Best Budget Red Dot Sights For AR15 2020 : Buying Guide & Reviews

Expert Contributor

Jeff Day

Are you a keen shooter looking to improve the accuracy of your target acquisition? Are you in the market for a tool that will help enhance your field of view (FOV) and ultimately improve your shots?

Well, we have just the thing for you – you should get a red dot sight. This guide will take you through our hints and tips to find the best cheap red dot sight for your AR-15, showcasing our top 12 items from Amazon and discussing the best budget items for under $200, and under $100. We’re even showing you three key add-ons, which include a magnifier and mounts.

It can be difficult to find the best inexpensive red dot that’s suitable for you and your AR-15, so we hope that this handy guide will make it a lot easier to find the best budget red dot sight, no matter what you’re looking for or whichever light scenarios you encounter.

Whether you’re after red dot sights with different brightness settings, holographic sights, or you’re unsure about the difference between red dot sights and iron sights, we hope that this article will show you how to spot the best AR-15 red dot sight that will give you eye relief and convenient shooting. Don’t get caught in the crossfire – have a look today!

Here’s what we’ve got in store for you:

Table of Contents

1. 12 Best Red Dot Sights and 3 Accessories:

  • Vector Optics Ratchet
  • Sightmark Wolverine FSR
  • Vector Optics Maverick
  • Sig Sauer Romeo 7
  • Field Sport Red and Green Micro Dot
  • Crimson Trace 2.0 MOA
  • EOTECH 512 Holographic
  • SIG Romeo MSR – Best for the money
  • Sig Sauer Romeo 5- Best under $200
  • UTG Red/Green Dot – Best under $100
  • UTG Reflex Micro Dot
  • FieldSport Micro Red
  • EOTECH G33 Magnifier
  • UTG Med-pro Mount
  • UTG 3 Slot Picatinny Mount

2. Our Top Picks:

  • Best for the money
  • Best under $100
  • Best under $200

3. Buyers’ Guide and FAQs

  • What is are red dots and how do they work?
  • Sights versus red dot scopes
  • The greatest make of cheap red dot sights
  • Considerations for buying a budget red dot sight

12 Best Red Dot Sights for your AR-15

Here’s our list of the best red dots for your AR15. These dot sights all come with an array of MOA and brightness settings, meaning you’re sure to find one that’s right for you. Get yourself looking ten to the dozen, because there’s thousands more where these came from and we’ll bet that anyone would be lucky to get their hands on them.

If you want to check out our range of non-AR15-specific red dot sights, check out our complete list of the best cheap red dot sights, too!

1. Vector Optics Ratchet Multi Reticle

Olympus Dot Sight EE-1

Best Features: Excellent eye relief. 5 brightness setting options.

Our first option comes from Vector Optics with the Ratchet multi reticle red and green dots. It’s plain to see why all review comments give this red and green dot such a glowing recommendation; its amount of specs and brightness setting levels are tailored to ‘real fire caliber’ – so it’s perfect for a range of purposes from target practices, to military operations, to home defense.

With a compact design and effective battery life, as well as the QD quick mount, these red dot sights are truly topping the range. Its compact nature makes it easily suited to rapid firing, while the 1.0 x magnification tubeless sight window and 4.0 MOA allows you to easily spot targets in your FOV. There are even 5 brightness settings! Plus, it’s really handy that you can choose the setting of a red or green 4.0 MOA reticle.


Length: 6 inches x 6 inches x 4 inches | Weight: 0.81 Pounds

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2. Sightmark Wolverine FSR

Sightmark Wolverine FSR

Best Features: Wide range of operating temperature from -22 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit. Durability enhanced by fog-proofing, nitrogen purging and scratch resistance, as well as lens coating.

Our second option comes from Sightmark and is the Wolverine FSR red dot. Coming in two separate colors, black and dark earth, these red dots are powered by a single AA battery and provide over 50,000 hours of battery life when used on medium power.

The digital switch is easily used to control brightness levels, and a single piece 6061-T6 aircraft-grade aluminum housing unit. This piece has it all – it’s durable, adjustable, and it’s even submergible to up to 3 feet.


Battery Life: 50,000 hours | Length: 3.3 / 2.8 / 2.4 in. | Weight: 10.3 oz.

