The Best Red Dot Sight in 2023

Whether you’re preparing for your next hunting trip, 3 Gun competition, or you’re setting up a tactical AR, red dot sights can help you take your shooting to the next level. These user-friendly aiming systems come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and prices.

In this article, we take a look at what to look for in a red dot optic. We also review a few models we consider the best red dot sights on the market today.

Choosing the Best Red Dot Sight

Red dots are rapidly gaining popularity. Every year, more shooters are running them on their pistols, rifles, and shotguns. Following the growing trend, manufacturers have flooded the market with tons of different red dot models. They run the gamut of price, from super cheap (well under $100) to super expensive ($700 or more).

While the variety means there are plenty to choose from, the sheer number of options can be overwhelming. If you aren’t sure what to look for in a quality red dot, here are a few key features to consider.

Glass Quality

It’s hard to hit what you can’t see, which means glass quality is extremely important in any optic. Look for a red dot with ED (extra low dispersion) glass. Top quality red dots will also feature glass coatings that reduce glare and provide crisp, clear, bright images. For best results, choose an optic with fully multi-coated glass.

Battery Life

Modern red dots are built for efficiency. Today, the battery life of a quality red dot is measured in years rather than hours. While you may not need a red dot with a 30,000/hour battery life, you do want one that operates reliably and won’t fail you when you need it most.

You should also consider the type of batteries the red dot uses. Even sights with low battery consumption will eventually need a new set of batteries. You’ll want an optic with a power source that you can easily pick up at any store.

Reticle Size

As the name implies, the reticle of a red dot is a simple round spot. Different models have different size reticles. Measured in MOA (minutes of angle), red dots can feature tiny dots (around one MOA) for more precise shooting, or larger dots (up to 9 MOA) for easier target acquisition. Large dots cover more of the target, especially when engaging targets at distance. The size you need depends largely on the type of targets you are shooting and at what ranges.

Best Red Dot Sights on the Market Reviews

1. Aimpoint Patrol Rifle Optic (PRO)

Aimpoint PRO Red Dot Reflex Sight with QRP2 Mount and Spacer - 2 MOA - 12841

Aimpoint has been an influential pioneer in the world of red dots. Their popular Patrol Rifle Optic (PRO) is easily the most popular red dot optic on the market today. Versatile, tough, and built for the battlefield, the Aimpoint PRO is literally bombproof. Although the PRO is regularly used by US military forces for tactical applications, the optic feels just as much at home plinking backyard cans as it does protecting troops from “bad guys”. This is definitely a great all-around optic.

The Aimpoint PRO features a crisp, 2 MOA aiming point that is night vision compatible. The dot will run for up to three years on a single set of batteries, so you don’t need to worry about losing power when you need it most.

Although the PRO is relatively large compared to other red dots, it is significantly smaller than a traditional riflescope. The PRO tips the scales at a meager 11.6 ounces, so it won’t weigh down your AR-15.

Made with a hard anodized aluminum body, the PRO is as tough as they come. It is waterproof up to 150 feet and has a reliable operating range of -49 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. There’s almost nothing you (or Mother Nature) could dish out that this optic can’t handle.

Is it Worth It?

The Aimpoint PRO is one of the pricier red dots out there. However, quality doesn’t come cheap, and this optic is synonymous with quality.

Still not convinced? Here are just a few of the features that make the Aimpoint PRO well worth the investment:

  • Literally bombproof
  • 30,000-hour battery life
  • Crisp, visible 2 MOA dot
  • Night vision compatible
  • Mounts easily on flat-top modern sporting rifles, like the AR-15, M4 carbine, and M16.
  • Unlimited eye relief.

Mounting and Accessories

The Aimpoint PRO comes with everything you need for mounting and use, including the base and top rings, a QRP2 mount, and a spacer. (You can simply remove the spacer if you plan to mount the PRO on a shotgun).

The optic also features handy flip up lens covers to keep your lenses clean in the field. The rear cover is transparent, which allows you to use the sight in an emergency, even if both covers are closed.

2. Trijicon RMR Type 2

Trijicon RM06-C-700672 RMR Type 2 Adjustable LED Sight

Trijicon has a reputation for producing battle-ready optics, and their RMR Type 2 is one of the best tactical pistol red dots on the market.

Super lightweight and compact, the RMR weighs just over one ounce, making it suitable for all but the smallest pistols. But don’t be fooled by its diminutive size. This pint-sized optic is jam-packed with high-performance features.

One of the most durable optics to ever grace a firearm, the RMR features a rugged design that has proven its value on battlefields around the globe. The housing is crafted from forged, aircraft-grade aluminum and features a unique shape that deflects impact force away from the lens. The optic is also waterproof to 20 meters.

The 3.25 MOA aiming point has 8 brightness settings, which are simple to adjust with the push of a button. The RMR also has a convenient auto-adjust mode that preserves precious battery power and keeps the optic in a constant state of readiness.

Is it Worth It?

If you want to slap a red dot on your Glock 19 (or other self-defense handgun), it just doesn’t get any better than the Trijicon RMR. This micro red dot sets the standard for pistol optics. Although the RMR is expensive, if you can fit this one into your budget, it offers tons of performance for the money.

  • Designed to absorb shock and divert impact stress away from the lens.
  • Eight brightness settings.
  • Night vision compatible.
  • Intuitive, easy-to-use controls.
  • Handy auto-adjust mode.
  • Limited lifetime warranty.

