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The old idiom, “a bad workman blames his tools,” should not be your reality, especially when it comes to shooting. Be it for hunting, home, personal protection, or sport; you need to have the best equipment available.
A red dot sight for your AR is a good starting point to improve your aim and shooting skills.
One really good red dot for your AR that rises above the rest is the Aimpoint Pro Patrol Rifle Optic.
This decision to get the best equipment could be a life or death decision. It could also simply be one that scores you first prize at the shooting range, or better yet, gets you a buck in the back of your pickup at the end of a long day of hunting.
We have combed through countless rifle manuals and tested a good number of sights, and we believe we have found 10 of the best red dot sights on the market to help you make the most informed decision that will leave your heart content and your wallet happy too.
Best Red Dot Sights For AR-15
Here’s a list of 10 of the best red dot sights currently available on the market:
1. Aimpoint PRO Patrol Rifle Optic
Specs: It is a Tubed Reflex sight with a 2MOA standard red dot reticle. Its 1x20mm lens has a multi-layer coating and is anti-reflex.
The Aimpoint Pro’s excellent optical performance is a key attribute to the sight’s superior quality. It gets its razor-sharp images thanks to the glass surfaces on both ends, which are fully coated against reflection and impact. This allows for the sight to offer the shooter unlimited relief. It comes with 10 illumination settings, four of which are for night vision and six of which are for daylight. Both the rear and the front lens are fitted with covers.
The front cover can be rotated a full 360 degrees, so it will not get in the way when shooting, and the back cover is transparent, making it ready for use even if the cap is on. It is made from hard-anodized aluminum, and this ranks among the top performers as the strongest and most durable sight on the market.It can be put through the most rigorous tests, and it will survive. This is one reason why it is popular with police and law enforcement agents.
The mount on the Aimpoint Pro is a QRP2 Rail Grabber Mount, which has a spring-loaded tightening knob that ensures a perfect-to-zero mount that will not deform or damage your rail in any way. It does not require any tools to mount to your gun and has a detachable space for optical height adjustment.
The Aimpoint Pro ranks as one of the higher-priced red dot sights averaging at just over $400, but we believe it makes for an excellent investment. It has innovative battery-saving technology, allowing you to leave the sight on without worrying about the battery getting drained. The battery life will last up to 30,000 hours.
If you decide to purchase an Aimpoint product from Amazon or anywhere online, we encourage you to take extra caution. There are some unreliable sellers who unfortunately will supply you with a knockoff of the product. Always check the supplier and the price.
2. Sig Romeo 5
Specs: It is a Tubed Reflex sight with a multi-coated 1x20mm lens that has Spectracoat as well. Its reticle is a standard red dot 2MOA.
The Sig Romeo 5 has been able to maintain its relevance in the marketplace for several years. In our view, it is the most cost effective and greatest value sight that can be purchased for less than $200. This amount buys you a very clear and extremely durable 2MOA red dot sight with 10 brightness settings that allow the shooter to see in all light conditions. These are configured to eight daylight settings and two night vision settings. The sight is a zero magnification sight that gives you unlimited eye relief.
Another special quirk that comes with the Sig Romeo 5 is it automatically turns on and off when there are any movements or vibrations thanks to the motion-activated feature. After 15 minutes, the sight automatically turns off, and this is a great battery-saving feature for the times you mistakenly leave the sight on.
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This feature also helps preserve the CR2032 battery pack that powers the sight. Because of this power-saving feature, the lifespan of the battery can last up to 50,000 hours before you have to replace it. Although there are some sights that have a lessor battery lifespan, the market norm for companies is to equip their sights with longer lasting batteries.
The Sig Romeo 5’s mount comes with a low mount riser which can be fitted on any AR-15 and fastened with a Torx screw.
One thing we can guarantee is not only will you be able to brag about owning a Sig Sauer product, but you also get the same Sig Sauer warranty that comes with the other higher priced company products. It, therefore, ranks high on our list and should be on the list of every buyer on a budget.
3. AT3 Tactical Reflex Red Dot
Specs: It is a Tubed Reflex sight with a 2 MOA standard red dot reticle. It has fully multi-coated 1x25mm lenses.
Of all the red dot sights priced below $100 that we have reviewed, the AT3 Tactical Reflex Red Dot is one that certainly caught our attention the most. Do not let the price fool you into thinking it is low quality, as one of its most vital features is the aluminum casing that gives it enough strength to be both shock and waterproof. This is not something you would expect from a sight in this price range.
