The Best Pistol Red Dot Sights to Check Out in 2019

    Pistol red dot sights are an evolution of the red dot and reflex sights that were originally only mounted on rifles.

    Red dot sights are designed to help hand gunners acquire their sights faster so they can make faster shots. But red dots also make it much easier to take long range shots. Beyond 15 yards, a red dot simplifies the aiming process and makes it easier to get hits.

    However, it’s important to note that it takes practice to get proficient with a red dot. Especially if you’ve spent a lot of time training with iron sights. You’ll have to practice your presentation with a red dot so that you naturally drive the gun out and bring the red dot into focus.

    However, once you’ve got the presentation down, a red dot can really raise the ceiling on what you can do with your pistol.

    If you’re looking for the best pistol red dot for you, we’ve put together a collection of the best pistol red dots.

    Our Favorite Choice

    Vortex Optics Venom

    Quick spoiler: If you want to skip to dessert, the Vortex Optics Venom is the best overall red dot in this article. So you can pick that one up and start training now, if you wish.

    Top Red Dot Options

    Image

    Product

    TOP OVERALL CHOICE

    Vortex Optics Venom

    Vortex Optics Venom

    TOP OVERALL CHOICE

    Benefits

    • Reticle adjustment options
    • Long battery life
    • Wide FOV

    Specs

    • Battery Life at Max Setting: 150 Hours
    • Reticle: 3 MOA Red Dot
    • Protective Housing: Minimal
    • Brightness Settings: 10
    CLICK FOR PRICE

    Top Budget

    Ade Advanced Optics Huracan

    Ade Advanced Optics Huracan

    Top Budget

    Benefits

    • Incredible price
    • Wide FOV
    • Green dot for contrast

    Specs

    • Battery Life at Max Setting: 3 months
    • Reticle: Green Dot
    • Protective Housing: No
    • Brightness Settings: 5
    CLICK FOR PRICE

    Top Value

    Burris Fastfire III

    Burris Fastfire III

    Top Value

    Benefits

    • Automatic brightness adjustment
    • Versatile mounting system
    • Offers reticle options

    Specs

    • Battery Life at Max Setting: 5000 hours
    • Reticle: 8/3 MOA
    • Protective Housing: Minimal
    • Brightness Settings: 3

    Top Long Range

    Leupold DeltaPoint Pro

    Leupold DeltaPoint Pro

    Top Long Range

    Benefits

    • Excellent lens quality and clarity
    • Motion sensor technology
    • Great durability

    Specs

    • Battery Life at Max Setting: 190 hours
    • Reticle: 7.5 MOA Triangle/2.5 MOA
    • Protective Housing: Yes
    • Brightness Settings: 8

    Top Competition Choice

    Sig Sauer Romeo 1

    Sig Sauer Romeo 1

    Top Competition Choice

    Benefits

    • Excellent lens clarity and durability
    • Good reticle brightness options
    • Wide FOV

    Specs

    • Battery Life at Max Setting: 3 Months
    • Reticle: 6/3 MOA
    • Protective Housing: Yes
    • Brightness Settings: 7

    Top Overall Red Dot

    Trijicon RMR Type 2

    Trijicon RMR Type 2

    Top Overall Red Dot

    Benefits

    • Versatile dot
    • Amazing battery life
    • Excellent durability

    Specs

    • Battery Life at Max Setting: 4 Years
    • Reticle: 3.5 MOA
    • Protective Housing: Yes
    • Brightness Settings: 8

    The Top 6 Pistol Red Dot Sight Reviews [2019]

    1. Vortex Optics Venom

    Best Pistol Red Dot for the Money

    Vortex Optics Venom

    Vortex Optics makes outstanding optics. They’re highly regarded in the shooting industry for their exceptional glass. The Vortex Optics Venom brings Vortex lens technology to the handgun market.

    Vortex uses their superior lens technology in the Venom to give a crisp sight picture with no parallax and almost no color distortion.