Mounting and Accessories

The Trijicon RMR Type 2 red dot works well on a variety of firearms. If you plan to mount your RMR on a Glock MOS, Springfield OSP, or Walther PDP, you’ll need to purchase a Trijicon RMR mounting kit (AC32064).

3. Sig Sauer Romeo5

Sig Sauer SOR52001 Romeo5 1x20mm Compact 2 Moa Red Dot Sight, Black

While we all wish we had an unlimited shooting budget, that just isn’t reality for most of us. If you don’t have enough cash for a high-end optic, there are several quality red dots that won’t break the bank. One of our all-time favorites is the Romeo5 from Sig Sauer. This beautiful little red dot is priced well under $200.

Don’t be fooled by its affordable price tag. The Romeo5 is definitely not your run-of-the-mill budget optic. It has a crisp, highly visible 2 MOA dot with 8 daytime brightness settings and 2 extra settings for use with NVDs. That makes this optic perfect for nighttime hog hunting, but it transitions seamlessly to deer hunting during daylight hours. It is also waterproof and fogproof, which is a must for rugged hunting situations.

One of our favorite features is the Romeo5’s Motion Activated Illumination. This innovative design automatically powers up the optic when it detects motion. The feature also shuts off power during periods of inactivity. This not only ensures the optic is always ready to go when you need it, it also extends the device’s battery life to provide more than 40,000 hours of use.

Is it Worth It?

The Romeo5 is a budget optic that performs like a high-end model. Perfect for budget-conscious shooters, this one works well for hunting and other outdoor shooting applications. Nighttime hog hunters will easily fall in love with the Romeo5.

  • 10 brightness settings.
  • 2 night vision settings.
  • Motion Activated Illumination.
  • 40,000+ hours of battery life.
  • Waterproof and fogproof.
  • Affordable price tag

Mounting and Accessories

The Sig Sauer Romeo5 has an integrated M1913 Picatinny interface, which provides a standard mounting option for a wide range of firearms. You can easily mount this optic on a Ruger 10/22, an AK-47, and pretty much anything in between.

4. Vortex Optics Strikefire II

Vortex Optics Strikefire II Red Dot Sight

The Vortex Strikefire II is a full-size red dot perfect for modern sporting rifles. With a price well under $300, the Strikefire II is significantly cheaper than other comparable optics.

It features ten dot intensity levels. The two lowest settings are ideal for night vision. It also has sleek, rear-facing controls for easy adjustments in the field.

Tough and sturdy, the Strikefire II features a single-piece, 30mm aluminum chassis that is o-ring sealed and nitrogen purged for reliable waterproof performance. The design also prevents internal fogging and makes the optic extremely resistant to recoil. If you need to mount a red dot on a high-caliber rifle or a muzzleloader, this one is definitely up to the task. However, it also performs nicely on milder recoiling rifles and crossbows.

Is it Worth It?

If you need a red dot that is built like a tank but won’t break the bank, this is it. Perfect for everything from crossbows to muzzleloaders, to modern sporting rifles, the Vortex Spitfire II is an absolute gem.

  • Easy-to-use controls.
  • 10 brightness levels.
  • Night vision compatible.
  • Built to withstand harsh recoil.
  • Unlimited lifetime warranty.

Mounting and Accessories

The Vortex Spitfire II comes with a cantilever mount appropriate for AR platform rifles. If you want to mount the optic high for absolute co-witnessing with your iron sights, we recommend the Vortex Cantilever 30mm Ring.

For extra protection from dirt and debris, we also suggest adding an objective flip cap and an ocular flip cap.

5. Vortex Optics Venom

Vortex Optics Venom Red Dot Sights

The Vortex Venom is an affordable and versatile red dot that runs well on pistols, rifles, and shotguns. This minimalist optic measures only 1.9 inches and weighs a scant 1.05 ounces. If you want to preserve the lightweight maneuverability of a carbine for CQB, this optic is built for the job.

With fully multi-coated lenses, the Venom provides an impeccably clear sight picture. The daylight bright red dot features 10 brightness settings with easy-to-use side controls that are adjustable without changing your sighting position.

Durably made, the Venom features a tough aluminum alloy chassis and a hard anodized finish. Waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof, this optic can withstand serious abuse and harsh environments.

Is it Worth It?

In our opinion, this is one of the best (and most affordable) red dots you can mount on a pistol. It also works remarkably well on a rifle or shotgun. If you’re looking for a great, do-it-all red dot, you’ve found it.

  • Weighs 1.05 ounces.
  • Measures less than 2 inches.
  • Fully multi-coated optics.
  • Rugged construction.
  • Fogproof and waterproof.
  • 10 brightness settings.
  • Easy-to-use controls.

Mounting and Accessories

The Vortex Venom comes with a low rail mount that clamps to a slotted spec base rail. You can purchase an additional riser mount to boost the red dot to the proper height for rifles.

Summing It Up

Adding a red dot sight to your rifle, shotgun, or pistol is a great way to improve your shooting speed and accuracy. Any of the options on our list of top red dots will serve you well. However, not even the best red dot sight is magic. Proficient shooting takes practice, even with a red dot. You’ll still want to hit the range with your new optic and work on the fundamentals to become the best shooter possible.

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