This guide will save you time on finding best red dot sights for pistol. We've bought and tested these on multiple firearms to see how well they held zero.

Top Rated Pistol Red Dot Sights

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  • Pistol Rated
  • Best RMR Alternative
  • Best Value
  • Full Weatherproof
  • Concealed Carry
  • Full Weatherproof

Trijicon RMR Type 2 - Best Overall


I think the Trijicon RMR open emitter reflex sight is still setting the standard for micro red dot sights. It's my go-to choice for a pistol sighting system.

Let me tell you about its slug accuracy. The dot size is 3.25 MOA or bigger, which makes it really easy to spot my target quickly. Plus, I can shoot with both eyes open, which is a big plus.

The battery grip is much tighter than the Type 1 model. This means it's better at handling recoil and keeps the battery in place. So, I don't have to worry about the reticle flickering off.

However, it's not all perfect. Since it's an open emitter, it tends to attract water droplets easily especially when it rains, and it comes very difficult to get it off the emitter screen, which can render the optic useless until it clears.


  • Magnification: 1X
  • Objective Lens: 0.9" x 0.6"
  • Eye Relief: Unlimited
  • Reticle Type: 6.5 MOA dot
  • Turret : 1 MOA / Click
  • Length: 1.8 inches
  • Weight: 1.2 oz
  • Battery: CR2032
  • Battery Life: 4 years 


  • Battle proven durability
  • Small and non snag
  • Much tighter battery grip than GEN 1 models
  • Co witness with iron sights
  • Cons

  • Open emitter attracts debris easily
  • Sight removal required for battery swap
  • Holosun 507C X2 - Best RMR Alternative

    shooting sig p320 with holosun 507c

    I find the Holosun 507C X2 to be an outstanding choice, especially when comparing it to the Trijicon RMR. What really stands out for me is how much money I save, while still getting to use the same mounting footprint. There are even more optics with this RMR footprint, which you can check out here (link not included in this format).

    One feature I absolutely love is the solar power backup. But so far, I barely got the chance to use it because the battery last so long and it hasn't died yet.

    The Multi Reticle System is great for different shooting applications, but I typically just stick with the single dot option for an uncluttered field of view. In terms of pros, it's similarly durable to the Trijicon RMR, has a side battery access tray, the same RMR footprint, and is much more affordable. Plus, it works perfectly on 12 GA, carbines, and pistols.

    holosun 507c acss reticle slow motion

    The new ACSS Vulcan reticle (Sold separately) features that ring to help guide the eye back to the center if needed


    • Magnification: 1X
    • Reticle: 1 MOA, 32 MOA ring, or combined
    • Turret Value: 1 MOA / Click
    • Field of View: 0.63" X 0.91"
    • Construction: 7075 T6 aluminum IP67 rated
    • Dimension: 1.78"X1.15"X1.15"
    • Weight: 1.5 oz
    • Battery Life: 3 - 4 years


  • Similar durability as Trijicon RMR
  • Side battery access tray
  • Same RMR footprint
  • Much more affordable
  • Works on 12 GA, carbines and pistols
  • Cons

    • Open emitter attracts dirt easily in CCW holster under clothing
    • Sight removal required for battery swap

    Trijicon SRO - Largest Field Of View


    I really enjoy using the Trijicon SRO for its large window, which allows me to track the dot faster than standard red dot sights. This design, reminiscent of an improved RMR, is particularly helpful for new shooters in quickly locating the dot.

    The unobstructed field of view ensures easy targeting, rapid follow-up shots, and consistent visibility of the dot, even when my eye isn't perfectly aligned.

    Another great feature is the top-loading battery access that the RMR doesn't have, allowing me to change batteries easily without sight removal or re-zeroing, saving time and hassle. 

    Additionally, the lock-in and lock-out mode secures my chosen brightness setting, eliminating accidental adjustments, which is perfect for competitions and target shooting.


    • Magnification: 1X
    • Reticle: 5 MOA option is the best
    • Turret Value: 1 MOA / Click
    • Field of View: Round 0.98" X 0.89"
    • Construction: 7075 T6 aluminum
    • Dimension: 2.2"X1.3"X1.4"
    • Weight: 1.6 oz
    • Battery Life: 3 - 4 years

    Read Trijicon SRO Review


    • Very large FOV for easier dot tracking
    • No zeroing or sight removal required for battery swap like the 507C
    • Same RMR footprint
    • Lockout mode


  • Not the same lens frame durability as RMR
  • A bit pricey
  • Not for CCW
  • Holosun 509T - Best Weatherproof

    FNX 45 tactical holosun 509T

    I have love and hate relationship with the Holosun 509T X2. It's a closed emitter red dot and its full weatherproof, but it can be difficult to mount without the right adapter plate.