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3. Vector Optics Maverick Micro Red Dot

Vector Optics Maverick

Best Features: WComes with a QD mount. 11 levels of red illumination including 2 for night vision.

Our third item is another from Vector Optics, and is the Maverick Micro. This impressive model comes with 11 levels of red illumination including 2 for night vision, and has dual layers of glass to create optics with the utmost precision. There’s also impressive MOA settings with the 4 MOA on offer, and an auto shutoff feature for safety. Some of the best red dot optic makes you could go for, with stunning MOA accuracy and a durable lithium battery as a power source.

The night vision capabilities give this model versatility unmatched by other low light setting types from competing models, such as the Ozark Armament Rhino or the Burris Fastfire III.

The various elements on this type of model with all of the reticle patterns, as well as the fog proof protection, deserves your money for its impressive circle reticle, dot intensity, and ergonomic settings. As red dots go, these are some of the best – definitely opt for this red dot sight instead of a red dot scope. People have to have this!


Battery Life: CR2032 | Dot Size: 4 | Length: 68mm (2.7 inch) | Weight: 0.6 Pounds

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4. Sig Sauer Romeo 7 3 MOA Sight

Sig Sauer SOR71001

Best Features: Incredible optics suited to rifles and guns in hunting – hunters will be pleased. Impressive battery life and stealth ID for all shooters.

Our product number 4 comes from big name brand SigSauer, and is the 3 MOA red dot sights with a rail gun scope and graphite design. It’s got a lot for a good price, making life easier for shooters who want to upgrade their rifles with a market favorite.

This choice offers you zero distortion and amazing transmission including provisions for low light, as well as motac – a motion activated illumination, which powers up when it senses motion and has an auto shutoff design for when it does not. This provides operational safety for this impressive optic, as well as enhanced battery life.

Any market competitor like the Vortex Optics Strikefire II couldn’t even compare – not even this model’s sibling, the Romeo 4, offers these optics for a similar price point.


Battery Life: 62,500 hours| Dot Size:2 MOA | Length: 7.8 inches x 4.8 inches x 3.5 inches| Weight: 0.5 Pounds

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5. FieldSport Red and Green Micro Dot Sights

Field Sport Red and Green Micro Dot Sight

Best Features: Holds zero really well. Good position of durability – allows your firearm to last for any rounds.

Our fifth sight comes from FieldSport with the red and green combination micro dot sight. As sights go, this one is heavily impressive.

The parallax-free design, for instance, eliminates any requirement for centering, while the windage and elevation mechanisms can easily be accessed with Allen screws. The built-in picatinny mount base / picatinny rail gives you remounting which is easily done, whilst both eyes opened design makes you more spatially aware of your reticle sights and your surroundings.

The battery life is also built to last, boasting durability in every aspect of the build design and specs.


Length: 4.213 inches x 3.189 inches x 2.362 inches | Weight: 0.26 Pounds

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6. Crimson Trace 2.0 MOA Compact Tactical Red Sight


Best Features: Out-of-the-box satisfaction with this range of impressive specs. Lighting and MOA adjustments through components such as buttons and control knob.

Our midway device, at position 6, is the Crimson Trace 2.0 MOA. It’s brilliant for tactical use of your firearm, and will allow you to keep your eye on your target with ease. You can get proof of this by reading reviews, which demonstrate the suitability of this red dot sight for all sorts of situations, such as home defense to protect your housing.

The adjustable 2.0 MOA reticle is clearly on the side of the user – there are many ways to adjust for windage and elevation to improve the visibility given by this unit. What’s more, the superior function gives you 10 levels of illumination. Any AimPoint device would struggle to meet this build quality, which provides shock impact, fog and vibration resistant qualities, and an advance button and notch coating. All components are thought of – even the buttons!

If you happen to be disappointed with what comes out the box for any reason, you can easily make a return or request a repair with coverage from the terms of your 3 year warranty. Whatever your objective, this device is the one for you.


Battery Life: 12 months | Dot Size: 2.0 | Length: 5.7 inches | Weight: 0.39 Kilograms

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7. EOTECH 512 Holographic Sight

EOTECH 512 Holographic Weapon Sight

Best Features: 1 MOA reticle. Preferred by race gun shooters over market competitors such as the Vortex Optics Sparc II..

