Best Guide On Shooting With A Pistol Red Dot [Tips Added]

Last Update:
Best Guide On Shooting With A Pistol Red Dot
Image source: Tactical Hyve

Hey there! Welcome to my best guide on shooting with a pistol red dot. 

You buy a red dot sight thinking it will give you speed, but you get disappointed when you don’t get what you expect. 

Sometimes you can’t find the dot. Other times you don’t know what to aim at. So, you end up frustrated. 

That is exactly why you need me. I will tell you how to improve shooting with your red dot pistol. I will also tell you what tricks the experts use. 

You should trust me because I’m part of an enthusiastic team working tirelessly to bring the best of the content to the readers. 

We have done a lot of research and included personal experience to write this piece for you.

Let’s get started. 

Zeroing: A Pre-requisite To Perfect Shooting With A Pistol Red Dot

The first step to perfect shooting is to zero your pistol red dot. You zero your red dot to make your point of aim and point of impact one. 

This gives you accuracy, and your shot lands where you intend it to. 

Step-by-Step Method To Zero A Pistol Red Dot 

Follow the following steps to learn to zero your pistol red dot. 

  1. Set your target at the perfect distance. In the case of a pistol red dot, 10 yards is suitable. 
  2. Shoot your first group of 5 shots aiming at the center to see where you hit the target.
  3. You will hit right/left and up/down the center with a sight that is not zeroed. 
  4. Now, make calculations keeping this in mind: 1 MOA is 1 inch at 100 yards. And you will convert inches to MOA with this formula: Inches/[Distance/100]. 
  5. We are at 10 yards, and your bullet lands 3 inches left from the point of aim(center). 
  6. To convert inches to MOA, using the above formula: 3/[10/100]=30. 
  7. Now, your value of MOA is 30, and 1 MOA equals 1 click. So, for moving 3 inches, you need 30 clicks.
  8. Change windage settings on the turret to move left/right and elevation settings to move up/down. 
  9. Take another shot to confirm your zero. 

How To Ace Shooting With A Pistol Red Dot?

Once you are done zeroing your pistol red dot, you can move to start shooting.

How To Ace Shooting With A Pistol Red Dot

1. Target Is The Focus 

While shooting with a pistol red dot, keep your focus on the target.

If you are used to shooting with traditional iron sights, you know that you keep your focus on the front sight and move it from the front iron sight to the target and back. 

But here, your focus is the target. 

2. Find The Dot

A red dot sight is a reflex sight; it works with a red dot. The next important step is to find the dot on the screen. 

It sounds pretty simple, but it’s not. 

You can’t shoot with a pistol red dot if the dot doesn’t appear on the screen. 

How you can find the dot depends on many factors, which I will share later in this article. 

3. The Aiming Method

Once you find the dot, put it on the target and focus on that one point: Dot On Target. 

This is faster than iron sights, where you align the rear sight, front sight, and target before you take a shot. 

With a red dot, there is no such hassle. You focus on only one aiming point to get a proper sight picture.

How To Aim With A Pistol Red Dot Sight

4. Pull The Trigger

The last part is simple: pull the trigger.

Work With An Acceptable Sight Picture: Key For Shooting With A Pistol Red Dot

The pistol red dot sight’s reticle is not wobble-free. When you place it on the target, don’t wait for the dot to be still before taking a shot. 

This is what we call an acceptable sight picture. 

If you wait for the dot to settle completely, you will waste your time and won’t be able to shoot quickly, killing the main purpose of using a red dot. 

I have learned about the “acceptable sight picture” from Joe Farewell. You should also take a look at his explanation on the matter. 

ProTips To Find The Dot On Your Pistol

You should learn the following tips to find the red dot whenever you pick your gun. 

1. The 80-20 Method of Draw

One general method I learned in my class with Scott Jedlinski is the 80-20 method to draw your pistol. Other experts like JJ Racaza also talk about it. 

This method suggests that when you draw your pistol, the first 80 percent of your draw should be fast, and the last 20 percent should be slow. 

The last 20 percent is where you find the dot, so if you go smoothly here, you will find the dot easily. 

Watch the Tier 1 Concealed folks talk about it to understand the concept better.  

2. Know Your Natural Point Of Aim

Finding your natural point of aim helps you find the dot every time. But what is a Natural Point Of Aim, and how to find it? 

It is a point in the space where your eye aligns with your pistol sight and the target. You can find it by following these steps:

  1. Close your eyes and draw your pistol. 
  2. Open your eyes and check if you see the dot.
  3. If not, make corrections to your pistol. Do not move your head while doing that. 
  4. Keep practicing until you start drawing with your natural point of aim subconsciously. 

I have learned this method from Joe Farewell; you should watch him explain the natural point of aim and how you can achieve it. 

3. Keeping The Muzzle Downward

The way you draw your pistol also affects whether you find the dot or not. The general tendency of shooters is to draw the gun slightly elevated. 

In a red dot sight, the dot sits high in the window, and the general tendency of shooters is to draw the pistol with the muzzle slightly elevated. 

With this, the dot stays up and is not visible to the shooter. Keep your muzzle downward when you present your gun to avoid this problem. 

Keep Practicing: The Key To Success With Pistol Red Dot 

To get better at any skill, you need constant practice. This also applies to pistol red dot shooting. 

You must practice drawing the pistol with your natural point of aim, keeping the muzzle down, maintaining draw speed, and working with an acceptable sight picture. 

Your learning curve for accurate shots will depend on how much you practice with your red dot on the pistol.


Red dots on pistols is everywhere. Shooters use them for home defense, competition, and tactical applications. 

Today, we also have mini red dot sights for concealed carry pistols. 

Zeroing your red dot is the prerequisite to perfect shooting with a pistol red dot. 

Once zeroed, find the dot, place the reticle on the target and keep focusing on the target when pressing the trigger. 

Remember, continuous practice will make you a pro at shooting with a red dot-equipped pistol.


How do red dot sights work on a pistol?

While working with red dots on a pistol, you place the reticle on the target and focus on it as one point. 

This allows you to have target-focused shooting, which gives you a great advantage in quick combat situations. 

Is it worth putting a red dot on a pistol?

With red dot optics, your focus is one point, i.e., dot on target, which allows you to have fast target acquisition. 

Also, focusing on one point makes it easy to use the red dot. This is faster than iron sights, where you have to align the front and rear sights.

How far should you sight in a pistol red dot?

Generally, shooters sight in a pistol red dot between 10-25 yards based on their practical applications. 

But if you sight your pistol red dot at 10 yards, then at 25 yards, it will print only 0.7 inches higher than the aim, which is insignificant.

When Was The Red Dot Sight Invented?

The first time the red dot invented by Aimpoint in 1975 by a Swedish company.

One Request?

I worked hard on this post to help the shooters community. it would help me a lot if you consider sharing it on social media network

BecauseSharing Is Caring..

Because Sharing Is Caring..

Photo of author


Hannah Anderson is a gun enthusiast. She developed a knack for guns and ammunition when as a teenager she started accompanying her grandfather to his hunting ventures. Now, she shares her passion and immense knowledge on the subject with the readers.

Leave a Comment