Obtaining a firearm is one of the biggest purchases that one can make. There are some tweaks and upgrades that can be made on it. One of the many accessories that you can get is a red dot sight. There’s plenty of information on the subject matter. This article is meant to cipher through all that information and provide you with an easy guide to help you when making your purchase of the best red dot sight.
Understanding! What is the best red dot sight and what it does?
The Red Dot Sight is an optical device that is used to help improve your accuracy and shot. It makes shooting easier as it provides a red dot that the shooter can use to aim at the target and make sure that they make the right shot. What you need to understand is that this accessory is a bit hard to use. It’s not as easy as just aiming and shooting.
There’s a lot more at play. There are some settings, adjustments and other factors that need to be considered when using it or getting one. The red dot sight normally uses non-magnifying reflectors to display the dot that you see through the lens. Some sights (the more advanced ones) use additional lenses to help eliminate the problem of parallax that plagues many sights. Now that you know about red dot sights let’s look at the types of red dot sights.
Summary of Contents
- 1 Understanding! What is the best red dot sight and what it does?
- 2 Different types of red dot sights
- 3 The Tube effect
- 4 Why you should use the best red dot sight?
- 5 Red Dot Sight Vs Magnification scope
- 6 Our Recommend Top 5 best red dot sight 2019
- 6.1 Best red dot sight for the money – Vortex red dot review (Our Top Pick)
- 6.2 Best Adjustable red dot sight – Trijicon red dot review
- 6.3 Waterproof red dot sight – Aimpoint carbine optic review
- 6.4 Best cheap red dot sight – Bushnell trophy red dot review
- 6.5 Best ar red dot – Holosun red dot review
- 7 What Is a Red Dot Sight?
- 8 How to Use a Red Dot Sight?
- 9 Difference Between Red Dot and Reflex Sight
Different types of red dot sights
There are basically two types of red dot sights. Electronic sights and battery free sights. Electronic sights are the modern variety and have gotten better with time. These sights provide a number of features compared to their counterparts and the more expensive ones can last for a long time without need of charge.
The other kind of sight is a battery free sight. They are also known as reflex sights and don’t have any form of electronics/wires on them. This might be a problem as issues such as lighting can’t be adjusted on these kinds of sights. It’s important to note that its used of tritium does help in providing low light capability. There are some things you need to know if you are to use these sights. One of these things is the tube effect. Let’s look into that further.
The Tube effect
This effect might occur as a problem for some users of the red dot sight. It tends to occur when you place your eyes too close to the sight. This effect would normally cause some part of the image to appear blocked as you look through the lens. The good news is that there are some corrections measures to avoid this problem.
Going for the high-end sights will usually help reduce this problem as they tend to be free of parallax issues after a certain given distance. If this is not a choice for you, then you can try to ensure that you position your eyes farther from the sight.
If you can also try to get a sight with no tube or a short tube to help reduce/minimize this problem. This is definitely a drawback that you’ll experience, but let’s also look at some of the advantages of using a red dot sight.
Why you should use the best red dot sight?
There are some reasons as to why you should use a red dot sight on your fire arm. They are as follows:
High quality red dot sight
Good performance – The best red dot sight offers an advantage of providing better performance when compared to optical scopes in the lower price range. You don’t need to spend much on this accessory and you can still expect for it to serve you well. This is a different story when you look at optical scopes at the same range.
Safety – This again is in comparison to say sights that use holographic technology. The afore mentioned sights can be very damaging to the eye if the lens was to ever crack. This is not a problem you can expect to experience with red dot sights. Although, for safety shooting glasses are necessary equipment.
Lightweight red dot sight
Light weight – The red dot sight tend to be made out of aluminum alloy or aluminum. The material used in its construction has helped reduce the weight of the accessory in comparison to scopes. The sights are made with weight optimization in mind.
Does red dot sight increase accuracy?
Better target acquisition and accuracy – This is the more obvious reason as to why you should use the sight. The red dot sight when used properly will help you acquire targets quicker. On top of that, your accuracy improves when using this sight properly, which is a plus.
