At a Glance: The Best Pistol Red Dot
Comparison of The Best Pistol Red Dot
Our Top Pick
|Burris Fastfire III Red Dot Reflex Sight||View Latest Price|
Our Top Pick
|Trijicon 3.25 RMR Type 2 Red Dot Sight||View Latest Price|
Our Top Pick
|Tacticon Predator V2 Reflex Sight||View Latest Price|
Red dot sights are a hot topic in 2020, with many gun owners upgrading their iron sights to this latest optic. Red dots are easier to use, give faster sight acquisition, and more precision. But despite the benefits, reflex sights are an investment. Before splashing out, you should know how to choose the best pistol red dot sight for you and your particular gun.
In this article, we’ll cover all that you need to consider when choosing your new optic. We’ll discuss the different optic sizes, the options for mounting your sight on your pistol, plus other important factors to take into account too.
Our Pick of The 6 Best Pistol Red Dot Sights On The Market
To help you find the very best reflex sight for your pistol, we have tested and reviewed the six highest rating red dots available in 2020. We will reveal the best Glock sights for competition shooting and accuracy. Moreover, you will find a handy list of pros and cons for each product so you can compare the choices easily.
Burris Fastfire III Red Dot Reflex Sight
The Burris FastFire III red dot reflex sight is one of the most versatile red dot sights out there. It includes a Picatinny rail and is compatible with a pistol, shotgun, or rifle. The high-quality, high-performing red dot optic is compact and lightweight. It gives greater accuracy and faster target acquisition than many inferior sights on the market. It’s available as either a 3-MOA dot or an 8-MOA dot; however, the latter is best suited to pistols and Glocks.
As well as being incredibly easy to operate, the FastFire III has some impressive features. With this sight, you’ll enjoy unlimited eye relief, parallax-free 1x magnification for better accuracy, and a Hi-Lume multicoating for low-light performance and glare elimination. Additionally, there are windage and elevation adjustments for fine-tuning without the need for any special tools or gunsmithing.
The reflex sight has three manual brightness levels and an automatic brightness setting that adjusts to match the environmental conditions. We liked how the battery access is on the top, making it hassle-free to change the batteries.
The construction is just as supreme as the performance. It feels robust and sturdy enough to hold up against years of use and recoil. It’s also shock and waterproof too. After testing it out ourselves, we found the FastFire III to be one of the best sights for accuracy and one of the most versatile options. https://amzn.to/3u7hnSX
- Compact and lightweight design
- Comes with a Picatinny rail for easy mounting to a handgun, rifle, or shotgun
- 1x magnification enhances awareness and target acquisition
- Automatic brightness to adjust to the conditions
- Waterproof and shockproof to resist the elements and recoil
Trijicon 3.25 RMR Type 2 Red Dot Sight
The Trijicon RMR Type 2 3.25 red dot sight is one of the most rugged reflex sights on the market. Its design includes a patented housing shape that absorbs impacts and diverts stresses away from the lens, resulting in an indestructible optic.
The Trijicon RMR Type 2 is compatible with night vision devices, has adjustability to 100 yards, and has a 3.25 MOA dot. The dot is small enough to improve accuracy but big enough to spot easily. This makes it an excellent choice for shooting at the range or in a competition.
The RMR Type 2 has both manual and automatic brightness settings controlled via easy-to-reach buttons on the sides. We found this red dot sight to work flawlessly with super-fast target acquisition. The forged aluminum build feels sturdy and indestructible, and the brown coyote color gives it a stylish and unique look.
The battery life is what makes it stand out the most. It gives over four years of continuous use on setting 4, making it the most long-lasting reflex sight for pistols. The only issue is that the battery compartment is at the bottom, so when you need to change the batteries, you will need to unmount it first.
Lastly, we found the RMR works the best with night vision compared to all the others we tested. This makes it one of the best pistol red dot sights for night shooters.
- Longest battery life
- A rugged, reliable sight
- Adjustable to 100 yards
- Works brilliantly with night vision devices
- 3.25 MOA for fast target acquisition
- Smaller viewing window than others
- Requires un-mounting to change the batteries
Tacticon Predator V2 Reflex Sight
The Predator V2 reflex sight from combat veteran-owned company Tacticon features four reticle patterns, adjustable color settings (red or green), and a 45 degree offset mount. The build of the mount gives a perfect height for co-witnessing with your iron sights.
The quality of the Predator V2 is top-notch. It boasts a parallax-free design, giving speedy target acquisition. The fully adjustable elevation and windage are super easy to sight-in. It will continue to hold zero after thousands of shots.
Thanks to the various brightness settings, four adjustable reticle patterns, and two colors, you can use this sight at dawn, dusk, daytime, or in total darkness. It will also operate well in all weather conditions. The optic is tightly sealed with O-rings to prevent moisture from getting in. It is purified with nitrogen to prevent fogging inside the glass optic. The lens has a special coating to reflect the sun’s rays. If that’s not enough, Tacticon provides a lifetime guarantee, assuring you this product will serve you for years to come.
