Gear, Parts and Accessories

Top Red Dot Sights for Pistols

SIG P320 with ROMEO Red Dot on Outdoor Table

Red dot sights are quickly becoming more prevalent on handguns — especially for self-defense. Many popular handguns are now offered with optic-cut slides and even factory-mounted optics. 

Red dot optics provide a number of benefits over traditional iron sights. Shooters do not need to take the time to align front and rear sights to acquire an accurate sight picture. Simply present the pistol and put the dot on the target. Of course, there is a training curve when transitioning to a red dot. Once you get it down however, it becomes natural. This allows you to focus more on the threat. 

Particularly with electronics, it’s important to go with something high-quality. The shock and abuse from firing a gun can cause a lot of wear and tear if the red dot is not built properly. There are many great red dot optics on the market today, however, the choices on this list are exceptional. 

Trijicon RMR Type 2
The Trijicon RMR is one of the most popular red dot sights.

Trijicon RMR Type 2

This may just be a bit of personal bias seeping in, but when I think of quality red dot sights, my mind immediately turns to the Trijicon RMR. The “Ruggedized Miniature Reflex” has an extensive history of rugged durability in both civilian and institutional use. The Type 2 features redesigned and updated electronics which are more reliable. It is available with either a 1-, 3.25-, or 6.5 MOA dot. Many shooters prefer the 3.25 MOA dot because it’s large enough for the eye to pick up quickly and small enough for precision.

The 1X magnification optic features different brightness settings to adapt to various lighting conditions. Adjustment buttons with audible clicks allow shooters to quickly change windage and elevation settings on the fly with 1 MOA adjustments. The optic is powered by a reliable CR2032 3V Lithium battery and constructed in a rugged forged aluminum housing so you can be sure it will work when you need it. 

Specifications

  • Magnification: 1X
  • Source: LED
  • Reticle: 1-, 3.25-, or 6.5 MOA dot
  • Reticle color: Red
  • Adjustment: 1 click = 1 MOA @ 100 yards
  • Material: 7075-T6 forged aluminum
  • Battery: One CR2032 Lithium battery
  • Battery life: Over 4 years of continuous use (Setting #4 @ 70ºF)
  • Dimensions: 1.8 x 1.1 x 1 inches
  • Sight window: .86 x .63 inch
  • Illumination settings: Automatic and 8 adjustable settings (2 NV, 6 Visible)
  • Waterproof: 20 meters
  • Weight: 1.2 ounces
Trijicon SRO
The SRO provides a larger viewing window than the more compact RMR.

Trijicon SRO

The Trijicon SRO (Specialized Reflex Optic), is the bigger brother to the RMR. However, instead of being optimized for hard use, it’s set up for accuracy. The wide field of view and clean, crisp dot make it easy for users to find and track the dot in both target and competitive shooting applications, helping to improve shooting accuracy and speed. With 1-, 2.5-, or 5 MOA dot options, shooters can choose the version with their preferred dot sight for their specific shooting applications. 

Like the RMR, the 1X optic is incredibly durable and built on a 7075-T6 forged aluminum housing. It’s powered by a CR2032 battery and features over 3 years of continuous use. Further, the optic features 1 MOA adjustments with a total travel of 150 MOA. For serious accuracy work, it’s hard to beat the Trijicon SRO. 

Specifications

  • Magnification: 1X
  • Source: LED
  • Reticle: 1-, 2.5-, or 5 MOA dot
  • Reticle color: Red
  • Adjustment: 1 click = 1 MOA @ 100 yards
  • Material: 7075-T6 forged aluminum
  • Battery: One CR2032 Lithium battery
  • Battery life: Over 3 years of continuous use (Setting #4 @ 70ºF)
  • Dimensions: 2.2 x 1.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Sight window: .98 x .89 inch
  • Adjustment range: 150 MOA total travel
  • Illumination settings: Automatic and 8 adjustable settings (2 NV, 6 Visible)
  • Waterproof: 10 feet
  • Weight: 1.6 ounces
Holosun 507C X2
Holosun red dot sights are feature-packed and affordable.

