Red dot sights are fast, easy-to-use, and help increase accuracy. However, they have one major shortcoming – they lack magnification. If you want to stretch the effective range of your red dot beyond 100 yards, a magnifier is the way to do it.
The best red dot magnifier will mount directly behind your reflex or holographic sight. They conveniently flip to the side or quickly detach when you don’t need magnification. Most even allow for co-witness with your iron sights.
Unfortunately, not all red dot magnifiers are created equal. Some work better for certain shooting situations than others. Other models aren’t worth the gunpowder it would take to blow them across the gun range.
We’ve gathered some of the best rated red dot magnifiers into one handy list. Each of the models on our list are sturdy, reliable, top-notch options for modern shooters.
- Vortex Optics VMX-3T Magnifier – Our Top Pick
- Primary Arms 3X Gen IV Magnifier
- EOTech G33 Magnifier
- Sig Sauer Juliet 4
- UTG 3x Magnifier
- Aimpoint 3XMag
- Bushnell Optics 3x Magnifier
- Feyachi M36 1.5-5x Magnifier
- Primary Arms 6x Gen III Magnifier
- Holosun HM3X Red Dot Magnifier
Table of Contents
- Advantages of Using a Red Dot Magnifier
- Disadvantages of Using a Red Dot Magnifier
- Best Red Dot Magnifiers on the Market Reviews
- Final Thoughts
Advantages of Using a Red Dot Magnifier
In the not-so-distant-past, shooters had to choose between a red dot sight and a magnified scope. While red dots are awesome optics for engaging fast-moving, close-range targets, they don’t offer much over iron sights when shooting at longer ranges.
Red dot magnifiers help close the gap between a stand-alone red dot and a magnified scope, increasing the versatility and utility of your rifle. Pair a magnifier with a red dot (especially a magnifier with a flip-to-side or quick-detach mount) and you have a combo faster than a magnified optic, and more precise at distance than a red dot alone.
Magnifiers that flip to the side and out of the way let you take advantage of the red dot’s speed when shooting close-range targets. When you need it, you can simply slide the magnifier into position to make accurate shots at three times the distance possible with only a red dot.
Quick-detach mounts allow you to remove your magnifier when you don’t want the extra weight on your rifle. You can also snap off your magnifier and use it as a handheld monocular in the field.
Disadvantages of Using a Red Dot Magnifier
Red dot magnifiers aren’t perfect, and they definitely have some shortcomings. The most obvious disadvantage of a red dot magnifier is the extra bulk and weight it adds to your rifle. Some of the heaviest models add close to a pound, which can upset the balance and maneuverability of your weapon.
Magnifiers obviously magnify your sight picture, bringing distant targets into close-up detail. However, magnifiers also enlarge your red dot reticle. Put a 3x magnifier in front of your 4 MOA red dot, and it turns into a massive 12 MOA dot. That isn’t exactly conducive to precision shooting.
Holographic sights are the exception. Holo dots stay the same size, whether viewed through a magnifier or with the naked eye.
Best Red Dot Magnifiers on the Market Reviews
When it comes to red dot magnifiers, they run the gamut of price range. If you have the funds, several hundred bucks will land you the best of the best. However, there are some fine magnifiers available for budget-conscious shooters. We’ve tried to include a little something for everyone on our list.
1 Vortex Optics VMX-3T Magnifier – Our Top Pick
The Vortex VMX-3T is definitely one of the best (if not THE best) red dot magnifier on the market today. This magnifier offers a crystal clear sight picture, sturdy construction, and is available at a reasonable price point.
Lenses on the VMX-3T are fully coated to prevent scratching, increase light transmission, and reduce glare. The result is near perfect image quality in low light, bright sunshine, and everything in between. This one feature makes the VMX-3T magnifier perfectly suited for both range shooting and field use.
This 3x magnifier has a hard-coat-anodized, machined-aluminum construction. It is o-ring sealed and nitrogen purged for reliable fogproof, waterproof performance. Honestly, the Vortex VMX-3T is perfectly capable of dealing with pretty much anything you can dish out.
If you want to pair this one with your AR-15 red dot, the system allows for lower 1/3 or absolute co-witness mounting heights. The VMX-3T also provides 3.25 inches of eye relief and offers a respectable 38.2 feet field of view (FOV) at 100 yards.
2 Primary Arms 3X Gen IV Magnifier
At just under $100, this mid-priced magnifier from Primary Arms has a lot to offer for the money. It features a rugged, rubberized covering that protects the delicate optical components from just about anything it encounters. The magnifier is also waterproof and fog resistant.
The PA 3X Gen IV has a bright, crystal clear sight picture, and an FOV that is only a hair smaller than the Vortex VMX-3T.
The PA 3X Gen IV features an integrated diopter, which gives you the ability to focus quickly and keep the image clear at almost any distance. It also provides azimuth and elevation adjustments to ensure the dot is always centered in the field of view.
3 EOTech G33 Magnifier
If you want to pair a magnifier with a holographic sight, it doesn’t get any better than the EOTech G33. EOTech is the undisputed leader in holo sight technology, so it just makes sense to use one of their magnifiers with a holo sight. If you’re running a model 518, 558, or EXPS sight, the G33 allows you to easily operate the sight, even when the magnifier is engaged.