    It features almost everything that other Holosun red dot sights have. Even though the 509T is a special mounting footprint, but the clamp mount is very durable, and it can handle heavy recoil well.

    So the only downside to this optic is really the hassle of getting an additional adapter plate, and it won't be compatible with other clamp mount optics like the Aimpoint ACRO.


    • Magnification - 1X
    • Reticle - 2 MOA + 32 MOA Ring, or 2 MOA dot
    • Adjustment - 1 MOA / Click
    • Brightness - 10 DL&2 NV (Features Lockout Mode)
    • Construction - Solid titanium body, IP67
    • Window Size - 0.63" X 0.91"
    • Body Dimension - 1.6" X 1.16" X 1.13"
    • Weight - 1.72 oz
    • Battery - CR1632
    • Battery Life - 50,000 hours + Solar


  • Closed emitter design to keep debris away
  • Strong lens frame from top to bottom
  • Built in motion sensor like the 507C
  • Much tighter mount platform
  • Cons

    • Requires special mounting plate
    • Has lens edge distortion

    Holosun EPS Carry - Best Weatherproof

    holosun eps carry

    I've also tested the Holosun EPS Carry, and let me tell you, it's impressively compact! It's fully enclosed too. It fits perfectly on micro compact pistols, thanks to the Holosun K mounting footprint with the supplied RMSc adapter.

    Another feature that makes life easier is the side battery access. I don't have to remove the sight to swap the battery, which is a huge convenience.

    The optic offers 6 different options, including 2 MOA, 6 MOA, or a multi reticle system with a 32 MOA ring, and they come with a solar failsafe. Though they're sold separately.


    • Magnification: 1X
    • Reticle: 2 MOA, 6 MOA or MRS
    • Turret Value: 1 MOA / Click
    • Window Size: 0.58" X 0.77"
    • Construction: 7075 T6 aluminum IPX8 rated
    • Dimension: 1.62" X 1.07" X 0.95"
    • Weight: 1 oz
    • Battery Life: 50,000 hours


    • Closed emitter design to keep debris away
    • Multiple reticle options
    • No lens distortion at all
    • Strong lens frame than the 507K design
    • Comes with insert mount plate with recoil lugs


    • Not much

    Holosun 507K X2 - Best For Subcompact Pistols

    holosun 507K x2 on hellcat pistol

    I recently got my hands on the Holosun 507K, and I must say, it's perfect for my slim-profile handgun. It's compact and makes concealing my firearm a breeze. The 32 MOA Reticle with a 2 MOA dot is just like the ones in other Holosun red dot sights.

    The battery life on this thing is impressive. It's just as long-lasting as the Holosun 507C. When it comes to drawing from a holster, the rugged exterior doesn't just withstand wear from clothing; it also ensures a snag-free draw, whether I'm using an IWB or OWB holster.


    • Magnification: 1X
    • Reticle: 2 MOA dot, 32 MOA ring, or combined
    • Turret Value: 1 MOA / Click
    • Window Size: 0.58" X 0.77"
    • Construction: 7075 T6 aluminum IP67 rated
    • Dimension: 1.6" X 0.98" X 0.95"
    • Weight: 1 oz
    • Battery Life: 50,000 hours

    Read Holosun 507K Review


    • Very durable for CCW use
    • Multi reticle system like 507C
    • RMSc footprint fits most MOS handguns on the market today


    • Open emitter design attracts dirt
    • Has lens distortion

    Cyelee BEAR - Affordable Enclosed Optic

    cyelee bear red dot sight

    I recently got my hands on the new Cyelee BEAR sight from Amazon. This sight is built like a tank with its aircraft-grade aluminum body and matte-black finish. 

    I used to think about getting the Swampfox Kraken, but the BEAR sight beats it in both price and features. It's backed by a three-year warranty, which speaks volumes about its quality.

    Despite being a Chinese brand, Cyelee doesn't compromise on quality control after a few years of redesigning their products after some initial failures.

    There are a couple of downsides. It lacks a lock-out mode and doesn't offer a 6 MOA option. But honestly, given its weatherproof enclosure and the included adapter plates, I think it's a solid choice for any shooter.