This product is an instance of the various electronic red dot sights that exist on the market. From a reflex sight to a holographic sight, there are so many types of red dot sights that make them far better than red dot scopes – and this EOTECH holographic model just proves this.

The 1 MOA reticle provides accuracy in the reticle patterns whilst the water resistance for up to 10 feet and the fog proof quality means that this device is brilliant for all weather conditions. It’s even compatible with a 1″ weaver mount and 1913 rails.

The 20 brightness settings means that you can just pop off the lens cap and use this device in a variety of brightness settings, given that the dot intensity is so impressive. Again, this will prove that where red dots optics are concerned, this is far superior and easier to use to a red dot scope and has a much more agreeable cost.

The impressive reticle with cross hairs is much more impressive than Vortex Optics models such as the Vortex Optics Crossfire, or the Vortex Sparc II.


Battery Life: 2,500 | Dot Size: 5.60 | Length: 3.5 inches.| Weight: 0.61 Kilograms

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8. SIG Romeo MSR Dot Sight


Best Features: 1 MOA reticle. Preferred by race gun shooters over market competitors such as the Vortex Optics Sparc II.

Compared to its contemporaries, like the Sig Romeo 5, the Bushnell Trophy TRS 25, or the Vortex Sparc II, this high performance model gives you all you could need.

The amber lens provides unlimited relief for your eyes, whilst the 2 MOA reticle gives precise targeting for any ultra dual shot. There’s a mount available for an absolute co-witness, while the water and fog resistance makes this model perfect for any weather conditions.

It’s perfect for your AR-15 for any situation including those with low light, and even comes with night vision operation. The button placement, rubber cover elements and rotary switch prove that this model is all about the ergonomics, while the easily removed lens cap and lens cover provides convenient use so you can get straight down to levelling your eye balance.


Battery Life: 20,000 hours| Length: 5.6 inches x 4.2 inches x 2.2 inches | Weight: 0.32 Kilograms

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9. SigSauer Romeo 5

Sig Sauer Romeo5

Best Features: Works brilliantly for any type of handguns or rifles. Easy to use with the click of a switch and a brilliant capacity offered on account of amber lenses.

Our ninth piece of gear gets a clear five out of five from us; it’s the Sig Romeo 5 Compact model. The construction of this offers a light weight, customer-friendly design that is bound to provide benefits to your guns instead of damage. Perfect for hunting and a variety of other things, this gear will zero like a pro and offers 2 MOA as well as 10 illumination settings – 2 of which are night vision.

The variety of benefits and positive things offered by the reticles means that these are perfect for your AR-15s, and most other guns. It’s hard to find other reticles of this kind, which provide amazing firearms function and will allow you to make premium shots without needing a magnifier.

With the spectracoat coatings for glass and lenses, and the motac activation software, this kind of red dot sight is hard to come by in this or any other article. Your handguns will make the perfect shot, for all times and any place you want them to work in. Works every time, with a low cost.


Battery Life: 40,000+ | Dot Size: 2 | Length: 5.1 inches | Weight: 0.34 Kilograms

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10. UTS Red and Green Dot Sight with Integral Mount

Best Features: Easy to use with any gun or rifles, with impressively clear optic specs. Emerald lens coat and eye relief.

Our tenth option offers you a lot of options for whatever you need, and it’s perfect to use with night vision equipment. There’s a built-in cantilever mount with this UTG Dot Sight, of which the lens caps are easy to take off so you can get straight down to business.

You have so much choice of use with this red point optic. Use with any kind of gun, including hunting rifles, as the quick aim electronic optic system provides one of the most sophisticated systems we’ve seen.

There’s a crystal clear 4 MOA, better than a 3 MOA dot for sure or even a 1 MOA, and you can easily adjust this with the knobs that provide 1/2 MOA per click increment. Perfect for any AR-15 or other model, the mounting deck and flip-open caps are so easy to use. Not quite a lifetime warranty with this one, but you do get a solid two years of coverage if you need to return anything.


Battery Life: 20 hours | Dot Size: 38mm | Length: 5.6 inches| Weight:0.3 Kilograms

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11. UTG Reflex Micro Dot Green 4 MOA

UTG Reflex Micro Dot

Best Features: Perfectly adaptable to any gun, works well with your AR 15 or a similar type. Precise aim system with 4 MOA.

