11 Best Red Dot Sights - Ultimate Gunfighter's Guide 2021
We have tested & used over 18 different types of optics based on durability, reticle designs, battery life and cost.
Here are the 11 best red dot sights for modern handguns and long guns that the pros are using.
Check them out below:
For Fighting Rifles
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Aimpoint Micro H-1 - Top Of The Line Product
See More Optics For SCAR 17
Why All Pros Use Aimpoint Micro - The Aimpoint Micro is the oldest kid on the block. It's tough, durable and many Tier 1 military units around the world trust and use it.
Insane battery life - It lasts so long that the battery life seems infinite. This means the user doesn't have to switch out the battery at all for 4 years. You never have to worry about the battery running out, it's always ready.
Simple 2 MOA Dot - Uncluttered field of view for aiming the dot at night & doesn't obscure the target like the 68 MOA EOTECH ring reticle when the brightness is dialed up (See more 2 MOA red dot sights here)
Built like a tank - The Micro series red dot sight is made from 7075 T6 aluminum - the industry's highest material tough standard for weapon parts for surviving physical abuse, recoil and retain zero.
Accepts various mounts - The Aimpoint micro can accept many different mounts from various companies to suit your tactical needs, having a optimized mount helps retain zero and reduce weight.
What guns people use it on - The Aimpoint Micro is the ultimate choice for pistol caliber carbine, fighting rifles and shotguns.
If you want the best, this is it. So be sure to get a discount deal for this expensive optic by going through our link below:
EOTECH EXPS3-4 - Large FOV
Why Use The EOTech? This operator grade sight that works for many people including people with astigmatism. It's the go to optic for serious CQB shooters and home defenders within 50 yard distance.
Unobstructed FOV - Easily acquire the target while shooting on the move, shooting over barricade and around corners.
Fast Ranging BDC Reticle - Range a 5'8" tall human size target inside the 68 MOA reticle to quickly estimate relative target distance. In addition, use a magnifier behind the EXPS3 -4 to Engage up to 600 yards
Night Vision Capable - Shoot in the dark with night vision goggles using the NV mode. Not many sights out there have this feature.
CQB Holdover - Use the bottom of the 68 MOA ring for fast close range holdover to compensate CQB sight over bore offset.
Shoot With Both Eyes Open - Widen your situational awareness and not miss anything in the corner of your eye
- Magnification: 1X
- Eye Relief: Unlimited
- Reticle Type: 2 MOA Red Dot
- Turret : 0.5 MOA / Click
- Length: 3.1 inches
- Weight: 4.7 oz
Vortex AMG UH-1 Gen 2 - Just Like EOTECH
Why Must Get The Vortex UH1 Gen 2 - This is by far the best EOTECH holographic sight alternative with plenty of improvements from the Gen 1 model. And slightly cheaper!
Larger Viewing Window - HUD like aiming experience that many CQB shooters love. Rear window is larger than Gen 1.
New Aesthetics - For anything who wants a futuristic rifle setup different from anyone else. This is that optic
No Glass Tint - No visible glass tint just like EOTECH
AMG CQB Reticle - Open section reticle is much better for visibility than EOTECH to avoid target obstruction down range.
Trijicon MRO - Reduced Tube Effect
Why shooters love MRO - The large field of view with reduced tube effect widen shooter's situational awareness.
Reduced Tube Effect - The tapered body design allows the tube to remain small while giving the shooter a wide view. Sight in at 36 yard for the most combat effect zero
Reduced View Obstruction - Slim lateral body design and top brightness eliminates view obstruction for max situational awareness
Hardened Construction - The optic is built with 7075 T6 aluminum body, the toughest material the industry has to offer, which can withstand a lot of rough handling especially if you like to run your gun hard.
What people think of the MRO - If anything like this exist back then at this price point, it will fly off the shelf almost immediately
For the price, the MRO is a better option for anyone just got started with shooting. If you're new and want something as tough as the Aimpoint but without spending over $800 please check the best price by clicking on the button below.
Leupold LCO - Best Motion Sensor
Why pick the LCO - The LCO has the similar rectangle view window of the EOTECH, and it's a red dot sight without the ring reticle obscuring the sight picture
Widened Field Of View - Maximizes shooter's peripheral vision by eliminating the tube effect
Adjustable Brightness Settings - Adjust through 16 brightness settings for day and night usage.
Motion Activated To Save Battery - The sight instantly activates the sight upon motion, then it turns off when sitting at rest.
Built In Mount - Built-in cantilever mounting system to go on any mil-spec rail without any issue. Leupold recommends 60 in-pound when securing the optic on a rifle, and you can do that with a torque wrench.
If you're looking for something different than an Aimpoint or Eotech, the LCO is a great option to get.
Leupold has discontinued making it
Click on the link below to see if you can still find one for a good price
You can absolutely use those ones for AR15 on a PCC
Holosun optics are our best red dot for the money for anyone looking for durable and affordable red dot or reflex sights.
Holosun 510C - Best Overall
Use the Optic As Long As You Want – Increased battery life with the new Solar Failsafe system to to keep the optic working.
