Though it feels like it sometimes, red dot sights aren’t magic. What they are are awesome feats of engineering that give you hawk-like vision when you’re shooting or hunting.
And whenever you’re toting that rifle, that improved vision spells the difference between a hit and a miss.
Questions of what the best red dot sight around is will probably lead you to an AR15 red dot sight as the best answer, particularly one which is sold as an improved version of its manufacturer predecessor. While they’re typically non-magnifying, the best red dot sights are light in weight, durable, use battery power very effectively and maintain their calibration with the target (accurate and lasting zeroing).
Table of Contents
- Best Red Dot Sights (The Top 11 Updated)
- 1. Vortex Optics Sparc II 2 MOA Red Dot Sight — Best Overall
- 2. Dagger Defense DDHB Red Dot Reflex Sight — Best Budget Option
- 3. Sightmark SM26008 Ultra Shot Plus Red Dot Sights
- 4. Ozark Armament Rhino Tactical Green & Red Dot Sight
- 5. Trijicon RMR 6.5 MOA Red Dot Sight — Best High End Option
- 6. Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight Riflescope
- 7. Burris Fastfire III with Picatinny Mount 3 MOA Sight
- 8. UTG 3.8″ ITA Red/Green Circle Dot Sight
- 9. FieldSport Micro Red Dot Sight
- 10. Sig Sauer SOR52001 Romeo5 1x20mm
- 11. Sightmark Ultra Dual Shot Pro Spec NV Sight QD
- A Guide on How to Find the Best AR-15 Red Dot Sight
- How to Position the Red Dot Sight
- Where to Position Your Red Dot Sight
- Battery-Free Red Dot Sight VS Electronic Red Dot Sight
- 3 Things to Remember When Choosing a Red Dot Sight
- Wrapping Up
|1. VORTEX OPTICS SPARC II RED DOT SIGHT|
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|2. DAGGER DEFENSE DDHB RED DOT REFLEX SIGHT|
Best Budget Option
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|3. SIGHTMARK ULTRA SHOT MULTI RED & GREEN PLUS REFLEX SIGHT||Check Current Price|
|4. OZARK ARMAMENT RHINO RED DOT SIGHT||Check Current Price|
|5. TRIJICON RMR 6.5 MOA ADJUSTABLE LED RED DOT SIGHT|
Best High End
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|6. BUSHNELL TROPHY TRS-25 RED DOT SIGHT RIFLESCOPE||Check Current Price|
|7. BURRIS FASTFIRE III WITH PICATINNY MOUNT||Check Current Price|
|8. UTG 3.8" ITA RED/GREEN CIRCLE DOT SIGHT||Check Current Price|
|9. FIELDSPORT MICRO RED DOT SIGHT||Check Current Price|
|10. SIG SAUER SOR52001 ROMEO5 2 MOA RED DOT SIGHT||Check Current Price|
|11. SIGHTMARK ULTRA DUAL SHOT PRO SPEC NIGHT VISION|
Good, but quite wide
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Best Red Dot Sights (The Top 11 Updated)
1. Vortex Optics Sparc II 2 MOA Red Dot Sight — Best Overall
The magnification capacity of the Vortex Sparc II is only up to x1 though, but this is considerably more than standard red dot sights which were never really intended to have magnifying capabilities. With this integrated magnification comes the fact that the device is ready for deployment with an AR15 and there’s no need for any additional weight for extra magnification.
This scope will give you a range of different height mounts and all you have to do is select the correct height. It pretty much comes standard with everything you’ll need to even mount on a handpiece like a 10/22 Ruger. This sight shares a lot of functional features with the Vortex Optics Strikefire II from the same manufacturer but is perhaps a better option if you’re going to interchange between the firearms you’re going to mount.
The SPARC 2 Black AR15 High Mount’s range of features could quite easily make one forget that it’s actually still a budget red dot sight, so some room for a couple of drawbacks should be provisioned for.
- Aircraft-grade aluminum
- Red, 2 MOA, adjustable brightness
- 6.4 oz
- Integrated 1x magnification
- 22 mm of eye relief
- Very easy MOA adjustment (1 rotation gives you 1 MOA rotation)
- Parallax Adjustment (90 MOA settings)
- Warrantee-backed durability
- The sight is not compatible with night vision
- The coating may have been intended to increase the intensity of the scope’s illumination, but that, unfortunately, reduces brightness
- There is more than just a slight drop in performance in low light environments
The Verdict: This sight gets it right, so you can hit your mark.
