Guns are often the last recourse to safety an individual might have. They can also be used for various activities such as hunting and target shooting. Regardless of what you need a gun for, it is important to know, that an upgrade in terms of being able to see your target better, is a fantastic opportunity to make your gun a lot more efficient. Having the right tools to effectively improve your viewing ability is the vital point of difference. If you’re more of a rookie gun owner, chances are that you have, what is called an iron sight attached to your gun. It is an attachment that helps you to view your target effectively. Although the iron sights are useful, an upgrade to a red dot sight can act as the next step in fine tuning your shooting skills.
Previously, red dot sights were mostly used on rifles but now thanks to the rapid development of technology, pistols and shotguns can also be upgraded using a red dot sight. Our goal has been to try and provide you with the best knowledge about red dot sights, so that you can effectively choose the best budget red dot sight for AR15 – for your own unique and exclusive purpose. We hope to empower you with all the right tools of knowledge – so that you don’t have to fret over costs and benefit factors anymore. Please also note that in the list we will be looking at red dot sights specifically for the AR15. Check out our other review for a more general rifle review of the best budget red dots.
Bushnell Trophy TRS-25
Amber-Bright optics for sharper targeting, Sturdy, Shock-absorbing casing, Control knob
AT3 LEOS Red Dot Sight
Adjustable brightness, Scratch resistant, Spring-assisted lens cap, Recoil resistant
Tacticon Armament Predator
Sturdy frame, Waterproof and fog proof lens, Ideal for tactical and hunting gear
Ozark Armament Rhino
Waterproof, Dust proof, Fog proof, Lifetime warranty, 3000 hours battery life, Wide field of view
Made with durable aluminum alloy, Anti-glare coated lenses, 3-position rheostat, Four reticles
Bushnell Optics TRS-25 Hirise
Amber-optics for clearer targeting, Quite stable, Illumination settings
Sightmark SM26008 Ultra Shot
Red and green reticle options, 2000 hours battery life, Lightweight
AT3 Tactical RD-50 Micro Reflex
Works well for both-eye shooting, Case is sealed and waterproof, 5000 hours battery life
AT3 Tactical RD-50 PRO
2 MOA accuracy, 11 adjustable levels of brightness, Lightweight
Rat tail switch controls, Lightweight, Compact yet sturdy design
What Is Red Dot Sight?
A red dot sight is an optical device attachable to a wide variety of guns. It basically gives you a greater advantage over your target. It is widely used by hunters, law enforcement officials, as well as military personnel. It allows for the greater effectiveness of shots, in terms of accuracy and precision. The best budget red dot sight for AR15 will enable you to be on your mark time and time again.
This device is mounted on a gun rail and works similarly to a telescopic scope. The difference is, the scopes are used to magnify the image. A red dot sight, is used to pinpoint the part of the image which the shooter wishes to target. This is done by illuminating the reticle onto the image of the target being viewed through the window. The reticle is usually produced by a laser or a LED light which helps in acquiring perfection while aiming.
Besides this, certain manufacturers use green lasers or LED lights to illuminate the target. In other cases, the reticle design may be different. Thus it is clear that red dot sight comes in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, designs, and forms.
There are certain auxiliary benefits that come with the red dot sights. Shooters will have the opportunity to reduce and minimize eye fatigue while achieving higher consistency levels. The device also helps in better vision in low lighting conditions, and helps achieve greater stealth in special operations. The functioning of these slick devices can also be augmented – by pairing it with magnifiers and night vision equipment.
Factors to Considered while Choosing the Best Budget Red Dot Sight for AR15
Reticle Size and Pattern
The aimer that is projected onto the objective lens is called the reticle, and the type of reticle you need is one of the most crucial factors that should determine your purchase. It is an illuminated dot or any other intricate design that essentially pinpoints the target.
Reticles need not only be a dot but can also be displayed a chevron pattern or even a triangle. The purpose of the gun should be kept in mind while utilizing the right reticle. For instance, a smaller dot is best suited in long-distance shooting. Reticles may also take more refined and versatile forms. Some reticles have an outer ring with a smaller dot in the center, that helps in long distance accuracy. The outer rings are used to provide greater direction and consistency.
Some red dot sights may also take the form of cross hairs or grid lines, that are used to determine the distance. High-end reticles are extremely versatile and often include multiple reticle styles that can be changed depending upon the requirements of the situation and surroundings.
Reticles use the minute angle of measurements to determine sizes – much like scopes. Smaller minutes of angles represent smaller dots while circles and cross hairs may also be specified, allowing the shooter to get a more comprehensive idea of using the sight. Highly skilled shooters often use the design and minute of angle measurements in the reticle to determine their distance from the target.
Types of Reticle Projection
The uniqueness of the red dot sight is derived from the projection of the reticle. Red dot sights are projected either as reflex or holographic sights, and are used to classify the sights themselves.
