How to Use a Red Dot Sight

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Have you ever wondered why so many sharpshooters, law enforcement personnel, and even video game heroes seem to nail their targets with an almost uncanny precision? What if I told you their secret lies in a small but powerful device called a Red Dot Sight

You’ve probably seen it, a tiny circle hovering in the middle of their optics, playing a crucial role in that perfect aim.

The sight is a small instrument that uses a small light, usually a dot, to point to the location where you will aim.

The dot can be green or red that is up to the model of your gun, which you are using to aim at a particular point. Most of the models are using a red dot sight.

The red dot can prove very beneficial for close-range shooting and achieving the target. When you have an idea of how you can use it, you will consider it your best companion.

This article will lead you to all the details of how to use a red dot sight so that you can easily use it. 

How to Use a Red Dot Sight

Are You Using Right Sight?

The first thing that you need to consider is using a” red dot” because you are using the right sight. A red dot gives a brightened dot within the lens instead of a laser light. The battery life of a red dot sight is long-lasting because it does not use heavy power.

The red dot does not magnify the object and needs additional tools attached to it for magnification. It is effortless to install and use a red dot sight. Most of the red dots are waterproof and are protected from fog and any shock.

The type of rifle/gun decides that which red dot sight will work well with it. For example, if you use a close-range weapon that can aim to 100 yards, then the red dot sight is accurate to use.

Multiple red dot sights differ in range and general ability. But the reflex sight mainly used is the red dot sight, which contains a red dot inside the lens of the scope that points towards the target. These sights neither have a battery dot nor a need to close the eye on the lens when shooting.

The cost is relatively less for all the red dot sights, but some red dot sights have additional attachment costs. You should check before purchasing any product of red dot sight. The brightness and height of the mount can be changed while using it according to the requirements.

Mounting a Red Dot Sight

It can be a bit difficult to decide which is the best point of placing a scope. This is because you must make sure that you have placed your scope at the right end. You may require making minor changes to set the scope right for you. For this reason, you should consider the following points when you are going to attach a scope.

  • It would help if you mounted a scope where the size of the red dot will not be affected when you are moving it in any dimension. 
  • Move the red dot bit forward to avoid space issues when you are using an additional magnifier object.
  • You will get a broader view if you mount a red sight closer to the eye. But on the other hand, you will have difficulty keeping an eye on it. 
  • For close-range shooting, you should mount it closer. While, for long-range shooting, you should mount it in a distant position to get a clear view of the object. 
  • If you have attached additional objects like a magnifier, then it can imbalance your accuracy. So, for this reason, find the right balance for your scope so that your shoot will not be affected. It would help if you mounted a red scope over the receiver to get a balanced position. 

A red dot usually comes with all the above instructions and a complete guide for installing it. But if you do not get the instructions, do not worry, as you can easily still attach the red dot to your gun. It would help if you mounted a red scope over the receiver. Most of the products you purchase contain a Picatinny rail and the appropriate tools used for mounting it.

If you did not get the tools, you could also mount it using Allan or a hex key that you can use to tighten the mounting point of the rail. If you tighten it accurately, neither the shoot will be affected nor will it suffer from any imbalance. Most manufacturers of red Dots recommend purchasing something that maintains the power of these bolts.

Getting Zero in Scope in a Red Dot Sight

You must ensure that your shots are right after mounting the scope to get a zero in scope. For this purpose, you should set the target more from the accurate position at least 25 yards away from your point. For close-range shooting, you do not need to zero in far from 25 yards.

If you are using an iron sight, it can help you improve the accuracy of zeroing the scope. You will be technically on zero points if you will align the red dot from the center. It means that it should be at the same distance, both horizontally and vertically.

But for non-iron sights, you will have plenty of test shots to make the dot an impact zone. The attached scope needs the recoil to be set at zero when shooting; otherwise, the scope will be placed incorrectly.

When you have placed it according to your sight (iron, non-iron), then you should shoot to see the point where the bullet hits, and then you can change it if it is not in the correct position. Aiming with a red dot sight is very easy as it is mainly used in close-range shots.

