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Best Pistol Red Dots [2024]: Your Illuminating Guide preview image
Jan 06 2024
16 min read

Best Pistol Red Dots [2024]: Your Illuminating Guide

Whether you’re a seasoned shooter or just getting started, finding the best pistol red dot sight can make all the difference in your accuracy and shooting experience.

So, buckle up and get ready for a red dot rollercoaster!

In this comprehensive guide, we’ve scoured the market to bring you the top contenders for the best pistol red dot sights. We’ll dive deep into their features, benefits, and drawbacks, leaving no dot unturned.

You can consider us your trusty gun-toting explorers, ready to navigate this technological terrain and help you find the perfect optic for your pew-pew adventures.

As self-proclaimed red dot enthusiasts (okay, borderline fanatics), we’ve spent countless hours on the range, testing and tweaking various pistol red dots. We’ve experienced the joy of bullseyes and the frustration of fliers, all in the name of finding the cream of the crop.

So, rest assured that our insights come from firsthand experience and a burning passion for equipping your sidearm with the best sighting solution.

In a nutshell, we’re here to save your eyes, boost your shooting prowess, and help you find the best pistol red dot sight that will make you the envy of the range.

ImageProductPrice
Trijicon RMR Type 2 LED Red Dot SightBest Overall – Trijicon RMR Type 2
Primary Arms SLx RS-10Best Value – Primary Arms SLx RS-10
Vortex Optics Venom Red Dot SightsHonorable Mention – Vortex Venom
Leupold DeltaPoint ProBest for Competition – Leupold DeltaPoint Pro
Holosun 507C X2Best for Astigmatism – Holosun 507C X2
Vortex Optics Viper Red Dot SightBest for AR Pistols – Vortex Viper
Holosun 507CompHolosun 507Comp

Best Pistol Red Dots & Recommendations

Best Overall – Trijicon RMR Type 2

Trijicon RMR Type 2 LED Red Dot Sight

Specifications

Reticle1 MOA, 3.25 MOA, or 6.5 MOA dot
Weight1.2 ounces
Length1.8 inches
Battery LifeOver four years of continuous use

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Exceptional durability and rugged construction
  • Long battery life for extended use without frequent replacements
  • Versatile adjustable LED reticle suitable for various lighting conditions
  • Intuitive controls for easy windage and elevation adjustments
  • Compact design is well-suited for concealed carry and duty use
Cons
  • Limited reticle options compared to some other red dots
  • May experience slight distortion at the edge of the sight picture
  • May experience unintentional movement in the adjustment screws if you’re not careful
  • Higher price point

The Trijicon RMR Type 2 (see full review here) stands out as one of the best overall pistol red dot sights on the market. Its reputation is built on a combination of exceptional durability, reliability, and performance.

Trijicon RMR Type 2

The RMR Type 2 is known for its rugged construction, ensuring it can withstand the recoil and harsh conditions associated with pistol shooting. It features an aircraft-grade aluminum housing that is both lightweight and sturdy, providing excellent protection for the internals of the sight.

One of the key advantages of the Trijicon RMR Type 2 is its outstanding battery life. With an average battery life of several years, it offers peace of mind during extended shooting sessions or critical situations.

Trijicon RMR Type 2

It also boasts a versatile and easy-to-use adjustable LED reticle, allowing shooters to select from various brightness settings to suit different lighting conditions. The crisp and clear reticle ensures quick target acquisition and precise shot placement.

Trijicon RMR Type 2

Another notable feature is its ease of use. The sight offers intuitive controls for windage and elevation adjustments, allowing for quick and accurate zeroing.

Its small form factor and low-profile design make it ideal for concealed carry or duty use without obstructing the overall balance and ergonomics of the pistol.

