If you’re looking for an optic that balances rapid target acquisition with precision accuracy, a red dot sight is the perfect tool for the job. Although originally designed for the battlefield, today’s best red dot sights are made for civilian shooting applications.
Modern technology has made these easy-to-use optics practical, affordable, and accessible. As a result, the market has been flooded with options. There are models for every weapon from crossbows to shotguns to pistols.
With so many models to choose from, it can be hard to sort the wheat from the chaff and discern which models are worth the money. We’ve done the hard work for you by rounding up what we consider the top red dot sights on the market today.
Table of Contents
- Why Use a Red Dot Sight?
- Best Red Dot Sights on the Market Review
- 1 Aimpoint Patrol Rifle Optic (PRO) - Best Overall
- 2 Sig Sauer Romeo5 - Best Value for the Money
- 3 Trijicon RMR Type 2 - Best for Pistol
- 4 Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 - Best Budget Red Dot Sight
- 5 Vortex Optics Crossfire - Best for Rimfire Rifles
- 6 Aimpoint Micro S-1 - Best for Shotgun
- 7 TRUGLO Gobble-Stopper - Best for Turkey Hunting
- Other Notable Red Dot Sights
- 8 Sightmark Wolverine FSR
- 9 Holosun Paralow 503C
- 10 EOTech EXPS2
- Final Thoughts
Why Use a Red Dot Sight?
Red dot sights use LEDs to project a dot towards a specially coated lens. That angled lens reflects the light back toward the shooter’s eye, so he or she can use the dot as an aiming reticle. The concept is relatively simple, and red dot sights are super easy to use.
There are several major benefits to using a red dot sight.
Best Red Dot Sights on the Market Review
1 Aimpoint Patrol Rifle Optic (PRO) - Best Overall
The Aimpoint PRO is easily the most popular red dot sight on the market. This highly versatile red dot is built for all-out war. This thing is literally bombproof. However, if rushing onto the battlefield isn’t exactly your idea of a good time, the Aimpoint PRO also does a fantastic job plinking cans off of backyard fence posts. In short, this is a fine all-around red dot.
The Aimpoint PRO has a crisp, highly visible 2 MOA dot, is night vision compatible, and has a 30,000-hour battery life. That means you could leave it on for three whole years before you need to swap out the batteries.
Incredibly lightweight, the Aimpoint PRO weighs a mere 7.8 ounces and measures just 5 inches in length. Don’t let its modest size fool you. This thing is virtually indestructible. It is made with a hard anodized aluminum alloy housing that’s strong enough to handle even the roughest abuse. The Aimpoint PRO is also waterproof up to 150 feet and has a reliable operating range of -49 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
2 Sig Sauer Romeo5 - Best Value for the Money
We realize not everyone has a ton of cash to drop on a high-end optic. Luckily, you can get this awesome red dot sight from Sig Sauer and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg. The good news is it performs like a much more expensive sight. In fact, we had a hard time believing the Romeo5 was priced well under $200.
Far from a budget red dot, the Romeo5 offers some serious bang for your buck. It has a clear, versatile 2 MOA red dot with 10 illumination settings (8 for daylight and 2 for night vision). You can easily use this red dot in any lighting condition, which means you can easily transition from deer hunting during the day to hog hunting at night.
The Romeo5 also features Motion Activated Illumination that automatically powers up when the device detects motion and powers down when it is at rest. This one feature extends battery life to an astounding 40,000+ hours.
3 Trijicon RMR Type 2 - Best for Pistol
Trusted by law enforcement and other tactical professionals, the Trijicon RMR sets the gold standard for pistol micro dots. Perfect for Glock 19 and other self-defense handguns, this thing is tiny (only 1.2 ounces). Despite its size, the RMR is packed with extra features and is as rugged as they come.
Trijicon designed their RMR to be as durable as the legendary ACOG, and it definitely gives that battle-proven optic a serious run for the money. The red dot is housed in rugged, forged aluminum that has a unique shape designed to divert impact force away from the lens. The device is also guaranteed waterproof to an impressive 66 feet.
Incredibly user-friendly, the RMR has a 3.25 MOA dot with 8 manual brightness settings. Adjusting the settings is as easy as pushing a button on the side of the optic. The RMR also features a handy auto-adjust mode that helps conserve battery power while maintaining a constant state of readiness.
4 Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 - Best Budget Red Dot Sight
When we say budget, we mean it. The Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 is the only optic on our list priced under $100. Although the price tag may be cheap, the quality of this optic definitely isn’t.
Surprisingly solid, the Trophy TRS-25 is built to withstand bumps, drops, and rough use. It is o-ring sealed for guaranteed waterproof protection, even when the device is completely submerged in water. The optic is also nitrogen purged to prevent interior fogging, even in high humidity environments.
Built to withstand excessive recoil, this optic mounts easily on your shotgun, rifle, muzzleloader, or any weapon with a Picatinny rail. Its compact design saves precious rail space, making it a near perfect red dot optic for AK-47 shooters.
The Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 features a 3 MOA Dot reticle with eleven different brightness settings. You can easily fine-tune the brightness settings to suit your personal preferences and using a simple adjustment dial.
