When it comes to rapid target acquisition with your trusty AR-15, nothing beats red dot sights.

Picture a bright “red dot” (though other colors and reticle designs exist – more on that later) acting as your ultimate aim point, ensuring accuracy and swift action. As the market offers a plethora of options, we’re here to be your optics guru, guiding you toward the best contenders that will elevate your shooting experience to new heights!

Don’t have time to dive into all the options? No problem – we boiled it down to our ultimate top picks spanning budget, best of 2023, and popularity. Check them out below!

Best AR-15 Red Dot Sights

Finding the right AR-15 red dot doesn’t have to be hard. We’ve narrowed it down to the top 3 picks across three concise categories: Best Budget, Best of 2023, and Most Popular. Instead of sorting through tons of options, check out our simplified recommendations to upgrade your AR build. We focused on the top choices in each area so you don’t have to. Let’s get you the perfect red dot sight without the hassle.

AT3 RD-50™ Micro Red Dot Reflex Sight

AT3 RD-50™ Micro Red Dot Reflex Sight

Battery Life: 50,000 Hours
Dot Size/Reticle Type: 2 MOA Dot
Weight: 3.6 oz

Our Price$59.992
Holosun SCRS Red Dot Sight

Holosun SCRS Red Dot Sight

Battery Life: 50,000 Hours
Dot Size/Reticle Type: 2 MOA Dot
Weight: 3.6 oz

Retail Price:$269.99
SIG Romeo5 Red Dot Sight

SIG Romeo5 Red Dot Sight

Battery Life: 40,000 Hours
Dot Size/Reticle Type: 2 MOA Dot
Weight: 5.1 oz

Retail Price:$149.99

Before we run through each category one optic at a time it is important to have an understanding on red dot types as well as their reticles. More on that next!

Different Types of AR-15 Red Dot Sights

The term “Red Dot Sight” serves as an all-encompassing classification. This includes reflex sights and holographic sights, which share the common feature of utilizing a red dot or illuminated reticle as an aiming aid. Red dot sights are an ever-evolving piece of kit. The stats below may generalize a little. There will always be new and interesting exceptions.

Standard Red Dot Sight “Tube Style”

For those FDE peeps out there the AT3 RD50 matches up nicely!


  • More Durable – The important bits are typically protected on the inside.
  • Enclosed Emitters – Less prone to damage.
  • Cleaner – Don’t get dirty on the inside.
  • Can Have Magnification – If it is paired with a magnifier you could get 3x or even 4x magnification!
  • Fewer Parallax Issues – Due to the shape of the glass, the lack of built-in magnification, and the distance from the emitter they tend to have fewer or no parallax issues.
  • Cost – Prices can go all over the spectrum but typically they are very affordable.


  • Bulky – They can be big-ish. Especially if they don’t use a watch or button battery.
  • Small Field of View – The tube will limit the image you are aiming at.
  • Lens Cast – Sometimes these red dot sights will have a blue hue to the lens, almost like sunglasses.
  • Platform – Typically just for rifles. Pistol optics that are enclosed (like the Aimpoint ACRO or Holosun 509T) are not widespread.

Reflex Sight

Reflex Red Dot Sights can usually be mounted to rifles or pistols!


  • Increased Field of View – There is no tube to be stuck inside of. They have large windows and small frames.
  • Usually Smaller Sizes – This is because they aren’t made to protect the emitter.
  • Lightweight – Less material = less weight.
  • Faster Sight Acquisition – Not stuck looking through a tube.
  • Cost – Prices range from really cheap to really expensive. There is a wide variety.
  • Platform – These can be found on a wide array of firearms ranging from long guns like rifles all the way to pistols. They are often interchangeable so long as they accommodate the right optic footprint in some way.


  • Less Durable – The emitter and lens are more accessible and less reinforced.
  • Open Emitter – More susceptible to dirt, grime, and obstruction.

Holographic Sight

EOTech has rained long as the king of the holographic red dot sights.