Best Value – Primary Arms SLx RS-10

Primary Arms SLx RS-10

Specifications

Reticle3 MOA red dot
Weight1.07 ounces
Length2.44 inches
Battery Life25,001 – 50,000 hours

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Excellent value for money
  • Durable construction with an aluminum body and hard coat anodized finish
  • Crisp 3 MOA dot reticle 
  • Long battery life of up to 50,000 hours
  • Easily adjustable brightness settings to accommodate various lighting conditions
Cons
  • Limited reticle options compared to higher-end red dot sights
  • The sight picture may exhibit some distortion around the edges
  • The included mount may not be as sturdy or compatible with all pistol models

The Primary Arms SLx RS-10 is considered one of the best value pistol red dot sights available, offering a combination of affordability, solid performance, and reliable build quality. Despite its budget-friendly price, the SLx RS-10 delivers features and performance comparable to higher-priced options, making it an attractive choice for budget-conscious shooters.

On that note, if you are budget-conscious, we also put together a list of more affordable and budget red dots that you might want to check out.

It offers durable and lightweight construction, featuring an aluminum housing that ensures longevity and reliability.

The SLx RS-10 also includes a crisp 2 MOA dot reticle, allowing for precise target acquisition and accurate shot placement. The brightness settings are easily adjustable, catering to different lighting conditions and shooter preferences.

Another noteworthy feature of the Primary Arms SLx RS-10 is its long battery life. With an estimated battery life of up to 50,000 hours, this sight minimizes the need for frequent battery replacements.

Additionally, the SLx RS-10 offers a decent field of view and clear sight picture, contributing to improved target acquisition and situational awareness.

Honorable Mention – Vortex Venom

Vortex Optics Venom Red Dot Sights

Specifications

Reticle3 MOA or 6 MOA red dot
Weight1.1 ounces
Length1.9 inches
Battery LifeUp to 3,000 hours

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Compact and lightweight design suitable for a wide range of pistols
  • Rugged and durable construction to hold up in the elements
  • Clear and bright 3 or 6 MOA red dot reticle
  • Multiple brightness settings, including an auto-brightness mode
  • Affordable price point compared to some higher-end red dot sights
Cons
  • Battery life isn’t great compared to competitors
  • Limited field of view compared to some others
  • Limited reticle options

The Vortex Venom earns its position as an honorable mention in the realm of pistol red dot sights. Offering a balance of performance, durability, and affordability, the Venom is a reliable choice for shooters seeking an optic that enhances their shooting experience without breaking the bank.

It features a compact and lightweight design, making it suitable for a wide range of pistols. Its low-profile construction ensures a minimal footprint on the firearm, allowing for ease of carry and maneuverability. Despite its small size, the Venom doesn’t compromise on durability, boasting a rugged aluminum housing that can withstand recoil and harsh shooting conditions.

One of the standout features of the Vortex Venom is its clear and bright 3 MOA red dot reticle. The dot provides a precise aiming point and facilitates rapid target acquisition.

With multiple brightness settings, including an auto-brightness mode, the Venom adapts to various lighting conditions, ensuring a visible reticle in both bright daylight and low-light environments.

Best for Competition – Leupold DeltaPoint Pro

Leupold DeltaPoint Pro

Specifications

Reticle2.5 MOA or 6 MOA red dot
Weight2 ounces
Length1.8 inches
Battery Life1,600 hours

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Exceptional durability and rugged construction
  • Waterproof and fog-resistant for reliable performance
  • Large window and clear sight picture
  • Crisp and bright red dot reticle
  • Easy-to-use controls and intuitive adjustments
Cons
  • Higher price point relative to some others
  • Battery life isn’t as good as a lot of competitors
  • Limited reticle options compared to some others
  • Sits a little on the high side, making it a bit trickier to co-witness

When it comes to competition shooting, the Leupold DeltaPoint Pro stands out as an exceptional pistol red dot sight. Designed with the competitive shooter in mind, this optic offers a combination of features and performance that can give you the edge on the range.

Its rugged construction and advanced functionalities make it a top choice for those seeking to dominate in shooting competitions. Constructed from lightweight aluminum, it can withstand the recoil and demands of intense competition shooting.

It is also waterproof and fog-resistant, ensuring consistent performance even in challenging weather conditions.

These features provide the confidence to push your limits without worrying about the performance of your optic.

