Best Pistol Red Dot Sights 2024: Top 8 Handgun Red Dot Reviews

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Pistol red dots - pricey.

Affordable alternatives - likely to disappoint.

To minimize buyer's remorse, I set a criteria of the best pistol red dot sights to include different footprints, features, and price points.

I've also included our field-tested pistol sights to check out the illumination, ease of mounting, and value.

At the end of the day, you should know exactly what you're getting.

Top Red Dot Sights for Pistols

Trijicon RMR Type 2

Trijicon RMR Type 2 (6.5 MOA)

Suitable for professional use

Auto brightness

Ultra durable and accurate

Burris Fastfire 3

Burris FastFire III (8 MOA)

Top-loading battery

Ideal for close-range use

Waterproof and shockproof

Bushnell RXS-100 RDS

Bushnell RXS-100 (4 MOA)

Side-loading battery

Auto-off feature

Dual mount

Why Trust Us?

After hundreds of hours of hand-testing red dot sights in the field and at the range, and thousands more hours researching and writing about them, we feel we earn the title of experts when it comes to optics!

We purchase as many of the optics for our tests as possible, and run them through their paces to make sure they will perform at the range and in the field.

Our combined decades of experience from target acquisition and hunting, to big game hunting and competitions has been integral in putting together this round-up of the best pistol red dot sights.

Get the inside scoop on how we test optics here.

Why put a red dot on a handgun?  Why not?

  • Easy, simple to use
  • Affordable
  • Micro-sized
  • Improves accuracy
  • Increases first shot advantage rate
  • Rapid target acquisition

Competition pistol shooters have been using red dots for years for the speed and accuracy benefits. For target shooting, a larger red dot with a smaller dot size can offer versatility at range. 

For home defense and law enforcement, the best red dots can provide an advantage in CQ engagements. 

TT Pistol Focal Planes RDS VS Irons
Focal planes of RDS mounted pistol slide (top) VS iron sights (bottom)

The superimposed dot of a RDS provides for a single focal plane that eliminates the need to focus the three focal planes of traditional iron sights: the front and rear sights and the physical threat/target. By using a dot that overlays on the threat/target, the shooter can remain target focused. 

Pistol irons vs pistol rds
Pistol irons (left) VS Pistol RDS (right)

With measurable results and many benefits to be gained, red dots can make all the difference when speed and first shot advantage means self-preservation and 1st place in a match.

To see which red dots are best for duty use on your pistol or what will be fun to play around with at the range, here's my lineup!

8 Best Pistol Red Dot Sights

tt-table__imageTrijicon RMR Type 2
  • Footprint: Trijicon RMR
  • Dot Size: 6.5 MOA
  • Price Range: Under $500
tt-table__imageVortex Venom 6 MOA
  • Footprint: Docter/Noblex
  • Dot Size: 6 MOA
  • Price Range: Under $250
tt-table__imageBurris FastFire 3
  • Footprint: Docter/Noblex
  • Dot Size: 8 MOA
  • Price Range: Under $300
tt-table__imageHolosun HS507C X2
  • Footprint: Trijicon RMR
  • Dot Size: 2 MOA
  • Price Range: Under $350
tt-table__imageLeupold DeltaPoint PRO
  • Footprint: Shield RMS/SMS
  • Dot Size: 7.5 MOA
  • Price Range: Under $500
tt-table__imageSig Sauer Romeo 1
  • Footprint: Unique
  • Dot Size: 3 MOA
  • Price Range: Under $300
tt-table__imageAde Advanced Micro Mini
  • Footprint: Docter/Noblex
  • Dot Size: 6 MOA
  • Price Range: Under $100
tt-table__imageBushnell RXS-100
  • Footprint: Shield RMS/SMS
  • Dot Size: 4 MOA
  • Price Range: Under $100

1. Trijicon RMR Type 2 6.5 MOA - Best for Duty Pistol

Trijicon RMR battery compartment and racking the slide with the RMR
Trijicon RMR bottom-loading battery compartment (top right) Racking the slide with the RMR (bottom right) - Image Credit: Trijicon

The RMR (Ruggedized Miniature Reflex) is a famous red dot that has been put through its paces with law enforcement and civilians alike.  With its proven tactical background, I recommend it for professional applications or if you simply want the best.


