11 Red-Hot Red-Dot Sights

Reflex sights can serve a variety of shooting sports segments and provide a wide cross-section of potential customers.

11 Red-Hot Red-Dot Sights

JP Enterprises Jpoint red-dot sight fits beside a traditional riflescope, giving the shooter two possibilities. (Photo: JP Enterprises)

It wasn’t long ago that seeing a red-dot sight at the range was rare, especially on a handgun.

The few sights available at the time were deemed by critics to be too fragile for regular use and too big to be practical. Battery life also left a lot to be desired. Many people claimed red-dots had no place in defensive carry.

Things have certainly changed. Modern red-dot sights have nearly everything going for them — they’re accurate, tough, dependable, small, easy to use and run for a long time on a single battery. And self-defense practitioners are now widely embracing them.

What’s a Red-Dot?

Red-dot sights are designed to be used at fairly close ranges out to about 100 yards or so. Beyond that, it’s much easier to shoot a scoped rifle more accurately.

Without getting into a lot of scientific details, red-dot sights project a red (or sometimes green) dot on the target. The dot isn’t projected onto the target like a laser, but when looking through the site the shooter can see it there. Most red-dots have no magnification, hence the reason they’re not all that effective for accurately shooting at long ranges.

For pistol shooters, a red-dot site allows easier shooting with both eyes open, which is a decided advantage — especially in self-defense situations when closing one eye cuts out half of the shooter’s vision. Shooters often find themselves shooting more quickly and accurately after changing to a reflex sight.

Dot Size & MOA

An important thing to understand when delving into the world of red-dot sights is the concept of MOA and how it relates to dot size. Without this knowledge, none of the common red-sight vernacular will make much sense.

MOA, or minute of angle, is a unit of angular measurement for a circle. One MOA is equal to 1 inch (give or take a couple of hundredths) at 100 yards. The dots in red-dots sights are numbered in MOA, with 1 MOA meaning the dot will appear to be 1 inch in diameter on a target 100 yards away. That said, a 1-MOA dot will cover 1/2 inch at 50 yards, and 1/4 inch at 25 yards.

A 4-MOA dot is much quicker to pick up visually so is more useful for close-range targets than a 1- or 2-MOA dot. However, since it covers a 4-inch-diameter circle on the target at 100 yards, precise shooting with the bigger dot is more difficult at longer distances.

In general, dots of 1 to 2 MOA are used on AR-15s and other sporting rifles, while 5-, 6- and 6.5-MOA dots are preferred by many pistol shooters more interested in speed than extreme precision. Many red-dot sights are offered in different MOA to appeal to a wider range of potential buyers.

Here are some top models to consider carrying for your customers. Some are new, and some have been around awhile and proven their sales potential. We’ve divided them into three different price points for ease of discussion: less than $300, $300 to $500 and more than $500.

Less Than $300  

Truglo Tru-Tec Micro: This tiny reflex sight is available with a red or green 3-MOA dot and is marketed for rifles, shotguns and pistols. It features 10 manual brightness settings but does not have an automatic brightness mode. Constructed of aluminum, the sight weighs just over one ounce. It is powered by a single CR20032 battery and shuts itself down automatically after being idle for four hours. The 23x17mm objective lens is multi-coated for clarity and to resist glare. MSRP is $235.

Truglo Tru-Tec Micro
Truglo Tru-Tec Micro

Minox Micro RV1:  This little sight, which has an MSRP of $269, features 12 brightness levels and a 2-MOA dot. It is 2.52 inches long and weighs just under 3.5 ounces. The sight, primarily used for rifles, has a high-strength aluminum housing, is fully waterproof and comes with a neoprene protective cover. The Micro RV1’s LED technology gives it a battery life of 50,000 hours at medium brightness. By my calculations, that’s more than 5.5 years on one CR2032 battery.

Bushnell First Strike 2.0: Bushnell was one of the first players in the red-dot game decades ago and continues to offer quality reflex sights at reasonable prices. The First Strike 2.0 is an upgrade from the original First Strike and features longer battery life (50,000-plus hours) a brighter 4-MOA aiming dot and tool-free battery replacement. The unit is 2.24 inches long and weighs 3 ounces. It is made to mount on any standard Picatinny rail. MSRP is $277. 

