Red dot sights may look similar, and they all enable quick and accurate shots at close targets. However, each model will offer different benefits based on its reticle size, battery life, and a variety of extra features. That variety makes finding the best red dot sight for pistol shooting difficult since it will depend on what the individual shooter needs. We’ve sorted through the options to build a list of ten of the best red dot sights based on their cost, reliability, and usefulness in a variety of situations so that you can find the one that meets your needs.
10. Aimpoint Micro T-1
The Micro T-1 is one of the most versatile sights out there. It has eight daylight settings and four settings for night use. It doesn’t provide any magnification, but it is designed to be easy to combine with other optics if that is necessary. It’s also long lasting, with a battery that is expected to last for about five years of continuous use. It’s easy to mount on any pistol with picatinny rails, but very difficult to mount on pistols that lack them. This often restricts this otherwise excellent sight to experienced tinkerers.
9. DOCTERsight II plus
The DOCTERsight II plus is the best red dot sight for pistol shooters that want something cheap and easy to use. It weighs less than an ounce, which makes it one of the lightest pistol optics out there. It’s also tough since it’s made of steel and hard-anodized aluminum. The brightness of the dot will adjust itself automatically, and the system is good at matching local conditions, so it’s fairly easy to use. Those features make this one of the best choices for novices who need something reliable, or for experts who want to save money on a sight for field use without sacrificing quality.
8. Burris Fastfire 3
The Fastfire 3 is one of the best budget choices. It can mount on almost any type of weapon through the Burris Mounting System, so it’s great for those who want a single sight for multiple guns. The sight is unusually resistant to shocks, so damage from recoil is unlikely, even from the heaviest guns. The dot itself can be either three or eight MOA and has three brightness settings, so it’s adequate for most uses. However, the mounting system requires a separate investment. People who don’t intend to use this sight on multiple weapons should consider other choices, but it’s wonderful for those who do.
7. Bushnell First Strike
The First Strike is simple, but it offers an incredible value. It offers a five MOA dot that self-regulates its brightness, multi-coated optics, and a case that resists water, fog, and shocks. It’s a little bit heavier than most other sights, but that isn’t a huge problem on most weapons. This is a good option for shooters who want something cost-effective, especially novices. However, it’s not the best red dot sight for pistol shooting for those who want special features.
6. Vortex Venom
The Venom is one of the top choices for defensive use because it has a wide, rounded lens rather than the usual rectangle. That gives the shooter a wide field of view, which makes it easy to aim at targets across a large area. It offers ten different brightness settings, which makes sure that it remains useful in most environments. Multiple coatings and an amber tint on the lens help it to increase light transmission, which offers another boost in poor shooting environments. Shoots of every skill level should consider this if they can benefit from versatility and a wide field of view.
5. Shield Mini-Sight
The SMS was designed for military use but has been adopted by competitive shooters. Unlike many sights, it has a polymer casing, which saves weight without sacrificing strength because it can flex without breaking. The lens is also made of a polymer, rather than traditional glass, for the same reasons. The dot’s intensity will adjust to ambient light, so it’s easy to use in any environment, and the battery will last several years without replacement. This is the best red dot sight for pistol shooting for those who need something light and nearly unbreakable, especially novices who might mishandle it by accident.
4. Vortex Razor
The Razor has either a three or six MOA dot, depending on the model. Both have the same features, including nine brightness levels, a low-glare finish, and a battery that will last for 150 hours on the highest setting, and it will turn itself off after six hours of inactivity to save electricity. It also has an O-ring seal, which makes it waterproof, and an aluminum casing that will hold up to most abuse. This is a balanced sight that is appropriate for essentially any shooter and purpose.
3. Eotech Mini Red Dot Sight
The MRDS is optimized for rapid shots at close range. It has a 3.5 MOA dot with four intensity levels, and the sight will automatically adjust to the most appropriate level. Adjusting for windage and elevation is quick, and the battery compartment is placed such that it can be loaded without needing to adjust the sights afterward. The sight is also waterproof up to 66 feet, which makes it one of the best choices for use near the water. Pick this for aquatic shooting, or if you’re an intermediate shooter who works at short ranges.
2. DeltaPoint Pro
The DeltaPoint Pro is the best red dot sight for pistol users who want special features. In particular, it includes a motion sensor that can activate a light when the weapon is moved, which saves the user from reaching for a button. The sight also resists damage from water and fog, so it’s suitable for use in the majority of environments. The sight comes with a mounting kit that fits on most popular handguns with ease. It’s a good choice for those who want convenience, no matter how new or experienced they are at shooting.
1. Trijicon RMR
The RMR is usually the best red dot sight for pistol shooters of intermediate or expert skill. It has an aluminum case that makes it rugged, but it stands out for its versatility. The user can use manual or automatic adjustment to go through eight brightness settings, and the user can also adjust for windage or elevation. The adjustment buttons click just loudly enough to be audible to the user when pressed, so a practiced user can get the right setting without looking. Most novices won’t benefit from that level of control over the sight, but everyone else can put it to good use.
Making The Right Choice
A good sight is a vital tool shooting tool, so it’s worth hunting for the best red dot sight for pistol shooting. The differences between the options are larger than they first appear, which means that every shooter should carefully research all of their options. If you think we overlooked a good option, or if we forgot something important in one of our reviews, please mention it in the comment section to help other readers find the best choice for them. If you are interested in this particular accessory but for a different type of gun, here is a list of red dot sights for the AR-15.