  • Auto brightness
  • LED red dot
  • 6.5 MOA dot
  • Professional use
  • Durable


  • Bottom-loading battery compartment
  • Price

Even though the cost is a downside, I'm defending the price tag. Trijicons are expensive and for good reason. With professional use in mind, one must demand durability, ruggedness, and accuracy, and the RMR delivers.

The Firearm Blog front rear and side profiles of the Trijicon RMR
Trijicon RMR front, rear and side profiles - Image Credit: TFB

But I will point out a legitimate flaw - a bottom loading battery compartment. Today, that should be considered archaic. Its only grace: battery life can be stretched out to 5 years.

The 6.5 MOA dot is LED powered with a CR2032 battery. I like that the non-dual illuminated RMR is daylight bright, and of course, has auto brightness. But I really like that you can override the auto setting for manual control of the 8 intensities, 2 of which are NV compatible.

Made with forged aluminum with a patented housing shape and upgraded electronics, the RMR Type 2 LED red dot sight is built to take abuse.  The unique housing has pointed "owl ears" that works to direct shock and vibrations away from the lens. 

Trijicon RMR in action
Image Credit: Trijicon

It's so tough that a study showed it had no failures after 13,200 rounds with "drop tests" after every 500 rounds on a Glock 17.

To quote a loyal Trijicon buyer, this red dot is "small but mighty."  I couldn't have said it better myself!

Available at: Optics Planet (use code TTAMERS for 5% off at Optics Planet)

2. Vortex Venom 6 MOA - Best Under $250

Vortex Venom mounted to Sig P320
Image by Tina Fa'apoi (Own Work) for Target Tamers

The Venom has a wide window that offers a no-obstruction display.  What does this mean for you?  With nothing in the way, getting on target will be clearer and faster than ever.


  • Price
  • 6 MOA dot
  • Auto brightness
  • 10 manual brightness
  • Top-loading battery


  • Battery fit issues

There are some Venom models that come with battery contact or battery fit problems that are completely covered under Vortex's unparalleled VIP warranty - if yours gives you grief. But read my hands-on Vortex Venom review first and make sure you are putting the battery cap back on right before you send it back!

The 6 MOA dot is popular for short range and fast target acquisition. I think it would be a good size for target shooting, competition, duty/patrol, and home defense.

I appreciate that it has auto brightness but you can also manually control the illumination which I prefer. There are 10 brightness settings to take advantage of.  Keep it low, and you could have up to 3,000 hours of use from the single CR1632 battery.

In my opinion, 3,000 hours of battery runtime is weak for a duty red dot considering the long-lasting alternatives available. But, I will give it to the Venom that it has a top-loading battery compartment.

I really like that a pic rail mount is included in the box. With that, you can mount it to rail-mounted pistol - no dealing with adapter plates or bad slide fits!

Available at: Amazon and Optics Planet (use code TTAMERS for 5% off at Optics Planet)

3. Burris FastFire 3 8 MOA - Best for the Money

Burris FastFire 3 red dot sight

We've listed the FastFire 3 before in our Best Red Dot Sights lineup, but that was with the 3 MOA dot.  Versatile - yes, but this model has the 8 MOA dot to make target acquisition even faster when things get hairy in tight-knit spaces. I also took it to the field for a hands-on critique.


  • Price
  • Auto brightness
  • Top-loading battery
  • Short range
  • Waterproof


  • Battery contact/compartment issues
Burris FF3 battery compartment
Showing the CR1632 battery, O-ring sealed battery cap, and included flat-head tool

There's been complaint about battery connectivity and consequently illumination problems. Some have fixed the issue themselves and others have turned to Burris' Forever Warranty for repair or replacement.  Fortunately, it's a covered defect that doesn't seem to be the norm. I, myself, dealt with the cap being difficult to thread in.

I love the top-loading battery compartment for the CR 1632. I was surprised by how much smaller it is than I thought it would be with its 1.9" length and .9 oz weight - talk about miniature.