2. Dagger Defense DDHB Red Dot Reflex Sight — Best Budget Option
This reflex sight is made out of aircraft-grade aluminum and it’s small enough to allow other accessories to be mounted on your Picatinny rail without interfering with them.
The sight’s reticle can be changed, and you can choose between four reticle configurations between a simple dot and a crosshair. The reticle can either be illuminated in red or green. The reticle is bright enough to be seen during the day and night. The red reticle might be easier to spot in sunny conditions.
The sight is water resistant, so you can use it in rainy or foggy conditions, but it’s not waterproof, so you shouldn’t submerge it under water.
- Aircraft grade aluminum
- Red and green, 1-4 MOA
- 10.26 oz
- Easy Zeroing – This red dot sight comes almost zeroed from the pack. Most customers report that the sight is only a couple of inches away from zero at 100 yards as soon as you mount it, so zeroing it will not be difficult.
- Great Customer Service – Every mass-manufactured product can have faults, it’s only normal. But when you report those faults to the manufacturer, it’s good to have a customer service who understands you. This manufacturer’s customer service exceeds expectations, and that’s always a big plus.
- Could Be Brighter – Even though the sight is not very difficult to spot in daylight, it could be brighter to facilitate target acquisition.
The Verdict: You get a high quality sight that won’t bankrupt you.
This red dot sight is designed to be versatile. You can mount it on shotguns, handguns, or rifles with great results. The sight uses a CR123A battery which should last up to 10,000 hours. The sight automatically turns off after one hour of continuous use to prolong battery life.
The sight’s reticle can be illuminated in either green or red. Operating the sight is easy using two soft tactile buttons on the left side. The On/Off button is multi-functional – the first time you press it, the sight will turn on and the reticle will be illuminated.
If you press it again while the unit is on, the reticle illumination light will change between green and red. If you keep the button pressed for three seconds, the sight will turn off. The second button will change brightness levels.
The sight will co-witness the standard iron sights of the AR without needing a mounting block. The rotary switch is placed at 6 o’clock and will allow you to switch between 4 reticle patterns.
- Cast aluminum alloy
- Red, 3 and 5 MOA, 4 patterns
- 12.6 oz
- Long Battery Life – This sight has a long battery life and the automatic shut-off feature will make sure that the battery is never drained uselessly.
- Holds Zero Perfectly – Once you zero in this sight, you’ll be able put hundreds if not thousands of rounds with it without having to re-zero.
- Bad Instructions Manual – The instructions manual gives some false information. The battery type needed to operate the sight is CR123A, but the manual says CR2.
The Verdict: Your hero at holding zero
This red dot sight is specially designed to co-witness perfectly with regular AR pattern sights and benefits from 4 MOA dot which makes target acquisition fast and precise in any environment.
All the sights produced by this manufacturer pass through several testing procedures before they’re released on the market. This ensures the products are ready to be used in the harshest conditions with reliable results.
The sight has a 35 mm wide objective and you’ll be able to see the green or red reticle without any difficulties even when the day is bright. The reticle’s brightness can be adjusted easily and you can choose between 5 brightness levels to find the perfect option for your particular situation.
- Red and green, 4 MOA, adjustable brightness
- 19.04 oz
- 1-Year Full Warranty – This product benefits from a 1-year full warranty with no questions asked. The sight also benefits from dedicated support for the full length of the warranty.
- Flip-up Lens Caps – This sight is specially designed to co-witness standard sights, so you don’t have to use it all the time. When you’re not using the sight, you can protect the lens with the caps
- Foggy Dot – This sight’s dot can get foggy if you’re using it in low light conditions. You’ll still be able to use it, just not as accurately as in bright conditions.
The Verdict: Shift between red and green dots and varying brightness to see that dot clearly.
5. Trijicon RMR 6.5 MOA Red Dot Sight — Best High End Option
If you own handguns such as those from the Smith & Wells M&P range, the most likely reason is most probably for practical purposes, such as defending and protecting yourself in possible real-life situations.
Any of the target practicing you dedicate your time to is with the view of beefing up your firearm competency and so you’d naturally look towards sighting gun with something like the Trijicon RMR 6.5 MOA Adjustable LED Red Dot.
The Trijicon RMR comes into play very well for practical, self-defense and similar uses because of the practicality its features pack. One only needs to look at the $500+ price to come close to the conclusion that this is indeed a sought-after device, but one which is sold more out of necessity than anything else.
The brand also has Trijicon Miniature Rifle Optic, which is specifically designed for rifles.
