Scopes and Optics

What is a reflex sight used for?

What is a reflex sight used for?

What is a reflex sight used for?

What is a reflex sight used for? The reflex sight was created in 1900 as a better gunsight for pilots and anti-aircraft gunners. It is an optical device that allows the user to look through a partially reflecting glass and see an illuminated aiming point. It has a visual collimator that reflects the image of a reticle on a pane of glass, allowing the shooter’s eye to move in relation to the reticle while maintaining the point of impact. This allows you to achieve faster target acquisition, easier 100 yards shots and gives you the upper hand in low-light situations.

Nowadays, reflex sights have an aiming point that is almost always a red dot projected by an LED, or a red dot encircled by a ring, and are highly durable with extremely long battery life. When the planes of focus found in traditional iron sights are removed, the reflex sight’s single parallax-free virtual projection is always in focus with the target regardless of the user’s head position, making it ideal for shooters of all experience types.


What is a reflex sight used for?


Advantages Of Reflex Sights For Pistols

Shooting in low light environments

It is one of the main advantages of reflex sights. You should refrain from turning your red dot up too much because if it is too bright for the environment, it will blind you completely when you present your gun. You have to know your operating environment beforehand so that you can adjust your dot brightness accordingly.

Threat Focusing

The ability to threat focus is probably the most important upside that you get from a reflex sight, especially if you’re planning to use it for self-defense. These tools allow you to threat focus better.  It is very challenging to aim properly in real-life situations when being threatened by an actual attacker. A reflex sight allows you to ignore other sights and just look on your red dot and it’s right there on the attacker.

Shooting at the distance

Reflex sights are unparalleled when you’re shooting at the distance, especially when compared to iron sights. At 25 yards, your iron sights will almost completely cover the target, making any fine-tuning of your aim difficult. With the reflex sights, however, you will have an unobstructed view of your target. All you need to do is line up the dot and fire.

Shooting on the move

It is much easier to shoot accurately while on the move with the reflex sights.

Better target transition/acquisition

Target acquisition is easier with a reflex sight.


Factors to consider when choosing the best reflex sight for pistol

Red Dot Types

There are three different types of red dots in the market; LED, Tritium and Dual Tritium/LED. The tritium has no battery and hence relies on tritium tubes that have a half-life of about 10 years. Tritium sights can’t pick up the dot in some light conditions hence less reliable than LED dots. The LED sight is more preferred as it will work in all light conditions.

What Does MOA Mean / Stand For?

MOA on your red dot sight refers to the size of the red dot. The bigger the MOA, the bigger the dot. The two most common MOA sizes for red dots are 3 and 6.

Bigger dots/ smaller dots

There is a common fad that a bigger dot is more likely to help you aim and acquire your target faster. This is not true as the bigger dot will not help you acquire your target faster. The main downside of a bigger dot is that they do not allow you to have a precision shot at a distance, as the size of the dot covers up your target preventing you from seeing it.


Best reflex sight for pistol FAQs

  • Should Pistol Red Dots Stay On When Not In Use?

This depends on your preference. If you have a proper dot, it will have an auto-off feature to save battery life when not in use. You can also prefer to keep your red dot on while the pistol is in daily use and turn it off when the pistol is in the safe.

  • How Much Is A Red Dot For A Pistol?

Quality pistol red dots will cost you from approximately $200 to $500+. If you are looking for quality, it is good to avoid anything below 200 dollars.

  • Are Red Dot Sights Parallax Free?

Yes, they are parallax free. Quality red dots are designed to have parallax only at very close ranges, where its effect does not affect your accuracy.

  • What Distance Is A Red Dot Sight Good For?

Red dot sights are good for a maximum of about 100 yards. After 100 yards, your accuracy will depend on the size of the target and the MOA of your dot. Red dots have no magnification hence are ideal for mid-range shooting, and are less effective over longer ranges.

  • Are Red Dots On Pistols Worth It?

Yes. Red Dots on pistols are worth it when you are interested in better accuracy, especially over medium and long-range distances. You will not have to change focal planes with a red dot as with iron sights.  With practice, using a red dot sight helps to improve the accuracy of your shots.



Reflex sights offer what any hunter or shooter wishes for when out in the field; precision, accuracy, and fast target acquisition. It is never a matter of price but the quality you get. This is why you should consider going for the more legit brands that tend to be more pricey but with numerous features to make your shooting a snap.


See Also: Should I put a Red Dot On My Turkey Gun?

               What Should I look For In a Red Dot Sight?