TRUGLO Red Dot – The Popular Inexpensive Optic

Last Updated on May 5, 2023.

Do you want to try a red dot sight without shelling out a ton of money? What if you just need a cheap optic for an air rifle or airsoft gun?  There’s no reason to shell out hundreds of dollars on a quality red dot for simple options like that. 

Truglo has been making inexpensive red dot sights for a number of years.  The traditional red dot sight offered may be a good choice for you if your budget is tight or it’s not going to be used on a high powered rifle or shotgun.  These sights can work well if used in the right capacity.

Truglo Red Dot


  • The optic is very inexpensive – making a good way try a red dot style sight before committing to a quality scope
  • Good choice for rimfire rifles, air rifles, or airsoft guns
  • Simple controls will be easy to use for any level of shooter


  • Will not withstand continued use on centerfire rifles or shotguns
  • Overall construction is not very durable
  • Base is for Weaver rails instead of the more common Picatinny rail style used on most guns today

The value of the Truglo red dot depends on what your intended use is for this optics. If you are in need of a basic sight for your .22 rifle, an air rifle, or on an airsoft gun for some training and fun, this can certainly be a great sight.

If you are looking for a red dot to use as your main optic on a carbine or shotgun it would be better to look elsewhere. While the Truglo Red Dot is inexpensive you are getting what you pay for in this instance.

Scope Review and Breakdown

The Truglo Red Dot is an extremely basic sight.  It has a lightweight build that is not very robust, but it won’t add a lot of weight to your gun either.  There are standard windage and elevation adjustments on the top and side of the unit.

Red Dot on a EVO S1 | Photo by 4shooter_com

Brightness is controlled by a large knob on top of the sight, and the reticle projects a 5 MOA red dot. The sight picture is just average, and at brighter settings the dot can appear distorted.  The glass is coated to protect against glare, but does not offer anything amazing in the way of sight picture.

The integrated mount is designed for Weaver style rails While these rails are common on .22 rifles, they are not nearly as popular today as the Picatinny rail found on most modern long guns.  The mount is built as part of the unit so an adapter must be used to install onto other rail types.


  • The 5 MOA dot is easy to see, though it may appear distorted if the brightness is turned up too high. If you keep the brightness dialed down as much as possible it will work fine.
  • The weaver style mount, while not found on modern AR style rifles, is commonly seen on rimfire rifles – the perfect use for this red dot.
  • The controls are basic and easy to use for even the most novice of shooters. The integrated mount means that zeroing the sight will take little effort.
  • Specifications

  • Magnification: 1x
  • Objective: 30mm
  • Eye Relief: Unlimited
  • Dot Size: 5 M.O.A.
  • Tube Diameter: 30mm
  • Length: 3.8″
  • Weight: 6.9 oz
  • Ease of Use and Reliability

    This red dot is very easy to use.  It can be secured to a tail using the two thumbscrews found on the side of the unit.  They are large enough to get a firm grip on without any special tools.  The rotary knob for brightness is self-explanatory to those who have never used a red dot before.  The windage and elevation adjustments allow for 1″ of adjustment at 100 yards per click.

    Photo by marc_masada

    Reliability is the main concern.  As stated, it will work fine on air rifles or .22 rifles, but I would not trust this sight to be used on anything larger.  Shooters using this sight on AR-15s and shotguns have reported it losing zero after just a few rounds and glass breaking under recoil.  Several issues have been reported of units dying without warning.

    Battery Life

    Photo by hfrey3

    The red dot is powered by a single 3V CR3032.  Truglo has not disclosed battery life which would lead us to believe it isn’t very long.  Be prepared to have some spare batteries on hand.


    The cost of the Truglo Red Dot is the main thing that attracts people to it.  The basic red dot model can be found online for under $45.

    Who is this Scope for?

    Type of Shooter

    Because the controls on this scope are very basic it is perfect for beginners looking to explore the world of red dot sights.  The more experienced shooter who plans to use this on low powered rifles may also find this optic to be useful.

    Type of Firearm

    Photo by natezrod

    The Truglo Red Dot is mainly designed to be used on air rifles and rimfire rifles.  Truglo states that it can be used on all manner of long guns, but it simply isn’t durable enough to withstand sustained recoil from centerfire rifles or shotguns.

    Our Opinion

    If you are planning to use the Truglo red dot on your .22 rifle or on an air rifle, it is a pretty good option. 

    The minimal recoil from those types of rifles won’t negatively affect the sight. 

    However, if you are looking for a quality red dot to mount on a carbine or shotgun you should look elsewhere. 

    There are just too many negatives in using the Truglo to outweigh the positives for using as a main optic.  

    Yes, the price is attractive but you are bound to spend more time dealing with failures and zeroing issues in the long run than it’s worth.

    Other Options Worth Looking At

    This red dot is going to be the least inexpensive option on the market today.  If you are looking for a higher quality red dot you should take a look at Vortex optics.  While they do cost more, they are not as expensive as many other manufacturers out there today, and their optics are reliable, durable, and high quality.