This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission if you purchase via these links.
Red dot sights come and go, so I am going to help you out by focusing on what is new, tried and true, and worth your money.
There are several, notable red dot sights and the Bushnell TRS-25 bests them all as the top-rated red dot sight available. Overall, the price point is the most attractive feature, and the 1x25 specifications, compact size, and weatherproof body adds performance benefits and appeal.
Whether it is for tactical use, concealed carry or hunting, I am going to cover a range of red dots and give you tips on choosing the right one for you.
Red Dot Sight Reviews
|Trijicon RMR Type 2 6.5 MOA||CHECK PRICE|
|Tacticon Predator V3 Micro||CHECK PRICE|
|Aimpoint Pro Patrol Optic||CHECK PRICE|
|Sig Sauer Romeo5 1x20||CHECK PRICE|
|AT3 RD-50 Micro||CHECK PRICE|
|Vortex Venom 6 MOA||CHECK PRICE|
|Vortex Strikefire II||CHECK PRICE|
|Burris Fastfire 3||CHECK PRICE|
|Bushnell TRS-25||CHECK PRICE|
|STNGR Axiom II Red Dot||CHECK PRICE|
The mere mention of a red dot sight may conjure up images of some type of law enforcement officer in a tactical scenario. A red dot sight mounts a Glock or MSR (Modern Sporting Rifle) as a SWAT team navigates through tight and dark quarters in a building - look familiar?
You may not necessarily be in the market for red dot sights for patrol or duty use for the job, but you still need the speed and user-friendliness that a good red dot sight offers. You can hunt with red dot optics, mount the sight to your personal/self-defense weapon, and use it to rapidly get on target in shooting competitions.
Additionally, red dots are very popular sights among paintball and airsoft enthusiasts.
Red dots are fast, fun, and easy to use sights. They can come in micro and compact sizes suitable for handguns, and they can be robust tanks with 1 MOA dots to provide precision, long-range benefits.
Due to their versatile nature, red dot optics can practically be mounted to any firearm of your choice. Because they're simple and easy sights to use, shooters of all skill levels find enjoyment from being able to hit their target. Offered at various price points, it's a guarantee you'll find a good red dot, or two, that will fit your budget and your needs.
Get a red dot sight and get on target!
The Best Red Dot Sights on the Market:
1. Trijicon RMR Type 2 LED 6.5 MOA - Best for Concealed Carry
Looking for a compact red dot sight to mount to your patrol-issued Sig or Glock? The RMR02 LED with the 6.5 MOA red dot is the sight of choice by law enforcement professionals who want to mount to a handgun.
- 6.5 MOA
- Auto illumination
- Patented shape
- Long battery life
- Low profile
- Aluminum Alloy - Military Grade
Trijicon has never been a cheap brand, and its price point certainly ranks in at the highest in our lineup of red dot gun sights. However, the brand is known to set the standard when it comes to tactical optics, and they've proven to be the authority once again with the RMR02-C-700607 red dot sight.
The 6.5 MOA dot might seem like overkill for some applications, but it's an excellent size for getting on target instantly in close quarter situations. Mounting the RMR to your patrol-issued handgun is highly recommended as the dot is big enough to see at arm's length, and especially if you have aging eyes or astigmatism is affecting your red dot use.
The daylight bright dot features a sensor controller to automatically adjust to ambient light conditions, and the single CR2032 battery should last you a solid 24 months.
Its low profile makes for a great fit on concealed carry weapons, and its patented housing shape adds to Trijicon's robust reputation of building rugged and durable optics. Made with military-grade aluminum alloy, it's lightweight and tough, but its shape is also designed to redirect impact and shock away from the lens.
Once again, Trijicon takes the lead and sets the standard as a high-quality brand that offers professionals looking for red dot optics the best of the best.
2. Tacticon Predator V3 Micro - Best Budget Option
- ✔ TACTICON IS A COMBAT VETERAN OWNED COMPANY ✔ STURDIEST AND MOST ACCURATE RED DOT OPTIC ON AMAZON - Incredibly fast target acquisition with the parallax free design....
There are cheap red dot optics made by off brands and then there's low-priced red dots made by the best combat, veteran owned companies. What's the difference? You want to pick a lower priced sight from someone you know who knows optics because they've used them. Offering it at a lower affordable price appeals to cost-conscious buyers.
