The Best Red Dot Sight for 2017

Anyone who uses a gun for target practice or hunting will agree that having a sight is essential for being able to accurately hit a target. Traditional iron sights can be used to achieve this desired accuracy; however, red dot sights provide a faster way to aim and shoot without missing. While these sights were typically used by the military, they are now often employed for recreational means, including hunting and paintball. Red dot sights are popular to use for aiming at moving targets, especially since this type of sight allows you to line up the target and take a shot at a quick rate of speed. Let’s take a look at some of the best red dot sights on the market, and then we will cover key features to look for and evaluate when purchasing a red dot sight.

What is a Red Dot Sight?

red dot sightIf you are unsure of what a red dot sight is or how it differs from other types of sights, here are some additional details to go over before exploring the following options: Any non-magnified, illuminated sight that can be equipped to a shotgun, a rifle, or a handgun is considered a red dot sight. The reticle or “red dot” is created by an LED or a laser diode light that is reflected or projected into the field of view. This “red dot” is aimed directly in your line of sight to become the aiming mechanism that lines up the gun with the targets to make the perfect shot. You can read more about what a red dot sight is in this Wikipedia entry.

The Best Red Dot Sights on the Market

1. Vortex SPARC 2 Red Dot Sight

The Vortex SPARC 2 is a well built, extremely sturdy sight that provides great features at a really reasonable price. An upgrade to Vortex’s original SPARC, the light weight sight is built to impress, and many reviewers have not had problems with it standing up to the tests of time at all. The battery life of this sight at minimum brightness can last up to an incredible 5,000 hours. A six hour auto shut down feature is also present to help preserve battery life. A simple button press makes it easy to adapt the color, shape, and illumination of the reticle. This sight also features a fully multi-coated lens as well as waterproof optics to keep moisture, dust, and debris away from the lens. It is also parallax free, which allows for more rapid shooting while you have both eyes open.

2. Aimpoint PRO Patrol Rifle Optic

The Aimpoint PRO is a great sight that has new, never-before-seen features incorporated into its’ design that maximizes the performance and battery life of the device. The sight can be turned on and left on for at least three years before a new battery will be required. The service date and battery change reminders are perfect for tracking and making sure that you never let your batteries die while you are out on a hunt. The front lens of this sight also features a band-pass coating, which enables compatibility with most types of night vision devices. Both the front and the rear lens are set back from the edge to cushion the sight from impact devastation and safeguard it from scratches and fingerprints. The Aimpoint PRO also has a mount with a removable spacer as well as a torque limiting twist knob that optimizes the pressure places on the rail.

3. Sightmark Ultra Shot Pro Spec Sight NV QD 

The Sightmark Ultra Shot Pro Spec Sight NV QD is ideal for someone looking to purchase a high quality, cost-effective sight. The double pane lens helps to eliminate parallax, which is a very helpful and common feature among red dot scopes, and the sight has four different reticle patterns to allow for maximal customization. You will also have the unique ability to mount the sight in front of a night vision monocular to create a co-witnessed sight setup. Furthermore, if you are in pursuit of a fast target, this sight is equipped with a quick detachable rail mounting system and an internal interlocking system that holds zero extremely well; therefore, you won’t have to worry about frequently readjusting this sight in the field. Finally, you can be sure that this scope will hold up in multiple types of environments and situations due to its durable aluminum frame and metal shield.

4. Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight Rifle Sight

The Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 is a great, durable, lightweight sight that does not lack in quality. The multi-coated lens has an amber bright, high contrast coating that is designed to help you quickly distinguish where your target is in any lighting. The parallax free design adjusts to your eyes, which allow rapid shooting with both eyes open. The sight has the ability to adjust the size and the illumination of the reticle to three different levels and preserve the battery life. An additional feature that is useful for shooting excursions in the great outdoors is the waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof construction.

5. Burris FastFire III with Picatinny Mount

The Burris FastFire III is a very versatile sight that was built to stand up to rugged outdoor life for long periods of time. Wind age and elevation adjustment upgrades are available with this sight. This Picatinny mounted sight has a 3 MOA dot reticle that can be adjusted to three brightness settings, and it also sports an automatic brightness setting that adjusts to the current lighting conditions. Battery access is conveniently located on the top so the sight so that it does not need to be removed when the battery needs replacing, and the low battery indicator will help you best prepare to have a fully powered sight for your next adventure. This Burris FastFire III also comes with waterproof and shockproof features.

