3 Best Red Dot Sights For Shotguns 

In this guide, we are going to recommend 3 best red dot sights for shotgun. These aged sights are popular for pistols and rifles and they work well when shooting 12GA pellets.

If you're not sure what to look for, we got you covered here.

Let's check them out

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3 Best Red Dot Sights For Shotguns

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Trijicon RMR Type 2

benelli m4 with trijicon rmr

Trijicon RMR is the gold standard for micro pistol reflex sights, and it just happens to also work on offset rifle mounts, lightweight PCCs and shotguns. It's durable, small and effective sighting system for tactical shotguns.

Improved Accuracy - Highly recommend 3 MOA dot or bigger for better dot clarity and effective coverage for shotgun pellet

Long Battery Life - Just 1 CR2032 battery can last as long as 3.5 years on medium dot brightness setting

7075 Rugged - Super rugged body construction that can take a brutal beating in the field and still stays on

Built For Handgun Recoil - Much tighter battery grip to survive handgun slide G force, which means it works on a hard recoil shotgun without shifting the zero.

Pros

  • Small and lightweight
  • Very durable glass and outer body to resist impact stress
  • New design lengthens battery life up to 3.5 years
  • Tighter battery grip than Type 1 model

Cons

  • Sight removal required for battery swap
  • Open emitter design can attract dirt and debris

Aimpoint Micro

benelli-m4-home-defense-with-aimpoint-micro-h1

Aimpoint Micro is the best red dot sight for many carbine setups, and it works well on shotgun platforms because it's small, lightweight, recoil proven and long lasting

Improved Accuracy - Highly recommend 3 MOA dot or bigger for better dot clarity and effective coverage for shotgun pellet

Accepts Various Mounts - So many aftermarket mounts available for this optic. Recommend low mount for shotgun cheek weld height

7075 Rugged - Super rugged body construction that can take a brutal beating in the field and still stays on

Enclosed Emitter Body Construction - Unlike the RMR, the Aimpoint Micro is fully enclosed to keep debris out of the optic to work under rain and mud splash with a simple finger wipe to clean it off 

Pros

  • Small and lightweight
  • Fully protected emitter to keep debris out
  • Very durable glass and outer body to resist impact stress
  • Battery lasts up to 5 years
  • Tighter battery grip than Type 1 model

Cons

  • Sight removal required for battery swap
  • Open emitter design can attract dirt and debris

Vortex Venom 6 MOA

vortex veonom on shotgun

Vortex Venom is the entry level micro red dot sight for 12GA shotguns, and it works as good as the Burris FastFire 3 and it provides a very clean glass quality with edge to edge clarity for competition and skeet range use

Improved Accuracy - Highly recommend 6 MOA dot or bigger for better dot clarity and effective coverage for shotgun pellet

Accepts Various Mounts - So many aftermarket mounts available for this optic. Recommend low mount for shotgun cheek weld height

Almost Invisible Lens Frame - Thin lens frame makes it almost invisible around the edges to give the shooter max situational awareness when focusing the eyes on the target

Pros

  • Small and lightweight
  • Recessed MOA turrets to prevent accidental adjustment
  • Recommended for skeet shooting
  • Top battery loading without sight removal

Cons

  • Bluish lens tint may not be good for indoor use without a weapon light
  • Open emitter design
  • Super slim lens frame not withstand dropping 

Shotgun Red Dot Practical Applications

Red dot sights are for rifles, why put it on shotguns?

It's all about fast target acquisition better than using ghost ring sights.

  • Home Defense - A home defense shotgun equipped with a tight choke is optimized for reaching more than 25 yards with a tight 4 - 5 inch buckshot spread can be extremely deadly on a human-size target.
  • Hunting - Perfect for hunting birds, turkeys, and other animals if you have to do it in improvised positions. Hunt more animals at a close and long-range up to 60 yards accurately than with an over-sized bead sight.
  • Competition shooting - Speed and accuracy are everything in a match, so having parallax free and shoot with both eyes open are important in an open division match. (Open division is the only one that allows the use of red dot sights on shotguns)

If you're not sure, please check out rules on 3gunnation.com here.


How To Zero Shotgun Red Dot 

WARNING: Shotgun performance and pellet patterns vary across the board. Please avoid pellet liability by testing for the best and effective shot groups for your shotgun.

