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The 1911 has lasted for more than a hundred years for a reason: it’s an excellent firearm platform. Still, modern technology can help you take it to the next level.
In this case, by “modern technology,” we mean red dot sights. Red dot sights can help your shooting performance in a wide variety of ways. That helps with visibility in low light or with poor eyesight, makes longer-range shots easier, and speeds up both initial target acquisition and follow-up shots, even when switching between targets.
Of course, you need the right red dot for your 1911.
Our top pick is the Trijicon RMR Type 2 Adjustable LED Reflex Sight. This is a high-end sight packed with features like automatic brightness, a battery conservation mode, multi-coated optics, and more.
However, this guide will also go over five other great 1911 red dot sight recommendations. Then we’ll tell you everything you need to know to choose the right one for you. Now let’s dive right in, starting with our 1911 red dot sight recommendations!
|Trijicon RMR Type 2 Adjustable LED Reflex Sight||Best Overall Choice||Click here for Amazon |
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|Leupold DeltaPoint Pro Red Dot Sight||Best Value Pick||Click here for Amazon |
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|Vortex Optics Venom Red Dot||Budget Pick||Click here for Amazon |
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Here Are the Best 1911 Red Dot Sights (Our Picks)
1. Trijicon RMR Type 2 Adjustable LED Reflex Sight
Our top pick overall is the Trijicon RMR Type 2 Adjustable LED Reflex Sight. This red dot sight is pricier, but if you can swing the cost, it’s totally worth it.
First things first: let’s go over all of the configurations available for it. For one, you can select from models with 1 MOA, 3.25 MOA, and 6.5 MOA red dots. The latter two are generally best for handguns like the 1911.
Second, there are options with Weaver, Picatinny, and ACOG mounts available. With that said, when shopping for a 1911 red dot sight, you’ll generally need to buy your mount and sight separately, so it’s best to go for one of the sights without a mount included.
Third, all models of the Trijicon RMR Type 2 Adjustable LED Reflex Sight are available in Matte Black, but some also come in Coyote Brown, Flat Dark Earth (FDE), OD Green, and Sniper Gray.
However, no matter which of these various configurations you decide to go with, the features are the same.
If you know Trijicon, you know that durability is especially important to the company. That dedication is what has allowed them to outfit the US military.
With the RMR Type 2, this doesn’t just mean Trijicon’s standard rigorous testing. This red dot sight also has a housing shape that’s specially designed to divert energy away from the lens if dropped or bumped, preventing cracks. The housing itself is made from forged aluminum.
It’s also resistant to recoil and extreme temperatures and is even waterproof to 66 feet. To top it off, it’s covered by a lifetime warranty, with the electronic components warrantied for 5 years.
The lenses are multi-coated for optical clarity. The LED has adjustable brightness with 8 brightness settings in total. You can choose the best option for the level of ambient light. There’s even an automatic brightness mode that will select the right brightness level for you.
Furthermore, after 16.5 hours, battery conservation mode kicks on and automatically adjusts dot brightness to match ambient light conditions to extend the scope’s battery life.
However, the sight uses a CR2032 battery, which should provide more than 4 years of continuous use at brightness setting 4, so you shouldn’t have to worry about the battery for a long time.
You can switch between automatic and manual brightness settings, manually adjust the brightness level, and power down the sight using buttons on the sides of the unit. Windage and elevation can be adjusted without tools and have a 1 MOA adjustment graduation.
The sight is also pretty lightweight, measuring 1.8 in x 1.1 in x 1 in and weighing 1.2 ounces.
The Trijicon RMR Type 2 Adjustable LED Reflex Sight comes with a CR2032 battery, 2 RMR screws, a hex wrench, the RMR manual, a Trijicon sticker, and the warranty card.
At almost $500, the Trijicon RMR Type 2 Adjustable LED Reflex Sight isn’t exactly low-cost. However, the incredible durability, high-quality optics, and other great features all make this sight absolutely worth the cost if you can swing it.
2. Leupold DeltaPoint Pro Red Dot Sight
The Leupold DeltaPoint Pro Red Dot Sight is another high-end 1911 red dot sight, though it’s a little bit lower-cost than the Trijicon RMR Type 2 Adjustable LED Reflex Sight.
The Standard DeltaPoint Pro has a 2.5 MOA red dot, but there’s also a version with a 6 MOA dot. Each is available in matte black and FDE options. Like with the Trijicon, whichever combination you go with, the rest of the features are the same.
The sight is waterproof, fog-proof, and impact resistant. The sight housing is made out of aircraft-grade aluminum.
