3 MOA VS 6 MOA Reticle [Subtle Details Explained]

In this quick guide, let's breakdown 3 MOA VS 6 MOA to help you better understand the subtle details to change how you think about them.

Fact: 1 MOA is 1 / 60th of a degree


Dot Sizes

3 moa vs 6 moa dot sizes comparison

3 MOA covers about a 3" diameter circle at 100 yards, 

6 MOA covers about a 6" diameter circle at 100 yards. 

Target Coverage

6 MOA dot covers up the target area a lot more more than a 3 MOA dot, and makes it challenging to aim accurately if the target is relatively small.

Indoor

Bright daylight will wash away the emitter red dot starburst (even if the brightness is dialed up all the way) and leave the user with a round center dot.

Daylight

Aiming Performance

6 MOA is much LARGER and ROUNDER to see for shooters with mild astigmatism under daylight use (even without corrected vision)


3 VS 6 MOA Pros And Cons

6 MOA Red Dot

A 6 MOA covers:

  • 6" diameter at 100 yards
  • 3" diameter at 50 yards
  • 1.5" diameter at 25 yards

Pros

  • Fast target acquisition for close up targeting shooting
  • Less emitter starburst or reticle smear
  • Larger dot for shooters, less emitter refraction, a fix for astigmatism
  • Less reticle tremor for steady aim and more accuracy
  • Similar size to pistol front sight post

Cons

  • May cover up too much of the target sitting far away
  • Not great for distanced target shooting even if mounted on a rifle
fn509 trijicon sro pov in action

Browse More 6+ MOA Red Dot sights here


3 MOA Red Dot

A 3 MOA red dot covers:

  • 3" diameter at 100 yd
  • 1.5" diameter at 50 yd
  • 0.75" diameter at 25 yd

Pros

  • Best balance between precision and speed
  • Better accurate shots 
  • Covers a 3" diameter hit zone for tight small groups
  • A smaller dot to shoot accurately

Cons

  • Hand motion tremors the reticle
  • Hand sway tremors the reticle even more apparent at long distance
swampfox sentinel hellcat pov

Our favorite 3 MOA red dot sights:

Trijicon RMR

Swampfox Sentinel

Burris FastFire 3

Vortex Venom

Others worth mentioning:

holosun 507k x2 on handgun slide

(2 MOA + 32 MOA Ring) - close to 3 MOA

Holosun 507C

Holosun 507K

Holosun 509T

Save Up To 35% on Trijicon Red Dot Sights


ReCap - Which Dot Size To Get?

springfield hellcat best optic mount adapter

There is no right or wrong answer. If you have to pick ONE dot size for pistol use, most people prefer the 6 MOA.

  • Much larger dot reticle to acquire for CQB use
  • Better dot clarity with less emitter refraction for astigmatism users under daylight use
  • Sunlight will wash off the emitter starburst and leaving the shooter a clean and visible enough dot
  • Roughly the same size as most front sight post
  • No visible reticle tremors for steady aim. 

However, a blurry red dot is usually a vision problem that need to be considered

astigmatism eyes looking at night
Astigmatism_Dial_Test

If astigmatism or other eye related problems affect the dot clarity, then you may need a vision check if you haven't.

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How Does A 6 MOA Dot Perform At Night?

A bigger dot is definitely faster to pick up when there is enough light to ID the target as well and what's behind the target.

The red dot emitter starburst isn't a big problem under daylight setting because the bright sunlight can wash it off. But in low light settings, it can be a problem

More tips on using an red dot sight at night - check it out here

Can You Shoot Up To 100 yards with a 6 MOA dot?

Yes, but the 6 MOA dot can cover up the target a lot if the target is too small.

3 MOA VS 6 MOA For Competitive Shooting

Both options work.

If there is anything you would like to add to this topic. Please email support@badassoptic.com

3 MOA VS 6 MOA For IPDA

Red dots are allowed in IPDA matches, and the 6 MOA is still preferred at close range. 3 MOA isn't a bad choice either.

Ying Xu

I was a former US Air Force ICBM operator, and now I'm a veteran creating fun firearm accessories content. I also work as the search engine expert for BadAssOptic.com