Pistol Red Dot Buyer’s Guide [2021]

If you’re in a hurry and just want to know what the best pistol light is, then I’d recommend the Vortex Optics Venom as the best one. 

When it comes to firearms, there is a whole slew of accessories that you can choose from. Each of these will bring their enhancements to your gun use. One of the most popular right now is the red dot, especially for pistols. 

With so many options, it may be challenging to choose, and that is why we pulled together five of the best pistol red dots.

Click here to get one for yourself.

What is a Pistol Red Dot?

Pistol red dots are the next step in red dot and reflex sights. Much like the laser sights used on rifles for decades, these sights are crafted to help the accuracy of the pistol user. This will help you make shots quicker and allow for faster acquisition of your target.

Using a red dot sight can also extend your accuracy distance-wise, and it makes aiming that pistol a whole heck of a lot easier. It will take practice, but once you get the hang of it, you will see why a lot of us swear by them.

What are the Advantages & Disadvantages of a Pistol Red Dot?

We know that a lot of people may be wondering why a red dot sight for a handgun is a good idea. Here are a few.

Advantages

  • Faster targeting
  • Better visibility
  • Helps visually impaired

Disadvantages

  • Need to replace the battery
  • Sights can impede visibility

Things to Look For in a Pistol Red Dot

Making sure you choose the right red dot sight is a tough task, and because of the number of options, it may seem a little daunting. Don’t feel bad; it was a little for us too, but we found a set of features and attributes that could be used to define what makes a good red dot sight. 

The list belows shows what we look for when choosing a red dot, which should help you make your decision as well.

Battery Placement

This may not seem like a very important factor, but it plays a part in ease of use. Most mini red dot sights nowadays are designed to work for multiple different kinds of guns, including pistols. These are mostly top-loading, which is easier because you don’t have to remove the optics to replace the battery. 

Whereas bottom-loading red dot sights will require more time and effort to ensure the unit is powered correctly. You will have to remove the optic replace, then reattach. This means you will have to make sure that the system is properly relocked, otherwise, the accessory may not work correctly.

Mounting

There are a couple of factors under this category to really pay attention to. The first is if it’s built with the mount already or different mount plates are available. This includes paying attention to the screws and sizes of the holes.

Some sights can be transformed into rear sights. Another mount option is the classic Picatinny rail. This was traditionally used on rifles and shotguns but has been used now for pistol sights. Choosing the one for your specific pistol is key.

Dot Size

Another key feature is the sights dot size. This is typically measured in a minute of angle or MOA. The larger the dot, the easier it will be for you to sight the dot. 

Of course, you will want to pay attention to the dot size about how you intend to use your pistol. How far you plan on shooting the pistol is also something that needs to be considered when picking the dot size.

Adjustable Brightness

You will want to look for a red dot sight that has multiple adjustment levels of brightness. These types of sights are designed with one of two ways to be adjusted. The first will be using a manual button, and some have an auto setting as well. 

Some models have both options in one unit, and these are quicker and more efficient in adjustability. Either will work for the rapid acquisition of your target.

Optic Size and Weight

The size and weight of the model should be chosen depending on the pistol you own. There are a couple of different options that you have to choose from:

  • Mini – These are the smallest option and are often designed in a square or rectangular blueprint. These are great options for duty or defensive pistols. This option tends to need a rear sight mount and a little milling.
  • Compact – These are the next size up and are typically designed in a round build. This type of red dot sight offers a field of view that is wider with a longer battery life. Some models have milled slides or dovetail replacements for certain optics. Some models use the classic Picatinny rails.
  • Standard – This option is typically not used on pistols. If you do want to use this on a pistol, you will need a pistol with integral rails or ALG-style mounts.

Best Pistol Red Dots

So, which red dots are worth it? Below you will find a few of the ones we felt were the best on the market today.

Ade Advanced Optics RD3-006B

Red dot sights can be very expensive. However, this model from Ade Advanced Optics is a budget-friendly option with many great features. There was one thing that really sealed the deal when I chose this as one of the options … the field of view. 

The field of view goes to 19 yards at a distance of 100 yards, and it is also good at a lesser distance. The minimal body build is part of the reason for this, and it also helps with your precision.

The RD3-006B has a wide array of brightness options, which is great for any lighting conditions you may be shooting in. The red dot sight also comes with a green dot for better contrast. 

There are a few issues that limit usability. One of the biggest gripes I have with this sight is the placement of the power button. It is just a little too close to the muzzle for my taste.

Features and Specs

  • Precision, ground lenses
  • Green dot attaches with Picatinny mount
  • Reticle – 3 MOA
  • Designed for complete wind and elevation adjustment
  • Multiple brightness settings
  • Powered by a lithium CR2032 battery

Pros 

  • Affordable
  • Large field of view
  • Green dot
  • Quality build

Cons

  • Battery life
  • Power button location

>>Check Price On Amazon<<

 

Vortex Optics Venom 

Vortex is one of the premiere names in optics. With Venom, the company brings that exceptional glass to the world of pistol owners. Because of the use of premium grade glass, Vortex Optics lend the gun owner a crisp clarity with absolutely no parallax and limited color alteration.

