How to Sight In a Red Dot? – The Ultimate Guide

Shooting is one of the main hobbies and professions for several people. A lot of people are involved in shooting sports. Usually, the most common question that most shooters ask is how to sight in a red dot? Red dots have become more popular today. Whether it’s ARs, Pistols, shotguns, or even lever actions, red dots are essential tools to the firearms.

How to Sight In a Red Dot

All the red dots are quick to use; sighting in them can sometimes be frustrating. If you don’t know the basics, you can end up firing shots that will produce a hit spread, looking as though you were shooting birdshot from a distance. In this article, we will make it easy for you with everything you need to know when sighting Red Dot.

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What do you need to sight in a red dot scope?

Before you learn how to sight in a Red Dot, you will need to choose your firearm. A firearm that you are comfortable with will help you should quickly. Once you have your gun, you can then select the best deal on Aimpoint Pro. That won’t be all you need; there are other essential things you will need to make your sighting practice safe and secure. These include

Safety Gear

Generally, this will be ear protection since you’ll be making multiple shots, which will be too noisy. To protect your ears from having hearing problems, it is safe to wear ear protective gear such as ear buds to protect you from the noise made when shooting.

Paper targets

You will need paper targets of different kinds.  We suggest you go for a 1-inch grid paper because a beginner red dot scope will not be able to adjust at smaller increments.


A marker will help you Mark clearly on the grid lines as you aim to reach your impact point.

A flat head screwdriver

Since adjustment screws are flat heads, you will need a screwdriver to make adjustments.

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Why you should sight with a Red Dot?

There are several reasons why you should sight with a Red Dot. You will benefit a lot from sighting with red dots compared to other reticles.

The most important is that it is versatile and easy to use in extreme Close combat conditions. A beginner or a pro shooter can easily use a red dot. All you have to do is to aim and Fire.

You will not need to go through the hassle of aligning the front and rear sight with a Red Dot. Most sites like the iron sights will require you to do so, which is time-consuming.

Another benefit is that a red dot sight comes with the reflex and holographic violations. You can get to make shots with both eyes open and zero parallax error.

If you are a beginner or a trainee, you should sight with a red dot. This is because they are faster to use while firing rapidly.

Red dots also offer fantastic support for low light conditions. However, with the best night vision scope for the money, you will get the best sighting in dark environments.

A red dot is an excellent marksmanship training tool. It will let you know when you are pressing the trigger to the rare or even when you smash the trigger. The red dot will move low on the left.

Lastly, the final benefit relates to eye relief. Eye relief is the distance the sight is placed away from the shooter’s eye. If you are to use an unmagnified red dot optic, you will have unlimited eye relief. Meaning the optic can be mounted far forward on the gun as you desire. What is great about this is that it will eliminate the chances of the scope impacting you during recoil. It will also allow a more peripheral vision, and it’s quite quick to set up.

How to sight in a Red Dot?

Once you know what you will need and why red dot sights are a better choice, you can now get to learn how to sight with them. You don’t have to worry. Everything below is beginner-friendly. Therefore, if it is your first time working with firearms, red dot sights, or new to zeroing, everything below is simple and will make sense. There are different tips and tricks you can choose to sight a red Dot with, and we shall take you through them.

With handguns or pistols

It shouldn’t be so hard to mount a red dot on your gun. Most Pistols come with Optics ready mounting features, which will simplify the whole mounting process. In case yours doesn’t have one, you can take it to a certified gunsmith to create a platform you can use to mount your optic directly. You can also use the rear iron dovetail slot to mount the optic.

Once you successfully mount your red dot optic, adjust the dot until it’s on top of the Iron sight.

Choose your distance to stand at, let’s say five yards from your paper target and make a shot. After making a shot check the point of impact. Make adjustments at the sight and Fire again.

Continue to fire a few shots while checking the point of impact. You can do so until you get your preferred location of impact and then go on to stand at another distance. Choose a different shooting range of about 20 yards and repeat the process.

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Using laser bore sighting

Laser bore sighters will enable you to get the bullet on paper as well as bring you closer to the target.

Insert the laser bore sight inside the bore and then aim at your paper target. Without even shooting, the laser dot will allow you to zero your red dot quickly.

If you are standing at a distance of 50 yards, make sure to bring the barrel at the center of your paper target.

Look through the laser bore sight and adjust the placement of the red dot so that its also at the center of the target.

