A red dot sight is an optic that uses a projected reticle, often a single dot only, as an aiming device. Most red dot sights are zero power, or one power. Same thing. This means they do not magnify. Therefore, they do not have a set distance of eye relief like a traditional riflescope. Red Dot Sights provide a cleaner sight picture than iron sights and allow the shooter to stay focused on the target rather than on the front sight. A red dot sight can be used for precision shooting but is ideal for very close or very fast shooting. The larger the dot, the quicker most people find they can find and shoot their target. Shotgunners are not left out either. A red dot is ideal for hunting turkey or deer, and some people even use red dots for target games like trap, skeet, and sporting clays.
Red Dot Sight Reticle Sizes
Most red dot sights are defined as Reflex Sights, which use an LED emitter, as opposed to holographic sights which use a laser diode.
Red dot sight reticles will not appear defined and sharp like in a riflescope. Look at the reticle with one eye, then the other. Often, they look different from eye to eye. Same goes from person to person. Dots will look a bit fuzzy, and this is normal. No dot will offer a crisp contrasting outline, so when selecting a red dot sight, don't worry about finding a perfectly crisp reticle.
Red Dot Sights and Batteries
Another detail to be aware of when you're in the market for a Red dot sight is that they are battery powered. Illuminated reticles in a rifle scope appear black without power, but nothing is visible in a red dot sight without power. Keep in mind that cold weather drains battery power so having backup batteries on hand is highly recommended, especially when hunting. Red dot sights naturally have a long battery life so you don't need to turn them off when you put them away, but eventually, batteries will die so it is a good idea to replace the battery on a regular schedule.
What to Spend on a Red Dot Sight
Your application should determine your budget. Inexpensive red dot sights are perfect for plinking guns. When choosing a red dot sight, or any optic, remember that price is a good indicator of quality. More expensive red dot sights will handle higher levels of abuse/recoil as well as offer better glass quality and various features. A mid to high-quality red dot sight is less expensive than an equivalent quality riflescope, making them a great option for first-time owners or when adding optics to multiple firearms.