8 Best Red Dot Sights 2020
There are so many optic choices out there, some are good and some are bad. We have used many of them to share our thoughts.
This is our buyer's guide for the best red dot sights for modern handguns and long guns.
Each red dot sight is unique in its own ways. Some have extremely long battery life, and others are built like tanks
No matter which one you pick, their core benefit is to help the shooter put holes on target accurately and effortless wherever they placed the reticle
Check them out below.
These recommended red dot sights are best for AR15, AK and other various types of firearms including Pistol Caliber Carbines.
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BEST HOLOGRAPHIC SIGHT
EOTECH EXPS3-4 (HOLDOVER DOTS)
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BEST BATTERY SAVING
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BEST BUDGET OPTION
SIG SAUER ROMEO 5
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World's Toughest RDS
Aimpoint Micro H2
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TOUGHEST MICRO RED DOT
Trijicon RMR Type 2
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BEST RMR ALTERNATIVE
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BEST FOR COMPETITION
Trijicon SRO 2.5 MOA
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Why pick the LCO - The LCO is a great lightweight optic that's quite popular right now. Its futuristic looking body profile and it's new integrated circuit for battery saving are what make the Leupold LCO so great.
What people love about the LCO - The clean outter optic frame gives the shooter max peripheral vision free of knobs and dials, which is great for CQB indoor and outdoor.
In addition, the clean 1 MOA dot reticle is suited for long distance precision shots, and it can be adjusted between 16 brightness settings to match the lighting situation.
Motion Activated - The LCO has a built-in motion sensor that activates the reticle when the shooter picks up the gun, and it turns off when it's sitting still. This added feature helps save battery when using just 1 CR123A battery.
The optic comes with a built-in cantilever mounting system that can 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.
Why Aimpoint is the best - The Aimpoint Micro is the oldest kid on the block. It's tough, durable and many Tier 1 military units around the world use it.
This low profile red dot is the ultimate war proven red dot for AR15, M4, AK, SCAR and other top tier fighting rifles, and it's regarded as the most trusted optic brand in the gun industry.
The Micro series red dot sight comes in 4 different models:
- T1 & H1 - Base model
- T2 & H2 - With even more rugged body + lens cap
Insane battery life - what the Aimpoint Micro is known for is its insane 50,000+ hours (~5 yrs) of battery life (1 CR2032), which means the user doesn't have to switch out the battery at all.
That means the optic will stay on and last even longer than the time you will spend getting a 4 year degree. You never have to worry about the battery running out, so you can keep it in your range bag or in the closet ready to go when you pick up.
Built like a tank - Having a tough external construction is important for an optic, 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.
When you buy the optic the only down side is that it doesn't come with a mount, which can add up the cost even more in the upwards of almost $900.
There are many aftermarket mounts available, which you can check out here.
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:
Why large FOV matters for most shooters - The Trijicon Miniature Rifle Optic has the largest field of view among other tube style red dot optics for max situational awareness.
One thing unique about the design is that the brightness adjustment is on the top of the optic, which eliminates view obstruction on the sides, and it also made it ergonomical for lefties and righties.
The tapered body design allows the tube to remain small while giving the shooter a wide view.
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 - In the past, people if anything like this exist it will fly off the shelf almost immediately because Aimpoint Micro cornered the market.
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.
You can absolutely use the ones for AR15 on a PCC without any problem. However, typically people put a more expensive red dot on a centerfire rifle for home defense and to take to a carbine class.
Unless you really need to spend crazy amount of money for a bomb-proof optic, a budget option like the Holosun is just as good minus the mil-spec durability.
Pistol caliber rifles or sub-guns are generally used as a lightweight CQB home defense tool, USPSA competition and plinking.
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 Budget Reflex Red Dot Sight
- Use the Optic As Long As You Want – Power source is an important part of a high-quality optic for non-stop use, increase battery life with the new Solar Failsafe system to strengthened reliability and longevity
- Multi-Purpose For Various Firearm Platforms – Use it on any firearm is a good indication of how useful the optic is, using the improved QD mount with an adjustable clamping force to go on any firearm including heavy caliber centerfire rifles
- Large Lens Window For Faster Shooting – Lens size is an important spec of how fast you shoot and track the dot in a match, parallax-free holographic sight with unlimited eye relief with this large POV to instantly place the dot on the target while shooting on the move or transitioning with both eyes open
Primary Arms Red Dot Best For Beginner
Primary Arms red dot sight is affordable and performs well. It's one of the best budget red dot for just under $200, and new shooters can quickly get into shooting with a red dot without breaking the bank.