Hunters use the reflex sights a lot more than other shooters. An LED is placed behind the lens, that shines onto the objective lens. This then acts much like a mirror, and ultimately reflects the light into the eyes of the shooter. The interesting part is, that the mirroring image isn’t noticeable – as the lens merely reflects the wavelength of the LED. This is while allowing all other wavelengths to pass through. This LED produces the reticle, while giving the impression that it gets projected onto the target.
Tube and Open Design
The constituent components of red dot sights could vary in different ways – depending upon the aspects of technology and classification. In matters of design, the device components can be either closed off in a tube or open.
Tube sights have a lot of resemblance in their appearance to standard scopes. All of the necessary components are housed by their tube designs, and they can act as a great option for shooters looking for a more rugged alternative.
All of the components of the device are protected in the metal tube casing. Tube sights also provide greater versatility, as they can be used with filters for attaining greater control in changing conditions. A tube sight will also give you much better visibility. This is applicable even in sunny conditions, as the tube essentially helps to block out the sun and allowing a much clearer image for the shooter.
Open sights, on the other hand, are known to be less bulky and have a significantly smaller footprint. These are also called “mini red dots”. These sights don’t have any unnecessary components, and generally sport a bare design that is responsible for housing only the objective window and illumination source. The downside is that these sights are not considered to be a good choice for working with filters.
Battery and Power
Battery power is used to illuminate the reticles in most cases for red dot sights. The lifespan of the battery is important and should be considered as crucial, while choosing the best budget red dot sight for an AR15. Holographic lights usually have a smaller battery span, as compared to reflex LED lights. Due to the use of laser energy, holographic lights require more energy and typically run out of juice much quicker. LED lights, on the other hand, are famous for low energy consumption, and their batteries can sometimes last up to 1000 hours before they need to be replaced.
Nowadays, with the rapid transformation and advancement of technology, sights are equipped with alternative forms of power. These new-gen sights use fiber optics and tritium capsules for power. Sights such as these, do not have any electronic components, but they sometimes can suffer when it comes to illumination. It has been widely reported that many such sights have been rendered effectively useless, as they have to washed out in brighter locations. Nowadays cutting-edge technology allows us to enjoy the experience of sights for hours on end, without having to worry about replacing or replenishing the power source.
Top 10 Best Budget Red Dot Sights For AR15 2020
1. Bushnell Trophy TRS-25
This red dot sight is built for the purposes of achieving blazing target acquisition and peak accuracy levels. It is fantastic – especially for low light conditions.It also performs well in normal or high lighting conditions as well. The TRS-25 1×25 red dot is engineered with Amber-Bright optics, that aid massively in making distinctions between objects similar, in color and form. The multi-coated optics are a favorite of hunters. This provision allows them to get a much clearer view of their targets. Apart from this, it is also waterproof and is designed to further prevent damage from shock.
The sight is free of parallax error, and therefore the shooter does not have to worry about centering. It can also be viewed equally well with both eyes and is ideal for increasing the awareness of the surrounding environment. The TRS-25 utilizes a crisp, sharp red dot reticle provided with a control knob – essentially allowing the shooter to adjust the red dot setting. The knob has good resistance, so that it does not get switched on inadvertently. It is best to increase the red dot setting to a certain point, where the scope provides the shooter with a framing reference that is perceptible, but not glaring.
2. AT3 LEOS Red Dot Sight
This fantastic product from AT3 is a marvel of technological engineering. The construction and design of this product has been undertaken keeping three pillars in mind – accuracy, versatility, and reliability. The crisp 2 MOA red dot sight has 6 different levels of brightness and is ideal for viewing with both eyes, showing impeccable accuracy for both-eyes-open shooting. The red laser is a great tool for ensuring maximum efficiency, in case of rapid targeting and movement, in a whole host of different environments. Along with this, the multi-coated fog proof optics are great for augmenting detailed vision, and are resistant to scratch.
Advanced digital control technology allows for seamless movement in between laser-red dot laser red dot modes. The flip-ups lens cap on this device is spring assisted for rapid deployment. The durability aspect of this red dot sight comes from the durable aluminum housing with a matte-black vision, to help in maintaining stealth. In terms of the battery life, the sight provides up to 40h hours of nonstop use at the lowest brightness setting, so that shooters can enjoy long periods of uninterrupted usage. It is also extremely resistant to high levels of recoil, and thus constitutes of the best budget red dot sights for AR15 2018 has in store for you.
3. Tacticon Armament Predator V1
Tacticon is a very well renowned company that has been engaging in the business of making easy to use, affordable and quality tactical weapons of wide varieties. The high-quality aluminum alloy used to construct this sight is extremely sturdy, and can bear a great degree of toil. The lenses are waterproof as well as fog proof. Depending on the natural light conditions, the optic may be adjusted to red or green – each equipped with five different levels of brightness.
The versatility of this device is also quite commendable, as it can be used on a number of hunting as well as tactical weapons including Winchester, Remington, Colt, etc. It can also fit any rifle, not just AR-15 / M-16 platform and will fit all Picatinny Rail and Weaver Rail sections. Aspects of elevation and windage are very easy to adjust on this device, helping the shooter to quickly obtain an accurate zero. An added benefit of this product is a lifetime warranty.