- Aircraft aluminum alloy
- Red, 3.25 MOA
- 1.2 oz
- Sizeable and practical MOA (6.5) which is easily adjustable at 1 MOA to each dial-click
- Two Night Vision Modes that add to the eight brightness settings (with auto-adjust mode)
- A special, super-bright light setting
- Overall true-life practicality (quick target acquisition and deployment)
- Quite costly
- A change of battery will require you to re-sight
The Verdict: You’ll never be in the dark, even when it’s nighttime.
What this red dot sight has going for it is the easily adjustable brightness level of the dot. This ensures that you see the red dot clearly, no matter what the lighting conditions are.
Moreover, it’s incredibly sturdy and can withstand the bumps and recoils that it’s bound to come across while in action, as well as the occasional splashes, dips, and temperature shifts.
Aside from AR rifles, you can also mount this on your pistols, shotguns, and other firearms, and trust that it’s going to work great.
- Cast aluminum alloy
- Enclosed Reflex
- Red, 3 MOA Dot, adjustable brightness
- 4.0 oz
- Small and compact
- Easy-adjust brightness
- Waterproof and fog proof
- Durable construction
- Small field of view
- Not as great as older version
The Verdict: Can take a beating but will still show you love.
Featuring a 3 MOA dot reticle (as the name suggests), the Burris 300234 Fastfire III with Picatinny Mount (3 MOA) Sight is one you’d very strongly consider if you had wide range of firearms with which you’d want to use it.
How versatile is the Burris 300234 Fastfire III?
Well it’s safe to say it’ll mount on almost all of your hand-pieces, including:
- Hunting Rifles
Not only is it versatile in this way, but this sight was built for accelerated target acquisition.
Priced at just a tiny fraction above what would be ordinarily considered a budget sight, the Burris is a marvel in action — there’s perfect eye balance and no dominance at all. The sight seems to be perfectly aligned with the target because your bullet hits EXACTLY what your sight is pointing at!
The mounts can be very easily removed and the sight’s recoil tolerance is very impressive, to say the least, as it’s able to withstand the recoil of semi-automatic 0.45 handgun and even that of a 460 XVR pistol.
You can also adjust the device’s elevation without using any tools; you can use the auto-brightness setting or manually fiddle through the brightness levels yourself. We discuss more about this model here.
It’s very hard to find fault with this sight, if a “fault” absolutely had to exist, it would be nothing more than the relatively small buttons (both the brightness adjustment buttons and power), which makes them a bit of a challenge to use without compromising your aiming accuracy. Double thumbs up otherwise!!
- 3 and 8 MOA options, auto brightness
- 4 oz.
- Great price
- Perfect eye balance
- Great alignment
- Removable mounts, adjustable elevation
- Auto brightness
- Very small buttons
The Verdict: Works with your other firearms.
This versatile red dot sight can be used on a wide range of firearms, from handguns to rifles or shotguns. The sight comes with a quick detach mounting deck so you can quickly take it off if you need to.
The sight has a 65 MOA circle reticle and a 4 MOA green or red dot. The reticle is bright and crisp, and you’ll be able to see it clearly in bright or low light conditions. You can change the sight’s 5 levels of brightness intensity to find the perfect one for your situation.
The sight’s height is specially designed so it will be able to co-witness the AR rifle’s iron sights as soon as you mount it.
- Red and green, 4 MOA
- 12.8 oz
- Two-year Warranty – This extended warranty period is proof of the fact that the manufacturer is confident that the product will outlive the warranty period if it’s used properly. It also means you don’t have to pay extra in case the product doesn’t function as it should.
- Very Bright Reticle – This sight’s reticle is very bright and you’ll be able to see it without any trouble in all kind of light conditions, low light or really bright
- Manual Turn Off – This sight only has a manual turn-off switch, so if you’re not careful to turn it off, the battery will be drained quickly.
The sight’s emitter is placed in the 9 o’clock position, so this model won’t interfere with the lower third co-witness like some of the other sights which use a 5 o’clock emitter.
The sight is not very accurate straight out of the box, and some zeroing will be needed. As soon as you zero it, though, you’ll find that this small red dot sight is as accurate as other models ten times its price.
The reticle has 11 different brightness settings, so you should find the perfect brightness setting for all shooting scenarios. The highest brightness setting makes the reticle clearly visible in the daytime when the sun is shining brightly.
- Aircraft Aluminum
- Tube reflex
- Red, 4 MOA
- 6.4 oz
- Great Value – This model is one of the cheapest red dot sights available on the market, but it’s still a great choice. It offers a great value for the price.