This compact, lightweight 3x magnifier comes with a Weaver-style quick-release mount. It also features a generous FOV, an adjustable diopter, and a tool-free azimuth adjustment system.
Like all EOTech products, the G33 is built tough for the battlefield. It is also the magnifier-of-choice for the US Armed Forces.
4 Sig Sauer Juliet 4
Although Sig Sauer is a relative newcomer to the optics world, the company intimately understands the world of firearms. This knowledge shines through in the details, and their Juliet 4x magnifier is a great example.
Although extremely lightweight (weighing around 3 ½ ounces), the Juliet 4 is crafted from aircraft-grade CNC aluminum. It has IXP8 waterproof rating (submergible to 20 meters for 1 hour), and is designed to prevent internal fogging, even in adverse weather.
The unit includes a quick release mount with built-in recoil lugs for a repeatable zero.
The Juliet 4 works well as both a standalone optic and in conjunction with a red dot optic. This magnifier is perfectly suited for hunting whitetails, coyotes, and wild hogs, but feels just as much at home in aggressive, tactical situations.
5 UTG 3x Magnifier
The UTG 3x magnifier is perfect for shooters who don’t have a ton of cash to invest in their set-up. This super affordable magnifier makes a great entry-level magnifier for a budget build.
Surprisingly, the UTG 3x offers a clear sight picture, an adjustable eyepiece for easy dioptric correction, and a field of view that is 30 percent wider than most comparable models.
Although this UTG magnifier isn’t nearly as rugged as the high-end options, it is made from precision-machined, hard-anodized aluminum. The housing is nitrogen filled and o-ring sealed, making it both waterproof and fogproof. In other words, this magnifier is plenty sturdy for most shooting applications.
6 Aimpoint 3XMag
Aimpoint is one of the most respected names in military-style optics, which means you can count on their 3x magnifier to hold up in the harshest conditions on the face of the planet.
The entire optic is surrounded in a shock-absorbing protective rubber. The rubber casing has a practical, ergonomic design that makes it easy to use as a handheld optic when it isn’t mounted on your rifle.
While the Aimpoint 3XMag is designed to handle whatever you or Mother Nature can dish out, it also has crystal clear glass. If you want razor-sharp clarity, true-to-life colors, and a bright sight picture, the 3XMag definitely delivers.
Designed to mount directly to any Weaver or Picatinny rail mount base, the Aimpoint 3XMag can be adjusted to flip to the side with several aftermarket mounts.
7 Bushnell Optics 3x Magnifier
This 3x magnifier from Bushnell is one of the best-rated models on the market. Not only does the Bushnell 3x provide excellent clarity, light transmission, and durability, it also has a price tag well under $200.
Bushnell engineered this quality magnifier to tolerate harsh environments, unexpected situations, and rough use. Made from a tough, aircraft-grade aluminum alloy, the housing is fully sealed. Reliably fogproof, shockproof, and waterproof, the Bushnell 3x magnifier is built to help you stay in the fight or in the hunt, no matter what you encounter while you’re there.
Perfect for both right- and left-handed shooters, the Bushnell 3x has an ambidextrous swing action that allows you to quickly flip the magnifier out of the way with your preferred hand. This lets you easily transition from 3x to 1x shooting.
8 Feyachi M36 1.5-5x Magnifier
Simple, fast, effective, and affordable, the Feyachi M36 is a perfect option if you want to stretch your rifle’s long-range legs. With a wide magnification range (1.5x to 5x), you can easily use the M36 for CQB or long-range engagements. It even flips out of the way for situations where you don’t need or want a magnifier.
The Feyachi M36 has quality, multi-coated optics that provide a razor-sharp sight picture. The coatings not only provide impressive resolution, they also enhance brightness and color fidelity.
9 Primary Arms 6x Gen III Magnifier
If you really want to extend the effective range of your rifle/red dot set-up, this red dot magnifier from Primary Arms offers an astonishing 6x magnification. It features an integrated diopter with fast-focus capabilities. The PA 6X Gen III also has azimuth and elevation adjustments, so you can always keep your reticle centered in your field of view.
Tipping the scales at a relatively hefty 9.2 ounces, the PA 6X Gen III definitely isn’t a lightweight. However, the extra ounces are worth it if you want serious magnification.
10 Holosun HM3X Red Dot Magnifier
The Holosun HM3X has a handy ambidextrous flip design that lets shooters quickly transition from 3x to unmagnified. You can also use the included spacer to achieve either absolute co-witness or ⅓ lower co-witness.
Not only is the HM3X easy to use, it also has impressive optical quality. Holosun uses premium glass with multiple coating layers to maximize light transmission, reduce glare, and prevent wear and tear on your lenses.
The HM3X is made with a rugged aluminum housing that is nitrogen purged and o-ring sealed. With an IP67 water resistant rating, this is one reliable and sturdy magnifier.
A red dot or holographic sight is a great way to speed target acquisition and increase precision. While red dots are perfect for 3 Gun, hunting, home defense, and tactical applications, these handy optics become even more versatile with the addition of a quality magnifier.
However, even with the best red dot magnifier, you’ll need to spend plenty of time practicing at the range. Adding a new component to your set-up will take some getting used to, and the road to proficiency is paved with plenty of spent brass.