4. Ozark Armament Rhino
The Ozark Armament Rhino red dot sight is a spectacle in its own right, and has the capacity to humble some of the best sights in the market. It has the durability and capacity to withstand rugged terrain and weather conditions. Reports suggest that the Rhino is so great that the company is planning to use planet Mars as their next test site. Being fog proof, dustproof, and waterproof, the Rhino ensures that you and your gun both, are well suited to any kind of natural conditions that you may find yourself in.
This makes it a great choice as a tactical weapon in high-risk operations. An accuracy of 4 MOA is also a testament to the efficiency and quality of this site, will help get the right shot every time – no matter where you are. It also comes with parallax free glass ,and a wide field of view that ensures quick and effective movement, in a controlled and steady manner. The sight also comes with a lifetime warranty. An expected battery life of 3000 hours at medium brightness settings, makes it one of the most cost-effective sights in the market. Considering all these factors, it is quite a steal at this price range.
5. CVLIFE 1X22X33
CVLIFE has been in the market for some time and has acquired a favorable name among gun enthusiasts coming from all hues and professions. This model is especially favored by many shooters, owing to its rough and tough design that acts as a testament to its durability. The construction is based on an aluminum alloy, with an anodized matte black processing. The level of optical clarity is high with this sight, thanks to its Anti-glare reflective coated lenses. It also comes with a 3- position rheostat illumination in red and green.
The modern and contemporary aspect of this sight is corroborated by the existence of four different reticles comprising of Circle Dot, Cross, 10 MOA & 3 MOA responsible for providing optimum levels of versatility for a wide range of different environments and weather conditions. The windage and elevation of this device is also fully adjustable, making it more efficient than your average scope. The device also comes with a protective rubber cover, known to provide great protection in rugged terrain and unforgiving weather conditions. All things considered, this represents a shrewd and informed purchase at an extremely affordable price range.
6. Bushnell Optics TRS-25 Hirise 1x25mm
Here is another exceptional choice of a red dot sight form Bushnell, who just never seem to disappoint. The design construction of this model represents flexibility, as well as durability. The waterproof and fog proof design is extremely suitable for harsh weather conditions and it also comes with an impressive dry nitrogen filled housing. Like many other Bushnell models, this high performing red dot sight is engineered with Amber-optics that help you to acknowledge acute differences where small margins may turn out to be crucial.
The sight provides for a lot of stability and accuracy, while conducting multiple yet, effective shots in quick succession. The TR-25 is also equipped with a control knob that helps in the adjustment of the red dot setting. In case the shooter is required to use the device in brightly lit conditions, he/she may choose to set the illumination control to achieve the best results. The TR-25 is supplied with a “high rise” mounting block, that can be used to effectively position the sight on an AR15 style rifle. All these factors, make this one of the most underrated, but effective sights found in markets today.
7. Sightmark SM26008 Ultra Shot
Another charismatic and dependable red dot sight is brought to you by Sightmark, who have established a strong and dedicated following of customers over the years. The salient features of this model include the option of both red and green reticle illumination, along with parallax corrected aim ideal for close range deadly hits. It is also provided with a common battery that allows up to 2000 hours of continuous usage. This quality, cost-friendly device is ideal for shotguns, rifles, and pistols and guarantees long-lasting service of the highest order.
8. AT3 Tactical RD-50 Micro Reflex
The RD-50 Micro reflex red dot sight is another masterpiece of mechanics, in a long line of impressive tactical equipment from AT3. A 2 MOA accuracy rating and double-eye vision, gives this device a standard and efficient base from which to work on. It comes with a sealed housing that is waterproof and an exceptional battery life of up to 50,000 hours – in lowest brightness settings. Apart from all this, it is also endowed with a shockproof circuitry, that ensures protection against damage and makes it an incredibly sophisticated, yet durable product at the best user-friendly price.
9. AT3 Tactical RD-50 PRO
Another impressive budget red dot sight from AT3, the RD-50 Pro has had a lot of admirers across the board. Apart from the standard ratings of 2 MOA accuracy, and both eye-open shooting capabilities, this model provides up to 11 levels of brightness settings. This feature helps to provide the optimum visibility, in a variety of lighting conditions. It is also equipped with a lightweight mount, that makes it extremely easy to attach and detach to your gun. All factors considered, this is a high functioning, long lasting and durable sight that is sure to satisfy all your hunting and shooting requirements.
10. UUQ Tactical Holographic
When it comes to buying the best budget red dot sight for AR15, we have saved one of the gems for last with this model form UUQ. It sports a sleek tubeless design, that is inherently suited for rapid-firing and shooting of targets on the move and in perpetual motion. The integrated red light laser is fully subject to the controls of a rat tail switch. Extremely lightweight and easy to manage, this sight is regarded as an excellent buy, owing to its long-lasting battery and low levels of power consumption.