Gear, Parts and Accessories

Top 10 Red Dot Sights for Your Rifle or Pistol

Red Dot Sights Home Defense

Red dots seem to be the talk of the town on any given day, but especially around the holiday season. While there are dozens more that I could mention as great alternatives, here are my recommendations for the top red dot sights for both pistols and rifles.

Red Dot Sights for Pistols

Trijicon RMR Type 2

Trijicon RMR Type 2 red dot sight left quartering
Considered by many to be the “gold standard” of red dots, the RMR Type 2 is on the pricey side. However, the author noted that he has never heard someone complain about the purchase afterward.

The Trijicon RMR Type 2 is widely recognized as one of the best red dots in the industry. As such, it has some features that you won’t find in others, but also carries a hefty price tag for the features. The RMR Type 2 is available in a few different MOAs, with 3.25 MOA being the best seller. The RMR Type 2 has several brightness levels. It is waterproof and night vision compatible. There aren’t many features that you’ll be wishing you had with this one, since it has almost all of them.

Vortex Venom

Vortex Venom red dot sight right quartering
The Vortex Venom is a great value for the average shooter. If you train with night vision however, you may want to look elsewhere.

The Vortex Venom red dot has really grown in popularity lately, and for good reasons. It’s a more affordable option without sacrificing many of the important features. Available in 3 or 6 MOA, with a long battery life of up to 30,000 hours on the lowest brightness. The lifetime warranty leaves you confident that you can essentially shoot forever and never worry. However, if you shoot with night vision, users have said that this one is going to be too bright, even on the lowest setting.

Holosun HS507C – x2

Holosun HS507c red dot sight left profile
Holosun’s Solar Failsafe technology gives extra peace of mind for those who rely solely on the red dot for aiming.

The Holosun HS507C – x2 was the first red dot I ever used, and it remains one of my favorites to this day. You can really feel how sturdy it is, without it being too bulky. It has a nice 2 MOA dot and features a multi-reticle system. A nice feature is adjustability of the HS507C – x2. You can change the reticle, color, and intensity. My favorite feature is Holosun’s Solar Failsafe technology to keep you up and running if your battery ever fails. “Better safe than sorry,” I always say.

Burris Fastfire III

Burris Red Dot Sight left quartering
Affordable yet reliable, the Burris Fastfire III is a great starter red dot.

Likely to be found at the lowest price point out of this pistol group, the Burris Fastfire III still does not exude “cheap.” I wanted to include this for those that are concerned with budget. It’s typically found with a 3 MOA dot, is still waterproof, boasts a long battery life and has an auto-shutoff feature. Backed with a lifetime warranty, it delivers solid bang for the buck.

Aimpoint ACRO P-1

Aimpoint ACRO red dot sight
The ACRO P-1 is a versatile red dot that can take a beating in many conditions.

I’ve seen the ACRO P-1 on both pistols and rifles, but it was developed for use on pistols. It’s built like a tank, being rated for extreme temperatures and is submersible up to 80 feet. The 3.5 MOA dot has 10 brightness settings and four of them are night vision compatible. There are tons of mounting options available, so you can maximize the Aimpoint ACRO P-1’s use across various firearms.

Red Dot Sights for Rifles

SIG Sauer ROMEO5

SIG Sauer Romeo5 red dot sight left quartering
The Romeo5 is one of my top choices when it comes to “bang for the buck.”

The SIG Sauer ROMEO5 delivers a great value. It has a 2 MOA dot and 10 brightness settings. It provides industry-standard mounting options and is waterproof and fogproof. The motion activation illumination helps extend the long battery life, and overall, it’s a solid option at a great price.

Aimpoint PRO

Aimpoint PRO red dot sight with the lens covers flipped up
The Aimpoint PRO is built like a tank. It’s submersible up to 150 feet and is vibration and shock resistant.

Just like with the ACRO P-1, Aimpoint ensured the Pro was night vision ready when you need it. The Aimpoint PRO is submersible up to 150 feet, and it is vibration and shock resistant. Flip-up lens covers come standard with the PRO, as well as retainer straps for the adjustment caps, mount, and battery. The 2 MOA dot makes for precision aiming and target acquisition.

Bushnell TRS-25

Bushnell TRS-25 red dot sight
The Bushnell TRS-25 is, in the author’s opinion, one of the top budget red dot sights for rifles.

This is another budget option with nice features. The Bushnell TRS-25 features 11 brightness settings. It is nitrogen purged and sealed to help with water and fog resistance and features a 3-MOA dot. This is a great option for those who are looking to get into a red dot sight but don’t want to spend a lot of money.

