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Do you want a little magnification to see better up to 100 yards?
I think we can all answer yes to that.
So, I pulled together a list of the best red dot magnifiers to pair with your red dot. I included the ones I own and then I compare them all.
I’m personally looking for long eye relief, 3x or more magnification, low cost, ease of use, and more. I have a feeling you’re looking for the same things too.
15 Top Red Dot Magnifiers in 2023
1. Sig Sauer Romeo MSR & Juliet3-Micro Magnifier – Best Combo
The SIG Romeo red dot and Juliet magnifier are undoubtedly made to be together. I own it, use it daily, and recommend it as one of the most effective and affordable pairings for the AR-15.
- RDS & magnifier combo
- Flip-to-side mount
- 3x magnification
- Eye relief
The Romeo MSR is an excellent, cheap red dot sight and is one of my faves. Other than the stiff illumination knob, I have no qualms to air. The Juliet 3x Micro is one of my go-to magnifiers. I’ve used it with several other reflex red dots and a holographic sight.
It comes setup for a 1.41” height that’s perfect for Sig Romeo red dots for an absolute co-witness with irons. It comes with spacers to push it up for a lower 1/3 co-witness.
I really like the push-button flip-to-side mount that defaults to the right. I’ve mounted it to flip to the left before, but then the button faces the front.
I think the worst thing about it is the 2.5” eye relief. It feels more like 2”. I use it on a 5.56, and it’s perfect. I’d even say it’ll do alright on an AK too, but I really wouldn’t want to creep the stock with this because you're already nose-to-charging handle with it.
Overall, I highly recommend this SIG RDS and magnifier combo. It routinely goes on sale in the $200 price range, and I’d strongly urge picking it up if you want a red dot and magnifier in one buy!
2. Holosun HM3X – Best for AR-15
One of my favorite magnifiers to date is the Holosun HM3X, and I’m not the only one that considers it an excellent magnifier for the money. It’s dedicated to my Ruger AR-15 with my field-tested Holosun HS510 – a perfect pairing.
- 3x magnification
- Super clear glass
- QD lever mount
- Good eye relief
- No adjustment reference markings
The adjustments are exposed, and I did find myself looking for up and right arrows, but there are none. Since the adjustments move in very small increments, you might not notice the correct directions, but it’s pretty much right clicks for UP (elevation) and right clicks for RIGHT (windage).
I’m super happy with the clarity of the glass. Other than the very minor spherical aberration in the last, I’d say, 10% of the FOV, it’s crystal clear.
The eye relief is 2.75”, and it feels like it. It’s a markedly different experience to the Sig Juliet3-Micro, but the Juliet3 at least has compactness on its side compared to the 4” (approx.) length of the HM3X.
I really don’t have any legitimate drawbacks of the Holosun HM3X. The mount is great, ambidextrous, the eye relief is fantastic (for me), and I’d buy it again in a heartbeat.
3. EOTech G33 – Best for EOTech
The EOTech G33 has been around for a long time, and according to EOTech, it’s the “selected magnifier of USSOCOM.” For a magnifier that’s combat proven, it’s not only the perfect pairing for an EOTech holographic sight but perhaps all other red dots too.
- Battle tested
- 3x magnification
- QD locking mount
- Forward mount
As a magnifier that routinely costs over $500, it’s an expensive optic to consider. It makes sense to pair it with your EOTech HWS sight, like my field-tested EXPS3, but ironically, there are those that voice that it’s a fantastic pairing for Aimpoint red dots too – just saying.
One of my favorite features is the position of the mount. It’s all the way forward of the objective bell with no protrusions. What I mean by that is a part of the mount doesn’t get in the way of getting the objective lens of the magnifier as close to the eyepiece of the red dot sight.
The mount being far forward also allows the body of the magnifier to sit over the charging handle. This could bring it back just far enough so that you’re not creeping forward. Things still might get tight because the G33 has 2.2” of eye relief.
At the end of the day though, with cost and eye relief put to the side, the EOTech G33 remains a popular magnifier among the masses. It’s also my recommendation for optimal quality for professional applications like law enforcement.
4. UTG 3X – Best Budget
For the money, the UTG 3x is one of the cheapest magnifiers available. Made obvious by its ranking and popularity among the masses, it’s a magnifier worth buying if you’re on a budget.
