What Is a Red Dot Scope?

what is a red dot scope
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If you are a hunter, then you have likely used a scope for your bow or gun before to help you get a good shot.

With many different scopes in varying styles and for various weapons, you might find it challenging to find one that's right for your needs.

Are you curious to know what is a red dot scope?

Well, then, read on!

We've gathered the essentials below to help keep you informed.

What Is a Red Dot Scope?

A scope is a hunting tool that works as a magnifying glass and aiming alignment.

It allows you to adjust your shot by aligning it with the center crosshairs of the scope while making your target look much closer to you than it truly is.

A red dot scope is a similar tool in that it helps you aim, but it has some significant differences from other scopes.

This style of scope uses a simple red dot as the reticle, so you don’t have to align your shot with the crosshairs like on a regular scope.

The red dot is easy to see and doesn’t offer any unnecessary distractions, which is why they are often used by beginner shooters or hunters.

Red dot scopes can come in a variety of colors, but all colored dot scopes are still called red dot scopes.

Unlike other scopes, the red dot options do not magnify your target; instead, these scopes show both the red dot and the target on a similar focal plane.

This, in turn, allows you to see the red dot and the target clearly.

How Does It Work?

A red dot scope is simple to use, but the technology behind it is actually quite sophisticated.

In order to make these scopes work, the red dot has a round mirror that reflects the light that comes from the LED in the scope.

The circular reflector uses a coating that allows it to reflect red-colored light only, keeping others from seeing the red dot.

Simply put, the LED light shines onto an angled piece of glass that has a coating that only reflects red-colored light.

The glass reflects the red light onto itself, creating the reticle.

Because this is a reflection, you can see through the reticle and through the optic itself at the same time.

This is what allows you to see your target and reticle on the same focal plane, with the target not being blurry.

The reflection also makes the red dot unseen by others around you when you're hunting.

Since it is reflecting back on itself, the red dot can't be seen by animals that you are hunting and offers a better chance of you being able to move about unnoticed.

Size of the Red Dot

The red dot can come in different sizes that can be adjusted on the scope, and this is typically done with a button or a rotary dial.

Knowing when to use each size is an essential piece of knowledge to have when using these scopes.

The larger the dot is, the quicker you can get on target.

However, small dots tend to work better for longer ranges because it covers a smaller portion of the target.

The red dot is measured by MOA, which means “minute of angle.”

One MOA is the same as one inch in diameter, with your target at one hundred yards.

This means that the red dot will look as though it is one inch in diameter when your target appears one hundred yards away.

Two Kinds of Red Dots

Although you can adjust the size of the red dot in the scope, there are also two different sizes of red dots that you can buy.

The two different types work for different weapons and are used in separate ways, but they are similar in many ways, as well.

Rifle Optics (Standard)

The standard option for rifle scopes is rifle optics.

These usually come in a tube style scope that can be mounted on the top of a full-sized rifle with a red dot that is two or three MOA.

These are the ones that you will see on many larger weapons.

This is because these are longer and ideal for close range, or moderate range, hunting.

The tube style scope looks a bit like a pair of binoculars, except that there is only one sight.

This type of red dot scope offers a wide field of vision.

Mini Red Dots

As the name suggests, these red dots are the smallest options you can get.

These are made to fit on handguns, so you can use the same method for your rifles and pistols.

They are also often used as a second sight for rifles for more precision.

The size of these mini red dots is tough to pinpoint, simply because technology is allowing them to get even smaller with every new model.

Another reason is that they are sometimes smaller than one MOA, which makes it hard to calculate.

Who Should Use These Scopes?

A red dot scope is super simple and easy to use, and because of this, new shooters who are unfamiliar with other types of scopes should start off with these models.

The sight is easy to see and offers a clear view of the target.

This will allow a novice shooter to feel more confident in their shot since they can see it clearly.

It also makes it an easy choice to use for practice because you don’t get eye strain from looking into it for a long time.

Then again, the simplicity of these scopes doesn’t just work great for beginners.

Expert shooters can benefit from using a red dot scope as well because they offer a quick shot.

Practicing with red dot scopes will help you build up your speed and accuracy for shooting competitions.

Also, hunters who like to hunt fast-moving game will enjoy these scopes because of the clear and quick shot they can get from using it.

