A gun is only as good as its owner, but even the most skilled shooters need optics to boost their accuracy and hit targets precisely during target shooting competitions, on hunts, or even in self-defense situations.

While rifle scopes are great for hitting more distant targets, red dot sights are flexible and versatile optical attachments you can add to handguns, rifles, and everything in between. While they don’t magnify your sight picture, red dot sights can help you hit your targets more consistently than before.

Not sure where to start? This guide will break down the five best red dot sights you can purchase in 2022 – let’s get started!

 

What is a Red Dot Sight and Why Do You Need One?

Red dot sights are accessory optics you can attach to the frames of handguns, rifles, and shotguns. These optics can offer several key benefits, including:

  • The ability to co-witness with iron sights, allowing you to use both sights simultaneously or in conjunction with one another
  • Aiming assistance. By painting a red dot at your bullet’s likely point of impact, you’ll be more accurate when trying to hit distant or moving targets compared to if you just used iron sights
  • High eye relief. Most red dot sights stand no chance of injuring your eye or orbital bone even if you mount them on a high recoil rifle
  • The fact that they let you keep both eyes open while sighting in to your target
  • Their lack of parallax; a red dot optic remains on target no matter where you move your head

Red dot optics can be beneficial to hunters, particularly those who take down game at short-range distances (think sub 100 yards). But it can also be great for varmint hunting, property defense, target shooting, and anything else.

In many ways, red dot sights are the most versatile optics you can add to your arsenal. That being said, red dot sights don’t magnify your sight picture, so you can’t use them to hit targets far in the distance like a scope.

 

What to Look for in a Red Dot Sight

Of course, before you purchase a red dot sight for your pistol or rifle, you’ll need to know what to look for. Different red dot sights are made for different users, gun types, or specific needs. With that in mind, keep these major factors in mind as you shop.

 

Optimal Red Dot Size

Red dot sights can have different sizes for their red dot reticles. The red dot is usually sized in MOAs or minutes of angle. Lots of shooters prefer red dots with bigger sizes, as these help you aim at targets that are closer up. However, keep in mind that your red dot size can cover up your target if you are trying to hit smaller or more distant targets.

Typically, a red dot size of between 3 and 6.5 MOA is ideal for most engagements. Many of the best red dot optics have controls that allow you to adjust the size of the red dot in the field; these are obviously ideal thanks to their versatility.

 

Illumination Type and Intensity

Next, consider the type of illumination a red dot sight provides. Most red dot sights come with a few different options for illumination: LED illumination, tritium lamp illumination, or a mix between the two.

Tritium lamp illumination is usually superior since it uses tritium phosphorescent lamps. This way, the red dot sight doesn’t need batteries. The sights should last for about 10 years. The downside to these lamps, on the other hand, is that they can’t create their red dots if you use the sight in lowlight conditions.

LED red dot sights can be used anywhere, but you will have to replace the batteries from time to time. Either illumination method can work, but it’s up to you to determine which is best for your needs. You can also try to find a red dot optic with a dual-LED/tritium lamp illumination method, which allows you to switch between the two depending on your current needs.

 

Open or Tube Design

You’ll also want to think about the design of the red dot sight. Tubular red dot optics resemble more traditional rifle scopes and can often be partnered with magnifiers or night vision scopes to boost your weapon platform’s range and accuracy at a distance.

Open-design red dot sights are often much better for handgun platforms or for smaller rifles. They keep your sight picture relatively open, offering less range of assistance for more versatility. Again, either of these red dot models can work; it all depends on what you need out of your optic and what type of weapon you are pairing it with.

 

Durability

Lastly, always make sure that any red dot optic you purchase is built to last. The best sights should be weatherproof and made with durable materials like aircraft-grade aluminum or stainless steel. Cheap, fragile red dot sights are not usually worth your time and money as you’ll have to replace them relatively soon after purchasing.

 

The Best Red Dot Sights of 2022

1. Aimpoint Patrol Rifle Optic

 

One of the best red dot sights on the market is undoubtedly this optic from Aimpoint. Called the “PRO” or Patrol Rifle Optic, it’s a sight ideally suited for larger rifle platforms due to its size and weight, which is 11.6 ounces.

