Best Red Dot Sights in 2017 – Top 6 Red Dot Scopes [REVEALED]

best red dot sights

Red dot cross reticle photo by Chris Schneck

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If you are looking around for the best red dot sights, you could potentially be looking for a while unless you you know what you're looking for. 

With so many red dot sights on the market at various price ranges, it's really difficult to pin point the best red do sight to buy.

Maybe you're trying to find the best red dot sight for the money . . .

To solve this issue, we went on the hunt to review and test dozens of the best red dot scopes and narrowed the list down to the top 6!

Top 6 Best Red Dot Sights

  1. Burris 300234 Fast Fire III
  2. Bushnell Trophy TRS-25
  3. Vortex Optics StrikeFire 2
  4. Aimpoint PRO Patrol Rifle Optic
  5. EOTech 512
  6. Vortex Optics Sparc 2

It's never easy to go through all of these gun scopes to figure out which is the best, but when if came to finding the best red dot sights in this category, it was super fun.

Red dot sights are a blast and it's no wonder why they are gaining so much traction in the gun world.​

Best Red Dot Sights in 2017​ - Top 6

You may have some other red dot scopes that you will are better than the ones listed below, after all, we could have broken down red dot sights into their own separate categories.

Below are our top 6 red dot sights. You can read further along in each of our red dot sight reviews for why each red dot made the cut. Enjoy!

Best Red Dot Sights

Price

Rating

Burris 300234 Fastfire III

(Editor's Choice)

$$

4.4 / 5

Bushnell Trophy TRS-25

(Editor's Choice)

$

4.3 / 5

Vortex Optics StrikeFire 2

(Editor's Choice)​

$$

4.6 / 5

Aimpoint PRO Patrol Rifle Optic

$$

4.9 / 5

EOTech 512

$$$

4.7 / 5

Vortex Optics Sparc 2

$$$$

4.6 / 5

Why the Trijicon RMR 3.25 MOA and Sightmark Ultra Dual Shot Pro Spec NV Sight QD are not on my list?


Some top gun enthusiasts are wondering why I didn’t include some of these other popular red dot sights that others have reviewed but aren’t on my Top 6 list? They were close, but after reviewing them, the others just topped them in one way or another.

  • The Trijicon is too expensive.
  • When looking for a red dot scope, a scope that is going to be up in the $500 range doesn’t really deliver any better experience compared to the less expensive red dot scopes on the market. It’s about finding the best red dot sight for the money.
  • The Sightmark was the opposite. It’s an inexpensive red dot sight, (under $150), but it lacked in quality.
  • There were issues with it staying powered on with a high powered rifle. It would be perfect for a .22lr or other rimfire due to the lower recoil.

Basically, you are either paying too much for a reputable name that drives up the price or you aren’t paying for something that is built well. Some of you may feel better buying a red dot with a reputable name like Trijicon and don’t mind the higher price tag, and others may be ok with something that is cheap, but for most, we want to find the best .red dot sight for the money.

For now, these red dot scopes didn’t make our Top 6 list.

However, we believe that the premium red dot sights are ok if you are going to be using the sight for heavy tactical purposes or constant use. We also believe in finding some great budget scopes that are inexpensive as long as you don’t sacrifice on too much quality.

Red Dot Sights Quick Overview

camouflage red dot sight

Camouflage Red Dot Sight photo by Chris Schneck

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Red dot sights first emerged as tools for competition shooting as well as for military use.

Some of the first red dots were big, heavy, and expensive. 

Today is a different story.

Today's red dots are small, lightweight, compact, very durable, and priced well.

You can find a high quality red dot scope for under $200 now!

Red dots are almost always zero power (or 1x) This means that they do not magnify, or are a fixed magnification.

The military uses a lot of red dot as on foot combat is generally in close to mid range​. The hit percentage is drastically higher than with iron sights.

Considerations for the Best Red Dot Sight

Red dot sights are typcially not used for precision shooting. Their purpose is to be used for close and fast shooting.

A red dot sight is perfect for fast target acquisition. All that is required is that you put the dot on the target and shoot.​

The larger the dot, the quicker shooters will find the target.

