Best AR-15 Red Dot Sights – 2020 Ultimate Review

Are you in search of the best AR-15 red dot sight? If so, there is a good chance that you are not alone. There are so many AR-15 owners looking for an excellent red dot sight that will make sure that every shot that is accurate and precise at close distances. These will be perfect for the purposes of target shooting and hunting.

It’s important that you find a sight that will get the job done so you are able to make every shot count. While so many of these products flood the market, we’ve managed to come across a handful of them that are considered the best in the business.

Before we get to our reviews, we will discuss whether or not all AR-15 red dot sights that are the same and what makes the best ones stand out among the rest. 

Comparison of the Best AR-15 Red Dot Sights

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • 4 MOA red dot
  • Best overall AR-15 red dot sight
  • Fully multi-coated lenses for low light usage
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  • Contains a 2 MOA red dot
  • Runner-up for best AR-15 Red Dot Sight
  • Runs on a battery with a life of 50,000 hours
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  • 30mm objective lens
  • Best AR-15 Red Dot Sights
  • Five adjustable brightness levels
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  • Machined from aircraft quality aluminum
  • Best red dot sight for AR-15 with a fixed front sight
  • Multi-coated lenses for better image quality in both daylight and a low-light setting
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Are All Red Dot Sights The Same?

The short answer: no. Not every red dot sight will be the same for a few reasons. For one, the red dot might have a different MOA compared to some others. Secondly, you’ll need to take a look at the size of the sight itself. One sight might be larger than another (and vice versa). Also, you need to take into account the compatibility of the rails your AR-15 rifle has. For instance, your red dot sight could be compatible with Picatinny rails while some others will be able to work with Weaver rails. Some of them may be compatible with either of them. 

What Makes a Great AR-15 Red Dot Sight?

Knowing what makes an AR-15 red dot sight great is key. That way, you can make the distinction between a great sight and one that isn’t worth your time. Plus, you’ll know right away which one will give you better value and performance. Here are some things to look out for:

Price

Indeed, the price tag may be a deciding factor if you are on a budget. But it should not be the only reason why you chose a red dot sight. If you are looking for something at a reasonable price, you need to pay attention to the quality and the overall performance. That way, you are investing in the best possible and not just something that is cheap and disappointing. 

Reliability

If there is one thing that you need your red dot sight to be, it’s reliable. In other words, you want it to be accurate and precise on every shot you take. So, you want to make sure that it’s zeroed in quickly and ready for action. Also, there are red dot sights that are battery powered so you need these sights to run on a battery that has proven to last a long time. 

Installation

Of course, installing it shouldn’t be as much of a challenge. You want a red dot sight that is easy to install and able to fit your designated rail system. You should install these in a matter of minutes assuming that you use the right kind of tools. Of course, it will save you a lot of money and time that would otherwise be wasted when relying on a gunsmith to get the job done for you.

Quick Take | Best AR-15 Red Dot Sights

Review of the Best AR-15 Red Dot Sights

The following is a list of the best AR-15 red dot sights that are currently on the market. As you read through our reviews, be sure to note the features and characteristics that stand out as interesting. This way, you can make an informed determination as to whether or not it would be the best red dot sight for your AR-15 rifle.

Now, let’s begin by taking a look at the first AR-15 red dot sight on our list -- our “best overall” choice:

Pros

  • Easy to install on most rifles
  • Allows for precise, accurate shooting
  • Red dot is most visible during the day
  • Easy adjustments for windage and elevation
  • Best for varmint hunting and target shooting

Cons

  • Brightness could be turned down a bit
  • May be slightly off right out of the box
  • Red dot may be distorted for those with bad vision

What Recent Buyers Report

Most new buyers were looking for a red dot sight that was easy to install and allowed for consistent, accurate shooting. They weren’t disappointed in the slightest with this sight in particular. They said the shooting was accurate and the housing was perhaps one of the most durable they have seen on any other sight.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Vortex Optics brand is known for making really durable scopes, and that legendary durability carries over to the red dot sights that they have manufactured. So, you get a sight that will deal with all kinds of shock from recoil. This means you won’t lose your zero settings no matter how many times you shoot your rifle. It’s easy to install and easy to zero in, thus making it a really popular choice for shooters.

Who Will Use This Most

This will be perfect for any target shooter or varmint hunter who relies on their AR-15 rifle. You won’t have to struggle with any accuracy issues with this sight attached. If you want your rifle to be a lean, mean, accurate shooting machine then you may want to consider adding on this red dot sight. You’d be surprised what you can hit from a good 50 to 100 yards out.

Bottom Line

The Vortex Optics Strikefire II will be your best friend out in the field or at the range. It will go above and beyond the call of duty as far as making sure your shots will hit exactly where you need it to go. Plus, it has the potential to last you quite a while since it’s quite durable and won’t get ruined because of shock.