Burris FF3 Sensor VS Low illumination
Sensor VS manual low illumination in lowlight conditions

With auto brightness, it has a sensor that adjusts the illumination of the dot for ambient light conditions. I've always been one to want to control things myself - not a control freak! But, the auto brightness is actually very effective and won me over. Besides, manual illumination is severely limited to 3 intensities anyway.

Burris FastFire 3 durability
Racking the slide with the FF3 (left) & water-testing it (right)

I found the 8 MOA dot to be so easy (you can't miss it) to make rapid shots. It's big, don't get me wrong, but I'm not shooting at distance as this is a carry firearm for self-defense for close-range.

Made to be waterproof and shockproof, the FastFire 3 has all the hallmarks of a good buy: build quality, top-loading battery, compact and lightweight size, and it's low price.

For a direct comparison between this Burris red dot sight and the Leupold Deltapoint Pro which also features in this roundup, check out our Leupold Deltapoint Pro VS Burris Fastfire 3 comparison here. You can also check out our Burris Fastfire 3 and Vortex Venom comparison here.

Available at: Amazon and Optics Planet (use code TTAMERS for 5% off at Optics Planet)

4. Holosun HS507C X2 – Best Shake Awake Red Dot for Pistol

Holosun HS507C X2 mounted to FN pistol
Holosun HS507C X2 mounted to FN pistol - Image Credit: ePIG-Group

Holosun is well known for Shake Awake. Their red dots rank high for the battery conservation and motion sensor feature. With the RMR footprint, it’s an affordable alternative to the Trijicon RMR. Though there are legitimate differences, the HS507C X2 offers more than just a low price point.


  • Lock Mode
  • Multiple reticles
  • Dual power source
  • Compact/lightweight
  • Ultra-long battery life


  • Quality control

There is no manufacturer that is immune to having bad optics make it off the conveyor belt. This is the case with the HS507C with various complaints about easy-to-mar finishes to reticle problems. Though the finish isn’t covered under the warranty, defective reticles are.

Holosun HS507C X2
Turrets, solar panel & battery compartment (left) Control buttons (right) - Image Credit: ePIG-Group

The X2 red dot saw two upgrades: Lock Mode and lower button placement. Lock Mode is a feature that carries over from their LE models to prevent unintentional setting changes – I really like this! The side buttons have moved lower to get them out of the way.

But what everyone mostly likes, including me, about the Holosun RDS is the Shake Awake and the ultra-long 50,000-hour battery runtime. That’s a heck of a long time to run it and with the Solar Fail Safe feature, you’ll never be without an aiming point.

Holosun HS507C X2 weapon mounted and in action
Holosun HS507C X2 mounted and in action - Image Credit: ePIG-Group

I think it’s additional features like the two NV-compatible settings, auto and manual brightness, side button control, and side-loading battery compartment adds value and streamlines the user experience.

From my hands-on experience with Holosun red dots, they do a good job of stuffing in practical, high-end features for the money. The multiple reticles are a personal favorite feature. The 2 MOA dot and 32 MOA ring, though small, works well for a pistol red dot.

Available at: Amazon and Optics Planet (use code TTAMERS for 5% off at Optics Planet)

5. Leupold DeltaPoint Pro - Best for Glock

Leupold DeltaPoint Pro Hands On Review

The DeltaPoint Pro has been put through its paces in our field test and passed with flying colors.  Not only is it an exceptional red dot for pistols, it's one of the top choice red dots for Glocks.


  • Price
  • Durable
  • 2.5 MOA Dot
  • Motion Sensor Tech (MST)
  • Fog/waterproof


  • Button control location
  • Counterfeits

Bad news first. There are counterfeit Leupold red dots.  Buy from a reputable vendor. Make sure it's not shipped from China. Confirm the individual serial number with Leupold.

The only real downside I found to the DeltaPoint Pro itself is the button location. It's located right in front of the display blocking the view of the dot while I adjusted brightness. I think a better place would be on the side and out of the way.

Button control on the DeltaPoint Pro

The Leupold red dot is on the pricier end, but you're paying for quality.  It has all the usual fixings such as being fog and waterproof, Punisher tested, aluminum housing, and has military standard scratch-resistant lenses.

