Why are red dot sights so Expensive?

Most gun owners will tell you that red dots, when compared with the less expensive iron sights, make for a better shooting experience by allowing for a faster target detection and overall ease of use. However, with this improved experience comes an increased price tag.

Let’s begin by explaining what a red dot sight is. In simple terms, it’s a mechanism that provides you with a holographic target. This is done by a LED reflecting off of an angled piece of glass, creating a bright, focused red dot at the point where you are aiming it.

3 Reasons Why Red Dot Sights are so Expensive 

There are three main factors which are behind the high price point of these optics: the glass, the durability, and the battery power.

1. The glass

First up, the glass used in the manufacturing of these optics must be capable of providing a great deal of clarity, a controlled reflection, and must be highly durable in its build quality.

Not all glass will be equal in terms of its quality and one of the biggest drivers of an optic’s cost comes from the glass itself. Quality glass will be scratch-resistant, crisp, and will have minimal distortion so that the sight picture seen through it is true to real life.

2. Durability

Secondly, the optic must be designed to withstand a huge amount of force when attached to a weapon. Cheap red dots are unlikely to have as long of a lifespan when compared with those that are more expensive.

One that doesn’t possess a metal body is almost guaranteed to last a shorter amount of time than those that are made from aluminum, so make sure to look into what sort of materials are used in the product’s construction.

Similarly, it helps to ensure that the optic has a waterproofing housing.  You may have noticed that many of the cheaper models only feature a minimal amount of sealing to protect it from wet weather conditions; this is likely to still accumulate moisture and make it difficult to use effectively.

As a general rule, each product is going to be priced according to its quality. If an optic is unusually inexpensive, then it’s probably because it isn’t as good quality and it just isn’t built to last. Those with a higher price tag tend to be much more effective and durable, making them better value for your money in the long run.

3. Battery

The third factor which contributes to an increased cost is the battery. The importance you place upon the battery’s capacity will come down to how you intend on using your optic. If you use firearms in your backyard as a hobby then it’s unlikely that the life of the battery will be an overly important factor and so you may be able to save on money by choosing a model that doesn’t boast an impressively long battery life. If, on the other hand, you are a police officer, then you’re going to want an optic with an extended battery life.

Having an optic which only requires readily available batteries, such as the AA batteries you’d find at your local store, is also a good move. If you choose a model with a highly specific battery type, ones that are tricky to get hold of, then it’s going to be a nuisance getting yourself set up.

This leads us on to the more general, additional features which may or may not be important to you. If you enjoy spending the day out in the back country with fellow competition shooters then it’s less likely that night vision will be of benefit to you, and you may instead prefer an optic that is compatible with a magnifier. How you plan on using your device will determine the specifications you need from it.

In short, if you’re looking to purchase a high quality optic, one that is durable and built to last, then it will inevitability come in at a higher price.


To give you some more insight into this topic, we have answered some of the most frequently asked questions below.

Are red dot sights accurate?

The addition of a red dot sight will increase how accurate you are when it comes to hitting a target. Dependent upon what type of weapon you’re using, having an optic will modify the overall accuracy of your firearm and you’ll be able to detect and target with more precision than if you were not using one at all.

Proven to be better than iron sights in terms of how accurate they are, these optics are certainly the best choice. As an added bonus, you’ll be able to use it with both eyes open comfortably as they do not feature magnification.

What is a red dot sight good for?

Attached to firearms to provide the user with a clear aim, a red illuminated point acts as a defined target. The tactical design makes these optics ideal for providing simplicity in targeting, aiming, and shooting AR15’s. Here is a review on the Best Budget Red Dot Sights For AR15.

How much should I spend on a red dot sight?

When you’re choosing the best sight for you, remember that the price is a solid indicator of its quality. A 50 dollar model is unlikely to withstand a great deal of recoil. The most durable dot sights are going to fall in the several hundred dollar range and, of course, brand name will play a big role in this too.

What is the difference between red dots and reflex sights?

Red dots are a general term used to describe a number of devices which employ a red dot while aiming. A reflex sight is a specific form of dot sight; it contains a dot and uses a lens which functions a lot like a mirror, allowing you to see the aiming point through a small window. Well-suited to the average rifle user, the user’s head can be in any position with both eyes open and they are also particularly easy to use in acquiring targets, despite not being magnified.

Full-time writer. Blogger. Dedicated wife. Mother of 3 amazing kids. I love learning about everything from the latest tech gadgets, innovative new home designs and can be found regularly reading up on parenting tips. There is always room to grow!

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