The Professional-Grade Red Dot Optical System is designed to optimize light transmission while also reducing glare. The dot itself has 8 brightness settings, which you can choose between using push-button controls on the side of the housing.
Motion Sensor Technology (MST) automatically deactivates the dot after 5 minutes without motion, then instantly boots up again when motion is detected in order to preserve battery life.
Related Article: 9 Best Budget Red Dot Sights
This sight uses a CR2032 battery which can be changed without removing the sight or losing your zero. A single battery provides 300 hours of battery life on the highest setting and 1,600 hours on the lowest.
The Leupold DeltaPoint Pro has coin click windage and elevation controls, where each click represents 1 MOA. The total adjustment range of both windage and elevation is 60 MOA.
Selling for a little over $400, the Leupold DeltaPoint is still a high-end red dot sight, though it’s not quite as jam-packed with features or as intensely durability tested as the Trijicon RMR. Still, it definitely earns its price thanks to features like Motion Sense Technology and the Professional-Grade Red Dot Optical System.
3. Vortex Optics Venom Red Dot
If the previous red dot sights are outside of your budget, don’t worry. Our next three sights are at a more mid-range price point. The first of the three is the Vortex Optics Venom Red Dot.
This red dot sight comes in 3 MOA and 6 MOA dot options, but those are the only two options to choose from.
Either way, the red dot was 10 brightness settings, plus an automatic brightness setting, and fully multi-coated wide-field lenses. It uses a CR1632 battery which provides up to 150 hours of battery life on the highest setting and up to 30,000 hours on the lower settings.
The sight is waterproof and shockproof, and the aluminum housing has a single-piece chassis and a matte anodized finish. The lenses have an ArmorTek coating that protects them from debris, oil, and scratches. Vortex Optics provides a very generous lifetime warranty that will repair or replace your sight if it’s defective or accidentally damaged.
This sight has a 130 MOA elevation adjustment range 100 MOA windage adjustment range, with each having a 1 MOA adjustment graduation.
It’s also very lightweight, weighing just 1.1 ounces.
The Vortex Venom comes with a Weaver/Picatinny mount, a T-15 Torx wrench, a rain cover, a lens cloth, mounting screws, a CR 1632 battery, and a screwdriver.
If you’re looking for a mid-price 1911 red dot sight, the Vortex Optics Venom Red Dot is hard to beat. It’s exceptionally durable and even has scratch-resistant lenses. The number of brightness settings and the battery life are both competitive with higher-priced red dots.
4. Burris Fastfire 3
Our next mid-price sight, a little lower in price than the Venom, is the Burris Fastfire 3.
This red dot sight is available with a 3 MOA or 8 MOA red dot, each with 3 manual brightness settings and an automatic brightness mode.
It uses a CR1632 battery and has battery access on the top of the sight, so you don’t have to remove the sight to change the battery. The sight has an automatic shutoff, so the sight shuts down after 8 hours to preserve the life of the battery.
The Fastfire 3 has a 21×15 mm objective lens made from high-grade optical glass with index-matched, Hi-Lume multicoating. This Burris red dot sight weighs 1.5 ounces, so it’s a little heavier than the Vortex Venom.
Related Article: 12 Best Pistol Red Dot
Windage and elevation adjustment each have a 1 MOA click value and can be adjusted without tools. There’s a 115 MOA elevation adjustment range and a 86 MOA windage adjustment range.
The sight is waterproof and shockproof and is covered by the Burris Forever Warranty. It comes with a battery, a detachable Picatinny mount, and mounting screws.
The Burris Fastfire 3 represents a great value. It only has 3 brightness settings, which isn’t as many as other sights, even at this price point. It’s also a little heavier. However, the automatic brightness mode and automatic shutoff help make up for that., so do the high-quality, fully-multicoated lenses.
5. Sig Sauer Romeo1
Our last recommendation is the Sig Sauer Romeo1, available in both 3 MOA and 6 MOA dot versions.
This sight has a wide, 30mm objective lens with LensArmor, an abrasion-resistant lens coating, and multiple layers of SpectraCoat, an anti-reflective, ultra-wide broadband optical coating.
It has 10 daytime illumination settings but also uses MOTAC (Motion Activated Illumination). This means that the reticle automatically powers up when the sight detects motion, then powers down after a period without motion. That ensures that the reticle is ready whenever you’re ready while still increasing the life of the CR1632 battery.
You can expect about 500 hours of run time from a battery.
At 0.8 ounces, the Romeo1 is the most lightweight sight on the list. However, it’s also durable with an IPX7 waterproof rating and a Truhold zeroing system that helps the sight hold your zero setting despite recoil.
