In recent years pistols have been getting a massive upgrade in the form of red dot sights. If you haven’t heard red dots on pistols are all the rage and for good reason. In this article, I’ll cover the best pistol, red dot sight, and their ever-growing popularity.
Best Pistol Red Dot Sights
So what qualifies as the best pistol red dot sight? Really it depends on your needs.
But what we will do for you in this article is break down the features of each dot and try to cut through the marketing speak and give you unbiased feedback.
Top features to check on pistol red dots:
- Dot MOA (Dot Size)
- Battery Life
- Auto Power Off/Battery Saver
Our goal is to give you enough information on each red dot sight on our list so you can make an informed purchasing decision.
Best High-End Pistol Red Dot Sights
The best pistol sight is often followed by a high price tag but that doesn’t always ring true. There are some pistol red dot sights that are expensive but aren’t worth the money.
Those aren’t worth talking about here because we are talking about the best. Here is our list including the reasons why they make the cut.
Starting with the ever famous Trijicon RMR.
The Trijicon RMR is by far the most popular pistol red dot sight and is considered by most to be the best pistol red dot by far.
Oftentimes, the RMR is held as the gold standard of pistol optics and is even used on tactical shotguns, like the Benelli M4, and AR-15 pistols.
The Trijicon RMR design has impressive durability and battery life. You can see a ton of durability test videos of the RMR on Youtube where reviewers take the RMR and use it as a hammer and it doesn’t damage the optic and the optic holds its zero.
The Trijicon RMR has 4 different models:
- Trijicon RMR Dual-Illuminated Reflex Sight
- Trijicon RMR Type 2 Adjustable LED Reflex Sight
- Trijicon RMR Type 2 LED Reflex Sight
- Trijicon RMR cc Red Dot Sight
Not sure which you want to go with or which is right for you? Let us break each one down really quickly.
Trijicon RMR Dual-Illuminated Reflex Sight
The RMR dual-illuminated version uses fiber optics and tritium to illuminate the sights reticle. This is a great option for someone who prefers to not worry about having to change batteries on their red dot sight.
In low or no light areas tritium illuminates the sights reticle which works like your typical iron night sights.
This sight footprint and durability are the exact same as the LED and adjustable LED RMR models.
Trijicon RMR Type 2 Adjustable LED Reflex Sight
The RMR Type 2 Adjustable model has three available dot sizes 1 MOA, 3.25 MOA, and 6.5 MOA.
The biggest difference between the Type 2 adjustable RMR and the Type 2 LED is the adjustable model features push buttons that allow you to manually control the illumination brightness as well as toggle between manual and automatic brightness modes.
You can also power down the RMR for storage with the side buttons to save the battery.
Trijicon RMR Type 2 LED Reflex Sight
The RMR Type 2 LED model has two different dot sizes 3.25 and 6.5 MOA.
Type 2 automatically adjusts the brightness of the dot to your surroundings. In darker environments, the light will dim and in brighter environments, the dot will get brighter.
Leupold Deltapoint Pro
Leupold is well known for its scopes but has only recently started to dip its toes in the red dot sight game.
One of the main selling points of the Deltapoint Pro is the MST or motion sensor technology which works to save battery life.
Motion sensor technology will turn the reticle of the red dot off if there is five minutes of no movement and will reactivate if movement is detected.
The Deltapoint Pro has two different size reticle options: 2.5 MOA and 6 MOA.
The Deltapoint Pro currently only comes with a red reticle so no green option for the DPP. The optic body comes in both black and FDE.
Deltapoint Pro’s mounting is proprietary and shares the same mounting pattern as the Shield and SIG Sauer Romeo 1. This mounting pattern is offered referred to as the DPP mounting pattern as the Deltapoint Pro is the most popular optic that features this mounting footprint.
In recent years Holosun has really proven itself in the optics market. They have definitely fought their way out of Noname-cheap optic land to the land of being considered mid to high end.
The Holosun 507C currently is their flagship pistol red dot option and for good reason.