Choosing the right sight is imperative for any hunter or marksman. Whether you are shooting for the fun of the sport or for the competition of it, it is best to find a sight that you are comfortable using. The key is to be able to make an accurate shot without spending a long time lining up the shot, especially if you are aiming at a moving target. Red dot sights are a great option for accomplishing that, but make sure you are aware of the important features to consider when purchasing one. Remember, expense does not always equal quality. The five sights listed are all excellent choices, but continue reading the content below before deciding which red dot sight is best for you.

Benefits of a Red Dot Sight

• Faster Targeting Capabilities

Once a target is acquired, it is easy to quickly center the reticle on the target and fire the gun. There is no need to align the sights and take time to aim. This type of sight gives a much greater accuracy rate when taking aim at a moving target.

• Greater Field of View

Red dot sights have a wider field of view than most tube style sights. Having a wider field of view allows for a shot from a greater distance, but the sight is still not magnified so being reasonably close is still recommended.

• Unrestricted Eye Relief

For most sights, it matters how far away the shooter’s eye is from the sight, but with a red sight, the eye relief is unlimited. This feature allows for faster targeting, because it takes away part of the restraint placed upon someone who is aiming with another type of sight.

• Works Well with Low Light

Red dot sights are easy to aim in the dark of night. The cross hairs of most sights become invisible in the dark, but the red dot is even visible in the darkest environments.

Features to Consider when Purchasing a Red Dot Sight

• Housing Configuration

A red dot sight can come in either a tube style or an open style. The tube style is closer to a traditional sight in appearance. This type of housing allows the shooter to apply filters and protective covers to the lens, which could make the “red dot” easier to see in bright sunlight. Open sights do not have the classic tube style. These types of sights consist of only the bare basics, and objective window to see through and a source of illumination. Since an open housing configuration has less room for flair, filters cannot be used to enhance the viewing experience.

• Type of Projection

Red dot sights include both holographic and reflex sights. With a holographic projection, the sight is illuminated from the front of the lens and a laser diode light is projected onto the viewing window to create a holographic red dot to assist with aiming at a target. Reflex sight projections are much more common in red dot sights that are used for recreation. A reflex sight reflects an LED light that is positioned behind the lens into your line of sight.

• Style of the Reticle

The reticle is effectively the “red dot” that is used to bring the gun in line with the target. All Reticles are designed to be illuminated to make it easier to shoot in low lighting conditions, but they are not required to be red or to be a simple dot. The color and patterns of red dot sights vary, so it is best to find one that allows comfortable shooting. Styles range from a single dot, to cross hairs, or even bullseye patterns that can be displayed in a red or green color. A good sight will be able to utilize multiple patterns and adjust to the desired color. The size of the reticle can also often be adjusted. A bigger dot typically means that targeting is faster. Make sure to avoid fancy styles; it is important to naturally align your eye to the center of the reticle for faster target finding.

• Battery Life of the Sight

The battery life of any red dot sight is extremely important. You need to know that the reticle will be there when it is needed, and a sight that has a short battery life presents the chance of the light going out when you are getting ready to aim for a target. Without the reticle, targeting becomes more complicated and accuracy can suffer. Reflex sights that use LED’s to create the “red dot” consume much less energy than holographic options. A good sight should be able to get roughly a thousand hours of usage before the battery life diminishes. Make sure to preserve battery life whenever possible by turning the sight off when it is not being used. Shooing in cold weather can also be a factor of how long the battery life will last, so make sure to always carry a backup just in case.

Tips for Choosing a Red Dot Sight

• Higher Price does not mean Better Quality

Spending a lot on a sight is not always going to guarantee that the quality is better than the cheaper models. Sometimes advertising will suck you into a more expensive red dot sight that is missing key features, like being able to change the shape or color of the reticle to something that allows your eyes to focus at a faster rate.

• Compatible with Gun

Not all sights are able to be mounted to just any gun. Sights are designed to go with certain types of guns, and they will only fit properly on those styles. Make sure the sight that you are looking to purchase is compatible with the gun you own or are looking to own.