Solar Fail Safe - Solar panel extends the battery life longer to keep you in the fight longer even when the battery dies, and it also acts like a fiber optic that turn light exposure into battery power
Faster Transition – Instantly place the dot on the target while shooting on the move or transitioning with both eyes open.
Quick Detach - Mount and de-mount the optic without any tools in the event of optic failure or swapping optic on the go.
Multi-Purpose For Various Firearm Platforms – Use it on any firearm including heavy caliber centerfire rifles
Read Detailed Holosun 510C Review Here
Sig ROMEO 5 Best Value
Why Use ROMEO5? - The Sig ROMEO5 1X20mm is an robust, compact and affordable red dot optic offering from Sig Sauer. It's a way nicer optic than the Holosun 503.
Motion Activated - The new MOTAC powers up the optic upon any motion, and it shuts down when sitting idle to save battery and last as long as up to 40K hours
2 MOA dot size - Just like the MRO and Aimpoint Micro.
Uses Aimpoint Mount - Any aftermarket Aimpoint footprint mount will work
Check Out More ROMEO5 Pics And Review
The Trijicon RMR is the gold standard for micro pistol reflex sights. If you want best, the RMR is the go-to for handgun, rifle, and shotgun usage.
The optic is lightweight, robust and rugged, and it's the best to get.
Better the original - The RMR type 2 has improved its robust build quality to specifically handle handgun slide G force.
Improved battery compartment - More reliable by having a stronger battery retention to hold it in place without getting loose.
Offers 6.5 MOA Dot (RM07) - Bigger the dot, the rounder it is, the more clear it is to shooters with poor vision, and less starburst overlapping the dot.
Check out more large dot size optic here
Holosun 507C X2 - Best RMR Alternative
HoloSun HE507C X2 2 MOA reflex sight is among one of their best high quality budget optics. This is the best alternative for a Trijicon RMR at 2/3 the price.
It uses the same mounting footprint as the RMR, so you can use it on any existing RMR mount. It's among one of the best red dot sights for shotguns, PCC and rifles with a minimalistic overall profile
Side Battery Access - Access the battery from the side. No sight removal is required nor re-zeroing
Never Quit Working – Lasts over 100,000 hours plus solar power, Increased reliability with the Solar Failsafe feature to work continuously even if the battery fails to keep you in the fight longer
Conceal Carry Ready - Saves the last reticle brightness setting to prevent accidental button press
Center Dot + Ring - Switch between a precision dot & cicular reticle for CQB & distance shooting
Motion Activated Reticle – Increased battery life with HoloSun’s Shake Awake technology that activate the reticle with the last brightness setting recall to save battery
Leupold DeltaPoint Pro - Best For Competition
Leupold DeltaPoint Pro (DPP) is the most popular micro reflex optic for competition. Similar to Trijicon RMR, but slightly bigger window like the Trijicon SRO.
Optimized For Competition – Large FOV for fast target acquisition, helps shooter get on target fast and knock down targets to score big!
Top Loading Battery Access – Improved user experience, eliminated the need to remove sight for battery swap, retain zero without re-adjusting
Recoil proof– Increased durability & accuracy, full confidence when mounted on shotguns, handguns and rifles
Trijicon RMRcc - Best For CCW & Single Stack
Why pick the NEW RMRcc - Built on the fundation of the original RMR, the RMRcc is thinner and more compact for micro sized single stack CCW pistols.
This is really the first time in history single stack CCW pistols like the G43X can mount a duty grade optic that people can trust to be rough handled & daily bumps and drops.
Reduced 0.2" for slimmer profile - Fits flush with popular slim profile single stack CCW pistols. The RMRcc is 0.2" slimmer in width than the Trijicon RMR without compromising original CR2032 battery dimension or functionality
No to accidental brightness adjustment - The new Button “LOCK-OUT” Mode secures the setting regardless of bumping or rubbing against clothing when concealed.
Durable for single handed operation - Racking the slide against the optic on hard surfaces for one handed operation. The 7075 T6 forged aluminum housing is super tough
No compromise in durability - Even though the sight is scaled down from the original RMR, the new RMRcc still uses the same grade material, circuitry, functionality and positive MOA adjustment control the RMR is known for
Upgraded electronics - Tighten battery grip to prevent the battery from getting lose due to drops, bumps or repeated recoils to keep working in harsh environments,
6.5 or 3.25 MOA - 6.5 MOA is preferred for fast eye focus for super close up target acquisition and cleaner reticle for shooters with bad astigmatism
What To Look For
Red Dot VS Reflex Differences
Most red dot sights fall into the reflex optics category, but not all reflex sights are red dot sights.
The differences are as follows:
Red Dot Sight uses a LED emitted diode and mirrors to project the reticle on the glass inside a tube style red dot sight for aiming.
Unlimited eye relief, zero parallax and aim with both eyes open
Reflex Sight works the same way as a red dot sight, but they are typically open emitter sights like Trijicon RMR, Holosun 510C where the LED emitter is exposed instead of a fully enclosed body design.
