Last Updated on March 30, 2021
Sights for firearms come in many variations, but if you’re looking for a sight that allows for incredibly fast target acquisition in any light condition with a high degree of accuracy, a red dot sight is probably your best bet. While red dot sights are a great choice for many types of guns, differences between sights mean that performance can vary as widely as price.
Not fans of mediocrity we wanted to find the absolute best red dot sights available. Everyone has their own unique needs, but we wanted to cover all of the bases, which is why we’ve picked out our favorite choices for pistol, rifle, and overall performance. The following 10 reviews will share what we learned during testing. Hopefully, saving you the time and trouble of testing so many sights yourself.
|Best Overall||Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight Riflescope||
|Best for Pistol||Sig Sauer SOR01300 Romeo Zero Reflex Sight||
|Best for Rifle||Predator V3 Micro Red Dot Sight||
|AT3 Tactical RD-50 PRO Red Dot Sight||
|Vortex Optics Crossfire Red Dot Sight||
Weighing in at a mere four ounces, the Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 red dot sight is so light that you won’t even notice the added weight on your gun. Despite the incredibly low weight, this scope is solidly built, offering shockproof construction that can withstand tough environments and even drops in the field without damage. Furthering its durability, this scope is nitrogen purged, making it waterproof and fog-proof.
Looking through the lens, you’ll find a three MOA red dot reticle. While it’s great for acquiring your target fast, it takes up a lot of the target and could be slightly smaller. With 11 brightness settings to choose from, you can make the reticle as bright as you desire, or keep it low for longer battery life.
One thing this sight definitely offers is versatility. It’s right at home on a variety of firearms, including rifles, shotguns, pistols, and even muzzleloaders. No matter what type of gun you’re using, the Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 is a great fit, which is why it’s at the top of our list.
Ultralight and durable, the Sig Sauer SOR01300 Romeo Zero Reflex Sight is our top choice for use with a pistol. It’s a bit pricey, but we firmly believe that this is a case of getting what you pay for. At a measly nine grams, this sight is incredibly lightweight. It’s also got a sensor that automatically turns the device on when motion is sensed and turns it off when not in use, prolonging battery life while ensuring it’s always ready when you need it.
The lens in this sight is a Spectracoat HD polymer lens offering 10 times the impact resistance you’d get from a regular glass lens. Similarly, the housing is made from weapons-grade polymer that’s lightweight yet heavy-duty. At only 1.5 inches long and less than an inch wide and tall, this is a tiny addition that won’t prevent you from concealed carrying.
Rifles have different needs than handguns, and we think the Predator V3 Micro red dot sight is the best device to fill those needs. With a parallax-free design, target acquisition is natural and fast. The two MOA reticle is an ideal size and you can adjust its brightness across 11 levels. Since many rifle shooters prefer to keep their iron sights usable, this sight includes a riser that enables co-witness with iron sights.
At less than 12 ounces, this is a rather light device that won’t affect the maneuverability or weight of your rifle. It’s durable enough to go anywhere your firearm does and will survive weather of the toughest sort thanks to nitrogen-purged weatherproofing.
Even with all of these great features, this is still an affordably-priced sight. Making it even more attractive is the lifetime warranty that ensures your investment won’t be wasted. The only issue is, the company is practically non-responsive. Trying to get ahold of them to fulfill the warranty could be difficult. Luckily, the sight is very durable and unlikely to give you any trouble.
Thanks to the 0.83-inch cantilever riser mount included with the AT3 Tactical RD-50 PRO red dot sight it will work co-witness with your existing iron sights. If the battery ever goes dead, you’ll still have iron sights available for backup. But with a battery life of up to 50,000 hours on the lowest illumination setting, you shouldn’t have to worry about that much. You get 11 total brightness settings to choose from, and the higher settings will naturally kill the battery much quicker.
When it comes to durability, this device is difficult to outdo. It’s got a fully sealed housing that’s completely waterproof. The circuitry inside is shockproof and can easily withstand repeated rough handling. It’s unlikely that you’ll damage this sight, but if you manage to, it’s protected by a lifetime warranty.
Despite the durability, build-quality on this device leaves something to be desired. It doesn’t seem like much attention was paid to detail. You can see glue around the edges of the lens. This doesn’t block your sight, but it’s easily noticeable and doesn’t look great. And there’s one more issue. The reticle is quite blurry, looking like a loose smudge instead of a tight dot.
