A comprehensive guide for everything you need to know about red dot sights

A red dot sight is a very basic optic that uses a simple reticle to aim and scope. As the name suggests, the reticle is a red dot and is designed for use in moderate and close combat ranges. A red dot can often be found in a green variant, but it is still what it is; a perfect tool for practicing and honing your shooting skills if you are a beginner or a trainer, giving lessons to first-timers.

The red dots sights are not magnification units thus they are not called scopes. One thing you should remember is that the red dot optics is always 1X optics designed for close combat and rapid firing weapons. You can fit red dots to duty handguns, shotguns and can even use as full-sized rifle optics. The red dot technology was invented in the mid-1970s and the last 40 years have seen tremendous usage and technological advancements. Gone are the days of bulky and inaccurate red dot sights. The latest iterations include minimal real estate requirements, longer battery life, durability to severe climatic conditions and higher clarity. The red dots are the best bang for your buck if you are a beginner.

The general principle behind red dots

The red dot is essentially a simple optic, and there are a very little technicality and science behind its working. The magic behind the simplicity of a red dot sight involves plates of glass and light source. There is a spherical mirror which adequately reflects the emitted light of a LED on the axis focus. The spherical reflector has a coating which specializes in reflecting only red light thereby preventing all other light sources and colors from disrupting the red dot reticle.

In simple words, the LED shines a right beam of light of the specially coated glass which is fitted at an angle and the glass reflects the light of the LED and creates the reticle for your sighting requirements. One crucial aspect of the red dot sight is that only the user can see the reticle through the optic, but someone on the other side of the optic is unable to view the reticle.

Additionally, the size of the red dot is the measure of the MOA, and the size is usually dependent on the aperture hole at the front of the LED. Red dots can have size variants, and the bigger ones are easier to get on target and quicker to use. The smaller red dots are for moderate to smaller distances and are perfect for the side-arms. Red dots are advantageous because they cover less of the target which makes aiming and hitting the target a piece of cake.

What are the variations of red dots?

Red dot optics varies according to the platform and the gun it is fitted on. Every individual red dot performs a different role from the other variations.

Standard rifles

The majority of the red dot sights are for the full sized and standard rifles and firearms. These are tube-based designs and streamlined for occupying lesser real estate on the platform. The red dots for rifles are usually the 2 to 3 MOA red dot variations with a 25mm or more lens as an objective and useful to moderate and close-range target shooting. The standard red optics can be used in conjunction with the iron sights provided the height the perfect, a magnifier and even night vision monocles to increase the range as well as the versatility of the weapon in use.

The miniature red dots

Red dots are available at the miniature size as well for use in side-arms and pistols. If you are a gun aficionado, you can install a miniature red dot as your secondary scope on a rifle as well. With the advancement of science and technology the tiny red dot sights are getting progressively smaller every year and are very popular with security personnel and police forces all over the world. The miniature red dots are perfect for real close quarter combat and target practice with a pistol.

Why invest in red dots?

The primary advantages of using a red dot sight are as the following,

  • The red dot is a simple device thus easy to mount, use, maintain and remove. The red dots are crazy easy to use, and the success rate is very high when it comes to hitting the target.
  • As a beginner, all you have to do is point the red dot at your target and squeeze the trigger. You are essentially allowing your gun to take control at the range.
  • With red dots, the speed of your shooting increases, even more than iron sights. Iron sights can be precise, but there are major faults in them due to their designs. From a relatively low read position, under standard testing conditions, the red dot sights have been proven to be more effective, faster and more accurate compared to all other sight options in its price range.
  • The ease of use is massive as in real life situations you might not be able to align yourself with the red dot while aiming. But the red dot works even at less than perfect angles. As long as you can see the red dot and the target in the same line chances are you will end up hitting your target.
  • Red dots are easier to switch between weapons as they are handy and small. The mounting mechanisms are pretty basic and can be operated even by the novice.
  • You can equip a full-sized red dot on a hunting rifle, a combat weapon like the AR-15 for close and moderate range combat, on shotguns for home protection and safety as well as handguns for the law enforcement officers and private security personnel.
  • Red dots have become so small that you can even mount them on concealed weapons.
  • The popularity of red dots can be seen in sporting events, competitions as well as in the defense forces.

The future of gun sights is the red dot. Have you got yours?