In this fun article, let's show how red dot sights in FPS games differ than real life.
First-person shooter games are fun to play and the more realistic ones definitely inspired many people to get into real steel shooting.
Editor's Recommendation: Ground Branch, Ready Or Not & Insurgency Sandstorm (ISMC mods) have the most true to life weapon & accessories experience
Red Dot Sight - FPS Game VS Reality
FPS games are meant for fun, and can be educational as they become more realistic.
- No such thing as astigmatism dealing with red dot sight
- Can't change optic mounting locations for most FPS games (Except for Ground Branch)
- Magnifiers work just like in real life but doesn't simulate eye relief
- Magnifier zooms in the whole screen instead of just the image inside the scope
- Aim with two eyes open can't be simulated
- No holding breathe required for steady aim
However, there are a few things missing in the game.
- Field of view is much wider as much as your eyes can see
- Aim down the sight doesn't zoom shooter's point of view
- Adjustable dot brightness
- Red dot can be blurry for people with bad eye sights
- Parallax free so the shooter doesn't have to 100% center the eye behind the optic
- Can aim with 2 eyes open
- Too big or too bright reticle can obscure targets down range (Unnoticeable in a game)
- Steady aim required when shooting with a red dot
- Red dot has to be zeroed
- Magnifier requires eye piece adjustment to focus on the reticle relative to the shooter's vision
Learn more by checking out our red dot sight beginner guide here
Call Of Duty Modern Warfare (2019)
The 2019 COD Modern Warfare is lot of fun, and it has many close-to-real-life weapons and accessories in the game, but non of them accurate enough to the real thing.
- They player can attach optic to the weapon, change reticle, but can't change optic mounting location on the rail
- Player can aim down the sight and not be affected by rapid movement
Operator Reflex Sight - Holosun 510C
Named something different, but overall it assembles the look of the Holosun 510C with QD mount (QD mount INOP in the game)
Center dot reticle is the most realistic in the game
Holosun 510C in real life can cycle through 3 different reticles:
- 2 MOA
- 2 MOA + 32 MOA Ring
- 32 MOA Ring
Aim-Op - Aimpoint Micro
Looks like a Daniel Defense Aimpoint mount in the game
In the game, the field of view appears to be bigger. In the game, the player can customize reticle patterns
The real life Aimpoint Micro ONLY offers a 2 MOA center dot.
For shooters with astigmatism the dot will look blurry, and if the reticle brightness is cranked up too high, the optic's field of view will be filled with dot emitter glare in low light.
Red dot sights in real life work at night, but there are 3 major considerations to take into account. Learn more about it here
Emitter glare isn't simulated in most FPS games especially in low light. Please check out Ground Branch down below because that game simulate dot brightness.
Scout Combat Optic - ELCAN SPECTER
Looks very similar to the ELCAN SPECTOR 1-4X with QD lever mounts
ELCAN SPECTOR 1-4X is a dual role prism optic used by the spec ops
In the COD game, they named it to Scout optic, and it's a fixed fixed magnification optic with a horseshoe reticle, which is not realistic to the real thing.
For a better experience, please check out the ELCAN in Insurgency Sandstorm below:
The real ELCAN can switch between 1X and 4X, and the illuminated BDC reticle is only true at 4X. The center crosshair is designed for a 100 meter zero, and the ranging scale can be used to estimate target distance.
There are 5.56mm and 7.62mm versions available to buy.
The ELCAN's eye box can be very limiting if the eye isn't aligned behind the optic and the scope shadow will appear
GI Mini Reflex - Vortex VENOM
The GI Mini Reflex optic can be used on all weapons in the game, and it mimicks the Vortex Venom based on looks.
Thin glass frame like the real thing, and it's very low profile
The real Vortex Venom is very lightweight and it offers 3 MOA or 6 MOA reticle. The 6 MOA is highly recommended for shooters with astigmatism so they can see a much crisp dot for close up applications.
The glass is also tinted that the game doesn't simulate. Tinted glass works until it's in a low light environment.
Cronen LP945 - Trijicon SRO
The reticle is just like others in the game, it's always zeroed and the player doesn't have to do anything about it.