  • Fewer Parallax Issues – Less potential for parallax distortions since the glass is a flat surface.
  • Fewer Astigmatism Issues – The reticle is not being reflected directly into your eye.
  • Easier to Focus – Holographic sights allow the user to focus on both the reticle and the target at the same time.
  • Increased Field of View – There is no tube to be stuck inside of. They have large windows.


  • Short Battery Life – Most true-to-form holographic sights will have a substantially shorter battery life than traditional red dot sights.
  • Bulky – Most are rather large and dense.
  • Typically Heavier – More material = more weight.
  • Cost – These typically fall into that higher price tier so be weary of a deal that is too good to be true!
  • Platform – Mainly for rifles and shotguns because of their size.

Honorable Mention: Prism Sights

The Trijicon ACOG is a common optic to find in the military.

Prism Sights aren’t really red dots so it was a debate to even mention them but in many ways, they perform and look similar. They are much more akin to traditional magnified optics such as scopes. In a way, they are a squished scope. They use an etched reticle (the glass literally has the reticle on it) and are usually magnified.


  • Etched Reticle – Basically it is painted on the glass inside.
  • Great for People with Astigmatism – Since the reticle is etched into the glass. No lights or lasers contact your eye.
  • No Battery Needed – An etched reticle does not need power.
  • Easier to Focus – Normally they will have an adjustable diopter.
  • Magnification – Will normally be magnified so longer range acquisition is easier.


  • May Rely on Ambient Light – Some prism sights have fiber optic rods that feed ambient light to the colored etched reticle.
  • Magnification – It is typically non-adjustable.
  • Typically Heavier – They usually have more meat on them making them heavier.
  • Eye Relief is a Factor – Since magnification comes into play.
  • Cost – These typically fall into that higher price tier since it involves etching glass and having magnification.
  • Platform – Mainly for rifles due to their larger size on average.

Red Dot Reticles

Regardless of red dot optic types, they can have any number of reticles. Some deal with windage and elevation while others may be as simple as an “up close” circle around a “far away” dot. Though these factors are important we do not consider them a bigger priority than selecting a type of red dot. Keep following along and we will give you the full lowdown on red dot reticles!

Many MOA sizes suit the AR-15 platform extremely well.

Best Budget Red Dot Sights for The AR 15

Upgrade your AR without going broke. The red dot sight sweet spot is around $150 on average. It is possible to be cheaper and still good, just make sure its coming from a reputable company with a good warranty.

We rounded up the best bargains out there so you can save your cash and still shoot sharp. Check out our on-point picks for affordable optics that get the job done right. We’ve got you covered!

(1) AT3 RD-50 PRO Red Dot Sight

If you’re looking for a straightforward red dot under $100, we think our AT3 RD-50 is a great option that outperforms its tiny price tag. We know it’s our own product, but we designed it to go toe-to-toe with the big brands by packing premium features into a budget-minded package.

Is it the most state-of-the-art model out there? No, we’ll be the first to admit that. But for the money, it delivers with its crisp 2 MOA dot, 11 brightness levels, and rugged reliability. And we stand behind it with a solid warranty too. There are certainly fancier models available, even from us, but dollar for dollar, we’re confident the humble RD-50 provides tremendous value for any AR-15 build out there. It wholeheartedly deserves a closer look.

The RD50 now comes in Black or FDE!

AT3 Tactical RD-50 Specifications:

  • MSRP: $142.99 (Retail ~ $99.99)
  • Magnification: 1x
  • Reticle: 2 MOA dot
  • Adjustment (MOA): 1 MOA per click
  • Parallax Setting: Parallax free
  • Eye Relief: Unlimited
  • Length: 2.4 in / 61.8 mm
  • Weight (oz): 3.6 oz
  • Waterproof/Waterproof: Yes
  • Recoil Resistance: Certified up to 500gs
  • Night Vision Compatible: Yes
  • Battery: CR2032 (Renata™ CR2032 Battery Included)
  • Battery Life: Over 50,000 hours
  • Warranty: All AT3 products are backed by a transferable Lifetime Warranty

(2) Vortex Crossfire Red Dot Sight

As former retail gunslingers, we know a good bargain when we see one. The Vortex Crossfire red dot checks all the boxes – lightweight, user-friendly, with Vortex’s killer warranty backing it up.