- 3x magnification
- QD flip mount
- Wide FOV
- Requires tools
The tools that I’m referring to is the hex key that is included in the box. It’s used to make the adjustments to center the red dot within the center of the magnifier’s FOV. So, I consider it a bonus that a cheap magnifier has adjustments, and locking adjustments at that, just don’t lose that key or strip the screws!
Other than that, I’d say the glass is clear enough to be acceptable for what you pay for it. The field of view is provided as 45 feet at 100 yards, and this equates to something like 8.5 degrees which is certainly wider than most magnifiers.
The mount is a flip to side with a quick detach lever. There are some complaints about the quality of the mount, so it needs be said that you’ll need to spend more for a better upgrade.
By the way, its 42mm optical height is set up for lower 1/3 co-witness (1.63”) with red dot sights with a lower 1/3 mounting height.
For a magnifier under $100, the UTG 3x works, but I would recommend it as a temporary option until you can afford something better or for casual use like airsoft and recreational applications.
5. Vortex VMX-3T – Best 3X
The VMX-3T is one of Vortex’s best-selling magnifiers. With all the right features like FMC optics, push-button flip mount, and 3x magnification, it’s a solid optic to pair with a Vortex red dot.
- 3x magnification
- Push button flip mount
- Lower 1/3 co-witness
- Ideal for Vortex red dots
- Flips to the left
The VMX-3T mount flips to the left, which I’m sure a lot of left-handed people will really like. The downside? In my opinion, it’s definitely going to be in the way with red dot-only 1x magnification use with two eyes open.
Other than that, the Vortex magnifier is your run-of-the-mill magnifier with 3x magnification, push-button flip mount, and both elevation and windage adjustments. It’s not unlike the Sig Sauer Juliet3-Micro magnifier in cost and operation (save for the left flip position).
The VMX-3T magnifier is set at an optical height of 40 mm. It does come with a shim plate (spacer) to get that lower 1/3 co-witness if you’re running irons with your setup.
As a Vortex, you can expect clarity from the glass, quality mounting, and a nitrogen-purged and waterproof housing. I think one of its best selling points is the VIP warranty. You shouldn’t need it with the VMX-3T magnifier, but just in case, the warranty makes things feel a whole lot better.
6. Sig Sauer Juliet4 – Best 4X
Straying from the norm of 3x magnifiers, the Juliet4 delivers 4x magnification. Along with its PowerCam 90° mount, its dielectric coated prism, included shims, and IPX8 waterproofing rating, it stands to be a high-performing magnifier.
- PowerCam mount
- Dielectric optics
- Included shims
- Fog & waterproof
- Flip-up cap
- Eye relief
I really dislike the fact that Sig does not readily disclose magnifier eye relief specs – you must go digging for it. The Juliet4 has 2.5” of eye relief, and I’m certain it’ll perform similarly to my personal experience with the Juliet3-Micro – just okay but can be finicky as it feels more like 2” – very short. Alas, this is the hand dealt to most magnifiers.
What I really like about it is the PowerCam 90° mount. It takes up little room on the rail and is forward mounted so that it sits over the charging handle or clears flipped-down iron sights. Unlike the push-button mount on the Juliet3, it has a quick release lever which is convenient.
The Juliet4 is set up for a 1.41” height. However, it does come with two shim plates (spacers) to get a higher seating for your lower 1/3 co-witness red dots.
I enjoy having see-thru flip-up caps, but you will need to remove it to adjust the diopter upon first use. Fortunately, you shouldn’t really need to touch the diopter again.
Glass quality should be a non-issue as the prism has a dielectric coating. In short, it should be super clear to look through. Is the Juliet4 worth it? You’re paying extra for the 4x power, crisp glass, and improved mount quality, so I'd say yes.
Available at: Amazon
7. Sig Sauer Juliet5-Micro – Best 5X
Priced better than expected, if you want more power, the Sig Sauer Juliet5 may be the way to go. It’s new, compared to the Juliet3-Micro and the Juliet4, but I’m certain the Juliet5 will gain the attention it deserves.
- 5x magnification
- Ultra-compact & lightweight
- Dielectric optics
- Eye relief
I know I harp on eye relief quite a bit with magnifiers, but there’s no getting around the fact that it’s a big contributor to a negative magnifier experience. If you’re comfortable with 2” of eye relief, and can hold inside that eyebox on your rifle, all the more power to you. The Juliet5 has 2.3” of eye relief and could feel tighter than even the Juliet3 and Juliet4.