There’s a lot to like here, such as its matte black finish and its detachable spacer; this will allow you to co-witness the red dot optic with your standard iron sights, especially on AR-15-style weapons. Also nice is the integrated “rail-grabber” mount. This includes oversized knobs that allow you to quickly mount the optic on any Picatinny rail system.

Perhaps most important of all, this non-magnifying red dot sight is ready at all times. It comes with a battery you just need to quickly slot into place, and it’ll last for 30,000 hours in total before needing to be replaced.

Illumination and Night Vision Compatibility

That’s not all. The Aimpoint PRO also comes with 10 different brightness settings for its red dot optic, four of which are compatible with night vision scopes or devices. This makes the red dot optic one of the best for all light levels and outdoor environmental conditions.

Pros:

  • Comes with 10 brightness settings
  • Can be used with night vision devices or co-witness with iron sights
  • Built to last with durable materials
  • Very easy to mount on your rifle
  • Excellent battery life overall

Cons:

  • A bit expensive compared to others
  • Not suitable for handguns at all

The Final Verdict

The Aimpoint PRO red dot sight is one of the best on the market. While it is a little pricier than average, its ease-of-use, advanced illumination features, and long battery life make it well worth the asking price if you want something you can rely on in any environment.

 

  • Price: $445.00
  • Rectal: 2 MOA Dot

2. Sig Sauer Romeo5

Sig Sauer’s Romeo5 red dot sight is an affordable and effective piece of equipment for budget-minded shooters. Not only is it one of the most affordable yet still high-quality red dot sights on the market, but it’s also low weight: just 5.10 ounces in total.

We also really like that this optic’s parallax is extremely low. Your point of aim will almost always be the point of impact, and the red dot stays parallel to your firearm’s bore. As a result, you’ll be able to use this red dot optic for handguns, light rifles, and larger firearms alike.

The battery, while not the longest-lasting in the industry (just 450 hours on the highest brightness setting), can easily be installed in the optic via a sideloading window. Thus, you can replace the battery very quickly if necessary.

It’s also a relatively durable red dot optic, as it is waterproof and rated for total water immersion down to 1 atm of depth.

Motion-Activated Illumination

The Romeo5 uses proprietary MOTAC technology; the red dot automatically powers up when it moves and powers down to save energy when you stop moving for a few minutes. Add to that, 10 illumination settings in total, two of which are suitable for night vision devices, and you’ve got a quality illuminated red dot optic through and through.

Pros:

  • Has motion-activated illumination technology
  • Two brightness settings for night vision
  • Very affordable
  • Reasonably durable and waterproof

Cons:

  • Battery life could be better

The Final Verdict

The Romeo5 red dot sight is an excellent, budget-friendly, and durable piece of equipment suitable for hunters or target shooters. Its motion-activated illumination feature is particularly notable given its low asking price.

  • Price: $119.99
  • Rectal: 2 MOA Dot

3. Trijicon RMR Type 2 Reflex Sight

 

Trijicon’s RMR Type 2 reflex sight is a red dot optic powered by a standard battery. This LED optic is not the most affordable on the market, but it comes with 8 distinct and useful brightness settings along with several different exterior finish choices.

You can choose anodized black or “cerakote” finishes for added durability or aesthetic preferences, plus pick from a few colors, like “sniper gray” and “flat dark earth”. No matter what, the optic’s primary components are housed in lightweight yet durable forged aluminum. We also really like that this is one of the few red dot optics that come with adjusters for both windage and elevation (though these require tools to adjust).

Adjustable Reticle

Even better is the RMR’s adjustable reticle. You can make it larger or smaller depending on your preferences. It also comes with an integrated automatic mode, which sets the optic to the brightness setting most appropriate for your ambient light level.

Pros:

  • Has windage and elevation adjusters
  • Reticle can be adjusted as well
  • Several finishes and colors to choose from
  • Very durable and lightweight housing

Cons:

  • Expensive

The Final Verdict

Overall, the Trijicon RMR Type 2 red dot optic is an adaptive and versatile choice. While expensive, it may be worthwhile if you want a tactical red dot sight that will suit you well when moving from indoor to outdoor environments frequently.

