How To Zero A Red Dot At Home [Rough Zero, No Live Rounds]

It's frustrating when the sight is way off and you can't even see the impacts on paper, and it costs more ammo and time to get it right.

In this quick instructional guide, let's discuss how to zero a red dot at home without actually fire a single shot, so you spend more time shooting on the range and only a little time refining the zero.

Let's check it out

Note: This is a rough zero to get as close as possible, live fire is still required to fine tune the zero for different barrel length and ammo type.

2 Ways To Zero Your Sights Without Live Fire

laser boresight glock barrel

Laser Boresight - The Fastest Way

zeroing a pistol red dot with laser boresight

Move the reticle in the ball park range of the laser pointer!

Always confirm and fine tune with live ammo later.

Different barrel length & ammo type yield different results.

Do not assume laser point of aim is actual bullet's point of impact.

zeroing vortex prism sight with laser bore sight

Why use this method for red dot zero - Using a laser boresight is by far the fastest way to zero a red dot sight roughly to the trajectory of the bullet from barrel. The laser device is built into the shape of a bullet that fits inside the gun chamber, and they are available for various calibers.

Please note that the bullet's flight path will not exactly match the laser pointer. In fact, once your optic has been zeroed with live ammo, the laser and the reticle shouldn't  overlap, and that's a good sign.


Saves Ammo - Minimizes ammo usage when a sight is way off course

Works For Offset Red Dot - Quickly zero an offset red dot at a tilt angle and establish a good POA / POI offset

midten 9mm laser boresight for zeroing

Read Detailed Review - MidTen Laser Boresight


Iron Sights - Fixed Reference Point For All Zero

magpul mbus pro steel flip up iron sights

Why iron sights help you zero - If your rifle constantly go through optic swaps, then it's better to have flip up iron sights installed that are properly zeroed already.

All you do is zero your new optic to the iron sight... done!

Swap Optics At Any Time - No more dreading over zero loss after optic detachment or attaching new optic

Super Useful - A good reason to have flip up sights on your rifle for a fixed zero reference for all optics

Ying Xu

US Air Force veteran nuclear weapon officer. Aerospace engineering bachelor's degree from the University of Kansas. Experienced as a certified NRA range safety officer. Working as a search engine expert for BadAssOptic.com