A red dot for your pistol will help you with acquiring your target faster and with greater precision. They also help in increasing your visibility in low light situations. Red dots can be mounted on various pistols with ease, though many other features and advantages make some of these red dot sights indeed the best ones.
What Is The Best Red Dot Sight For A Pistol?
The best overall red dot sight for pistols is the Trijicon RMR Type 2. It is durable, comes in many options, and has stood up to the test of time. It is our #1 recommended red dot for pistols. If you are looking for the best value for your money, the Holosun 508T is a great second option. Both of these are reliable options for a carry pistol.
In this article, we will look in further detail at each of the best red dot sight options and discuss the following:
- Best options for red dots
- Benefits of a red dot on a pistol
- Key features to look for in a red dot
Best Pistol Red Dots
In the subsequent paragraphs, you can look at some of the best red dot sights for pistols that are available in the market today. You will see an in-depth analysis of what each of these pistols offers and the key features that set them apart from the rest.
Before you dive into the details, here is a quick chart that lists out each of these red dots and the traits and specs that set them apart:
|Product||Battery Life||Reticle Variety||Customizations|
|Trijicon RMR Type 2||4 years||Available in 3 sizes: 1.0, 3.25, and 6.5 MOA||8 different light settings|
|Holosun 508T-X2||5.7 years||Available in 2 MOA (32 MOA Circle)||12 light settings; Solar Power Strip; Shake Awake Technology|
|Leupold Deltapoint Pro||3 months||Available in 2.5 MOA||Waterproof; Motion Sensor Technology|
|Vortex Venom||3.4 years||Available in 3 MOA and 6 MOA||Different light settings; Waterproof|
|Holosun 509T||5.7 years||Available in 3.5 MOA||Usable in extreme temperatures; Solar Power Strip|
Best Red Dot: Trijicon RMR Type 2
The Trijicon RMR Type 2 is available in three different sizes:
- 1.0 MOA
- 3.25 MOA
- 6.5 MOA
This red dot sight comes with adjustable light features. In all, it has eight different light settings. Since it uses LED lighting, it is also exceptionally durable. Of the eight different light settings, two of them provide unparalleled night vision. There are buttons on the side of this optical tool that make it easy to control the brightness levels.
You can also toggle between the various other settings, such as the manual and the automatic settings. To conserve battery, you can also power down the RMR.
The battery is functional for close to 16.5 hours if used in manual mode. After that, the optic switches back to the automatic mode. You can also lock the buttons so that the Trijicon RMR functions only in automatic mode.
Trijicon RMR Type 2 (1.0 MOA)
If you are using the 1.0 MOA dot, you will shoot accurately at greater distances. It is one of the smallest beads available in the Trijicon repository of LED models and comes with adjustable light control buttons. You can mount it on a long-range pistol, carbine, or rifle and be able to shoot with great accuracy.
Trijicon RMR Type 2 (3.25 MOA)
The Trijicon RMR is the most popular RMR dot, as it is very versatile. Like the 1.0 MOA, it allows for accuracy in shooting. It is also more extensive than the 1.0 MOA, so you can locate it quickly.
Trijicon RMR Type 2 (6.5 MOA)
This red dot sight is the largest dot size available under the RMR range. It is available with adjustable LED lights, and due to its bigger dot size, you can locate your dot far more quickly and easily.
The ability to adjust the LED lights is an excellent advantage for those with weak vision, as they will be able to locate the drop relatively quickly compared to the other two sizes. This dot size is also great for close-quarter conflicts as it provides a guaranteed shot.
Best Value Red Dot: Holosun 508T-X2
If you are seeking the best value for your money, opt for the Holosun 508T-X2. Designed for pistols, the Holosun is available with a green or red dot. It has the dot at 2 MOA and the circle at 32 MOA. I carry this on my Glock 19 Gen 5 MOS and LOVE it!