A red dot is great for hunting as well. Some people even use red dots for target games like trap, skeet, and sporting clays on their shotguns.​

Red dot sizes vary from each brand and scope type. Some have dots that are adjustable, so make sure to consider the dot size you prefer to use and how large of a reticle you need when you're finding the best red dot sight for you.

Some red dots have different shapes as well and different colors, like green. It's all personal preference.

Also something to consider is that most red dot sights use batteries. You cannot get the illumination of a red dot sight without some sort of power, and the standard is to use batteries.

If used for hunting, keep in mind that cold weather drains battery life, so always have backups. But overall, the battery life on the best red dot sights last quite a while. Many hunters even leave their red dot sights​ on for the entire hunting trip.

​Aimpoint, for example, advertises the battery life up to 10,000 hours or about 5 years.

Red dot sights can be used on any type of firearm and for a lot of uses. People use red dot sights for rifles, shotguns, and even handguns.

A lot of people prefer red dot sights for home defense as well as red dot sights are great for use in low light conditions (at night) and for fast target acquisition.​

Price Range for Red Dots

Red dot sights vary in price range. From as low as $20 to as high as the thousands of dollars. Doing these red dot sight reviews requires me to look at every price range to truly see what is the best red dot out there.

Unless you are on a very tight budget, we recommend to choose a red dot scope price between $150-$500. In this range you will likely find a very high quality scope that will last you a very long time without needed to worry about it losing its zero and breaking down with long term use.

Inexpensive or budget red dot sight are perfect for plinking guns or just fooling around shooting at different targets.

Price isn't always a determination factor of the quality, sometimes you are just paying a high price because of the manufacturer, like Trijicon. Granted, Trijicon makes super high quality scopes and are very reputable, but you can find a high quality scope for far less.

Keep in mind that any red dot sight under $50 should not be expected to withstand the recoil from anything but a rimfire rifle, but everyone once in a while you might be surprised.

The best sights are closer to the $200-$500 range. Anything higher and you are overpaying, unless you want the extra features and need a specific brand name.

Best Red Dot Sights Reviews

1. Burris 300234 Fast Fire III - Best Red Dot Sight in 2017 

Burris is a very well known scope company. When it comes to red dot scopes, they make some of the highest quality scopes out there.

The Fast Fire  III is one of the most versatile red dot sights that you can find. You can mount it on any firearm, whether it be a pistol, shotgun or any type of rifle, including your hunting rifle.

The Burris has a power button with 3 levels of brightness which you will need to adjust in order to see the dot clearly, but once you've done the proper adjustments for your needs, the clarity is great.​

Out of the box, the first thing I noticed was that it is one of the smallest and lightest red dot sights I've ever seen. Even smaller than the Bushnell TRS-25, which is pretty tiny.

Because of its small size it can be mounted on handguns very easily. This is one of the reasons why it is so versatile because it can be used for a wide variety of applications, uses, and any firearm.​

Some handguns are even pre-fitted for the Fast Fire III.

​It has really good battery life as well, which is always a plus. Most of the top red dot scopes have longer battery life these days.

The quality is definitely there. It's extremely light weight, so it's perfect for mobility when you are hunting and for tactical uses. Some scopes and sights can really add some bulky making the firearm seem a little more awkward, especially if equipped on a handgun.

Sighting this in was super easy. Instead of having to use an allen wrench or some sort of screw driver to sight it in, it sights in with clicks, just like a traditional variable magnification scope. This made it very easy to zero.

I sighted in at 25 yards within 4 shots and then at 100 yards. It also held it's zero, as expected, through a few hundred round on my AR-10.

It was also extremely easy to mount. It took me only 10 min using the instructions and tools Burris provided.

This is still one of the the best red-dots at this price point, but one thing to note is it might be a little more fragile than other red dot sights, mainly because of its tiny size. I’m just not confident that it would remain intact if it was dropped. But it can surely handle any type of recoil.

Overall, what a great red dot sight. It met all of my expectations and passed all of my test for our in depth red dot sight review and I have to say, I was very pleased.

