Scopes and Optics

Should I Put a Scope or Red Dot on My AR?

Should I Put a Scope or Red Dot on my AR?

Should I put a scope or red dot on my ar?

Let us first understand what a red dot is.

Red dot- Just as the name suggests, a red dot is an optic with an LED dot in the center. The dot can either be green or red. Its size is measured in MOA. At the front of the LED, there is an aperture hole that controls its size. There are bigger dots that can be seen easily but are ideal for short-range applications while the smaller dot is ideal for moderate ranges. 


Should I Put a Scope or Red Dot on my AR?


What are some of its advantages? for starters, the reticle is a simple reticle, secondly, it is parallax-free and light. The biggest advantage a red dot has over a scope is the fact that with a red dot, you can use it with your eyes open. This is ideal especially if you are shooting at close-range or close-quarter combat (CQB). Additionally, they are easy to adjust. 

Advantages of a red dot

  • It is easy to adjust
  • Excellent performance on close-range applications
  • Ideal for beginners
  • You can use it with your eyes open
  • Lighter than a scope in most instances


A scope is an optic that is capable of sighting far away targets just by “zooming in” on them.

Should I Put a Scope or Red Dot on my AR?

They have more power with modern reticles and allow you to easily take down a target from extended distances. They are good at engaging targets at close-range, medium-range, and long-range. 

Advantages of A Scope

  • They come with more power
  • Have advanced reticles
  • Ideal for hunting medium-range to long-range
  • Low powered variable optics (LVPO) are as good as red dots


Cons for Each Sight

Red Dot Cons

Red dots are very good for short-range engagements. They offer more accuracy and precision. However, that is a problem. If you want to shoot at medium-range or long-range a red dot by itself won’t do. You can choose to attach a magnifier for it to work, but that comes at an extra cost. 

The second problem with a red dot is astigmatism. This is a problem with the eyes that has the potential to affect the use of a red dot. What usually happens is, if you have this biological eye problem you’ll see the red dots as a blurry shape you can’t quite make out. This might mean you will not be able to use a red dot.

Scope Cons

With a scope, the speed at which you acquire your target at short range might be lower compared to when using a red dot. A scope can also be heavier than a red dot in some instances. 

With that said, a scope offers much more freedom than a red dot. In fact, a low-powered scope can easily perform better than a red dot for short-range applications.


So Which One Is Better?

The simple answer is: it depends on what you use your optic for.

If you mostly use your sights for close-range applications, <50 yards then a red dot is better. It is easier to use, has faster target acquisition, and is sometimes even lighter.

If you mostly do mid-range to long-range shooting, then a variable scope is better. It is better suited for taking such shots with accuracy and precision



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