Burris Fastfire 3: Burris has been around for decades as a scope maker and is now making waves in the red-dot segment of the market. The Fastfire 3 is a compact sight with a 4- or 8-MOA dot. With a single control button to power it, the FastFire 3 has low, medium, high and auto brightness settings. The sight shuts down after nine hours of inactivity. It is powered by a single CR1632 battery and has a battery life of about 5,000 hours. MSRP is $287 to $289. 


JP Enterprises Jpoint: Weighing only .5 ounces, the Jpoint reflex sight might just be the lightest on the market. That’s due to the unit’s tough, glass-reinforced nylon housing. It is available with a circle-dot reticle, or with dots of 4 or 8 MOA. The auto-adjusting light sensor ensures it is on the correct brightness setting. For use on rifles, shotguns and pistols, the Jpoint is powered by a single CR2032 battery. MSRP is $300. 

Kahles Helia RD: Its unique “Anti-Reflexion” coating is made to provide clear visibility in bright or low light. The 2-MOA dot makes it suitable for rifle, shotgun or pistol, and it comes with a Picatinny mount. The sight features four brightness settings operated by a two-button system. It runs on a single CR2032 battery, and the battery compartment can be operated with a coin or a cartridge, making for easy battery replacement. MSRP is $443

Sig Sauer Romeo1 Pro: An upgrade to the company’s Romeo 1, the Pro is available with a 3- or 6-MOA dot. Featuring Sig’s Motion Activated Illumination System, when the sight is on and detects no movement for two minutes, it goes to sleep, turning the dot off. At the first movement, the dot comes back on. The Pro model also offers increased brightness compared to the original Romeo1 and has a battery life of 20,000 hours on a CR1632 battery. MSRP is $499.

Vortex Razor Red Dot: Vortex scopes are some of the hottest scopes on the market right now, and the company’s red-dot sight is likely to follow suit. The sight is only 1.83 inches long and weighs just 1.3 ounces. A side-load battery tray makes for quick battery changes without having to remove the sight from the gun. Powered by a CR2032 battery, it will run for 150 hours on the highest setting or 30,000 on the low settings. It comes with a Picatinny rail mount for use with long guns. MSRP is $499.

More Than $500

Leupold Deltapoint Pro: The Deltapoint Pro is available with a 2.5- or 7.5-MOA dot. This high-end sight features a motion sensor that activates the sight when you draw it, illuminating the dot to whatever setting the user had it on. After it is stationary for five minutes, the sight shuts down. At home on rifles, shotguns or pistols, the sight features an easy-access battery compartment on top. MSRP starts at $519. 

Aimpoint Acro P-1: The Aimpoint Acro P-1 looks a little different than most of the sights discussed here but is a quality red-dot with a lot of neat features. It’s a fully enclosed optic the company says is the only sight in its size category fully tested for shock, vibration, temperature span and other environmental stress. With a 3.5-MOA dot, it is at home on rifles, shotguns or pistols. Length is 1.9 inches, and weight is 2.1 ounces. With 10 different brightness settings, the CR1225 battery will last 1.5 years on position 6. MSRP is $660. 

Sig Sauer Romeo3 Max: There’s a reason this sight is at the top of the price range. Whether the Max in the name refers to the oversized window or to Sig Team Captain Max Michel, who helped develop it, it certainly deserves the designation. With a full 30mm sight window, picking up the dot on this sight is no chore. Still, it’s only 2.1 inches long and weighs only 1.5 ounces. To save battery, the sight goes to sleep if no movement is detected for two minutes. The first movement wakes it up. MSRP is $719.

If your retail outlet hasn’t jumped into the red-dot fray with both feet, now is the time. With more companies making these sights and more consumers wanting them, retailers stand to profit off the booming red-dot business.

Sig Sauer Electro-Optics Romeo3 Max
Sig Sauer Electro-Optics Romeo3 Max


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