Our penultimate option offers 4 MOA with an adaptive base, and includes a high energy lithium battery and a range of handy components for activities such as hunting. A perfect addition to any gun, the UTG reflex sight is compatible with Glock MOS and many more shotguns, and can easily be enhanced with mounts. Hunting has never been easier.

The heavy duty lithium battery provides a long lasting battery life, so you won’t get a failing battery any time soon. The easy aim system allows you to make a successful shot in any place – couple this with the rear and front build quality and casing, and you’ll see that these kinds of sights are truly unique.


Length: 4.37 inches| Weight: 0.12 Pounds

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12. Field Sport Micro Precision

Precision Red Dot

Best Features: PReference to sophisticated mechanics in the reply section. Peak simplicity – provides all the basics of usability in electronics to work in your favor. Fraction of the price of other contenders in competitions – easy decision to make for those on budgets.

Before we wrap up our key reasons for the preferences to suit pretty much everyone in our conclusion, our option on sale to finish with is the FieldSport micro model. With excellent clarity and just the right protection from shock absorption and auto-off settings, much of what you need can be found somewhere with this handy model.

Compared to others that companies offer for higher costs, this will provide a long lifespan with little room for improvement – and the support is also noted to be very user friendly in other articles.

These have many uses, especially with a platform or risers, and the circle reticle patterns are a sight to behold – they will easily provide accuracy in a variety of uses. The average readers are more than satisfied with these sound deals, not needing to find an alternative from other market positions. Your AR 15 could seriously benefit from this.

The consistency of action and controls offered, as well as the practicality of this red round dot, means that this leaves quite the impression and is one of the best purchases you could make. Chances are, you’ll want to buy this straight away.


Dot Size: 4MOA | Length: 4.606 inches | Weight: 0.4 Pounds

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Additions for your AR-15

Before we round up and take you to the buyers’ guide, where you can find info on any other factor in your decisions, here are our thoughts of the best 3 additions for your AR 15 – they’ll cost you a pretty penny and will give you no trouble in getting what you want. Follow the embedded links to for the answer to any of your questions!

13. EOTECH G33 Magnifier

EOTECH G33 Magnifier

Best Features: Holds a prestige warranty if you need to return your product to original placement. Easy fire.

Firstly, this light weight magnifier from EOTECH is one of the better product options you could choose as an add-on in any case.

Taking its place in our top three accessories, this boasts two colors – black or tan – and impressive usability that is a serious update on brands such as Aimpoint.

These parts are perfectly compatible with different red dot sights and guns such as revolvers or a rifle, and come with a very high rating from Amazon users. The quick transitions afforded by these sophisticated devices allow you to maximise your FOV with ease, so you can easily catch whatever’s in your frame of view.

Perfect for hunters, this will hold up in any of the environments you go to and will last through a range of temperatures. A fine experience is provided by these devices, which can be easily adjusted using a handy dial. Its purpose is to make everything easier for you.


Dot Size: 3.90 | Length: 55.8mm | Weight: 1.38 Pounds

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14. UTG Med-pro Mount

UTG Med-pro

Best Features: Easy installation with little confusion. Amazing price for technologies like these – more bang for your buck.

A brilliant succession from the previous listing, this mount acts as a perfect raiser portion for your red light dots. You’ve got tons of options for any mode of use in this UTG Med Pro series, which provides efficiency. Make no mistake, it’s a clear fact that it’s one of the best in the game with minimal faults.

Give ’em hell with this easy deployment mechanism and quality of construction. This takes dominance on the markets by boasting longevity, minimal failure, and efficiency. With a sleek design, appearance even isn’t an afterthought. With minimal drawbacks and plenty of positives, a prospective buyer would have no problem or concerns buying this amazing bit of equipment for their shotgun.


Dot Size: 0.83in | Length: 1.6″ long | Weight: 0.13 Pounds

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15. UTG 3-Slot Slim Riser Mounts

3-Slot Slim Picatinny

Best Features: Easily installed. Distinctive scalloped design.

This final bit was picked by our editor for its popularity – it’s made its mark among a community of soldiers and other seasoned professionals. These UTG Riser Mounts offer a large degree of accuracy for any purpose, including a hunt, and have a distinctive design for snag-free mountain. Your AR 15 deserves this!

