3 MOA VS 6 MOA Reticle [Subtle Details Clarified]

In this quick guide, we are going to breakdown 3 MOA VS 6 MOA reticle to help you better understand why pick one over the other beyond just the obvious specs.

Most new red dot users pick randomly without noticing the subtle details until someone points them out. 


3 moa vs 6 moa dot sizes comparison

Reticle Size Covers The Target Differently

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

6 MOA is much LARGER and ROUNDER to see for shooters with mild astigmatism under daylight use even without wearing glasses


6 MOA

FN 509 ls edge trijicon sro 5 moa

Features FN509 LS Edge

6 MOA covers:

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

Pros

  • Faster to pick up for close range targets
  • Less emitter starburst or reticle smear
  • Much bigger dot for shooters, less emitter refraction, a fix for astigmatism
  • Less hand motion translated to the reticle for steady aim
  • Similar size to pistol front sight post

Cons

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

Browse More 6+ MOA Red Dot sights here

Our favorite 5 - 6 MOA red dots:

leupold deltapoint pro vs rmr side by side

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3 MOA

swampfox sentinel hellcat pov

3 MOA 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
  • Great for hitting small steel targets
  • Covers a 3" diameter hit zone at 100 yd
  • Great for PCC

Cons

  • Hand motion tremors the reticle
  • Hand sway tremors the reticle even more apparent at long distance

Our favorite 3 MOA red dots:

Trijicon RMR

Swampfox Sentinel

Burris FastFire 3

Vortex Venom

Others worth mentioning:

holosun 507k x2 on handgun slide


So Which Dot Size To Get?

springfield hellcat best optic mount adapter

If you have to pick ONE dot size for pistol use, pick the 6 MOA.

  • Much bigger & rounder dot to see and acquire at close up
  • Better dot clarity with less emitter refraction for astigmatism 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
  • Less reticle tremors for steady aim. 

It has more pros over cons and it works well for pistols for close range applications.

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.

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.

However, if the shooter has astigmatism, it's always better to dial down the brightness so the emitter glare doesn't fill up the field of view.

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 a pistol can potentially shoot up to 100 yard accurately, and but the 6 MOA dot covers up the target too much unless the target is big.

When Is A 3 MOA Dot Useful?   

The 3 MOA is a much finer dot than the 6 MOA for long distance applications, and it's large enough for the eye to acquire and small enough for distance shooting.

If there is anything you would like to add to the topic. Please email badassoptic3@gmail.com

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