5 Vortex Optics Crossfire - Best for Rimfire Rifles
For some, it might seem like overkill to mount a red dot optic on a .22 long rifle. However, semi-auto rimfire rifles dominate steel challenge competitions. If you want to get on target fast and improve accuracy at distance, a red dot is the perfect partner for Ruger 10/22 and other rimfire rifles.
We love the Vortex Crossfire on a .22 for several reasons. First, it’s so lightweight and compact, it’s easy to forget it's even there. It also has a nice low profile that allows you to get a solid cheek weld for more accurate shooting.
The Crossfire has a 2MOA dot with eleven illumination settings that works well for squirrel hunting as well as steel targets. However, don’t think the Vortex Crossfire only works on small .22 rifles. This optic is also a great choice for AR-15 and other modern sporting rifles.
6 Aimpoint Micro S-1 - Best for Shotgun
While optics have become standard equipment for most hunting applications, they’ve been slow to integrate into shotgun shooting. However, if you want to take your wing shooting to the next level, a quality red dot like the Aimpoint Micro S-1 makes a great partner for your duck hunting gun.
This tough little optic is built to hold zero and withstand the harsh recoil of 12 gauge magnum loads. It also holds up well in the wet and mucky conditions you’re likely to experience in the duck blind. The Micro S-1 features a fully enclosed waterproof housing that is submersible to 15 feet.
The Micro S-1 also features a versatile 6 MOA dot that is perfect for shooting ducks coming into decoys (It also works well for a variety of other shooting applications). Best of all, this quality optic comes with interchangeable mount plates sized to fit the rib of virtually any shotgun.
7 TRUGLO Gobble-Stopper - Best for Turkey Hunting
Because red dots are easy to use, extremely accurate, and accommodate awkward aiming positions, a good red dot can quickly become a turkey hunter’s best friend.
The Gobbler-Stopper is a specialized turkey hunting red dot from TRUGLO. They took all the award-winning features from their popular TRADITIONAL Red Dot Series and added a specially designed reticle specifically for turkey hunters. This tom-busting illuminated reticle features a dual-color design for maximum contrast against any background. And it incorporates an aiming ring that represents a 24-inch circle at 30 yards.
The Gobble-Stopper also has a removable extended sunshade that prevents glare off the optic, and it comes in the popular RealTree APG pattern. Both of these features will help you stay completely undetected from the keen eyes of wary turkeys.
Built for durability, the Gobble-Stopper is made with tough aircraft-grade aluminum and is both waterproof and shockproof. It also comes with an integrated Weaver-style mounting system for shotgun installation that is trouble-free.
Other Notable Red Dot Sights
8 Sightmark Wolverine FSR
Designed for fast target acquisition, this red dot from Sightmark is perfect for CQB. The highly responsive Wolverine FSR features a crisp and precise 2 MOA dot reticle with ten brightness settings (8 daytime and 2 night vision modes).
The Wolverine FSR is waterproof, fogproof, shockproof, and has glass treated with a special scratch-resistant, anti-reflective coating. The housing is made from a single piece of 6061-T6 aluminum coated in rubber armoring which adds some serious durability to the unit.
While this may not be the optic you want when charging into battle, we love the way this one looks mounted on an AR-15. It has a sleek, almost futuristic design that definitely stands out from the crowd. If you want to make a statement, the Sightmark Wolverine FSR is a good way to do it.
9 Holosun Paralow 503C
A fine little red dot from a relative newcomer to the industry, the Holosun Paralow 503C is a great optic for home defense, deer hunting, or competitive shooting. Rugged enough to pair with most hard-hitting calibers, the Paralow 503C also works well with crossbows and rimfire rifles. This is easily the best rated red dot sight for under $300 on the market.
It is made with a durable machined T6061-T6 aluminum housing, and the unit is waterproof to one meter.
Not only is the Paralow 503C remarkably durable, it’s also highly reliable. Holosun advertises a battery life of 40,000 hours, but with an integrated solar panel, you could run this red dot indefinitely and never need to change the CR2032 battery.
The Paralow 503C has a slightly more complex reticle than the average red dot sight. The standard 2 MOA red dot is there in the middle, but you also get the option of switching on a 65 MOA outer ring with directional marks for CQB target acquisition.
10 EOTech EXPS2
We know the EOTech EXPS2 isn’t technically a red dot sight. However, it serves the same purpose as a red dot, even if it uses different technology. If you want to invest serious money for a serious weapon sight, a holographic sight is the way to go. And there is no better holo sight than an EOTech.
Rather than projecting a red dot back at the shooter’s eye, the EOTech EXPS2 uses a system of lasers and mirrors to project a reticle that seems to hover over the target. This model projects a large 68 MOA circle and a small 1 MOA center dot. This design works well for both rapid target acquisition and precision aiming at distance.
The EOTech EXPS2 is nearly indestructible. It even functions if the front glass is shattered. That’s something you just can’t say about even the best red dot sight.
Aside from its ample price tag, the only major drawback to the EOTech EXPS2 is its battery life. You’ll only get about 600 hours of continuous use, so make sure you power it down when it isn’t in use.
Whether you’re shooting fast-moving targets at close range or stretching limits on targets at range, a red dot sight is a great way to improve your accuracy. However, even the best red dot sights are no substitute for good old-fashioned practice. No matter which optic model you choose, be sure to spend some time at the range. Ultimately, that is the best way to improve your shooting.