Red Dot Sight Vs Magnification scope
The final question that you might be asking yourself is “what should I go for; a magnification scope or a red dot sight?”. The answer to this question is that it depends with your use and personal preference as well. With the best red dot sight, you get a lighter product that you’ll get in good quality without paying too much.
This is not the case with a magnification scope, but what you get is some extra zoom capability. It has to be pointed out that if you’re a fan of red dot sights, then using a magnifier will help add some zoom to the sight.
It will make the setup bulkier though.
Our Recommend Top 5 best red dot sight 2019
Now that you know all there is to know about red dot sights. Here’s what we consider to be the top red dot sight in the market:
Best red dot sight for the money – Vortex red dot review (Our Top Pick)
This has to be one of the best red dot sight in the market. The SPARC (Speed Point Aiming for Rapid Combat) feature caught my eye the most as it has allowed for quick aiming and target acquisition. It does this via the use of easily accessible power controls that allow for quick adjustments.
The sight is also lightweight making it great to use when mounted on the gun. Speaking of guns, this sight from Vortex offers a multi height mount system that makes it feel right at home on a shot gun or AR-15.
Vortex red dot main Features:
Thanks to the multi-height mount system, the sight can be used on almost any gun. It feels right at home when mounted and doesn’t add much to the weight due to its light weight. It also can mount on the standard weaver or picatinny bases which is also great.
- SPARC feature
SPARC stands for Speed Point Aiming for Rapid Combat, I personally like this feature on this sight as it makes target acquisition faster. This feature just basically means that the sight has been optimized for quick target acquisition. This is done by making the power controls easily accessible and quick to adjust among many other things.
- It has an element proof aluminium build
The single body build of the sight makes it durable and can be used in almost any environment. It’s also O-sealed, so fog and water can’t affect the site.
- It’s lightweight and compact.
- Vortex red dot is versatile.
- It’s easy to use.
- The dot might get blurry if you focus on staring at it directly.
Personally, I think that this red dot sight from Vortex is awesome. It does have its cons, but the pros are a lot greater. The SPARC system is awesome and the other features such as the external body of the red dot sight not reflecting thus reducing glare just shows how much attention to detail was put in the making of this sight.
Best Adjustable red dot sight – Trijicon red dot review
This particular sight is one of three models form this company. It’s a battery powered sight that offers right brightness settings in its illuminated reticle. I feel that this device is unique in 2 ways. In that it can be powered off, but it was designed with the idea that it would be kept on indefinitely. It is the best red dot sight for pistol.
The next thing is the design of the sight. It has been designed with an arc so as to increase its durability. The logic being that the design would make the sight take less impact from a shot thus lasting longer.
Trijicon red dot main Features:
- It has adjustable brightness
This sight from Trijicon does come with a 6.5 MOA LED. This LED does offer the user 8 adjustable brightness settings. It has to be pointed out that the brightness mode and controls are also automatic.
- Easily Accessible Buttons
The sight battery was designed to be used in definitely so, there are no witches or levers that need to be activated. Only buttons that are easy to reach and are positioned to be easily accessible when needed.
- Unique Housing Shape
This housing shape has been patented by the company. It’s not the usual shape that you’ll find on most sights. The logic behind the arc shape on the sight is that the device will take less damage when being used to fire shots. This, in turn, makes the sight durable and can make it last longer.
- It has auto brightness.
- Its durable.
- The LED is decent.
- It’s easy to use.
- The price is a but high.
I’d advise this sight for people that are starting to use sights and have no idea how they work. The sight is easy to use as it doesn’t have many levers or buttons to use thanks to its design and battery. The price set by Trijicon might be up the scale for some, but you’re getting quality and ease when using the sight.
Waterproof red dot sight – Aimpoint carbine optic review
It can be abbreviated as ACO, this sight has been designed with the modern sporting rifle owner in mind. The company, Aimpoint Optics have been known for producing some amazing sights that are normally out of price range for many people.
