Gun Gear

Red Dot Sights

red dot sight

So, I had the Aimpoint® CompML2 on my Christmas wish list. I didn’t get the Aimpoint, but I did get a cheapy red dot from a co-worker. (Thanks, CTD Joe. What a guy, huh?) In fact, CTD Ben, CTD Mike, and I took my

S&W M&P 15-22 out for a spin at the range with the red dot mounted. Any excuse to go to the range, really… A red dot sight is a great gift to give to those in your life who have been naughty and nice. Prices for red dots range from around 30 bucks to over $1,000. Depending on your uses for the red dot sight, a cheapy one does just fine. Of course, if you can afford it, I would go with the EOTech or the Aimpoint, which are the sights our military uses.

Mini Electronic Tactial Sight
Mini Electronic Tactial Sight
Red dot sights offer great benefits to the shooter:

  • Shoot with both eyes open
  • Quick target acquisition
  • Allows for a wider field of view of your whole target
  • Works in all lighting conditions
  • Provides an unlimited field of view
  • Makes you more accurate
  • Great for those with bad eyesight
  • You can hunt, plink, and target shoot with them
  • They are easy to use
  • Unlike traditional riflescopes, you can use a red dot sight for close or long range shooting
  • Mounts to shotguns, rifles, and pistols

Aimpoint marketed the first electronic red dot sights in 1975, but it was not until the year 2000 that the United States military adopted them. Red dot sights are excellent for close quarters combat.

When you go to choose a red dot sight, you will see ones with what EOTech calls a “heads-up display” and you will see ones that are just a long tube. I’ve used both types and like both equally. There is no difference in functionality.

The choices may seem overwhelming, but do not despair. Decide your budget and start there. Both Aimpoint and EOTech have a solid reputation. For mid-range, the Burris FastFire is a reliable choice.

If you want to spend less than $50, any of the Micro or Mini versions work: Sun Optics Sightmark Leapers UTG Aimpoint EOTech See all red dots

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog. "The Shooter's Log", is to provide information - not opinions - to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decicions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (5)

  1. Stay away from Sightmark! I tried three, returned 2, still have one (after I modified it to keep it from changing windage point-of-impact, but it still moves. Other than being unstable, the electronics & reticles are very good.

    I won a Burris FastFire III at the local Rimfire Match last fall. This is truly a great dot sight. I have it mounted on my (original) High Standard Victor .22 LR Match Pistol. This is a shooters’ dream gun/sight combination.

    Lastly, I have a Vortex Sparc II on my .22 LR “M4”. mounting spacers allow perfect co-witness with the BUIS. It is compact, lightweight, and the controls are great!

    The last two I consider “mid-priced”, and serve my shooting/sight purposes as well as the EOTechs, ACOG’s, etc. I can use the $$ I saved on ammo.

    1. I almost forgot about my Hakko BED-30 & 35 sights that are now 10 (?) years old, and are the original designs of cheaper knock-offs. The Hakkos were made in Japan, and have been copied by the Chinese. The quality is so much better from Japan. I love their 4-reticle selection.

      Unfortunately, Hakko has exited the gun-sight business – probably because their designs were “stolen” & cloned by the Chinese.

  2. If I were buying a middle of the road red dot from CTD I would get an Ultradot (made in Japan, not China). For range shooting the Matchdot can’t be beat (it’s popular with Camp Perry competition shooters) but it’s not made to take the same kind of abuse as an Aimpoint or EOTech. The best made-in-China red dot is hands down the Vortex Strikefire (not offered by CTD). There are a number of interesting red dots / tritium sights made in Russia that are built like bank vaults but are a bit heavy, there aren’t many U.S. distributors though and they look funny on anything but an AK or Dragunov.

  3. Actually they started issuing Aimpoints to the 101st in 1997. I was in 1/187 and remember how much of an improvement they made in live fires at night when using NVG’s. It was an insane improvement over the PVS-2’s and PAQ-4’s which we had been using. Oddly that is the same year they replaced the M-60 with the 240 which was also a huge step up in the world of GPMG’s.

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