The optic is encased in a titanium housing and has LEDs installed in it. It has an extraordinary battery life of up to 50,000 hours. This red dot sight is made of robust and durable materials and will serve you for years at a very reasonable price!
It is sensitive to shakes, which makes it an excellent optic for energy saving. The shake awake technology ensures that the LED is off during spells of motionlessness. The LED comes back to life at the slightest movement.
The red dot also comes with a multi-reticle system and is a solar failsafe. The solar failsafe feature is unique to Holosun as it helps the red dot sight to use less of the battery power while used in a well lit area. The solar feature also tells the red dot how bright to set the dot when used in auto settings.
The package includes a lens cloth, a T10 L key, a user manual, and a CR1632 battery. The battery is inserted into a convenient side slot on the housing so there is no need to remove the optic to switch batteries (this is a huge plus).
The optic has 12 different brightness features, of which 10 are daylight compatible, and two allow for night vision.
Best Competition Red Dot: Leupold Deltapoint Pro
For competition shooting, the Leupold Deltapoint Pro is undoubtedly one of the best options you have. It is because this red dot sight has the clearest glass for your viewing. It also has the most extensive scope, which allows it to offer a crystal-clear view of the target. It comes with a Picatinny adapter that you can mount on pistols.
The Leupold weighs a mere 1.95 oz (55 gm) and has a dot size of 2.5 MOA. It is also mostly waterproof. Compared to the RMR, the Leupold is slightly more prominent, but it offers a much clearer view. The optic’s glass size is also quite large, making it easy for you to aim more precisely.
The 2.5 MOA makes it perfect for close-quarter encounters as well as for long-range shootings. With an in-built auto-on feature, it has motion-sensing technology that triggers the auto-on function. It is also swift in detecting motion.
You can adjust the light with the help of a button on the optic fixture. You will need to keep pressing the button until you arrive at your desired brightness. You can also hold it for a long time to turn it on or off when you do not use the auto feature.
Best Budget Red Dot: Vortex Venom
For an affordable option, consider the Vortex Venom. It is budget-friendly and efficient too. Weighing at a little over 1 oz (roughly 28 gms), it is one of the most lightweight red dot sights in the market.
The Vortex Venom has a battery life that ranges up to 30,000 hours, depending on your use. The dot size is 3 MOA, which is large enough to find easily. It allows for greater precision in the shooting. This red dot sight is also waterproof.
The look and feel of the Vortex Venom is also quite significant. The Vortex Venom red dot sight is lightweight and easy to handle, and you can mount it on pistols and rifles with great ease. The glass quality is also relatively high and provides a comprehensive view of the field.
There are ten brightness settings in total, and you can use the optic buttons to move between the different levels of brightness. The auto-brightness feature gets activated if you hold the button for three straight seconds. At the highest light intensity, the battery can last up to 150 hours, while at the lowest power, it can last for a full 30,000 hours.
You can mount the red dot sight on the top of the pistol to make it easy for swapping the red dot sight if needed. It comes with an extra-low mount that is perfect for railed pistols. The Vortex Venom also comes with a lifetime warranty.
Best Enclosed Red Dot: Holosun 509T
The Holosun 509T is excellent for pistols and other similar weapons requiring a small and enclosed red dot sight. This red dot sight has been developed specifically for such scenarios. It also has a reasonably wide temperature span, meaning it can do well in wide-ranging temperatures from extreme heat to extreme cold. This makes it the perfect red dot for a duty pistol or SHTF situation.
Currently, the 509T is one of only two available fully enclosed pistol red dots. Its top traits are its ruggedness and reliability. The product has been extensively tested with thousands of rounds on pistols to test its credibility.
You can install the battery even on the optic mounted on the weapon. It is also night vision compatible and has a battery life that can last up to 50,000 hours on setting 6. With a 2 MOA dot, it is easy to hit targets accurately with pinpoint precision. You can also use it with the 32 MOA circle dot for self defense, or more up close interactions.