Enter the ACO sight, a budget sight that’s meant to open the market for new users that aren’t willing to spend much in the market. Here are some features that might attract some users:
Aimpoint carbine red dot main Features:
- Its waterproof
This seems to be the standard with many sights that are in the market currently. This sight form Aimpoint is waterproof and thus can be used in almost any environment. It should be pointed out that it’s better than the Aimpoint PRO in this respect.
- It’s built on aluminium housing and has non-reflective coating
The housing on this sight is aluminium which makes it durable as well as lightweight. On top of that, the coating on the sight is non-reflective, so no or minimal glare shall be experienced when using the sight.
- It has 9 different brightness settings
You could use these brightness settings to improve the visuals as you use the site. You have 9 different settings to choose from. This gives you a wider range and allows you to use the site in different light conditions.
- The price is good.
- It’s easy to use and sight in.
- It’s bright and clear during daytime.
- The mount is a bit disappointing and doesn’t have lens covers.
The Aimpoint ACO is a good sight for its price. If you’re on a budget, then go for this one rather than the PRO. With that said, the price difference between the two isn’t that high and with just a small addition of money, you can go for the PRO that offers more and improved features than this one. The problem is that this sight is always compared to the Aimpoint PRO which is better than this one.
Best cheap red dot sight – Bushnell trophy red dot review
Here we have a 3 MOA Dot reticle from Bushnell. Bushnell is one of the bets optics maker in the market today and this device is part of their line of affordable, low cost but functional red dot sights. This sight is definitely different form other sights in the market as it offers an Amber bright high contrast lens that helps with aiming.On top of that, it also has a parallax free setting that also makes target acquisition easier and faster. Let’s have a look at some of these settings. It is the best red dot sight for the money.
Bushnell trophy red dot main Features:
- It has multi-coated optics and amber bright lens coating
These two features both help with your target acquisition and aiming as well. The multi-coated lens makes it so that you can see through the site and use it during low light conditions. In addition, the amber bright lens coating makes it so that the visuals are at their best and you can see your target clearly.
- It’s water/fog and shock proof
This is kind of a common feature with many sights in recent times. The Bushnell Trophy red dot sight is also fog, water and chock proof. This makes it durable and possible to use in different weather conditions.
- It has unlimited eye relief and a parallax setting
The eye relief on this device is unlimited thus allowing you to keep both eyes open as you use it. This ensures that you’re more aware of your surrounding environment. In addition, the parallax free setting does ensure that your aim is perfect and that there are no distortions.
- It’s affordable.
- Bushnell trophy red dot is durable.
- It’s great for beginners.
- Power Knob is hard to move.
This site for Bushnell is great for beginners who wish to have a sight, but don’t want to spend a lot of money on one. The power knob was intentionally made hard to move so as to make it harder to unintentionally turn off the sight. Otherwise, the sight is good and efficient. Of course, it doesn’t rank higher because in retrospect, it doesn’t match up with the high-end sights in every respect. Be it quality or efficiency. Bushnell trophy is the top rated red dot sight in our list.
Best ar red dot – Holosun red dot review
Here we have a micro red dot sight frim a relatively new company. I say relatively new because I compared it to companies like Aimpoint that have been in the market for quite some time. Nonetheless, this sight from Holosun is meant to be a budget site that offers great performance as well as have a good design.
I have to say it does meet the design aspect as it does look aesthetic out of the box. When it comes to performance, we first need to look at the features, which are as follows:
Holosun red dot main Features:
- Its parallax free
The parallax setting on this device is a definite plus as it ensures better aim while using the device. The moment the dot hits the target, you know you’re on the right spot.
- It has automatic shut off and turn on function
The sight can shut off after eight hours of no use to save battery life. The turn on function works via the use of motion sensors. These sensors make the sight automatically turn on if there is any movement.
- It’s fully waterproof
Like every other sight in the market. This site is waterproof and can be used in wet/foggy environments.
- It has 12 brightness settings including 3-night vision settings
The sight is versatile in terms of its brightness settings as it offers night vision settings as well. The settings allow you to get clear visuals, be it at night or during the day.
- It has a sleek design.
- This red dot easy to use.