- 2 MOA
- 11 illumination settings
- Fog proof/waterproof
- Accessories included
- Few quality control issues
The V3 Micro red dot gun sight is new to the market. In fact, it's in its first production run and so far, it seems to be holding up as a simple, quality, mini red dot sight that is quickly gaining favor with the masses as it rates so high in gun sights rankings.
Overall there really are very few complaints from the odd shooter that range from a dead battery received in the purchase to the windage mechanism not holding tight. Fortunately, the company is very responsive and stands behind their 100% customer satisfaction guarantee and lifetime warranty if you have any issues at all.
The Predator V3 has a 2 MOA dot with 11 brightness settings in the form of a dial to get on target regardless of the lighting conditions in the hunt, at the range, or at work. For easy installation, the red dot comes with a .83" high riser mount to co-witness with your iron sights. Tacticon also includes a 45-degree offset mount if you'd rather use it as a backup to your magnified scopes instead.
To be worth anything, it has to be fog and waterproof, and fortunately the V3 is O-ring sealed and nitrogen-purged for ultimate water & weatherproof protection.
For a low-priced gun sight, it's definitely not in the same ballpark as the dime-a-dozen junks of tin in the market. If you want to spend as little as possible while retaining confidence in your buy, I think the Predator V3 is the pick of the day.
3. Aimpoint PRO Patrol - Best Tactical Red Dot
The Aimpoint PRO (Patrol Rifle Optic) is no stranger to the rodeo. As its name implies, it's been on the force in patrol work for a good run, long enough to prove itself as an excellent buy. If you're after tactical features for professional use, Aimpoint might be the answer.
- 2 MOA
- NVD compatible
- Transparent rear flip cover
- Long battery life
- Accessories included
- Various quality issues
It seems defective PRO Patrol gun sights have had a few issues including poor illumination, battery issues, and dot misalignment. When there's hundreds of buyers and few complaints of this sort, it speaks to its quality which is good to see. Besides, there's a 2-year warranty when it's used for professional and competition purposes and a 10-year warranty for personal use.
The PRO has a 2 MOA dot that has 4 night vision compatible modes and 6 daylight bright modes - 1 of them is extra bright. The 3V lithium battery is supposed to last 30,000 hours - give or take some depending on your usage. Not only is it compatible with night vision devices, it can also be used with all Aimpoint magnifiers.
A ton of accessories are thrown into the buy to truly customize your Aimpoint PRO for your needs. A QRP2 mount, an AR15 spacer (removable), and flip covers come with the red dot sight. My favorite accessory is the transparent rear flip cover that allows you to still see the dot with two eyes open even if the front, black cover is on.
The PRO is fast to use, and it may just be exactly what you need to make it through your workday or when the SHTF.
4. Sig Sauer Romeo5 1X20 - Best Value for Money
It comes as no surprise that this optic is a Best Seller and highly ranked champ with a long record on the street. Oh Romeo, Romeo, show us what you got.
- 10 illumination settings
- Motion Activated Illumination
- Integrated M1913 Picatinny mount
- IPX7 rated
- Various quality control issues
Defective Romeo5 red dots suffer everything from poor build quality to random failure. While defects and lemons are bound to get through quality control, Sig covers the Romeo with the Infinite Guarantee and a 5-year electronic components warranty.
The 2 MOA dot has 10 illumination settings with 2 night vision modes and 8 daylight bright modes. To make the battery last as long as it can, approx. 40,000 hours, the Romeo has MOTAC technology. It's the Motion Activated Illumination that powers down the dot when not in use and rapidly powers up when it senses movement.
Speaking of battery power, it takes a single CR2032 battery that's easily installed on the side of the optic - done and done.
An IPX7 rating means this thing is not only waterproof, it's submersible. However, it's still electronic so don't go getting any wild ideas - you don't want to have to use a warranty if you don't need to.
Even though the red dot comes with an integrated Picatinny mount, it is removable. It also comes with a low mount riser and co-witness mount for easy and custom installation.
I think this gun sight is well designed and has more than enough to offer for the price, hence why it's our best value red dot sight for the money!
5. AT3 Tactical RD-50 Micro - Best Micro Red Dot
Putting the dot on the target is what the AT3 RD-50 does. It's as simple as simple gets. Micro-sized. Accurate. Durable.
- 2 MOA
- 11 brightness settings
- Dual use - Shotgun
- Protruding LED emitter
The AT3 red dot gun sight is under 100 bucks, and I think it gets the job done for most non-professional uses. For the price, its quality is right in line with other comparable red dot optics. It has multi-coated optics, it's fully fog and waterproof, and it takes a standard CR2032 battery.
