Hex Dragonfly Red Dot Sight mounted on shotgun

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Red dot sights are everywhere these days. Newer shooters might not even remember a time when they weren’t a readily available accessory for rifles, pistols, and shotguns. The truth is that red dot sights aren’t even 50 years old. It all goes back to 1974 when Aimpoint introduced the first one to the market. Over the next few decades, the concept really caught on and is now booming.

If you’re on the hunt for any kind of red dot sight, there’s never been a better time to buy than right now—the market is bursting at the seams and prices keep coming down. Just be sure to do your homework first, though, because, with so many options out there, it can get confusing and overwhelming if you don’t. Here is a summary of the best red dots sights available, according to our testing and research.

Best Red Dot Sights

Best Overall: Aimpoint Pro

Specs

  • Magnification: 1X
  • Battery Life: Up to 30,000 hours
  • Weight: 7.8 ounces

Pros

  • Two MOA dot for fast target acquisition
  • Ten brightness settings: six daylight and four night vision
  • Submersible up to 150 feet
  • Vibration- and shock-resistant
  • Includes mount and spacer

Cons

  • Only compatible with AimPoint magnifiers

Aimpoint pioneered the red dot sight. The Aimpoint Patrol Rifle Optic (PRO) continues that lineage, with excellent results. Designed to handle the rigors of law enforcement, you can be certain it will stand up to recreational use at the range or in the field. The PRO features a hard anodized, high strength aluminum housing that provides vibration and shock resistance and is submersible up to 150 feet.

The sight is powered by a single DL1/3N battery and ACET technology provides over three years of constant-on use at daylight position seven and even longer on the night vision settings. It can be attached to Picatinny rail with no tools needed and is operationally parallax free no matter what angle your eye is in relation to the sight. This means that users can achieve first round hits faster with greater confidence.

Best Value: Sig Sauer Romeo5

Specs

  • Magnification: 1X
  • Battery Life: Up to 40,000 hours
  • Weight: 5.1 ounces

Pros

  • Side-loading CR2032 battery for quick replacement
  • Includes low mount and co-witness mounts
  • Ten illumination settings
  • Motion Activated Illumination (MOTAC) powers up when it senses motion
  • IPX7 rated for protection against immersion

Cons

  • This model not available with a green dot for those who prefer it
  • Stories of fakes abound, so be sure you’re buying from a reputable seller

Weighing just 5.1 ounces and featuring a 2 MOA dot, the Sig Sauer ROMEO5 is a lightweight, feature-packed red dot sight that punches above its weight class. It’s not the least expensive option on the market, but the value you get for the extra money is well worth it. It’s a simple yet robust red dot option for those looking to outfit an AR, shotgun or carbine. To fit a variety of platforms, it includes low-mount riser as well as a co-witness height 1.41” riser.

The red dot sensor will automatically adjust to your lighting conditions but is also still fully adjustable by the user. With the MOTAC power sensor, the optic will power up and down on its own based on usage. Even when you have to change the battery, it’s easily done via a side-loading access point so that you don’t have to remove the optic to get it back up and running. You won’t have to worry about the elements, as the IPX-7 rating means it will survive a total submersion up to one meter for 30 minutes. Despite all these features, it’s just a little extra money over the Bushnell TRS-25.

Best for Pistols: Springfield Armory Hex Dragonfly

Specs

  • Magnification: 1X
  • Battery Life: Up to 100,000 hours
  • Weight: 1.2 ounces

Pros

  • 3.5 MOA dot with manual brightness settings
  • Under normal conditions, batteries will last three years
  • Co-witness channel for integrated use with regular pistol sights
  • Built with hardcoat anodized aluminum and scratch-resistant glass
  • Convenient auto-off feature
  • Lightest weight of all the sights we tested

Cons

  • They’re still a newcomer to the optics game, so time will tell if the line continues

Made hardcoat anodized aluminum and outfitted with a scratch-resistant, anti-glare glass lens, the Hex Dragonfly is a durable reflex red dot that delivers fast target acquisition and the ability for equally fast follow up shots. It is the larger of the two options in the Hex lineup, but it’s still a very versatile reflex sight that is perfectly suited for pistol applications. With almost identical physical specs to the Vortex Venom and the Burris Fastfire 2 and Fastfire 3, the Hex Dragonfly is all but guaranteed to fit handguns from Springfield or any other manufacturer.

I recently put the red dot sight to the test, and I must say, it’s an optic that lives up to the hype. What struck me immediately was the crisp and clear sight picture it provides. It has a wide field of view and the 3.5 MOA red dot. Built like a tank, it’s shock-, fog- and waterproof, so it can handle whatever nature throws its way. I appreciate a well-built optic that can take a bit of abuse.

Hex Dragonfly Red Dot Sight sitting on concrete
The durability of the Hex Dragonfly is unmatched. Bethany Beathard

At first, I mounted this to my everyday carry pistol, a Sig Sauer P365Xl, but I eventually switched it to my Franchi Affinity 3.5 12-gauge. The battery life exceeded my expectations, allowing me to focus on my shooting without worrying about packing additional batteries for inconvenient battery changes. The 16-hour auto-off feature is a thoughtful addition, preventing battery drain in case I forget to turn it off. The Dragonfly’s lightweight and compact design makes it an excellent fit for both pistols and long guns.