- Holosun red dot has motion sensors for the shut down and turn on mode that work fine.
- It’s durable.
- It’s not compatible with many weapons. The mounting provided limits your options.
This red dot sight is great and offers some great features. It is the best red dot sight for shotgun. The only issue is, it still doesn’t compare to some of the higher end sights in the market. If you’re on a budget, then this sight still offers great features that you’ll find pretty useful.
What Is a Red Dot Sight?
If you have played Call of Duty or Battlefield video games, then you definitely know what red dot sights are. Red dot sights help shooters, police, law enforcers, and the military to accurately hit their target. They are used on handguns, shotguns, ARs, crossbars, and on many other devices. In addition, red dot sights are used in cameras and telescopes, too. But with so many best red dot sight on the market, it is important that you select a targeting device that meets your needs.
Before we proceed, let’s define what’s a red dot sight? A red dot sight is a normal classification for a kind of non-magnifying reflector sights for firearms and devices that need aiming, which offers the user with an aimpoint in the type of an illuminated red dot. A normal red dot sight utilizes a red light-emitting diode at the focus of collimating optics which creates a dot style illuminated reticle that remains in alignment with the weapon the sight is connected to no matter the position of the eye.
History of red dot sights
In 1974, the red dot sight was discovered in Swedish. A group of Swedish entrepreneurs began researching different ways to better shooting accuracy. They just had one goal in mind – to come up with a sighting technology that would enable shooters to get their target fast and to hit moving targets in different weather and lighting conditions on a consistent and accurate basis.
This technology has greatly changed the hunting and shooting field. Things like birds flying in the air or a flying aero plane can be taken with the help of this technology. Since the invention of this technology, the red dot sight has continued to evolve and now there are several firms that offer it on the market. Red dot signs are usually utilized by hunters, law enforcers, and marksmen.
Instead of using iron sights, you can use red dot sights which are faster, easier to use, and you will at the same time keep your natural view of the target and its environment.
How to Use a Red Dot Sight?
Red dot sights have changed the way people hunt and shoot. This excellent technology combines the advantages of iron sights and rifle scopes. The red dot sight provides a sighting system that is better and unique than any other sighting system. It is suitable for combat, hunting, shooting competition, and photographing of birds and moving objects. With different types of red dot sights on the market, it is crucial to select a quality and accurate device.
If you want to increase your shooting effectiveness, you should know how to use a red dot sight. Before red dot sights become popular, people heavily relied on iron sights for aiming accurately at their target. But after discovering how effective and precise red dot sights are, they have been widely embraced by the military and many other people.
In this post, we’ve clearly indicated how to effectively utilize the red dot sight. Read on to know how…
How to accurately aim using a red dot sight
When the weapon is on safe at the ready, single out and focus on a target. Keep both eyes open as you bring the weapon up to the firing position. The moment the sight emerges in front of the eyes, a red dot will come out in front of the eyes. When the red dot reaches the point of aim, switch to fire and engage the target. Ensure that both eyes are open and the focus never moves away from the target. Also, try to buy the best red dot sight according to our list to improve accuracy.
During use, constantly keep the reticle brightness changed as low as possible for lighting conditions. As a matter of fact, this will provide a clearer sight image and obscure the target less. The red dot sight comes with a knob. When in the dark, turn the knob to low, and while in snow or sunlight, turn it to high. For those who intend to use the sighting system at night, you will require an optic that has lower intensity settings for night vision.
How to zero
Zeroing a red dot sight is similar to zeroing any rifle scope, with the additional process of zeroing back-up iron sights just in case you have them. If you’ve a bore sighted weapon on the range, you should either get rid of the optic if need be or sighting through it, zero the iron sights. When zeroing the iron sights, leave the optic switched off and ignore it. The moment the iron sights are zeroed, flip them down, if possible. Adjust the optic on and zero according the manufacturer’s guidelines. At the time of zeroing the reflex sight totally ignore the iron sights, other than to utilize to index the optic if you aren’t bore sighting. They are actually two different sighting systems and are not connected with one another. The iron sights are not zeroed to the dot and the dot is not zeroed to the iron sights.
