Red dots optics are one of the most popular sighting devices for an AR15 rifle. In this article, we will discuss how to determine the best placement for your 1x red dot optic.
Where should your Red Dot go and Why?
Before we get started, it is our recommendation that you only mount your red dot optic on the rifle’s receiver.
We do not recommend mounting it on the handguard. There are two reasons for this:
- AR15’s are dirty and need to be cleaned often. In order to clean your gas system and barrel, you will need to remove the handguard. If your red dot is mounted to the handguard and you remove it, you will need to re-zero the optic every time you clean your rifle.
- Your handguard is much less stable than the receiver of your gun. The handguard is susceptible to vibrations and play which can throw off the zero on your optic. For these reasons, we recommend you mount your red dot on top of the rifles’ receiver.
As a general rule of thumb, you want to mount your 1x red dot optic as far forward as you can.
This is done because the whole point of using a 1x red dot is to shoot with both eyes open and increase peripheral vision. The further back your optic is, the more your peripheral vision is obstructed by the optic itself. Having the optic as far forward as it can be will increase your peripheral vision or situational awareness by as much as 30%. This is a huge amount and can help reduce tunnel vision.
A good guideline is to place the front of your red dot mount so it is aligned with the second picatinny section on your receiver. This will allow for maximized peripheral vision and will give a little extra room when removing your handguard.
Some optics may be mounted at this location but will cant forward over the handguard. That is totally fine as you can still remove the handguard as needed without having to re-zero your optic.
Maybe the most important note about 1x red dot optic location is making sure your eye line matches up to the center of the optic when the rifle is shouldered. If you have the correct mount for your red dot, this should be achieved no matter how far forward your optic is mounted. If you find yourself needing to raise or lower your head to center your eyes on the optic, you may need a different riser mount.
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.