The claim that the battery lasts for 50,000 hours on the lowest setting is still yet to be proven because users find they need to keep operating it to at least setting 4 just to see the 2 MOA dot. With 11 brightness settings available, battery life will vary greatly depending on how much usage it gets.
It's a dual use red dot so it's shock and recoil-proof to be used on all types of firearms including flattop modern rifles, shotguns, and airsoft guns.
But, the kicker is the LED emitter that protrudes into the field of view (FOV). While it doesn't seem to interfere with the sight picture for many buyers, some users have defective red dots where it protrudes too much into the FOV. AT3 backs their RD-50 Micro with a lifetime warranty, and customer service is shown to be quite responsive. It shouldn't be a hassle to get a replacement if this is the case.
All in all, the 3.6 oz, 2.4" pint-sized red dot is nothing special. It puts the dot on the target - isn't that exactly what you need? Why spend much more than you need?
6. Vortex Venom 6 MOA
Gearing up for competition season? Completing your handgun setup with a gun sight? The Venom red dot is lightweight, accurate, and made for close-range work.
- FMC optics
- Premium wide-field lens
- Manual/auto brightness
- Accessories included
- Battery compartment issues
Unfortunately, the Venom series of red dots seem to struggle when it comes to battery compartment issues. Between battery contact problems and cover cap fit issues, buyers have had battery cap covers replaced or rigged adjustments to keep it from coming loose.
Until Vortex redesigns this flaw, they've honored repair/replacements with their VIP warranty - you know, their famous, unlimited lifetime, transferable warranty.
When it comes to sight picture quality, it couldn't get better. FMC (Fully Multi-Coated) optics ensure a high transmission of light while reducing glare, and ArmorTek coatings ensure the lens is free of scratches and debris.
The wide field of view window offers excellent edge-to-edge resolution needed to get on target in an instant. With a large 6 MOA dot, 1.9" length, and 1.1 oz weight, the Venom would be a great sight addition to a handgun for duty use, competitions, and fun range work.
Change up the brightness setting for daylight and low light shooting between 10 intensity settings or you can switch it up with auto mode where the Venom will adjust to ambient light conditions.
Mounting hardware and tools, a raincover, and CR1632 battery are all included in the buy.
7. Vortex Strikefire II Red Dot Sight - Best for Hunting
If you're out hunting or on night patrol, the Strikefire II red dot sight is an affordable and popular optic that won't disappoint.
- 4 MOA
- NVD compatible
- Red dot only
- Accessories included
- No motion sensor feature
This red dot has been available for a long time and its loyal following like it as it has proved that it's an optic worth keeping. It's under $200, has FMC (Fully Multi-Coated) optics, and it's fully fog and waterproof for ultimate protection.
This model is the 4 MOA red dot only option. It has 10 brightness settings with the lowest two settings being night vision compatible. Hog, coyote, and varmint hunting when the moon is out might just become a passion of yours when you mount the Strikefire II red dot sight to your AR-15.
To be clear, the red dot has an auto shut-off feature - after 12 hours of inactivity, it will automatically shut the power off and power down. However, there has been demand from the masses to upgrade it with a motion sensor feature that will allow it to further conserve battery life.
With the included CR2 battery, it will last 400 hours at max brightness and 7,000 hours on the lowest setting. I actually think the battery in my Strikefire has lasted me longer than that. A cantilever ring mount and flip-up covers are included with the Vortex red dot.
The accessories are bonus items when the red dot is already a high-functioning optic offered at this price point.
8. Burris FastFire 3
The FastFire 3 is Burris's best-selling red dot sight. How can it not be when it maintains the optical and build quality standards seen on every other Burris optic? This is where high quality well built optics meets budget-friendly price points without compromise.
- Manual/auto brightness
- 3 MOA
- High-grade optics
- Top-loading battery
- Battery contact/compartment issues
From dots flickering on and off to cap covers not fitting right, there are multiple complaints along the same lines. Fortunately, Burris backs the FastFire with their Forever Warranty, and if it wasn't any good, this red dot wouldn't be a successful hit in the market.
This particular model has the 3 MOA dot that includes a Picatinny mount. When mounting it to your rifle, you can expect precision aiming and even stretch the distance if you like long-range practice.
There are 3 brightness settings that you can manually play with, or you can set it to automatic brightness where it will adjust to match ambient light conditions.