- 50,000 Hours Battery – Reliable and long battery life is one of the measurements of the quality of the optic, using only 1 CR2032 lithium battery to power the sight through 11 brightness settings without ever changing the battery
- 11 Brightness Settings For Any Environment– Flexible options to adjust dot brightness for daytime use, increased versatility with additional 2-night vision settings for nighttime shooting
- Shoot Accurately with It Longer – Built material is an important aspect of a durable optic, increased ruggedness with 6061 T6 aluminum construction to ensure durability and maintain zero
Trijicon RMR Type 2 - Toughest Micro Reflex Sight
The Trijicon RMR is the gold standard for micro pistol reflex sights. Still to this day, this optic is the go-to for handgun, rifle, and shotgun usage.
- Same as 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.
The optic is lightweight, robust and rugged, and it's the best to get.
Holosun 507C - Best Overall
HoloSun HE507C 2 MOA reflex sight is among one of their best products. This is the best alternative to 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.
What people love about it
- 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
- 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
DeltaPoint is the most popular micro reflex optic for competition. Similar to Trijicon RMR, but with a bigger window.
- 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 from the same grade features as 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.
Even through the optic window is slightly smaller than the RMR, but target acquisition speed feels still the about same without any significant compromises.
Reduced 0.2" for slimmer profile - A slimmer optic width 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 - Accidental brightness adjustment is a problem when it's time to draw the gun either too dim or too bright. The new Button “LOCK-OUT” Mode secures the setting regardless of bumping or rubbing against clothing when concealed.
Durable for single handed operation - In situation where the shooter has to operate the slide with just one hand, racking the slide against the optic on hard surfaces come into play. The 7075 T6 forged aluminum housing allows the user to go tough on the optic
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 - Ruggedized battery contacts and electronics ensure performance and survivability in harsh environments, the tighter battery grip prevents the battery from getting lose due to drops, bumps or repeated recoils
6.5 or 3.25 MOA - Two MOA sizes to choose from, 6.5 MOA is preferred for fast eye focus for super close up target acquisition
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 - The use of 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 - The reticle is projected the same way as the red dot, but it offers better field of view without too much view obstruction. Reflex sights are typically open emitter sights like Trijicon RMR, Holosun 510C where the LED emitter is exposed.
Red Dot Sight Effective Zeroing Range & Accuracy
As long as you have an accurate rifle and caliber, adding a red dot sight to it makes it even better. A red dot sight cannot replace the inherent inaccurate barrel, bullet or shooting fundamentals.
Generally speaking, a good rifle set up with a red dot sight can reach 200 yards before needing some sort of magnification.
This is where the size of your MOA dot is very important.
Note: Whether you're using a reflex sight or a holographic sight, be sure to have 20/20 vision or wear glasses otherwise the reticle will look blurry since they're projected onto the lens that appears to be couple feet in front of your eye.
Importance of MOA Dot Size Selection
The size of the dot has a lot to do with the effective range. The bigger the dot, the shorter the effective range.
Red dot sizes vary from optic to optic, some times adjusting the brightness setting can mimic changing of the dot size.
The most popular red dot size is 2 to 4 MOA on the market, which means a 2 MOA dot will cover 2 inches at 100 yards and 1 inch at 50 yards.
A 4 MOA dot will cover about 4 inches at 100 yards and 2 inches at 50 yards.
So if you want to reach a 12 inches wide human size target at 100 yards, a 2 MOA is a finer dot size that can get the job done. The further you shoot the smaller your want your dot size to be.
Learn more: How far to sight in a 223 rifle
The glass quality of those optics is the highest quality when it comes to material. It's made up of coating, light emission angle, eye safety, and parallax-free.
I have the chance to check out the ELCAN, Aimpoint, EOTech, and Trijicon in person and compare them to a budget red dot scope. It was a night and day difference.
