Red Dot Vs. Reflex Sight

by Fredd Bergman
Reflex sight on semi-automatic carbine.

Reflex sight on semi-automatic carbine.

The debate of whether to use a red dot sight or a reflex sight is being considered more frequently. Both items are very effective tools, and the modern battlefield is giving them a rugged proving ground.


Red dot sights generally utilize a tube and present a red dot, rather than a crosshair, over the target. Reflex sights project a holographic image of a contemporary reticle onto a glass screen where the scope would normally sit. Since war in the Mideast started in 2001, the marketplace has been rife with both types, which were rather uncommon prior to that time.


Now commonplace within the shooting communities, users argue which of these devices is superior. Each has attributes in its favor. Red dots are available with tremendous battery life (up to 50,000 hours), and new users adapt to them much more easily. Reflex sights, on the other hand, can offer more precision at distance and quick shooting at close range.

In the Field

Polling users would find proponents of each type of sight; however, it is unlikely to find a user who purports that the other type is inferior. Manufacturers, distributors and dealers indicate that opinions divided between the two types of sights are more a reflection of preference than of feature and function.

About the Author

Fredd Bergman has been writing for print since 1977. He has been a regular columnist for two newspapers and his articles have been featured on the Web and in magazines such as "American Rifleman" and "Government Security News." Bergman is a professional defense trainer and produced commercial outdoor and wildlife television. He studied communications at San Antonio College and the University of Texas-San Antonio.

Photo Credits

  • semi automatic handgun image by jodi mcgee from