The 7 Best Pistol Red Dot Sights (Handgun Red Dot Guide 2018)

The best pistol red dot sights will transform your concealed carry handgun in an extremely accurate weapon. These sights will increase your shooting performance by speeding up your target acquisition times and improving your shot accuracy. Moreover, these units will highlight your target in such a way it will actually be harder to miss than to hit them.

More and more shooters are mounting reflex sights on their pistols instead of iron sights, and that’s because they’re very efficient. Modern red dot sights are small enough to fit in a regular holster and light enough not to interfere with your pistol’s balance.

In the following article, we take a look at the best 7 reflex sights for pistols available now, and we explain how each of the sights’ features will influence your shooting experience.

  • 4.3 Customer Rating
  • Burris FastFire III Pistol Sight
  • PRICE $$
  • MOA : 3
  • Batteries : 1 Lithium Metal battery
  • 3.9 Customer Rating
  • Leupold Delta Point Pro
  • PRICE $$$$
  • MOA : 2.5
  • Batteries : CR 2032
  • 3.8 Customer Rating
  • Ade Advanced Optics Huracan
  • PRICE $
  • MOA : 3
  • Batteries : Lithium CR2032
  • 4.4 Customer Rating
  • Vortex Optics Venom Pistol Sight
  • PRICE $$$
  • MOA : 3
  • Batteries : CR 1632
  • 4.5 Customer Rating
  • Trijicon RMR 6.5 MOA
  • PRICE $$$$
  • MOA : 6.5
  • Batteries : CR123A
  • 4.4 Customer Rating
  • Trijicon RMR Type 2 Pistol Red Dot Sight
  • PRICE $$$$$
  • MOA : 3.25
  • Batteries : 1 Lithium Metal

Best Pistol Red Dot Sights Reviews (Newest List)

1. Burris FastFire III Pistol Sight

We’re going to start off this list with one of the best red dot sights on the market. The Burris FastFire III is one of the most popular red dot sights currently available, and it’s easy to see why. This model uses a 3MOA dot reticle that’s easy to see in both bright and low-light conditions, and it has a sturdy and durable construction.

We were impressed by the Burris’ accuracy. Despite its small and compact design, the FastFire III comes with a display that’s large enough to allow you to group your shots.

This sight’s size and design make the FastFire the perfect model for those who are looking for a reflex sight that’s able to co-witness their pistol’s iron sights.

And when it comes to the sight’s quality, there aren’t many sight models that can compare themselves with the Burris, and those who do usually come at exorbitant prices.

Pro

  • Clear Reticle – This red dot sight comes with a clear and crisp reticle that will allow you to group your shots

Con

  • No Off Button – You will have to press the brightness successively through the sight’s 4 intensity levels to turn off the sight, which leads to a battery waste

 

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2. Leupold Delta Point Pro

The Leupold Delta Point Pro is a small and lightweight red dot sight that will fit comfortably on most handguns. This model uses a motion sensor technology that will allow you to acquire your target quickly, and it’s made out of durable aluminum.

One of the things that impressed us about this model is that it’s very sturdy, despite its small frame. This sight is built to last, and it will withstand the occasional bumps and drops without even losing its zero.

Another good thing about this model is that the lens comes with a slight blue coating. The coating will keep the red dot visible at all times, even when you aim in bright light conditions.

This model can be easily adjusted for windage and elevation, and it has an impressive battery lifespan. The sight also comes with a rubberized cover that will protect it from scratches in storage

Pros:

  • Top-Access Battery Hatch – This sight’s battery can be accessed easily from the top, so you won’t have to take the sight of your handgun to change its battery

Cons:

  • Pricey – Even though this is a top-notch red dot sight, it does come at a high price.

 

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3. Ade Advanced Optics Huracan

The Ade Advanced Optics Huracan is a great pistol red dot sight for beginners and for those who are looking for a reflex sight but have a strict budget. While this model doesn’t come with the bells and whistles of the more expensive models, it manages to provide a clear view of your target and speed up your target acquisition time.

Honestly, we were impressed with the Huracan’s performance. This model comes with 5 illumination settings that will make the reticle clear and crisp in all light conditions. The sight’s on/off/intensity button is placed on its side, and it’s really easy to use, even with only one hand. Despite the fact that this model uses a green dot instead of a red one, you will still be able to see it clearly on your targets.

And the best part is, this model manages to provide all these features at a very low price.

Pros:

  • Cheap – This model comes at a cheap price, so it’s a good choice for beginners and even for airsoft enthusiasts.

