6 Best Red Dot Sights For Pistols

We have used many optics on different types of firearms. Do you know which are the best red dot sights for pistol?

In this guide, we put together a great list of 5 products to help you save your time researching. 

So let's check them out:

Trijicon RMR Type 2 - Best Overall

trijicon-adjustable-led-rmr

Why it's the best - This open emitter reflex sight is the gold standard for all micro red dot sights, and it's the go to pistol sighting system

Increased Slug Accuracy - 3.25 MOA dot size or higher are great for acquiring the target fast and easier for shooting with both eyes open

Tighter Battery Grip - Tighter battery grip compared to the Type 1 model to sustain recoil G force better to ensure 100% battery contact to keep the reticle on

Works On Other Mounts - Mount it on other firearm platforms as offset or primary optic

Pros

  • 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

    fnx45 with holosun 507c pov

    Why Use Holosun 507C - The Holosun 507C X2 is by far the best alternative to the Trijicon RMR and saves you a lots of money while the mounting footprint stays the same. (See more optics with the same RMR footprint not listed on this guide here)

    Solar Power BackUp - Solar fail-safe power kicks in immediately when the battery dies, so the optic will always remain on

    Side Battery Access - No sight removal required to swap battery. 

    2X More Battery life - The Shake Awake technology saves tons of battery life by deactivating the optic when at rest, then turns it back on upon movement. Up to 100,000 hours

    Multi Reticle System - Choose among 3 different reticles for different shooting applications

    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

    Pros

  • 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

    fn509 trijicon sro pov in action

    Trijicon SRO is a large window red dot sight that allows faster dot tracking than any other standard size red dot sights. It's the evolved version of the RMR design for users having a hard time acquiring the dot.

    Unobstructed Field of View - Fast to get on target, fast follow up, and never lose the dot inside the window even if the eye is slightly off center

    Easier To Find The Dot - Slightly enlarged upper portion of the window significantly increase dot acquisition speed even if the grip angle was off

    Top Loading Battery Access - Access battery from the top without removing the sight or re-zero the sight 

    Lock-In & Lock Out Mode - Saves user chosen brightness setting indefinitely, Ideal for target shooting & competition without accidental button adjustment

    Pros

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

    Cons

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

    holosun 509t on walther pdp

    Why use closed emitter reflex sight - The new Holosun 509T X2 is a closed emitter red dot designed to prevent debris from entering the optic or carrying concealed under clothing and for outdoor use.

    32 MOA Reticle + 2 MOA dot - Same reticle system as 507C, 508T and 507K

    Battery Lasts A Long Time – Just like the Holosun 507C recommended above. Long battery life + Solar Failsafe to keep the sighting system operational

    Clamp Mount - Tighter and much more secure mount like picatinny 

    Titanium Durability – Increased main body durability to handle heavy recoil impulses and rough slide racking against hard surfaces. 

    Pros

  • 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

    Holosun EPS Carry - Best Weatherproof

    holosun eps carry

    The Holosun EPS Carry looks like the 509T, but it's much smaller and it's fully enclosed, and it uses the Holosun K mounting footprint (RMSc) for micro compact pistols.

    Holosun 507K X2 - Best For Subcompact Pistols

    P365XL with holosun 507k x2 pov

    Holosun 507K is made for slim profile handgun that is compact and further reduce the size for conceal carry users.

    32 MOA Reticle + 2 MOA dot - Same reticle system as 507C, 508T and 507K

    Battery Lasts A Long Time – Just like the Holosun 507C recommended above. Long battery life + Solar Failsafe to keep the sighting system operational

    Snag free holster draw performance - The rugged exterior housing to withstand wear against clothing and also provides snag-free draw performance out of IWB or OWB holsters.

    Clamp Mount - Tighter and much more secure mount like picatinny 

    Simple battery change without hassle - Access the battery from the side tray instead of the bottom to eliminate the need to remove the sight for a battery swap.

    Pros

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

    Cons

    • Open emitter design attracts dirt

    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.

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

    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

    Positioning the bore of the gun closer to the top of the shooter's hand can improve alignment of the red dot sight with the target, as well as reduce muzzle rise for easier maintainance of sight picture during follow-up shots.

    High bore axis design allows for a more natural point of aim, making target acquisition quicker and effortless.

    Lens Window Size Matters For Easier Dot Tracking

    trijicon rmr vs sro side by side

    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.

    Reflex Red Dot Aids Aging Eyes

    Red dot sights are ideal for distance shooting with handguns. The dot size, ranging from 1 MOA to 6 MOA, affects precision - the smaller the dot, the more accurate the aim.

    Using a red dot sight on a handgun allows for faster target acquisition and is especially beneficial for individuals with aging eyes, as the dot is easier to aim with than traditional iron sights.

    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

    Both optics are great. Green 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

    Many handgun slides are compatible with red dot sights, but not all. Striker-fired semi-auto pistols are the most popular platform for red dot sights.

    Many major gun manufacturers now offer optic ready pistols, such as Glock, FN, Springfield, and Smith Wesson, eliminating the need for additional milling or cost. 

    Most handgun optics come with the necessary mounting plates and screws for your specific firearm.

    Companies like Glock, FN, Springfield, Smith Wesson, and more all offer optic ready pistols right out of the box, so that the customers don't have to spend extra money or time milling the slide.

    Most handgun optics you purchase will ship with all the mounting plates and screws for your particular firearm, so you don't have to worry.

    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.

    The bigger dot sizes like 6 MOA is faster to acquire and it works better for people with astigmatism. A smaller dot is great for fine aiming like the 1 MOA dot.

    Is Motion Activated Optic Feature Necessary?

    When choosing a red dot sight, it's important to consider the battery life of the unit. Some optics, such as the Holosun HS407c, feature a motion sensor-activated reticle that automatically turns off when not in use, conserving battery power.

    While this can be a useful feature, it should not be considered a primary factor in your selection. Many red dot sights have a long battery life and can remain on for extended periods without failure. Therefore, it is advisable not to make your decision solely based on the motion sensor feature.