    The reticle is a 3 MOA red dot. There is only one color setting. However, there are 10 brightness settings. Additionally, Vortex equipped the Venom with an automatic brightness adjustment that detects ambient light and autotunes the reticle brightness based on the environment.

    So you’ll always be able to see your reticle, even in very bright conditions. However, the battery only lasts for 150 hours at the highest brightness setting. For reference, that’s about 6 days. At lower settings, the battery will last up to 30,000 hours, or just under 3 and a half years.

    The cool thing about this is that if you put the Venom on your defensive gun, you can use the automatic brightness to prolong the battery life. It will turn the brightness down when the gun is in concealment. So you might only need to replace your battery every three years.

    The long battery life is especially helpful, since the battery cover is incredibly difficult to remove and replace. But you can replace the battery without removing the sight from your gun, which is handy.

    The Venom has a nice low profile and a wide viewing window, with a minimal protective housing. This means you get a wide field of view and very little obstruction from the body of the sight. Additionally, you can use suppressor sights if you want to co-witness with your iron sights.

    All the controls are located on the side of the sight for easy access and minimal interference when the gun is in a holster.

    Overall, the Venom is an excellent all around pistol red dot sight. The battery will last for a long time on a defensive gun, and the wide range of brightness settings make the Venom ideal for competitive and recreational shooters.

    Pros

    • Excellent reticle adjustment options
    • Long battery life
    • Wide field of view

    Cons

    • Replacing the battery is a nightmare

    2. Ade Advanced Optics Huracan

    Best Budget Pistol Red Dot

    Ade Advanced Optics Huracan

    For many people, the primary barrier to purchasing a red dot is the price. Most red dot sights run upwards of $200.

    The Ade Advanced Optics Huracan solves this problem. The Huracan costs as much as a set of quality iron sights.

    Ade did a lot of things right with the Huracan. The field of view is 19 yards wide at 100 yards. So the optic won’t restrict your view of your target even at close ranges.

    The body is also very minimal, which minimizes obstructions at the periphery of your sight picture.

    There are 5 brightness settings, so you can see your dot in all light conditions without any glare. The Huracan uses a green dot for good contrast in most environments. Lastly, the Huracan has unlimited eye relief, so you can use the sight with any shooting stance.

    Ade precision grinds and polishes the lenses to ensure that the sight picture is crisp and that there’s virtually no parallax. So you get a true point-of-aim to point-of-impact relationship.

    Where the Huracan shows it’s price point is in the design and battery life.

    The battery lasts for three months when the sight is always on. This is a long time. But it comes up short when you compare it to other optics with battery lives of over three years.

    Additionally, you’ll need to leave your optic on when your gun is staged and while you’re carrying concealed. So, over the course of a few years, you could be spending a lot on batteries if you use the Huracan on your defensive gun.

    Another inconvenience is the placement of the on/off switch. The button is on the front of the optic, which is as far away from the shooter as it can get and closer to the muzzle of the gun.

    This is another pain point for concealed carriers. The on/off button could get pressed by your holster. Having your sight turned off essentially renders it useless in a defensive incident. So make sure your holster doesn’t press on the front of the sight before you use the Huracan as your defensive sighting system.

    Overall, the Huracan is an excellent entry level optic. It will perform well as a recreation or competition optic. However, the relatively short battery life and inconvenient on/off button placement may make it less than ideal for concealed carriers.

    Pros

    • Incredible price
    • Wide field of view
    • Green dot for contrast

    Cons

    • Short battery life
    • On/off button is inconveniently located

    3. Burris Fastfire III

    Best Value Pistol Red Dot

    Burris Fastfire III

    Burris is known for producing high quality optics at reasonable prices. The Burris Fastfire III is no exception.

    The Fastfire is fitted with precision ground and coated lenses to eliminate parallax and minimize glare for a clearer sight picture.