This optic mimicks the Trijicon SRO, a large size window upgrade from the original Trijicon RMR so the shooter can acquire the dot faster
In real life, the Trijicon SRO's large windows helps the shooter to quickly reacquire the dot and not lose it.
Please check out Ready Or Not (SWAT simulator) it also includes the SRO in the game.
PBX Holo - EOTECH
Not exactly like the EOTECH EXPS3 but very close. The battery access is on the right and the QD lever arm is on the left.
The EOTECH has a protective hood over the main body for extra protection
The real EOTECH EXPS3 has a 68 MOA ring + center dot reticle. Different models offer different BDC reticles for the standard 5.56mm
Escape From Tarkov
Escape From Tarkov has the most realistic modeling of optics in the game including the reticles. Way more realistic than Call Of Duty.
Vortex AMG UH1
Just like the real thing including the Vortex brand logo and RAZOR AMG EBR CQB reticle
Has more lens tint in real life
EOTECH EXPS3 Magnified
The 4 dot BDC reticle is realistic. It's the EOTECH EXPS3-4 model
The 68 MOA reticle helps ranging target and allows faster target acquisition with both eyes open.
The reticle can look blurry under a magnifier, and the shooter can adjust the eyepiece to focus on the reticle.
This is something FPS players can't simulate or aware of this phenomenon exists in real life
The game Insurgency is also very realistic even though graphics aren't as good as Call of Duty, but the weapon and accessories are as realistic as Escape From Tarkov.
If you want the most realistic EOTECH EXPS3 experience, Insurgency will give you that over Call of Duty
ELCAN SPECTOR - Much Better Details
Much more realistic than Modern Warfare.
However, the optic can't switch between 1X and 4X, and the only thing the player can do is mount a piggyback red dot on top.
Everything else is as real as the actual ELCAN optic including the BDC reticle.
Aimpoint Micro With Magnifier
Very realistic just like the real thing.
In real life, the magnifier slightly magnifies the dot the shooter sees through the scope for finer aim.
Since it's a game, the magnifier's eye piece adjustment is NOT simulated nor The eye piece helps correct focus the reticle relative to the shooter's eye sight.
Ready Or Not
Ready Or Not is currently the best SWAT Law Enforcement type FPS game on PC. Everything from tactics to room clearing gameplay mechanics sets itself apart from run and gun games.
Holdover Actually Works
Point blank aiming at the center letter "A"
Bullet hits low
The fidelity of the optics and weapon are way better than Call of Duty games. It even simulate holdover where the point of aim isn't point of impact if the target is too close. This is absolutely an amazing feature firearm fans will appreciate greatly.
If you're a FPS gamer you gotta check this out here.
The Aimpoint COMP5 is a 2 MOA red dot sight, and it's accurately modeled in the game to go on tactical carbines. As far as the 3D model goes, it looks very authentic in the game.
The Trijicon SRO is accurately modeled in the game to go on shotguns and pistols. Unfortunately the players can't adjust the reticle brightness when transitioning in and out of dark areas.
Ground Branch is a beast. It's Squad and Insurgency on steroid because it has significantly increased the realism in ways other AAA FPS game titles have failed to do. As far as weapon and optics customizations, this game pretty much did it all including:
Name a game like this other than Ground Branch..... You're right! none
- Adjustable optic positioning so the optic FOV actually matters in the game for situational awareness
- Adjustable ready position for weapon presentation speed
- Adjustable positioning of the weapon lights
- Realistic weapon accessory markings
Yes! this accurately simulate the subtle details on ideal eye to optic distance most FPS games don't do.
There are so many features added to this game for serious mil sim and gun fans.
The game Onward is only available in VR. and the most important thing to point out is the realistic aiming experience that other first person shooter game can't simulate.
- Can simulate red dot parallax in VR
- Sight alignment is based on your posture in VR
- Sight alignment when shooting on the move
- Simulates situational awareness just like in real life
Even though players can't simulate astigmatism problems or shoot with both eyes open, but it's the most realistic red dot sight education even if you have never aim through a real one before.