Holosun 507C X2

Holosun has quickly become a household name for firearm enthusiasts. The Holosun 507C X2 optic features the Multiple Reticle System (M.R.S.), allowing you to switch between a 32 MOA circle with 2 MOA dot, 2 MOA dot only, or 32 MOA ring only — without losing zero. Additionally, it is equipped with “Shake Awake” motion-activated technology to ensure it is ready when you need it on every draw. 

Incorporating Holosun’s efficient LED technology, the 507C X2 has a solar cell that works in tandem with a CR1632 to provide dual power supplies and an impressive 100,000 hours of battery life. With so many features for the price, it’s hard to beat the Holosun. With the same footprint as the Trijicon RMR, it provides you with a similar setup for around half the cost. 

Specifications

  • Magnification: 1X 
  • Reticle: 2 MOA dot and 32 MOA ring “Multi Reticle System”
  • Reticle color: Red
  • Adjustment: 1 MOA  
  • Illumination settings: 10 daylight and 2 night vision 
  • Material: 7075 aluminum 
  • Window size: 0.63 x 0.91 inch 
  • Weight: 1.5 ounces 
  • Battery: CR1632 and solar cell 
  • Battery life: 50,000 hours
  • Unlimited eye relief 
  • Parallax free 
  • “Shake Awake” motion activated 
Leupold DeltaPoint Pro
Leupold knows how to make quality optics.

Leupold DeltaPoint Pro

The Leupold DeltaPoint Pro provides you with the clear field of view and bold aiming point you need in high-pressure situations. Leupold knows a thing or two about making quality scopes, and its red dot optics are no different. Crafted from aircraft-grade aluminum, this sight is made to handle hard use. 

Leupold’s Motion Sensing Technology (MST) works to extend your battery life by automatically deactivating illumination after five minutes of inactivity. Once movement is detected again, the illumination immediately reactivates to get you into the fight. 

With either a 2.5 or 6 MOA dot, the DeltaPoint Pro provides a fast and accurate sight picture. The optic adjusts in .25 MOA increments, with a total span of 60 MOA for both windage and elevation. 

It is constructed out of a lightweight and durable aircraft-grade aluminum housing and comes in at under two inches long and two ounces. Further, the optic is completely waterproof and fogproof for added durability in all environmental conditions. 

Specifications

  • Magnification: 1X 
  • Reticle: 2.5 or  6 MOA dot
  • Adjustment: .25 MOA 
  • Adjustment range: 60 MOA Elevation and Windage 
  • Material: 6061-T6 aircraft-grade aluminum
  • Overall length: 1.82 inches
  • Overall weight: 2 ounces
  • Motion Sensor Technology (MST)
  • Extended battery life
  • 100% waterproof and fogproof
Aimpoint ACRO P-2
The closed emitter makes the P-2 very durable.

Aimpoint ACRO P-2

Aimpoint upgraded the LED emitter and improved the battery life of its successful P-1 “Advanced Compact Reflex Optic.” Protective clear glass front and rear lenses guard the advanced reflective lens system. The closed emitter design has a number of benefits, the main of which being improved durability. 

Like Trijicon, Aimpoint knows durability. The P-2 is submersible down to 115 feet thanks to the fully-enclosed housing and sealed optical channel. Additionally, online torture tests highlight the wear and tear these optics can take. 

With 50,000 hours (over 5 years) of constant-on battery life, you will not have to worry about changing the CR2032 battery very often. Set a reminder every four years or so and you’ll be good to go. The 3.5 MOA dot is quick to pick up and parallax free. With 4 night vision settings and 6 daylight brightness settings, the Aimpoint P-2 is ready for any mission. 