The 507C has features that even outpace the Trijicon RMR, but the RMR still takes the cake as the most battle-tested and durable pistol dot.
The 507 has a red dot and green dot option so if you are like me and prefer a green dot sight then Holosun has you covered! (Also science says it’s easier to see green in case you were wondering why)
Next up in the awesome feature set is the multi-reticle option. Ever use an EOTech HWS? Well, Holosun brought that amazing optic to a pistol, yes you heard me right.
The center dot is a 2 MOA dot like most optics but around it is the large 32 MOA crosshair circle.
This optic makes target acquisition a breeze and makes you that much more accurate with a pistol.
Overall, fantastic pistol red dot for the money.
Best Budget Pistol Red Dot Sight
If you are on a budget and need to watch your dollars and cents then you might want to pay attention to this list of solid budget pistol red dot sights.
Don’t worry, I won’t recommend something that isn’t quality no matter how cheap it is.
Primary Arms RS-10
The Primary Arms RS-10 is brand new to the market! Just released in the middle of 2022 this is quickly becoming one of my favorite pistol red dots for two reasons: quality and price.
This all-metal $200 pistol red dot optic is perfect for nearly any pistol as long as it had the Glock mounting pattern.
As of right now, the included plate seems to only work on my Glock pistols but if you have a Glock I would not overlook the Primary Arms RS-10.
You can see our full review of the Primary Arms RS-10 and I’ll tell you upfront – it does well!
Next on this list is the Holosun 407C!
The Holosun 407C is an extremely capable pistol sight and you shouldn’t give it the cold shoulder just because it’s not the 507.
I own the Holoson HE407C and I even did a full review on it it. I personally love this red dot.
You can easily access the battery on the right side of the optic it features a solar panel that helps increase your battery life.
Like most of the best red dot sights on this list, it has an all-aluminum construction.
It weighs just a mere 1.5 ounces are you can hardly tell the dot is on your gun once it’s installed.
The HE407C does offer a red and green model and offers a single 2 MOA dot size. I prefer the 2 MOA dot so the lack of options in dot size is no big deal to me.
Sig Sauer Romeo Zero
The Sig Romeo Zero is a relatively new offering from Sig and it really raises the bar for pistol red dot sights. While it only works on newer sub-compact pistols with thinner slides it’s a great option.
What it lacks in durability, it makes up for in awesome reticle sauce.
The fact that this red dot has two different reticle options for a sub $200 price point is crazy.
It features a circle dot and a regular 3 MOA dot.
Compatible with all SIG Sauer P365 optics-ready pistols. Also included are custom mounting screws for compatibility with pistols such as the Springfield® Hellcat® OSP™ and Glock® 43X MOS.Sig Sauer ROMEOZero ELITE 1x24mm Product Page
I really like the flexibility of the reticle in this really small optic, and it really ups the pistol red dot stakes for other companies like Trijicon and Holsun.
The only two cons I can find are that this is clearly a polymer optic and isn’t going to be as rugged as the metal counterparts.
The second con, this only fits on smaller pistols like the P365 and the Glock 43X MOS.
Vortex has been well known for its scopes and red dot sights like the Vortex Sparc AR. The Venom is one of their newer offers and one of their first steps into the pistol red dot market.
The Vortex Venom has been on the market since 2015 and while the market share for the optic isn’t extremely high you don’t hear much bad about the venom.
The Venom comes with a 3 MOA red dot and an all-aluminum housing. It seems like it would hold up well but it doesn’t have the same rugged feel as the RMR or the Holosun optics.
The $249 price point (as of this writing) makes the Venom and attractive prospect for your optics ready pistol.
Burris Fastfire 3
Burris is a brand that everyone seems to sleep on for some reason. Personally, I think Burris is a fantastic scope and optics manufacturer and you’ll be seeing more Burris reviews and feedback on Lynx Defense very soon. But is Burris Fasterfire 3 the best pistol red dot? Here’s the rundown.