For a little bit of context, the Juliet5-Micro is the higher-powered twin to the Juliet3-Micro that I love. They have the same dielectric-coated high-performance optics, elevation and windage adjustments, and even the same compact 90° flip-to-side mount.
The difference with the Juliet5 is the 5x magnification, a narrower 4° FOV, and surprisingly a slightly more compact size and lighter weight – barely, not anything that makes a difference though.
Compared to the Juliet3, you’re really only paying more for the extra magnification. I’d recommend it if you want 5x power for extra seeing and possibly a bit more range.
8. Feyachi M36 1.5-5x – Best for Variable Magnification
I’m not aware of any variable power magnifiers from our well-known and established manufacturers. The only ones that I’ve seen with this feature are from small name manufacturers. With that said, the Feyachi M36 1.5-5x magnifier generates curiosity.
- Variable magnification
- Push-button flip mount
- Good glass
- Riser mount needed
- No diopter
The Feyachi M36 magnifier is set at an optical height for 37 mm. This can still be a hair too short to align with red dots on a mount set for an absolute co-witness. Instead of buying a new red dot, I think a variable height riser might be the best way to suss out alignment issues if you run into them.
So, I will dare to say that the highlight feature of the M36 is its 1.5-5x variable magnification. With 3.6-2.2” of eye relief, it’s not bad at all. I would say it’s going to be good up until around 3x to where it drops off to provide similar eye relief performance with fixed power magnifiers around the 2.5-2.2” range – tight.
Though reports say the glass is decent, I’m struggling with the fact that it lacks an adjustable eyepiece – a diopter. Another thing to look at is the magnifier flips to the left. The ring mount can be switched to flip to the right, but the push button will face the front instead of the rear. So, good for lefties out of the box.
Overall, the Feyachi M36 is a convenient magnifier given its variable power advantage. It’s not perfect, but it’s an option under $100 that could be a game changer.
Available at: Amazon
9. Monstrum Ghost 3x – Best for Long Eye Relief
The Monstrum Ghost is has Monstrum’s proprietary Helios3 glass prism optical system to provide 3x magnification, a crisp sight picture, and compactness. However, the best thing about it is the long eye relief.
- Long eye relief
- Flip to side mount
- Difficult to switch mount to right-side flip
Usually, you’re seeing a couple shortcuts with cheap magnifiers, but the Ghost has the foundational features to guarantee quality performance. I like the capped adjustments and the diopter.
Like most magnifiers, it has a flip-to-side mount, but it’s not quick release. Instead, it’s torqued down to the rail which can be a good thing – less moving parts and more secure mounting. It flips to the left, but if you want to go through the pains of separating it from the magnifier, you can switch it to flip right – at least the option is there.
The Ghost is IPX7 rated, it’s set-up for an absolute co-witness, and stated eye relief is different based on where you’re getting your information. It’s listed as either 3.8-3.5” or 6-5.5”. The latter would be incredible, but I’m conservative and would bet on the former spec. If it turns out to be the latter, all the better – but again, I highly doubt it.
For the money, I recommend the Monstrum Ghost 3x magnifier as one of the best for its price point under $100.
10. Bushnell Transition 3x – Best Ambidextrous Flip Mount
There are two things I really appreciate about the Bushnell Transition 3x magnifier: the 3.3” eye relief and the ambidextrous flip mount. Those two things alone give the Transition magnifier an advantage in a sea of competition.
- Decent eye relief
- True ambidextrous mount
- Easy to install
- Flip to side mount
- Clears rear sight
- Two-step flip process
The two-step flip process means that to flip the magnifier to the side in a 90° position, you must pull the magnifier towards the rear (towards you) and then flip. This is due to the spring pressure to keep the magnifier secure in its mounted position. It’s a quirk that I reckon I could probably get used to.
I like that the adjustments are capped, it has a fast-focus eyepiece, and decent eye relief of 3.3”. Though there may be complaints about eye relief, I say, welcome to the world of magnifiers. The Transition offers more relief than most.
It pairs with the TRS-25 but that would only be the AR Optics TRS-25 that comes with the Hi-Rise mount. My field-tested Trophy TRS-25 would not because it comes with the low-profile mount, so you’d need a riser to raise the red dot sight.
