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  • Post last modified:May 4, 2023

This guide compares scope and red dot options on rifles, especially the piggyback and offset methods where setting up scope with reflex sight on top for quick target acquisition for hunters, competition shooters and real world military applications. 

There are many benefits to setup rifles this way, but there are also cons that this guide will cover.

Regardless of your choice, consistent practice is necessary for improving your shooting proficiency and familiarizing your personal setup.

Piggyback Red Dot Mount

ACOG 3.5X on FN SCAR 17

When you go hunting, using both a riflescope and a red dot sight is great. Sometimes you'll be in areas with lots of trees and bushes, and other times you'll be in open spaces with only a few trees. When hunters go on a driven hunt, they each get a special spot, often in a forest. This is where you might find both thick and thin areas of trees.

In open areas with fewer trees, a hunting rifle can use a riflescope to see animals from about 100-150 meters away. The riflescope helps you look closely at the animal before you take your shot. When you see an animal from far away, you have more time to choose the best one to hunt.

If animals come from a direction with lots of bushes and branches, it's hard to see them until they're very close, about 10-20 meters away. In these cases, a micro red dot sight is really helpful. When an animal is this close, you need to act fast. The red dot sight has 1x magnification, which lets you look with both eyes. The bright dot and unlimited eye relief help you take your shot in just a few seconds.



  • Lack cheek weld consistency

Angled Offset Red Dot Mount



  • Offset red dot clears night vision gear on the head
  • Flexible prone shooting and other positions as well
  • Better recoil management when canted
  • Shooting around covers
  • Clears gas mask
  • Works with center axis relock technique
  • Much more natural transition


  • Might not align with bore on some rifles
  • Zeroing at an angle creates POI offset

Magnified Rifle Scope


  • Riflescopes essential for accurate long range shots

  • Magnify sight picture for better target identification

  • Fixed or variable power options depend on application

  • Ethical shot determination when hunting

  • Most modern scopes have variable magnification

  • Larger objective lenses (56mm) improve low-light performance

  • Illuminated reticle for fine-tuning in various lighting conditions

  • High magnification scopes allow parallax adjustment

  • Parallax adjustment increases accuracy at distances over 200m


  • It can be bulky for close range use

  • Tight eye relief distance is not favorable for short range shooting

  • Going from magnified to 1X takes time even though some LPVO are much easier to dial magnification with a turn lever

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3 Common Scope and Red Dot Setup Options

Option 1 - Long & Short Range Ready Setup

valhalla tactical RUKH offset mount on scar 17

For DMR shooters, a heavy-duty scope is ideal for distance shooting.

To also have close range capability without switching optics, add an angled offset red dot sight.

Tilt rifle for RDS sight picture, and it's the easiest and fastest way to transition from magnified long-range to 1X fixed optic.

Keep Constant Offset Red dot
45 Degree Offset aligns with bore

Always avoid offset scope ring adapter as it often misaligns, causing zeroing and holdover issues, and increases vertical profile. Read here for proper zeroing of offset sight.

Option 2 - Hybrid Red Dot Magnifier Setup

Sig Juliet 4 magnifier with Aimpoint micro h1

In recent years, red dot sight magnifier combo setup has been super popular. The shooter can flip the magnifier to the side when transitioning back to 1X for close-range targets.

aimpoint 3x c magnifier with aimpoint micro h1

This one features the Unity Tactical FAST mount. It tucks the magnifier down instead of to the side.

Option 3 - Piggyback Red Dot Combo

The Piggyback red dot optic setup has the optic sits right on top of the primary magnified optic. Sights like the Trijicon ACOG optic, ELCAN, Leupold HAMR are made to have this feature for distance shooting and close up engagement

The shooter just needs to shift his head up or down for transition.

That extra optic height gives the shooter more clearance for wearing a helmet with NV or thermal goggles

Holdover Offset

Red dot sight piggyback offset

  • Piggyback red dot sight sits just above your primary sight, and the line of sight sits a bit higher than the bore. The aiming point and the point of impact are more aligned for long-distance shots.

Piggyback setup is not recommended for high height over bore rifles like the Tavor X95 

  • Angled offset mount is my favorite because it sits low. All you have to do is tilt the rifle and engage the target as you would with your primary optic.
eotech 45 degree leaning left

There is no significant offset you need to compensate for. However, when aiming canted with the primary optic, there will be point of impact shifts.

Red Dot Optics Mounted On Scope (Angled)

Red dot sight on an offset scope ring is doable, but it's the LEAST favorite configuration because the optic sits way too high and they don't usually align with the bore.

If I have to pick a scope ring adapter I would pick on that sits straight on top of the long range scopes rather than at an angle.

I want my red dot sight to be aligned with the bore without learning a new holdover.