It’s small but a high-riser, so it’s a perfect component to make a customization to your ammo devices, such as a 2MOA red dot sight. You couldn’t do much better than this – and that’s a fact. It’s perfectly compatible with Bushnell or Aimpoint devices, and the picatinny rail is highly impressive.


Battery Life: 0.5 | Length: 1.57 | Weight: 0.03 Kilograms

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Our Top Picks:

Best Budget Red Dot Sight for the Money

Your best pick for the money is another SIG piece, and it’s the Romeo MSR dot sight. Again boasting a precise 2 MOA, this offers a top loading battery compartment with internal control for all brightness and weather conditions – so you’re truly not constrained by lighting conditions.

Best Red Dot Sight Under $200

The best red dot for AR15 under $200 is the SIGSAUER Romeo 5, which boasts a 2 MOA dot reticle and 8 daylight settings included in the brightness setting options. With a wide field of view and a battery level of nearly 50,000 hours, this model is an amazing bundle for the price offered. Nearly as good as a lifetime warranty, you get protection for up to 5 years.

Best Red Dot Sight Under $100

Our best AR-15 red dot under $100 is undoubtedly the UTG Red/Green Sight with an Integral Mount. With emerald lens coat on the objective lens and a sharp 4.0 MOA dot size, there’s nothing this red dot can’t do… and what’s more – it’s available at an amazing price. Hard to believe that you can get this red one for under 100 bucks!

Buyers’ Guides and FAQs

What is a Red Dot Sight and What Does it Do?

A red dot sight is a bit of technology that’s designed to help shooters focus on their target. When a shooter is focused on their target and brings their sight into their field of vision, the brain notices a red dot through the lens of the sight.

This essentially means that, no matter your head position, you have a stationary red dot that will remain accurate. Red dots are ideal for high quality target acquisition at around 100 yards’ range use. In short…

The two-fold goal of a red dot sight is to:

  • Help the shooter identify the distance between themselves and the target
  • Utilise focus on the dot to improve accuracy of the eyeline

Here’s how it works:

The way to use a red dot sight effectively is to keep your eyes open, as they operate by using a spherical mirror which reflects light emitted from an LED light of the axis focus. This has a special coat which only reflects red light – it’s a fab bit of technology. Some argue that iron sights are superior to red dot sights, however – so make sure you shop around and do your research to find the best product for you.

Red dot sights are made with no magnification or optical distortion. This is different to lasers – which project a dot onto a target. Red dot sights are different because they are internal – in other words, they allow the shooter to see only the red dot on their own target.

The red dot sight has many advantages over different types of technology; the LED (light emitting diode) used is completely safe for your eyes, whereas a laser could provide strain.

There are three main types of red dots: reflex sight, holographic sight, and laser sight.

What is MOA?

A key specification to hunt for is MOA. This stands for ‘minutes of angle’ and is the measurement for the size of the reticle in red dot optics.

Therefore, a 4 MOA red dot sight provides a larger reticle than a 2 MOA red dot sight. This gives you a greater volume of leeway to compensate for load and range of your firearm – in this case your AR15 – meaning you have a higher chance of target acquisition.

Red Dot Sights versus Scopes

Before you’re absolutely certain you want to search for an affordable red dot sight, it may be worth knowing about the different red dot optics on the market. Hint: there’s a few.

The very first thing to do, however, is to define the key terminology you’ll see cropping up when you search for the best budget material for your AR15.

A sight is an optic without magnification, whereas a scope comes with magnification.

Magnified scopes require you to close one eye in the target acquisition process, therefore causing you to lose situational awareness. Because of the magnification, scopes may be good for accuracy within target acquisition but they certainly lose points for speed. Their main goals are to:

  • Magnify the target
  • Increase the shooter’s line of sight

In contrast, a red dot sight has been proven to be the fastest type of aiming reticle – this means you’ve got the largest probability of a hit on moving targets. If the target moves, a red dot sight will allow you to remain focused. You shoot with both eyes open, meaning you don’t lose out on situational awareness either.

The key differences that a scope would make over a red dot sight are:

  • They’re better for magnified accuracy
  • They’re worse for on-the-go target acquisition of moving targets
  • They have variable power settings for easy adjustment
  • They’re versatile for close and long range shooting situations
  • They’re harder to hit precise moving points – they just make these points larger in the FOV

What’s the Best Brand for Good Cheap Red Dots?