The real feature that attracts the attention is the ambidextrous mount. It’s a ring mount and I think it’s better that it doesn’t have a button. This allows you to switch the mount around so that it can flip either left or right.
In total, the Bushnell Transition 3x magnifier is a nifty magnifier for those that don’t want a button that faces the front. Glass is good, eye relief is better than most. What’s not to like?
11. Tacticon Falcon V1 3x – Best Under $100
Tacticon ramps up the quality standard by outfitting the Falcon V1 3x magnifier with a 30mm lens, 3 inches of eye relief, and a price point under $100. Those features put the Falcon V1 above alternatives in the same price range.
- 3” eye relief
- 30 mm lens
- Push button flip mount
- Flips to the left
Not everyone is going to like the flip-to-left mounting, but it’s the default position of the mount. It can be switched around to flip right, but the button will face the front.
Now, Tacticon made the front lens bigger by 6-10 mm compared to most other magnifier lens diameters. This gives the Falcon V1 3x magnifier an advantage in glass clarity and brightness, and the possibility to stay out just a tad longer in low light.
While unforgiving eye relief is a common complaint, Tacticon says they gave the Falcon 3”, however, I’ve seen it marketed everywhere else as 2.5”.
All else about the Falcon V1 is pretty standard. It has exposed adjustments, an adjustable eyepiece, but it also comes with a 7 mm shim plate and mounting screws.
As a budget magnifier, I’d say the Tacticon V1 3x magnifier is anything but budget. I think it sets the standard of what should be expected for this price range.
12. Beileshi 4x – Best Lightweight
The Beileshi magnifier offers something that most other budget magnifiers don’t – 4x magnification. With a ton of 3x magnifiers available, the Beileshi can deliver a little bit more performance for the money.
- 4x magnification
- Capped adjustments
- Two-step flip process
The Beileshi has a similar mounting process as the Bushnell Transition 3x magnifier. To put the magnifier back into alignment with the red dot, you must pull it back and flip it simultaneously. It’s the way it is, and I don’t think it should be difficult to get used to it.
I think the mount is solid for its price point and design. It’s not a push-button mount, so it’s truly ambidextrous for either left or right-handed users.
Optical quality will be just okay. This is still an optic under $100, so the clarity will be good for target shooting and recreational applications.
One of the most attractive advantages of the Beileshi magnifier is the ultra-light weight. It comes in at 8.1 oz which is definitely on the feather-light side of things for magnifiers.
Considering this budget magnifier also has a diopter, capped adjustments, and a 42 mm optical height, it’s set up to be a fully functional tool atop your AR-15.
Available at: Amazon
13. Sightmark T-3 – Best for 10/22
The Sightmark T-3 magnifier gets it done. Immediately, the standout feature is its quick release lever mount that is a refreshing change from the hex nut mounts on most magnifiers under $100.
- LQD mount
- FMC optics
- Good size
- Good FOV
- Eye relief
Honestly, the T-3 is perfect for an AR-15, and it’s recoil-rated up to a .308, but I also think it’s perfect for a 10/22 considering the 2.2” eye relief.
If you’re putting a red dot on your 22LR, why not add the Sightmark T3? I added a Monstrum pic rail to my Ruger 10/22 and one of my favorite rifles is the M&P 15/22, so the T-3 would be a welcome addition to my favorite range rifles.
While Sightmark might boast that it’s .8” shorter than alternatives, it’s still 4” long and can’t compete with a micro magnifier like Sig’s Juliet3 and Juliet5 mags. But it’s still slimmer than most others anyway.
The T-3 has a forward mounted mount that many will like so that the magnifier clears rear sights or hangs over the charging handle. But unseen in this price range is the locking quick detach lever feature. Especially convenient, it’s what first caught my eye.
Given that I favor its price point, mount, and 3x magnification, it’s easily a go-to on my 10/22 and 15/22 rifles.
14. AT3 Tactical RRDM 3x – Best for Bolt Action Rifles
It takes a lot for an optic to handle recoil, so it says a lot that the AT3 RRDM magnifier can handle sitting atop a shotgun or large caliber rifle. Just in case, it’s nice to know that it’s backed by the AT3 Lifetime Warranty.