Effective Range of Buckshot Pellets

Shotgun pellet spread
Image Referenced LuckyGunnerAmmo

People usually wonder if the buckshot pattern is tight enough to make a red dot sight useful on a shotgun.

Tight pattern buckshot pellets can hit on average up to 50 yards, and some can reach 100 yards with significant penetration power up to 9 to 13" depth, but what about their accuracy in terms of pellet groups.

Using #1 and #00 2.75" buckshots, they can travel at around 1200 fps, they have a lot of mass and power behind it and based on testing:

  • 3 to 5 yards - Hitting a human-size target 20 to 27" width with 100% of the pellets landing in one spot is very easy. When using a 3 to 6 MOA size red dot sight, where you aim is where the pellets are going.
  • 6 to 10 yards - The pellets spread about 4 - 5 inches apart
  • 12 - 15 yards - 7 - 9 inches apart

Note: Zero your home defense up to 15 is more than enough for home defense shooting distances

  • 50 yards - Roughly 30% of the pellets will land on the target and the rest will not, in other words, 3 pellets out of 8 hit the target is like three 9mm bullets landing on the target.
  • It can be effective, but those missing pellets will cause liability if you're not paying attention to the target's surroundings. For home defense scenario, this is very important to know exactly how wide the pellets patterns behave before unintentionally hitting things you don't want.

Not all pellets will hit the desired location on the target, but enough pellets will land at the spot you're trying to hit. The next question is how many shots you need to send to stop a threat if this is a home defense situation.

Recommended Buckshot Ammo

  • Federal Tactical Flitecontrol
  • Federal Power Shok
  • Winchester Super-X

How Accurate Can A Slug Hit?

A slug round is capable of hitting targets at 60 - 100+ yard at around 1400 - 1800 fps. We don't expect rifle alike pinpoint accuracy, but it has some serious knockdown power.

Dot Size Selection For A Shotgun

A bigger dot is easier to pick up and appears much rounder for shooters with astigmatism or bad eyesight.

We recommend the following:

  • Medium-range shooting: 1-2 MOA
  • Competition shooting:  3 - 8 MOA (Electronic red dot sights are not allowed)

Wide FOV Is Good For Situational Awareness

benelli m4 with m600df TIR beam

The wider the field of view the better situational awareness to scan the environment while looking down the sight.

This is also very helpful for hunters who need to aim down the sight quickly and still be able to hit a moving target up close without 3-plane alignment.

Sizes

trijicon rmr on benelli m4

Low profile shotgun optic configurations are always preferred. The Trijicon SRO and RMR are perfect size micro red dot for a tactical shotgun or a hunting shotgun.

There is no point in mounting something like an EOTech or Aimpoint PRO on a shotgun because they're too big and bulky

Weight & Construction

 

The optics recommended above are the same ones recommended to rifles because they're lightweight and durable.

Keeping the optic light is important for a shotgun because it's inherently heavy, so keeping the weight down helps a lot.

Battery Life

For home defense purposes, long battery life is always better so you can just leave it as is and it's always ready when you pick it up.

50,000 hrs is the industry standard for a high-quality red dot optic, and most red dots on the market today can deliver that performance.

Mount

Tactical shotguns usually come with a 1913 Picatinny top rail, while others require rail adapter plates. Low mount generally works well on a shotgun and the shooter can quickly bring it to the 

Most important things to consider

  • Is the site sitting too tall or low?
  • Do I have to continually adjust my head position to center my eye to the optic?
  • Get the most durable mount, so the optic stays tight on the shotgun

Note: For shotgun with ribs, please check out the Aimpoint Micro S-1 with a dedicated ribs mount.

Wrap Up

The shotgun is a powerful defensive weapon. Adding a red dot helps home defenders, hunters, and competition shooters to acquire the target much faster in CQB situations than looking through ghost ring sights.

Parallax free red dots give the shooter tremendous advantage to aim accurately even from improvised position without perfectly aligning the eye behind the optic.

Depend on the type of shotgun shell, a 3 - 8 MOA sizes dot are recommended to cover targets at distances of 15 - 50 yards. They're easy to pick up and much more crisp for shooters with astigmatism.

Trijicon RMR and Aimpoint Micro are the 2 top optics for home defense, and the Aimpoint Micro S-1 is dedicated to hunting shotgun with ribs.

Read More: Best Combat Optics For Benelli M4 & M2