The optical performance is impressive. It does not have the same performance as some of the higher-end sights on the market, but it definitely holds its own with more than just a decent performance and quality we can trust.
The high-quality lenses are multi-coated and scratch-resistant and offer the shooter a clear sight of the target. This allows for you to shoot with both eyes open. It also provides eye relief for eyeglass shooters.
The AT3 has 11 brightness level settings and can be used in different light and darkness conditions.
The sight package comes with a new lightweight Pro-Mount Cantilever Mini Rinser mount. This helps you acquire your target much faster and enables you to stay on the target under any circumstances. We found that you can mount it in three ways; low, medium, and high. Catering to whatever setting you are most comfortable with on your rifle.
The CR2032 Lithium Battery, when used on the lowest settings, can be stretched to last up to 50,000 hours. On the other hand, it will last up to 5,000 hours under typical/normal use.
4: Trijion MRO-C Patrol Red Dot Sight
Specs: It is a Tubed Reflex sight with a multi-adjustable 2MOA red dot reticle. The 1x25mm lenses have a Trijion proprietary lens coating.
The Trijion company is well-known for its high-quality products, and this is true with the Trijion MRO-C Patrol. Much like a tank, the sight is constructed to endure the roughest of weather and conditions. Its casing is made from a 7075-T6 aluminum alloy and has a scratch and corrosion-resistant anodized finish, giving it a well-polished and stunning look.
It still has a lightweight quality to it that it retains and is very durable. It is no surprise that the US army favors it.
The lens of the MRO-C is a none magnified 25mm 2MOA red dot, which is multi-coated and offers infinite eye relief to the user. The likelihood of you being exposed by glare from the sight is next to nothing as it has an anti-reflection kill device. This guarantees that you will stay hidden from your target for as long as you need. It is also fitted with flip-up lens caps.
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The MRO-C boasts eight brightness settings, five of which are daylight, two of which are night vision, and one which is a super bright setting. According to the product manual, continuously using the sight at brightness three will give the CR2032 lithium battery a lifespan of close to five years. It has an easy-fit mount for rifles and shotguns.
Before you head down to purchase the Trijion MRO-C, we need to tell you that it certainly is not a cheap option. The retail prices for the sight are just above the $600 mark but, if you want the best equipment available, then this is one you will want to add to your arsenal.
In terms of quality; it is worth every dollar spent and you will not regret making the investment.
5: Holosun HSC107 Reflex Red Dot Sight
Specs: It is an Exposed Reflex with a 1x lens. Its reticle is a 2MOA standard red dot which also has a 65MOA circle.
The Holsun HSC107’s aluminum shell design is similar to that of a holographic sight, and in many cases, we liken it to the EOTech holographic. This one, though, is a much cheaper option in terms of price.
The Holosun HSC107 has a lower-tech red dot sight that offers a crystal clear sight 65 MOA circle with centering hashes along the rim and a central 2 MOA dot. It is an excellent pick for people with astigmatism. It also gives you the ability to switch between the dot and the circle, which is an advantage on earlier EOTech models and at a lower price.
The HSC107 is a very durable and light sight that will not drop your rifle. The casing of the sight is made from two different materials. Its hood is made from a titanium alloy for the sight window. The rest of the casing is made from aluminum, and this decision was necessitated by the desire to keep costs low and make the sight more affordable. It surely can take a beating and survive where many in its price range cannot.
An exciting feature of the HSC107 is the solar panel failsafe, which can power the sight when the batteries are not available as long as there is sufficient light present. This feature helps extend the battery life beyond its expected 50,000 hour lifespan. To put that into perspective, if managed well, you will only need to replace your battery after more than 5 years of use.
It has 10 daylight settings and two additional night vision settings
The HSC107 comes with an easy quick-release mounting system that can be mounted on any Picatinny rail system with no need for tools.
6: Sightmark Ultra Shot M-Spec Reflex Sight
Specs: It is an Exposed Reflex with a 1x25mm lens. Its reticle is a standard 2MOA red dot, and it also has a 65MOA circle dot crosshair.
This is another holographic lookalike sight that does not quite have the same functionality or pointedness as one. However, Slightmark should be commended for making a sight that is still as exceptional as any EOTech on the market and at a considerably lower price than one. In this case, almost a fifth of the price.
Retailing for close to $240, you get a sight made from some pretty tough aircraft-grade 6061 T6 aluminum. Added to this is a high-quality magnesium alloy that is an excellent addition to your rifle.
The Sightmark Ultra Shot Military Spec (M-Spec) Locking Quick Detach (LQD) Reflex Sight is a well-polished lightweight sight. It is durable and is waterproof up to about 40ft. It is better than most holographic copies on the market.