- 2.4” eye relief
- Ambidextrous mount
- Rubber armor
- Lifetime warranty
- Two-step flip process
You can tell the RRDM 3x magnifier has been decked-out to handle abuse. I mean, look at it. It has a rubber shroud protecting the optical housing. That’s something you don’t see every day on a magnifier, though I should mention the Aimpoint 3X-C is rubber armored too.
Even though it can handle recoil, the downside is that it has 2.4” of eye relief, so no slug guns here. You'll need to be the judge of what the AT3 mag sits on.
The RRDM has that weird tug-to-flip it to the side. It has to do with the spring tension and locking mechanism of the mount, but it’s still something to get used to. Considering my mags just flip without the tug, it seems like an extra step.
It has capped adjustments, an adjustable eyepiece, and the mount provides tension to the rail via the hex/thumb screw. It’s ambidextrous, so it can flip to the left or right with no push button interfering with it.
All in all, the AT3 is a better than average 3x magnifier for the money (approx. $110) when comparing it with similar magnifiers in the $80-$100 price range.
15. Aimpoint 3X-C – Best for Aimpoint
There are a lot of magnifiers that are Aimpoint compatible. I mean, even the EOTech G33 does really good with Aimpoint red dots and some people even prefer that combination. But really, Aimpoint magnifiers are made for Aimpoint red dots. There’s no getting around that.
- Rubber armor
- Recessed objective lens
- Excellent glass
You might see that the Aimpoint 3X-C looks to be a good deal in the $350-ish price range, but that is the cost without the mount. With Aimpoint’s mount, you’re looking at a $800 approx. price tag. But, if you’re serious about having Aimpoint ruggedness and superb glass clarity, this is the price you need to pay – pun definitely intended.
I can see that the objective lens bell is threaded… but I don’t know what for. Considering you can use it as a 3x monocular, maybe it’s for a sunshade – not that I can find one for it. But the recessed lens should provide some anti-glare and lens protection benefits.
The 3X-C is tough – Aimpoint tough. Not that I can imagine throwing this thing in a pond, it’s submersible to 2 feet and has an extreme functioning range in temperatures of -31-131° F.
It does have similar eye relief to all other magnifiers of 2.2”. It has a good FOV of 6°, and everything else that I expect, such as dioptric adjustment, windage and elevation adjustments, and excellent glass, has been implemented.
A Guide to Choosing the Best Red Dot Magnifiers
In total, comparing magnifier cost, features, specifications, and warranties can influence the ultimate decision on which magnifier is best for the task and for the shooter. I compare these factors to provide better insight into each magnifier that I recommend.
On average, most quality magnifiers will fall in the $200-$400 price range. However, there are some better than average magnifiers under $100, but of course, some magnifiers can cost more than $500. Not all magnifiers come with a mount or spacers, so that should be considered in the overall cost.
|Product||Recognition Features||Price Range|
|Sig Sauer Romeo & Juliet 3-Micro Combo||Best Red Dot & Magnifier Combo||Under $300|
|Holosun HM3X||Best Magnifier for AR-15||Under $200|
|EOTech G33||Best Magnifier for EOTechs||Under $600|
|UTG 3X||Best Cheap Magnifier||Under $100|
|Vortex VMX-3T||Best 3x Magnifier||Under $200|
|Sig Sauer Juliet 4||Best 4x Magnifier||Under $400|
|Sig Sauer Juliet 5-Micro||Best 5x Magnifier||Under $250|
|Feyachi M36||Best Magnifier with Variable Magnification||Under $100|
|Monstrum Ghost||Best Magnifier with Long Eye Relief||Under $100|
|Bushnell Transition 3X||Best Magnifier with Ambidextrous Flip Mount||Under $180|
|Tacticon Falcon V1||Best Magnifier Under $100||Under $100|
|Beileshi||Best Lightweight & Compact Magnifier||Under $100|
|Sightmark T-3||Best for 10/22||Under $100|
|AT3 Tactical RRDM||Best Magnifier with Forward Mount||Under $150|
|Aimpoint 3X-C||Best Magnifier for Aimpoints||Under $400|
The configuration consists of the magnification and the objective lens size. Knowing the configuration can help to calculate other related optical specifications. Generally, the must-have information is the magnification. 3x is the fixed power standard while 4x, 5x, 6x, and 7x are less common.