    The Fastfire comes in two different models: 8 MOA reticle and 3 MOA reticle. The 8 MOA reticle is good if you’re doing mostly fast, short range shooting. The 3 MOA reticle works for short ranges. But the smaller reticle won’t completely cover a small target at long range.

    The reticle has 3 brightness settings and comes in one color: red. Burris also equipped the Fastfire with an automatic brightness adjustment that tunes the reticle brightness based on the ambient light.

    The protective housing is a plain aluminum band to minimize obstruction in your field of view.

    At the brightest setting, the Fastfire has 5000 hours of battery life. That’s just over 200 days. That’s pretty solid for running at the brightest setting. And, using the automatic brightness feature, the battery could last even longer if you use the Fastfire for concealed carry.

    The Fastfire battery can be changed without removing the sight. However, the battery cover is a bit fickle. If you incorrectly secure the battery cover, the sight will turn on. However, when you shoot your gun, the sight will turn off.

    So, if you’re using the Fastfire on your defensive gun, it’s best to test fire your gun after you change the battery.

    Burris includes their proprietary mounting system with the Fastfire. This enables you to mount the Fastfire on rifles and shotguns as well. This can save you some money, if you’re willing to transfer the sight between guns occasionally.

    In the end, the Fastfire is an excellent sight for all pistol applications, and some rifle and shotgun contexts. That versatility presents a lot of value for the going price.

    Pros

    • Automatic brightness adjustment
    • Versatile mounting system
    • Multiple models offer reticle options

    Cons

    • Battery cover is tricky to get in place correctly

    4. Leupold DeltaPoint Pro

    Best Long Range Pistol Red Dot

    Leupold DeltaPoint Pro

    Leupold is known for their outstanding lenses and durable lens coatings. Leupold uses the same technology on the Leupold DeltaPoint Pro as they use on their rifle scope lenses.

    The DeltaPoint lenses are coated with Leupold’s proprietary Diamond Coating, which reduces glare, enhances image fidelity, and improves scratch resistance. The lenses are also aligned to eliminate parallax and blackened at the edges to maximize light transmission.

    Leupold offers the DeltaPoint in two different models: 7.5 MOA triangle reticle, and 2.5 MOA dot reticle. Leupold only offers red reticles for both models.

    The 7.5 MOA reticle is best for short range shooting. However, the triangle shape helps minimize target obstruction at longer ranges. The 2.5 MOA reticle is a better option for those who shoot most often at long ranges, since it’s versatile enough to be a short range sight as well.

    Leupold states that the battery lasts for 190 hours of high brightness use. That’s a tad less than 8 days of on time, which seems a bit short. However, the DeltaPoint is fitted with motion sensor technology that automatically turns the sight off if it hasn’t moved for 2 minutes.

    This will help preserve the battery. However, the sight could be constantly turning on and off from normal movements during concealed carry. So the battery may not last much longer than 190 hours on your defensive gun, depending on how much you move with your gun.

    However, the motion sensor technology is handy for carrying the gun in a holster. It immediately turns the reticle on when you draw, rather than gradually brightening once it’s brought into a brighter environment.

    Leupold covered the protective housing with an additional layer of steel to enhance durability. The DeltaPoint is rugged. However, the steel band makes the lens housing thicker. So there’s a bit more metal in your field of view.

    The DeltaPoint can also be mounted on rifles and shotguns, for those who want to dual-purpose their sight.

    Overall, the DeltaPoint is a good option for defensive shootersCompetition shooters and recreational shooters may find that the DeltaPoint features don’t really do much for them, though the sight is perfectly viable in those contexts.

    Pros

    • Excellent lens quality and clarity
    • Motion sensor technology for quick turn on and better battery life
    • Durable

    Cons

    • Protective housing is a bit bulky
    • Battery life is only so-so if the motion sensor doesn’t save some juice

    5. Sig Sauer Romeo 1

    Best Competition Pistol Red Dot

    Sig Sauer Romeo 1

    Sig produces some of the most impressive handguns on the planet. The Sig Sauer Romeo 1 extends Sig’s commitment to quality into the realm of red dot sights.