Related Article: Red Dot AR-15 Sights. Review of the 10 best sights
This red dot sight has 100 MOA elevation and windage travel with a 1 MOA adjustment increment.
The Romeo1 comes with sight plates for standard and Sig Sauer 1911s. It’s also protected by a 5-year warranty.
The Sig Sauer Romeo1 is an incredibly lightweight scope, but it’s not light on features. The optics are extremely high quality. The MOTAC system ensures that your 3 MOA or 6 MOA dot is ready when you need it while still preserving your battery life. The sight is highly durable and has plenty of brightness settings to fit a variety of light levels.
Buying Guide: How to Choose the Right 1911 Red Dot
Now that we’ve gone over each of our recommended 1911 red dots, let’s talk about what you need to consider to choose the right one for you.
Mounting & Compatibility
Optics-ready 1911s aren’t the norm, so most likely, you’ll need to figure out how you want to go about mounting your red dot to your 1911.
There are two main options for doing this.
The first and also most common is just buying a milled slide that’s compatible with your red dot of choice. To find a slide that works, just use Google (or whatever your preferred search engine is) to search the name of your red dot and “1911 milled slide.”
If you don’t want to get a whole new slide, you may be able to take your 1911’s existing slide to a gunsmith and have them mill it. However, not every gunsmith will be able to do this. Plus, the cost to get a slide milled may also be higher than just buying a pre-milled slide.
You can also go with a race gun style mount that attaches to the frame rather than the slide, but these are an even more expensive option generally reserved for Open style competition.
And if your 1911 already has a dovetail notch for mounting a scope? You’re in luck! All you have to do is find a dovetail mount compatible with your red dot sight of choice. And there’s more good news too: these can be found very affordably, often for less than $50.
Obviously, you want a red dot sight that’s well-constructed and stays in place when you fire.
That means looking for a sight that’s waterproof and recoil-resistant at a minimum. Ideally, it will also have a scratch-resistant lens coating and a Cerakote or hard-anodized finish to protect the housing from scuffs and scratches.
Look for a 1911 red dot sight with housing made from a durable material. Most use aluminum which fits the bill, particularly if it’s aircraft-grade.
When it comes to red dots, dot size matters. Generally, however, dot size requires a trade-off.
Larger dots allow for faster target acquisition but can obscure your target, especially if the target is small or at a distance. Smaller red dots obscure less of the target but aren’t as visible, leading to slower target acquisition.
The 1911 isn’t exactly a long-range weapon, though, so you’ll typically want a relatively large dot size, somewhere between 3 and 6 MOA, though you could go larger. Beyond that, it’s simply a matter of personal preference.
In addition, some red dot sights, like the Sightmark Ultra Shot, will also have additional reticle pattern options, which can help with reticle visibility and target acquisition speed. Again, whether or not this is right for you generally comes down to your individual preferences.
Bigger isn’t always better. Sure, a larger red dot sight allows for a larger objective lens and therefore a larger sight picture, but it also adds bulk. Fortunately, modern technology has allowed for high-quality optics with cutting-edge features to come in really small packages.
Look for a lightweight scope and, to balance profile with sight picture size, look for width rather than height.
Battery & Battery Life
Finally, let’s talk about the power source.
Since red dots are illuminated, they need a battery. Most use a CR2032 or CR1632 battery. These batteries add relatively little weight and bulk but can power the red dot continuously for years on low settings.
CR2032 is generally slightly cheaper and easier to find than other types, but not enough for this to be a make-or-break issue.
Finally, it’s also nice to have features like automatic shutoff, motion sensing, or similar concepts that help extend the scope’s battery life.
Kimber 1911s are outfitted with a dovetail slot at the rear of the slide, making it easy to mount a red dot. You just need to get the right dovetail mount for your red dot sight of choice.
Hopefully, by now you have all the information that you need to pick out the best 1911 red dot sight for your needs.
The Trijicon RMR Type 2 Adjustable LED Reflex Sight is our top pick thanks to its high-end features like the specially designed housing, multi-coated optics, thorough testing, automatic brightness mode, and battery conservation mode.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s the right red dot sight for everyone. The Leupold DeltaPoint Pro Red Dot comes at around the same price point and has its own set of excellent features.
On the other hand, the Vortex Venom, Burris Fastfire 3, and Sig Sauer Romeo1 all have more modest price tags, but decent features. Finally, the Sightmark Ultra Shot R-Spec Red Dot Sight is a good option for those trying to spend as little as possible while still getting a decent sight.
Using the information provided here, you should have no problem making the right choice for you.