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If someone told us there’s a list of the best item combinations in the world, we’re pretty sure the PB&J would come first, and then the shotgun and sighting device a close second. And maybe that’s still up in the air because some people think it should be the other way round.
Serious though, red dot sighting devices are a must-have, if you’re a deer hunter looking to boost your level of accuracy out there. And to ensure you go for the best of the best, we compiled a list of what we think are the best red dot sights for shotgun deer hunting in 2021. Are you excited to find out what our top pick is? Here we go…
|Best Overall||MidTen 2MOA Micro Red Dot Sight||
|Best Value||Pinty Tactical 1x40mm Reflex Red Green Dot Sight||
|Premium Choice||Vortex Optics Crossfire Red Dot Sight||
|Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight||
|OTW RS-25 1x22x33mm Multiple Reticle Red Dot Sight||
It’s the primus inter pares among the best red shot sights designed for shotgun deer hunting. To be completely, you’ll never go wrong with this device, as it allows for more accuracy and precision.
MidTen 2MOA Micro Red Dot Sight is one of those red dot design models that can be used with both eyes open—an important feature, if you’re also looking for comfortability as well.
“What was the logic behind the unlimited eye relief provided?”
Well, here’s the thing about red dot sights. They often do try to place targets in line with their reticles, on the same optical plane. Now, the point of all that is to allow for a single point of focus, which will in turn ensure you and every other user experiences a faster target acquisition. That’s why MidTen thought it was wise to give it unlimited eye relief.
It’s lens won’t disappoint you either. This feature was definitely designed for war, owing to the fact that it’s scratch resistant, facilitates light transmission even in ambient conditions, and enhances image clarity. How’s that possible? We don’t know, but we’re sure the multi coated layers incorporated into it might have all the answers that you need.
The two height mount options were necessary, if you ask us. The Low and Lower 1/3 Co-Witness offers versatility, since it lends its functionality on any platform. The other facet that makes it the best in the market is the dependability and durability aspect. We’ll not go heavy on the detail because that’s self-explanatory.
Its construct material is aluminum, and it comes with a matte black anodized finish. This means it’s not only scratchproof, but also light and shockproof. Moreover, the nitrogen and o-ring sealed features are the reason why it doesn’t fog, and the multi-intensity levels of brightness feature is why it’s the most preferred sight for users looking for optimal visibility.
What didn’t we like? How fast the batteries drained out. Something has to be done about that.
The Pinty Tactical 1x40mm Reflex Red Green Dot Sight is the type of sight that you’d typically go for, if you’re looking for the best red dot sight for shotgun deer hunting for the money. Just take a look at all those features. It literally has almost everything that you’d dream of in a red dot sight, with a price that isn’t exaggerated.
First off, it gives you options. You can use it with a standard 20mm Weaver or Picatinny rails. Secondly, the Windage and elevation adjustments are on point. Adjusting those knobs is so easy, the clicks are very audible, and it features a high- and low-profile quick release mount.
Regarding its construction, it’s aluminium-alloy. So, you know you’ll be shooting with a device that won’t make you feel like you’re holding a baseball bat. Or worse yet, a brick. Also, thanks to this solid metal construction, the Pinty Tactical 1x40mm Reflex Red Green Dot Sight is shockproof and unsurprisingly durable.
Is the brightness adjustable? Absolutely. You’ll be getting a 5-level brightness control, and a green or red dual illuminated dot reticle. Just so you know, there’s no doubt in our minds as to whether it will buckle under harsh weather, since it’s notoriously known for recording exceptional scores in all conditions.
We’ll just credit that performance to the multi-coated lens feature as well, seeing as they’re the second reason why the sight is fog and waterproof.
Do we have flaws here? Yes, we do.
We don’t know why it didn’t come with batteries or an instruction manual for users who are still learning how to use these types of sights. Our community is a welcoming community, so we felt those newbies were being secluded. That is why it’s second on this list.
This lightweight optic came in third because it’s going to cost you an arm and leg—And we’re not even kidding. That price tag is unreasonably high, and that’s a turn off because as much as we hate to admit it, most shooters only think of the price factor when shopping for these devices.
Moving along, the Vortex Optics Crossfire Red Dot Sight is for sure a state-of-the-art equipment. It’s been designed with an updated crossfire that ensures you get that simple point of aim that many users don’t really get from other types of reticles, and none of the frills.
We lost count of the number of times that we’ve been disappointed by these so-called ‘hi-tech equipment’. The truth is, nearly all of them drain out their power cells fast—probably even faster than the speed of light. But that’s not the case with this bad boy. At the lowest two settings, you’ll be able to clock up to 50,000 hours of battery life.
