Shooters and hunters alike are always looking to upgrade their equipment in order to improve their overall shooting accuracy. It is also important to have the fastest possible target acquisition aswell as tighter shot groupings. This can be achieved by upgrading your red dot sight to the latest model. But it can be difficult to find the best red dot sight as there are literally hundreds of models on the market. Which one should you choose? Well, we’ve completed a review of some of the red dot sights currently available for sale in order to help you buy the red dot sight for your rifle and particular shooting style.
Our review table below identifies some of the best red dot sights for you, with information about the reticle, weight, optic diameter and the length of the sight being distinguishing factors.
What is a Red Dot Sight?
Red dot sights are commonly seen on sniper rifles in Hollywood blockbusters when shooters are trying to strike down a target from a distance. While red dot sights have been glamorized by films, they remain an important part of any shooter and hunters arsenal. A red dot sight commonly sits on a gun rail and the user will guide their eye and gaze through the optical window of the sight where they will see a reticle superimposed over the image that the sight is directed too. “Red Dot Sight” is often a catch all term for all non-magnifying sights, and holographic and reflex sights also fall under this term. They are mostly found on handguns, shotguns aswell as rifles.
How does a Red Dot Sight work?
It can be quite complicated to explain how a red dot sight functions. Basically, a laser diode or an LED creates the reticle which is then projected or reflected through the sight and into the shooters line of sight. This enables the shooter or hunter to accurately line up the target and take it down!
Reticles come in all shapes and sizes but the most common sizes range from 1-5 MOA Aimpoints.
What does MOA stand for in shooting?
Without being overly technical, it stands for “minute of angle”. In terms of red dot sights, it is a measure of how accurate the sight is. The higher the MOA, the more accurate the red dot sight will be.
Is a Red Dot Sight better than an Iron Sight?
Red Dot Sights offer a vastly improved shooting experienced compared to a conventional iron sight, and we would certainly recommend you purchase a red dot sight compared to an iron sight. Red dot sights traditionally offer excellent eye relief with zero parallax and thus speeds up and increases accuracy when it comes to target acquisition which in turn results in a better consistent shot.
Red Dot Sights are also lighter than telescopic sights. Why is this? Well, red dot sights don’t contain any bulky and heavy components such as lenses. This makes the red dot sight more compact than a telescopic sight. These sights are ideal for low light situations so sometimes you don’t even need a night sight!
Due to these obvious advantages, red dot sights have become a necessary addition to any shooters kit. This makes them a legal requirement in law enforcement agencies and the use of red dot sights continues to grow year on year by civilians. Many red dot sight manufacturers have created models specifically for the mass market which has widened their access.
What features does the Best Red Dot Sight have?
Nearly every red dot sight produced nowadays have the same features, but quality and precision does vary. But in saying that, there are a few points you should consider before buying a sight. The best red dot sight will have these points whilst not breaking the bank!
Type of Projection
As I mentioned above, red dot sight provides a catch all term for all sights such as relex and holographic sights.
A reflex sight is where the objective lens functions as a mirror which reflects light from the source of light (typically an LED) behind the lens into the eye of the shooter. How does it do this? Well, the reflex sight only reflects the light of the LED’s wavelength which enables all other wavelengths to be ignored. Pretty neat aye!
On the other hand, a holographic sight differs by the fact that it is illuminated from in front instead of behind the lens and shines the diode light through the window and thus lighting a holographic reticle. These type of sights are normally quite high end and expensive, so I would recommend a reflex sight.
Open versus Tube
When it comes to the area of “housing configurations”, there are principally two different alternatives you can choose, namely “open” and “tube”.
Open sights are often dubbed “mini red dot sights”. They function by eliminating out all elements apart from the important objective window and source of light. Because of this, the open style of housing configuration has a smaller profile than a tubed style. The down side is that it doesn’t allow filters.
The tubed style looks very similar indeed to conventional scopes as it presents itself in a tube which houses all the components of the sight. This style allows filters which is something an open sight cannot do. The tubed style allows the sight to be operated in very bright conditions as it acts as a shadow.
Style of Reticle
What is a reticle? Well, this is the small red dot which appears in the sight. The reticle corresponds to the aim point of the shot that is about to be taken. The reticle is always illuminated so it is easy to spot and ranges between three and five minute of angle in the center of the field of view. The reticle isn’t always red – you can get green and blue aswell as other colors.