Tina using the Leupold Delta Point Pro

It also has MST to help conserve battery life and yet still provide an instantly ready dot for whenever you need it - extremely convenient feature for law enforcement and for me while field-testing it. A top-loading battery compartment is always a nifty feature.

Inside Leupold DPP battery compartment

This particular model is super durable, so rugged that according to this study it survived without failure for more than 14,000 rounds on a Glock 17 while being "drop tested" every 500 rounds. That's what you buy when you buy Leupold - grueling toughness without compromise on accuracy.

Available at: Amazon and Optics Planet (use code TTAMERS for 5% off at Optics Planet)

6. Sig Sauer Romeo1 - Best Under $300

Sig Sauer Romeo 1 red dot
Image Credit: Sig Sauer

Everyone has a Sig pistol, and as everyone has figured out, Sig makes things hard to put a non-Sig red dot on there. For the money, the Romeo 1 is cheaper than the newer Romeo 1 Pro, but their footprints are very different. If you have an older Sig slide, the Romeo 1 may just fit.


  • 3 MOA dot
  • IPX7 rated
  • Top-loading battery
  • Motion Activation
  • CNC magnesium housing


  • Battery problems/quality control issues
Romeo 1 in action
Romeo 1 in action - Image Credit: Sig Sauer

Due to perhaps compartment and fitting issues, you may have problems with battery life and inadvertent power off. This is a defect that Sig should address with their Infinite Guarantee.

With a 3 MOA dot, you still have the benefit of rapid dot-on-target acquisition for close range work, but I guarantee you also have a little more range with a little more precision. 

Romeo 1 mounted profiles
Mounted profiles of the Sig Sauer Romeo 1 - Image Credit: Sig Sauer

I am a fan of top-loading battery compartments which the Romeo has. Even though it's not what I call long-lasting, 5,000 hours from the CR1632 battery is still pretty long. It's about standard for what you can expect from a FastFire 3 or the Bushnell RXS-100.

I like the Motion Activated Illumination (MOTAC) feature - who doesn't? It'll help save some of that poor runtime for when you really need it! With 10 illumination intensities, there's plenty of coverage for the conditions and your personal preference.

I recommend the Sig Sauer Romeo 1 for range work, hunting, competition, and on a carry pistol as well. To have a rugged, compact, motion activated, and multi-purpose 3 MOA dot in one package, it has and retains value - especially if it's the only optic you can put on your slide.

Sig Sauer Romeo 1 Pro and Romeo 1 cut
Romeo 1 Pro footprint & cut (left) VS Romeo 1 footprint & cut (right) - Image Credit: Sig Sauer

But, if you have a newer slide, it's most likely cut for the Romeo 1 Pro, and it costs more. By the way, it has a DPP footprint. You can tell the difference because the Romeo 1 has a straight cut for the dovetail slide-in with a wider width for the 6-48 mounting screws. Whereas the Romeo 1 Pro has a curved top cut with a narrower width for the M4 mounting screws.

Available at: Sig Sauer, Amazon and Optics Planet (use code TTAMERS for 5% off at Optics Planet)

7. Ade Advanced Micro Mini RD3-012 - Best for Rimfire Pistol

ADE RD3 012 pistol mounted
Image Credit: ADE (Amazon)

New to red dots?  Looking for a better than average red dot under 100 bucks? Searching for something with a Leupold DPP footprint but that doesn't break the bank? You've found it. The Ade Advanced Micro Mini is the affordable alternative to the DPP.


  • Price
  • 6 MOA dot
  • Low profile
  • Aluminum housing
  • Top-loading battery


  • Battery confusion
ADE Advanced Micro front profiles
ADE RD3-012 Advanced Micro front profiles - Image Credit: ADE (Amazon)

The ADE RD3-012 is a solid red dot. For the money, the price is somewhat synonymous with crap, but it's exactly what people want to spend when they want affordable without being "cheap" - know what I mean?

Right off the bat, I can already tell it'll make an excellent red dot for a rimfire pistol, but it's also popular for the 9mm. The aluminum housing will stand up to reasonable abuse just like any other red dot is expected to.