• A Comfortable Size and Weight

Make sure the sight is an appropriate size for your gun and the area where it will be stored. The weight of the red dot sight will affect the overall weight of the gun. Make sure that the gun can still be handled effectively with the sight attached to make assure that the accuracy of your aim is not diminished.

• Mounting the Sight

Mounting the sight to the gun is an extremely important step. If the sight is slightly off, then your whole aim will be off as well. Take your time when mounting and adjusting the sight to assure that it is straight. Your precision when mounting the sight will help you nail the target every time.

Overall, there are multiple features to take into consideration when making your red dot sight purchase. A sight equipped with all of the right features fit for you will take your recreational hunting or target shooting to the next level.

High End Red Dot Option: Vortex Razor Red Dot Review

Features and Benefits of the Vortex Razor Red Dot Sight:

This sight is of exceptional quality and comes with its fair share of benefits over other sights available on the market. Each of its features is useful and make this sight a great option for hunters who want something simpler to use than just the standard iron sight. Reflex sights are becoming increasingly popular among hunters and gun enthusiasts, and this product will satisfy almost any customer. Here are all of the features of the Vortex Razor Red Dot Sight and how they can benefit users of this product.

  • Wide field lens: The durable lens on this sight is wide and easy to use. It is designed to be resistant to scratches, so users don’t have to worry about the most important part of the sight taking unnecessary damage during use, transport, or storage. Additionally, the lens is protected with an anti-reflective coating, making the high-resolution display easier to see in any possible condition. All of these lens features ensure that vision remains unimpaired during use of this sight.
  • Red dot: The red dot illuminated by this sight is brighter than most and also more accurate, so users can see it easily even in sunny weather. The brightness is adjustable with nine different levels, so it is easily customized to the user’s preference or weather conditions. The dot can be seen clearly in the day as well as night, and shouldn’t be affected by foggy weather so hunters can use it whenever they desire.
  • Aluminum chassis: The chassis of this sight is constructed with an aircraft-grade aluminum alloy. It is extremely durable and will last for years to come, regardless of how often it is used or what conditions it is exposed to. The aluminum alloy is chemically treated to be scratch resistant and far more durable than all the other metal options available. It was built to resist damage and to withstand recoil as well as impact.
  • O-ring seal: This sight is sealed with an o-ring for an extra layer of protection from the elements. The o-ring seal keeps out water and dust so that the display lens and red dot are unaffected. This allows for the ability to use the sight completely worry free and get dirty when necessary on the hunt.
  • 6-hour automatic shutdown: If users forget to turn the sight off after they use it, an automatic shutdown feature will kick in after the sight has been on for a consecutive 6 hours. This will conveniently save on battery life so that users don’t get stuck without their sight the next time they need it. At the sight’s highest setting, it has a 150-hour run time.
  • Easy to use: This sight is exceptionally easy to use, even for beginners. The two arrow buttons sit on top of the sight, directly behind the lens. Holding either arrow will make the sight power on, and then the arrows can be used to adjust the brightness of the red dot. Holding either arrow again will power the sight off.
  • Included Picatinny mount: Vortex includes a Picatinny mount with this sight, so it can easily be attached to whatever gun the user prefers.

Drawbacks of Using the Vortex Razor Red Dot Sight:

It is an unavoidable fact that any product on the market comes with at least a few drawbacks. While the Vortex Razor Red Dot Sight is no exception to this rule, the benefits of all its included features far outweigh any negatives listed. Here are the drawbacks to consider before buying a Vortex Razor Red Dot Sight.

  • Sight adjustment with Allen key: Unlike some sights that can be conveniently adjusted with a coin, this sight requires a metric Allen key. This is only a small inconvenience, but it could possibly be bothersome to buyers used to the coin option.
  • Power-on delay: The arrow button on the sight must be held for a few seconds before the sight powers on. While this should be fine for most hunting applications, buyers who use their guns and sight for self-defense might find this delay dangerous and inconvenient.