Variable power magnifiers are not common, and I have not seen an authoritative manufacturer like EOTech, Aimpoint, Vortex, or Sig Sauer make one. From what I’ve observed, variable magnification magnifiers are an innovation by small-name manufacturers thus far.
|Sig Sauer Romeo & Juliet 3-Micro Combo||3x||22 mm|
|Holosun HM3X||3x||24 mm|
|EOTech G33||3x||22 mm|
|UTG 3X||3x||25 mm|
|Vortex VMX-3T||3x||Not disclosed|
|Sig Sauer Juliet 4||4x||24 mm|
|Sig Sauer Juliet 5-Micro||5x||24 mm|
|Feyachi M36||1.5-5x||21 mm|
|Monstrum Ghost||3x||20 mm|
|Bushnell Transition 3X||3x||24 mm|
|Tacticon Falcon V1||3x||30 mm|
|BeileshiMagnifier Magniic||4x||26 mm|
|Sightmark T-3||3x||23 mm|
|AT3 Tactical RRDM||3x||26 mm|
|Aimpoint 3X-C||3x||Not disclosed|
Diopter & Adjustments
A diopter is necessary as everyone’s visual acuity is different. It makes both the reticle and the sight picture clear and sharp. The elevation and windage adjustments do not affect the zero of the red dot sight. Instead, they are used to bring the reticle to the center of the magnifier’s FOV.
It should be noted that a diopter or adjustments aren’t always seen on entry-level magnifiers. This is something to look for when considering a cheap magnifier.
I sometimes wear glasses with red dot sights, but if I have a magnifier, I will remove my glasses and use the diopter to correct for my vision. Most magnifiers will only offer up -2 - +2 corrections, but this is likely not enough for everyone.
Another thing to note is that it could possibly help with astigmatic eyes and red dots. I know someone who says the dot clears right up for them behind a magnifier, and I suspect this has everything to do with looking through an optic with a prism. But it’s not always the case for everyone and it could distort the dot further.
|Sig Sauer Romeo & Juliet 3-Micro Combo||-2 - +2||Yes|
|Holosun HM3X||-3 - +3||Yes|
|EOTech G33||Yes - ND||Yes|
|UTG 3X||Yes - ND||Yes|
|Vortex VMX-3T||Yes - ND||Yes|
|Sig Sauer Juliet 4||-2 - +2||Yes|
|Sig Sauer Juliet 5-Micro||-2 - +2||Yes|
|Feyachi M36||No diopter||Yes|
|Monstrum Ghost||Yes - ND||Yes|
|Bushnell Transition 3X||Yes - ND||Yes|
|Tacticon Falcon V1||Yes - ND||Yes|
|Beileshi||Yes - ND||Yes|
|Sightmark T-3||-3 - +3||Yes|
|AT3 Tactical RRDM||Yes - ND||Yes|
|Aimpoint 3X-C||-2 - +2||Yes|
ND: Not disclosed
Eye Relief & FOV
In general, magnifiers are known for poor eye relief. They’re generally around 2-2.5 inches which can be unforgivable for those that wear glasses and for heavy caliber rifles and slug guns. The best eye relief specs are between 2.75-3.5 inches. However, eye relief tolerance is subjective.
|Product||Eye Relief||Field of View|
|Sig Sauer Romeo & Juliet 3-Micro Combo||2.5 inches||6.8°|
|EOTech G33||2.2 inches||7.3°|
|UTG 3X||2 inches||45 ft @ 100 yards|
|Vortex VMX-3T||2.2 inches||38.2 ft @ 100 yards|
|Sig Sauer Juliet 4||2.5 inches||6.25°|
|Sig Sauer Juliet 5-Micro||2.3 inches||4°|
|Feyachi M36||3.6-2.2 inches||7°|
|Monstrum Ghost||3.8-3.5 inches||7.5°*|
|Bushnell Transition 3X||3.3 inches||32 ft @ 100 yards|
|Tacticon Falcon V1||3 inches||38.2 ft @ 100 yards|
|Beileshi||3 inches||26 ft @ 100 yards|
|Sightmark T-3||2.25 inches||43.3 ft @ 100 yards|
|AT3 Tactical RRDM||2.4 inches||49 ft @ 100 yards|
|Aimpoint 3X-C||2.2 inches||6°|
Overall, flip-to-side mounts are the norm for a magnifier, and they’re incredibly convenient as they allow for rapid transition between 1x and magnification when it’s desired. However, mount quality and mount features are not universal between manufacturers.