In addition, it offers versatility, as you’ll have a low and skeletonized lower 1/3 Co-witness option.
For a reliable performance in harsh conditions, they added the O-ring seals to protect it from debris and moisture, and then anodized the surface with a hard-coat to give it a low-glare matte finish.
Changing the dot intensity whenever you feel the situation at hand demands it will be easy, courtesy of the 11-illumination setting. Furthermore, the 2 MOA dot feature will make sure that you never complain about not getting a pin-point accuracy.
Of course, we would be remiss to finish this off without even mentioning the unlimited eye relief and multiple anti-reflective coatings that promote rapid target acquisition and enhance light transmission, respectively.
The Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight too has some incredible standout features. For starters, as is typical for sights that fall in this top-tier category, it has been designed to be waterproof. No matter where you are—irrespective of the time of day—you’ll never complain about the insides getting fogged up or wet. Even if you decide to completely submerge the whole thing in water for hours, it will still come out dry.
That construction is again shockproof. And this goes to all the clumsy shooters out there. If you’re looking for an unbreakable sighting device, this is the sight for you. It will take any form of abuse that you throw at it, be it intentional or unintentional, and come out the other end unscathed.
We asked Bushnell why they thought the nitrogen was necessary since the O-ring already does the job when it comes to eliminating moisture and fog, and this is what they said…
“One can never be too sure, if all of these features will register optimal performance out there.”
Therefore, to ensure those rapid temperature changes or humidity doesn’t affect the interior optical surface, they just had to.
The Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight is compatible with muzzleloaders, shoguns, pistols, and rifles, and you’ll never find yourself struggling when mounting it on a picatinny rail. Oh yeah, we’re trying to tell you that it’s not designed for a Weaver rail.
We also feel it’s important to add that it’s matte black, and features a 3 MOA Dot reticle that comes with an 11-brightness setting.
We’ve used this one a couple of times and from our experience, we think the multi-reticles are the standout feature that you should be looking at. Or let’s put it this way: If these sights were all about sighting devices with the best reticles, the OTW RS-25 1x22x33mm Multiple Reticle Red Dot Sight would be numero uno. Hunters prefer it to most optics because that reticle feature allows for 4 different styles. Not one, not two, but FOUR!
We’ve got the classic crosshair, the 10 MOA Dot reticle, the 5 MOA Dot, and a combination of the 5 MOA dot and 50 MOA Circle. And yes, all these styles are found in the same sight.
The other thing that we fell in love with was the wider field of view. And as you’ll learn later on, a wider field of view is quite important to a hunter looking to maintain what we normally refer to as “situational awareness.”
You’ll as well be working with a 33mm reflex lens aperture in that tubeless design, so there’s no need of worrying about how fast it actually is to acquire targets.
“Will it record the same optimal performance during the day and night?”
Yup. The multiple layers of anti-reflective compounds applied on the different glass surfaces are meant to guarantee optimum light transmission in low light conditions, and produce bright vivid images during the day.
And before you ask that next one, the answer is no. The recoil resistance won’t affect the construct since it’s made of aluminum.
Unfortunately, we wouldn’t recommend this device for someone who’s struggling with astigmatism. It will be difficult to use the different reticles, as they’ll appear blurry on red dots. That’s one way of saying, you’ll be seeing double images.
So, at this point we’ve already reviewed five other red dot sights. And all of those sights do score high, when it comes to accuracy and precision. However, we all know in every yard, there’s a top dog. And in the accuracy department, the Feyachi RDS-22 Micro Red Dot Sight is that dog.
Time and time again, this optic has proven that it was designed to specifically encourage rapid target engagement at any distance, and acquisition. To top that off, it permits both-eyes-open shooting.
Any red dot sight that has fully multi coated lenses is a dependable sight. There’s no question about that. This feature enhances light transmission even in low light conditions, and resolves the issue of reflection.
Not yet sold? Well, then maybe you’ll like the 11 red dot brightness setting that will ensure you experience optimal visibility during the day and night.
“But does it offer recoil resistance?”
We know you’re indirectly asking if it’s durable enough, and the answer is, Yes. You see the thing about us, we always try to be as honest as possible when doing these reviews. It would be a grave injustice to encourage you to go for a sight that’s not durable.
It’s also fully waterproof with sealed housing, and scratch proof due to the fact that it has a matte black anodized finish.
What makes it the ideal optic for general and close-range shooting? Its compact nature. It’s because of that feature that you can use it in any tactical scenario, hunting condition, precision shooting.
Lastly, it’s parallax corrected. So, it will follow your eye movement, but still remain fixed on your target.