Though the MSRP sneaks over $200, the street price has settled around that optimal $150 sweet spot. For solid performance without emptying your ammo fund, the Crossfire hits the target.

The adjustment caps of the Crossfire have flathead bits so they can aid in the windage and elevation adjustments hidden beneath.

Vortex Crossfire Specifications:

  • MSRP: $219.99 (Retail ~ $149.99)
  • Magnification: 1x
  • Objective Lens Diameter: 22 mm
  • Reticle: 2 MOA Dot
  • Adjustment Graduation: 1 MOA
  • Parallax Setting: Parallax Free
  • Max Windage Adjustment: 100 MOA
  • Max Elevation Adjustment: 100 MOA
  • Dot Color: Bright Red
  • Dot Size: 2 MOA
  • Mount Type: Multi-Height
  • Eye Relief: Unlimited
  • Length: 2.5 inches
  • Weight: 5.2 oz
  • Battery Life: 50,000 Hours

(3) Crimson Trace CTS-25 Compact Red Dot Sight

Got more mothballs than money in your pockets? The budget-friendly Crimson Trace CTS-25 dot won’t drain your rainy day fund. For fifty bones or less, it delivers good enough 4 MOA aiming and decent durability. Is it mind-blowing? Nah. But it beats bottom-barrel rubbish.

Smith & Wesson slaps the red/green dot version on their wallet-friendly ARs for a reason. We offer better options if you can swing it, but if cash is tight, this little dot pulls its weight.

The Crimson Trace CTS-25 has a bigger fancier brother called the CTS-1000 but it is far from budget minded.

Crimson Trace CTS-25 Specifications:

  • MSRP: $80 (Retail ~ $50)
  • Objective Lens Diameter: ‎25 Millimeters
  • Mount: M1913 Low-Profile Picatinny
  • Reticle: 4 MOA Red Dot
  • Weight: ‎4.8 Ounces
  • 10 Brightness Settings: No Night Vision Settings
  • Battery Type: CR2032 3V Lithium Coin
  • Battery Life: 10,000 hours
  • Shock, impact, fog, and water-resistant
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty

Best Red Dots of 2023

We scouted 2023’s freshest red dot releases to bring you the latest and greatest optics innovations to amplify your AR’s capabilities. This year’s crop represents thoughtful refinements on proven performers along with introductions of new features and capabilities.

Whether it’s incremental improvements to optics, more intuitive controls, or enhanced durability, these red dots showcase what’s possible today. The future doesn’t wait – enjoy the benefits of recent engineering advancements without compromising quality or budget.

(1) AT3 ALPHA Red Dot Sight

We believe our new AT3 ALPHA red dot is a leading 2023 contender given its optimized performance and rugged engineering. We know that may sound biased as the company that produces them, but we judge our products impartially. The ALPHA stands out with Shake Awake, auto-off, seamless AR mounting, and an unbeatable warranty.

Though not the all-around best red dot out there, we’re confident it raises the bar on battery efficiency, smart design, and bombproof construction. The ALPHA may not suit everyone, but if innovation and flawless functionality are priorities, we think it warrants consideration among the best of 2023.

When the ALPHA is paired with a magnifier it feels unstoppable!

AT3 Tactical ALPHA Specifications:

  • MSRP: $167.99 (Retail ~ $199.99)
  • Magnification: 1x
  • Reticle: 2 MOA Red Dot
  • Weight: 6.5 oz
  • Total Length (with Riser Mount): 2.9 in / 73.84 mm
  • Battery Type: CR2032 (Renata™ CR2032 Battery Included)
  • Battery Life: up to 50,000 hours on the lowest setting. Approx. 20,000 hours at medium settings
  • Click Value: 1/2 MOA per click
  • Eye Relief: Unlimited
  • Night Vision Compatible: Yes
  • Waterproof Rating: IPX7
  • Fogproof: Yes
  • Recoil resistance: Certified up to 800g’s. Certified for use with large-caliber rifles and shotguns, as well as “springer” airguns with 2-way recoil
  • Body material: 6061 Aluminum

(2) Sig Sauer ROMEO4XT-PRO 1X20 MM

Sig got it right upgrading the trusted ROMEO4T to the new ROMEO4XT-PRO. They kept the crystal clear optics and tank-like ruggedness while making it more tactical with top-mounted controls. Packing 50K hours of battery life, waterproofing, and military-grade testing? That’s just showing off.

