Red Dot Sights Comparisons and Reviews
Used on weapons of all sorts the red dot sight has gained a wide following in the last 10-15 years. Hunters and recreational shooters along with military and law enforcement personnel have all found good use for these optics which are also known as reflector or reflex sights. These units all project a dot onto the devices lens which is specially coated to reflect a certain color usually red and this reflection is what you are seeing when the red dot appears, this special coating is also why these sights often appear to have a slight tint in color when compared to traditional rifle scopes.
Most red dot sights have little or no magnification, which makes them ideal for quick shooting at close ranges. Also, red dot scopes are usually more compact and lightweight than traditional style scopes. Finally, most red dot sights have non critical eye relief meaning that your eye doesn’t need to be exactly so many inches away from the optic to get a sight picture.
The main disadvantage of red dots sights are that most all models require some type of battery to operate the reticle, and those units that don’t require a battery are often very expensive. The other disadvantage of the red dot scope is that the same no or low magnification and large aiming dots that make them ideal for close shots start to hinder their performance on more distant shots.
Below we have grouped red dot sights into categories for quick comparisons of similar style models. The following groups are Rifle Scope Spy's own designation for comparison purposes. If it has a tube and two lenses we call it a red dot scope, if it is open and has one lens we call it a sight. We currently have three categories: Compact Sights, Scopes, Compact Scopes. Again note these are our own terms and probably won’t mean much outside this website.
Red Dot Sight Comparisons
| Trijicon RMR|
Razor Red Dot
|Price||$119||$219||$399- $449||$399 - $549||$479|
|Dot Size||5 MOA|| 3 MOA|
| 3.5 MOA|
7.5 MOA triangle
| 7 MOA|
12.9 MOA triangle
| 3 MOA|
*Weights of the above models are without mounts, including mounts they should weigh in the 2oz - 3oz range.
Red Dot Sight Reviews
These are incredibly small lightweight high end red dot sights. These are often favored by semi-automatic pistol shooters who with the correct mount can replace the rear sight of their pistol with these compact sights. AR-15 shooters also favor with these ultra small sights for mounting on top of a more traditional or higher magnification scope allowing shooters to use the red dot sight for close targets and their main scope for more distant shots.
Bushnell First Strike - The First Strike is Bushnell's entry into this red dot category and is one of the more affordable options in this bunch. The First Strike is unique in that is has a self regulating brightness control and also has no on/off switch. The unit is shut off by covering in with an included dust cover. These sights use a 5 MOA sized reticle and run on one CR2032.
Burris Fastfire III - The Fastfire III is the latest version of the Fastfire red dot sight, and it appears that the Fastfire II will remain in the Burris line as well. The Fastfire III appears to be more user friendly than the previous versions. For example, the battery can now be change without removing the optic from the mount, and windage and elevation adjustments no longer require a special tool. The Burris Fastfire III comes with either a 3moa or 8moa dot reticle as opposed to the 4 moa dot reticle found on the Fastfire Il.
Leupold DeltaPoint – This is Leupold’s lightweight compact red dot sight which features automatic brightness control for the reticle. Leupold coats the lens on this unit with their DiamondCoat lens coating to help guard against scratching. The Leupold DeltaPoint also uses motion sensing technology so the unit automatically turns on when it is moved. Unlike most of its competitors the DeltaPoint housing in made out of magnesium instead of aluminum.
Trijicon RMR Dual Illuminated – While nearly identical in size and shape to the RMR LED models, the Dual Illuminated version is sold in four different reticle options, three dot reticle options: 7 moa, 9moa, and 13moa, and one triangle reticle a 12.9 moa. However, unlike the RMR LED versions these reticles are amber in color instead of red. The Dual illuminated version uses tritium and fiber optics to power these reticles so does not require a battery like the LED versions.
Vortex Razor Red Dot – Vortex has entered into the compact red dot sight market with their Razor Red Dot line. This sight is offered with either a 3 moa or 6 moa size dot, and features an easy access slide out battery tray for changing its CR2032 battery without having to remove the unit from the weapon. The Vortex Razor Red Dot features the Vortex ArmorTek lens coating to protect its optics from scratching, and comes with a low height Picatinny mount.
Red Dot Scopes
|Dot Size||5 MOA||4 MOA||5 MOA||2 MOA||14.4 MOA (triangle)|
|Battery||2x LR44||CR2||CR2032||DL 1/3N||2 1/3N|
Red Dot Scope Reviews
This is the group of optics that comes to mind for many people when they hear red dot scope. These scopes are often found mounted on carbines and other short range tactical weapons, although they are effective for hunting in thick cover as well. Many AR-15 type shooters prefer this style of scope with a swiveling magnifier behind the unit. This configuration allows the unit to be used normally for close shots but when more power is needed the magnifier can be flipped into place behind the red dot sight allowing for longer distance shooting.
