August 20th, 2019

Four Affordable Red Dot Sight Systems Reviewed and Ranked

Ammoland Red Dot Review Bushnell Vortex Nikon Aimpoint Trijicon

Frankly, we are not big fans of Red Dot sights, as they are not a good choice for precision rifle shooting beyond 100 yards. But Red Dot sight systems do have a place for pistol shooters, night-time hunters, and folks defending their home and property at short range.

Those considering purchasing a Red Dot sight system should read the latest Ammoland Red Dot Review by former U.S. Army Ranger Rex Nanorum. Rex took four affordable (under $200) Red Dot optics into the field, putting them through their paces. Rex notes: “Red dot sights are excellent options for those wanting a lightweight upgrade to iron sights and those prioritizing speed over the maximum accurate range.”

READ Full Ammoland Red Dot Sight Review »

Rex tested the five Red Dot units, evaluating them based on multiple key factors: weight, brightness settings, ingress resistance to moisture and particulates, range performance, and battery life.

The Four Under-$200 Red Dot Optics were:

Bushnell TRS-26
Nikon P-Tactical Superdot
Primary Arms Microdot (Md-Ads)
Vortex Crossfire Red Dot

We recommend you read the full review, which includes detailed discussion of multiple factors. But there were some interesting “take-aways” from Rex’s Ammoland review.

Dot Size — The Bushnell has a 3 MOA central Dot, while the other units have a 2 MOA Dot.

Weight — The four units are similar, weighing 5.3 to 6.6 ounces.

Battery Life — The Bushnell TRS-26 and Primary Arms Microdot enjoyed a huge advantage in battery-life, with a claimed 50,000 hours! The Nikon SuperDot offers 14,000 hours, while the Vortex Crossfire delivers only 7000 hours.

Intrusion Resistance — All four units claim to be fog-proof, shock-proof, and water-resistant, typically good for 30 minutes immersion at 1 meter water depth. But the Nikon unit also has a particulate-ingress resistance rating. In the real world, keeping dust out may be more important than the ability to survice a half-hour dunking. In dry states such as Arizona, dust is a bigger issue than water.

The Primary Arms Microdot Earned Top Honors in Ammoland’s Test:

Overall, based on a variety of factors, Rex the reviewer rated the Primary Arms Microdot “best in test”, followed by the Bushnell TRS-26 in second place. The Nikon placed third, while the Vortex was ranked fourth. Rex was somewhat disappointed with the Vortex’s battery life and brightness controls.

Newer Bushnell TRS-26 has larger objective and longer battery life than older TRS-25:

Review of Higher-Priced ($400-$1000) Red Dot Optics
If you’re willing to pay $400 or more for a Red Dot optic, there are many good options. The same reviewer, Rex Nanorum, has tested and ranked five more costly Red Dot Sights:

Trijicon MRO – $400
Vortex UH-1 – $499
Meprolight RDS Pro – $610
Leupold LCO – $700
Aimpoint Comp M5 – $820 ($981 with LRP mount)

Of these units, Rex rated the Aimpoint Comp M5 the highest, with the Trijicon MRO Second.

Ammoland Red Dot Review Aimpoint Trijicon

READ REVIEW of Five Higher-Priced Red Dot Sights »

Permalink Gear Review, Hot Deals, Optics, Tactical No Comments »
June 7th, 2017

Five Red Dot Reflex Sights for Handguns

Vortex Sig Sauer Burris Bushnell Trijicon red dot reflex site heads up display Venom

Red Dot (aka “Reflex”) sights help pistol shooters hit their targets quickly. With these sights you simply place the dot on the target. Head alignment is not critical. These sights offer an open field of view, virtually no parallax, and eye relief is basically unlimited. You don’t have to worry about aligning front and rear sights — as long as you can see the red dot you’re good to go. The only real negative is that the red dot can be hard to see in very bright sunlight, and users with strong astigmatism may see a blurry or fuzzy image instead of a sharp dot.

As quoted in Outdoor Life, pistol champion Doug Koenig explains: “Red-dot sights are fast, superior in low light, and allow the shooter to simply focus on the target.” For those reasons competitive action pistol shooters can shoot faster with red dot sights. They definitely offer a “competitive advantage”, and that’s why iron sights guns run in a different class in most pistol matches.

The NRA Blog recently reviewed five (5) red dot sight systems for handguns. Red dots give let shooters focus on the target rather worry about sight alignment. In addition, red dots aid older shooters who often have trouble with close focusing. TIP: If you need reading glasses — a red dot can help.

