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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.

Our Best Choice

Vortex Optics Venom

  • Excellent reticle adjustment options

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 Pistol Red Dot Sights


1. Vortex Optics Venom Red Dot Sights 3 MOA - Best Pistol Red Dot for the Money

  

     

     

 

However, the battery only lasts for 150 hours at the highest brightness setting. For reference, that’s about 6 days.  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. 

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.  

you can use suppressor sights if you want to co-witness with your iron sights

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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


2. Ade Advanced Optics Huracan Green Dot Micro Mini Reflex Sight - Best Budget Pistol Red Dot

    

    

 

           

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.  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 

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.  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

  • Excellent quality for the price.



3. Burris Fastfire III with Picatinny Mount - Best Value Pistol Red Dot

 

        

         

      

   

At the brightest setting, the Fastfire has 5000 hours of battery life. That’s just over 200 days. 

 And, using the automatic brightness feature, the battery could last even longer if you use the Fastfire for concealed carry

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The Fastfire battery can be changed without removing the sight. However, the battery cover is a bit fickle

 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. 

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

  • Multiple models offer reticle options


4. Leupold 119688 Delta Point Pro Reflex Dot Sight 2.

 

       

    

 

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

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.  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.

 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.  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 shooters. Competition 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



5. Sig Sauer Romeo 1 Mini Reflex 1x30mm 3 MOA - Best Competition Pistol Red Dot

 

              

        

  

 

The protective housing is a minimal aluminum band, though.

Sig uses motion sensor technology to extend the battery life.  several months of every day carry. This is decent. 

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



6. Trijicon RMR Type 2 3.

  

  

     

       

    

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. 

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



Vortex Optics Venom