Thursday, November 6, 2008

Red Dot Scopes

Fast acquisition is one of the primary benefits of using a red dot scope. There are many different kinds out there but they all serve the same purpose...they put some dot (red, green or otherwise) on your target and enable you to point and shoot. A red dot scope is almost like using a laser on a weapon which puts a beam on the intended target, in the case of a scope the beam does not project out beyond the actual weapon.

The actual dot is called a reticle, there are different types of reticles available on red dot are some examples:

MOA is what they are usually measured in. MOA is: (From Wikipedia - very good definition)
"Sights that use dot reticles are almost invariably measured in minutes of angle, or "MOA". One of the most common reticles used in red dot sights is a small dot, covering 5 MOA (1.5 mrad), illuminated by a red LED, hence the common term "red dot sight". MOA is a convenient measure for shooters using English units, since 1 MOA subtends approximately 1.0472 inches at a distance of 100 yards (91.44 m). This is generally rounded to 1 inch at 100 yards, which makes MOA a handy unit to use in ballistics. The 5 MOA (1.5 mrad) dot is small enough not to obscure most targets, and large enough to quickly acquire a proper "sight picture". For many types of action shooting, a larger dot is preferred; 7 (2.0 mrad), 10 (2.9 mrad), 15 (4.4 mrad) or even 20 MOA (5.8 mrad) dots or rings are used; often these will be combined with horizontal and/or vertical lines to provide a level reference."

Red dots usually mount to a rifle or pistol like any other scope would fit on a rail of some type, typically picatinny or weaver. The only difference between those types of rails is the spacing of the slots in them. The actual sight is adjusted or sighted in using a vertical and horizontal dial that adjust the dot in relation to the point of impact of the projectile. The object here is consistency. The "technical" name for horizontal and vertical adjustments are windage and elevation.

I usually mount the scope to a weapon then I use a tool call a bore sight to adjust the site so it is on the paper. A bore sight is a small laser you insert into the barrel of the weapon that points to the target. Adjust your red dot so that the red dot reticle lines up perfectly with the bore sight laser. This will get you on the paper. I then shoot a few rounds to warm the barrel up. Once this is done change to a sighting in usually has a grid on it. Shoot one round and adjsut...rinse and repeat until the bullet hits the same spot consistently where the red dot reticle is.

Red dot sights usually have really good eye relief, this mean that unlike most scopes, where your eye needs to be within a certain distance from the scope to use it effectively, the red dot can be utilized from all distances (or most). Red dots are also usually low magnification, if you need something to really reach out and touch someone go with a regular scope.

Red dots also use batteries so keep that in mind and have extras because it would suck to lose the dot when you need it most....which leads me to an expert with your iron sights before worrying about scopes of any type!!!

...that is all.

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  1. Be sure to avoid cheap red dots. They can be fun to put on .22s for plinking and playing around but they aren't rugged or reliable enough for any serious purpose. They also don't last long on the little coin cell batteries they are usually powered by. Avoid all of the <$40 junk you find at almost every sporting goods store.

    Good iron sights are WAY better than a junky red dot.

  2. One of my close friends father has a ruger .22 pistol with a red dot site. It is darn fun to make beer cans (not emptied that day!)bounce until the mag is empty. For real world weapons practical weapons I detest red dots. The last thing I need in war or SHTF is for a dad gone battery to die and leave me without a decent sight. I like the ACOG a lot. If you are shooting at under 30 meters with a rifle then it is point shooting anyway. A fixed 3-4 power scope with a wide objective is a far better way to go.

    To be honest for other then distance (200 meters plus) shooting that to be honest is not found in many gunfights (police, SWAT, OIF, OEF) all sorts of fancy optics are just not necessary. Getting the fanciest new super CQB battle site is just another expensive unnecessary thing to go onto your M4.

  3. All though it may have a large field of view it is still cheap and crappy.The sight is good and looks good but it breaks easy mine got shot out by one paint ball the plastic lens cover falls off easily. mine cost 50 dollars which was to much for something that breaks after being hit once. If you want a decent quick aiming site buy a ops gear for sight it is metal it won't break on you.all though it may have a large field of view it is still cheap and crappy. The red dots are used to hit the targets accurately.

  4. I've got a Bushnell red dot sight on my Remington 870 and it works great.