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 applications?

In this article, we put together a great list of industry-reputable handgun optics to help you save your time researching. 

So let's check them out!

Top Rated Pistol Red Dot Sights



  • Features:2 MOA dot (Red/Green), Motion activated, Fully multi-coated lens, Grade 5 Titanuim housing, CR2032 Battery
  • Benefits:Brand NEW lightweight for Glock handgun, Solar + battery power providing ~100K hours, 2 MOA dot great for close & medium range fast action shooting

  • Features:2.5 MOA dot, 7075 T6 Aluminum housing, Same as RMR mount base, 1 MOA / Click, Top loading CR2032 battery
  • Benefits:Large FOV for faster TGT acquisition & follow-up shots, Slick top loading battery design for easy battery access
oldest & most respected RDS on the market
Open Box, Dealer Demo, Noblex-Docter Optics Sight C Red Dot Sight, Illuminated 3.5 MOA Dot, Brown, 55742
Noblex-Docter Optics Sight IPSC (3.5 MOA)
  • Features:3.5 MOA dot, Anti-reflective lens, Automatic brightness control, CR2032 Battery
  • Benefits:Stainless steel and anodized aluminum construction, integrated 4-point loss protection better than Noblex C
  • 7 MOA DOT: Docter RDS 7 MOA

  • Features:2.5 MOA dot, Anti-reflective lens,  CR2032 Battery, Battery saving motion sensor
  • Benefits:Perfect for competition, Tool-less top loading battery access, Rugged for home defense

  • Features:6 MOA dot, 6061 T6 Aluminum housing, 10 brightness settings, 1 MOA / Click, Top loading CR1632 battery
  • Benefits:Large FOV for a micro optic, Works on rifle & shotgun as backup optic,  Top loading battery design for easy battery swap

  • Features:3 MOA reticle, Side activation button, Side button OPS, CR1632 battery
  • Benefits:Fast CQB shooting for handguns, Lightweight mirco optic for fast action shooting, Pinpoint accuracy with speed

Popular RDS Compatible Handguns 

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Best Micro Red Dot For FNX 45 Tactical

FDE FNX 45 tactical with surefire x300 and trijicon rmr

The FNX 45 tactical pistol was the most popular polymer frame 45 handguns released in 2012. Since then it has put the legendary HK USP Tactical lower in the ranks.

HK USP Tactical is still a good gun, but it can’t accept a red dot. The good news is that the FNX 45 Tactical is optic ready right out of the box.

Best Micro Red Dot For Ruger MARK IV 22


The Ruger MARK IV is probably the most popular 22LR pistols on the market. It’s a great plinking gun and a beginner training tool with almost no recoil.

The new MARK IV LITE 22/45 with top Picatinny rail is a blast to shoot when you mount an optic on it. 

Best Red Dot For Glock MOS


Wanna save money milling your Glock slide for an optic? The Glock MOS is optic ready right out of the box!

Shooting a Glock with an optic is a lot of fun, it helps with faster aiming, better accuracy, and looks cool.

Currently available in Gen 4 and Gen 5 models

Best Red Dots For CZ Shadow 2

CZ Shadow 2 red dot sight

The CZ Shadow 2 is honestly the best competition pistol on the market today. It's heavy, and it kicks way less than any other handguns due to its unique ergonomics.

When you add a big window red dot sight to this gun, you can dominate the match and have a lot of fun. 

Best Sig Sauer P320 X5 MRDS

Sig Sauer P320 X5 with ROMEO1 optic

Shooting the new Sig P320 X Five Legion in handgun competitions with a red dot is awesome and fun. It’s an upgraded version from the original X5.

The weight was increased to 43.5oz with TXG tungsten-infused grip module ion order to reduce muzzle flip by about 50%. The trigger pull of the XFIVE Legion is ~30% lighter with the new skeletonized trigger, which increases shooting speed and accuracy.

The recoil system has been upgraded to use a solid steel guide rod and a 14lb 1911-style spring.

Pairing this thing either with a Sig red dot or other red dots on the market will make this thing kick ass on the competition stages.

Best MRDS For Springfield Hellcat OSP

Springfield hellcat OSP

The NEW Springfield Hellcat OSP has finally entered the micro pistol arena against guns like the Glock 43 & Sig P365. The gun's biggest winning point is its extended magazine capacity in a palm size pistol.

Now adding a red dot to it

Best MRDS For Walther PPQ Q5 Match

walther ppq q5 match with deltapoint pro

The Walther PPQ Match competition-oriented handgun is a slick gun with a lot of potentials. The handgun is optic and match ready right out of the box.

Because the gun is efficient, accurate and adaptable, making it super popular for range & competition use.

Best FN 509 Tactical Red Dots

fnx 45 tactical with suppressor surefire

FN 509 Tactical is an upgrade to its original 509 pistol, now it’s optic ready right out of the box.

The new optics mounting system accepts the majority of red dots on the market today without the need to direct mill the slide.

Available in full size and compact size. Whether you’re using it for duty carry or for competition, shooting the gun with RDS is fun.

Average $ 700-900 right out of the box, you get mounting plates and screws in a sealed bag that allows you to mount any pistol optics on the market.

Best Beretta M9 Red Dot & Mounts

Beretta M9 Red Dot Sight

Can You Put A Red Dot On A Beretta 92fs (M9)?  The Beretta M9 or 92FS slides can’t be milled like other striker-fired handgun slides.

1. Not enough room for a base mounting plate
2. Milling the slide milling will destroy the gun

Milling the slide will destroy the critical functionality of the Beretta M9!
Please use the rail mount sight adapter OR the dovetail rear sight mount.

