How to Use Red Dot Sight

by Fredd Bergman

Red Dot sights are reliable tools assisting shooters acquisition targets quickly. Red Dot sights also allow hunters and target shooters with failing eyesight to continue enjoying shooting sports. Some Red Dots are Plexiglas tubes with a red line running the length of the sight. Most are electronic optical devices mounted similarly to conventional scopes.

Selection and use of a red dot gun sight

Analyze your specific areas of interest by understanding your EXACT need (war, target shooting, experimentation, pistol, rifle, shotgun, wet, desert, under water, etc. )and purchase a Red Dot appropriate for the task. Most Red Dot scopes are fixed, unmagnified devices and some offer mild magnification. There is a large variety of products on the market ranging in price from $25 to $1000.

Picatinny rail for a rifle

Mount the sight on your firearm. If your receiver is not drilled and tapped for a Weaver-style Picatinny mount, you will need to do so. The Weaver will work for other types of scopes should you have more optics for a particular gun. They are available through many manufacturers and can be affixed to rifles, pistols and shotguns.

Red dot sight mounted on sporter rifle

Go to the shooting range and zero the the scope. Sight it in at the distance you are most likely to use the gun in the field. Zero a hunting rifle at longer range, a pistol at shorter range. The sights utilize an illuminated dot in the center of the optic rather than the classic cross-hair reticles. Put your dot right on top of the bull's eye. Many scopes allow the brightness of the of the dot to be varied for low light and bright light situations.

Shooting competitive sports that involve targets moving at predictable speeds can be enhanced by calculating the speed and range of the target and adjusting the dot further in the direction the target will be moving. According to the Aimpoint, a longstanding industry leader, "Tests performed by the military have repeatedly proven that one single red dot is the reticle with which marksmen most quickly fire a well-aimed shot."

Shooting small targets or targets at greater distance can be addressed by understanding the relationship in the size of the dot and brightness settings.

Items you will need

  • Firearm
  • Mounting rail
  • Scope rings
  • Red Dot sight
  • Ammunition
  • Targets

Tip

  • When headed out to shoot or hunt, remember to take an extra battery for your Red Dot sight.

Warning

  • Some sights are less resistant to inclement weather. Make sure you purchase a unit that will perform under conditions appropriate to your needs.

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.