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 an AR-15 Red Dot Sight that will get the job done so you are able to make every shot count. While so many of these AR-15 red dot sights flood the market, we’ve managed to come across five of them that are considered the best in the business. Before we get to the list, we will discuss whether or not that all AR-15 red dot sights that are the same and what makes them stand out among the rest. 

Comparison Chart of the Best AR-15 Red Dot Sights

PRODUCTDETAILS
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Vortex Optics Strikefire II

  • 4 MOA red dot
  • Best overall AR-15 red dot sight
  • Fully multi-coated lenses for low light usage
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AT3 Tactical RD-50 PRO Red Dot Sight

  • 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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Pinty 1x30mm Red Dot Sight

  • 30mm objective lens
  • Best AR-15 Red Dot Sights
  • Five adjustable brightness levels
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Vortex Optics Sparc II - 2 MOA Dot

  • 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 or. 

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 so great. 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 will 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 five best AR-15 Red Dot Sights that are currently on the market. As you go through the list, be sure to note the features and characteristics that stand out as interesting. This way, you can make the 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:

Vortex Optics Strikefire II Red Dot Sight - 4 MOA Bright Red Dot

Pros

  • Easy to install on most rifles
  • Allows for precise, accurate shooting
  • The 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 for me.
  • Red dot may be distorted for those with bad vision

What Recent Buyers Report

Most of the 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 red dot 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. But 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 that relied on their AR-15 rifle. You won’t have to struggle with any accuracy issues with this sight attached. So 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 probably 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 multiple instances 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 even through multiple instances of shock

Cons

  • Brightness dial may be difficult to turn
  • Battery issues may arise for some users
  • The 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 ole’ fashioned varmint shooting. Others were regular target shooters that usually spend the day at the range (and a small percentage of them were competitive shooters). They said that the install 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 for a long time. If you are a target shooter, it will probably 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 might want to consider putting this red dot sight to good use if all you are going to do is some close-range shooting. You will 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 the lengthy battery life, it’s pretty reliable whether you use it on occasions or on a regular basis.

Bottom Line

The AT3 Tactical RD-50 Red Dot Sight might just be 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 accurate shot you make. It’s as high-performing and high-quality as it can get to this point. If those are a couple of boxes that check off your list of “wants” in a sight, this is it.

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 the red dot sight. One of the major upsides to the ability to zero in fairly quickly and no loss of it even after so many rounds fired. They also concluded that this sight was easy to install on most rail systems, with one user saying that it was quite 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. But it 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’s high in quality, it’s also super cool 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 for you to work with. 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 handfuls of 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. And with five illumination settings at your disposal, you might enjoy using it in a low-light setting 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 just fall quickly in love with it by the time you get a few test shots through 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

Vortex Optics Sparc II Red Dot Sight - 2 MOA Dot

Pros

  • Easy to zero in
  • Really easy to mount
  • Super durable and well-built
  • The red dot is really easy to see
  • Super 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
  • The mount itself should be better in quality

What Recent Buyers Report

New buyers say that this sight was pretty easy to install. But the accuracy as one user put it 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 at 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, 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 making sure that all of your shots are accurate and precise at some pretty good distances (up to 100 yards), then you may want to consider the Vortex Optics Sparc II Red Dot Sight is your best choice. Once you install this, there will be no turning back. Because 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
  • Super affordable
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty
  • Really durable and tough all over
  • 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 lesser than expected

What Recent Buyers Report

This was a sight that 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 this to his AR-15 in just a few minute’s 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 is another one of the handfuls of sights that proves that it functions well beyond its price tag. In plain English, 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 might be the best red dot sight at 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 might just be able to get a hold of this one for your own use. Even better, it’s the kind of sight that will be easy to zero in plus able to get you the accurate and precise shooting that any red dot sight is 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 is a red dot sight that 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 always cheap. 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. What exactly will you expect with the red dot sights listed above? Let’s begin with a list of advantages:

Advantages

Below are the primary advantages of these models:

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 probably the easiest types of sights that you can install out of all kinds of sights available on the market. 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 of the sights have mounts that are flimsy in quality and won’t hold up very good. 

Simple to Zero In

Knowing how to zero-in your sight is really important. And it will be really simple to do if and when you are able to successfully install your red dot sight. Once it’s zeroed in, you are able to get precise, accurate shots right on the jump. And 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. Here’s what they are:

Red Dot May Be Distorted For Some Shooters

A red dot sight might be a bit of a pain in the butt to use 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 it can go a little way, it will not go any farther than 100 yards at best. If you want to go slightly farther than that, you are better off with the use of a scope. That way, you can be able to 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. And that is why we present you with the five available for purchase listed 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. Find one that will last you a long time and will stand up to any target that is situated from close range. 

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 with them. Here are the following questions:

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. Also, 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.