Unfortunately, the new Beretta M9A3 has the same slide as before, so there are no proprietary ways to install the sight without any modification.

However, the rear sight is adjustable and removable, which means a dovetail rear sight adapter is your best option for adding an optic.

Best HK VP9 Optics & Dovetail Mount

HK VP9 tactical slide with trijicon RMR

The HK VP9 has gone through several iterations to make it better, and one of the improvements on the newer models is the optic compatibility right out of the box.

The VP9's grip angle is extremely comfortable, which makes it fairly natural to shoot with a red dot optic.

But...For the original VP9 users, mill the slide for an optic or get a dovetail optic mount are the only options.

What To Look For

Low Bore Axis VS High Bore Axis Differences

Pistols such as Glock and Smith Wesson M&P have low bore axis, which makes them easier to handle recoil & faster follow-up shots, because the bore of the gun stay as close to the top of the shooter's hand as possible.

If the physical world allows, we want semi-auto slide operated handguns to have similar to the revolver's grip angle where the grip is almost right behind the barrel, but with modern slide operated handguns that's impossible.

Lens Window Size Matters For Easier Dot Tracking

Trijicon SRO Vs RMR Dimensions
Image Referenced Trijicon

The size of the optic window matters because it gives you extra room to find the dot. Not being able to pick up the red dot fast while using a small window sight on a low bore axis handgun is one of the biggest complaints regarding handgun optics.

Trijicon SRO is the newest optic on the market that has a large window that solves the problem.

Shooting with two eyes open with a larger sight makes it so much easier and fun.

Over the years, many people train hard to be able to pick up the dot consistently for their unique handgun, but the problem is that your perfectly trained techniques may work with one gun, but doesn't work well when using another gun with slightly different grip angle or ergonomics.

Therefore having a slightly larger window helps a lot by eliminating the need to have a perfect pistol draw.

Read More: Trijicon SRO VS Sig ROMEO3 MAX 

Reflex Red Dot Aids Aging Eyes

Red dot sight is great for distance shooting for handguns. Depending on the dot size of the optic you use, varying from 1 MOA to 6 MOA. The smaller the dot size the more refined the dot, the more you can aim accurately.

In fact, shooting handguns with red dot sight gives you faster target acquisition, and it's perfect for aging eyes where it's easier to aim with the dot than with iron sights.

Does The Weight of Optic Affect Slide Operation?

Generally speaking, handgun optics weight don't affect slide operation at all. They're all very lightweight about 2 oz, in addition, the removed material on the slide for optic mounting balances everything out.

It doesn't increase the felt recoil or anything else like that, so you will be just fine.

The weight of the optic doesn't significantly affect the performance of the slide. However, the only time weight could affect the operation is when mounting it on slides with lightening cuts or with special low recoil springs.

Recoils Resistent

Glock 19 gen 5 recoiling with deltapoint pro

Image Referenced TREX ARMS

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

GLOCK Slide optic mounting plates

Red dot sights can be mounted on most handgun slides, but not all handgun slides are compatible with optics.

Generally speaking, striker-fired semi-auto pistols are the most popular platform for having a red dot sight on top.

In recent years, major gun manufacturers started to roll out optic ready pistols to the market, and it's been a successful trend.

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.

Battery Life

Small handgun red dot sights surprisingly have great battery lives right around 50,000 hrs using just 1 CR2032 battery. Whether you pick the Trijicon RMR or Vortex Venom, they will stay on always.

Recently, there are solar-powered red dot optics such as the Holosun 407C as a way to increase the reliability of the sight even if the battery fails in the field.

When picking an sight please pay attention to the how easy it is to change the battery, we recommend the ones that allow you to change the battery without removing the sight to prevent loss of zero.

Trijicon SRO and Deltapoint are two great examples with top-loading battery compartment.

Adjusted Brightness Settings Control

All of these optics have favorable brightness level settings that will work indoor and out on a sunny day. The brightness of the dot may appear that the dot size has increased, however, they're not the same thing.

For optic shooters it's important to dial the brightness level to the correct setting depend on the environment, to prevent the dot from being too bright that covers up the lens and the target, or too dim to see.

Picking MOA Reticle Sizes

Red Dot Sight MOA Sizes

Bigger dot for speed, smaller dot for accuracy.

The bigger the dot size the faster you can see the dot & place it on a target and shoot, and this is helpful for fast action CQB shooting & competition.

So choosing among MOA sizes, think about what your typical shooting activities are.

So which ones?

Something like 3 MOA to 6.5 MOA are great for close quarter.

Generally speaking, we recommend 2 MOA or 3 MOA as the middle option. Whether if you're doing competition shooting or personal defense, both of them work.

For precision shooting

1 or 2 MOA dot sizes.

A smaller bright dot is great for long-distance target shooting without obscuring the entire target, so you can see clearly and get pinpoint accuracy.

Is Motion Activated Optic Feature Necessary?

There are optics on the market like the Holosun HS407c where the red dot will automatically turn off when not using, and it will activate when you pick it up due to motion. It's a nice feature to save battery, but it's not a must-have feature.

Most red dot sights can remain on for ridiculously long hours without failing.

In other words, don't pick a red dot sight just because of the motion sensor-activated reticle feature.

Final Thoughts on Handgun Slide Optics

Glocks with Deltapoint Pro and Trijicon RMR
Image Referenced TREX ARMS

Red dot optics for handguns are here to stay. It helps the shooter to shoot fast, accurately without completely align the iron sights, both eyes open, wider field of view and much more.

For duty carry, the optic on the slide can also be used as a large sized charging handle to clear jams.

The bigger the dot around 3 - 6 MOA sizes are recommended for a much rounder dot for users with astigmatism, and it provides a big enough dot for any close range pistol applications.