I ended up purchasing 3 others for my CZ75 SP01 Tactical handgun and a couple of my ARs. 

In short, I don’t think there is a better mini and compact red dot scope on the market for the money. It’s perfect for handguns and can hold its own on larger calibers as well.

Pros

  • Burris Warranty
  • Very small and lightweight. Perfect for mobility
  • Perfect for handguns and for ARs.
  • Very durable and high quality.

Cons

  • Very tiny. This is a pro and a con. Feels a little fragile.
  • Too small for most shotguns unless you get a higher mount.
Best Red Dot SIghts - Burris Fast Fire III
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2. Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 - Best Red Dot Sight For The Money

I've mentioned the Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 in several other different categories as one of the best scopes you can buy. 

It's one of the top scopes Bushnell makes and makes our list of top 6 best​ red dot sights because of its price. For under $100, you can't beat the high quality and versatility of this red dot.

If someone didn't know the price of the TRS-25, they would not guess that it costs less than $100.

The TRS-25 has a really nice sharp and crisp red dot reticle. You can control the brightness and other settings of the red dot very easily with the control knob. The control knob has a little bit of resistance, but this is on purpose so that it doesn't accidentally adjust on its own

The battery life is great too. Bushnell claims that the battery life lasts up to 3000 hours. This is plenty of time, but make sure to always have backup batteries just in case.​

I tested the sight with an AK47 to see if it could handle its recoil and hold zero. And as expect, it did! I put about 400 rounds though it​ and it held zero nicely. 

I sighted it in at 25 yards and then at 100 yards, and was worried that it wouldn't hold up because of its price range, but it did.​

As I was testing it out, I seriously couldn't believe how small it was. You don't get a sense of its size until you actually see it in person, very similar to the Burris.

Even though it's small, it's well built (as I would expect from Bushnell) and didn't added any noticeable weight to the rifle. It may add a little bulk to a handgun, but not much.

In the future, I might use this red dot scope primarily for a rimfire rifle, though I think it handled the AK47 just fine and would probably be able to handle other higher caliber rifles and shotguns.

The tube design is a little bulky when compared to the Burris, for example, but really only noticeable if you were going to use it for your pistol, as it’s extremely small and not noticeable on a shotgun or AR.

Also, the projector block is in your line of sight.

If you are getting this red dot sight and expecting it to match the quality of a dot scope in the $500 range, then save up and get the real thing.

The TRS-25 does what it needs to do without any extra features.

If you are looking for something that is a fraction of the cost, made very well, holds zero as it should, has great glass, and is durable, The Bushnell TRS-25 will work just fine!

In short, for the price, this is one of the best red dots sight for the money. Though it is a budget red dot sight, it doesn’t feel like one.

Pros

  • Easy to zero and holds zero
  • 3000 hours of battery life
  • Very light weight and small for mobility

Cons

  • Adjustments a little hard to use
  • Projector block is sometimes in your line of sight
  • Tube design adds a little extra bulk, mostly noticeable when equipped to a handgun
Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight Riflescope
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3. Vortex Optics StrikeFire 2 - Best Red Dot Sight For an AR-15 Rifle

Vortex is another one of those companies that makes high quality scopes for lower prices. I have a lot of different Vortex scope reviews on this site because they simply have some of the best scopes for the money.

Their red dot sights are no different. ​We went through a series of tests with the Strikefire 2 as we would with any red dot sight review.

One of the biggest factors that pushed this Vortex red dot into the top 6 was its price. For under $200 you are really getting a lot. Its a great red dot for the money.

It features rear-facing controls for the power instead of on the top of the sight which made it a little easier to make turn the sight on when I was already in a shooting position in case I forgot. 

As far as adjustments go, there are ten dot intensity levels. The lowest 2 settings are for night vision. What's great is that the sight automatically returns to the last dot intensity that you used when you power it back up. That was nice, especially if I was going to shoot in the same situation as before.

In my test. I equipped the Strikefire 2 on my Ar-15. The first thing I noticed was how well if fir on the AR-15. It seemed super sturdy and durable. Probably because of the 30mm aluminum allow chassis which also helps with high recoil. 

