U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- Red Dot Sights have become very popular and it's easy to see why. They eliminate the skill, coordination, and eyesight needed to properly align sights and provide a quicker way to engage a target. Though the basic technology is the same there are dozens of options available ranging in both price and quality. Over the last couple of years I've had the opportunity to try quite a few and noticed that price or popularity is not always the best indicator of quality. Another observation about red dot / reflex sights is that of all the specifications we try to make our purchasing decision on it is impossible to judge one of the most important factors from a spec sheet; what does the view and dot look like.
In attempt to bring some clarity to the issue I've lined up eight sights of varying price and quality in front of a camera with targets chosen for their visual characteristics. What I looked for were targets that featured varying colors of red, grey, white, and black; the colors we most often encounter on paper and steel targets. With the optic on and in front of the camera I attempted to show the visual qualities of each sight. The video is below followed by a brief description of each of the eight optics.
Where possible specifications can be found below as taken from the manufacturer's product pages. Commentary is also provided on each optic. Many of these optics can be found on Optics Planet where the code, “GBGuns” will save you an additional 5%. This is not an affiliate code, no profit is gained from your use of the code.
I had never heard of ADE Advanced Optics before our recent review of the EAA GiRSAN MC-28. These sights are very budget-friendly and can be found on Amazon for around $50. I was hesitant to trust and unknown brand but knew there had to be something to them when the optic came equipped on a pistol with a warranty. So far no issues have been found and we've been pleased with the performance.
- Waterproof/Shock/Fog Resistant. Lenses are precision ground and polished to exacting geometries to virtually eliminate parallax and to provide a very clear, crisp sight picture.
- Lenses are precision ground and polished to exacting geometries to virtually eliminate parallax and to provide a very clear, crisp sight picture
- Fully windage and elevation adjustable and lockable; Unlimited Eye Relief
- 5 MOA. 5 Illumination Settings
- We have made several improvements since it's initial release in 2016. We have made it more durable to withstand various recoil and improved the ability to hold zero. Designed in Oregon.
- Powered by a lithium CR2032 battery(Included)
- Ade Advanced Optics model RD3-006, RD3-009, RD3-012, RD3-013, RD3-015 are designed to fit the slide/footprint of mounting plate made for Vortex Venom, Burris Fastfire, Meopta, Docter, Insight, Eotech MRDS
- UPC 710500199165
The Burris Fastfire line has been around for a few years now. Simplicity and reliability have kept this optic on top of my Walther Q5 Match through thousands of rounds. Even the product page admits a variable MSRP of $239-251. Posted specs are a bit slim, part of what can make choosing an optic difficult.
“The FastFire 2 provides a 4-MOA red dot. Its automatic brightness sensor adjusts to your environment, so you can keep slamming targets.”
Featuring Nikon's excellent glass and a window shape more in line with the way we view the world the Spur has been a favorite though has unfortunately been discontinued. A unique footprint effectively limits applications to pic-rail mounting.
- Weight: 1.1 oz
- Overall Length: 1.8 in
- Adjustment Graduation – Other: 1
- Matte Finish: Yes
Osprey Global RSMR
Osprey Global was a brand new to me until a trade show this year. Multi-color, multi-reticle optics have been gimmicks in the past, but the glass clarity on the RSMR inspired me to take a chance. I haven't yet tested to see if the zero remains accurate between red and green, or any of the four reticle choices. We used this optic on the ATI GSG-16 .22lr where it performed well. Time will tell if durability or repeat-ability are true, but so far so good and the lifetime warranty is comforting. In keeping with industry traditions specifications are minimal. Fortunately one of their vendors had more detail
- Tubeless design with 33mm reflex lens aperture provides a wide field of view, suitable for rapid-firing or shooting of moving targets besides normal shooting.
- Multi-reticle 4 patterns or Variable Dot are installed.
- Parallax corrected and unlimited eye-relief.
- Allen head screw type windage and elevation click adjustments, with locking screw.
- Built-in mount (integrated rail) for standard bases, no need to rezero when mounting the dismounted sight.
- Very light weight, waterproof and shockproof.
- Low power consumption for long battery life
My ownership of a Redfield Accelerator came as the result of a Redfield scope of mine going in for warranty. The good folks of Leupold (who own Redfield) told me the scope had been discontinued and so they offered me a store credit. The accelerator remains in action, but has unfortunately been discontinued.
SIG Sauer Romeo 3
The Romeo 3 offers a large and natural-feeling window. An optic of this size fits wells on AR pistols, rifles, or shotguns. A riser is included in the package. This is a recent acquisition from Optics Planet but has served well. Multiple models are available. The 1x25mm option is what was demonstrated in the video.
- 3 MOA Dot
- Weight: 1.4oz
- Length: 60mm
- Height: 42mm with low profile mount
- 9 Illumination settings
- 5,000 hour run time.
Sightmark Mini Shot M Spec
The Sightmark Mini Shot M Spec came as a real surprise to me. I had heard of the brand in the past, but never anything positive. Things have changed. This is the optic that replaced my Trijicon RMR. For me it was an easy choice with a larger window, clearer glass, and sharper dot at a fraction of the price. This optic was used in our review of the Walther Q5 Match Steel Frame. They did their homework in creating the Mini Shot M Spec and in posting specifications.
The Trijicon RMR, Ruggedized Miniture Reflex Sight is largely responsible for the adaptation of such sight designs. So much so that many use the term, “RMR” for any miniature reflex sight. Three main and dozens of sub options are available. Over the years Trijicon has continued to advance these little optics and remains dominant in the industry. Were I to use a sight on a carry gun it would likely be the RMR for its diminutive size and trusted reliability. For range sessions however the glass is a bit dim and window small. These are undoubtedly either a sign of my optic's aged design, or the consequences of making a sight so small and tough.
- Length x Width x Height: 1.8 in x 1.1 in x 1 in (45.72mm x 27.94mm x 25.4mm)
- Weight: 1.2 oz. (34.02g)
- Magnification: 1x
- Reticle Pattern: 3.25 MOA Dot
- Day Reticle Color: Red
- Night Reticle Color: Red
- Bullet Drop Compensating (BDC): No
- Bindon Aiming Concept (BAC): No
- Illumination Source: LED
- Power Source: 1 CR2032 Lithium Battery
- Battery Life: Up to 2 years of typical use*, up to 5 years in dark storage. *When used at 70ºF (21ºC). Extreme temperatures (high or low) will affect lithium battery performance.
- Adjustment: 1 MOA Per Click
- Mount: Not Included
- Housing Material: Forged Aluminum
- Finish: Matte Black
About Graham Baates
“Graham Baates” is a pen name used by a 15-year active Army veteran who spent most of his time in the tactical side of the Intelligence community including tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. Post-Army Graham spent some time in the local 3-Gun circuit before becoming a full-time NRA Certified defensive handgun instructor and now works as an industry writer while curating a YouTube channel on the side. Visit Graham on Youtube .