night vision;
The cons of red dot sights:
In bright light, it is difficult for the red dot to acquire targets, and they are not recommended for shooters with astigmatism.
The pros of green dot sights:
The green dot is easier to see in daylight and more astigmatism-friendly.
The cons of green dot sights:
The green sight is not recommended for the green-background environment and night vision devices.