It's also waterproof and fog-proof a feature I would expect when spending up to $200 on a red dot sight.

Mounting it was also pretty easy, especially with the cantilever mount that was included with it.

Zeroing was a breeze. It didn't take long as I used a bore sight to help get a really accurate zero since I was planning on shooting at longer ranges. 

After sighting in, I was able to hit some targets at 100 yards away pretty easily. I was very impressed. Even after putting a few hundred round through it, it held zero, which was expected with such a high quality red dot.

What's cool is that it can co-witness with your iron sights! That's a great thing.

One of my favorite things about Vortex is their unconditional lifetime warranty. Their customer service is great with any optic.

The tube design is a little bulky when compared to the Burris, for example, but really only noticeable if you were going to use it for your pistol, as it’s extremely small and not noticeable on a shotgun or AR.

Also, the projector block is in your line of sight.

In short, Overall a great sight for the price your paying for it and will highly recommend this sight to anybody looking for a quality red dot sight, especially for your AR-15

Pros

  • Vortex Lifetime Warranty
  • Very easy to mount and zero
  • Perfect for an AR-15.
  • Great red dot for the money

Cons

  • Cantilever mount doesn’t fit well on some ARs.
  • A little heavy for tactical and mobility, but still not bad at all
Vortex Strikfire 2 - best red dot sight reviews
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4. Aimpoint PRO Patrol Rifle Optics - Top Rated Red Dot Sight Review

The Aimpoint Pro was one of the best red dot sight reviews we did. It is such a quality red dot sight and I will always be impressed with how quality Aimpoint makes its scopes, especially its red dot scopes.

The reason Aimpoint made it at #4 on the list was merely because of its price tag. When doing these red dot scope reviews price was a big factor in deciding what the best red dot sight is, even though the Aimpoint Pro is one of the best red dot sights on the market today.

It's so good that it is widely accepted as one of the top red dot sights for military combat as well. It really is a high quality red dot scope.

With that being said, the review was fun. It's made for real-world conditions so it'll be able to handle harsh conditions. It's also waterproof (submersible up to 150ft) can handle harsh cold temperatures (as low as -49 degrees F) and extremely hot temperatures (up to 160 degrees F). 

The Aimpoint Pro is equipped and ready to be used with a spacer. The mount is worth the additional cost of the Aimpoint over other high quality red dots ​in this top 6 list. With the included spacer and mount the optic works awesome with standard AR-15 iron sights to co-witness in case the red dot fails.

When testing out the Aimpoint, I found it was super easy to zero since it uses 1/2 MOA adjustments. I sighted in at 25 yards and confirmed at 50 yards before doing some serious shooting.

The dot itself was super bright and small enough to be used with precision up to 200 yards!​ Another bonus is when you increased the brightness level of the dot, the dot never grew and never washed out (something that can occasionally happen with some red dot sights).

The only complaint I have over the Aimpoint Pro is the cost. I can get other optics that do a great job and what I need for a fraction of the cost. With that said, there is still so much value in what you are getting for the price. Great scope.

In short, if the Aimpoint pro was less expensive, it would have been the #1 red dot in my opinion, but the price pushed it toward the bottom. It still made my top 6 red dot sight list and is one of the highest rated red dot scopes on Amazon.

Pros

  • Burris Warranty
  • Can handle harsh temperatures and weather conditions
  • Waterproof up to 150 ft
  • Wide range of adjustment levels
  • Comes with a mount and great battery life

Cons

  • Cost, but that’s it. This is a great red dot optic.
Aimpoint Pro - best Red Dot Sight Reviews
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5. EOTech 512 review - Best Holographic Red Dot Sight Review

EOTech is another one of those companies that makes super high quality tactical red dot sights. They are widely known as one of the best red dot sight manufacturers, but you are also paying for the name and the extra features which is why the EOTech 512.A65 also made it toward the bottom of this top 6 best red dot sights list.

Regardless, its still an amazing high quality scope and deserves to be on this list. Here's why. ...