Specifications

  • Magnification: 1X 
  • Reticle: 3.5 MOA dot 
  • Reticle color: Red
  • Battery life: 50,000 hours (over 5 years) of constant operation on setting 6
  • Battery type: CR2032 
  • Materials: Hard-anodized 7075-T6 aluminum 
  • 10 brightness settings: 4 night vision compatible settings and 6 daylight settings
  • Waterproof: 115 feet
  • Weight: 2.1 ounces 
  • Dimensions: 1.9 x 1.3 x 1.2 inches 
  • Fully-enclosed housing
  • Sealed optical channel
  • Parallax free
Meprolight MicroRDS
Meprolight includes a unique quick mounting system with the MicroRDS.

Meprolight MicroRDS

The Meprolight MicroRDS is a relative newcomer on the scene, but it has been put through its paces and come out on top. It is a small, rugged, and energy-efficient electro-optical red dot sight that offers big performance in a small footprint. With its large display window and clearly defined reticle, the MicroRDS ensures rapid target acquisition with both eyes open. 

Further, the MicroRDS Quick-Release Adaptor is designed to fit a great variety of handguns thanks to its mounting system. The kit easily mounts using the pistol’s existing rear sight dovetail slot, with no drilling, tapping, or need for a gunsmith. Meprolight boasts it’s the only red dot that instantly mounts and removes without having to re-zero. Additionally, the adaptor gives you a Meprolight TruDot self-illuminated sight as a back-up when the optic is removed. 

Specifications

  • Magnification: 1X  
  • Window size: 22.5 x 17.5mm
  • Reticle: 3 MOA dot
  • Reticle color: Red
  • Power supply: CR2032 
  • Adjustment: Horizontal and vertical zeroing knobs
  • Dimensions: 1.8 x 1.3 x 1 inches
  • Weight: 9.9 ounces
  • Quick-Release Adaptor
  • TruDot self-illuminated backup sights
Shield RMSc
The Shield RMSc is one of the smallest red dot sights.

Shield RMSc

The RMSc from Shield Sights is a compact, handgun-ready red dot that is ready to perform. The RMSc takes all of the features that you want in a pistol-mounted red dot like the RMS2 and crams it into a more compact, concealable package. The RMSc’s body is made with aerospace-grade aluminum, a vast improvement over any polymer body red dot. 

The LED cannot be any crisper thanks to the inclusion of a low-parallax, anti-reflective coating on the glass lens. No matter what lighting conditions you encounter, the RMSc adapts the reticle brightness to your environment with the fast, automatic brightness adjustment. If you want a red dot that is ready to mount to your favorite compact, concealed carry pistol, look no further than the RMSc. 

Specifications

  • Magnification: 1X 
  • Reticle: 4 or 8 MOA dot
  • Reticle color: Red
  • Adjustment: 1 MOA per click
  • Material: Aerospace-grade aluminum
  • Battery: CR2032
  • Weight: 0.61 ounce
  • Glass lens 
  • Low parallax coating 
  • Fast, automatic brightness adjustment 
SIG ROMEO-X Pro
SIG’s ROMEO-X Pro is an upgrade over the original design.

SIG ROMEO-X Pro

The SIG Sauer ROMEO-X Pro was inspired by SIG’s new M17 military red dot, with many of the same features at a more affordable price point. The red dot comes with a 30mm objective that provides excellent light transmission and wide field of view. The 2 MOA dot with 32 MOA circle reticle setup is accurate and versatile at both close and far ranges. 

The lens itself is made with molded Aspheric glass that has been given a special D.A.R.C lens coating for optimal light transmission with no distortion. Additionally, the D.A.R.C coating is optimized for use in low-light areas or use with night vision devices. The optic also has multiple illumination settings for daylight and nighttime operation. Another amazing feature of this red dot sight is the enlarged shroud that helps protect the optic from shock. 