Cons:

  • Battery Is Difficult To Change – The sight’s battery is somewhat difficult to change

 

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4. Vortex Optics Venom Pistol Sight

VORTEX OPTICS VENOM PISTOL SIGHTAnother popular handgun sight, the Vortex Optics Venom uses a 3MOA red dot that will increase your target acquisition speed and accuracy. This unit has a machined aluminum shell that’s very sturdy and durable, and it will withstand the accidental bumps and drops without any visible signs.

We were thoroughly impressed by this model. The Venom red dot sight comes with no less than 10 brightness levels you can use, but you can also switch the sight to the auto mode and allow it to find the best brightness for the ambient light of every environment.

The sight’s red dot reticle is clearly visible, and it will allow you to acquire your target and take accurate shots with ease. Once you get used to shooting through this sight, you will be able to group your shots easily.

Pros:

  • Lifetime Warranty – This model comes with a lifetime warranty, so you can rest assured you’re going to use it for a very long time.

Cons:

  • Battery Cover Could Be Better – The sight’s battery cover is easy to access, but it’s difficult to open. Moreover, the battery cover is also difficult to close once you change the battery

 

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5. Trijicon RMR 6.5 MOA

The Trijicon RMR pistol red dot sight comes with a large 6.5 MOA reticle. This sight would make a great addition to any firearm you want to use in close-quarters, and it comes with 8 adjustable brightness settings.

One of the things we loved about this pistol sight is that it comes with not one, but two night-vision settings and a super bright setting that increase its usefulness. While the two night-vision settings will be very helpful in low-light and no-light conditions, the super bright setting will be extremely careful when you want to shoot your handgun accurately in broad daylight, especially at noon. Changing the brightness intensities is very easy, and a single battery can last for up to 4 years.

We also liked that this model comes with an automatic dimming feature that really works. If the light conditions change, this feature will dim the brightness so you can see the reticle without it being too bright

Pros:

  • Fast Target Acquisition – This model comes with a large red dot that will make target acquisition really simple and fast, which can be very useful for pistol shooters.

Cons:

  • Expensive – This is an expensive red dot sight, so you’d better be sure you use it for more than plinking if you’re going to buy it.

 

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6. Ade Advanced Optics RD3

The Ade Advanced Optics pistol red dot sight is a good cheap model, perfect for those who are interested in buying a reflex sight for their handgun without damaging their savings while doing so. This model comes with an aluminum casing that will do a good job of protecting the lens, though you might need to re-zero the sight if you drop it.

Thanks to its lightweight aluminum casing, the sight doesn’t weigh more than 2 oz, so it won’t mess up your pistol’s balance. This model comes with a 3MOA red dot sight, and it offers 5 illumination settings you can choose from in different brightness conditions. The sight can be adjusted for windage and elevation, and its battery can last for up to a year or more, depending on how often you use it.

Pros:

  • Cost-Effective – This model comes at a great price, and it offers a great performance for its low price

Cons:

  • Battery On The Bottom – The sight’s battery is placed on its bottom, so you will have to take off the sight every time you want to change the battery

 

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7. Trijicon RMR Type 2 Pistol Red Dot Sight

We close off the list by presenting one of the best red dot sights for pistols ever produced. The Trijicon RMR Type 2 might come at a steep price, but it’s certainly worth it and more.

This model uses a 3.25 MOA reticle, and it comes with 8 brightness intensity settings, two of which are for night-vision and one is extremely bright. This will allow you to use the RMR type 2 in all kind of light conditions with good accuracy and precision.

We loved that this model comes with a rugged design. Despite the fact that the sight is rather small, it’s strong enough to provide the best results even when you use it in harsh conditions.

However, this small optic is a top-shelf model, designed with professionals in mind. If you want to use a red dot sight to improve your shooting skills and tighten your shot group, this model will do you justice. If you’re looking for a sight you can use for plinking, you can look at cheaper models.

Pros:

  • Fantastic Performance – This model provides a fantastic performance that can improve your target acquisition skills and accuracy significantly.

Cons:

  • Very Expensive – This model offers a great performance, but it also comes at a steep price.

 

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Pistol Red Dot Sight Buying Guide

As you could see in our short reviews, even though they’re designed to do the same thing, red dot sights can deliver different performances and their price differences can be significant.

You might be wondering which would be the best red dot sights for your needs. Well, in the following guide we explain how each of the sights’ features can influence your experience, and how to determine the best model for your needs.

  1. Size – If you’re looking for a reflex sight for your handgun, you have to make sure it’s small enough to fit the pistol’s rail. Moreover, the sight should also be small enough to allow you to place the pistol in your shoulder holster without interfering. If you have a license for concealed carry,

    best pistol red dot sights

    you should actually be looking for a miniature red dot sight, so you will still be able to use your ankle holster. These sights are small enough to fit on a compact pistol, but their lenses are large enough to offer you a clear view of the target.