What improvements would we recommend? We think it would have been perfect if it could also be used with the weaver rails system. Versatility is important in this line of business, so restricting it to a standard picatinny rail system is just not smart.
We don’t have a lot to say about the TRUGLO Red-Dot Crossbow 30Mm 3-Dot Sight because it’s neither the best sight nor the worst sight that we’ve ever used. One of the features that gives it an edge over its competitors is aluminum and the sturdy exterior finish. The material makes it shockproof, and guarantees it doesn’t feel heavy once it’s been mounted on any weapon.
We’re not so sure if its lenses are multi coated because TRUGLO never told us, but we know this; the quality of images produced are top-notch—You’ll definitely like how crisp and bright they appear.
Some users believe it’s because they’re multicoated, while others think it’s the effect of the 30mm objective lens diameter. Only TRUGLO knows.
The device has a 3-red-dot lens, and it’s powered by batteries. We really liked how wide the field of view was, considering wider FOVs are very advantageous during hunting. It makes it easier for users to track their movements on the terrain, and thus, maintain their balance.
We won’t even pretend we weren’t impressed by the accuracy because we were. And those brownie points go to the windage and elevation adjustments. Also, the knobs weren’t too stiff.
We realized it will be difficult for a new user to dial in the windage and elevation, given the optic has been designed with 50, 30, and 25 yards preload. Additionally, its small tube design makes it less ideal for low light conditions.
In the world of innovations, silver is often considered a versatile color. It represents elegance on one hand, and on the other, it’s mostly associated with hi-tech. We don’t really know if that’s what Barska was going for, but it’s definitely a hit.
The Barska Optics 30mm Red Dot Silver can be used with crossbows, handguns, and rifles, in addition to the shotguns. It’s yet another multi coated optic with an anti-reflective layer, so there’s no way the reflections will distort your images on the field.
We’ve tested it ourselves, so we can attest to the fact that it offers precision aiming. And that’s majorly because the gear makers working around the clock in the R&D department decided to add the ¼ MOA click adjustment, for users who are always so hung up on precision accuracy.
“What’s the function of the 5 MOA illuminated red dot reticle?”
When paired with the rheostat and adjustable brightness, they all ensure that the hunter experiences great accuracy at night, or in a low light condition. They are also the features that make this particular sight ideal for mid-to short range shooting.
All in all, the Barska Optics 30mm Red Dot Silver isn’t a terrible sight. The only issue we had was with the brightness control knob. It was unusually stiff.
What made this sight one of the top ten sights for shotgun deer hunting is the 11-position rheostat, standard 3 volt Lithium power cell, 5 MOA red dot feature, and the fact that it’s brightness can be controlled depending on the time of day and conditions.
The 11-position rheostat will come in handy in low light conditions, the 3-volt Lithium power cell will give you sufficient time to do your thing, and the 5 MOA red dot feature will ensure you hit the mark.
What made it take the second last position?
It’s quite a long list, but we’ll keep it short. Firstly, the warranty was limited. And this is something that so many users have complained about. Secondly, that power cell is not so common in the market. So stores usually run out of stock really fast.
Thirdly, it doesn’t come with a protective wrapping, so you’ll be lucky to find it intact, once you unwrap that box. Fourthly, it didn’t have an instruction manual, and lastly, the brightness control knob was too stiff.
The YSS 2 MOA Red Dot Sights provides an ultra-wide view and is parallax free. That means there’s no need for centering, as the dot will follow your eye movement. Also, it comes with the both-eye-open feature.
Getting shots on target fast is another reason why you should consider buying it, even though the point of aim is not as precise as they market it. We like how they conveniently placed the dot and power intensity controls in the left side of the device, and the fact that it’s aircraft-grade aluminum.
It’s definitely shock resistant, water resistant and for resistant, and something tells us that’s due to the sealed O-ring design.
Sadly, the cons outweigh the pros. First off, they recommended the CR 2032 batteries but didn’t provide any. We got the batteries, but then realized they aren’t readily available and drain out so fast.
The other thing that we were also quick to notice was the fact that the red dot didn’t power off automatically, unlike most sights. And the multi-brightness levels only have one adjustment knob. Not to mention the limited warranty, installation difficulties, and stiff elevation screws.
Before signing off, we have to talk about some of the factors that we normally take into consideration before purchasing a red dot sight. Of course, this is important because you don’t want to end up buying something that doesn’t offer value for money.
There are no compromises to be made when it comes to accessorizing a weapon so as to boost its performance. The rail space—like all the other factors—is important, and no one should convince you otherwise.
Compared to other weapons, shotguns usually have a limited rail space. And that’s obviously a disadvantage because some users like to utilize additional accessories. If you’re that type of a user, we would recommend something that offers a full-sized window, but comes with a smaller mounting requirement.
