One of the best ways of making the life of a shooter simpler is through the use of a red dot sight. A red dot sight is a non-magnified, illuminated sight for your gun that uses a red dot to aim at the target. The red dot is generated by an LED or a laser diode. Initially, the red dot sights were introduced as tools for use on battlefields. Today, red dot sights have transformed into compact, lightweight and durable optical tools.
A red dot sight makes it very easy to focus on a target while shooting. The shooter simply needs to place the red dot on the target and pull the trigger. There is no need to align the sight with the target for a perfect aim. Whenever you look through a red dot sight regardless of the viewing angle, the red dot has the ability to move and cover the target flawlessly. This auto-correcting mechanism of a red dot sight enables you to keep both your eyes open while aiming and shooting which results in greater accuracy due to an increased awareness of your surroundings. This also results in a faster target acquisition and an accurate aim for the shooter. A red dot sight provides a wider field of view as well, making it easy to shoot from a greater distance. Another advantage of a red dot sight is that it works well even in low light conditions.
What to look for in a red dot sight?
Let us help you sift through some of the factors you need to consider while purchasing the best red dot sight for your gun.
Red dot sights provide two types of projections namely, Holographic and Reflex sights. A Holographic projection uses a laser diode light to create a holographic red dot which is projected onto the viewing window. Also, the sight is illuminated from the front of the lens. In comparison, a Reflex projection uses an LED light which is projected onto the viewing window and the sight is illuminated from behind the lens.
Reticle, more popularly known as the Red Dot is used to align the gun with the target as effectively as possible. It is designed to be illuminated so that a shooter can pinpoint a target even in low light conditions. A reticle comes in different styles varying in terms of color and pattern. The patterns include a single dot, a bullseye pattern or even crosshairs. The color of the reticle could be red or green. The size of the reticle can also be adjusted based on the needs of the shooter. A bigger dot results in faster targeting.
The housing configuration of a red dot sight comes in two different styles namely, Tube style and Open style. The Tube style is more traditional and allows the shooter to apply filters and protective covers to the optical lens. This makes it easier for the shooter to see the red dot even in bright sunlight. On the other hand, Open style is not as traditional or classic and has very minimal components to it, including a source of light and an objective window. With an open style configuration, filters cannot be used to improve the overall viewing experience.
The Battery life of a red dot sight is an extremely important factor. You need to be sure that the reticle will work whenever and wherever it is needed. A red dot sight with a short battery life may give up on you without a moment’s notice and you may be left abandoned while making the final aim at the target. Without the reticle, target acquisition becomes difficult and less accurate. A good red dot sight should be able to operate for at least a thousand hours before giving in. To ensure an extended battery life, make sure to turn the sight off when not in use. Also, you need to be aware of the fact that reflex sights, using LEDs consume much less energy as compared to their holographic counterparts.
Compatibility with your gun
A red dot sight needs to be mounted on a gun for it to be used accurately. But not all sights are well-suited for all types of guns. A specific red dot sight is designed to be mounted over a certain type of gun. Hence, make sure that the red dot sight you wish to purchase is compatible with your gun.
Before purchasing a red dot sight, make sure that its size is appropriate for your gun. This is necessary because the overall weight of the gun will be affected by the weight of the sight mounted over it. Hence, you need to ensure that the weight is suitable for you to comfortably hold your gun even with the sight mounted on top of it.
Here is a list of some of the best and most popular red dot sights available in the market currently.
Top 6 Best Red Dot Sights 2018
The Vortex Optics SPARC 2 MOA Red Dot Sight is an extremely sturdy and durable sight that has a well-built structure. This red dot sight provides an array of exceptional features at a pocket-friendly price. It is a lightweight model that can be easily mounted atop your gun without increasing its overall weight.
The biggest advantage of this red dot sight by Vortex Optics is its durability. This red dot sight has been built to impress and can last for a long period of time. You don’t need to worry about buying another sight for several years, to say the least. The battery life of this red dot sight has been known to last for a whopping 5000 hours at minimum brightness. It comes with a battery preservation feature is known as the six-hour auto shut down. This helps in prolonging the battery life.
The Vortex SPARC 2 MOA Red Dot Sight can be easily adjusted in terms of color, pattern, shape, and illumination of the reticle. It also employs fully multicoated lenses for a better optical performance. This red dot sight has waterproof optics to make it waterproof, dustproof and fog proof as well. Also, it is parallax free which makes for a much faster target acquisition and shooting process while using both your eyes.
- Easy Minute of Angle (MOA) adjustment
- 22 mm eye relief
- Extremely Durable
- Parallax Adjustment
- Not compatible with night vision
- Low performance in poor lighting
- Coating reduces brightness
The Aimpoint PRO Patrol Rifle Optic is a new age red dot sight with a blend of modern technology and never before seen features incorporated into a single unit. This sight is built to maximize the optical performance and battery life while keeping the price affordable. This red dot sight is quite durable and requires a change of battery only after about 3-4 years which is proof of its longevity and durability.
