Which red dot sights are best?
One of the most accurate sights available for any given rifle, pistol or shotgun is the red dot sight, thanks to their significantly increased levels of simplicity and durability. They are so easy to use and accurate that some handguns even include a red dot sight built-in. However, it can be tricky to find the perfect red dot sight due to a few minor complicating factors.
For most firearms, the best red dot sight is the Bushnell Red Dot Sight. The Bushnell brand is well known for its high-quality gear, and this high accuracy and strong durability red dot sight handily continues that trend.
What to know before you buy a red dot sight
Types of red dot sights
The two types of red dot sight are tubeless and tubed.
Tubeless: Also known as open red dot sights. They are smaller and usually less expensive while offering a larger field of view. However, they are more exposed to damage. Pistols generally use tubeless red dot sights.
Tubed: Also known as closed red dot sights. They are more protected and typically have a better quality optic but are prone to condensation. Selecting a nitrogen-purged and O-ring sealed model will eliminate that issue by making the sight waterproof and fog proof.
Red dot sights apply many different lens coatings, with some of the more common coatings being:
Coated/multicoated: Coated and multicoated lenses apply either one or several layers of coatings to at least one lens, though they will not coat all the lenses used in a particular red dot sight.
Fully coated/multicoated: Fully coated lenses apply a single layer of coating to every external lens. In contrast, fully multicoated lenses have two or more layers of coatings applied to each external lens and internal lens.
What to look for in a quality red dot sight
Red dot sights can be attached to almost any firearm though certain red dot sights will only natively attach to matching firearms. For example, most red dot sights mount to your existing rear iron sight or Picatinny or Weaver rails. If your firearm and prospective red dot sight are incompatible natively, plenty of adapters are available to attach them eventually.
Two of the main adjustable features of a red dot sight are brightness and parallax.
Brightness: The red dot can sometimes be an imperfect brightness level, especially as the exterior lighting conditions change. Variable brightness allows you to match the intensity of the red dot with your exterior conditions.
Parallax: Parallax is the optical illusion where the object and the red dot can appear offset should you move your head slightly to the left or right, and it becomes greater the further away your target is. Red dot sights will either have parallax correction or include a range in which you shouldn’t experience the illusion.
How much you can expect to spend on a red dot sight
Entry-level red dot sights are surprisingly low in cost as one of the cheapest available is only $25, give or take, though you do sacrifice some quality which may or may not be a deal-breaker based on your needs. At least the mid-range red dot sights typically run from $50-$150, meaning it should be reasonably easy to find an option that fits you perfectly. Should you need the absolute best-of-the-best for any reason, you can find yourself spending anywhere from $200-$1,000 or more.
Red dot sight FAQ
Why does red dot sight sometimes include a green dot sight option?
A. The color red can have several complicating factors for people with various specialized considerations. One of the most common issues is that for some with a certain kind of color blindness, red can be seen as a light orange which makes the sight challenging to see. The color red also becomes more difficult to focus on as the eyes age. Even without these factors, the color green is easier to see in low light than red.
What’s the difference between a laser sight and a red dot sight?
A. Firstly, laser sights aren’t technically a sight but a projector. They project the laser outward to an exterior point that you use a scope to see and are illegal for hunting some types of game in a few states. A red dot sight uses an LED light to illuminate the center of an optical device, and they currently have no legal restrictions.
What’s the best red dot sight to buy?
Top red dot sight
What you need to know: Bushnell is one of the best brands available for red dot sights, and this offering is no exception.
What you’ll love: The battery can last for several months, and the reticle is easy to adjust for accuracy.
What you should consider: High-powered rifles can cause the sight to loosen after enough firings.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top red dot sight for the money
What you need to know: This is a surprisingly low-cost red dot sight of high quality.
What you’ll love: The reticle is bright, especially at night, and you can set it to either red or green.
What you should consider: This red dot sight uses screws of several different sizes and won’t fit all rifles.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This is one of the lowest cost red dot sights with a few issues but remains a good option for the price.
What you’ll love: The optics are clearer than most, and you can easily see the red dot in any level of brightness.
What you should consider: The red dot can sometimes be out of shape, and the lens caps aren’t the highest quality.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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