Sightmark Tactical Red Dot – The Sightmark Tactical features a 5 moa dot and has 5 different brightness settings. This Sightmark red dot has an aluminum housing and comes with a black hard anodized finish. This scope uses a pair of LR44 batteries and has a listed runtime of 50 hours. Currently selling for around $70, this is on of the more affordable options in this category of red dot optics.
Vortex Strikefire – The Strikefire is available in two different models, a red dot version and a red/green dot version which you can choose either a red or green dot for your reticle. Both Vortex Strikefire models feature a 4 moa dot reticles and make adjustments in 1/2 moa. This unit also comes with a screw in 2x magnifier to increase the magnification for longer distance shooting.
Burris XTS – Like many other of the red dots scopes in this class, the Burris XTS enjoys the simplicity and versatility of being able to use a 30mm ring as its mounting system, which opens the door for easily finding the right height and style of ring for your mounting preference. The Burris XTS features a 5 moa red dot and makes windage and elevation adjustments in 1/3” increments.
Aimpoint Pro – Aimpoint actually has one of, if not the largest line ups of red dot sights on the market; however, their PRO (Partol Rifle Optic) probably represents the best value in the line. The PRO comes with a mount and features a 2 MOA dot reticle. What is probably most impressive about this optic is that it has a 30,000 hour battery life, which means that you can turn the optic on and leave it for that way for years. Being able to leave the optic on elimates the worry of having to turn an optic "on" in a high stress situation.
Trijicon TriPower – This unit features a 14.4 MOA red Chevron which is basically an upside down V, the idea with this or other triangle style reticles is that you can use the whole reticle for quickly acquiring targets at close range and then use the tip of the triangle for precision shots at longer distances. What makes this Trijicon different from the other models is that its reticle has three power sources, fiber optics for daytime illumination, tritium for low or no light illumination and battery power for back up illumination.
Compact Red Dot Scopes
|Model|| Bushnell Trophy|
| Sig Sauer|
Victory Z Point
|Dot Size||3 MOA||4 MOA||2 MOA||3.5 MOA||4 MOA|
Compact Red Dot Scopes Reviews
These compact red dot scopes are ideal for those looking for a compact fully enclosed red dot optic. Although not a huge market, these are extremely popular with AR-15 style pistol shooters and other firearms of that type. The compact red dot scope is also used by many handgun hunters and shooters, especially larger style handguns like magnum revolvers. These compact scopes also find there way onto a lot of short range pistol caliber carbines as well as full sized AR style rifles.
Bushnell Trophy Red Dot – The Bushnell Trophy features a 3 moa red dot and weighs less than four ounces. Windage and elevation adjustments are made in 1/2” clicks and the unit is powered by a CR2032 battery. At less than 2.5 inches the Bushnell Trophy red dot sight is quite compact and it sells for around $75 to $85 online, which makes it one of the more affordable options for a red dot scope.
Sig Sauer STS-081 – Those of you familiar with Sig Sauer firearms will probably recognize this sight as it appears on many of their product images on websites and in catalogs. It features a 4 moa dot and like the Nikon VSD has eleven reticle brightness settings. The Sig Sauer Red Dot sight comes with an anti reflective scope cover and a Weaver compatible mount.
Vortex SPARC – Any guesses on what SPARC stands for? If you said Speed Point Aiming for Rapid Combat you would have been right. (Don't feel bad we had no clue either). This compact red dot scope features a 2 moa red dot and makes windage and elevation adjustment in 1 moa increments. The Vortex SPARC like the Vortex Strikefire comes with a 2x magnifier for extending the effective range of this red dot scope. The SPARC is also compatible with the Vortex anti reflective lens cover to keep the sun from reflecting of the lens.
Zeiss Victory Z-Point – The Victory Z-Point is a unique red dot sight that seemed to fit best into this compact red dot scope category since it is enclosed and compact. The Z-Point has a solar panel on top of the unit to aid in battery life; however the unit does need a battery to run. The brightness of the red dot is automatically adjusted according to the light conditions, but the operator also has the option of manually adjusting the brightness setting. The Zeiss Victory Z-Point also features the Zeiss LotuTec coating to help keep water and debris off of the lenses.
Aimpoint T-1 – The T-1 comes with a 4 moa dot reticle and is a very small and compact unit that can be used on just about any type of firearm. This Aimpoint is has battery life of 50,000 hours and uses a CR2032 like most of the other compact red dot scopes in this category use. The Aimpoint T-1 is also waterproof to 25 meters and is compatible with night vision devices. Quick detachable mounts, and Glock pistols mounts are a few of the additional mounting options available for the T-1.
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