How To Use A Red Dot Sight – Complete Guide

How to Use a Red Dot Sight
Alfred Mendoza

Every shooter would want to acquire a target quickly and accurately using fewer rounds. Thus, it is essential to mount a sighting device on your weapon. If you want to learn how to use a red dot sight, here are a few tips to help you shoot like a pro.

1. Install & Mount Your Red Dot Sight

Mount the red dot sight on top of the upper receiver for greater comfort, balance, and stability. Tighten it to reduce movements, loosening, or misalignments during recoil. You can use the blue Loctite. 

If you’re planning to mount a magnifier, the red dot sight may have to be moved forward to allow enough space for the former. Take note that mounting the red dot closer to you will give you a wider field of view.

2. Set the Target

Determine your starting position before shooting. 

Then set your target up to 25 yards as this is the common distance for close-range engagements. For pistols or a handgun platform, the ideal distance is at 10-15 yards while for rifles is 50-100 yards. 

3. Position Your Firearm

Bring your weapon- pistol, AR, or shotgun to a shooting position and remain focused on your target. You may have to do boresighting with your weapon beforehand. 

You can use a shooting bench for stability. However, a seasoned shooter often prefers to sight unsupported. 

Try not to move your head or take your focus off your aim. If you’re using a rifle, place the stock close to the center of your chest.


4. Co-Witness the Sight

Red dot optics offer both speed and accuracy in target acquisition but they can also fail like any other battery-powered sighting system. Thus, it’s better to have back-up iron sights. 

The two most popular co-witness types are- absolute co-witness and lower ⅓ co-witness. If you want to mount an optic at the same height as the red dot sight or about 2.6’’ above the center of the bore, choose the former. If you want to mount the optic slightly higher than the red dot or about 2.8’’ above the center of the bore, then go with the latter. 

5. Focus Your Eyes

A red dot sight may come in a red dot or green dot. Look at the reticle and make sure your target is lined up on the top of the sight post. 

6. Adjust the Reticle

If it isn’t lined up, your red dot needs to be adjusted. Adjust the placement of the reticle. Make the necessary adjustment for the elevation and windage until it sits atop the sight post directly.

Adjust the brightness setting of the reticle if you need to.

7. Aim at Your Target

Make sure that you are steady and focused.

Look through the reticle and point the red light or dot on your aim.

Then pull the trigger of your pistol or other platforms. 

One great benefit of using red dot sights is unlimited eye relief so you can aim regardless of your head position.


8. Shoot a Few Test Rounds

Once you’ve centered the dot on your target’s desired point of impact, you can fire a few test rounds. If there are deviations to where the rounds hit, adjust the shot to make the perfect shot. 

9. Make Adjustments

While shooting down a  lot of rounds can be a satisfying experience for many, it can heat the barrel up and cause a significant shift in the point of impact. Make sure that you are making accurate adjustments so you will hit your target accurately. 

Measure the difference between your shot’s location and desired point of impact, and divide that with the distance covered by one turret click. Remember that 1 MOA dot covers 1.047’’ of your target at 100 yards. Most red dots have either 1 MOA or 0.5 MOA per click.

10. Finalize Your Shots

After ensuring that the red dot is pointing at the desired point of impact accurately, it’s now time to take the final shot. 

If you practice all these steps, you will most likely be able to acquire your targets in the shortest possible time thereby saving you a lot of effort and ammo.

You will also have the first shot advantage in any shooting application.

final shots

When Do You Use This Sight?

  • Red dot optics are best sighted at 100 yards and perfect for close- to mid-range shooting. Although many have used them for long-range applications through the help of a magnifier and a back-up scope.
  • A red dot sight or reflex sight is great for hunting, target shooting, law enforcement, and military applications. 
  • Red dots are ideal even in low light conditions and for extended shooting as they could last up to 50,000 hours.

Tips for Using These Sights


Trust the Dot

Good quality rifle optics are intelligently engineered with LED technology so trust the reticle or red dot. As long as your rounds hit the desired impact point on your target, your sight is an effective shooting gear. 

Red dots are much more preferred than iron sights as they are more precise, give unlimited eye relief, and provide a clear sight picture. 

Practice Your Shots

If you want to improve at sport shooting or other purposes be it civilian or professional, consistent practice is key. Practice using your red dot at the range that is comfortable and safe for you and your eye. 

It will also help improve your shooting skills if you practice with different size targets, ranges, and rounds. One of the most frequented shooting ranges in the US is in Arizona. Try this place whenever you can.

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Use It On All Weapon Types

You can mount red dot devices on any gun you have with the use of fewer tools. It’s great for your handgun, pistol, rifles, and shotguns. They are designed to help shooters to focus well when sighting at a target while simultaneously maintaining a safe distance for their shooting eyes.

For heavy recoils, red dots (like the Sightmark Wolverine) are a good option. They are a perfect option for close-range applications.

Mount Comfortably

Most red dot sights are compatible with any type of rail. 

Mount a red dot device in a more forward position on your gun. There are several benefits to this. It will allow you to put your head in a more comfortable distance from the sight while clearly seeing through it. It offers great relief for the eyes and a wider field of view. Also, this will allow for co-witnessing with iron sights and magnifiers.

Learn the Features

A sighting device is great for red dot sight accuracy and precision shooting.[1] There are different types of sights. 

Shooters should know each feature of their sights in order to learn how to use them properly. A red dot optic uses a high-quality glass material and mirror to reflect light. 

Furthermore, be familiar with the reticle sizes of your sights and know how to calculate MOA increments so you can zero your red dot scope properly.

How to Use Red Dot Sights - Let’s Wrap It Up!

Red dot sights are perfect for rapid target acquisition in close- to mid-range distances. They offer several advantages, including infinite eye relief, precise reticle size, greater field of view, clear sight image, and increased speed and accuracy. In short, they help you become a better shooter. 

You can mount them on your pistol, AR, or shotgun. They can be used for civilian and professional applications. 

You can always find reliable online sources if you need to know everything about them, including tips, best brands, and the latest models. You can also find many budget-friendly sights with high-quality construction and performance.


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