Red Dot F.A.Q.

This article deals with one of the most common questions we get from customers. What is a red dot scopes, how does it work and what are the advantages of this type of optical system.

We have a large selection of quality red dot scopes and reflex sights to fit just about any application. The focus of this article will deal specifically with items that we sell and have personal experience with. Red dot scopes can be mounted on most any rifle, carbine, shotgun, pistol, bow, crossbow, paintball and airsoft gun that has an appropriate mount.

Method of Operation

Red dot scopes use either refractive or reflective optics to generate an illuminated image of a reticle pattern or dot which is used for target acquisition. The reticle pattern image which appears inside the sealed tube of a red dot scope actually looks as if it was being projected directly on the target much in the same way a laser sight works. In reality, the reticle is projected inside the scope and there is no external light source projected on the target. Red Dot scopes allows for very quick target acquisition because the eye will easily acquire the bright reticle and the user does not have to take time to squint their eye or focus the scope on a thin crosshair.

Types of Red Dot Scopes

There is a vast number of different styles and models of red dot scopes but typically most red dots include the following features. A sealed aluminum or polymer scope tube, the most popular tube dimensions are 30mm, 42mm and 50mm. The reticle patterns are typically either green or red. Some scopes feature multi-reticle patterns which allow you to change reticle patterns. The most common reticle pattern is a standard red dot which is typically between 4 moa - 6 moa ( moa=minute of angle. This is a measurement of how large the reticle appears at 100 yards. For example, 5 moa = the red dot covers approximately a 5 inch circle at 100 yards ). Most all red dots use some sort of battery, usually a watch type or button cell to power the optic. There alre also some self-luminous models use that use a fiber optic or tritium as the light gathering source so they do not require batteries. These self-luminous sights tend to be very expensive and usually have very rugged Mil-Spec characteristics. Red dot scopes feature various adjustable power settings which affect the overall size and brightness of the reticle pattern. Field of view determines the total visible area that is viewed through the scope. Scope with magnification focus the shooters field of view on a small area which hinder the ability to identify and acquire targets that are located just outside of the field of view. Most red dots do not have any magnification which allows for a very large field of view. A large field of view is important for fast target acquisition as it allows the user to view targets throughout the target area as opposed to a magnified scope which will focus on a very small area.

Red Dot Scope Mounting Options

Red dot scopes without magnification are parallax free ( also knows as unlimited eye relief ) which means that the scope can be positioned at various distances from your eye and the reticle pattern will still be visible. This allows for extreme flexibility in mounting possibilities as your scopes does not have to be a certain specific distance from your eye in order to obtain peak performance. Some people choose to mount their red dot scope in a forward position ahead of the rifle/carbine bolt body which is referred to as a scout rifle configuration. There are some new generation of red dot scopes that have low power magnification and other innovative features like external magnifiers that are compatible with some red dot scopes. Most red dot scopes will feature either a built in weaver/picatinny style mount or will include a set of scope rings for mounting purposes. All you need is a weaver/picatinny style mount or rail to attach any of our red dot scopes to your firearm. If you do not already have a mount or rail, make sure you check out our website or contact us. We sell a large variety of mounts and rails for many different firearms and we have the knowledge and expertise to put together the right setup for you. Some of the mounts we offer can be used across multiple platforms with little or no modifications. We also have the ability to special order hard to find mounts for just about any application.

We also have many different Scope And Red Dot combo deals available. Use our navigation menu and click on the name of your firearm to see what combo deals we currently offer.

Things to consider when purchasing a red dot

What is the intended use of the scope:

  • Competition shooting - Multy reticle patterns are ideal as you can pick the perfect reticle for any particular shooting exercise. Overall scope dimensions may be a consideration if you want to keep your firearm light and quick handling.
  • Professional Military or police use - Keep it simple and rugged. A red dot reticle may be the best choice as you want to keep the operating system of the scope as simple as possible to avoid operator errors during critical situations. Also the simple red dot will consume less battery power than a multi-reticle unit thus lowering the chances of batteries dying at the worst possible time. Overall scope dimensions may be a consideration if you want to keep your firearm light and quick handling. If budget permits make sure to purchase the best quality optic in your price range and ideally something that has Mil-Spec features. A quick detach system or ability to co-witness your iron sights through the scope may also be beneficial.
  • Recreational target shooting - The largest diameter scope available will allow for the largest field of view. Multy reticle patterns are ideal as you can pick the reticle with smallest MOA for most accurate shooting at long distances and the quickly change to a different reticle such as a red dot or chevron for those stages that are time sensitive and require fast/accurate target acquisition.
  • Self Defense - Keep it simple and reliable, A red dot reticle may be the best choice as you want to keep the operating system of the scope as simple as possible to avoid operator errors during critical situations. Also the simple red dot will consume less battery power than a multy-reticle unit thus lowering the chances of batteries dying at the worst possible time. Overall scope dimensions may be a consideration if you want to keep your firearm light and quick handling.

The perfect scope for you is just a click away so please make sure you check out our Red Dot section and feel free to contact us so we can help put together the proper set of optics for your specific application.

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