Many of those budget optics have a lot of reflection in them. It prevents the shooters from getting a clear sight picture. Also, the cheap optics have a lens that is not heat-treated correctly. The recoil force can affect the accuracy and shake the glass off.
Long-Lasting Battery Life
Durable optics have long battery lives up to 6 years without having to shut it off. So you don’t have to worry about changing out the battery every month. One thing that I really liked about the Aimpoint and Trijicon is their battery life. It's ridiculously long!
It utilizing their advanced circuit design by using just a CR2032 battery and get the most juice out of it. I would still change them out every 12 months to have my gear tuned to its optimal.
Unlimited Eye Relief & Parallax Free
Placing shots right on the target where you aim without aligning the sight is the biggest advantage a red dot sight has. With unlimited eye relief allows you to look through the sight without worrying about the eye box or eye shadow.
For any target distances parallax-free allows for the most optimal accuracy regardless of where you see the dot inside the sight, it will remain on the target.
Faster Target Acquisition Speed
With a wide field of view and parallax-free red dot sight, you can quickly present the rifle and instantly place the red dot on your target whether you're on the move or transitioning through corners. This is extremely useful for competition shooting, operators clearing rooms and home defense.
High-Quality Red Dot Sight Mount
Having a red dot optic means a good mounting platform with an optimal co-witness height.
A high-quality T6061 or T7075 aerospace-grade aluminum housing is the standard. that can absorb a lot of stress and also provide rock-solid clamping on the rail system.
Make sure you get a good mount that has tight screw and clamping force. A good mount makes sure your optic is tight on the rifle without losing zero due to physical abuse or recoil.
A good mount also allows you to take the scope off and put it back on without losing zero.
All these toughest red dot sights are for the hardcore shooters. The construction of the unit body has to be rugged and lightweight.
High tensile strength prevents a lot of physical abuse before any deformation. The feel to those super expensive optics have one thing in common, they are nice and snug.
The only way it will break is if you damage the glass straight on with the significant amount of force. When someone says they have a battle-proven sight, It means it can take a lot of physical beating and maintain zero.
But the glass part of the scope still remains a vulnerable spot.
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.
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.
Gucci Optics Alternatives
Besides all the Chinese knock-off airsoft scopes, some companies are making WAY better red dot sights on a lower price range.
Holosun Optics, which has compeltely separated themselves among the packs and started pushing its limit for making very-high end mil-spec optics, some are even better than Trijicon & Aimpoint.
Some optics companies focus on a wide range of optics, and some focus only on a few products to make them dominate the whole market.
Sig Sauer is now officially an optics manufacturers. They have a wide range of optic product from long-range to short-range combat. Their affordable Aimpoint-like sights such as the ROMEO series are great, but Holosun is our favorite.
If you want the high end optics without breaking the bank, we highly recommend HoloSun, Primary Arms and Vortex Optics
Who Uses Red Dot Sights?
Indestructible red dot sights are used all by hardcore gun owners, and by Law Enforcement units and Military units all around the world. You see EoTech, Aimpoint, Trijicon the top 3 brands among the gun communities.
Most of those companies offer law enforcement and military discount program or contract and making them as their top royal customers. When you hear those brands you know, they are getting the good shit.
Top Optic Mounts That Work
The Aimpoint, Holosun and Trijicon MRO reflex sights are required for additional purchase of aftermarket mounts. Usually, they cost about $150 – 200 each. Typically they’re high quality CNC machined mounts:
- LaRue Tactical
- American Defense
- Geissele Super Precision
- Midwest Industries
Those above-listed manufacturers make some of the toughest high-quality mounts that ensure highest tolerance requirement and significant clamping force to give a rock-solid mounting platform for your red dot sight and rifle.
That means to return to zero when taking the scope on and off the rail, recoil proof, and stays on the rifle tight.
I’m a firm believer in the “buy once cry once” mindset. At the beginning of the article I mentioned I own a lot of rifles, but not my all rifles are paired with a super expensive optics.
When you buy a red dot sight for home defense, you should go for quality that can save your life, and if you want to use your guns for plinking, then go with something around the $200-300 range 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.
Overall, Aimpoint, Trijicon, EOTech and Steiner Optics are the top 4 players in the market currently.
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