As there are many red dot sights available on the market nowadays, you may be confused about whether a 3 MOA or 6 MOA dot is better for precise aiming, as both variants have their pros and cons.
A lot of it has to do with how much it covers up the target and how crisp the dot looks to the shooter. Let me help you catch up with the basics, then by the end of the article, you will fully understand how to pick your red dot MOA sizes.
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Major Differences Between 3 MOA and 6 MOA
After using different MOA dot sizes and talking to different shooters in the community, it completely changed my perspective about them.
3 MOA covers about a 3" diameter circle at 100 yards
3 MOA at 25 yards covers about 0.75" diameter circle
6 MOA covers about a 6" diameter circle at 100 yards.
6 MOA at 25 yards covers about 1.25" diameter circle
A 6 MOA dot covers up the target area a lot more than a 3 MOA dot, and makes accurate target acquisition more challenging if it is relatively small.
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.
The 6 MOA red dot optic is much LARGER and ROUNDER to see for shooters with mild astigmatism under daylight use (even without corrected vision) and to facilitate fast target acquisition
3 MOA VS 6 MOA Red Dot Sights - Pros and Cons
6 MOA Red Dot
A 6 MOA red dot sight covers:
- 6" diameter at 100 yards
- 3" diameter at 50 yards
- 1.5" diameter at 25 yards
- Fast target acquisition for close-up target shooting
- Less emitter starburst or reticle smear
- Larger red dot for shooters, less emitter refraction, a fix for astigmatism
- Less reticle tremor for steady aim and better accuracy
- Similar size to pistol front sight post
- May cover up too much of the target sitting far away
- Not great if you want to shoot longer distances, even if mounted on a rifle
Browse More 6+ MOA Red Dot sights here
3 MOA Red Dot
A 3 MOA red dot sight covers:
- 3" diameter at 100 yd
- 1.5" diameter at 50 yd
- 0.75" diameter at 25 yd
- Best balance between precision shooting and speed
- Better accurate shots
- Good for small game hunting
- Covers a 3" diameter hit zone for tight small groups
- A smaller dot for more accurate target shooting
- Hand motion tremors the reticle
- Hand sway tremors the reticle even more apparent at longer distances
Our favorite 3 MOA red dot sights:
Other red dot sights worth mentioning:
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to the dot size. If you have to pick ONE sight for pistol use, most people prefer the 6 MOA red dots to shoot accurately (but it is strongly recommended to have both and exchange them).
- 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 leave the shooter a clean and visible enough dot
- Roughly the same size as most front sight post
- No visible reticle tremors for a steady aiming point.
However, a blurry red dot is usually a vision problem that needs to be considered
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How Does A 6 MOA Dot Perform At Night?
If astigmatism or other eye-related problems affect the red dot reticle 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.
The red dot emitter starburst isn't a big problem under the daylight setting because the bright sunlight can wash it off. But in low-light settings, it can be a problem, especially in long-range shooting.
More tips on using a red dot sight for quicker target acquisition at night - check it out here
What Is MOA?
1 MOA measures around a one-inch diameter circle at 100 yards, and it's quite easy to measure. This angular measurement helps you to determine the area where your bullet can land while target shooting.
Therefore, if you point the red dot in a sight picture at 100 yards, a 3 MOA dot will resemble a 3-inch circle. On the other hand, if you use a bigger 6 MOA dot, it will resemble a 6-inch circle. For this reason, it may be better to use a 3 MOA dot for longer distances and switch to a 6 MOA dot for shorter ranges. But it needs a more detailed explanation!
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, so picking a sight with a smaller dot may be a good idea.
6 MOA VS 2 MOA
The 3 MOA is so close to 2 MOA, but 2 MOA still still considered to be a much finer aiming point than the 3 MOA. If you have astigmatism, a 2 MOA will be just as blurry if not more than the 3 MOA dot.
When comparing 2 MOA VS 6 MOA. The difference is huge as far as product selection goes.
2 MOA dot are generally offered for full size red dot sights to go on rifles, and 6 MOA are mostly for handgun users.
3 MOA VS 6 MOA For Competitive Shooting
Both red dots work for competitive shooting.
3 MOA VS 6 MOA For IPDA (International Defensive Pistol Association) Matches
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.
The Bottom Line
All in all, the choice of the best red dot sights highly depends on how you plan to shoot. It is best to have both of them close at hand and switch them whenever necessary.
A 6 MOA sight can help you at short ranges with its larger red dot, and it facilitates steady aim due to less reticle tremor. When it comes to a 3 MOA sight, its smaller dot can help you with shooting at longer distances and achieve the best balance between speed and accuracy.
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