One of the key advantages of the DeltaPoint Pro for competition shooting is its large window and clear sight picture. The generous field of view allows for quick target acquisition and improved situational awareness, which is crucial in fast-paced competition scenarios.

The crisp and bright red dot reticle provides a precise aiming point, aiding in rapid and accurate shots.

Best for Astigmatism – Holosun 507C X2

Holosun 507C X2

Specifications

ReticleRed 2 MOA dot & 32 MOA circle or Green 2 MOA dot & 32 MOA circle
Weight1.5 ounces
Length1.78 inches
Battery Life50,000 hours

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Multi-Reticle System (MRS) provides several options
  • Solar Failsafe technology extends battery life and ensures consistent operation
  • Auto-on feature and multiple brightness settings
  • Durable construction, including waterproof capabilities
  • Motion-activated technology for faster activation and longer battery life
Cons
  • Controls may be a bit less intuitive than others
  • Sight picture can have a slight blue tint
  • Included mount isn’t the best
  • Lens coating can attract fingerprints and smudges

For shooters with astigmatism, finding a pistol red dot sight that works effectively can be a challenge. However, the Holosun 507C X2 stands out as a top choice specifically designed to address this issue. With innovative technology and features, this optic caters to individuals with astigmatism, delivering a clear and crisp reticle for improved shooting accuracy.

holosun 507comp close up green dot reticle

The Holosun 507C X2 incorporates a unique Multi-Reticle System (MRS) that allows users to choose between a traditional 2 MOA dot, a 32 MOA circle, or a combination of both. By providing options, the 507C X2 helps mitigate the blurring or distortion typically experienced by astigmatic shooters.

Another noteworthy feature of the Holosun 507C X2 is its Solar Failsafe technology. With a solar panel on the top of the sight, it harnesses natural and artificial light to power the reticle. This ensures that the sight remains operational even in low-light conditions and extends the battery life significantly.

holosun 507comp close up on smith wesson mp m2.0

Additionally, the 507C X2 offers multiple brightness settings and an auto-on feature, further enhancing usability and adaptability.

Check out our Holosun 507C X2 review for more info.

Best for AR Pistols – Vortex Viper

Vortex Optics Viper Red Dot Sight

Specifications

Reticle6 MOA red dot
Weight1.03 ounces
Length1.8 inches
Battery LifeUp to 30,000 hours

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Compact and lightweight construction
  • Durable construction
  • 6 MOA dot aids quick target acquisition
  • Fully multi-coated lens
  • Adjustable brightness settings
Cons
  • Large reticle can obscure targets
  • Only one reticle size available
  • Adjustment controls aren’t as intuitive as some other sights

When it comes to AR pistols, the Vortex Viper proves to be an excellent choice. With its compact size, rugged construction, and versatile features, the Viper enhances the performance of the AR platform and provides shooters with a reliable optic for quick target acquisition and precise aiming.

It offers a low-profile and lightweight design, making it ideal for AR pistols. Its compact size ensures it doesn’t add unnecessary bulk to your firearm. Don’t let the size fool you, though: this little sight is highly durable, even shockproof. This allows for better maneuverability and ease of use in close-quarter engagements or fast-paced shooting scenarios.

Equipped with a 6 MOA dot reticle, the Viper provides a clear and visible aiming point, facilitating rapid target acquisition. The larger reticle size is advantageous for AR pistols, as it allows for faster target engagement and ensures quick sight alignment in dynamic shooting situations.

Additionally, the Viper features a fully multi-coated lens, providing a sharp and bright sight picture for enhanced visibility.

Honorable Mention – Holosun 507 Comp

Holosun 507Comp

Specifications

Reticle2 MOA Dot & 8/20/32 MOA Circle
Reticle ColorGreen
Window Size1.1” x 0.87”
Dimension1.8” x 1.3” x 1.3”
Magnification1x
Power SourceBattery
Battery TypeCR1632
Battery Life 50,000 Hours
Brightness Setting8 Daylight, 2 Night Vision
Weight1.7 Ounces
Housing Material7075 T6 Aluminum
Adjustment per Click1 MOA
SubmersionIP67

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Huge window for easy targeting.
  • Multiple reticle combinations and options.
  • Night vision compatible and motion-activated power.
  • Easy to adjust and mount.
Cons
  • No solar backup for power.
  • Pricier compared to some other options.
  • No automatic adjustment for different light conditions.