One thing you should be aware of when using red dot sights is that it is accurate for short ranges and not long range shooting. It is believed that reflex sights loose all accuracy when applied for targets over 100 metres away. But aiming is quicker with red dot sights than with iron sights. The user of the sighting system doesn’t need to alter his focus from the target to the front sight and align the sights with one another and the target.
Difference Between Red Dot and Reflex Sight
Beginners are usually confused about the red dot sight and reflex sight. As a matter of fact, the red dot sight is a general term used to refer to all types of electronic sights. But there are different types of sights that use different type of dot instead of the red one such as green dots or similar electronic images, like crosshair, as an aiming point.
The red dot sight is also used to refer to a type of non-magnified sight with illuminated red ‘dot’ recticle. To make things simple, red dot sights should be referred to as electronic sights. In this post, we have simplified things for beginners and people who confuse between the red dot sight and reflex sight.
Electronic sights are non-magnifying, they are as well parallax free, which implies that the aiming point will be in the same position regardless of how or what angle you look through the sight. With such points, this means that electronic sights generally allow for much faster target acquisition and greater accuracy, and one of the major reasons they are becoming more and more popular with hunters and competitive shooters.
To clearly differentiate between red dot sights and reflex sights, it is important to know all the different types of electronic sights which are prismatic sights, reflex sights, laser sights and holographic sights. Some feature a red dot aiming point while others have a green aim. Also, you should know their benefits and setbacks. From the above types of electronic sights or red dot sights, it is clear that a reflex sight is a type of red dot sight. This is very important to note so that you don’t confuse them.
To begin with, a prism sight is a short, tube-style optic. Prism sight utilizes a prism to focus the image you see down the scope. Actually, a prism scope is much smaller than the traditional rifle scope. One of the benefits of using a prism sight is that they have a small magnification and they allow illuminated reticles. Its shortcoming is that it has a smaller eye relief since your eye has to be closer to the optic for it to pick up a great sight image. Also, a good number of prism sights are more costly than reflex sights. But if you’re a distant shooter, this is the best electronic sighting system for you.
On the other hand, unlike the prism sight, Reflex sights use a lens that operates somehow in a similar way to a mirror. The aiming point is projected forward onto a lens, which in return reflects it back and enables the user to see the red dot. This form of reflex sight is usually referred to as an exposed reflex sight and has a very distinct appearance. The second type of reflex is tube shaped. It normally has two different lenses and the aiming point is projected forward from the rear lens to the forward one. In addition, the beam of the light this type of reflex sight is contained inside the tube. Instead of a powered beam, it can as well use tritium. The huge advantage of the reflex sight over other types is that it doesn’t have eye relief. So, you can position your head in any direction.
Furthermore, reflex sights are less costly than prism sights. The only shortcoming that they have is that they are not magnified. But they are as well great for use on different weapons such as for hunting, home use or to provide self defense.
These are unique and different from prism and reflex sights. Typically, a holographic sight uses picture of rectile that is in between glass layers. There is only just one brand that offers holographic sights and that is EOTech. This is because they have the patent rights. In addition, the holographic sight features a rectangular field of view and a really small rectile for aiming, which provides more precise shooting. Their advantage is that they are extremely accurate and really simple to use. Also, they enable the user shoot with both eyes open. The only shortcoming of this electronic sight is that it is very costly.
As seen from the above information, a reflex sight is another form of red dot sight or electronic sight. When choosing the best red dot sight, ensure that you pick a type that meets your needs. For accurate shorting, a holographic sight is the best. But if you want to shoot long doistances, the prism sight is the most ideal. And finally, the reflex sight is the best for hunting and self defense. In addition, reflex sights are the most common and can be found almost everywhere. They are also the cheapest.
Hope you’ve found this post to be helpful and guided you on how to choose your next electronic sight.
The above-mentioned sights are what I’ve found to be some of the best red dot sight in the market today. There are some options for those on a budget and they are good options to say the least. Make sure you read the content before that to make you help an informed decision on what sight to get.