Burris uses the same precision coatings and high-grade glass on the FastFire that they use on their scopes. Index-matched, Hi-Lume multicoating reduces glare and ensures you have optimum clarity in low light conditions.
I like that the sight is ultra-lightweight and compact at 1.9" in length and 1.5 oz in weight so it doesn't interfere with firearm balance and handling. With a top-loading battery compartment, replacements can be done in a jiffy without having to remove the entire red dot from your weapon.
It's fast to mount and fast to get on target. FastFire - appropriately named.
9. Bushnell TRS-25 - Top-Rated
The TRS-25 is likely the top-selling red dot sight of all time. It's cheap, pint-sized, and it gets you on target. It's not a best seller in rifle scopes because hundreds of buyers have said it is, it's because thousands of buyers have said it is.
- Multi-coated optics
- Quality control issues
The TRS-25 is a mass-produced red dot sight that suffers from various quality control issues. It's an entry-level and basic red dot that seems to do best in non-professional settings for range use, recreational shooting, and home defense.
For the price of the TRS-25, you won't be seeing FMC (Fully Multi-Coated) optics here, but it does have the next best according to industry standards - multi-coated optics. It's 2.4" in size and 4 oz in weight - super compact for mounting to any type of weapon.
Because of its design, it's fully fog and waterproof. While it's rated by Bushnell to be shockproof to handle the likely abuse of "rough-and-tumble environment of the field," it goes back to build integrity which is part of quality control complaints made against the TRS-25. The short of it is, don't be banging it around if you can avoid it.
As a budget optic, the TRS-25 is cheap enough to pull the trigger on it just to see what all the fuss is about. It's a red dot that continues to see trending numbers in its favor. After all, even though it is budget the TRS-25 is a best seller and top-rated red dot.
Find out about red dot sights for a pistol or handgun if that is more your style.
10. STNGR Axiom II – Best for 10/22
Singling out red dot sights comes down to proven performance in the field. Target Tamers field tested the STNGR Axiom II, and it had the quality to earn high recommendation.
- 2MOA dot
- 11 illumination levels
- Ultra-long battery life
- 2 included mounts
- No motion activation
The Axiom II is not a budget red dot in terms of being cheaply made. The STNGR red dot sight is “budget” because it’s under $150 and offers a lot of value in trade. Foundational quality is requisite in any optic and the Axiom has it where it needs it most – dot quality, power, and the build.
Our tests revealed that the 2 MOA dot maintains its round, crisp shape, is truly daylight bright, and those lower 1-2 settings of the total 11 are night vision compatible.
The STNGR red dot comes with two mounts: high QD 1/3 co-witness mount and a low profile direct-to-rail mount. We found both easy to install and they are especially suited to the AR-15 although it can be mounted to different rifles if it has a picatinny rail on it.
Sporting a shotgun? Pop it on there and give it a whirl. The Axiom is recoil-rated for 12-gauge, so there’s no questioning its ability to hold zero if you were plinking and target shooting with an all-time favorite 10/22.
The Axiom II is tough. Obviously, it’s been shockproof tested, but it’s also O-ring sealed and nitrogen purged. Hunting in wet, cold conditions? It’ll easily hold up to rain because it held up in our submersion test where we dunked it in a bucket of water.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t have one thing that is a valued feature: motion sensor activation. It requires manual activation and shut-off but the 50,000-hour battery life from the 1x CR2032 makes up for it.
With red dot sight quality like this, who needs more? Serve up a crisp, sharp dot that’s daylight bright, can be paired with NV, and a build that can handle the elements and accidental abuse, and it’s a red dot that’s worth the money every day of the week.
What to Look for in a Red Dot Sight in 2022
Red dots are great uncomplicated gun sights that are insanely easy to use and get on target with. The aim of the game here is speed. If you can get your dot on your target, you can hit it - it's that simple.
But, red dots are made with glass, LEDs, and cogs and gears that must stay in alignment if you expect accuracy, durability, and functionality from your sight. With that in mind, here's what factors you need to consider before you get a red dot in your sights.
Open VS Closed System
Red dot sights come in two very distinct housing designs: open and closed.
The open style red dot sight is the most compact and lightweight system.
It's very recognizable with its rectangular screen, onboard adjustments, and push button controls. They're popular with a pistol & handguns where unlimited eye relief, wide field of view, and two-eyes-open shooting is desired.
Closed red dot sight systems have a tube-style body.
Adjustments and illumination controls are typically in the form of dials or knobs, and they can be as light as a few ounces to as heavy as a pound. Tube red dot sights can also be better protected with both fog and waterproof seals.