  • Price: $489.99
  • Rectal: 1.0 MOA Dot

4. Holosun HS510C Reflex Sight

 

The Holosun HS510C Reflect Sight is a red dot optic designed for longevity and lowlight functionality above all else. For starters, it comes with an adjustable reticle that can be swapped between a 65 MOA circle, a 2 MOA dot, and several other options just by pressing a button.

It’s a zero-less reticle since the LED light projects all reticles perfectly, and the optic is totally parallax-free. The battery lasts for about 50,000 hours on average and everything is packaged in a lightweight, durable aluminum and titanium hood. The HS510C only weighs 8.3 ounces, making it suitable for handgun or rifle mounting depending on your needs.

Solar Cell and Backup Battery

This optic may be one of the best red dot sights for use in the field thanks to its solar cell. The solar cell automatically collects sunlight from the environment to recharge the battery under normal circumstances. But the optic also comes with an additional backup battery that ensures it’ll work for a long time to come, even in lowlight conditions.

Pros:

  • Comes with a solar cell and backup battery
  • Several red dot reticle choices
  • Excellent durability and low weight
  • Good battery life overall

Cons:

  • Can feel a little loose compared to other optics

The Final Verdict

The HS510C is very affordable with plenty of features providing a lot of optic for the money. It’s perfect to use on all types of carbines, and even shotguns could be equipped with such an optic.

 

  • Price: $309.99
  • Rectal: 2 MOA Dot

5. Vortex Venom Red Dot VMD-3103

 

Last but not least is Vortex’s Venom Red Dot. This red dot optic is reasonably affordable (though it’s not the cheapest overall), but more importantly, it can be used for pistols, shotguns, and rifles alike thanks to its small size and low weight. It offers a single 3 MOA red dot reticle style, which can help you acquire and hit your target quickly.

The included CR 1632 battery can quickly be loaded from the top, allowing you to swap batteries very quickly in the field – this also means you never need to remove the optic when changing its power source. Also included are a set of power and dot intensity controls, which allow you to change the brightness and size of the optic when needed.

All told, this optic only weighs 1.6 ounces in total, including the Picatinny mount it comes with.

Multi-Coated Lenses

Additionally, the Venom red dot optic comes with multicoated lenses. These not only increased light transmission and boost your sight picture, but they ensure long-term durability for the lenses by protecting them against dirt or debris damage.

Pros:

  • Extremely lightweight and easy to mount
  • Can be used with any type of firearm
  • Made of durable aluminum
  • Has multi-coated lenses
  • Very easy to switch out the battery

Cons:

  • Not fully weatherproof

The Final Verdict

All in all, the Vortex Venom red dot sight is a lightweight, durable, and effective optic overall. We’d highly recommend it if you want something reliable and easy to integrate with your firearm.

 

  • Price: $249.99
  • Rectal: 3 MOA Dot

6. Leupold DeltaPoint Pro Reflex

 

The Leupold DeltaPoint Pro Reflex proves that performance doesn’t need to be sacrificed, even for small sights. The DeltaPoint Pro’s large field-of-view, crystal-clear glass and rugged aluminum housing ensure that it can withstand the most severe conditions. Leupold also made it easy to use this elite red dot sight. The DP Pro can be used on pistol sights as well as shotguns and AR’s.

This Leupold DeltaPoint Pro 2.5 MOA Dot reflex sight features DiamondCoat, dual use, motion sensor technology, extended battery life, locking adjustment system, tool-less spring actuated battery compartment, removable adjustable rear sight, lightweight aluminum housing, shrouded in rugged spring steel, and a 100% waterproof, fog proof construction.

Pros:

  • Extremely lightweight and easy to mount
  • Can be used with any type of firearm
  • Housing made of durable aluminum
  • Has multi-coated lenses
  • Very easy to switch out the battery
  • Wide window lens

Cons:

  • Motion sensor optic keeps the sight on when driving.