As an addition, to help keep aim and not distort your sight in extreme light conditions, it has integrated into the scope a patented sunshade. It also offers the shooter limitless eye relief.
The LQD mount can be fitted onto any Weaver/Picatinny rail system. It has a sidearm lever that you can adjust to fold to the rear. This allows for you to quickly mount the sight on the rifle rail while securing it tightly as well.
The sight comes with a superb low power consumption design and a gauge that shows when your battery is running low built into it. It also has a 12-hour shut-off function for the times we forget to turn off the sight. We must admit that this has happened to the best of us and it will probably happen again.
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The CR123A battery lifespan is about 2,000 hours in normal use mode. We like a feature that enables us to save as much battery as possible, and this sight also has a motion-sensor function which you can configure to turn on/off after five minutes.
Another cool feature on the sight is the Interlock adjustment system. This system guarantees that whatever modifications you make to the elevation and windage are not lost when the weapon recoils.
Another positive of this is that none of the sight’s clarity is compromised in any way, making it an excellent affordable buy as compared to getting an EOTech.
7: Primary Arms MD-ADS Red Dot Sight
Specs: It is a Tubed Reflex sight with 1x25mm lenses. Its reticle is a 2MOA microdot.
Another affordable sight that we found that sells below the $170 mark is the Primary Arms Mirco Dot (MD-ADS). Primary Arms were able to achieve a more affordable product by using cheaper material for the casing of the sight.
However, this should not be a deterrent because the company puts more work into where they believe it is needed the most, and that is in the lens. The sight provides for a high-quality clear glass with a precise dot.
Its unlimited eye relief allows the sight to be easily mounted anywhere on the rail system, which helps minimize any interference that may occur in your field of view.
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Costs may have been redirected to the lens, but that has not affected the sight much as it is still a durable one. It is made out of anodized aircraft aluminum that is hard-coated for extra strength. This has made the sight shock-resistant and also ensures you will not have a problem in rainy weather.
The Primary Arms MD-ADS comes with 11 brightness settings that can be used for both night and day. The CR2032 battery has a lifespan of 50,000 hours, ranking it with some of the best on the market.
Primary Arms is good at making mid-range priced units, and this one did not disappoint us nor will it disappoint you.
8: Meprolight Self-powered Bullseye Reflex Sight
Specs: It is an Exposed Reflex with a 1x30mm lens. It has a Bullseye reticle, and it also comes in three other options; 5.5 MOA, 4.3 MOA, and Triangle reticle.
The Meprolight M21 Self-powered Reflex Sight is an Israeli-made red dot sight that is tough and durable. It is a sight trusted and respected by law enforcement agencies worldwide; most notably, the Israeli army is a big fan of it.
It comes with four reticle options, 4.3 MOA, 5.5 MOA, Bullseye, and Triangle reticle. And the Bullseye option, in particular, retails from $449.99. The price might be a bit steep, but it is not wasted since you get a very dependable and quality product.
The Meprolight M21 has been made to be self-illuminating. This is achieved by using tritium in low light settings and using fiber optic technology when there is sufficient ambient light, keeping your reticle as vivid and precise as possible in all cases.
Therefore, the dot can self-adjust to any light condition including utter darkness or ultra-bright conditions without compromising quality. You will never be caught unprepared, as it is always ready to use.
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The fact that it does not require any batteries means there is no need for an on/off button as the sights are always on and ready to use. This does not carry the same advantage as it used to say 20 years ago as there are battery-powered sights with a lifespan of 50,000 hours. We think the self-powered feature is still pretty cool, though.
It has an easy-to-fit mount that is compatible with any standard rail and has an elevation adjustment knob on top, and the windage adjustment is on the right side.
If you can afford one, we encourage you to get one and trust that you are getting your money’s worth.
9: Bushnell TRS-25 Reflex Sight
Specs: It is a Tubed Reflex sight with 1x25mm ultra LED lenses. Its reticle is a 3 MOA standard red dot.
This is the second of our best bargain buys under $100. Ranking second after the AT3 Tactical Red Dot, we recommend the Bushnell TRS-25 is an affordable go-to option for any beginner. The price for this sight ranges between $50 and $80.
Scouring through the internet and reading many of the TRS-25’s reviews, you will find that it receives a fair amount of flak. Most of the complaints have to do with the brightness of the sight.
We believe that a lot of this flak is unwarranted since not everyone takes the time to learn how to use their sight properly.