Dots can be as small as 1 MOA to as large as 8 MOA. A 2 MOA dot is a popular size. The general rule of thumb is, ultra small dots allow for more precision especially at long-range distances as it will cover up less of the target. Larger dots allow for rapid aiming in especially tight quarters and close-range distances.
Most good red dot sights require a widely available CR2 battery. With multiple brightness settings available on various red dots, battery life can vary from less than 150 hours to 50,000 hours. Brightness settings do not have industry standards, so one red dot at max brightness may be significantly brighter than another at max brightness.
Additional features that are great can help to improve battery conservation such as auto on/off and motion sensor activation.
Size & Weight
Size and weight is a very important feature to consider. Is it so heavy and big that it will affect balance and handling? Will adding a specific type of mount add weight to the system? Does the size inherently affect co-witnessing with iron sights?
The top red dot sights are lightweight optics. They're usually in the 4-7 oz range, but open sights can be as light as 1.1 oz. We've also seen closed, tube red dot sights as heavy as 15 oz, and that might suit your platform better than a lightweight option. This is something you'll need to take into account as well to match with your needs and preferences.
Compatibility with Other Optics
Not all good red dot sights are compatible with other gear. If you plan on using a red dot with a magnifier or night vision device, you'll need to confirm that it's compatible. Some red dots have low brightness settings where the red dot can be used with night vision devices. Others can be used with magnifiers to achieve extra magnification and range.
Mounts & Accessories
Something to consider is not all red dot sights come with mounts, hardware, tools, caps, and covers. You want to make sure the sight you're interested in is compatible with your firearm. This may mean having to purchase at extra cost the right mounts and hardware. This may require a little extra research on your part.
Red dot sights don't just come in red, some have the option of green dots
Best Value for the Money: Sig Sauer Romeo5 1x20 Red Dot Sight
Best Budget Option: Tacticon Predator V3 Micro Red Dot Sight
Top-Rated: Bushnell TRS-25 Red Dot Sight
Best Micro Red Dot: AT3 Tactical RD-50 Micro Red Dot Sight
Best for Concealed Carry: Trijicon RMR Type 2 LED 6.5 MOA
Best Tactical Red Dot: Aimpoint PRO Patrol
Best for Hunting: Vortex Strike Fire II Red Dot Sight
Vortex Venom 6 MOA Red Dot Sight
Burris FastFire 3 Red Dot Sight
On average, spending between $200-$300 is a great investment on a quality red dot sight. It’s not as costly as a Trijicon or EOTech, but it’s likely to be more mechanically robust and accurate than a $100 alternative. Being brand-specific can help with quality and warranty concerns.
Although a red dot has an illuminated reticle, it is not a night vision sight. Red dot sights can be good optics for night use if it’s paired with an NVD like a night vision clip-on. The red dot must have compatible, dim NV brightness settings, or it can damage the NVD.
As a general rule, red dot sights are zeroed for 100-yard distances as they are used for close to mid-range engagements. It’s also popular to zero a red dot sight for a 50-yard distance. For extended 100+ yard zeros, factors such as dot size and magnification must be considered.
What is the Difference Between a Reflex Sight and a Red Dot Sight?
The differences between a reflex sight and a red dot sight entails more than you may expect. A red dot sight is not a type of sight but a generalized term to describe the archetypal aiming points of reflex, prismatic, and holographic sights. They may share common features but are made differently.
Red Dots Are Far from Obsolete
While low power variable optics are quickly sweeping in as viable replacements for red dot sights on flat top sporting rifles, red dot sights still have their place in the market, and they can be and are mounted to a variety of firearms. Because they're extremely versatile, easy to use, and affordable, red dots are not going anywhere any time soon.
When it comes to getting on target at lightning speed, red dots are a favorite in the industry. They're here to stay for a long time in the future and are far from being obsolete.
- RANGE TESTED: Vortex Crossfire Red Dot Review (CF-RD2)
- Hands On: Sig Sauer Romeo MSR & Juliet3-Micro Combo Review
- STNGR Axiom II Review: Hands On Test (2 MOA Red Dot Sight)
- Rifle Scope VS Red Dot Sight for AR, Hunting & for 100 Yards
- Vortex Strikefire 2 Review (Owners Hands On With Video)
Simon is an avid outdoor enthusiast and the owner 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. When not glassing the local wildlife, you can find him in the garden with his German Shepherd.