ADE Advanced Micro footprint and rear side profile
ADE Advanced Micro base (left) and rear side view of battery compartment, locks and turrets (right) - Image Credit: ADE (Amazon)

Few sources say the RD3-012 takes a AA battery - wrong! I can tell you it takes a CR2032 battery. The top-loading battery compartment features a round cap, and you even get a spare cap and gasket included in the buy.

The 6 MOA dot has an adjustable brightness setting, it's lightweight and compact, and it's simple to use.  It's durable for field use with its shock, fog, and waterproof build.  All in all, I recommend the ADE Micro Mini as an excellent value buy for rimfire pistols and handguns.

Available at: Amazon

8. Bushnell RXS-100 – Best Budget

Bushnell RXS 100 pistol mounted
Pistol mounted Bushnell RXS-100 - Image Credit: Bushnell

Overall, the Bushnell RX-100 is a pistol red dot sight with the same footprint as the Leupoold DeltaPoint Pro. But it’s an affordable alternative to the DPP, Sig Sauer Romeo 1 Pro, and Shield RMS. Though it’s not a high-end RDS, it fulfills must-have requirements of a pistol sight.


  • 4 MOA dot
  • Side-loading battery
  • Auto-off
  • Dual mount
  • Lightweight


  • No co-witness

The RX-100 is unlikely to co-witness with sights. I think it’s similar to the field-tested DPP in size, and the DPP didn’t co-witness with the VTAC sights I had. Suppressor height sights tall enough cost about as much or more as the sight does itself, so it’s something to consider if you must run with a co-witness.

I like the 4 MOA dot size as it’s basically an all-purpose dot size in my opinion. There are eight brightness settings, buttons on the left side, and everything is intuitive and simple to use. I really like the side buttons versus the DPP’s single button that blocks the view when you use it.

Bushnell RXS 100 whats in the box
Image Credit: Bushnell

It has an aluminum frame, coatings on the glass, and 1 MOA adjustments – all standard features. Though not fantastic for an RDS these days, the 5,000-hour battery life is still good. With auto-off after 12 hours of the last button press, I’m not going to harp on the runtime. The side-loading battery compartment is a bonus given its low price point. Speaking of cost, it begs the question of where are the shortcomings?

Though it’s compact at 1.9” and lightweight at 1.4 oz, the build quality is one of the most consistent complaints. From the dot not working to the lens falling out – there’s question about its integrity.

For the money, at least the RXS is backed by the Ironclad Warranty for a period of 5 years, so a replacement will be sent out if there are issues.  

Available at: Bushnell, Amazon and Optics Planet (use code TTAMERS for 5% off at Optics Planet)

What to Look for in a Red Dot Sight for Your Handgun

Shooting Handgun with Red Dot Sight Mounted

On the surface, all red dot sights work the same: they use a dot reticle as an aiming point to get on target. Here are some comparisons to understand before you pull the trigger on your pistol red dot.  Depending on your needs for the application, some features may be more important than others.

Features to Consider When Choosing a Pistol Red Dot


Sig Sauer pistol red dot sights
Image Credit: Sig Sauer

Red dot sights are generally affordable optics, but you can spend top dollar with brands like Trijicon, Aimpoint, and EOTech. These brands often hold the standard of quality in the industry and they will cost more. This price range of $400+ may be suitable to law enforcement, competitors, and some home defense civilians.

The most recognizable high-end red dot brands include:

  • Aimpoint
  • EOTech
  • Shield
  • Trijicon

Mid-range red dots are often a compromise for most in the market looking for the best price with high-end features.  These can range between $200-$400.  Everyone from cops to hunters will find a suitable red dot in at this price point. A popular option is the Holosun HS507C X2 red dot sight which falls into the above price category.

Popular mid-range to high-end red dot brands include:

  • Burris
  • Crimson Trace
  • Holosun
  • Leupold
  • Sig Sauer
  • Swampfox
  • Vortex

Cheaper red dots from $30-$200 will vary in quality between manufacturers.  Some may tout various features but can't deliver on the execution of them.  Red dots under $100 are usually only best for plinking, recreational shooting, and target shooting at the range.