Specifications

  • Magnification: 1X 
  • Window size: 30mm front lens 
  • Reticle: 2 MOA Red Dot with 32 MOA Circle 
  • Adjustment: 1 MOA per click 
  • Illumination settings: 12 Daytime and 3 NV 
  • Water resistance rating: IPX7 
  • Battery: CR1632 
  • Dimensions: 1.8 x 1.2 x 1 inches
  • Weight: 1.15 ounces
  • Molded glass Aspheric lens 
  • MOTAC motion-activation technology 
  • Integrated rear sight 
  • Dark Adaptable Reticles and Coatings (D.A.R.C) 

Whichever red dot sight you choose, be sure to practice with it. It takes dedicated training to become proficient. An optic is not a cure for a lack of shooting fundamentals. Get to the range and drop some brass! 

What is your favorite red dot optic for pistols? Why? Share your thoughts in the Comment section.

About the Author:

Alex Cole

Alex is a younger firearms enthusiast who’s been shooting since he was a kid. He loves consuming all information related to guns and is constantly trying to enhance his knowledge, understanding, and use of firearms. Not a day goes by where he doesn’t do something firearms-related and he tries to visit the range at least a couple of times a month to maintain and improve his shooting skills.

His primary focus is on handguns, but he loves all types of firearms. He enjoys disassembling and reassembling firearms to see how they work and installs most of the upgrades to his firearms himself, taking it as a chance to learn. He’s not only interested in modern handguns and rifles, he appreciates the classics for both historical value and real-world use.
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (8)

  1. The Fudd in me is strong. When I see a pistol equipped with a red dot, light, extended magazine, and suppressor or muzzle brake I feel the sudden urge to break out one of my old wheel guns so I can enjoy an elegant weapon for a more civilized age.

  2. Price, price, price.

    Please list the MSRP in any and all product reviews. I still can’t understand why this is not a standard practice.

    1. Becasue articles live a long time and prices change over time. We include links to the products so you can easily check them. ~Dave

  3. Tell ya what… you guys and gals can my share of reflex sights. I can’t stand those stupid things. They futz with my accuracy horribly. I’ll take my iron sights any day of the week. And a big bonus, irons don’t require batteries or a special holster. I shoot faster and more accurately with irons and to quote the late Walter Cronkite… That’s the way it is.

  4. 1. Pistols are shot at arms length so the sight is pretty far away rockit.
    2. They are great for concealed carry as my Kimber came factory equipped with a crimson trace and a holster the perfectly fits. Carry this combo every day John.
    3. No idea what you’re talking about as these batteries can easily be purchased at ANY drug store, dollar store, Walmart, grocery store or ordered online. Where do you shop HW stone?

    4. I own and use on my carry pistol and there is a very short learning curve and they perform perfectly. Under a stressful situation it’s the way to go.

  5. “Red dot optics provide a number of benefits over traditional iron sights.” By accident, I learned when using a Red Dot on a rifle, the further away it is mounted from the eye, especially when mounted out on the barrel, not only is the view more open, the more accurate the rifle seems to become. That makes sense when we think about it, as when mounted near the eye, any slight movement on the Red-Dot, translates exponentially at the tip of the barrel. So when moving it closer to the front sight, the exponential factor is reduced dramatically. That said, I know it may be impractical, but would it have the same result, if the Red-Dot were place on the other end of the pistol slide? Kind of like that old saying about focus on the front sight? Yes, it would look weird at first, but then so did a Glock, and maybe no more so than a revolver that fires from the bottom of the cylinder? Holstering it may be an issue, but with hard framed holsters, that may not be impossible either. Would it help or hurt the transition to Red-Dot issue? Maybe the next new accessary? Like barrel clamp a Red-Dot onto a revolver? 🙂

  6. Obviously not suitable for concealed carry but wonderful for home defense.
    Not far off will be barrel extensions designed for concealed carry with
    a barrel extension incorporating a red dot.

  7. . . . We are sorry, but self defense for today has been canceled due to battery availability issues. . . .

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