It’s clearly a top-tier optic that combines rugged durability with precision performance, making it an excellent choice for any shooter. It stood up to the rigors of shooting in various conditions during testing. The 3.5 MOA dot with manual brightness settings made target acquisition quick, and I appreciated the fact that the chosen brightness level remained consistent when the sight turned back on.

The HEX Dragonfly came with a comprehensive package, including a Picatinny mount, hex and Torx wrenches, a sealing plate, three sets of screws, and a CR2032 battery. It’s evident that Springfield Armory has considered the needs of shooters, providing everything necessary for a hassle-free experience. While HEX may be relatively new to the optics market, the Dragonfly’s compatibility with popular reflex sights and impressive performance make it a promising contender.

Best for Rifles: Vortex AMG UH-1 Gen II Holographic

Specs

  • Magnification: 1X
  • Battery Life: Not listed
  • Weight: 11.6 ounces

Pros

  • Dedicated night vision button with four settings
  • Quickly attaches to Weaver or Picatinny rail
  • FHQ technology virtually eliminates stray light emissions for stealth shooting
  • Backed by an unrivaled industry lifetime warranty
  • Parallax free
  • 15 different brightness levels
  • Bigger rear window that Gen I model

Cons

  • Pricy compared to other units
  • Heaviest of all the red dots we tested

The Vortex AMG UH-1 Gen II is an improvement on the already-great AMG UH-1 Gen I. This new model has 15 different brightness levels for the one MOA dot and multiple anti-reflective coatings on all air-to-glass surfaces. Speaking of air-to-glass, the optic’s interior is purged with argon to ensure the highest levels of water and fog resistance. The arrangement works well enough to achieve an IPX8 rating, ensuring it will survive an immersion or other encounters with water.

The FHQ technology virtually eliminates stray light emissions for stealth shooting, letting you use the AMG UH-1 Gen II for hog control or other night ops. Speaking of night moves, there is a dedicated night vision button with four settings so you can hit the ground running. Weighing in at 11.6 ounces, this red dot optic is powered by one CR123A battery with a battery life of 1,500 hours – more than double that of the comparable EOTech. Best of all, like all products made by Vortex, it is backed by the Vortex VIP lifetime warranty that is without equal in the firearms community. If you want more holographic options, you can check out our roundup of the best holographic sights.

Best Solar Powered: Holosun HS510C

Specs

  • Magnification: 1X
  • Battery Life: Up to 50,000 hours
  • Weight: 4.94 ounces

Pros

  • Two of the brightness settings are compatible with night vision
  • Battery tray is conveniently located for changes without removing the unit
  • Shake-awake feature turns it on instantly
  • Choice of red or green display color
  • Total of 12 brightness settings

Cons

  • Using the 65 MOA circle drains the battery faster

Featuring a 2 MOA dot within a 65 MOA circle (available in red or green), the Holosun HS510C has fantastic battery life of 50,000 hours, shake-awake on/off capabilities, and best of all: solar power backup. So even if the batteries are totally dead, this Holosun unit will still allow you to draw a bead on your target. The sensor/solar panel combo also adjusts the brightness of the reticle to match ambient lighting conditions.

This sight is a compact little package that weighs just under five ounces and is tall enough to provide an absolute co-witness with iron sights. With 10 daylight and two night vision settings, you can use the HS510C in any situation. The HS510C is parallax free and is made of aluminum and titanium for maximum durability while still being lightweight. Multi-layer coatings ensure excellent light transmission and true color rendering while reducing glare.

Best for Shotguns: Bushnell RXS-250 Reflex

Specs

  • Magnification: 1X
  • Battery Life: Up to 50,000 hours
  • Weight: 1.4 ounces

Pros

  • 10 brightness levels adapt to various lighting condition
  • Quick and precise target acquisition thanks to 4 MOA dot
  • Durably built and constructed from aircraft-grade aluminum
  • Waterproof IP67 and rated dust-proof

Cons

  • Pricier than others we reviewed and tested

The Bushnell RXS-250 Reflex Sight is a great choice for those considering adding a red dot to their shotgun setup. This optic delivers quick target acquisition and durability in a compact package. With a 4 MOA dot and versatile brightness settings, it’s well-suited for shotgun applications, ensuring you can stay on target even in fast-paced shooting scenarios. The high-grade aluminum construction can withstand shotgun recoil while the extended battery life.

The windage detent and elevation adjustments, along with the top-loading battery for easy replacement, make this optic versatile and well-suited for mounting on a wide range of pistols, MSRs, and shotguns. Its robust design, along with waterproof, shockproof, and fog-proof features, ensures reliable performance in various conditions. While it offers a single reticle option, the RXS-250 provides the essential elements needed for shotgun enthusiasts.