Recheck the barrel placement to see if it moved while you were adjusting the Red Dot. If it did, then you will have to repeat the steps once again.

Once you get everything in Place, fire a few rounds while checking the point of impact. Make the necessary adjustments if needed.

With AR platforms

All AR platforms come with the same Picatinny Rail, which makes mounting quick and easy. Red dot Optics either come with or have got mounts which fit perfectly on to the rail. The Picatinny rail also allows mounting of the sight wherever you desire it. One of the benefits of a red dot is that it has infinite eye relief. Therefore, you can Mount other accessories in the rail like lights, night vision, or even iron sights.

Stand at your desired distance once you mount a red Dot. It all depends on your preference. You may start at 50 yards or even 25 yards to do away with mechanical offset.

Note. The longer the sighting distance, the closer you will get to your target, and the bigger the spread is between your impact point as well as the aiming point.

Remember whichever choice you go for, the sighting method will still be the same.

Another method to zero a red dot sight by firing is through the following steps.

  • Step 1. Make sure that your firearm in steady so you can either fix it on a vice or a bench rest.
  • Step 2. Fire at your target using your red dot optic.
  • Step 3. Move your red dot to the impact point, and you will have successfully zeroed your red dot easily.

Making adjustments on the red dot optic to achieve sighting

Here you will get to know everything about MOA (minute of angle) first. MOA is the unit of measurement, and you can best understand this with an example below.

  • 1 MOA is one inch of 100 yards.
  • 1 MOA is 1/2 inch of 50 yards.
  • 1 MOA is 1/4 inch of 25 yards.

Also, 1 MOA equals 1.047. Therefore, we consider it as one because of the distance at which we are aiming at is short.

Note. With the red dot sights, you want to be aiming at longer distances.

Making adjustments with red dot sights, we get windage and elevation adjustments. Your optic should have an UP and an arrow, which is right. Use a screwdriver to help you make clicks until you bring the point of impact to your desired spot. You can also get to adjust the windage to near the target. Remember, MOA remains the same irrespective of distance.

To simplify the whole process, take a look at this. If your sight has ½ inch MOA adjustments, you will have to take two clicks to move 1 inch at 100 yards. If you have 1 inch MOA adjustments, you will have to take one click to move 1 inch at 100 yards. It’s that simple. You will get to make your adjustments easily since the red dot optics don’t work with longer distances.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):-

Q: Do red dot sights work at night?

Yes, they do. Red dot sights work at night. However, they don’t illuminate the target. Red dot sight will offer perfect aiming to the target as you will get a visible point on the target that will stand out in the dark. A standard scope reticle would not be visible in the dark background. Therefore, it will not support the proper target aiming.

Q: What does MOA mean on a red dot?

First of all, MOA stands for a minute of angle. MOA is an angular measurement. Every dot comes with a diameter which covers some parts of the target. If a red dot has 4 MOA, it means it will cover an area with a diameter of 4 inches on a target at 100 yards. If your target is at 25 yards, then the coverage will be reduced by 1 inch. If your target is at 200 yards, the overall coverage will be 8 inches.

Q: What range are red dot sights good for?

A standard Red Dot without any magnification can aim at a target 100 yards away. However, a red dot sight can be used beyond this range, and some factors can enable it. Some of these include the type of red dot sight you own, size of the Dot, environment, size of the target, experience as a shooter, among other factors.

Q: Do red Dot sights need batteries?

Yes, reticles visible on the ocular lens need power. Each reticle will differ from the number of battery is used and the type of batteries. Most red dots come with batteries in the packaging. Some of these batteries are capable of lighting reticle for up to 10000 hours. If you need to replace them, you can get them in every hardware store around the country.

Q: How to shoot with a red dot sight?

It is quite simple. All you have to do is to mount the red dot optic to your gun. Look at your target and remain focused on it as you bring your firearm to a shooting position. Make sure that your eyes are both open. You will see the dot move on to your target as you position your gun. Once the reticle reaches the point of impact, you can then start to shoot.

Wrapping Up

When sighting with your red Dot, it will take some time to do it correctly. You don’t have to rush but rather make sure you can master it well while taking your time. Like we mentioned before, red dots are trendy today, and shooting with them will help you acquire your targets faster.

There are a lot of benefits you get from using a red dot sight. Using these sights will offer you the best shooting experience. Mounting and sighting in a red dot shouldn’t be a pain anymore. We hope this guide has helped you understand everything you need to know how to sight in a Red Dot.

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