  2. Weight – Pistol red dot sights have to be lightweight, especially if you plan on using one on your compact handgun. Full-sized pistols might be large enough to support heavier sights, but using a lightweight model can actually offer more benefits. If you install a heavy red dot on your pistol, the extra weight might affect your handgun’s balance. So instead of improving your accuracy, you might be surprised to find that your accuracy drops when you mount a heavy sight on your pistol, at least until you get used to the extra weight.
  3. Construction – Red dot sights are sturdy enough to withstand your firearm’s recoil, but they might not be strong enough to withstand frequent drops and bumps. However, some models like the Trijicon RMR Type 2 come with rugged cases that can support some punishment.
  4. Battery Longevity – Red dot sights need batteries to work. Even though most models use CR2032 batteries, they don’t offer the same battery longevity. Some features can help with prolonging the battery’s lifespan.
  • Automatic Dimming – This feature will turn the sight’s brightness down when the ambient light is more powerful than it was when you selected the sight’s brightness level. Even though this might not seem like much at a first glance, it can prolong your battery’s lifespan by a significant margin
  • Automatic Brightness Setting – This setting will automatically change the sight’s brightness according to the ambient light. If the light sensor detects a low light level, it will turn the brightness down, and it will increase it when the ambient light is bright. Not only will this option make the reticle clean and crisp at all times, but it will also increase the battery’s longevity.
  • Automatic Shut-Off Feature – This feature will automatically turn off the red dot sight after a predetermined period. This feature is effective at prolonging the battery’s life, but it can be bothersome if the sight turns off when you plan on acquiring your target.
  1. Battery Location – The location of the battery is also important when you decide on a model. If you choose a model that has a top-access battery hatch, you’ll be able to change the battery without taking the sight off your pistol. This can be an advantage because it means your sight will still be zeroed-in after you change the battery. On the other hand, a reflex sight that comes with a bottom-access battery hatch has to be removed to change its battery. And once you change the battery you will have to remount the sight, which usually means you’ll also have to re-zero it. Luckily, most handgun red dot sights can run on the same battery for months if not even years, so you won’t have to change it often.
  2. Reticle Color – Even though they’re generally called red dot sights, some optics might actually come with a green colored reticle. Now, most people might say that choosing between the two colors is only a matter of preference, but that might not be so. The human eye is more sensitive to green than red, so you might be able to spot the green dot faster than the red one. On the other hand, a lot of stuff around us is green, like the foliage of trees and grass, so the red dot might stick out due to the contrast. However, the chances of using a pistol red dot sight somewhere where you’re surrounded by green grass are low, so you might be better off choosing it.
  3. Reticle Brightness – Finding the right reticle brightness will make the red dot more visible, and it will also make it look clear and crisp. There are two ways to adjust a sight’s reticle brightness
  • Automatic Brightness Feature – Red dot sights that use an automatic brightness feature come with a light sensor. When the light sensor detects the brightness of the ambient light, it will automatically adjust the reticle’s brightness so the red or green dot will be easy to spot. Now, using this feature offers both pros and cons. On one hand, this feature makes using the sight very easy, almost a child’s play. Once you zero-in the sight and you turn it on, you can relax knowing that the reticle will be visible at all times, no matter how bright it is outside. As a plus, by adjusting your reticle’s brightness constantly, this feature might even save some battery. On the other hand, you will have to rely on this feature every time you want to aim. The reticle might seem bright for most people, but not for all. This is a matter of preference, but it’s also a matter of physiology. Not all people see colors in the same way. Some like them brighter, others dimmer. Using this feature eliminates the possibility of setting up the reticle just as you would like.
  • Manual Brightness Adjustments – Most reflex sights come with reticles that have to be adjusted manually. Even though this might seem like a disadvantage at first, you should know that most professionals prefer it this way. One of the good things about choosing your own brightness setting is that you will be able to determine how bright the reticle is according to your personal preferences. Good reflex sights come with at least 5 brightness intensities. Some models come with more than 10, which should make it easier to find suitable intensities for all kinds of brightness conditions.
  • Night Vision & Extreme Brightness – Despite the fact that they’re not extremely common, both the night vision and the extreme brightness modes can be really helpful. The night vision mode will allow you to use the red dot sight accurately in low-light and no-light conditions. This can be really helpful, especially if you plan on mounting the reflex sight on your home-defense pistol. The extreme brightness feature is a special mode that can be very helpful in tactical scenarios. Using this feature will eliminate the chances of using the red dot sight in bright conditions without actually seeing the reticle. Even though this doesn’t happen very often, it can happen at times. Handgun reflex sights come with open displays, so they’re vulnerable to the sun’s light glares. When the sun is right over you, the sight’s reticle can be difficult to spot. The extreme brightness feature maximizes the sight’s brightness, making the reticle clear and crisp even if the ambient light is very powerful.
  1. Reticle Size – If you’ve been looking for a reflex sight, you might have noticed that they come with reticles of different sizes. Even though some models might seem similar, like the Trijicon RMR Type 2 and the Trijicon RMR 6.5 MOA, they might use reticles of different sizes. It’s very important to choose the sight’s reticle depending on how you’re planning to use the firearm. The red dots are measured in MOA, which means minutes of angle.
  • Small-Sized Dot – 1 – 2 MOA – Using a small-sized dot will allow you to shoot accurately over long distances. Even though most shooters use this kind of red dot sights for AR-15 rifles, there are some models that can fit on a handgun as well. Now, the main advantage of using a small dot is that you’ll be able to make accurate long-distance shots. The downside will be that it will be difficult to spot the dot quickly. This can be a problem when you’re shooting in bright conditions and the dot is more difficult to spot, no matter how large it is.
  • Medium-Sized Dot – 2 – 3.5 MOA – Using a medium-sized dot brings together the best of both worlds. The dot is easy to spot in all type of shooting conditions, and it’s accurate enough to allow you to make good close to medium-range shots. Now, a skilled shooter will be able to make accurate long-distance shots using a medium-sized dot as well, but the shot will be more difficult and it will require a greater amount of skill. Medium-sized dots are also good for fast target acquisitions.
  • Large-Sized Dot – Anything over 3.5 MOA – Large-sized dots were developed with a single purpose in mind. These dots were designed to facilitate the target-acquisition process for close-range shots. And these units work flawlessly. When you point a pistol at a target that’s close to you, the red dot will line up to your target instantly, making it extremely easy to take accurate shots. However, these dots are large, so they will take up most of the available space on the sight’s display. This means that you will find it difficult to make accurate medium-range shots because the large dot will cover most of your target. It’s nearly impossible to make accurate long-distance shots. The dot is so large, it will most likely block your target and some of the environment around it. However, mounting sights that come with large red dots on home-defense weapons is always an advantage. This will allow you to acquire your target with ease and to shoot accurately in close-quarter situations.