As one of the biggest names in firearm optics, we expected great things from the Vortex Optics Crossfire red dot sight Gen II. It’s a diverse sight that works on multiple weapon types, including rifles, shotguns, and rimfires. With a 50,000-hour battery life, you shouldn’t have to worry about changing the battery very often. 11 illumination settings like you choose between a bright or dim reticle, though the lowest illumination levels aren’t even usable.
Weighing in at a meager five ounces, this sight is light enough that it shouldn’t affect the feel of your gun. Unlimited eye relief means you can aim with your eye nearly any distance from the sight, making for quick and easy aiming and target acquisition.
The reticle in this sight is a two-MOA dot. It’s pretty blurry though, despite the higher price of this sight. There’s an included mount intended for co-witness, but it doesn’t seem to work as intended with some popular platforms. Altogether, it’s a decent device, but for the price, we think you can get much better.
If you’re price-shopping for your red dot sight, this one from OTW will be instantly attractive thanks to its dirt-cheap pricing. Even though it’s cheaply priced, it’s a pretty decent sight overall. Some features even match those found on much higher-priced options. For instance, this sight weighs in at just five ounces and offers parallax-free aiming with unlimited eye relief for a comfortable fit on any firearm and easy target acquisition.
Looking through the lens, you’ll have the option to choose between red and green reticles. But unlike many sights we tested, the reticle on this one is more of a circle than a dot. It takes up four MOA, making it much larger than most. Unfortunately, even despite the high-rise mount, this sight doesn’t co-witness with iron sights as it comes. Making matters worse, you get limited compatibility with aftermarket mounts. So, if you want a sight to co-witness with your iron sights, look elsewhere.
We also noticed that there’s substantial glare in the lens, which can make aiming even more difficult. This isn’t the most durable sight either, but for such a low price, it’s about what you’d expect.
Another ultra-affordable entry, this tactical red dot sight from Pinty provides an economical way to add red dot technology to your firearm. But like many low-priced devices, it’s got some notable flaws to overcome. For instance, the reticle is three to four MOA. It looks like a smudge instead of a small dot. But you can hardly see the dot because the illumination isn’t bright enough. Even on the highest setting, you can’t see the dot clearly in full sunlight.
This scope comes with a high-profile one-inch riser mount that’s supposed to allow for co-witness with iron sights. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work with all iron sights, as we found out during testing.
On the bright side, this sight offers some of the basic features you’d expect on any decent red dot sight. The lens is scratch-resistant and the body is shockproof so you don’t have to worry about bumps and rough handling. It’s also weatherproof; sealed against water. We like the low price and the features you get, but we think you’d be better served by spending a bit more for something of higher quality.
We found many dirt-cheap red dot sights, including this one from HIRAM. Like many similarly priced offerings, this one has some great features and an equal number of drawbacks. For starters, it’s waterproof and fog-proof with a sealed housing. It features a parallax-free design with unlimited eye relief, making for easy and quick aiming no matter how far you are from the sight.
With this sight, you’ll get both red and green reticles to choose between with a total of seven brightness levels. On high brightness, the battery will die in a very short time, which is unfortunate since you must have it on max to even see the reticle in daylight. That reticle isn’t the best aiming point though. It’s four MOA, making it larger than we’d like. Worse, the dot isn’t quite round and there’s a halo surrounding it that makes it appear even larger.
Given the low price it sells for, this isn’t too bad of a sight. But compared to the options available for only a slight bit more, it’s severely lacking and not an option we’d recommend.
At first glance, the V30 red dot sight from Feyachi looks a bit like something from a sci-fi movie. It’s got flip-up lens caps, which are convenient, but also add a bit of size to the sight; particularly when they’re flipped up. But what’s really impressive about this sight is that it can withstand up to 800-Gs of recoil impact, so you can essentially use this on any caliber weapon.
One of the features that most draws people to this device though is the sensor that automatically powers it on and shuts it down. With an hour spent motionless, it shuts off to conserve battery power. As soon as movement is sensed, it turns back on so it’s ready when you are. This would be great, but it’s a fickle feature that doesn’t seem to work reliably.
Looking through the lens, we noticed two major flaws. First, the parallax is excessive, though this scope has unlimited eye relief. Worse, there’s substantial distortion around the edges of the lens. Considering that this sight is quite a bit pricier than others of similar and even superior quality, we think you can safely skip it and avoid the disappointment.
Sig Sauer is a well-known and respected name in the firearm world. A lot of their products are top-notch, including the SOR01300 Romeo Zero Reflex sight in the second position of this list. But the SOR52001 sight was a different story. It has some great features that we loved, but they couldn’t save it from the numerous drawbacks we encountered.