The dot is a 3 MOA, and the model offers different settings for brightness. It also has an auto-brightness adjustment. One of the things I really like about this sight is that if you mount it to your pistol and use the auto-brightness setting, you can extend that battery life out even more.

It also has a very low profile and wide window for viewing and is designed with a minimal protective housing. This decreases obstruction to your line of sight and opens up your field of view.

Features and Specs

  • 10x brightness settings
  • Weight – 1.1 oz
  • Uses a 1632 battery
  • Reticle – 3 MOA red dot
  • Built-in auto adjustment for brightness
  • Designed with a multi-coated lens

Pros 

  • Amazing reticle adjustment
  • Good battery life
  • Field of view
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Top mounting

Cons

  • Difficult battery replacement
  • Doesn’t use standard batteries

>>Check Price On Amazon<<

 

Trijicon RMR Type 2

This is the OG of micro red dot sights and still can contend with more modern sights. In fact, I have one for my Glock as well. This sight is perfect for short or long-range performance. It comes with a 3.5 MOA reticle, and that gives it more tactical capability when it comes to short ranges.

TRIJICON RMR TYPE 2 ADJUSTABLE LED SIGHT, 3.25 MOA RED DOT - RM06-C-700672

Another attribute that makes this sight stand out is the auto switch to the auto-brightness mode. This makes that battery last longer and gives you at least 16 or so hours of continual operation. It also extends the life of the battery. I have been told that some of these even last up to 4 years when not at full brightness. 

The build of the RMR Type 2 is designed for impact and directs that power away from the lens to ensure it stays safe and secure. This does make it a little bulky, but if you are using your pistol for tactical maneuvers, then that may be a small price to pay.

Features and Specs

  • Constructed with military-grade aluminum
  • Bombproof
  • Weight – 1.2 oz. 
  • Reticle – 3.25 MOA Adjustable LED
  • 8x brightness adjustment (x1 auto)
  • Multiple mounting options

Pros 

  • Strong optic
  • Simple and fast to use
  • Top loading battery
  • Durable
  • Lens clarity
  • Reticle brightness options
  • Field of view

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Small viewing window
  • Battery life

>>Check Price Here<<

 

Leupold DeltaPoint Pro

The lens quality is paramount when dealing with a sight. Leupold specializes in lenses that are premium quality and coated for durability. That coating is the primary reason I really like this red dot sight. It is coated with the proprietary coating from Leupold.

The lenses are crafted in perfect alignment to eliminate distortion and to engage the transmission of light through them. This will help with the clarity and reliability of the aim.

The MOA of the reticle is designed with two options. The dot reticle comes in both the 7.5 MOA triangle and 2.5 MOA. In my opinion, the best option for a pistol is the 7.5 model. This is because the triangular build reduces the obstruction, especially at long ranges. 

Another feature that I like is the built-in motion sensor technology. It makes this an excellent choice for those looking for a sight to add to their concealed carry weapon.

Features and Specs

  • Waterproof
  • Motions sensor optical power on/off
  • Crafted in aluminum and steel
  • Reticle – 2.5 MOA
  • Scratch-resistant diamond-coated aspheric lenses
  • Weight – 9.5 oz.

Pros 

  • Great lens
  • Built-in motion sensor technology
  • Durable
  • Battery loading
  • Mounting options

Cons

  • Housing is bulky
  • Battery life 

>>Check Price On Amazon<<

 

Burris Fastfire III

The Fastfire is also a great budget option that is backed by a stellar reputation. Burris is one of the companies known for using quality materials and parts. This includes the lenses. This sight is crafted with a precision ground, coated lens, which eliminates parallax and reduces the glare. All of that leaves you with a clear and crisp vision that will improve your accuracy.

Of all these performance-enhancing features, the one that may pique your interest like it did mine are the selections when it comes to the option choices. The sights come in both 8 and 3 MOA reticles. 

The red dot sight also comes with 3 different brightness settings along with an auto-brightness adjustment setting. Another great aspect that played a part in the selection of this red dot sight was its durability. Built with a low profile protective aluminum band housing, it can take quite the beating. 

Features and Specs

  • 3x brightness settings (1x auto)
  • Weight – 1.5 oz.
  • Top loading battery 
  • Reticle – 3 MOA
  • Low battery indicator

Pros 

  • Built-in auto adjustment for brightness
  • The mounting system is versatile
  • Different reticle options
  • Lightweight
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • The battery cover is hard to lockdown
  • Have to cycle through settings

>>Check Price On Amazon<<

 

Conclusion

Finding the right red dot sight for whatever your needs are may take a little time and patience, but the time will be worth it. In my mind, there is really only one option on our list that gives you everything from durability to clarity of sound to a good range, and that is the Vortex Optics Venom.

Unlike the Burris Fastfire III, the battery is easy to remove and replace, which elevates the usability of the Venom. It is also lightweight and offers an unobtrusive view that extends the range of your firearm. 

There are just too many things I could rave about when I talk about the Vortex Optics Venom. Though any of these five sights could be called one of the best to improve your pistol optics.

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