- Durable – Despite its low cost, this model is durable and you’ll be able to use it for a long time.
- Doesn’t Co-witness Without Raiser – If you want to use this sight to co-witness your iron sights, you’ll need a raiser which is not included.
The Verdict: A decent sight that will last you a long time.
The Sig Sauer Romeo5 fills the gap where most red dot sights find themselves a bit thin. Whether you’re a civilian or in law enforcement, this trusty scope will serve you well.
You get low parallax and unlimited eye relief for easy and comfy acquisition of your targets, and multiple illumination settings. That motion-activated illumination feature will surely save a lot of your battery power and extend its life considerably.
- Enclosed reflex
- Red, 2 MOA, motion activated
- 12.2 oz
- Motion activated illumination
- Waterproof (IPX-7 rated for complete immersion up to 1 meter)
- Low riser and 1.41 in riser mount included
- Beware of lemons
The Verdict: Extended battery life for extended enjoyment in the range or at the hunt.
The “NV” part of the sight’s production name doesn’t really represent the scope’s inherent night vision function though, but rather champions its suggested pairing with a co-sighting device that does have night vision. The idea is that you hunt deer (or other game) during the day and then if you want to extend the Ultra Dual Shot’s capabilities, it’ll work well with a Night Vision scope.
The scope’s size tips the balance in favor of the peripheral view over the field of view, but one only realizes this if you have another similar class sight to compare this one with, which is not very likely since you’d be looking at specific sights for game hunting.
This aesthetically advanced sight will give you a choice between four reticle patterns, each of which displays very crisply, a workable field of view and great recoil-resistance.
Don’t hold your breath about the integrated laser though — it’s somewhat of an afterthought that wasn’t really necessary, but it’s a nice side tool to play with (and that’s all).
- Cast aluminum alloy
- Red, 3 and 5 MOA, 4 patterns, adjustable brightness
- 2.4 oz
- Low battery power consumption
- Wide field of view
- Built tough
- Adjustable reticle brightness
- Parralax adjusted
- Might lose zero when switching between reticles
- Too wide
The Verdict: Good, but very clunky.
A Guide on How to Find the Best AR-15 Red Dot Sight
What to Look For
When looking for a good red-dot sight, you want to strike a balance between specific features you want for sighting your firearm, while steering clear of getting tempted by some extra features not usually synonymous with a traditional red-dot sight.
There are many different types of red dot sights available on the market, but generally, if you come across additional features such as magnification or illuminated reticle (in some cases), these features often take the place of many primary features of a solid red dot sight.
If you have the budget, go for a specific red dot sight that specifically fits and works well with an individual firearm or class of firearms. AR15 red dot sights are a good example of this view because you then get great performance, durability and interchangeable functionality (one red dot sight can usually fit a wide range of AR15s).
Some red dot sights might have a green dot (reticle) as opposed to a red one, but the important thing to remember is that the dot needs to be visible to the eye, representing the firearm’s alignment with the target you intend to hit.
Sights also have different reticle patterns and sizes, the best of which allows a good range of variation so that you can adjust the size and pattern to one which you’re personally comfortable with. Too big a dot and it can be very hard to clearly distinguish the target and too small a dot will serve as a distraction, with a lot of your effort going to try to locate the reticle.
Budget red dot sights can go as low as below $50 in cost, but you’d be strongly advised to stay away from anything below $140 if you don’t want to keep replacing your red dot sights. Anything up to around $200 is still considered budget, but for around that price you can get some really good sights that might need to be paired with a magnifier if you require extended magnification.
Some of the best sights cost around $240 right up to over $550, but you’d have to match your specific requirements to a specific sight, otherwise, versatility generally takes away from optimal performance.
As far as the dot size goes (MOA), 4MOA sights will generally do a good job across a variety of handpieces, particularly rifles, but these dot sizes can also assist you in estimating the range of your firearm in relation to the red dot sight’s accuracy.
The most common sizes for a red dot sight you’re likely to buy as a private consumer range from 2 MOA to about 3.5 MOA, and maybe even up to 4 MOA for more professional race gun shooters and the like.
Types of Red Dot Sights
Choosing between electronic and battery-free sights previously posed a problem that is fast disappearing, since battery operated red dot sights are becoming more and more competent for use in low-light environments or the situations that you have to use tactical flashlights.
Batteries are also built to last much longer, with red dot sight prices in the region of $200 and above buying you about 5,000 hours of continuous use, with power-saving features such as auto-brightness adjustments and auto-power off when not in use.