The features, design, and build of the Predator V2 make it easily one of the best sights for pistols on the market. Moreover, it gives impressive precision and holds zero exceptionally well. If you want a highly accurate reflex sight for your Glock, this one’s for you.
- Four adjustable reticle patterns allowing use in all lighting conditions
- Two dot colors – red and green
- Parallax free design for fast target acquisition
- Can shoot thousands of rounds without losing focus
- Waterproof and fogproof
- Comes with a 45 degree offset mount
Vortex Venom Red Dot Sight
The Venom red dot sight is Vortex’s miniature reflex sight available in 3 MOA or 6 MOA. It provides rapid but precise target acquisition through its multi-coated lens that gives a wide field of view.
You can adjust the power and dot brightness via the buttons on the side, and you can choose between 10 brightness levels. However, we found that even the lowest illumination was still too bright for effective night vision use. There is also an auto-brightness mode that controls and adjusts the dot intensity with an ambient light sensor.
We found the Venom to be brilliantly easy to use, The windage and elevation adjustments are super smooth, and there is a top-loading battery compartment. This means you don’t have to unmount the sight to replace the batteries. The sight gives up to 150 hours of use on the highest brightness and more than 30,000 hours on the lowest.
The machined aluminum housing is tightly sealed with O-rings to prevent moisture, dust, and debris from entering. This red dot optic comes with a lightweight Picatinny rail for convenient, low-profile mounting. If you plan to shoot a lot at night, this may not be the best reflex sight for you, but it will still serve you exceptionally well when shooting in daylight.
- Ten brightness settings and auto-brightness mode
- Low profile Picatinny rail included
- Decent battery life and 14-hour auto-shutoff function
- Rates high in ease of use
- Available in 3 MOA or 6 MOA
- Does not give good night vision use
C-MORE STS2 Compact Tactical Sight
The C-MORE STS2 is a super bright 3 MOA red dot tactical sight that gives fast and easy target acquisition. It has ten manual brightness settings for use in all lighting conditions. It also features 1 MOA click adjustment for windage and elevation, along with a positive locking screw.
Constructed with aircraft-grade aluminum, the STS2 is strong and sturdy. What’s more, it’s sealed with O-rings to provide water resistance up to one meter. Because it’s so compact, it gives a perfect fit for a Glock. However, you will need a C-MORE mounting kit to install it on your Glock or pistol, which has to be purchased separately.
What we like about this product is the removable battery tray on the side. This makes changing batteries hassle-free and eliminates the need to re-zero after doing so. Furthermore, the sight has an automatic shut off function after 8 hours to preserve battery life.
There are many perks to this reflex sight. The quick target acquisition, unlimited eye relief, and small size make it one of the best pistol red dot sights and especially a top choice for Glocks.
- Ten manual brightness settings
- The side-located battery tray is easy to access
- Auto-shutoff function
- Compact size perfect for Glocks
- Can only be mounted with the C-MORE mounting kit that has to be purchased separately
Leupold DeltaPoint Pro Reflex Sight
The Leupold DeltaPoint Pro is a compact but rugged 2.5 MOA red dot sight. The highlight is the patented motion sensor technology that detects movement to activate illumination automatically. There are two models, one that mounts to a Picatinny rail and the other that uses the DeltaPoint mounting system.
With an aspheric DiamondCoat lens, the DeltaPoint Pro gives a wide field-of-view with better image quality than many others on the market. The body is built from lightweight aluminum and coated in rugged spring steel to prevent added bulk or weight on your pistol while maintaining durability.
Other features include a locking adjustment system, easy access spring actuated battery compartment, and eight brightness settings. The DeltaPoint Pro also gives a long battery life of 300 hours and is shockproof, fogproof, and waterproof up to 33 ft. This provides better water resistance than many others and allows use in even heavy rain.
We were very impressed with both the lens and the motion sensor technology of the DeltaPoint Pro. With high-quality resolution, unlimited eye relief, a wide field of view, and automatic illumination, this is undoubtedly one of the best sights for pistols and a highly accurate, compact choice for Glocks.
- Motion sensor technology for auto illumination
- Wide field of view
- Compact and lightweight
- Rugged and durable construction
- The battery compartment is easy to access
- Long battery life
- Waterproof up to 33ft
Are Red Dots on Pistols Worth It?
There are many benefits to using a red dot sight on your pistol.
- Faster sight acquisition
- Shooting precision
- Easier low light shooting
Unlike iron sights, you don’t need to align a front and rear sight with a red dot sight, which leads to much faster sight acquisition. You simply put the dot on your target and pull the trigger, making your weapon much easier to shoot. It will allow you to shoot faster because your eyes can obtain the red dot much quicker than lining up iron sights.
You can also shoot with more precision. This is because the dot is tiny, allowing you to see both the target and reticle at extended ranges easily. Using a red dot sight for a Glock or small pistol will also eliminate any issues with the sight radius. This allows you to shoot as accurately as you would with a full-sized gun.
To sum up, a red dot sight can significantly improve your accuracy and precision. Therefore, it is a worthwhile upgrade for self-defense purposes, hunting, and competition shooting.
