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  • Post last modified:January 14, 2024

While many rifle scopes feature various reticle options for accurate aiming to shoot beyond 100 yards. The differences between red dot vs scope at 100 yards are many.

 One thing that the red dot users hate is dealing with astigmatism, where the dot is blurry for a 100 yard shot. And there is no magnification

Let's go over pros and cons of using a red dot vs scope at 100 yards in the context of sports shooting.

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Red Dot Sight At 100 Yards


While red dot sights are primarily designed for close to medium-range engagements, with proper zeroing and practice, they can be effectively used at 100 yards or even beyond if paired with a red dot magnifier scope.


  • Absolutely better than a rifle scope for close up shooting
  • Aiming with both eyes open for max situational awareness
  • Fast sight picture acquisition without eye box or eye relief constraint 
  • Most dot sizes (1 to 6 MOA) are adequate for 100 yards engagement without target obstruction unless the target is too small
  • Great for sporting & tactical rifles in general
  • Clean sight picture with a simple aiming dot
  • Parallax free at longer ranges, which allows the shooter eye box flexibility
  • Can serve as an offset red dot along with a rifle scope
  • Range can be extended with a red dot magnifier scope
  • Very lightweight


  • Poor target identification past 100 yards without magnification
  • Astigmatic shooters see smeared reticle without glasses
  • Reticle glare can obscure the field of view or block target in low light
  • A red dot zero is generally off without the use of a magnifier scope
  • Requires tool to dial turrets
Red Dot Sight MOA Sizes

Red Dot Sight Common Misconception

Magnification is Necessary for Shooting at 100 Yards with a Red Dot

While magnifiers can help with target identification and precision, skilled shooters can accurately engage targets at 100 yards without magnification

All Red Dots have Parallax Issues at Longer Distances

While no sight is truly parallax-free, many modern red dot sights have minimal parallax, making them reliable at distances like 100 yards

Red Dot Sights are Unsuitable for Longer Ranges because They Lack Bullet Drop Compensation (BDC) Markings

While it's true that most red dot sights don't have BDC reticles like some scopes, shooters can still account for bullet drop through practice, understanding their ammunition's ballistics, and using holdovers

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Rifle Scope At 100 Yards

Rifle scope at 100 yard can provide finer aiming especially when zeroing the optic, but a rifle scope really shines when aiming at targets further away.

ACOG scope reticle BDC Chart


  • Rifle scopes offer greater target identification at longer distances
  • It forces the shooter to center the eye behind the optic to eliminate parallax to get more accurate shots, otherwise scope shadow will obscure the sight picture
  • Some reticles offer target ranging scale
  • Dial elevation and windage turret without tool
  • Glass etched reticle appears crisp without distortion compared to a red dot emitter reflected reticle
  • Diopter adjusts to the shooter's vision preference
  • Fixed magnification prism scopes mimicks between a red dot and a scope
ELCAN dual role weapon sight scope shadow


  • Costs more
  • High quality scope mount is a must (Some cost more than a $500 red dot sight)
  • It's an overkill to only shoot up to 100 yards
  • Added weight compared to a red dot for 100 yard application
  • Eye box constraint as function of eye relief & exit pupil dimensions, this requires cheekweld and optic placement adjustment. One setup for one shooter may not work for another shooter
  • Reticle is only accurate on max magnification for 1st focal plane scope (Not necessary for 100 yard applications)
Rifle scope eye box illustration

Rifle Scope Common Misconceptions

Bigger Objective Lens Collects More Light

While a larger objective lens can potentially gather more light, it's the quality of the glass and coatings that play a more significant role in image brightness and clarity.

A Heavier Scope is More Durable

Weight doesn’t necessarily equate to durability. Construction materials, design, and build quality play a more vital role in determining a scope's longevity and resilience.

MOA and MRAD are Interchangeable

These are two different units of measurement used in scopes. MOA stands for Minute of Angle, while MRAD stands for Milliradian. They have different adjustment values, and one is not inherently better than the other. Shooters generally pick based on which one is easier working the math in their head.

Higher Magnification is Always Better

While high magnification can provide a detailed view, it's not always necessary or even advantageous at 100 yards. Too much magnification can reduce the field of view, make it harder to locate targets, and amplify movement