Popular entry-level red dot brands include:

  • ADE
  • Bushnell
  • CVLife
  • Feyachi
  • MidTen
  • Monstrum
  • Pinty
  • Sightmark
  • Tasco
ProductPrice Range
Trijicon RMR Type 2Under $500
Vortex VenomUnder $250
Burris FastFire 3Under $300
Holosun HS507C X2Under $350
Leupold DeltaPoint ProUnder $500
Sig Sauer Romeo 1Under $300
ADE Advanced Micro MiniUnder $100
Bushnell RXS-100Under $100
Pistol Red Dot Sight Cost Comparison

Dot Size

Red dots with 1-2 MOA may be too small and harder to quickly detect in fast-paced situations, however, they are good for precision and accuracy at longer distances.

The Leupold DeltaPoint Pro pictured above has a 2.5 MOA dot

3-4 MOA dot sizes can be considered mid-size, all-purpose dots.  The size provides versatility in various situations, and they make for good short to mid-range distance red dots.

5 MOA and larger dots are designed for speed - instant target acquisition.  They should be highly visible, fast to detect, and ready to use as soon as you can get your eyes on it. Those with poorer eyesight may want a larger dot for easier seeing.

Large MOA dots specialize in close-range work as they obscure targets at long distances.  However, for close-range work with a pistol, large dots are what's in demand.

ProductDot Size  
Trijicon RMR Type 26.5 MOA
Vortex Venom6 MOA
Burris FastFire 38 MOA
Holosun HS507C X22 MOA & 32 MOA circle
Leupold DeltaPoint Pro2.5 MOA
Sig Sauer Romeo 13 MOA
ADE Advanced Micro Mini6 MOA
Bushnell RXS-1004 MOA
Pistol Red Dot Sight Dot Size Comparison

Dot Brightness

Red dot in daylight VS low light
2 MOA dot in daylight conditions (left) VS in dark conditions (right)

Dot brightness isn't just so you can see it, it also affects how crisp and clear the dot is.  Very dim dots can appear soft around the edges making it harder to detect, and dots that are too bright for the conditions can appear distorted. 

Apart from reticle quality, you can cater for brightness with automatic or manual settings. Automatic brightness can help to conserve battery life, and it can be convenient for shooters who are using their red dot in changing conditions.  A sensor detects ambient light and automatically adjusts dot brightness to the most appropriate setting so it's always visible.

Manual brightness, while perhaps considered a basic feature, it's usually preferred over auto brightness.  You can manually set the brightness to suit your preferences for the conditions.  Not everyone sees dot color and brightness the same way, so being able to control this feature is a must-have.  Standard red dots usually come with at least 5 settings with 10-12 on the high end.

Night vision compatible settings are very dim and sometimes undetectable by the human eye until the red dot is paired with a night vision device.  Not all red dots offer NV compatible illumination.

ProductDaylight IlluminationNV CompatibleAuto or Manual Modes
Trijicon RMR Type 28 settingsYes – 2 settingsAuto & Manual
Vortex Venom10 settingsNoAuto & Manual
Burris FastFire 33 settingsNoAuto & Manual
Holosun HS507C X210 settingsYes – 2 settingsAuto & Manual
Leupold DeltaPoint Pro8 settingsNoManual
Sig Sauer Romeo 110 settingsNoManual
ADE Advanced Micro Mini6 settingsNoManual
Bushnell RXS-1008 settingsNoManual
Pistol Red Dot Sight Illumination, NV Compatibility & Illumination Mode Comparisons


Side views of the Leupold DeltaPoint Pro
Side profiles of the compact Leupold DeltaPoint Pro

Red dot sights for handguns should be compact and lightweight, and most are even though they vary in size.

In the past, red dots inhibited holster use and this actually spurred a movement to make custom holsters. These days, they can be so small that they can be mounted to a concealed carry pistol or large enough for full-size duty weapons all while fitting comfortably in a cut holster like our tried-and-tested holsters from We The People holsters.

Many handgun red dot sights are no longer than 2" and generally no heavier than 1.5 oz.  Larger red dots used on larger AR-style pistols are usually 2" long and around 3-5 ounces.