Sure it’s Sig’s own product, but we gotta give credit since the ROMEO4XT-PRO kicks it up a notch while retaining everything we loved about the OG. The improvements make sense for pros without messing with the proven formula. If that doesn’t deserve some best of 2023 love, nothing does.

Sig Sauer ROMEO4XT-PRO 1X20 MM Specifications:

  • MSRP: The standard red dot version sits at $759.99. (Retail ~ $579.99)
  • Magnification: 1 x
  • Reticle: 2 MOA Center Dot
  • Eye Relief: Unlimited
  • Length/Width/Height: 3.03″ x 2.48″ x 2.2″
  • Weight: 7.4 oz
  • Adjustment Click Value: 0.5 MOA
  • Night Vision Compatible: Yes
  • Battery Type: AAA
  • Battery Life: 50,000 hours
  • Waterproof: Yes, IPX-8

(3) Holosun SCRS

We’ve been pumped about the new Holosun SCRS-RD since peeping it at Shot Show 2023. This lightweight tube sight brings some serious innovation to the table with its solar charging and multi-directional light sensors. We hate the idea of weighing down a good AR-15 with heavy optics setups so the SCRS is a breath of fresh air.

Ultra-compact but loaded with features, the SCRS-RD auto-adjusts reticle brightness while barely taking up rail space. Plus it’s slick-looking. Mount this mini powerhouse on rifles, and shotguns, the applications are endless. Holosun’s latest is charging ahead of the competition.

Holosun SCRS Specifications:

  • MSRP: For the standard red dot version sits at $270.58. (Retail ~ $229.99)
  • Magnification: 1x
  • Reticle: 2 MOA Dot
  • Dimensions: 1.7×1.35×1.6in
  • Weight: 2.45oz
  • Parallax Free: Yes
  • Unlimited Eye Relief: Yes
  • Power Source: Solar & Battery
  • Battery Life: Unlimited
  • Night Vision Compatible: Yes
  • Housing Material: 7075 T6 Aluminum
  • Adjustment per Click: 1 MOA
  • Submersion: IP67
  • Vibration: 1000G

Looking for optics with street cred and real-world validation? We have spotlighted enduring top choices celebrated for crystal clear targeting under pressure along with intuitive handling loved by loyal followers year after year.

Tried and true earns devoted users based on living up to expectations every time. While your needs come first, extensive consumer validation provides crucial insight. Lean on the wisdom of fellow shooters, and choose optics already deemed essential time and time again.

 (1) Sig Sauer ROMEO5

The Sig Sauer Romeo5 remains one of the most popular red dots for good reason – this rugged workhorse delivers over half a decade of crystal clear, parallax-free aiming that pros and amateurs rely on, all at an affordable price point.

With street prices as low as $140 and bundle deals where it’s practically free, the Romeo5 delivers superior optics and reliability that withstand the test of time, without breaking the bank. The Romeo5’s enduring popularity proves its place among the best.

Sig Sauer Sig Sauer ROMEO5 Specifications:

  • MSRP: Currently sits at $199.99 (Retail ~ $129.99)
  • Magnification: 1x
  • Eye Relief: Unlimited
  • Dot Size: 2 MOA Red Dot
  • Click Adjustments: 1 MOA
  • Night Vision Compatible: Yes
  • Battery Type: CR2032
  • Battery Life: 40,000 on the lowest setting, 450 hours (on the highest setting)
  • Weight: 5.10 oz
  • Length: 2.47 in
  • Width: 1.50 in
  • Height: 1.52 in

(2) EOTech XPS3 Holographic Weapon Sight

The EOTech XPS3 remains one of the most popular holographic sights for its combat-proven durability and unique, heads-up shooting advantage. With multiple aiming reticles tuned for various ranges, the XPS3 allows rapid target acquisition through its expansive viewing window. Widely deployed by the military who rely on its ruggedness, the XPS3 caters to civilians too despite battery life limitations common with holographic sights.

