How to choose a red dot sight

How to choose a red dot sight

So, you want to pick up a good red dot sight, but are not sure how to choose it right. You are not alone. In fact, many our clients often ask what are primary criteria to select the best red dot for their arms. Ok, in this article we will cover the most important factors to consider.

Before we start…

First of all, you should understand one thing in order to choose a red dot sight. This type of aiming assistance device was not designed for precision. It was designed for speed. You should take this into account, because red dot sights do their best at short distances when you need to aim quickly, not when you want to hit the eye of the squirrel from 300 meters.

What questions to ask yourself when choosing a red dot

Red dot sight is an aiming device that projects a red dot reticle to the sight on top of the target image to assist aiming. Selecting a good red dot sight is actually pretty easy if you know the basics. Here is what you should consider when selecting the red dot sight.

What is the distance you will be shooting at

As said above, red dot optical sights are designed mostly for shorter ranges. However, you still can use a red dot on distances up to 200 meters if the reticle size is small enough to not overlap with the target too much. Hence, the first question you should ask yourself is: what is the distance you will be shooting at most commonly.

What is the gun you will mount the red dot sight onto

Red dot sights can be mounted on pistols, shotguns, and rifles. However, the mounting systems can be different. Also, you should consider the weight of the sight: attaching too weighty red dot optics to a pistol may hinder your performance with this weapon, which can be vital in some circumstances. There are all kinds of micro and mini red dot sights for pistols, make sure to select them if compactness and low weight is your priority.

Do you prefer a fixed or adjustable reticle size?

Adjustable reticle size allows you to efficiently use the red dot sight on different distances. A smaller red dot image offers more accuracy on longer ranges, but is harder to see. If you need balance, choose the adjustable size. If you mostly work at some fixed range, a fixed reticle size is fine. Note that the reticle image can appear a bit blurred. You won’t see an acute, sharp-edged reticle like in an optical sight, but that’s normal.

Do you need magnification?

Red dot sights can be used alongside with a magnifier. But you have to pick certain models for that. Some red dot sights can be attached together with a magnifier optics, and some cannot. Also, there are red dot reflex optics with a built-in magnifier. A magnifier allows you to be effective at short ranges thanks to the red dot, and at longer ranges thanks to magnification.

Would you be using your iron sight as well?

Co-witnessing allows you to see your iron sight simultaneously with the reticle image of the red dot sight. Such backup sight allows you to aim even in case of red dot optics failure. There are two types of co-witness: a lower co-witness and a taller co-witness. The lower co-witness requires you to aim through the lower part of the aiming window, because the iron sight does not align with the red dot. The taller co-witnessing option aligns both the red dot and the iron sight thus allowing for better and faster aiming.

What about batteries?

Modern red dot sights are very autonomous, they can work on one battery for thousands of hours. However, we recommend selecting models with 10,000 hours of uptime or more. Such endurance offers a very comfortable battery change routine every two years or so with your red dot always on.

What field of view do you need?

Larger field of view (FOV) allows you to acquire a long-range target faster. But at the same time it increases the size and weight of the sight. Make sure to find the balance.


As you can see, selecting a proper red dot sight requires you to do some of your homework first. But don’t worry: at BattleSteel®️ we’ve got you covered. Ask our consultants, and they will help you choosing the optimal red dot sight for your gun based on your preferences.

This article is the author's opinion and does not represent the official position of BattleSteel®️

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