Who Should Buy the Vortex Razor Red Dot Sight:

This sight is a high-quality option for hunters and gun enthusiasts who prefer the red dot sights over the standard iron sights. It has the durability and high performance necessary to satisfy experienced sight users while remaining easy enough to operate for hunters who are new to reflex sights altogether. The benefits of this product place it well above many other red dot sights on the market, and it has a place in just about every hunter and enthusiast’s collection. The only people who might not get the most out of this sight are those wishing to use it for self-defense purposes rather than hunting. The power-on delay could cause an issue in this situation only.

Vortex Venom Red Dot Sight Review

Venom Red DotThe Vortex Venom Red Dot may be used with almost any pistol, rifle or shotgun. Despite being small in size, this daylight-bright Red Dot is very precise, allowing for a rapid acquisition of the target in no time. The hunting accessory features scratch-free lenses that have an anti-reflective coating. The coating used in the device is a full multi-coating type of surface, which allows the MOA to deliver high-quality images. The device is also a preferred model because of its comparatively wider field of view. The exterior part of the Venom Red Dot is built using an aluminum chassis. This rugged outer chassis enhances the durability of the equipment, regardless of the environment, the device is used in. The intensity and power controls for the equipment are also conveniently positioned, making it easy to use. Throughout this Vortex Venom Red Dot review, you will understand why this is a must-have piece of hunting equipment.

Versatility

The Red Dots are preferred hunting accessories because of their versatility. Additionally, their devices allow for easy targeting—, especially for the long range hunters. As such, you can easily target your prey from a long distance, up to 100 meters, using these devices. The newest of the red dots—the Venom Red Dot–promises to be even better. For one, this happens to be a firearms-grade piece of equipment. Additionally, it is compact enough to fit on the sides of various firearms. Despite its small size, the Venom Red Dot offers a remarkable field of view as well as impressive image clarity.

Vortex Venom Red Dot Packaging

One of the things that you will love about this piece of equipment is its packaging and accessories. Vortex Optics is renowned for offering generous add-ons with their products. The Venom red dot is not an exception, in this regard. In addition to the optic device, the packaging includes an assortment of helpful accessories. Some of the accessories contained in this packaging include a slick picatinny mount as well as the required hardware to secure the red dot to the mount, spare screw, a piece of cloth for cleaning the lens a torx wrench, double-ended screwdriver, battery, and manual.

The double-ended screwdriver features large and small flat heads, which may be used to open and close the battery compartment of the device. You may also use the screwdriver to make sighting adjustments on your equipment. The torx wrench, on the other hand, may be used to secure the device to the mount. Additionally, you will also find a soft rubber cover for the optic within the packaging. This soft rubber is for protecting the device and conserving battery power when the device is not being used.

Design and Built

Vortex Venom Red Dot has a rugged, shockproof exterior body. As such, the device is capable of withstanding firearm recoil force and impact. This piece of equipment is also lightweight, an aspect that may be attributed to its single-piece chassis. The compact optic features O-ring seals, which make the device waterproof. As such, it is impossible for dust, debris, and even moisture to penetrate into the device. This not only makes the device reliable, but also very durable. This being the case, you can use the optic in virtually any hunting environment without worrying about the device being damaged by dust, moisture, and debris. Again, it also features a hard, low-glare, anodized mantle finish—which enhances its durability. The exterior lenses on the device are protected from damage and scratches by the ultra-hard, ArmorTek coating technology by the manufacturer.

Specifications

This device offers some of the best specifications, for devices within its price range. Some of the aspects that make the Venom Red Dot superior include:

  • A magnification of 1 x
  • 3 MOA Dot Size
  • Compact size, measuring 4.8cm long
  • Lightweight, measuring about 1.1 ounces (31 grams)
  • An Elevation Adjustment of up to 130 MOA
  • A Windage Adjustment of up to 100 MOA
  • Adjustment Graduation of 1 MOA
  • The device is Parallax free
  • An unlimited eye relief

Convenience

Just like the other dots by this manufacturer, the Venom Red Dot is very convenient to use in an array of hunting conditions. The convenience associated with this device is as a result of the various convenience features it offers. For instance, the unlimited eye relief feature provided by the dot allows for rapid target acquisition using the device. The extended battery life offered by the equipment also makes it more convenient. The auto-shutdown feature helps to maximize battery life, allowing the device to run for up to 30,000 hours—with the lower battery settings. For the highest battery configuration, the device can operate for up to 150 hours.