If you are looking for a red dot that can withstand any environment, then an enclosed red dot may be your best option. With only two options currently on the market, you can’t go wrong with this Holosun option.
Benefits of a Red Dot on a Pistol
While some of the benefits of having a red dot sight on a pistol are quite self-evident, such as better precision and a higher possibility of a hit, a few other advantages are more nuanced. Still, they sure do add up to the overall performance of the weapon.
A red dot sight allows you to be more focused on your target. Whether it is a competition you are in, or finding yourself in a conflict situation where you need to resort to self-defense, the red dot sight will help you focus on the target.
Our brain’s natural tendency to look at the target as a whole thing increases the shot’s scope and reduces the accuracy level. You can pinpoint the target and the exact place where you need to hit with the red dot sight.
Since the red dot sights help you increase your focus, naturally, your hit’s precision will also improve. As you see the target’s exact point, you can aim better and know that it will not be a miss.
As long as the red dot stays fixed on the target and you aim for it, you will likely hit the mark on the spot, and that is the benefit that using a red dot sight provides.
The visual tool is more like a guide that holds your hand through the entire process as you identify, aim, and shoot at a target. If it were not for this small piece of equipment, you would take longer in setting your aim right.
A wrongly aimed shot would be a waste of time, or it could be much worse, and you might end up hitting someone you did not intend to hit. With the red dot, this ambiguity no longer exists. By making it easy to aim correctly in a matter of seconds, the red dot sight makes you a faster shooter.
What to Look for in a Red Dot
Red dots have become indispensable for tactical training. This simple looking tool helps you be ready for any combat situation by improving your accuracy and response time. However, of course, when you are buying the red dot sight, there are a few key things to keep in mind.
The optic size should neither be too small nor too difficult to work with nor be so big that your peripheral vision is obstructed. A lot of which size is best suited for your weapon will depend on your use.
For instance, if you are using a small handgun, you will do better with a smaller red dot sight than if you were, say, using a longer weapon, like a rifle where a larger red dot would be better.
You will also need to look out for the battery life and battery access with the red dot sight. Some of these red dots come with a reasonably long battery life and can last for hours on end, even if you use them with the brightness setting on high. The Holosun options also come with solar functions that help extend the battery life even longer.
Access to the batteries is also vital. You do not want to fumble around the red dots trying to dismount it from your weapon for a refill. Accessing the batteries is a great advantage, and the red dot sights that you can mount on the top of your weapons allow for this.
Best Suited for Your Needs
There are two different types of optics available – open and enclosed. The open style it typically lighter, but with the cost of a higher chance of dirt, debris, or snow blocking the reticle. The enclosed optics work from an enclosed space, more like a binocular, which keeps the elements away from the emitter.
The closed pistol red dots are fairly new to the market. They are popular with police, military, and some civilian needs. The open optics are much more common, and suit most peoples needs just fine.
Since the red dot’s sole purpose is to help you zero down on your target by marking it with a red dot, it is vital that the dot is visible to you when you aim, and you do not lose time or opportunity trying to locate the dot. It is relatively easy to see the target through a small reticle, but it may vary for others.
Take some time to try to identify what size of reticle suits you best for both short-range and long-distance shooting and go for that option.
Another thing to remember when switching to carrying with a red dot on your pistol is that you must practice with it. It may take a little adjusting, but can be well worth the time spent training. Once you are used to quickly attaining your target, you are ready to carry with it. However, don’t neglect training on a regular basis…you can never have too much!
Hopefully, this article has shed some light on the benefits of using red dot sights on pistols. Always look for the reticle size, the open or closed style, the mount, size, and battery when choosing one for your firearm.
While each of the red dot sights mentioned in this article are good for certain specific reasons, it all comes down to your needs as well as your budget. I personally carry with the Trijicon RMR, Holosun 508T, and the Holosun 509T. All three have worked flawlessly.
If you are looking to add a flashlight to your carry gun, be sure to check out our article on Best Pistol Lights. Always make sure you can see what you have your red dot covering.