The shape of the reticle can also vary. The reticle could be a dot, or even crosshairs. But the best reticle for a red dot sight varies depending on what shooting situation you are in. My preferred reticle shape is the simple red dot. The best red dot sights will allow you to change the shape and color of the reticle, so make sure the sight you purchase contains this feature.
Battery Life of the Sight
This is an important feature of any sight. Lighting and illuminating a reticle for an extended period of time can be very power hungry so it is vitally important you choose a red dot sight which offers an extended battery life for maximum performance! But LED’s which are used nowadays are quite energy efficient and red dot sights which use LED’s often have a battery life of 1000 hours.
There is a difference in energy usage between a reflex and holographic sight. Holographic sights often require more frequent battery changes than a reflex sight since they use more power. Some sights don’t use batteries and instead use more modern fiber optics, or even capsules of tritium for energy. This is used in sights such as ACOGs.
What is the best red dot sight available?
This red dot sight is actually often used by the military so if you are looking for a red dot sight that offers excellent features and high end performance, I would certainly consider the EOTech XPS2 red dot sight. Because it is used by the military, it is manufactured to strict Mil-Spec standards. EOTech are often cited as the best red dot sight manufacturer because of this.
This particular model is a holographic sight. It comes with a small laser diode which lights up a reticle made up of a 1 minute of angle (MOA) dot centered perfectly in a 65 minute of angle ring. The EOTech offers excellent eye relief which enables you to use both eyes when shooting which is an excellent and distinguishing feature of this sight.
Like many other sights, the XPS2 is water proof and fog proof which enables it to be used in all conditions. The sight has been tested rigorously and has been found to keep its zero after repeated use. EOTech sights are now offered to the general public so all consumers can enjoy this military grade sight.
This is another very popular red dot sight offering from the much respected manufacturer Bushnell. We have found their red dot sights to be excellent in terms of value for money, reliability and performance. Our review team reviewed this sight in detail.
Our team found that the TRS25 could be attached to all picatinny rails, aswell as Weaver rails. The red dot itself sports a 3 minute of angle (MOA) which is discreet and doesn’t take up too much room in the field of view. This is a great choice if you want a low profile sight, as it comes with a 25mm objective lens.
The TRS25 allows high contrast images to be conveyed due to its stylish bright orange coating. The Bushnell sight only weighs just under 4 ounces with a 2.5 inch length which makes it incredibly portable. This sight is not as advanced as the EOTech sight above, but it is an excellent mid range sight which is a lot cheaper than EOTech. You should definitely consider this sight!
Truglo Red Dot Sight
This is a cheaper brand of red dot sight but don’t let the price tag fool you! It offers nearly all of the features of the more established red dot sight manufacturers.
Like the EOTech and Bushnell, it comes water and fog proof as standard – aswell as being shock resistant which is also very important. Our review team found that the sight maintained its zero comfortably through regular use. This sight is suitable for weaver mounts so it is ideal for nearly all rifles. A stand out feature of this sight compared to other models is the large objective diameter (30mm) which provides the shooter with an expansive FOV. The battery life is also quite impressive and can be used for around 5000 hours.
It is a little bigger than the EOTech and Bushnell models, (length of 4 inches and weighs just under 5 ounces) but is still portable. The upside of this is that the Truglo is more durable!
It comes with a five minute of angle reticle making it excellent for close range shots, aswell as excelling in long shots aswell.
Leapers Golden Image
Leapers are famed for producing truly excellent rifle products such as riflescopes and gun cases. But their red dot sight products are equally as good and should be considered when you are looking to purchase a sight.
This red dot sight is one of the more mass market sights they offer, but this sight still comes with all the features which make it enough for us to recommend it the best red dot sight for you for the money.
This Leapers sight is a reflex model as opposed to a holographic sight. Despite this, our review panel found it to be a little larger than they expected it to be. It weighs just under 8 ounces with a 5 inch length. It comes with a generous 30mm objective lens which offers a perfect field of view. This is the best red dot sight for AR15 rifles that we can recommend. The four minutes of angle allows excellent precision whilst aiming. The color of the reticle itself can be easily switched between red and green depending on your preference using the neatly positioned knob on top of the sight.
Like the other sights reviewed above, the battery which has a power of around 3 volts offers around 6000 hours of use which is more than ample for most casual and professional shooters alike. What sets this red dot sight apart from the competition is the warranty which is included. Leapers will replace the sight no questions asked if it breaks within 2 years of the purchase date – beat that!