Related post: Top Rated Red Dot Magnifier Buying Guide

 

Best Red Dot Sights For Pistols Comparison Chart

PRODUCTPRICEMOABATTERY
Burris FastFire III Pistol Sight
$$31 Lithium Metal battery
Leupold Delta Point Pro
$$$$2.5CR 2032
Ade Advanced Optics Huracan
$3Lithium CR2032
Vortex Optics Venom Pistol Sight
$$$3CR 1632
Trijicon RMR 6.5 MOA
$$$$6.5CR123A
Trijicon RMR Type 2 Pistol Red Dot Sight
$$$$$3.251 Lithium Metal

How To Install A Red Dot Sight On A Pistol?

Most red dot sights are easy to install, and a handy person could probably install a unit in less than 10 minutes. These instructions will help you install a red dot sight safely and securely.

  • Make Sure The Sight Is Compatible With Your Rail – Your handgun comes with a Picatinny or a Weaver rail. Well, some red dot sights are compatible with Picatinny rails, others with Weaver rails. Don’t worry, if the sight you like is not compatible with your rail, you can simply use a mounting plate to install it. Models like the Burris FastFire III come with both Picatinny and Weaver-compatible mounting plates
  • Attach The Mounting Plate – Loosen the clamp nut on the mounting plate’s side. Place the mount on the rail on the desired slot, make sure the clamping edges are engaged, and tighten the nut
  • Attach The Sight To The Mounting Plate – Attach the sight to the mounting plate. This is usually done by using one or two small screws, but some models can slide right in.
  • Adjust The Windage And Elevation – Your sight will come with windage and elevation screws. The elevation screw is usually placed on the sight’s top, and the windage one is on the right side. You can only adjust one of these measurements at a time, as the other will block its action
  • Zero-In The Sight – Zeroing the sight often takes longer than installing it. If you want to zero a reflex sight, you’ll have to be patient. Start by adjusting the windage and elevation screws using a small screwdriver or the empty shell of a round. A scale on each of these measurements is the equivalent of 1 MOA or an inch at 100 yards.

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Wrap Up

As you could see in our short reviews, the best red dot sights for your pistols come at different price ranges. However, despite their price differences, all the models we presented are effective at highlighting your targets and increasing your accuracy.

Unlike the iron sights, the reflex sights are easier to use, and they’re most often than not more accurate. When you’re using a red dot sight, you don’t have to waste time to align your rear and front sights. Once you point your handgun towards a target, the reflex sight will show you exactly where you’re shooting, making the target acquisition process easier and faster.

Thanks to their performances, these models are perfect for those who are looking for reliable sighting solutions for their home-defense pistols.