You know, these things will make a lot of sense, if you understand your math ratio measurements. You first have to consider the rail space, which is essentially the first measurement. Then go ahead and determine how big of a space the optic will need, before adding the extra accessories.
The weight ratios are also just as important as the space available. Only an ignorant user will think the weight of a sighting device doesn’t account for anything. On so many occasions, we’ve heard hunters complain about how their shotguns suddenly feel heavier than lead, not knowing that “sudden” weight change is the optic.
An optic will typically weigh a few ounces. That means, even a toddler can comfortably handle that weight. However, when those ounces are added to the weight of the weapon, we’ll now be talking about pounds. Pounds that are heavy enough to cause a muscle strain.
And speaking of weapons, are you planning to run with a shotgun, or did you have something else in mind? We know we’re digressing, but we’ve got to know. Needless to say, if it’s a crossbow, handgun, or rifle, you’ll have to shop for a red-dot optic that’s more compatible with different weapons.
We’re sure by now you’re cognizant of the fact that these red dot sighting devices usually come in two basic styles. There’s the classic tube-like style, and the window-based one. A window-based red dot optic is sometimes referred to as an open optic, and it’s a lot lower profile and compact in comparison to the tube-like design. Also, it’s square shaped.
We don’t see the need of describing the tube-like design considering it’s the most common type. But in case you’ve never seen or used it before, just know it’s cylindrical in shape. Hence the phrase, tube-like.
Now, let’s get to the difference between the two. And to start us off, we’ll look at the window-based red dot sight that always offers a wider FOV for most hunters. Given it often allows a two-eye-aiming method, you’ll rarely feel as though something is obstructing your vision. Moreover, these types of devices are less bulky and a lot lighter.
But saying that it’s lighter doesn’t mean that the tube-like design optic is ridiculously heavy. It’s also light, just not as light as the window-based one.
“Then why would anybody purchase the red dot tube design optic?”
They’ll buy it again and again because they know it’s more durable than the window-based optic, and then lenses are well protected. You’ll never have to worry about whether its structural integrity has been compromised whenever you bump it on a tree or when it falls down. Plus, they’re rarely affected by fog or water.
While you’re examining the power source, pay close attention to two things: The battery life and the type/size.
This industry is no small industry. We have so many manufacturers, different models of red dot optics, and batteries that vary widely. An experienced hunter will first try to figure out whether they can successfully consolidate all accessories mounted on the shotgun to a single power cell. If that’s not possible, they’ll move on and search for batteries that don’t drain out too fast.
A desirable battery life will be one that can serve you for a reasonably long time. It could be months or years, depending on the usage and type of red dot sight.
The battery commonality is also something that we would like to talk about. There’s no need to purchase a device that will force you to import batteries from another country. And yes, we know that sounds overly dramatic, but…. We’ve heard stranger things.
Double A batteries are the most recommended batteries out here. The CR 123s aren’t so bad either, but just go with the Double As, if you want to play it safe.
In life, everything is a transaction. You’ve got to give, if you want to take. And when it comes to the red dot reticle sizes, things are no different.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, you should know the red dot’s reticle size is always measured in MOA. That’s an abbreviation that stands for Minute of Angle. Say, you have one that measures 1 MOA. What that means is, you’ll be working with a one-inch diameter when aiming targets that are at a distance of 100 yards. Increase that distance to 200 yards, and that diameter automatically increases to 2 inches. And, now you get the gist.
Small is better than large when it comes to reticle sizes because the shots will be more precise even at long ranges. That dot at the center won’t become an obstruction, seeing as it will only cover a small fraction of the space.
Unfortunately, there’s a downside to this. If you decide to hunt when the sunlight is extremely bright, trying to find that reticle will be like looking for a needle in a haystack.
To be frank, even though the price of a sight is a factor worth considering, it shouldn’t be at the forefront of your mind. Your focus should be on your needs, and more importantly, how you’re going to cater to them. Figure that out, and you’ll know what exactly you need to go for, and how much it will cost. If the cost is too high, look for an alternative. If you don’t like the alternatives, save up enough money and then go get what you want.
And just like that, it’s time to say goodbye. But first, we would like to remind you the MidTen 2MOA Micro Red Dot Sight is our top pick. We believe it has everything you might need to enjoy your deer hunting experience. If you’re looking for something that offers best value for money, go for the Pinty Tactical 1x40mm Reflex Red Green Dot Sight. It’s just as good as our top pick, except for a few cons. Our premium choice is the Vortex Optics Crossfire Red Dot Sight. We loved it, but that price was a turn off.
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Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.
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