Some have push buttons to allow the flip. These are great because without the push button, the magnifier isn’t going to unintentionally flip back or out. I will point out that most magnifiers without the push button generally have enough resistance that this is extremely unlikely to happen.
On that note, non-push button mounts are great too because it means they can be switched around and mounted to provide ambidextrous benefits. If the magnifier flips left, you can switch it around to flip right.
Many mounts will be what I call ‘direct to rail’ mounts, as in, they’re torqued down to create tension to the rail. Some will have a hex nut thumb screw that is finger-tightened and then rotated for another ¼ revolution (see the manual).
Then there is the coveted quick detach mount.
|Sig Sauer Romeo & Juliet 3-Micro Combo||Push button flip-to-side||Push button, spacers included, thumb screw mount|
|Holosun HM3X||Flip-to-side||Quick detach lever mount, ambidextrous, forward mounted|
|EOTech G33||Quick detach flip-to-side||Locking, quick detach mount, forward mounted|
|UTG 3X||Quick detach flip-to-side||Quick detach, forward mounted|
|Vortex VMX-3T||Push button flip-to-side||Push button, thumb screw mount, shim plate & mounting screws included, detachable from magnifier|
|Sig Sauer Juliet 4||Quick release flip-to-side||Quick release lever, shim plates included|
|Sig Sauer Juliet 5-Micro||Push button flip-to-side||Push button, spacers included, thumb screw mount|
|Feyachi M36||Push button flip-to-side||Flips to the left, Push button, thumb screw mount|
|Monstrum Ghost||Flip-to-side||Flips to the left, Built-in mount, direct to rail (via Torx lockdown bolts)|
|Bushnell Transition 3X||Flip-to-side||Ambidextrous, ring mount, direct to rail (via Torx lockdown bolts)|
|Tacticon Falcon V1||Push button flip-to-side||Push button, 7mm shim included, thumb screw mount|
|Beileshi||Flip-to-side||Ring mount, ambidextrous, thumb screw mount|
|Sightmark T-3||Flip-to-side||Locking quick detach lever mount|
|AT3 Tactical RRDM||Flip-to-side||Ambidextrous, thumb screw mount|
|Aimpoint 3X-C||Not included||N/A|
Size & Weight
Magnifiers tend to be bigger than red dot sights averaging around 4” in length. Though overall weight between the rifle, red dot sight, and other attached accessories could be a concern, magnifiers are typically lightweight weighing in around 9-12 ounces.
Just like any other optic, you want your magnifier to be at least resistant to water and to have some level of shockproof benefits. The best will be gas-purged to provide fogproof performance.
|Product||Size||Weight||Fog & Water Resistant|
|Sig Sauer Romeo & Juliet 3-Micro Combo||3.2 x 2.7 x 2.4”||9.9 oz||Yes|
|Holosun HM3X||3.9 x 2.4 x 1.6”||11.6 oz||Yes|
|EOTech G33||4.4 x 2.2 3.3”||10.6 oz||Yes|
|UTG 3X||3.66 x 2.17”||11.8 oz||Yes|
|Vortex VMX-3T||4.3 x 1.18”||11.9 oz||Yes|
|Sig Sauer Juliet 4||4.2 x 2.1 x 2.7”||12.5 oz||Yes|
|Sig Sauer Juliet 5-Micro||3.1 x 2.7 x 2.5”||9.6 oz||Yes|
|Feyachi M36||4.85” (L)||11.3 oz||Yes|
|Monstrum Ghost||4” (L)||11.5 oz||Yes|
|Bushnell Transition 3X||4.8” (L)||13 oz||Yes|
|Tacticon Falcon V1||4.25 x 2.1 x 2.5”||10.7 oz||Yes|
|Beileshi||4.5” (L)||8.1 oz||Yes|
|Sightmark T-3||4 x 2.6 x 1.7”||10.6 oz||Yes|
|AT3 Tactical RRDM||4.2” (L)||11.6 oz||Yes|
|Aimpoint 3X-C||4 x 1.75 x 1.75”||7.8 oz||Yes|
Overall, warranties should offer excellent coverage especially considering that magnifiers lack electronics. The best coverage consists of unconditional, lifetime terms but most warranties have conditions. Some manufacturers will also have different warranties depending on how the magnifier is used.