Trijicon RMR Type 21.8 x 1.2 x 1 inches1.17 oz
Vortex Venom1.9 (L) inches1.1 oz
Burris FastFire 31.9 (L) inches1.5 oz
Holosun HS507C X21.78 x 1.15 x 1.15 inches1.5 oz
Leupold DeltaPoint Pro1.8 x 1.3 x 0.5 inches2.0 oz
Sig Sauer Romeo 11.76 x 1.29 x 1.07 inches0.8 oz
ADE Advanced Micro Mini1.75 x 1.25 x 1.15 inches1.6 oz
Bushnell RXS-1001.8 (L) inches1.3 oz
Pistol Red Dot Sight Size & Weight Comparisons

Battery Location

I'm a huge fan of top and side-loading battery compartments, and many red dot sight manufacturers are catching on to the convenience of this feature.  The good?  It's easy to replace the battery and it doesn't affect your zero.  The bad?  Many battery compartments have issues with the battery fitting correctly and/or battery contact.  Springs and caps can come loose during fire, and this can cause the red dot to fail when you need it most.

Inside Leupold DPP battery compartment
The Leupold DeltaPoint Pro pictured above has a top-loading battery compartment

Battery location on the bottom of sight can be a tedious inconvenience since you'll have to unmount it from the pistol to change out the battery.  But, you have the assurance that it's not going to spring out of place during fire.  Unmounting the red dot to change the battery also forces you to have to re-zero.  Fortunately, some red dots have extremely long battery runtimes that can last years before you need to replace it.

ProductBattery Location   
Trijicon RMR Type 2Bottom loading
Vortex VenomTop loading
Burris FastFire 3Top loading
Holosun HS507C X2Side loading
Leupold DeltaPoint ProTop loading
Sig Sauer Romeo 1Top loading
ADE Advanced Micro MiniTop loading
Bushnell RXS-100Side loading
Pistol Red Dot Sight Battery Compartment Comparison

Battery Life

Bottom loading battery compartments of Trijicon RMRcc
Bottom-loading battery compartments of Trijicon RMRcc - Image Credit: Trijicon

Battery life varies quite significantly.  Most red dots for pistols will take a CR1632 or CR2032 battery.  The coin-cell battery type helps to shed down weight as traditional batteries take up more space and add weight.

Some red dots will offer 600+ hours while others can reach maximum battery life of 20,000-50,000 hours.  However, to get extended battery life, it usually means you have to keep the red dot on a minimum brightness setting, actively use auto shut-off features, or be diligent about turning it off after use.

ProductBattery TypeBattery Life (Approx.)
Trijicon RMR Type 2CR20324+ years
Vortex VenomCR1632150-3,000 hours
Burris FastFire 3CR16325,000 hours
Holosun HS507C X2CR163250,000 hours
Leupold DeltaPoint ProCR2032300-1,600 hours
Sig Sauer Romeo 1CR16325,000 hours
ADE Advanced Micro MiniCR163270-720 hours
Bushnell RXS-100CR20325,000 hours
Pistol Red Dot Sight Battery Type & Battery Life Comparisons

A Future of Pistol Red Dots

Target Tamers Tina field testing Leupold DPP

Red dots are extremely efficient tools on a handgun, and they're only beginning to become a recognized optic for the pistol in professional applications.

But, like all optics, it takes some practice and training to become accustomed to using a red dot and even mastering it - including overcoming things like natural movement that can be more of a detriment than having the wrong dot size.  

Even so, red dots are easier and faster to use than traditional iron sights, and there will always be a future for red dots.

The win-win part about it is that you can also co-witness with your irons in case it ever fails on you.  As an electronic optic, red dot sights can fail, but I'm still a huge fan of them anyway - I'm never going back to being without.

Further Reading
Photo of author

Simon Cuthbert - Founder

Simon is an avid outdoor enthusiast and the founder of Target Tamers. He is passionate about bringing you the most up to date, accurate & understandable information on sports optics of all kinds and for all applications. Simon has contributed to notable publications online and teaches beginners the technical side of optics through his extensive library of optics guides.

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