The pistol dot offering from Burris is the Fastfire 3. According to Burris, this is their best-selling red dot across all of their red dot product lines.
The Burris Fastfire is nice because the battery access point is top of the optic which makes battery swap a breeze.
The battery life is estimated at 5,000 hours but the optic does have an auto timeout feature that turns it off after 8 hours.
The red dot itself is available in 8 MOA and 3 MOA and red is the only dot color option available.
Primary Arms Micro Reflex Sight
One of the newest pistol red dots on the market is the PA Micro Reflex Sight. This extremely lightweight dot from Primary Arms clocks in a 40,000-hour battery life and a clean and crisp 3 MOA dot.
The all-aluminum housing provides a fantastic optic for $149.99! This optic could quickly become my number one recommendation for a budget optic.
If you read my full review of the optic I can’t praise it enough for overall quality and construction.
The Holosun HE509 with the ACSS Vulcan reticle is quickly becoming one of my favorites. The unique ACSS Vulcan allows you to quickly get on target and the chevron reticle has always been one of my favorite reticles.
If you are looking for a fully enclosed pistol dot option consider picking up this red dot. It’s a collaboration between Primary Arms and Holosun and they did a great job on it.
The Viridian RFX35 is a relatively new offering by Viridian Weapons Technologies. I’ve had mine for a few weeks now and it seems to be solid, I really like green dots personally so this one grew on me quickly.
I’ve been running it on my FN Five-Seven pistol and it fits like a glove with the RMR footprint.
The controls are simple and adjustment is extremely easy. It features 30,000 hours of battery life and an instant-on feature to save battery when not in use.
The RFX35 does come in on the budget side of pistol red dots but it’s still built with 6061-T6 aluminum alloy making it in line with the other pistol dot options in terms of material.
What’s the best pistol red dot sight?
So after all those options what is the best? Well, that’s subjective but I think the answer is simply the best is the highest quality optic that fits your needs and your budget.
There’s not a one size fits all solution for pistol red dot sights or there would be no need for multiple options to exist.
For example, if you have an astigmatism you might want to consider what the best pistol red dot for astigmatism is and purchase that red dot.
How to pick the best pistol red dot for you?
First and foremost you want to make sure the red dot you choose for your pistol is within your budget. There are plenty of quality red dot sights that are affordable.
It’s worth noting though that pistol red dots are somewhat newer, more compact, and thus a bit more expensive than your average AR-15 red dot sight.
Pistol Red Dot Sight Reticle Options
Most pistol red dot sights feature a single dot confirmation but more and more options are becoming available.
Right now the largest difference is the ROMEOZero ELITE 1x24mm pistol red dot which features a dual dot option that you can change between a circle/dot with a 2 MOA dot or a 3 MOA single dot.
Which red dot is best for a pistol?
The best red dot for your pistol is one that fits your budget and is the highest quality red dot you can buy. The Trijicon RMR is often held as the champion of pistol dots but other options are giving the RMR a run for its money in terms of quality and price.
Are red dots on pistols worth it?
Yes, pistol red dots increase accuracy for nearly everyone who uses them. They are functional and once you get used to them you’ll likely never look back. While they can be expensive but the benefits largely justify the cost.
Does the military use pistol red dots?
Yes, special forces and other military attachments are using pistol red dots. Infantry soldiers have not yet adopted pistol red dots but could likely adopt them in the future as prices come down.
What is an MOA Dot?
MOA is widely used for red dot sights and optics. MOA stands for minutes of angle and is a unit of measurement of a circle. Specifically, it refers to the size of the dot in a red dot sight and how much of the target it will cover at distance.
What is the best MOA for pistol red dot?
The MOA dot size of a pistol red dot is pretty hotly contested and largely boils down to personal preference. If you like a larger dot, which makes it easier to see, and can spare the accuracy it’s a great option.
You can go the small 2 MOA dot and get a more accurate shot but it will be hard to acquire the dot quickly when you draw and raise to your target.
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