The front lens of the Aimpoint PRO red dot sight includes a band-pass coating which ensures its compatibility with most of the night vision gear and allows it to be useful even in dark settings. It also comes with a torque-limiting twist knob that helps in optimizing the pressure places on the rail. It also has a mount with a removable spacer employed for the same purpose. Both the front and back lenses are set back slightly from the edge to safeguard the sight from scratches, fingerprints and impact damage.
This red dot sight is built with a 30 mm, hard, anodized tube for optimum efficiency. It also offers a two-minute red dot angle for accurate target engagement regardless of the distance.
- Extremely durable
- Compatible with night vision gear
- Exceptional low light performance
- Suitable for professional shooters
- Huge knob
The Sightmark Ultra Shot Pro Spec Sight NV QD is a high-end red dot sight with high-quality optical components in use. If you are looking for great optical performance at a cost-effective price, this sight is definitely the one for you. An important aspect is the double pane lens which is used to reduce the parallax. This red dot sight comes with four different reticle patterns which make this sight a highly customizable model. It also provides you with an exceptional option of mounting it in front of a night vision monocular to establish a co-witness sight setup.
This red dot sight includes a removable rail mounting system for faster target acquisition along with an internal interlocking system that reduces the need for frequent readjustments. This sight is surely a durable model and holds up pretty well in all kinds of situations and environments. To achieve this level of durability, it employs an aluminum frame with a metal shield. It can be considered as an aesthetically advanced product with a crisp and wide field of view, and exceptional recoil resistance.
- Exceptional optical performance
- Double pane lens for reduced parallax
- Aesthetically advanced with 4 reticle patterns
- Remarkably durable
- The integrated laser is unnecessary
Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight is an extremely lightweight and durable sight that ensures great optical quality. It makes use of multicoated lenses wherein the coating has a high contrast and is quite bright to ensure that the target is isolated in any type of lighting. This red dot sight also incorporates a parallax free design which can adjust to your eyes so that you can easily aim and shoot with both eyes open.
This Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 sight also possesses the ability to adjust the size and illumination of the red dot reticle with three different patterns. It is also able to preserve the battery life and prolong it. Additionally, this sight is waterproof, fog proof, dust proof and shock proof which makes it ideal for all kinds of rugged and adventurous outdoor excursions.
- Clear reticle
- Great price
- Extremely accurate
- Good recoil tolerance
- Great optical performance
- Limited red dot brightness
- Limited dot intensity
The Burris Fastfire III Sight is one of the most versatile red dot sight currently available in the market. It has been built to withstand rugged and harsh outdoor conditions for a long period of time. This Picatinny Mounted Red Dot Sight includes a 3 Minute of Angle (MOA) red dot reticle that can easily be adjusted to three different brightness settings. It also employs an automatic brightness adjustment setting that duly adjusts to the current lighting conditions. Elevation adjustment upgrades are also available with this sight.
The Burris Fastfire III Sight also comes with waterproof and shockproof features to enhance its existing charm. Another feature adding to the convenience of using this sight is the battery access. The batteries are located on top of the sight so that the whole red dot sight may not be dislodged to replace worn out batteries. Also, a low battery indicator makes you aware of the current battery situation and enables you to be fully prepared for your next outdoor adventure.
This red dot sight is considered to be the most versatile sight because it can be mounted on top of a wide range of firearms including shotguns, handguns, rifles, etc.
- Extremely Versatile
- Value for money
- Perfect alignment
- Impressive Recoil tolerance
- Auto brightness setting
- Small sized buttons for power and brightness adjustment
The Trijicon RMR 6.5 MOA Red Dot Sight is a solid performer that ensures great optical quality and is worth its price. Though it is slightly on the higher side in terms of cost, you can be sure to experience everything that you pay for. If you are a person who will be profoundly relying on the red dot sight for greater accuracy while shooting, and be using it for long durations at a stretch, this sight delivers just what you have been looking for. The durability cannot be questioned and the performance is above par.
This red dot sight by Trijicon has a distinctive physical appearance which has been patented. Furthermore, this sight is not just distinctive in terms of its appearance but also its functional features. The lens used in it is fully multicoated as expected. It also comes with little or no parallax which is always a desired feature. It incorporates a quick target locking feature into the design which helps even in the worst conditions. The auto brightness adjustment feature adds to its charm.
The body for this red dot sight remains lightweight due to the use of aluminum which also makes it extremely durable. This sight has good recoil tolerance and can easily handle the recoil of a rifle or even a shotgun. In conclusion, this red dot sight is suitable for you if you are a practical gun user looking for high-end optics and great results worthy of the money you spend.
- Super bright light setting
- Auto brightness adjust feature
- Quick target acquisition and deployment
- Two night-vision modes
- Practical 6.5 Minute of Angle (MOA)
- Slightly expensive
- Change of battery requires you to re-sight
Now that you are aware of what a red dot sight is, the factors you need to consider while purchasing it, along with some of the most popular models available in the market, it should be easy for you to figure out the right model for yourself. Also, you need to be aware of your needs and the actual purpose of using a red dot sight before making a decision about which one to buy. The best red dot sight is the one that suits your specific requirements, is compatible with your gun and fits right into your budget.