In this short read, let's discuss where to mount red dot on AR rifles.
It's very simple, and it's about giving the shooter enough field of view, enough room for a magnifier, balance the weight and having a great aesthetics.
Everyone's preference is different, so let's check it out:
12 O'Clock Primary Optic Mounting Location
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Mount magnifier behind the red dot to extend the distance. The distance between red dot and magnifier doesn't matter too much unless it's too far apart
Mount red dot right above the ejection port gives the shooter:
- Balanced weight
- Great aesthetics for something like the Aimpoint Micro and EOTech EXPS3
- Great optic to eye distance
- Good field of view & situational awareness
- Drives the muzzle to targets a bit faster
- Also have room for mounting a low profile backup rear sight & magnifier
12 O' Clock Rearward Optic Mount Location
Have you ever seen someone mount their optics this far back on ARs? It's not wrong and here are the pros and cons:
- Maximizes field of view
- Brings up the reticle right in front of the shooter's eye
- Makes aiming with both eyes open much easier and more comfortable
- Can also use forward leaning optic mount to offset the location, try Scalarworks Leap Mount
- Optic frame limits peripheral vision and situational awareness especially for a large profile sight like the EOTECH EXPS3 and RAZOR UH1
- Leaves no room for magnifier or backup rear sight
- Just doesn't look good
Piggyback Red Dot Mount
Piggyback red dot mounts work for scopes and fixed magnification prism sights like LPVO, ACOG and ELCAN.
Simply, the red dot goes on top of an primary optic, and they're generally sitting at the 12 O'clock position.
There are also offset piggyback red dot like the one shown below:
- Just lift up the head without tilting the gun
- Raises the cheek weld height much higher
- Works well with helmet / NVG users for head movement clearance
- Red dot sits too tall
- Greater offset required for close up shots
- Increased vertical weapon size profile
Top Receiver Offset Mounting Location
For LPVO users, mounting an micro red dot sight on an offset angle mount is great for fast sight transition.
Simply just tilt the rifle and bring the reticle right up in front of your aiming eye. No need to dial magnification ring on the scope for speed while shooting standing and shooting prone.
There is always enough room to tuck in the offset mount under the primary scope, and the offset extension holds the red dot.
Pro Tip 1: Use the correct angle so it aligns with the bore to minimize offset when zeroing the rifle tilted.
Pro Tip 2: Try different height plate on the offset mount to get a better cheekweld position for the shooter.
Handguard Offset Mounting Location
Yes! you can mount an micro red dot sight on the handguard if the handguard has spots for mounting.
We highly recommend only mounting micro offset optic on a highly precision machined handguard for increased accuracy. We do not recommend mounting on a MLOK to M1913 adapter rail or KeyMod to M1913 because they do not have the same type of tolerance as something like the DDM4 RISII Rail.
We actually recommend mounting the optic on the receiver more than the handguard because not all AR15 handguards align straight along the barrel, so a slight offset can throw off the zero easily.
Carry Handle Rifles
For the old school M16 A3 style rifles, the only way to mount an optic is on the carrying handle.
New to red dot sight?
Check out our in-depth red dot sight guide for beginner