READ FULL RED DOT Sight Review in NRABlog.com »

Sig Sauer Romeo 1 First Strike red dot reflex site heads up display Vortex Burris Fastfire III

SIG SAUER Romeo 1
SIG SAUER’s Romeo 1 open reflex sight is built with SIG’s twin adjustment springs that provide a “lock-less” zeroing system while maintaining zero. The sight body is CNC-machined from solid billet magnesium to be lightweight and strong, and its molded aspherical lens is bright and distortion-free. The Motion Activated Illumination (MOTAC) system recalls the last brightness setting used, so you don’t have to remember those adjustments on your own.

Vortex red dot reflex site heads up display Venom

Vortex Venom
Vortex’s Venom reflex sight can be mounted on pistols with Picatinny rails, as well as tactical rifles and shotguns. The 3 MOA dot is easy to see in nearly any lighting conditions and allows users to shooting accurately at long ranges. Ultra-clear multi-coated lenses provide a wide field of view with sharp image quality, and brightness controls are easy to find and use, located on the left side of the unit. The Venom features 14-hour auto-shutdown to extend battery life, and the unit is built shockproof and waterproof to withstand harsh operational demands.

Vortex red dot reflex site heads up display Burris Fastfire III

Burris Fastfire III
Burris’ Fastfire III is one of the most versatile red dots on the market. In addition to the unlimited eye relief awarded by red dots, the Fastfire III features windage and elevation adjustments that don’t require the use of a proprietary or special tool – just a small flathead screwdriver is needed to make adjustments, and comes bundled. Battery access on the top of the sight makes it easier to change batteries, and the Fastfire III includes a battery warning indicator and eight-hour auto-shutoff to prolong battery service life.

Bushnell First Strike red dot reflex site heads up display Vortex Burris Fastfire III

Bushnell First Strike
Known for quality sights at great prices, Bushnell delivers again with the First Strike, one of the most affordable red dot sights available. Despite its affordability, the First Strike is well made, and an ideal candidate for use with smaller-caliber firearms, such as rimfire pistols. Like many other reflex sights, the First Strike mounts using the Picatinny rail system, so you’ll need to ensure your pistol either has a rail included or can facilitate a small mounting rail section. The First Strike is waterproof, shock-proof and fog-proof, and coated lenses ensure excellent light transmission, allowing easy target acquisition up to 100 yards — well beyond normal pistol range.

Trijicon First Strike red dot reflex site heads up display Vortex Burris Fastfire III

Trijicon RMR
Trijicon’s RMR (Ruggedized Miniature Reflex) sight is one of the most durable mini red dots available today. Produced from 7075-T6 aluminum to military specifications, the RMR is lightweight but strong, using a patented shape that absorbs impact and diverts stress away from the lens. The RMR is available in dual-illuminated, LED, and adjustable LED models with dot sizes from 1 to 13 MOA. The RMR is waterproof to 20 meters (66 feet), and boasts easy adjustment for windage and elevation.

Permalink Gear Review, Handguns, Optics 2 Comments »
September 23rd, 2016

New Meprolight FT Bullseye Sight Uses Fiber Optics and Tritium

FT Bullseye T.A.S. TAS fiber optic Glock Rear pistol handgun sight Tritium

What if you could have a normal-height rear sight that could dispense with the need to align front sight and rear sight? In fact, what if that rear sight could eliminate the need for a front sight altogether?

That’s exactly what the new Meprolight FT Bullseye does. Employing fiber optics and tritium, the FT Bullseye provides a bright aiming dot inside a circle — no front sight is needed. When the dot is centered in the circle, you’re on target. It’s as simple as that! This really is innovative technology, albeit expensive — the FT Bullseye’s MSRP is $199.00 — not cheap.

Traditionally, a shooter aims by aligning the front and rear sights. Meprolight combined the dot and the circle on the rear sight, eliminating the need to use the front sight altogether. This sight is fast on target and works in all light conditions.

FT Bullseye T.A.S. TAS fiber optic Glock Rear pistol handgun sight Tritium

Red dot and reflex systems also work without iron sights, but red dots are tall and bulky, and they don’t work well at all for shooters with astigmatism.

Meprolight’s engineers created a sleek, low profile rear sight by combining fiber optics with tritium. For concealed carry, this is better than a bulky red-dot. The low-profile design allows the shooter to draw from holster without worrying about snagging a bulky red dot or reflex sight assembly. To see how the FT Bullseye sight works, watch this video.

The fiber optic technology used in the FT Bullseye was pioneered by Tactical Aiming Systems (T.A.S.) an Israeli company. Meprolight dramatically improved the TAS system, adding tritium and an enhanced dot/circle reticle. The FT Bullseye is also smaller and sleeker than the original T.A.S. rear sight. The FT Bullseye is currently available in red or green dot/circle for all Glock models. Meprolight guarantees the tritium to last 12 years. MSRP is $199.00.

Permalink Handguns, New Product 10 Comments »