We found that you will get a clearer target sight once you know how to control the brightness levels and use them at the right setting corresponding with the light around you.
The Bushnell has amber lenses with fill-up lens caps and a very crisp dot. It is smaller than other red dot sights with 3 MOA, which means at 100 yards, it will cover a 3-inch target.
It is slightly smaller than its competitors in the same price range as the AT3 TD-50 with a 2 MOA reticle. It does make it possible to use with both eyes open and maintains unlimited eye relief for the shooter.
The large wheel on the side of the sight controls the Bushnell’s brightness with a brightness setting of 11 that can be used in low light and bright light levels.
The sight’s mount allows it to be fitted on any Picatinny standard rail without the need for a rinser. It is also easy to install and detach from the rail.
Its battery is a CR2032 and can be pushed to last up to 6,000 hours at lower brightness level settings and should last up to 3,000 hours on medium settings.
The Bushnell is durable as it has a housing filled with dry nitrogen, which helps make it waterproof up to 10ft, as well as shockproof and fog proof.
This is an excellent sight to attach to your rifle for the first-time hunter. It will give you the training you need at a very reasonable price.
10: EOTech EXPS3 Holographic Weapon Sight
Specs: It is an EOTech Holographic sight with a 1x25mm lens. Its reticle is a standard 1 MOA red dot with a 65 MOA circle.
EOTech currently makes the best holographic sights on the market and have rightly patented their products, making them a lot more expensive than their competitors. Quick target acquisition is the main focus of the EOTech EXPS3.
It is regarded as one of the fastest and most reliable target acquisition weapon sights on the market. The company’s products have become favorites on Seal teams for this reason, as well as many other of its stellar performances.
It is a durable sight that can withstand 33ft of water, and it is also shockproof. It can survive in the most rugged conditions. It has anti-fog nitrogen gas as well.
There is a free-floating reticle feature on the EXPS3 that gives the shooter unrestricted eye relief, and it does not matter from what angle your eye may be positioned at; the reticle will remain on target.
This accuracy is achieved from its 1 MOA dot and 65 MOA circle. It boasts one of the broadest ranges of brightness settings. There are 20 daylight settings to work with and 10 more night vision settings.
EOTech has placed buttons on the EXPS3 to give it a slick design and also makes it easier for the shooter to toggle through the many brightness settings. It has an adjustable quick-release lever that makes it easier to install and remove.
The CR123 lithium battery lasts 1,000 hours before it needs a recharge. To save on battery life, it comes with an auto-shutdown feature that also shows the battery levels.
The EOTech EXPS3, much like many of the products from EOTech does not come cheap and this is due to the patent the company has on its products. It is currently priced at just over $550 and is also one of the most expensive on our list.
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There are also a lot of knockoff products that may look similar to those of EOTech and also claim to be of the same company but they are of inferior quality.
Therefore, we encourage you to be vigilant and check where your purchase is coming from when purchasing any of the EOTech products.
If you find that your purchase does not originate from the US, then it most probably is not a genuine one, and that is too expensive a mistake to make.
Still not set on getting a red dot sight? Yes, there will be a groan here and there as the old ways dictate that the more experienced shooters use iron sights.
This means lining up your targets with the rear and front sights on your gun’s barrel. This turns shooting into an art form and turns those who can acquire such accuracy into absolute masters of the craft.
This art form is to be respected but, these are also the old ways of doing things, and we cannot shy away from making use of technology to better ourselves and the ARs as well.
The Marine Corps has moved away from iron sights, and we regard them as the best in the game. So if the Marines can do it, who are we to limit ourselves and our capabilities?
Now having gone through all 10 red dot sights, we have tried to narrow it down and pick what we believe is the best one on the market.
EOTech and its EXPS3 ranks top of the most reliable sights available and is the quickest target acquisition sight, but in this case, it falls short of being the outright best when you consider its price value. There are other better-priced red dot sights that offer close to the same performance as the EOTech at a better price.
That being said, the red dot reflex sight that we have ranked top of our list is the Aimpoint Pro Patrol Rifle Optic.
This is a sight you should not be thinking twice about saving up for and spending more on, as we believe the Aimpoint Pro Patrol Rifle Optic is worth its weight in gold.
Aimpoint does make some of the finest products on the market and that are guaranteed not to fail you, and in the case of the Pro Patrol Rifle Optic, its 30,000 hours battery is a true testament to the company’s quality.
The Sig Romeo 5 comes in at a close second as one of the best budget reflex sights under $200. Its durability and extra features are unraveled in its class, and it gets a worthy mention from us.