    Where Sig put the most work into this sight is in the lenses. Sig’s Aspherical lenses provide a parallax and distortion free sight picture. Lensarmour and Spectracoat lens coatings provide scratch resistance and enhanced light transmission.

    Sig offers the Romeo 1 in two variations: 3 MOA reticle and 6 MOA reticle. So there’s something for both the short range tactical shooters and long range marksmen. The brightness can be adjusted with 5 daytime brightness settings and 2 night vision settings.

    The Romeo 1 has a wide field of view. However, the lens shape is wide, but not so tall. So the actual viewing window can seem a bit small, even though it’s fairly ample. The protective housing is a minimal aluminum band, though. So there’s little, if any, significant target obstruction.

    Sig uses motion sensor technology to extend the battery life. Sig says the battery should last for several months of every day carry. This is decent. But it could be better for the price.

    Fortunately, changing the battery is one of the most user-friendly processes among pistol red dots.

    The Romeo 1 can also be mounted on rifles and shotguns. The night vision sight settings give it enhanced night shooting capabilities, especially for those who use night optics.

    The Romeo 1 strikes a good balance between concealed carry functionality and high performance features. However, tactical professionals and competition shooters will be able to make the best use of the Romeo 1 feature set.

    Pros

    • Excellent lens clarity and durability
    • Good reticle brightness options
    • Wide field of view

    Cons

    • Battery life is only okay
    • Fairly slim viewing window

    6. Trijicon RMR Type 2

    Best Overall Pistol Red Dot

    Trijicon RMR Type 2

    The Trijicon RMR Type 2 is the original pistol red dot. The RMR sets the standard for red dot performance and durability.

    Trijicon looked to find the sweet spot between short and long range performance with a 3.5 MOA dot. It’s not too large for long range shots, but not so small that you can’t find it quickly for short, tactical action.

    The dot is equipped with 8 brightness settings. This includes 2 night vision settings and 1 super bright option.

    To preserve the battery, the RMR will automatically switch to automatic brightness mode after 16.5 hours of constant operation. This automatically engages the button lockout to prevent the brightness setting from being accidentally changed.

    Battery life is where the RMR sets records. The RMR battery will last for 4 years of continuous use at 50% brightness. This is hands down the best option, in terms of battery life, for concealed carriers, and anyone else, really.

    The RMR protective housing is designed to direct impact force away from the lens to enhance durability. The only downside here is that the housing is a bit bulky. So it can present some obstruction in your field of view.

    However, the housing accommodates a wide range of mounting options, and can be mounted on rifles or shotguns as well.

    The only other downside to the RMR is the price. The RMR literally costs as much as a good handgun. So be prepared to pay for the performance.

    In the end, the RMR is for shooters who want best-in-class performance and battery life, no matter the cost. Competitive shooters will appreciate the adaptability for long guns and concealed carriers can rest easy knowing that their battery won’t die while their gun is in the holster.

    Pros

    • Excellent lens clarity and durability
    • Good reticle brightness options
    • Wide field of view

    Cons

    • Battery life is only okay
    • Fairly slim viewing window

    Final Rounds

    Vortex Optics Venom

    With the right red dot and some training, you can definitely take your pistol game to the next level, especially when it comes to long range precision.

    However, pistol red dots come with a fair amount of financial investment. Remember that you may need to get your slide milled if you don’t have an optics ready pistol. So it could cost you several hundred to actually get your red dot on your handgun.

    So choosing a red dot that’s right for you is important. The good news is that you can’t really go wrong with the Vortex Optics Venom. The Venom will work perfectly for most shooters in most shooting contexts. And it offers excellent value for the money.

    So, if you’re looking for a way to raise the ceiling on your pistol skills, pick up a pistol red dot and head to the range.