    • Magnification: 1X
    • Reticle: 3 MOA dot
    • Turret Value: 1 MOA / Click
    • Window Size: 18mm
    • Construction: 7075 T6 aluminum IP6 rated
    • Weight: 1 oz
    • Battery Life: 50,000 hours


    • Fully enclosed for weatherproof
    • Lightweight
    • Rock solid mount
    • RMR and MOS adapter plates included


    • No lock out mode
    • No 6 MOA option 

    Handgun Red Dots Buying Guide

    Are Red Dots On Handguns Worth It

    Using a red dot sight on a handgun can provide significant benefits, particularly once the shooter becomes accustomed to it.

    The primary advantage of using a pistol red dot optic is the ability to keep both eyes open while remaining target-focused. Simply superimpose the dot over the target and shoot.

    This can be beneficial in a variety of shooting scenarios, including competition, defensive situations and for shooters with aging eyes.

    Check out our Red Dot Sight Shooting Guide. The guide goes over target acquisition, stance, dot brightness and recoil management beyond basic knowledge.

    How Far Is A Red Dot Effective

    walther pdp trijicon sro

    A red dot is effective as far as the shooter can hit where it was zeroed.

    The shooter must apply good shooting fundamentals such as grip, recoil control, breathing to be accurate. A red dot simply just provides the shooter the ability to aim faster.

    Low Bore Axis VS High Bore Axis Differences

    A low bore axis means the gun's barrel is closer to the shooter's hand top, which helps align the red dot sight with the target better and cuts down on muzzle lift. This makes it easier to keep the sight steady for follow-up shots.

    On the other hand, a high bore axis positions the barrel higher, which can lead to a more instinctive aiming and faster target locking when using a red dot sight.

    Lens Window Size Matters For Easier Dot Tracking

    holosun EPS vs EPS Carry field of view

    The size of the optic window matters because it gives you extra room to find the dot.

    Trijicon SRO's large window design makes a huge difference.

    Does The Weight of Optic Affect Slide Operation?

    Handgun optics are generally lightweight, around 2 oz, and do not affect slide operation. Removing material from the slide for optic mounting compensates for the added weight.

    The weight of the optic does not have a significant impact on performance, except for when mounting it on slides with lightening cuts or low recoil springs.

    Is Green or Red Dot Better

    Green dot reticle seems slightly easier to acquire in daylight.

    Recoils Resistant 

    These red dot sights are made to handle sharp recoil forces to retain zero for accuracy. Most high-quality handgun optics are built from the ground to handle loads like 40SW, 357 Sig and even 40mm.

    So they can handle a lot of G force when the slide cycles repeatedly.

    Repeated recoil only damage the optic's internals if you use low-quality optic.

    Handgun Slide Optic Compatibility

    fn509 ls edge optic ready slide cut

    Red dot sights fit many handgun slides, but not all. Striker-fired semi-auto pistols are their most common match.

     Leading gun makers, including Glock, FN, Springfield, and Smith & Wesson, provide pistols ready for optics, saving you milling costs.

    Your handgun optic usually includes the right mounting plates and screws for your gun. Brands like Glock, FN, Springfield, and Smith & Wesson offer pistols with built-in optic readiness, sparing you extra costs and time.

    When you buy a handgun optic, it comes with everything needed for mounting on your specific firearm, ensuring hassle-free setup.

    Adjusted Brightness Settings Control

    All of these optics offer favorable brightness settings that work well both indoors and outdoors, even in bright sunlight. It's important to note that the brightness of the dot and the size of the dot are not the same thing.

    Optic shooters should adjust the brightness level to match the environment to ensure the dot is neither too bright, obscuring the lens and target, nor too dim to see.

    Picking The Right MOA Reticle Size

    3 moa vs 6 moa dot sizes comparison

    Bigger dot for speed, smaller dot for accuracy.

    Users with aging eyes and astigmatism can benefit from using red dot sights to be target plane focused.

    Even though users with astigmatism sometimes have a hard time seeing the dot clearly. The 6 MOA is the best option.

    A smaller dot is great for fine aiming like the 1 MOA dot.

    Is Motion Activated Optic Feature Necessary?

    Motion activated red dot sights are getting popular. They can turns off to save battery if they are sitting in idle.

    It's a nice feature to have, but it's not necessary especially for a conceal carry optic that is constantly moving inside a holster.