Best Budget: Sightmark Ultra Shot R-Spec Reflex

Specs

  • Magnification: 1X
  • Battery Life: Up to 2,000 Hours
  • Weight: 10.7 ounces

Pros

  • Affordable—excellent value for its price
  • 4 reticle patterns and 10 brightness levels
  • Easy to mount and attach to a wide range of firearms

Cons

  • Not fog-proof, which may affect performance in certain weather conditions

The Sightmark Ultra Shot R-Spec Reflex Sight is a budget-friendly option that doesn’t compromise performance. Its versatile reticle options come in four different patterns: 5 MOA dot, 3 MOA dot with 50 MOA circle, 3 MOA dot with 50 MOA crosshair, and 3 MOA dot with 30 MOA circle/crosshair. Additionally, it has 10 brightness levels and a choice of red or green reticle colors.

This optic has a durable build, constructed with 6061-T6 Aluminum. The generous lens size makes it an excellent choice for both beginners and experienced shooters. It operates on a 3-volt CR123A battery, providing up to 2000 hours of use, and it’s rated as IP55, making it water-resistant. It’s also shockproof, capable of withstanding drops from up to 8 feet. While it may lack fog-proof capabilities, its affordability and reliability make it a solid pick for those looking for an economical red dot sight.

How We Tested Red Dot Sights

Between both writers, we personally own six red dot sights and currently use them on pistols, shotguns, and an AR-15. We’ve also been fortunate enough to shoot a wide variety of other red dots on other guns both when at the range with friends and at media events. As a result, we’ve arrived at a place where there are certain must-haves and other nice-to-haves on red dot sights that we’re considering for personal use.

When it comes down to picking the best red dot sights, we evaluated them using the following criteria:

  • Build Quality: Even if you’re not going to be using your red dot optic in the toughest environments, you still want to make sure that it can withstand normal and slightly abnormal use in a variety of different situations and weather conditions. A red dot sight is of no use if it fails under pressure.
  • Features: What’s the battery life like? How does it mount? Are the batteries easy to replace? Is it waterproof, or at least water-resistant? Does it have an auto shut-off feature? Is it compatible with night vision? All of these and more are bonus features outside of the basic “it has a red dot for aiming” function that are found on each red dot sight.
  • Cost: Is this red dot sight providing an ample amount of value for the price the company is asking?

What To Look for in a Red Dot Sight

If you decide that your next gun-related purchase is going to be a red dot sight, then here are some of the things you should think about before you make your final choice:

Battery

All red dot sights have batteries in them, but the battery life and even battery type can vary widely depending on the specific make and model. You’ll want to look at how long the average battery life will be, what kind of battery it uses, how expensive they are to replace, and how easy it is to replace the battery. The best red dot sights will have battery life that can be measured in years, not days. Some even feature solar panels to keep them charged.

Size and Weight

Bigger isn’t always better, especially when you’re talking about red dot sights on concealed carry handguns. In that instance, you’ll want something with as small of a footprint as possible. Similarly, you’ll want to pay attention to how much the sight weighs, as those ounces can add up quickly even on a larger rifle setup. Still, the best red dot sights only weigh a fraction of what a traditional scope does.

Price

The most expensive option isn’t always the right option. Once you narrow down your choices, compare their features and see which one is giving you the best bang for your buck. You may have to make some sacrifices here and there, but at the end of the day, you want to make sure that the red dot sight you select is worth the amount of money you spend on it.

You’ll need more than just a red dot to hit the range, though. Check out our roundups of the best hearing and eye protection. Take it all with you using the top range bags. And find a safe place to shoot thanks to this handy locator from the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

FAQs

Q: Is a holographic sight better than a reflex red dot?

While both kinds of technology produce essentially the same result, there are benefits and drawbacks to both when trying to determine if a holographic sight is better than a reflex red dot. Generally speaking, holographic sights will be larger and more expensive than their reflex counterparts because of the advanced technology that goes into them versus a reflex optic. If you want to use a magnifier in front of a reflex sight, your dot will get proportionally larger, too. However, this is not the case with a holographic sight.

Q: Are red dot sights worth it?

If you like shooting technology and you have the money to buy one, then sure, a red dot sight can be considered worth it. Determining if red dot sights are worth it is a very personal question that will vary from one shooter to the next.
 
Is the technology really cool and does it make shooting very easy? Yes. Should you get a red dot sight because you don’t want to learn how to use regular iron sights? No. Do you need to spend close to $1,000 or more for a red dot? Only you can answer that question.

Q: How does a red dot sight work?

Red dot sights work in one of two ways, depending on whether the sight is reflex or holographic. Reflex sights use an LED and coated glass to bounce the image of the red dot back to the user. A holographic sight, on the other hand, uses a laser and mirrors to project a red dot that appears to be in front of the optic back to the user.

What Is the Best Red Dot Sight?

Some people still view red dot sights as a sort of newfangled gimmick despite having been around for almost a half-century. However, red dot optics allow you to work (shoot) smarter, not harder. Our favorite of all the ones we’ve tested is the Aimpoint PRO for its brightness and durability.

If ever there was a way to just “point and shoot,” it would be with a red dot sight. Keep the preceding advice in mind, and you’ll find the best red dot sights for you and your shooting style.

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