In our thorough review of the Holosun 507 Comp, Ryan dove into the features and specifications of this red dot sight option from Holosun. Ryan opted for the green reticle option over red, expressing a distinct preference for its visual appeal. He was pleasantly surprised by the large window size that doesn’t inflate the overall size of the optic. Notably, Ryan was impressed with the 7075 T6 aluminum construction and the impeccable finish of the sight.

holosun 507comp close up on smith wesson mp m2.0

Ryan put the 507 Comp to the test in terms of reliability and accuracy. After firing 400-500 rounds, he found the sight to be steadfastly secure and zeroed, emphasizing its robust and reliable nature. When it came to accuracy, Ryan discovered that the sight contributed significantly to achieving tight groupings and swift transitions between targets, even at distances up to 25 yards. The different reticle options, like the 2 MOA dot and the various circle options, offer customization to users, a feature that Ryan found invaluable.

holosun 507comp hands on review range test

There are remarkable features of the 507 Comp, including the Competition Reticle System (CRS), the Shake Awake Technology, and the side-loading battery. The CRS, offering different circle options, was lauded by Ryan for its capability to improve speed and precision in targeting. He also expressed appreciation for the Shake Awake Technology, which adds convenience by powering on and off according to movement. The side-loading battery, a user-friendly feature that obviates the need to remove the optic for battery changes, was another aspect he highlighted.

holosun 507comp close up green dot reticle

Ryan also underscored the benefits of the sight’s large window. He explained how this feature simplifies target acquisition and aiming, possibly reducing eye strain by negating the need to focus on a small area. After careful evaluation, Ryan gave high marks to the 507 Comp for reliability, customization, appearance, and value, which underscores why it stands as a top choice for those seeking a superior red dot sight.

How We Chose Our Top Picks

We conducted extensive research and analysis to select our top picks for pistol red dot sights.

First, we evaluated the performance and reliability of each red dot sight. This included assessing factors such as reticle clarity, brightness settings, and overall sight picture quality. Battery life was also a crucial aspect.

We also examined the construction materials, shockproof capabilities, and water-resistant or waterproof features to ensure that the sights could withstand the demands of various shooting environments.

We took into account customer reviews, expert opinions, and feedback from reputable sources in the firearms industry, as well as our own experience with these sights. We also relied on information from manufacturers’ specifications, user manuals, and product descriptions to gather details about each sight.

In addition to these factors, we considered other aspects such as ease of use, adjustment controls, and mounting options.

Finally, we compared prices and value for the money to provide you with a well-rounded evaluation.

How to Choose the Best Pistol Red Dot

Selecting the right pistol red dot sight can greatly enhance your shooting experience. Consider the following factors before making a purchase:

Reticle Type and Size

Pistol red dots offer various reticle options, including dot, circle-dot, or even multi-pattern reticles. Choose a reticle that suits your shooting style and preferences.

Additionally, consider the reticle size (measured in MOA) to ensure it provides a balance between precision and visibility for your intended use.

Durability and Construction

Opt for a rugged and durable red dot sight that can withstand the recoil and harsh environments associated with pistol shooting. Look for models with robust construction, shock resistance, waterproofing, and scratch-resistant lenses.

Battery Life and Power Source

Evaluate the battery life of the red dot sight, as it determines the frequency of battery replacements. Look for models that offer a long battery life or energy-saving features to ensure your sight remains operational when needed.

Consider the power source as well, whether it’s a standard battery type or a rechargeable option.

Mounting Options

Check if the red dot sight is compatible with your pistol’s mounting system. Most popular models offer a variety of mounting options, including Picatinny or Glock-style rails. Ensure that the sight can be securely mounted and provides a low-profile setup.

Adjustability and Ease of Use

Look for a red dot sight with user-friendly controls and intuitive adjustments. Features like windage and elevation adjustments should be easy to access and offer precise tuning.