Through the Venom Red Dot, Vortex Optics filled the gap between the high quality, expensive optics, and the cheap low-quality optics. At an affordable price, hunters can now have a high-quality optic with an array of superior features. If you are searching for a durable, reliable and affordable optic that will give you accurate targeting and high-quality images, the Vortex Venom Red Dot is the perfect option.

EOTech 512.A65 Holographic Sight Review

EOTech 512.A65The EOTech 512.A65 is one of the most popular short target holographic sights on the market today. Meant as a high tech replacement to iron sights, the EOTech 512 has rocketed in acclaim thanks to its ease of use, high accuracy, and durability.

The first thing you’ll notice about the 512 is its box. Durable, attractive, and weatherproof, the case alone places it above some competition. The optic also ships with a full manual (explaining installation, use, and care) and a cleaning cloth for its lenses. Installation is simple (and universal to most modern weapon systems), consisting of mounting the unit to either a 1″ weaver or Picatinny rail. Once the screws are locked in the unit is surprisingly secure, with none of the wiggle sometimes seen in other, cheaper, optics. This solid setting is important, as it also eases the job of sighting the weapon, and improves overall accuracy.

The 512 runs off two standard AA batteries (600 hours if you use bog standard store brands). This is, however, a double edged sword. While the use of standard AA batteries means that replacements are cheap, easy to find, and plentiful, it also means that you’ll be swapping batteries more often than with some other brands. The sight does have a low power indicator, and adding a spare set of batteries to your kit shouldn’t be too much trouble. The 512 also has more features than most other optical sights, including adjustable reticles and brightness settings. Experienced shooters who’ve fired with other optics may be surprised at the 512’s versatility, its many brightness settings all but ensure that no matter the light conditions your sight will still perform strong. The only (admittedly minor) complaint about the sight’s lighting is that it lacks night vision compatibility. While this won’t be an issue for almost all civilian shooters, military or police customers may still want to take it into account. EOTech does make other sights that do possess night vision though, so look into those if night vision use is one of your buying factors.

The 512 was designed for (and indeed performs best at) short range engagements and target acquisition. Once properly mounted the sight helps place bullets with pinpoint accuracy out to around 50 yards. Even inexperienced experienced shooters often find that they can put rounds on target in under a few seconds at these shorter ranges. Within these ‘bad breath’ zones the 512 allows for extremely rapid shooting, and hits targets with great regularity (making it a great choice for courses that permit dynamic movement). Keep in mind that it’s important to suppress the natural instinct to close one eye while aiming an EOTech. The 512 especially, is made for use with both eyes open, as this superimposes the reticle over your vision. As no two firearms are exactly the same, it’s critical that shooters use short range shooting to dial in their sighting with the 512. While this becomes less of a concern with modern weapons platforms (most notably the AR-15), older firearms may need some work to find their ‘sweet spot’ within the optic’s target circle. Once zeroed the 512 is remarkably secure, and almost nothing short of severe damage or total removal will shift the sight’s picture.

It’s only when one gets into the longer ranges that the 512 shows some of its weaknesses. At 100 yards (and up) skill will start to count more and more, requiring compensation on longer shots. If you possess some moderate training and skill, shooting within 200 to 300 yards should still be easy, and your greatest problems will most likely be wind speed and the drop of your bullets (depending on caliber of course). Shooting at even greater distances will require greater skill, especially as the optic’s range tops out around 400 yards.

The 512 possesses a higher price point than much of its competition, and most buyers should expect to pay somewhere around $500. While other sights can be had for cheaper, almost none can match the versatility, stability, and durability of the EOTech 512.A65. The 512 is one of the preferred models for military and law enforcement around the world for good reason. Professionals the world over will gladly say they’d trust EOTech products with their life, and many do. The 512’s higher price reflects its quality, and it’s important to note that EOTech is famous for their generous and speedy customer service (especially for manufacturing defects and repairs). Most firearm dealers will allow you to play around with a demo version of most optical sights, so you should always ask your dealer for a quick presentation. If the 512 is lacking some feature or detail, browse the entire EOTech catalogue, as they manufacture a wide range of optical sights to fit every need/role.