Scope and Red Dot Setup – Piggyback Vs Offset

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  • Post category:Red Dot Sights
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This guide compares scope and red dot setup on rifles, especially the piggyback and offset methods, to determine the best option for your applications. It lists the pros and cons of each and reminds you that, regardless of your choice, consistent practice is necessary for shooting proficiency.

Piggyback Red Dot Mount

ACOG 3.5X on FN SCAR 17



  • Lack cheek weld consistency

Angled Offset Red Dot Mount



  • Night Vision Gear
  • Prone Shooting
  • Better Recoil Management When Canted
  • Shooting Around Cover
  • Low-Light Shooting
  • Wearing 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

3 Common Scope and Red Dot Setup Options

Option 1 - Long-Range & Short Range Ready Setup

valhalla tactical RUKH offset mount on scar 17

For long-range DMR users, a heavy-duty, large profile 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 Setup

scar17 with Trijicon ACOG with RMR piggyback setup

The Piggyback red dot setup has the optic sit right on top of the primary magnified optic. Sights like the ACOG, ELCAN, Leupold HAMR are made to have this feature.

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

That extra optic height gives the shooter who wears a helmet with NV or thermal goggles with a bit more room to work with.

Holdover Offset

Red dot sight piggyback offset

Image Referenced MarineCorpsTimes

  • Piggyback red dot sight sits just above your primary sight, and the line of sight sits a bit higher than the bore. The point of aim 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 Sight On Scope Ring Adapter (Angled)

Red dot sight on offset scope ring is doable only 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 scope rather than at an angle.

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


I thoroughly test every firearm product before recommending it for civilian use. This involves personally purchasing or borrowing each product and rigorously using and testing them for content creation.