The Downside Of A Red Dot Sight
There is one disadvantage to a red dot sight. Mounting this type of sight will increase the size and bulk of your firearm. Although the type of red dot sight you choose will determine how much weight it adds, a red dot is generally not ideal if you like to conceal carry your pistol.
How To Choose The Best Sight For Your Pistol
Most standard/ full-size red dots sights are designed for use with long guns rather than pistols. They are too big to mount to slides, so they will only fit pistols with integral rails or ALG-style mounts.
When looking for the best pistol red dot sight, you should look for either a miniature or compact-sized optic.
- Compact red dots will mount to any pistol with a Picatinny rail. They give a broader view and provide a longer battery life than miniature optics.
- Miniature red dots are the smallest and are the most lightweight red dot out there. This makes them a suitable choice if you want to keep the weight of your pistol low, but most will require a rear sight mount.
Durability is an important quality to look for in pistol sights. Most of the best pistol red dot sights are made from an aircraft-grade aluminum alloy, which provides long-lasting strength. Some are then coated in steel to increase longevity further and resist corrosion.
The battery life on red dot sights does vary, so you should look for one that has a decent operational time. Another thing to look for is multiple brightness settings. The brighter the light, the quicker the battery will drain. Therefore, if your optic has lower brightness settings, you can utilize them when a bright light is not needed. This will preserve battery life considerably.
We measure red dot reticles in a minute of angle (MOA). The size of the dot on your optic will determine how it performs.
- The larger the dot, the quicker you’ll be able to see the dot with your eye; thus, the faster you can fire an accurate shot.
- On the other hand, a large dot can partially cover your target, so the smaller the dot, the more of your target you can see.
- A 3-MOA dot will allow you to hit minuscule targets with ease, and a 6-MOA dot will hit larger targets faster.
Attaching an optic to a pistol is not the most straightforward task. The method will vary depending on your particular optic.
- Some guns are pre-cut for easy mounting of specific or multiple optics, such as the Glock MOS series. Even so, if your weapon is an optic-ready model like this, you may still need to get your slide milled to fit your chosen optic. This is because they all have different sizes and screw patterns.
- There are red dot sight optics on the market designed to mount onto a Picatinny rail. As many handguns have this rail, a sight with this mounting method can make the process much easier.
- Other optics with mounting systems require you to replace your rear sight with a plate for the optic to attach to.
Night Vision Compatibility
Lastly, if you plan to shoot at night, ensure you choose a red dot optic compatible with night vision shooting devices. All the best pistol red dot sights can be used in the daytime and darkness or low light conditions together with NVDs.
The level of brightness a red dot gives will determine how well the optic works with an NVD. If the red dot is too bright, it will not only be ineffective, but it could damage your night vision optic also. This is another reason why you should look for a red dot optic with multiple brightness levels. With the best red dot sights, the lowest brightness setting will make the dot appear like a laser on your target.
How to Mount a Sight on Your Postol
It’s not a problem if your gun doesn’t have the set up to mount a sight as there are a few options to make mounting possible.
Upgrade the Slide
Some aftermarket companies offer drop-in slides compatible with red dots. You can upgrade your factory slide to one of these, allowing you to mount your reflex sight. Many will allow you to retain the configuration of the factory slides. Some will also have cutouts to lighten the slide or serrations to increase the grip when activating it. The downfall to upgrading the slide is that it can be pretty costly and is certainly not the cheapest option.
See all my favorite upgrades in Best Glock Slides.
Replace the Rear Iron Sight With Mount Adapter
A cheaper option is to replace the rear iron sight with a mount adapter. There is a wide range of adaptors available that are compatible with many different gun makes and models. Not every weapon will have an adapter custom made for it. Still, some adaptors are semi-universal and are compatible with many common firearms.
Moreover, many mount adapters will accommodate several different optics but some work with specific optics only. Using a mount adaptor has an advantage over mounting the optic directly to the slide. It holds more firmly in place, so it gives less recoil.
Add a Picatinny/Weaver Rail
You can also install a Picatinny or Weaver rail onto your gun. This will allow your pistol to accept many of the best red dot sights. Most guns have pre-drilled mounting holes, which let you simply screw down the rail.
If installing a rail to your pistol, ensure it is as tight as possible with no possibility of it coming loose. This is a huge safety concern as if it comes loose when using your optic; there’s no telling where your bullets will hit. If you are unsure how to install a rail onto your firearm correctly, seek help from a trusted gunsmith.
Final Thoughts – What is the best pistol red dot?
The six red dot sights on our list are all brilliant choices for a pistol. Even so, we found the Burris FastFire III 8 MOA to be the very best pistol red dot sight on the market. The included Picatinny rail makes it straightforward to mount. It performs brilliantly, enhancing awareness and target acquisition, resists shock and recoil superbly, and will serve you for years to come.
We hope this article has deepened your understanding of red dot sights and how they can upgrade your pistol’s performance. Moreover, we trust you now feel better equipped to choose the best reflex sight for your needs.