Here, we’ll give you a short lowdown on two of the best brands that you should be looking at in your search for budget red dots.

You might spend ages looking at budget options to take with you to the shooting range for your target practice, but we can assure you that the search is actually very self explanatory. Many brands offer over one hundred products, and at a single click value is never too far away. Make sure you pay attention to a range of features when making your overall choice- especially brand name.


UTG is a sister corporation to Leapers, Inc. and are the manufacturers of at least two products on our top 12 list. They make everything that shooters could possibly need from a low price, from a rifle to a mount. Their website provides lots of user-friendly information so that customers can engage in a hands-on search straight away, asking questions to get an idea of the choices they might want to go for.

In this way, the company clearly has YOU in mind in any case – this is a definite plus when it comes to getting results with reliability. This company also has brilliant terms and conditions of warranty for users who may want the opportunity to return their purchase with ease.

They’re clearly one of the most preferred market options around, matching competitors on numerous levels of high performance with a highly agreeable price point.


This Swiss firearms company also offer a range of shooting components such as a gun at a very reasonable price level. For shooters, there’s nothing better than the durability of this company’s services.

Changing their name from SIGARMS in 2007, the company boasts state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, premium engineering, and just about anything you could think of that you’d need for high performance models. From hunting to casual target practising, you get a consistently high standard with unparalleled design, incredible expertise, world-class firearms knowledge, and an extensive manufacturing capacity.

It’s easy to see why we have so many of this company’s models on our list – they’re clearly one of the best out there, and their variety of guns and sights will make all the difference to any situation, no matter the surroundings or environment.

Choose versatility with this manufacturer – as there’s so much versatility offered in their handguns today. Even their customer service has glowing recommendations – they’re a true all-rounder.

Considerations for Buying the Best Low Cost Red Dot Sight:

Before you embark on your search for a good choice, you’ll want to consider a range of features. Does your chosen gun provide you with premium conditions for windage and elevation? How about having light conditions such as an adjustable brightness setting? Maybe you even want a red dot sight that’s night vision compatible.

Whatever your needs, you want to be able to see in a wide field of view for yards upon yards. This handy guide will help you find the best red dot sights for your price range. Who knows, you might just want an iron sight instead.

Dot/ Reticle Size

The size of the red dot itself is also really key when looking for the best AR-15 red dot sight. Smaller reticles – meaning those with a smaller MOA, like a 3 MOA dot or even a 2 MOA dot, are:

  • Ideal for taking precise shots at longer distances – this is because less area is covered, so the shot is more precise to the target. You have less surrounding area in the dot, so you’re more likely to get a precise ultra shot.
  • Harder to see – while smaller dots are greater for accuracy on moving targets, they’re harder to focus on so you may be less able to see in bright daylight. You might, therefore, want a model with adjustable brightness or light conditions.
  • Less ideal for first-timers – a larger reticle is ideal for newer shooters. However, this can obstruct target view at a longer distance.

The general rule of thumb when buying your models is to look at inches vs yards. For instance, a 1 inch red dot is ideal at 100 yards, thus a 2 inch is ideal at 200 yards, and so on. Of course, dot size is measured in MOA – so this is the key measurement you’ll need to look out for.


Another key element to buying any red dot sight is looking at the battery power, and its convenient access. If you choose a sight with special order batteries that are highly specific and quite fiddly to get in and out, as opposed to readily available batteries that can just be popped in, you’d be at a disadvantage if you can’t easily access the battery area.

Finding the right battery for you is a trade-off between high quality performance and weapon compatibility, and ease of access and convenience.

Battery power is also of the utmost importance – because the juice needs to meet the expectations of how long you want to train or use your weapon for. Most sights will have manufacturer specs for battery type and life, so this will be fairly easy to discern – however make sure you consider this before you make your purchase.

Power consumption can be affected by lighting conditions such as daylight settings, as these illumination settings may give a lower brightness level for higher natural lighting situations.

Tube Shapes and FOV

Your next priority will be to look at what offers you the best field of view. For example, sights with a lens coat will help with image quality and will reduce glare from looking at the sun – this means your accuracy will be greatly improved.