Though premium-priced, the XPS3 earns its reputation with crystal clear optics, versatile reticles, and battlefield-tested toughness that provide a tactical edge. Its enduring popularity speaks to EOTech’s position as an industry leader.

The EXPS3 Holographic sight features 10 night vision compatible settings and an integrated QD mount.

EOTech EXPS3 Holographic Specifications:

  • MSRP: currently sits at $769.00. (Retail ~ $729.99)
  • Reticle: 1 MOA Dot, 68 MOA Circle
  • Night Vision Compatible: Yes (10 Settings)
  • Dimensions: 3.8″ x 2.3″ x 2.9″
  • Weight: 11.2 oz.
  • Water Resistance: 10 ft (3m) Depth
  • Mount: 1″ Weaver or MIL-STD-1913 rail
    • Daylight Brightness: 20 Settings
  • Battery Type: CR123
  • Battery Life: 1000 continuous hours at daylight setting 12 at room temperature

(3) AT3 ARO Micro Reflex Red Dot Sight 

We’d be hard-pressed not to mention our most popular red dot. The ARO red dot keeps gaining fans for good reason. This rugged reflex sight just works. Its open viewing window and co-witness mounting options make it crazy adaptable from ARs to AKs, pistols to hunting rifles.

Durable build, crystal clear dot without parallax, and daylight brightness, the ARO delivers precision aiming wherever you need it. No confusing bells and whistles, just quality optics and a smart design. For flexibility between tactical and fun run and gun use, the ARO is a go-to choice, and its popularity just keeps growing.

Grab an ARO reflex sight with the riser mount and it will include the low mount for free!

AT3 Tactical ARO Micro Specifications:

  • MSRP: Low Mount $213.99 (Retail ~ $149. 99), Riser & Low Mount $249.99 (Retail ~ $179.99)
  • Magnification: 1x
  • Reticle: 3 MOA Red Dot
  • Weight: 1.8 oz
  • Height: 1.2 inch / 30 mm
  • Battery Type: CR1632 (Battery Included)
  • Battery life: Approximately 5,000 Hours on Medium Setting
  • Auto Shut-off: 6 Hours
  • Click Value: 1 MOA per click
  • Eye Relief: Unlimited
  • Night Vision Compatible: No
  • Waterproof/Fogproof: Yes
  • Recoil Resistance: Certified up to 500g’s. Certified for use with large-caliber rifles and shotguns, as well as “springer” airguns with 2-way recoil
  • Body material: 6061 Aluminum

In order to make a more informed decision check out the more expansive information below detailing things like parallax, astigmatism, battery life, scopes vs red dots, types of reticles, and all around how red dot optics function.

How Does a Red Dot Sight Work?

In order to choose the best red dot sight for your AR-15, it is important to first understand how red dot sights work.

red dot sight relies on non-magnifying reflectors to display the red dot. At its most basic, a small LED generates a colored dot of light, which reflects against a small spherical mirror. The mirror focuses the dot on a lens, which is what you see when you look through the sight.

On more costly red dot sights, additional lenses may be added to the setup to eliminate “parallax”. What’s parallax? We cover that in-depth down below!

Some of you may be wondering are holographic sights red dot sights? Sort of. Yes…Maybe? They work very differently and produce images differently. They use a combination of lasers and mirrors. When it comes to red dots vs holographic sights typically people are in either camp.

red dot sights
How a holographic sight works

What is Parallax? – Why Should I Care?

What is parallax? It refers to changes in the position of the dot when you look at it from different angles.