|Sig Sauer Romeo & Juliet 3-MicroCombo||Infinite Guarantee||Unlimited, lifetime, fully transferable, no receipt required|
|Holosun HM3X||Limited Lifetime Warranty||3-year warranty for law enforcement & military applications|
|EOTech G33||Prestige Warranty||Post-2017 production optics, 10-year warranty, proof of purchase required|
|UTG 3X||The Best Never Rest Warranty||Lifetime, conditional, must register and provide proof of purchase|
|Vortex VMX-3T||VIP Warranty||Lifetime, unconditional, fully transferable, no receipt required|
|Sig Sauer Juliet 4||Infinite Guarantee||Unlimited, lifetime, fully transferable, no receipt required|
|Sig Sauer Juliet 5-Micro||Infinite Guarantee||Unlimited, lifetime, fully transferable, no receipt required|
|Feyachi M36||12-month Warranty||30-day return & refund guarantee, 12-month warranty for replacement or repair|
|Monstrum Ghost||Lifetime Warranty||30-day return refund, Monstrum order number or proof of purchase required, registration recommended, you pay for return shipping|
|Bushnell Transition 3X||1-year Limited Warranty||Proof of purchase required, you pay for postage & handling|
|Tacticon Falcon V1||Lifetime Warranty||60-day return for refund policy - no questions asked, you pay for shipping costs|
|Sightmark T-3||Lifetime Warranty||Proof of purchase required, non-transferable, must be registered within 30 days|
|AT3 Tactical RRDM||Lifetime Warranty||90-day no-hassle return policy, fully transferable warranty, original purchase information may be required to validate product authenticity|
|Aimpoint 3X-C||2 or 10-year Warranty||2-year warranty for law enforcement, military, or competition use, 10-year warranty for personal use, not transferable, 4-week estimated repair process, proof of purchase required|
The effective range of a magnifier depends on magnification, optical quality, dot subtension, and a person’s visual acuity. A 3x magnifier is generally used to improve target visibility to 100 yards, but depending on certain factors, it can go up to 300 yards based on 1x power for each 100 yards.
Target at 50 yards. 1x (left) VS 3x with magnifier (right) - Image by Tina Fa'apoi (Own Work) for Target Tamers
The red dot sight goes in front of the magnifier with the magnifier as the optic that is closest to the eye. Reversing positions means that the shooter would not be within the eyebox and would see a dark sight picture or a very limited portion of the FOV.
Image by Tina Fa'apoi (Own Work) for Target Tamers
The EOTech G33 is a battle-tested magnifier. According to EOTech, it's “the selected magnifier of USSOCOM.” The holographic sight manufacturer stated the sale of the HWS and magnifiers to the Indonesian Armed Forces, specifically the TNI’s Special Forces unit in a 2023 press release.
Image Credit: Sightmark
Hunting with a red dot and magnifier is a common combo on AR-style rifle and on bolt actions and shot guns with the rail space for it. Best for inside 100 yards, a red dot and magnifier can be excellent for varmints, coyotes, turkeys, and more.
1x (left) VS 3x with magnifier (right) - Image by Tina Fa'apoi (Own Work) for Target Tamers
A magnifier is essentially a magnified monocular that's designed for firearm mounting typically with use of a red dot sight. Depending on the night vision (NV) device, the magnifier could provide rudimentary benefits. But there are magnifiers that are specifically made for adaption with NV goggles.
Best Red Dot Magnifier: Which is Best for You?
Overall, the best red dot magnifier will be the one with the most appropriate magnification, reasonable eye relief, a quality mount, and good glass. Those fundamental features will guarantee user satisfaction for target shooting, law enforcement, competition, or hunting.
Magnifiers vary in price point, optical and build quality, mount types, size, magnification, and specs.
Even with the limited availability of magnifiers, compared to riflescopes, red dots, and LPVO scopes, there’s a high chance that at least one of them will meet your needs.
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Tina is a naturalized citizen of the United States. Clearly, she immediately became attached to executing her newly earned freedoms and rights. Today, she’s crazy about hunting, shooting, and learning all that she can about the tools that make her hobbies possible. Tina hopes to impart her knowledge, especially that about optics, with anyone that wants to hear it.