Red Dot Sights In FPS Games VS Reality [Realism Comparison]

In this fun article, let's show how red dot sights in FPS games differ than real life.

fps game eotech pov

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

Save Up To 35% on Trijicon Red Dot Sights

Red Dot Sight - FPS Game VS Reality

FPS games are meant for fun, and can be educational as they become more realistic. 

FPS Games

  • 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.

Reality

  • 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)

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

operator reflex sight cod

Named something different, but overall it assembles the look of the Holosun 510C with QD mount (QD mount INOP in the game)

cz evo s3 sbr with holosun 510c
operator reflex sight cod pov

Center dot reticle is the most realistic in the game

holosun 510c pov

Holosun 510C in real life can cycle through 3 different reticles:

holosun 510c reticles
  • 2 MOA
  • 2 MOA + 32 MOA Ring
  • 32 MOA Ring 

Aim-Op - Aimpoint Micro

aim op cod optic

Looks like a Daniel Defense Aimpoint mount in the game

fn scar 17 with aimpoint micro

Aimpoint Micro is the best combat red dot sight on the market, and it can accept many different aftermarket mounts

aim op cod scar optic pov

In the game, the field of view appears to be bigger. In the game, the player can customize reticle patterns

aimpoint with vortex micro 3x

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

red dot brightness dialed up too high

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

scout optic cod

Looks very similar to the ELCAN SPECTOR 1-4X with QD lever mounts

elcan indoor range m249

ELCAN SPECTOR 1-4X is a dual role prism optic used by the spec ops

scout optic cod pov

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:

ELCAN 4X 7.62 DFOV14-T2 reticle

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.

ELCAN dual role weapon sight scope shadow

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

gi mini reflex cod pov

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

vortex venom FOV

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.

3 moa vs 6 moa dot sizes comparison

The glass is also tinted that the game doesn't simulate. Tinted glass works until it's in a low light environment.

fn 509 with venom

Cronen LP945 - Trijicon SRO

cronen lp945 cod pov

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

trijicon sro on fn 509 ls edge slide
fn509 trijicon sro pov in action

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

PBX COD
eotech on cz evo

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

PBX POV
eotech exps3 pov 1
68 MOA ring reticle BDC dots

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 game

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

vortex uh1 escape from tarkov

Just like the real thing including the Vortex brand logo and RAZOR AMG EBR CQB reticle

shooting razor uh1 pov

Has more lens tint in real life

Referenced SupersetCA

EOTECH EXPS3 Magnified

eotech 45 degree leaning left
eotech exps3 escape from tarkov magnifier

The 4 dot BDC reticle is realistic. It's the EOTECH EXPS3-4 model

EOTECH exps3 reticle outdoor

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.

vortex micro 3x diopter ring

This is something FPS players can't simulate or aware of this phenomenon exists in real life


Insurgency

insurgency sandstorm game

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.

EOTECH EXPS3

eotech insurgency

If you want the most realistic EOTECH EXPS3 experience, Insurgency will give you that over Call of Duty

ELCAN SPECTOR - Much Better Details

elcan insurgency pov

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.

elcan piggyback mrds insurgency fps game

Everything else is as real as the actual ELCAN optic including the BDC reticle.

zeroing mk18 elcan specterdr
Daniel Defense MK18 ELCAN

Aimpoint Micro With Magnifier

aimpoint micro magnified insurgency fps game

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 game

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

ready or not holdover reticle

Point blank aiming at the center letter "A"

ready or not poi

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

Aimpoint COMP5

ready or not aimpoint comp5M
aimpoint comp5

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.

Trijicon SRO

ready or not trijicon sro fps 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

bin laden compound ground branch

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:

ground branch weapon customization

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
ground branch eotech pov far

Yes! this accurately simulate the subtle details on ideal eye to optic distance most FPS games don't do. 

EOTECH ground branch fov close

There are so many features added to this game for serious mil sim and gun fans.

Onward

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.

onward red dot sight vr
  • 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
red dot sight parallax in vr games

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.


Ying Xu

I was a former US Air Force ICBM operator, and now I'm a veteran creating fun firearm accessories content. I also work as the search engine expert for BadAssOptic.com