This will allow them to hunt for animals that are more difficult to shoot because of their speed.

This just means that, overall, these scopes can work for anybody.

what is a red dot scope

Why Are These Scopes a Good Choice?

Red dot scopes are great to use for many reasons, but we have narrowed down the significant advantages it offers to the top few.

These reasons show how big of a difference your shooting accuracy will change with the use of one of these scopes.


You can’t talk about red dot scopes without mentioning the ease of use that it offers.

You simply point the red dot, and then you shoot; it doesn’t get any simpler than that.

This makes these scopes great for multiple weapons and allows shooters of any skill level to use them without taking up a lot of time.

Unlike iron sights, you don’t have to focus the red dot, so newer users can feel like they are getting the hang of shooting much quicker.


One of the main differences that come with the use of a red dot scope is the higher speed that it offers the shooter.

These scopes are easy to use, which makes doing so quickly a practical option.

Whether you are hunting, practicing for a shooting competition, or just shooting for fun, you can benefit from the increase in speed.

If you compare the use of a red dot scope to other scope models, you will find that the other options take time to steady and focus.

This eats away at your shooting time and slows you down.

With a red dot scope, you can get a shot off in just a second.

This increases your speed significantly and can make all the difference in a competition or emergency setting.

If you were using an iron sight in a competition, you would lose precious seconds aligning your shot.

On the other hand, if you have a red dot scope, even if the alignment isn’t perfect, if your dot is on the target, then you will hit it.

In emergency situations where you may have an intruder in your home, every second count to ensure you and your family’s safety, especially when the intruder may have a weapon, as well.

Getting the first shot is an advantage that could save lives.

Also, if you run a business that handles cash, having a weapon that fires quickly can be a way to keep you and your employees safe if someone attempts to rob your store or place of business.

Shooting While Moving

Unless you are practicing at a shooting range, there are very few instances when you will be shooting a gun while standing completely still and having time to aim perfectly.

So, having a scope that is easy to use while you are moving is a great benefit.

Hunting may offer some time to aim while you are still, but oftentimes, you will have a number of other factors that could force you to take a quick shot.

A red dot scope allows you to do this and still hit your target.

With a red dot scope, if you can see your dot is anywhere on your target, then shooting will still give you a good shot.

There is less guesswork involved since you know that you can hit the target if the dot is on it.

In times when you have to shoot very quickly, you might not have time to look for more than a split second.

In this case, you will have to place the red dot on the target as fast as you can and take the shot.

Although this might not be the best shot you can take, it will still get the job done.


Red dot scopes are usable on many different weapons.

From rifles to smaller shotguns and even handguns, you can attach them to whatever weapon you want to use.

This is not an option with standard rifle scopes that have a tube-style shape.

The tube scopes are too large for handguns and won't work for anything smaller than a rifle or shotgun.

However, red dot scopes can be used on most weapons; the sight is large enough for bigger weapons but small enough to fit on pistols.

The mini options may not be able to work for the larger weapons, but a full-size scope will fit on it nicely.

Duty and Concealed-Carry Use

With the popularity of red dot scopes growing every year, they have found uses in fields that other options wouldn’t work in.

Not only can mini red dot scopes be used on handguns for police officers and military officers, but they are even getting small enough to use for concealed-carry weapons.

This will not only help police and military forces but will also allow regular citizens to have the best shot possible whenever necessary.

This can help keep people safe from stray bullets and poorly aimed shots any time the weapon is fired.

From business owners to homeowners, citizens with concealed carry weapons will be able to shoot more efficiently when they need to and protect their land and home better than ever before.

With the adoption of these scopes in military and police forces, they will be particularly helpful in keeping criminals and military adversaries from getting the first shot and potentially killing an officer.

Since red dot scopes are used in this capacity, it is very likely that they will continue to become even more popular within the coming years.


What is a red dot scope? Whether you have heard about them before or are learning about them for the first time, you can see the many uses and benefits that make these items great for rifles and handguns alike.

With its simplistic nature and ease of use, you can get used to shooting with these scopes in no time.

If you prefer a rifle, then you have the option of getting a standard red dot scope.

On the other hand, if you prefer shooting handguns, then a mini version will work great for you.

Red dot scopes are being utilized for many reasons, and with their popularity on the rise, you are going to be seeing a lot more of them in the future.

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