For example – you put your gun in a vise with the red dot sight on your target’s bullseye. When you move your head to a different angle and look through the sight, is the dot still on the bullseye?

red dot sights
A good crisp dot makes any range day better!
  • If the answer is yes – that means your red dot is “parallax-free”. This enhances the overall accuracy and usability of the sight. But be prepared to pay a little extra for a truly parallax-free sight!
  • If the answer is no – that means we could potentially be less accurate in stressful or speed-needy scenarios. If your point of aim is not the same as your point of impact, you can see the obvious issues.

Different Types of Red Dot Reticles

Now that you know more about the overall styles of red dots, we can cover the dot size, dot pattern, and dot color. All of these variations are things to take into consideration to best outfit your AR build.

red dot sights
What do you think about the EOTech EXPS2 Holographic Sight reticle?

The dot size should be big enough for you to easily see, but not too large to obscure targets. Dot size is typically measured in MOA (“minute of angle”). Essentially, 1 MOA means roughly 1″ at 100 yards. So if you have a 5 MOA dot, that means this dot covers a 5″ area on a target 100 yards away.

For a general use AR-15 red dot sight, we recommend MOA between 1 and 4 MOA. Anything larger than 4 MOA may just get in the way.  You may opt for a larger dot if you plan on mostly engaging targets at <100 yards.

red dot sights
An example of a very small 1 MOA reticle. More precise but harder to acquire faster.

The dot pattern (AKA the reticle) is largely a personal preference. Most sights have, well… a dot (hence the name red dot), but you can also get reticles shaped like crosshairs, a circle with a dot, or even a combination of all of them.

Some sights have a multi-reticle system which would allow you to quickly switch between different reticle styles.

red dot sights

The last main choice is the color of the dot. Wait – it’s a red dot sight so the dot is going to be red, right? Not necessarily – green and blue are also available (some more common than others).

Red, in our experience, is the best all-around choice. It is an industry standard for a reason and that reason is the color does most jobs well.

red dot sights
Worried about co-witnessing with iron sights? Check out our article: Absolute vs Lower 1/3 Co-Witness Sights

Green has greater potential to be seen in bright conditions (this is because green is easier for the human eye to pick up).  Green dots are normally more expensive. Sometimes this is just a company’s way of inferring that green is better but most of the time, believe it or not, it is more expensive to produce green lights/lasers than red.

red dot sights

Blue has the unfortunate distinction of typically being used in lower-cost gimmicky optics but the idea of a blue dot sight or blue reticle is more wholesome since it can be used by people who are color blind to red and green colors. It is an underutilized feature these days.

What number do you see? If you cannot see a number you may be Red/Green Colorblind.

AR-15 Red Dot Sights vs Scopes

For short-range shooting under 200 yards, a red dot sight is ideal. It’s lightweight, facilitates quick target acquisition, and avoids the black ring-shaped shadow caused by varying eye relief in scopes. Although it lacks magnification, a red dot offers the advantage of shooting with both eyes open, enhancing situational awareness and preventing tunnel vision.

If you want some magnification, one option is to get a flip-to-side magnifier that goes behind your red dot. This allows you to flip the magnifier to quickly magnify your red dot for long-distance shots. Despite that added weight, this is a versatile option that is worth looking into. Some red dot sights are available in a kit that includes the magnifier, like the Magnified Red Dot Kit pictured below.

red dot sights
The AT3 RRDM comes stock with a flip-to-the-side mount for greater versatility with your red dot optic.

Battery Life

Perhaps the biggest downside of a red dot sight is most require batteries. No red dot batteries, no red dot! Most red dot sights have a very long battery life so it is not normally an issue.

If you end up reading up on a red dot optic’s specs they will say something like 30,000 hours of battery life. Most manufacturers will state the battery life with the medium or low brightness setting in mind. It is almost never the highest brightness specs.

A good shorthand is to think of 10,000 hours as one year (it’s actually 1.141553 years).

red dot sights
For example, on the RD-50 Red Dot Sight, the battery lasts up to 50,000 hours between replacements.

