3 MOA VS 6 MOA Reticle – Which To Pick? Most People Pick Blindly

There are tons of red dot sight out there and many of them offers up to 3 or more different reticle sizes. Typically 1 MOA, 3 MOA, 6 MOA and even 12 MOA.

Most people just pick randomly without knowing why one over the other. So which one should you go with? 

In this quick guide, we are going to breakdown 3 MOA VS 6 MOA reticle, the two most popular ones to help you better understand how they work and why pick one over the other.

Let's get started


When choosing between different dot sizes, it's important to understand the application and the weapon platform you are using beyond just the obvious specs.

How Much The Reticle Covers The Target

3 moa vs 6 moa dot sizes comparison
  • 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 tactical trijicon rmr gif

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
  • Much bigger dot for shooters, a fix for astigmatism
  • Less hand motion translated to the reticle for steady aim


  • Covers up too much of the target sitting far away
  • Not great for precision distance shooting



3 MOA covers:

3" diameter at 100 yd

1.5" diameter at 50 yd

0.75" diameter at 25 yd


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


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

Ok! I Get The Point - So Which Dot Size To Get?

If money is tight and you can only get one, which one should you get?

For personal preference, the 6 MOA is good for pistol:

  • Much bigger dot to see and acquire at close up
  • Better dot clarity with less emitter refraction for astigmatism fix
  • Roughly the same size as most front sight post
  • Reticle tremors less due to natural hand motion for steady aim. 

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

If you had to PICK ONE SIZE for the pistol, pick the 6 MOA.

But what about shooting up to 100 yards with a 6 MOA dot?

Yes a pistol can potentially shoot up to 100 yard accurately, and the 6 MOA dot covers up the target too much, but it's not likely to happen. So do not pick gears based on things that aren't likely to happen while compromising capability for the most likely things.


So when is a 3 MOA dot useful?  

The 3 MOA is a much finer dot than the 6 MOA, and it's a great red dot reticle size for a PCC and rifle.

Please check out our red dot sight guide and find an optic that offers multiple reticle sizes

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