There are two key tube shapes you’ll want to think about:

Tubes look similar to a magnifying scope, and has the advantage of durability. What’s more, on sunny days you have the advantage of adjustable brightness and low light settings to make the red dot more visible for your AR15.

Open sights feature a square viewing window for you to look through. They’re generally lighter and less bulky than tubes, but they don’t go with filters generally. Open sights generally give you more FOV, though this isn’t a massive bonus if you consider you’re keeping both eyes open regardless.

Features and Specs

Now for the fun part! The features and specs of your red light dot may be what most of you are looking forward to. There are a bunch of features that can affect the pricing of your weapons, making for a deal that would suit anybody. A number of features that are key to look out for include the following:

Parallax: Some red dot sights give you the option of a parallax-free feature for your weapon, which you’d mainly prefer. This is because you here have an opportunity for higher accuracy. It’s important to note that no item is ever totally parallax free, no matter what hundreds of websites say, but you can generally be assured that industry standard means your weapons will be parallax-free from 30 yards onwards.

Adjustable Brightness: The intensity of illumination will also affect prices by manipulating the clarity on your device. To make sure you’ve got everything to do the job, you’ll want to see which devices offer you brightness settings that will take your shooting to new heights. Quite a few red dot sights, including holographic sights, will offer low light brightness levels. This may also affect the battery life so make sure you get a breakdown of battery usage to avoid a challenge.

Reticle Configurations: The best cheap option will also come with a range of features that are ideal for your shooting. An ideal red dot should be seen in both daylight and low light rooms. Many come with auto brightness adjustments, which can be handy when you want to monitor intensity settings via a brightness dial.

You’ll want to consider your model’s compatibility with night vision function, which can help you shoot in the dark or even equip you for more grave purposes – such as self defense, Whilst this gives you an edge, it generally comes with a higher price tag.

You’ll also want to consider reticle shape and color, as well as its brightness intensity levels. For instance, some dots come with crosshairs or circles to improve the accuracy of your shooting. Many have an objective lens which is fog proof – to give you the clearest sight picture possible. Even more than this, some come with a red or green dot, to give you more options for your field of view.

Body Size

The size of the red dot sight’s body will greatly help you out when it comes to finding your favorite budget pick. Besides brightness levels and night vision settings, and all the other cool features you could be looking for to get unlimited eye relief, body size is actually one of the most important.

The size of the model may affect the price, and it will also affect how you use the model. While all red dot sights typically perform the same task, no matter which option you choose, your shooting needs might be affected by the types of models you go for.

For example, a smaller handgun or pistol would benefit from a smaller red dot sight – and conversely rifles would benefit from a larger one. While it’s of course, at the end of the day, down to how your models perform and whether they provide value for the price, you don’t want to be stuck with a size that doesn’t work with or for your gun or rifle.


Another brilliant starting point for your target shooting, other than viewing ability or the ability to change lighting condition, has to be the durable nature. You want a model that’s going to last you through a hundred different shooting scenarios – so you’ll want something durable. This is all the more important if you’re purchasing as part of a job for law enforcement, for example.

The reticle styles and MOA adjustment might be important features, and they may in turn affect durability, but thinking about the heavy duty features that would equip your sight for law enforcement or military use is key.

The most durable product types are made by Aimpoint, such as the Aimpoint HT or Aimpoint Pro. You can also find brilliant models for a slightly lower price, such as the UTG 3.8, but be aware that more durable reticle options tend to come at higher prices. Material can also affect durability, as some higher budget red dot sights are made of aircraft grade aluminum, meaning they’re made to last.

If all else fails, make sure the manufacturer will offer a good warranty policy on red dot reticles should you need to make a return. Some come with a multiple year warranty, so you’re covered for a while.


Co-witnessing, or co-witness is a term used to describe the mounting of red dot sights, while keeping iron sights to serve as a back-up.

This isn’t necessary or a must to ensure the best shooting, but it can definitely be helpful when searching for a red dot reticle. A co-witness is a matter of preference which generally comes down to the mount or tube size you use.

If you have a bigger tube, you’ll want to use a lower 1/3 co-witness, which allows you to align the red dot sight higher while iron sights remain at 1/3 of the overall picture.

Otherwise, you can use an absolute co-witness, which aligns rear sight, red dot sight, and front sight on the same line.

About This Expert

Jeff Day