Red Dots & Astigmatism

If you are new to red dots and can’t seem to get a clear dot, it may not be the sight, you may have an astigmatism. If you are unfamiliar with what astigmatism is, it is basically defects on the lens of our eyes that cause lights to appear bursting, star-like, and fractured.

red dot sights
You can learn more about this topic in our article AR-15 Red Dot Sights and Astigmatism

We Did the Homework, Now Dominate: Gear Up With the Right AR-15 Red Dot

In a world full of options, choosing the ultimate red dot sight for your trusty AR-15 can feel like a thrilling quest. With the right mix of durability, reticle wizardry, battery life that seems to defy the laws of physics, and a size that screams “compact yet mighty,” the perfect red dot sight is within reach.

So, lock and load, fellow firearm aficionados. Discover the one AR15 red dot optic that will have you shouting, “Bullseye”!


What is the difference between a reflex sight and a red dot sight?

The short answer is they are one and the same. A reflex sight is a red dot sight. The term reflex sight refers to an open emitter (typically large windowed) red dot sight. This means the optic is not enclosed in a tube or box. There will be a large lens with a red dot projected onto it.

What is the best red dot for a rimfire pistol?

For pistol usage (rimfire or not) a reflex-style red dot is recommended. This way there is an open window for speedy dot acquisition and an increased field of view.

What is “Night Vision Compatible”?

Night vision compatibility means that night vision goggles or attachments are compatible with a given optic. It does not mean that an optic has built-in night vision. If an optic is “night vision compatible” this means night vision goggles will be able to see the reticle when it is on its NV settings.

Can you use red dot sights at night?

You can use red dot sights at night but beware they will be bright unless turned down. It should be noted that they do not project anything such as a laser nor do they offer any sort of night vision. A red dot optic offers no extra light gain to your aimed image.

What does an illuminated reticle mean?

An illuminated reticle means that the reticle (crosshair, dot, circle dot, etc) can light up. It will normally be red but green and blue are out there too.

What is the best distance to sight in a red dot?

There is no “best” but for most of the use normal use folks, a red dot is used for short-range target acquisition. A 25-yard or 50-yard sight-in is not uncommon. For home defense use we recommend 25 yards, general use at 50 yards, and any other long-range at 100 yards.

It should be mentioned that long-range usage with red dot sights can produce lackluster results without magnification.

More Optics-Related AT3 Content

We at AT3 Tactical just want to lend our thanks to anyone who tunes in for the AT3 Blog and Youtube Channel. It is much appreciated and we are happy to continue to churn out quality and helpful content. It is an honor to be of service. Please let us know if you have any questions in the comments below. Be safe out there and we will catch you next time!

One Last Tip

If there’s anyone that knows the AR-15 platform, it’s the US military. As a special offer for our readers, you can get the Official US Army Manual for AR-15/M4/M16 right now – for free. Click here to snag a copy.

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25 thoughts on “Choosing the Best AR-15 Red Dot Sights for Your Build (2023 Update)

  1. Great article, thank you. Would love to have a Trijicon but unfortunately can’t afford either of the 3 top rated. After hours of extensive research I decided to purchase a Vortex Strikefire ll thru Amazon at a reduced price of $151 [item is new but price was reduced
    $48 due to damaged pkg.] It is due to arrive in a few days and am anxious to try it out from my backyard. Hopefully I won’t have buyers remorse.

  2. Hey. Any recommendations on a red dot sight for a windham weaponry mpc-rf

  3. Can’t go wrong with the AT3 Tactical RD-50 Pro. I have 2 of these. I have others like Sig and Vortex. AT3 Tactical are tough as any out there. Love both of mine. You can get them for $99 if you shop around. Check out the torture test on You Tube by 704 Tactical. It’ll make you think about one I promise. Perfect setup. Extra long battery life.

  4. I have a mild case of astigmatism and on a budget which one should I look at

  5. I have a carry handle on my AR . Can I mount your red dot, with riser, on top of the carry handle and it work as effectively as if mounted on the rail w/o carry handle?

