What Should I look For In a Red Dot Sight?
What Should I look For in a Red Dot Sight? This is a question many beginners ask as they get into precision shooting and hunting. Red dot sights are the ideal sights to use when working on your accuracy.
What is a red dot sight? in simple terms, a red dot is an optic that comes with a single LED dot at the center. It uses a projected reticle as a device for aiming. This means their eye relief distance is not set as you find in a rifle scope. If you were to choose between a red dot sight or an iron sight, get a red dot as it delivers a cleaner and clearer sight picture compared to iron sights.
With a high hit percentage at close range compared to iron sights, a red dot sight is used by many professionals like the military on small arms. The larger the dot the quicker you can find your target and hit it. It is a great optic for turkey hunting or even deer hunting.
What Should I look For In a Red Dot Sight?
With the market flooded with so many models of red dots, it can feel overwhelming to find just the right one. Here are some of the factors you can consider to help you narrow down your choices.
Design of the Red dot
Red dot sights come in either “open” style or “closed” style. The open design which is also known as the window design is where a single lens is placed in front of the emitter. It is called the window design for using a window-shaped square. On the other hand, the “closed” style red dot also known as tube, comes with the lens incorporated behind the emitter with everything housed in an enclosed tube.
Both of these designs have their own advantages and disadvantage. For example, the open style red dots deliver a better scope of vision and are generally lighter but one of their drawbacks is that they are more exposed to foreign elements hence can damage easily. The tube design offers better protection of the interiors hence lasts longer but they deliver a narrow scope of vision in comparison to open design red dots.
Choose the design you want based on your needs.
Red dots come in different sizes. It is important to consider which weapon you want to mount it on. For instance, your rifle will do well with a large red dot while a handgun will work well with a small-sized red dot. Even though the point is how well the sight performs, the size also matters. It is important to marry the correct weapon with the correct size of the red dot.
Size of Reticle
Reticles in a red dot do not appear sharp or defined like they would in a rifle scope. They may even appear different from eye to eye and person to person. The dots may appear fuzzy a bit and it is normal. So as you are looking for a red do sight, finding a reticle with a crisp outline should not be on your list.
The smallest dot on the market is 1 MOA. Most red dots come with 4 MOA which simply means the area the dot covers, For example, 4MOA means the dot covers 4 inches at 100 yards or 8 inches at 200 yards.
If you will be working on precision shooting using a red dot, a smaller reticle is ideal, especially for longer distances. This is because it covers a smaller area. On the flip side, a small-sized reticle is hard to see in daylight when it’s bright. A large reticle is easier to see but it can block the target view at extended distances. In summary, large reticles are ideal for fast acquisition of targets while small reticles are ideal for precision shooting.
Another aspect of red dots you should be aware of is the fact that they are battery-powered. Battery power is also drained by cold weather which means having backup batteries is strongly recommended in such weather especially if you are hunting. The good news is, batteries for red dot sights usually have a long battery life so you do not need to keep turning them off when not in use and on every time you need to use. However, they do eventually die so it’s highly recommended that you replace the batteries regularly depending on your usage. For instance, if a red dot sight has a battery life of 10,000 hours which is like 5 years, then you can replace the battery after every two years or every year depending on how frequently you use the sight.
With technology ever-evolving, we now have prismatic red dot sights. They come with etched reticles which allows them to be used without batteries. They come with fixed power magnification like 1X or 5x and if you find red dots hard to use due to issues with your eyes like astigmatism, these sights offer a good substitute
Another important factor to consider is how easy it is to access the batteries. How readily available are they? if you choose a red dot that uses special batteries then it might be difficult to find them when you need to replace them. On the flip side, if a red dot sight uses “special batteries” but comes with higher performance or marries well with your weapon of choice then you can decide which is more important to you, ease of battery access, or the performance of the sight.
Red Dot Vs Green Dot
Originally, sights came in red reticles only. However, in today’s market, we have green reticles and reticles in other colors. The main difference comes down to which one you prefer. Generally, a green reticle is easily seen in daylight while a red reticle is great for low light. Green reticles can offer better battery life during the day compared to a red reticle as it does not need to be so bright.
Red dots are easy-to-use optics that are ideal for close-range targets and precision shooting. Beginners and experienced shooters all benefit from owning one or two red dot sights. This guide helps you narrow down your options to get the best red dot sight the market has to offer.
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