Red dot sights are among the most popular for a reason. In addition to being simple compared to the other options, they make it easy to aim and fire remarkably quickly. That makes them vital for many shooting sports that emphasize speed. They also tend to be pretty cheap, which appeals to new shooters. The best cheap red dot sight should combine a bright dot with a good battery life and a sturdy case. There are plenty of options that can do the job, so we sorted through them to find ten great picks based on their price, durability, and longevity.
10. TRUGLO Traditional Red Dot
The Traditional model from TRUGLO is a simple red dot system that has good execution for its price. The lens caps are a little loose, but the casing resists basic wear and tear well. It also offers a decent level of water and shock resistance. It uses a standard Weaver-style mounting system, which makes it easy to put on a variety of weapons, and it will work with almost any gun that can accept it. This is a dual color model, so it can remain functional in most environments. Use it if you want to strike a balance between price, durability, and versatility.
9. Browning Buck Mark
The Buck Mark from Browning is intended to go on the pistols of the same name, but it works well with any small pistol or rifle. It can attach to any weaver rail, and the mounting mechanism is tough enough to hold up to fairly strong recoil without going out of position. There are four options for the reticle shape and seven for brightness, so users can adjust the dot to suit their preferences and the environment in which they are shooting. There are better choices for heavy weapons, but this is a good choice for small and light firearms.
8. Leapers UTG 2.6’’
The 2.6’’ model from Leapers is a great choice for people that prefer a shorter red dot sight. It works best within short to moderate ranges, and it uses instant target lock technology to encourage quick target acquisition within those ranges. The mounting mechanism comes with a quick-detach lever, which makes this the best cheap red dot for people that need to make rapid adjustments to their weapons. Use it if you need that rapid detachment, or if you tend to work within fairly close ranges when shooting.
7. Firefield Impulse Compact
The Impulse Compact from Firefield is a small hunting optic. The system’s small dimensions make it a great choice for use in the wilderness, since it is unlikely to snag on trees or other obstacles. The case is strong and resistant to harsh weather, so it can easily survive that sort of use. It is rated to survive recoil on weapons up to .50 caliber, which is sufficient for almost every hunting weapon. Give this a try if you need something that you can take on long trips into the wilds.
6. Barska 1x-30mm Red Dot Scope
The Red Dot Scope encourages rapid and precise shooting. This sight offers more precise windage and elevation adjustments than most others at its price point, along with plenty of control over the dot’s brightness. It is compatible with both Weaver and Picatinny rails, and it will remain stable on both of them while shooting most long guns. It is also compatible with pistols, but many users will prefer a slightly lighter red dot for smaller weapons. Most shooters can make good use of this model, but it is best for people that need to shoot quickly. Also, you can look at our best red dot sights for pistol suggestions for more options.
5. NcStar Reflex Red Dot
The Reflex Red Dot sight from NcStar is the best cheap red dot for use on small caliber rifles for plinking. The dot is bright enough to be useful at the range, but it remains safe and comfortable to use for long periods. The system is fairly easy to mount on either a weaver rail or on dovetail rails, which also makes it a decent choice for new shooters. It tends to come loose on guns with heavy recoil, but any shooter with a light weapon should consider it.
4. Bushnell TRS-25 HiRise
The TRS-25 HiRise from Bushnell is the best cheap red dot for people that need plenty of power. There are 11 brightness settings for the dot, which makes it useful in a huge number of diverse settings. The lens is also coated to increase contrast, which improves visibility even more. This model is waterproof and resists most shocks fairly well, so it is an appropriate choice for hunters in most circumstances. Use this if you’re willing to pay a little bit more to get an excellent red dot.
3. BSA RD30
The RD30 from BSA Optics is the best cheap red dot for shooters with many different weapons. It is compatible with most rifles, pistols, shotguns, and even some crossbows. The RD30 is light enough that it will not hurt the balance of most pistols, but it can hold up to moderate recoil from rifles. Extremely heavy recoil can still cause problems, so it is best to avoid truly massive calibers with this sight. Use it if you need to share one sight across many guns.
2. Dagger Defense DDHB
The DDHB is the best cheap red dot for use on an AR-15 in most shooting sports. It offers an incredible field of view to ensure rapid target acquisition, and allows for co-witnessing with standard A2 sights. It is fairly easy to make sighting adjustments as necessary, and it will stay in position fairly well when used on an appropriate rifle. Try this red dot if you plan to mount it on an AR-15 or similar rifle. Or you can also check out these best red dot for AR-15 recommendations.
1. Field Sport Micro Red and Green Micro Dot
The Red and Green model from Field Sport is the best cheap red dot for the average shooter. It can hold up to recoil from an AR-15 or similar rifle without any trouble, and the casing is strong enough to survive heavy use in the wilderness. The dot is highly visible under most conditions, and it does have the option of switching to a green dot if necessary. The controls can be a little stiff but remain workable. Use this sight if you want to get something as sturdy and versatile as possible at a low price.
Making The Right Choice
Red dots offer rapid aiming and a simple design that makes them great for sports that demand speed, or for novices that need simple tools. Their low price is also an asset, and finding the best cheap red dot ensures that you have a sturdy and precise tool with a decent battery life. If you try one that we missed, leave a comment about it so others can check it out.