3 MOA VS 6 MOA Reticle – Read This To Pick Wisely Without Guessing

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

Most shooters just pick randomly without knowing the why ore really care enough until someone points out their differences. 

Check this out:


Reticle Size Covers The Target Differently

Changing the red dot brightness may appears that the dot gets bigger, but it's a completely different thing.

3 moa vs 6 moa dot sizes comparison

Different dot sizes can benefit different shooting applications. Generally, a smaller dot for finer aiming, and a larger dot is much better for shooters with astigmatism & faster sight acquisition.

  • Is it a rifle or pistol?
  • Is it for distanced shooting?
  • Will the smaller dot tremor more due to hand motion?
  • Does the shooter have astigmatism?
  • Is the dot covering too much of the target for a precise shot?


FN 509 ls edge trijicon sro 5 moa

Features FN509 LS Edge With Trijicon SRO 5 MOA

6 MOA covers:

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


  • 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


  • 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


swampfox sentinel hellcat pov

3 MOA covers:

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


  • Best balance between precision and speed
  • Great for hitting small steel targets
  • Covers a 3" diameter hit zone at 100 yd
  • Great for PCC


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

Ok! I Get The Point - 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
  • 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.

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.

Every shooter has their own preferences, and it's always better to dial down the brightness so the emitter glare doesn't fill up the field of view.

We have a detailed guide covering subtle details most shooters may not be aware of when using a 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.

Pistol shot groups aren't as tight as shooting at 10 yards.

When Is A 3 MOA Dot Useful?   

The 3 MOA is a much finer dot than the 6 MOA, and it's not as small as 1 MOA & larger than 2 MOA.

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

Ying Xu

US Air Force veteran nuclear weapon officer. Aerospace engineering bachelor's degree from the University of Kansas. Experienced as a certified NRA range safety officer. Working as a search engine expert for BadAssOptic.com