Trijicon MRO

Trijicon MRO red dot sight left quartering
Trijicon did not miss the mark with the MRO. It’s a great overall red dot that hits the mark regardless of your mission.

Trijicon comes to many people’s minds when they think of red dots. The MRO carries Trijicion’s lifetime warranty, up to a year of battery life, and has eight brightness settings. Another appreciated feature is the placement of the brightness control dial, being specifically designed for ambidextrous use. The Trijicon MRO also goes through industry leading testing to ensure durability.

Vortex Strikefire II

Vortex Strikefire II red dot sight right quartering
At 4 MOA, the Vortex Strikefire II makes target acquisition quick and easy.

The Vortex Strikefire II features one of the larger dot sizes of the group, coming in at 4 MOA. The larger dot makes it easy to quickly acquire your targets. It has 10 brightness settings, a long battery life of 80,000 hours (setting 6) and a 30mm tube to provide a larger field of view. The Strikefire II is great for rifles and shotguns alike.

Final Thoughts About Red Dot Sights

The seemingly endless number of red dots available in the market can be overwhelming. I suggest making a short list of key criteria that you’re looking for in a red dot and set a budget, to narrow down your options. If any of the covered red dot sights from this list wind up on your firearm, you won’t be disappointed.

What are some of your favorite red dots for pistols or rifles? Share your top choices or experiences with red dot sights in the comment section.

  • Vortex Venom red dot sight right quartering
  • Bushnell TRS-25 red dot sight
  • Vortex Strikefire II red dot sight right quartering
  • Aimpoint PRO red dot sight with the lens covers flipped up
  • Trijicon RMR Type 2 red dot sight left quartering
  • Aimpoint ACRO red dot sight
  • SIG Sauer Romeo5 red dot sight left quartering
  • Burris Red Dot Sight left quartering
  • Trijicon MRO red dot sight left quartering
  • Holosun HS507c red dot sight left profile

Bio: Ryan is a firearms and tactical gear enthusiast that has maneuvered himself into the firearms industry over the past decade.  While his full-time career is outside of the industry, he has consulted for dozens of firearms and tactical gear related companies.  He enjoys conducting tests and evaluations, shooting product photography and developing marketing strategies for them.

If he’s not spending time with his family, you’ll likely find him at the range or driving around looking for photo shoot locations. You can check out some of his photos and other content on Instagram (@theguygearreview).

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (7)

  1. Of all these, I suspect the majority are manufactured in China (hourly labor rate about $2), There are red dot sights on the internet for around $25. Some of these here sell for ten times that much. Are they ten times as good? No. So, if you’re considering a red dot, look at as many as you can find and satisfy yourself whether a cheaper one might work for you. Buy a cheap one and see. If it won’t work, you won’t be out much. But spending a lot of bucks based on someone else’s opinion may get you stuck. Would you buy a car without trying it out Furthermore, these things are really not that complicated to build.

  2. I’ve used a red dot on my hunting rifles for several years now. Mainly because modern bolt action rifles no longer come equipped with iron sights and my shooting range rarely exceeds 75 yards. The one key feature i look for is different dot colors. In the fall with nature changing to all shades of browns, reds, and oranges a green dot is easier to pick up. Likewise in the spring with all shades of greens a red dot contrasts so much better. fwiw

  3. For a rifle, you want a 1 MOA dot with a larger circle (like the EoTech 512) so you can find the dot fast. 2 MOA is max for a rifle imo. With a 3 MOA or larger, you will have a significant portion of your target blocked-out by a 3″ 0r 4″ dot at 100 yds. At 200 yards, the dot is huge.

    The cops I know want a smaller unit that replaces the rear sight without the slide having to be milled, drilled and tapped. They also want a backup iron sight somehow incorporated into the optic. It’s a tall order but the market is there if someone will come up with that design.

  4. Red dot color can’t be overstated, and is often understated or ignored. A significant portion of the (shooting) population is color blind in some form or another, and red may be difficult color to clearly visualize, especially in daylight situations.

    I’ve found that only few manufacturers cater to alternative colors, Holosun and SigSauer being front and center for both color and reticle options, both of which have been excellent choices for color blind and/or visually impaired shooters.

    Stay in condition yellow.

  5. It’s not really the focus of this article, but people with traditional scopes on pistols (e.g. magnified optics on revolvers or single-shot pistols) should also consider mounting one of these – any of them – on the top of the tube of their scope using accessory rings, and co-zeroing it at some range acceptable to them (I like 50 yards). Doing so makes it MUCH easier to acquire their target in the magnified optics.

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