The Final Verdict

The Leupold DeltaPoint Pro red dot sight is top-notch. It’s much more affordable than the Trijicon RMR for its price. The large lens window and easy access to the top battery make it an extremely user-friendly optic.

The motion sensor technology is also a benchmark for optics in the marketplace. This is a great sight for rifles and pistols, use if you love Leupold products.

  • Price: $449.99
  • Rectal: 2.5 MOA Dot

7. Burris FastFire 3

Tha Burris FastFire III includes a tactile pushbutton power swich with three controllable levels of brightness, plug an automatic brightness setting. Battery access from top lets you change the battery without removing the sight from the gun

Low battery indicator and automatic power shutoff after 8 hours help keep you from running out of power at the wrong time. Windage and elevation adjustments can be made quickly with a coin- no special tool needed – with a 3° (190″ at 100 yards) adjustment range. Available with 3 or 8 MOA dot, with or without quick-attach/detach Picatinny mount (also fits Weaver rails).

Pros:

  • Comes with everything you need to attach it to a picatinny rail
  • Low profile
  • User friendly
  • Lightweight & accurate

Cons:

  • Doesn’t turn itself on and off automatically
  • Battery tray hard to access

The Final Verdict

There is definitely a market for affordable optics such as the FastFire 3 in combination with multi-optic-ready firearms such as the Smith & Wesson MOS and Smith & Wesson CORE series.

  • Price: $229.99
  • Rectal: 3 MOA Dot

 

8. Primary Arms SLx MD-25

 

Primary Arms is a major retailer of firearms and firearms accessories, so it’s no surprise they make their own optics. Primary Arms SLx MD-25 has earned a reputation for reliability, innovation and value. To best serve you in every environment, all SLx optics are subject to rigorous field testing during production.

The SLx MD-25 features super bright daytime illumination, a battery life of up to 50,000 hours, a next generation ruggedized mount, and comes with 11 brightness settings, two of which are for night vision.

It measures 25mm in size, which puts it between microdots of 20 mm (typically), and full-size red dots with a 30mm lens.

The knob that controls the illumination settings is located on the left side of the optics tube, and is quite large. The illumination knob also serves as the battery compartment, which explains its large size. It might take some time to get used to the MD 25 sight if your trying to aim around the knob and it’s in the way of your line of sight.

Pros:

  • Wide field of view
  • 5+ years battery life at medium setting
  • 11 brightness settings including 2 night settings
  • Affordable price

Cons:

  • Large illumination knob may obstruct line of sight

The Final Verdict

Primary Arms SLx MD25 red dot sight is a great value for the money. The features are numerous, the image quality is excellent, as well as the crispness of the 2 MOA dot.

  • Price: $169.99
  • Rectal: 2 MOA Dot

9. Bushnell Trophy 1×25 TRS-25

 

Non-magnifying (1x), sight offers the advantages of red dot sighting that is fast and accurate. It also has the durability of Bushnell-quality optics, which are waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof. Bright red 3 MOA dots provide precise, both-eyes-open shooting that will get you on target quickly without sacrificing accuracy.

The eleven position rheostat allows you to adjust the brightness to suit your shooting conditions. The control knob for brightness adjustment is easy to use. AmberBright™ multi-coated optics offer a crisp, clear sight picture. Unlimited eye relief makes it easy to get on target quickly. Adaptable for rifle, shotgun, or handgun use. Available with built-in low-profile Picatinny/Weaver-style (Lo-Pro) mount.

Pros:

  • Waterproof and shockproof construction
  • Great battery life
  • Solid build
  • Good quality for low price

Cons:

  • Bulky design is not optimal for mounting on a pistol
  • No auto-shutoff feature

The Final Verdict

The Bushnell TRS-25 red dot sight is a great value for under $100. At that price, you can always upgrade later and use it for a spare.

  • Price: $99.99
  • Rectal: 3 MOA Dot

Conclusion

In the end, any of the above five red dot optics could be a great choice for your needs – it all depends on your experience level, your budget, and what you need in a sight most of all. Consider your options carefully and remember what we mentioned in the buyer’s guide. By following that guidance, you’ll be sure to pick up the red dot optic perfect for your firearm. Good hunting out there!