Effective Zeroing Range & Accuracy
Different rifle has different range capability.
For the most part, red dot zeros between 25 and 100 yards are the most common. Learn to zero a red dot like a pro here
For a finer zero, use a magnifier scope to zoom in on the target and dial down the reticle brightness.
For a standard 55gr 5.56mm ball ammo, try the 36 yard zero
If you have a smaller dot like a 1 MOA or 2 MOA, it's absolutely important to get a good zero if the reticle looks blurry due to astigmatism or bad eye sight.
A red dot sight cannot replace fix inherent problems if you have an inaccurate barrel, poor bullet or poor shooting fundamentals.
Dot Size Selection & Astigmatism
The bigger the dot, the easier it is to pick up to superimpose it on the target for fast engagement.
The smaller the dot, the easier it is to aim precisely at a target far away without covering the target.
For shooters with astigmatism, if a big dot still look blurry please check out a prism sight or use a larger size MOA dot optic.
Be sure to also correct your vision or wear glasses
To learn more about prism vs red dot, please click here.
2 MOA dot will cover 2 inches at 100 yards and 1 inch at 50 yards.
4 MOA dot will cover about 4 inches at 100 yards and 2 inches at 50 yards.
To learn more on this topic, we have a 3 MOA VS 6 MOA article where we break down their differences beyond just the obvious specs.
Show Me More: Large MOA Optics
Most optics are made up of high quality glass that feature durable coating, optimal light emission angle, eye safety, and parallax-free.
Some optics with poor coating can lead to dot washout and poor lens reflection, specially in direct sunlight.
Learn the 7 tips to combat sun glare when shooting in direct sunlight here
Long-Lasting Battery Life
50,000 hours of battery life is the industry standard for a red dot sight, and currently most red dot sights can last this long with a single CR123A battery.
A long lasting battery life eliminates the need to replace the battery, and it can stay on and be ready for anything.
Unlimited Eye Relief & Parallax Free
The biggest benefit of a red dot is unlimited eye relief and parallax free, which allows the shooter focus on the target plane without:
- Aligning sights
- Eye box limitation
- Optic to eye distance
- Cheek weld position
Aim around corners, under the car, in tight spaces... super flexible!
You just can't do it with a magnified optic
For CQB targets, just place the parallax-free reticle on target even if the shooter's head isn't completely align with the optic.
The bullet will still hit where the dot is placed.
However, when optic is tilted like this:
The point of impact will shift slightly.
Learn more: Cant effect on point of impact shifts
Faster Target Acquisition Speed
A sight with a wide field of view allows the shooter to quickly present the rifle and instantly transpose the red dot reticle on the target and aim both eyes open.
Whether you're on the move or transitioning through corners. A red dot sight is extremely fast for acquiring sight picture without using traditional iron sights.
High-Quality Optic Mount
Use a good mount for good zero retention and good cheek weld height.
On average, they cost about $90 – 150 each for a good mount with good aesthetics and rock-solid rail clamp force. Some of the best are made by:
- LaRue Tactical
- American Defense
- Geissele Super Precision
- Midwest Industries
Check out our optic mount guide for more information
Check here to learn how to mount optic on rifles without rail This include great firearms like AK, M14, P90, MP5 and more.
Using An Red Dot With Fixed A2 Front Sight
Fixed A2 front sight is blocking the sight picture. Does it matter?
Not really! here is why.
It's about how you configure the rifle so you can use an red dot with fixed A2 front sight without it obscuring your sight picture.
Check out the hyperlink to learn the 4 ways to go about it.
The toughest red dot sights are made to withstand roughing handling, recoil impluses and combat field abuse.
Under normal use the shooter is not expected to beat the crap out of the optic for no reason, but when the unexpected happens, these high strength to weight ratio optic won't break.
Under normal use, these bad boys will last a long time!
But the lens still remains a vulnerable spot.
The only way it will break is if you damage the glass straight on with the significant amount of force.
Referenced Larry Vicker
Recoil impulse travels down the gun if you ever have seen any slow-motion videos of a gun firing.
Some guns kick a lot, and you can see the wave travel across the gun, and the optic kind of wiggles around.
This harmonic wave will affect optic accuracy.
Therefore any combat optic has to be able to handle that recoil without losing zero.
Those high-end optics paired up with rock-solid mount can withstand sharp recoil impulse and height drop. So that should give you enough confidence to least buy one already.
High End Optics Alternatives
Holosun Optics, which has compeltely separated themselves among the packs and started making very-high end mil-spec optics, and some are getting close to Trijicon & Aimpoint.
Sig Sauer also makes optics, and they have a wide range of optic product selections for budget and pro users.
Who Uses Red Dot Sights?
People use red dot sights for all types of shooting
- Home defenders
- Competition shooters
- Law Enforcement
When you buy a red dot sight for home defense, you should go for quality that you can trust.
For plinking and casual range sessions, an good optic in the $200-300 range is as good as those $600 couple years back as their qualities continue to increase and the prices are dropping.
In the past you can't get a budget red dot that performs like an Aimpoint, and now you can.
For more please check out more content on our website.