AT3 Tactical RD-50 PRO Red Dot Sight with .83' Riser - for Absolute Cowitness with Iron Sights - 2 MOA Compact Red Dot Scope

Pros

  • Simple to install
  • Affordable for most budgets
  • Easy to use with both eyes open
  • Accurate at distances up to 100 yards
  • Keeps its zero settings intact

Cons

  • Brightness dial may be difficult to turn
  • Battery issues may arise for some users
  • Mount that comes with this may be flimsy in quality; consider a replacement instead

What Recent Buyers Report

New users report that this red sight was a godsend for those who relied on the sight for some good old fashioned varmint shooting. Others were regular target shooters who usually spend the day at the range (and a small percentage of them were competitive shooters). They said that the installation was easy and didn’t take any longer than a few minutes.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This sight is set at 2 MOA. That’s a pretty good size if you want to keep the sight nice and small while making sure that it’s able to knock out the varmint target you’ve been honing in on. If you are a target shooter, it will be your best friend out at the range. You know that accuracy will be a matter of importance in any given situation, especially when you plan on hitting them at ranges between 75 to 100 yards. If you want a red dot sight that won’t let you down in any given situation, this might be your best possible option.

Who Will Use This Most
If you are a beginner to AR-15 shooting you should consider putting this red dot sight to good use, especially if all you are going to do is some close-range shooting. You should certainly give this red dot sight a try if you intend to make AR-15 shooting a whole lot of fun for you and anyone that is willing to tag along. Plus, with its lengthy battery life, this sight is pretty reliable whether you use it occasionally or on a regular basis.

Bottom Line

The AT3 Tactical RD-50 Red Dot Sight will be just what the doctor ordered if you want excellent accuracy at impressive distances. You’ll be quite happy with the consistency that you’ll get with every shot you fire. It’s as high-performing and high-quality as it can get at this price point.

Best for the Money:
Pinty 1x30mm Red Dot Sight

Pinty 1x30mm Red Dot Sight with Bubble Level, 5 Adjustable Brightness with Flip Up Lens Caps, Unlimited Eye-Relief

Pros

  • Affordable for most budgets
  • Battery life is surprisingly long
  • Easy to zero in and retain the zero itself
  • Makes a great starter red dot sight for most users
  • Magnification does a good job giving you a closer look at your targets

Cons

  • None

What Recent Buyers Report

As expected, a good number of users were quite happy with this red dot sight. One of its major upsides is the ability to zero in fairly quickly and not lose of it even after many rounds fired. They also concluded that this sight was easy to install on most rail systems, with one user saying that it was perfect for his Picatinny rail. He also added that the MOA dot was at the right size so it would produce consistently accurate shots.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This red dot sight is anything but cheap and flimsy. It truly proves its worth when it comes to quality and accuracy. In fact, you might think that you are committing the theft of the century when purchasing this at the price that it’s going for. While it is high in quality, it’s also superb in terms of performance. You’ll have five illuminations to work with so you can use this sight even when there isn’t enough sunlight. Be it dawn or dusk, you can knock your varmint targets dead in their tracks.

Who Will Use This Most

This will be one of the few red dot sights that will work to your advantage as a beginner user. It’s the kind of sight that won’t be too complicated to install or put to good use. You’d be hard-pressed to find a beginner-friendly sight like this anywhere else. With five illumination settings at your disposal, you might enjoy using it in a low-light setting even more than in broad daylight. Thus, it’s perfect for varmint hunting applications.

Bottom Line

If you want a high-performing red dot sight without your bank account taking a major hit, the Pinty 1x30mm Red Dot Sight will definitely be the best option for anyone who might be starting out with AR-15 shooting. You might fall quickly in love with it by the time you fire off a few test shots and suddenly notice your shooting groups are tighter than before.

Best Red Dot Sight For AR-15 With Fixed Front Sight:
Vortex Optics Sparc II - 2 MOA Dot

Pros

  • Easy to zero in
  • Really easy to mount
  • Super durable and well-built
  • Red dot is very easy to see
  • Lightweight; won’t add on any additional weight to your rifle once installed

Cons

  • May be hard to turn the unit on or off
  • Battery life is a bit shorter than expected
  • Mount should be of better quality

What Recent Buyers Report

New buyers say that this sight was quite easy to install. As one user put it, the accuracy was “insane.” He said that he was able to get sharp and precise accuracy at various distances between 50 to 100 yards. On top of that, he noticed his shooting groups were seriously tight and consistent when shooting at targets from different distances.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We now turn our attention back to the Vortex Optics brand. Of course, it’s as durable as any Vortex Optic sight or scope that is available on the market. The image quality is pretty awesome and the red dot allows for super tight shooting groups. This is a really huge plus if you are looking to get quicker, more precise kill shots when hunting varmint. If you are a target shooter that takes accuracy seriously, then you might just want to give this sight a closer look.

Who Will Use This Most

Expect this red dot sight to be a major hit with varmint hunters that want something that will be quick to zero in and ready to use the day you set it up. Not only will you be able to knock down those invasive critters from a distance, but you might also be able to knock down a predator or two. This way, your property, and your livestock will be safe from the animals that might cause frustration and a whole lot of headaches.