Benefits of Having a Red Dot
The major benefit of choosing a red dot sight over other types of optical scopes is the good performance it offers at a comparatively lower price. What many people may not know is that red-dot sights are also safer than sights like those that use holographic technology (holographic sights). If a holographic sight’s lens cracks, for example, your eye might come into direct exposure to the laser and this can cause permanent damage.
Red dot sights also enjoy the collective benefit of their ever-decreasing weight, with the best sights optimized for weight via the aluminum or aluminum alloy used in their construction.
The ultimate benefit of having a red dot sight though is that of being able to acquire targets very quickly, using a scope that fits well with a wide range of firearms and ideally viewing your target accurately with both eyes open (the natural way).
How to Position the Red Dot Sight
A red dot sight is an accessory to your rifle that will help you accurately hit your target. It shoots out a red dot light that will help guide you in hunting. When hunting one shot is important since the sound of a gun will disturb all the animals in the surrounding.
If you can’t hit the target once, you will lose the opportunity to kill your target and may need to wait for many hours or even days to be able to see another target because they will scatter and hide. Having a red dot sight will help you not to lose this opportunity because it can accurately pinpoint you your target before shooting.
Where to Position Your Red Dot Sight
One of the key components of a good performance in the shooting is by figuring out the ideal spot to place your sight on the rail of the air rifle. To achieve this the first thing you must do is to find the best location for you that is not too far and too near, somewhere which is best for you for aiming perfectly.
A common mistake among some hunters is that they mount their optic almost at the rear end of the rifle which is just too close. Red gives never-ending eye relief, there is no need for you to cramp it too close to the rear in your field of vision because it will remain in focus in whatever distance it will be placed on.
As a matter of fact, placing it too close to you will result in a lack of awareness of the surroundings and it minimizes your peripheral vision when looking for a target or prey.
Some shooters though prefer to mount their sight as far forward and it worked for them however it is not typically recommended most especially if you are using a non-monolithic upper receiver. Its disadvantage is that it makes the sight the last thing that you will see when you raise the gun to your sightline
It is recommended to place the sight is the forward portion of the upper receiver. This kind of placement will solve all the issues caused by placing it in the rear or most forward part. This will give you a better field of vision and will be placed in the most secure part of the gun.
Once you’ve installed your red dot sight, here’s how to zero it.
Battery-Free Red Dot Sight VS Electronic Red Dot Sight
Red dot sight has been a big help to shooters since it was introduced. There are various kinds available today on the market but often times most shooters choose either the battery-free red dot sight or the electronic dot sight. In here I will shed light on what makes the other one better and which one will help you decide on what you want for yourself. To check the best scope click here.
Battery Free Red Dot Sight
One advantage of using a reflex style battery-free red dot sight is that it has no electronic parts that are subjected to failure. It gives off low light function that is illuminated with tritium.
The disadvantage of opting for this kind of red dot sight is that it becomes a disappointment during low lighting conditions and you cannot manually increase the intensity of the scope. If you plan to use this kind of red dot sight that has no battery be prepared to set up your gun to accommodate its deficiencies.
Electronic Red Dot Sights
As time passes by, the electronic red dot sights are considered to be more reliable and much more efficient than other types of sights. The technology used in this optic is relentlessly improving in longevity and durability. Some brands of electronic red dot sights can run for about an average of 8 years with continued usage.
This also depends on the sight model which can either last from 100 to 1000 hrs. The power of this kind of scope depends on two things which are the light source power consumption and the capacity of the battery.
3 Things to Remember When Choosing a Red Dot Sight
If you’re searching for the best red dot sight, taking a closer look at a solid AR15 red dot sight will give you a good starting point. AR15 red dot sights are emerging as a great benchmark against which other red dot sights are measured since most red dot sights are optimized for AR15s.
Since it’s impractical to try out a red dot sight with your weapon before making the purchase and confirming whether it is indeed the best red dot sight for you, general guidelines include:
- Choosing a red dot sight that is firstly compatible with your firearm (fits your firearm or has appropriate railings),
- Choosing one that features a dot size (MOA) that coincides with the range of your firearm, and
- Choosing one which will naturally add to the functionality of your firearm (allows you to accurately acquire targets while keeping both your eyes open and not buckling under what appears to be a considerably “heavier” firearm).
All this is more than enough information for you to pick out your next red dot sight now for your AR-15. And again, my honest opinion is that you can’t go wrong with the Vortex Sparc II.
The Vortex Sparc II red dot sight is just so reliable and tough, and reasonably priced, too! Click below to get your hands on it (links to the real thing).