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.

Prism sights

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.

Reflex sights

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.

Holographic sights

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 a 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.

Christopher Joseph
Christopher Joseph
Joseph is a 39 years old blogger from United State. He is an outdoor enthusiast and blogging from last 4 years. Read more about him


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