Bottom Line

If you want a red dot sight that will be excellent in quality and will make sure that all of your shots are accurate and precise at some healthy distances (up to 100 yards), then you may want to consider the Vortex Optics Sparc II Red Dot Sight as your best choice. Once you install this, there will be no turning back. You’ll get a lot more out of this red dot than you realize.

Best AR-15 Red Dot Under $100:
Tacticon Armament Predator V1

Tacticon Armament Predator V1 Red Dot Sight | Green Dot Sight | VETERAN OWNED |

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Very affordable
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty
  • Durable and tough
  • Provides accurate shooting across various distances

Cons

  • May not be suitable for indoor shooting
  • Some have had challenges with the mount
  • Glass quality may be a bit less than expected

What Recent Buyers Report

This sight was not only affordable in price, but it exceeded standards in terms of quality and performance. Those were the words of one user who was looking for a great red dot sight for all of his varmint hunting needs. When he came across this sight in particular, he was able to attach it to his AR-15 in just a few minutes' time. He said that the kill shots were really tight and rounds were typically traveling anywhere between 50 to 100 yards out.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This sight proves that it functions well beyond what its price tag implies. It’s not cheap or flimsy by any stretch of the imagination. All you have to do is mount this sucker onto your rail of choice and you’ll be able to get it in working order in no time. This sight will work to your advantage in any given hunting or target shooting situation.

Who Will Use This Most

If you are looking for a newbie-friendly red dot sight without having to spend anywhere north of $100, then you should acquire this one for your own use. Even better, it’s the kind of sight that will be easy to zero in and will be capable of getting you the accurate and precise shooting that red dot sights are designed to deliver. You’d be hard-pressed to find a red dot sight like this anywhere else.

Bottom Line

The Tacticon Armament Predator V1 doesn’t lack quality or performance. It exceeds the expectations of being a cheap red dot sight. Just because it’s low in price, doesn’t mean that it’s cheap in quality. And you will get a lot more than what you pay for with a sight that can deliver tight, accurate shooting groups every single time you pull the trigger.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Red Dot Sights

Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of something is important. Also, you are more well-informed about a certain item prior to purchasing it. Let’s begin with a list of advantages:

Advantages

Below are the primary advantages of these sights:

Perfect For Short Range Shooting

If you intend to hit targets that are situated just 100 yards or below, then you may want to consider the idea of getting a red dot sight. While not necessarily considered a scope, a red dot sight still has the ability to reach out and touch something at distances that are considered impressive even by a sight’s standards. 

Easy to Install

Red dot sights are the easiest types of sights that you can install. All it takes is just a few minutes and the right kind of tools. Sometimes, it will also take the right kind of mount since some sights have mounts that are flimsy in quality and won’t hold up very well. 

Simple to Zero In

Knowing how to zero in your sight is really important, and doing so for a red dot sight is relatively simple. Once it’s zeroed in, you are able to get precise, accurate shots right on the jump. Since most of these sights are durable with high-quality materials like aluminum, losing that zero will be impossible. 

Disadvantages

While the advantages are abundant, there are a couple of shortcomings that you might come across when you use a red dot sight. It’s important that you know what they are so you at least know what to expect if things seem to not go the way you’d hope.

Red Dot May Be Distorted For Some Shooters

A red dot sight might be a bit of a pain for shooters who are specifically dealing with eyesight issues. For example, anyone with astigmatism may or may not be able to use the sight properly since the dot might be distorted or blurry.

Not Appropriate For Long Range Shooting

This disadvantage is pretty self-explanatory. While these sights can help you shoot at short distances, they will not help you beyond 100 yards at best. If you want to go farther than that, you are better off with the use of a scope. That way, you can get a good focus on the target you are bearing down on without having to wait for it to get closer (like you would in a hunting application).

Conclusion

Finding the best red dot sight for your AR-15 might not be as difficult as you think. That is why we wanted to present you with the products reviewed above. These are top-quality and high-performing sights that will make sure that your shots will be sharp, accurate, and on target every time you pull the trigger. 

People Also Ask

The following is a list of questions that you can use as a guide to help you find the best red dot sight for your own personal use. It’s good to know what else is relevant to a red dot sight so you are able to get a good idea of how they work and what to expect from them.

What is the Effective Range of a Red Dot Sight?

According to many users, a red dot sight is said to reach distances as far out as 100 yards. Some may go beyond that if they are able to. It might depend on the settings like the MOA size of the red dot itself. 

Are Red Dot Sights Accurate?

Yes, they are. They can be accurate from distances that range anywhere between 10 to 100 yards. They will also depend on the kind of targets that you are shooting at. 

What is the Difference Between a Red Dot and a Holographic Sight?

A red dot sight will utilize the power of a low powered LED that will allow light to produce on the reticle. Meanwhile, a holographic sight will rely on a laser beam that will bounce off and produce an image of a reticle.