  6. I bought an overlord mogadishu mile red dot , my ar15 has picatinny rails , I have Magpul mbs gen 2 flip sights , will it absulte co-witness , I’ve read 1/3 co-witness is preferred , your thoughts thank you

  7. AT3… You have renewed my faith in simplicity! In this age of ever increasing knowledge and information, it’s easy to get hyper-saturated and more confused than when you started. Your side by side comparison of optics choices for my AR15 was direct, easy to understand and by the end I was not only confident in my understanding but just as confident in your product! Bravo!

    1. Just bought the new Ruger 9mm Carbine, Model 19122. What height riser would you recommend? Not sure whether to get the RD-50 or RD-50 Pro. Currently have the RD-50 w/low mount on my Ruger Mini 14.

      Thanks for your help.

      Stephen Stuckert

  8. Giving serious thought to your RD50 for the .300 AAC pistol I’m completing. Read good reports and talked with an owner that’s pleased. Probably have to wait until June as the last batch of parts almost emptied what I’d saved up for the project. But you will be hearing from me no later than mid June.

  9. Would your company recommend the RD or the LEOS for an AR-15 red dot? I understand both will fit, Just wanted to get your opinion before buying one.

  10. Hello, Robert! The mini-14 is a little different. The front sight post is a little shorter than a standard AR-15 sight, so the RD-50 with no riser should yield an absolute cowitness.
    As for your astigmatism, let us know how the red dot works for you. If you encounter any problems, just reach out to us and we’ll try our best to assist you.

  11. Love what I hear about your co…
    Purchased on Amazon can’t wait to get
    It on my mini 14…
    I do have an Astigmatism hope it works
    Mild but… fingers crossed????

  12. Thank you for reaching out to us, Bobby! I highly recommend our RD-50. It’s our best seller for a lot of good reasons. It’s low cost but high quality, with a lifetime warranty to back it up.
    Ruger PC 9 seems to be getting more popular these days. Since it has an atypical sight profile, you will have to use the Yankee Hill Machine YHM-230 .3″ riser with the RD-50. Doing so will give you an absolute cowitness. We do not have this riser listed in our website but we have them in stock, in order to accommodate customers like you.

    Let me know if you are interested in this riser and I can email you a personalized quotation for it.

  13. Sir,
    I purchased your product for my AR Platform a while back and am extremely satisfied.
    I am currently on a wait list for a Ruger PC 9 . It will be strictly a pack gun that I have at the ready for situations when I travel . Probably ride under my pickup seat most of the time. A get home gun if you will. Can you give me an idea of which AT3 products you would recommend on a $500 rifle. Please and Thank You , Bobby

    1. I have the Ruger PC9 rifle with the AT3 LEOS with the red lazer and a AT3 flip to the side magnifier. Both optics work great and have been very reliable. (For me, just the LEOS was difficult to see the target much past 75 yards.) With the magnifier I can see out to 200 yards.

  14. Great article!

  15. Currently running a Holosun (HS403GL) on a DDm4 V7 and so far it seems to be a great little optic for right at $200.

  16. How hard is it to dial in

  17. I’ve owned an eotech exps2-0 sight for 3 years and I’ve never had the slightest problem, and I don’t exactly treat my guns and gear gingerly. I don’t live in a place where it gets down to -40 degrees Fahrenheit, so iv never seen the problem that they were recalled for. Just my two cents.

  18. Have age related macular degeneration. It has been suggested that a red dot will let me shoot with both eyes open as one eye is still ok. Your thoughts

  19. Do you have any experience with or have heard about DI Optics RV 2?

  20. Was at the range recently and asked a friend on the AZ DPS SWAT team about red dot sights and which one he had on his rifle. He said the AZ DPS SWAT team recently dumped the Aimpoint Pro Patrol and went to the Trijicon MRO because the Aimpoint simply wouldn’t hold up (both under $500). He had high praise for other higher priced Aimpoint products such as the COMPM4 (as do I, used one in Afghanistan) but everyone has a budget. No mention of EOtech one way or the other.

  21. Really it comes down to your check book and you own personal likes.

  22. Love your articles on various AR gear/parts/pieces!

  23. Thanks, you make doing research easy. Can’t wait to receive my free U.S. Army manual for M4/M16/AR15.

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