Let’s start with the mount. It’s a single clamp mount with just one screw to keep it tight. As you might guess, it doesn’t manage the job as well as we need. The result is that this sight is constantly losing zero because it shifts. When adjusting windage and elevation, there’s no clicking as you adjust. Instead, the knobs grind and feel like they’re going to cause damage.
Looking through the lens, the dot seems much larger than the two MOA it’s supposed to cover. Over the first few weeks of testing, the dot grew and developed a tail, making aiming more difficult. Despite these flaws, this is one of the most expensive sights we tested. It does have some notable features though, such as the MOTAC motion-activated illumination or its IPX7 waterproof rating up to one meter of submersion.
Red dot sights seem like simple devices. After all, they generally have little to no magnification and all they need is a single red dot. But there are still some major differences between models. While any red dot sight should allow you to aim and shoot, they’re not all created equal.
When you’re comparing red dot sights, the following features are what you ought to be comparing. These are the traits that really determine how your sight will perform, so determine what you need in each of these categories before deciding on a particular sight.
You might not even think about it until you try a few red dot sights back to back, but the size of the reticle makes a huge difference in your aiming ability. Most red dot sights feature a reticle that’s between two and four MOA in size, which means that the reticle in some models is twice as large as the reticle found in other models.
So, what effect will this have on your shooting? When the reticle takes up more of your target, it reduces your accuracy. You’re aiming at a larger area. But with a smaller, more concise reticle, higher precision can be achieved.
It doesn’t matter how big or small your reticle is if you can’t see it! Red dot sights rely on illumination to supply your aiming reticle. Most provide multiple levels of brightness to choose from. The only problem is, many of the cheaper models don’t seem to get bright enough for use during daylight. Since most people shoot during the day, this is an obvious issue.
Even if you don’t take your gun into rough conditions and it sees no abuse, durability can still be a factor worth considering. If your sight isn’t durable, even the impact from your gun’s recoil can damage or destroy the sight. And if you’re a person who does take your firearm through some abusive sessions, then durability will be even more important.
Most decent red dot sights offer good weatherproofing. You’re looking for something that’s at least fog-proof and waterproof. Our favorites can even be submerged in water without sustaining damage.
Adding anything to your firearm will affect the way it feels and handles. A sight can add extra size and weight to your gun, changing its maneuverability. Luckily, many red dot sights are tiny and lightweight, so you’ll hardly even notice it on your weapon. Other options aren’t as streamlined and will have a more pronounced effect.
It can be difficult to tell the build quality of a sight without using it. Generally, poor quality control can be a sign of iffy build quality. Visible glue around the lenses, adjustment knobs that don’t click nicely, and mount screws that don’t hold tight are all effects of poor build quality.
Not every red dot sight comes with a warranty, though our favorites always do. The best warranty is one that covers your investment for life. Many red dot sights include such a warranty, and we recommend choosing one of these models.
At the end of the day, most of us are constrained by budget. If we weren’t, we’d all probably just pick the model that had all the greatest bells and whistles. Instead, we have to weigh out the pros and cons of each device to determine which one will serve us best. So, figure out which of these features is most important to you, then go back through the reviews and see which sight matches your needs the closest.
There’s no shortage of high-quality red dot sights on the market. At the same time, knockoffs and cheap sights of poor quality also abound. For many, it can be hard to sort through so many options and determine which ones are worth investing in. Hopefully, our reviews were able to help, but just in case, we’re going to summarize our recommendations once more.
The Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 is our favorite red dot sight overall. At just four ounces, it’s incredibly light, despite being durable with shockproof construction and nitrogen-purged weatherproofing. It’s compatible with a wide variety of firearms and is priced affordably; especially considering its high quality.
For pistols, our favorite red dot sight was the Sig Sauer SOR01300 Romeo Zero reflex sight. Weighing in at just nine grams, it’s incredibly lightweight. Made from weapons grade polymer with a Spectracoat HD lens, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more durable piece of optical equipment.
If you need to kit out a rifle instead, we’d recommend the Predator V3 micro red dot sight. It features a parallax-free design and a riser that allows it to co-witness with iron sights. This sight is priced affordably and even covered by a lifetime warranty.
An avid outdoorsman, Dean spends much of his time adventuring through the diverse terrain of the southwest United States with his closest companion, his dog, Gohan. He gains experience on a full-time journey of exploration. For Dean, few passions lie closer to his heart than learning. An apt researcher and reader, he loves to investigate interesting topics such as history, economics, relationships, pets, politics, and more.
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