Some models may include additional features like motion-activated activation or auto-shutdown to conserve battery life.

Select red dots offer automatic brightness adjustment based on ambient light conditions, while others have manual brightness settings. Choose a model that suits your preferences and shooting environment.

Optical Clarity and Coatings

Look for red dot sights with high-quality lenses and anti-reflective coatings. These features improve light transmission, minimize glare, and provide a clear sight picture.

Co-Witnessing Capability

Co-witnessing refers to aligning the red dot sight with the pistol’s iron sights. Opt for a red dot sight that allows for proper co-witnessing, enabling a backup sighting option if needed.

Advantages of Pistol Red Dots

Pistol red dot sights offer several advantages that can enhance your shooting performance:

Faster Target Acquisition

With a red dot sight, the aiming point is projected onto the lens, allowing for quick and intuitive target acquisition. This is particularly beneficial in dynamic shooting scenarios or self-defense situations where speed is crucial.

Improved Accuracy

The clear and illuminated red dot provides a precise aiming point, eliminating the need to align traditional iron sights. This enhances accuracy, especially in low-light conditions or high-stress environments.

Extended Effective Range

Red dot sights enable shooters to engage targets at longer distances than iron sights alone. The increased target clarity and improved sight picture contribute to extending the effective range of your pistol.

Best Practices for Using Pistol Red Dots

To make the most of your pistol red dot sight, consider the following tips:

Practice and Familiarize Yourself

Spend time at the range to become comfortable with your red dot sight. Practice target acquisition, sight alignment, and follow-up shots to build proficiency and muscle memory.

Maintain Proper Sight Alignment

Ensure the dot is consistently placed on the target, and your shooting fundamentals, such as grip and trigger control, remain solid. Proper sight alignment is key to achieving accurate shots.

Regular Maintenance and Zeroing

Regularly inspect and clean your red dot sight to maintain optimal performance.

To avoid unexpected battery depletion, periodically check the battery level of your red dot sight. Create a habit of replacing or recharging batteries in a timely manner to ensure optimal performance.

Additionally, periodically verify the zeroing of your sight to ensure accuracy.

FAQs

Are red dots on pistols worth it?

Yes, red dots on pistols are absolutely worth it! Red dots allow for faster target acquisition and improved accuracy, plus they’re more effective than traditional iron sights in low light conditions.

Does the military use pistol red dots?

Yes, the military does use pistol red dots. These sights enhance target acquisition and accuracy, providing soldiers with an advantage in combat situations.

What is the best MOA for pistol red dot?

There is no single best MOA for a pistol red dot, but 3 MOA is the most popular choice because it provides a good balance between dot visibility and target obstruction. However, some shooters prefer smaller or larger dots, so we recommend trying out a few different sizes.

Conclusion

Choosing the right pistol red dot sight can significantly enhance your shooting experience. We’ve explored the features, advantages, and considerations for selecting the best pistol red dot for your needs.

While there are numerous options available, one standout choice is the Trijicon RMR Type 2. With its exceptional durability, long battery life, and ease of use, the RMR Type 2 offers top-notch performance.

However, the best pistol red dot sight ultimately depends on your specific requirements and preferences. Consider the factors discussed in this article and explore different options based on your shooting style, budget, and intended use.

We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences with pistol red dots. Leave a comment below sharing your opinions, favorite models, or any questions you may have. 

Remember, selecting the right pistol red dot sight is a personal decision, and your insights can help fellow shooters make informed choices. Happy shooting!

Written by Megan Kriss
Megan Kriss photo Megan has been an avid recreational shooter since she was a young child and she's thrilled to have the opportunity to combine this love with her passion for writing. Megan Kriss is a seasoned writer and firearms enthusiast with contributions to a variety of publications, including Pew Pew Tactical, American Firearms, A Well-Armed Woman, Recoil, and Faxon Firearms. In addition to firearms, Megan also enjoys writing about pets, outdoor recreation, and other lifestyle topics. When she's not busy writing, Megan enjoys tabletop games, reading, and being outdoors. She shares her Georgia home with her partner, dog, and two cats.

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