Using a Red Dot Scope for Long Range Shooting

It cannot be wise to use a red dot scope in long-range shooting, but it does not mean that you cannot use it for long-range. Yes, you can use it, but it does not provide as high accuracy as close-range shootings. The standard red dots are suitable for fewer than 200 yards, but you need an additional tool to magnify the object if you have decided to use them for a far distance.

You must zero in accordingly if you have the desire to use it for a long range. You can buy hybrid red dot sight that you can use in both long-range and close-range shooting.

Tips to Use a Red Dot Sight

If you are using a red dot sight for the first time, you may find some difficulty using it. This article has a solution to this problem also. Here are some of the guidelines that you should read before using a red dot sight. In this way, you will get to hit the target accurately. Follow the below tips:

1. Your aim should be on the red dot

Most of the common mistakes made by the new users of a red dot are that they do not believe in the red dot. You must keep in your mind that this red dot is the point where you are aiming at. It would be best if you focused on the red dot, not on any other object.

2. The red dot can be used for any gun

The new users do not know that their red dot sight can be used with all the weapons. However, it best works with close-range weapons like pistols, shotguns, etc.

3. Keep practicing 

Every activity requires practice to become an expert in it. The same is the shooting case; you must test your shots to gain an accurate position.

3. Must be aware of the features of the red dot

It would be best if you had awareness about the features of your dot, such as brightness, focus, etc. Because in some scopes, you need to change the brightness level when you are moving from dark to light or light to dark.

4. Mount the red dot in a comfortable position

You can mount your red dot sight by the said steps above. But it would help if you kept it in a low position to get your target quickly. 

Wrapping up

The red dot sights are very beneficial in low-range shots. You can use it in shotguns and rifles and can achieve your aim. It is a very flexible and versatile scope as you do not need to close your eye to see into the scope. No doubt it is perfect for short-range, but you can also use it for long-range shooting by attaching a magnifier with it. Moreover, the cost of the red dot is not high, so that anyone can afford it.


What is a red dot sight?

A red dot sight is a type of non-magnifying reflector sight for firearms, and other devices that require aiming, that gives the user an aimpoint in the form of an illuminated red dot.

How do I mount a red dot sight on my firearm?

Mounting a red dot sight involves securing the sight onto a firearm’s rail system, typically via a locking mechanism. Make sure the sight is tightly fitted and properly aligned.

How do I turn on my red dot sight?

Most red dot sights have a power switch or dial. Rotate or flip this switch to turn on the sight. Always refer to your particular model’s user manual for specific instructions.

How do I adjust the brightness on a red dot sight?

Typically, red dot sights have a brightness control, often a dial or button, that allows you to adjust the intensity of the red dot for different lighting conditions. Refer to your model’s user manual for specifics.

How do I zero in my red dot sight?

Zeroing your sight involves adjusting the windage (horizontal adjustment) and elevation (vertical adjustment) knobs to align the red dot with where your firearm is shooting. This is usually done through trial and error at a shooting range.

Does the size of the red dot matter?

Yes, the size of the dot impacts precision and ease of use. A smaller dot provides greater precision but might be harder to see, while a larger dot is easier to see but might cover too much of the target at long distances.

Can I use a red dot sight for long-range shooting?

Red dot sights are typically used for close to medium range engagements. For long range shooting, a magnified optic like a rifle scope would generally be more appropriate.

How often do I need to change the battery in my red dot sight?

The battery life varies greatly based on the brand, model, and usage. Some high-quality red dot sights can run for thousands of hours on a single battery. Always have spare batteries and refer to your sight’s user manual for specifics.

Do red dot sights work in the dark?

Red dot sights can be used in low light conditions, but their effectiveness depends on the model and the brightness setting. Some models also have night vision compatibility.

How do I clean a red dot sight?

Use a lens cleaning solution and a soft cloth or lens brush to gently clean the lens. Avoid abrasive materials that can scratch the lens. For the sight body, use a dry cloth to wipe off any dirt or debris.

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I quit my job as a high-powered lawyer to pursue the outdoors. I spend most of my time fishing and hunting but am also an avid shooter with two years experience writing about firearms related topics.

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