The EOTech 512 is one of the most popular red dot holographic sights on the market according to EOTech. It's designed for close range combat.

Holographic optics fall into the realm of red dot sights but aren't like a traditional red dot since it uses holographics. ​It's capable of reflecting a laser into a more complex reticle than a traditional red dot scope.

The reticle design is called the A65 and the reason why is because its outer circle is 65 MOA and the center dot is 1 MOA.

It's also square with a square lens which allows the shooter to see over the sight more efficiently and a wider field of view for the shooter.​

After a quick zero, we were ready to get started with the EOTech review. At close range, the sight was awesome and the A65 reticle is really simple to use. 

It worked best when both of our eyes were open. ​

The EOTech was seriously so much fun to use that I ended up using it 6 other times (one of my most extensive scope reviews I've ever done). I never had to readjust the sight since the first time and after several hundred rounds, it held zero.​

I ended up purchasing the EOTech 512 for my own personal use and equipped it on my AR.

The reason it's not closer to the top of the list is due to its higher price poin​t. 

If you’re willing to spend a little more money for an amazing holographic red dot sight, this is a good one, but it’s not cheap at around the $400 price point.

Also, because its a holographic red dot sight, the battery life is horrible compared to other red dot sights clocking in at around 1000 hours.

Overall, The EOTech 512 was a great scope and I actually prefer the A65 reticle over traditional red dots.

Though it may not be that effective at night since it lacks a night vision mode and the fact that the battery life is low, it's still an excellent optic. 

Check out our in-depth EOTech​ 512 review if you're still undecided.

​In short, the EOTech 512.A65 is a great optic and didn’t have a single issue during our EOTech 512 review. It so good we consider it one of the best optics for an AR-15.

Pros

  • Holographic site with A65 Reticle
  • Square shape and glass helped with wider FOV
  • Very durable and high quality.

Cons

  • A little costly.
  • Lacks a night vision mode.
eotech-512-scope
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6 - Vortex Optics Sparc 2 - Best Red Dot Sight under $200

Last, but not least, we have another Vortex red dot scope. Like I've said before, i really like Vortex for a number of reasons. They have such good value and the prices for what you get just can't be beat.

In my red dot site review of the Sparc 2, the first thing I noticed was that it was very similar to the Strikefire 2. 

It's a tube style red dot sight and has a ton of versatility.

Its very light weight and durable, so it's great for mobility. 

The red dot is also bright and the adjustments are easy to use and work great.

The Vortex lifetime warranty is something I wanted to mention again ​as it is really very good. 

In my red dot review of the Sparc 2, i put a few hundred rounds to see if it held zero, which it does. the red dot is sharp and clear.​

Overall, this was a great scope to test out and you will be extremely happy with it if you decide to move forward on the Sparc II. Great red dot sight under $200

Pros

  • Vortex Liftime Warranty
  • It’s small, light, and uses little upper real estate.
  • Night vision compatible

Cons

  • Adjustments aren’t as smooth as I would have liked.
Vortex Sparc 2 - best red dot sight reviews
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Bonus: Burris 300208 AR-332 3x32 Prism Sight - Red Dot Sight Review

I had to include this as part of my red dot site reviews. It's highly rated on Amazon and one of its best sellers. It is an amazing red dot scope and worth looking more into. Check it out!

Burris - best red dot sight reviews
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Final Thoughts - Best Red Dot Sights in 2017

Finding the best red dot scot sights in 2017 is no small order. With so many price ranges, brands, and types of red dot scopes, its hard to find the best.

In the end, look at your budget. What an you afford? If you're​ looking for the best red dot sight for the money, consider the Burris Fastfire for its versatility. 

If you want a high quality red dot scope and budget isn't a huge issue​, an Aimpoint or EOTech are probably your best options.

Hopefully these red dot sight reviews helped to narrow down the best red dot sights. Good luck!

Gary Fretwell is a 33-year-old die hard hunter and blogger from Wyoming. After serving in Iraq, he finished school to become an Asset Protection Officer and currently is learning to be a tracker to help hunters like himself find big game!