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  • Writer's pictureNoah O. Thompson

I Tested And Ranked The Best Pistol Red Dot Sights In 2024

I review red dot sights for a living, so if you're looking for an option that is both durable and affordable, read on. My picks will never feel like a regretful purchase. Mark my words!

best pistol red dot sights

FYI, prices and ratings are accurate as of time of writing.

1. Sig Sauer Romeo5 1x20mm Red Dot Sight

best pistol red dot sights

Highlight: Multiple illumination settings for superb visibility in different light conditions.

Helpful review: "The Romeo 5 has 10 illumination and 2 levels of Night Vision settings. I have nothing that will work with the Night Vision settings, so we must take Sig Sauer's word. The optic is shipped in a closed cell packing for cushioning and sealed in a strong cardboard box. The box is sealed from the factory.
The kit has the mounting Key, the correct battery, and an excellent lens cloth. The kit has two mounts to fit whatever you need to mount the Romeo 5. It even ships with a lens cap, or some would call it a scope cover (like me). The Sig Sauer Romeo 5 is easy to mount, and all the stuff needed to put it on the gun comes in the box. It is easy money. When you buy and mount this optic, read the owner's manual thoroughly, do yourself a favor, and read first and install later.
The Romeo 5 has the "shake Awake" feature that I like; no pushing buttons to turn on the sight before using it; wiggle the gun, and the red dot is on. This is a great feature to come out of the gun box or off the nightstand, but if you carry this in a holster, the red dot will use the battery every time you take a step. The Romeo 5 has an off-and-on button to go old school and use the buttons, but they are tiny and unsuitable for a gun you will need in a hurry. The manual will tell you how to operate the settings. Use the instructions, and you will be fine.
Adjusting the brightness is not a push and hold as the brightness changes; this optic uses a push or click to change. Nothing happens if you push and hold the + or – buttons because the lead has only been given one command. Another thing to mention is that the supplied battery has a clear sticker to keep it safe and prevent it from shorting out and discharging in the packaging. That little sticker has to be removed, or the battery will sit in the bay and do nothing.
The Romeo 5 is a large size for a pistol. The large size also makes it easy to find the reticle and get on target quicker. This optic will work on an AR or sub-machine gun-style platform. I have heard of folks using the Romeo 5 on a shotgun for turkey hunting. The shotgun guys have never mentioned that the sight loses its zero with massive recoil from heavy turkey loads.
So for the question of the day, should you buy one? Yes, buy one of these and put it on your full-sized pistol or other firearm that needs a low-profile red dot. I put one on an AR I built for a customer and went to the range after boresighting it to prepare it for the customer. The Romeo 5 and the AR platform worked well together."

Get it from Amazon now: $129.19 & FREE Returns


2. Vortex Optics Venom Red Dot Sight

best pistol red dot sights

Highlight: The load mechanism is on top so you can easily change the battery without removing the sight.

Helpful review: "Vortex is one of my absolute favorite makers. Everyone in the gun world and I, especially the bolt action guys. I love the full-size scopes and their low-power stuff for AR-style rifles. Then I started looking into the red dot optics they offer, and let me tell you, I am impressed with the Vortex Venom Red Dot. I put the Vortex Venom red dot on one of my custom-made Glock 17-style pistols to take to the gun show and make a little money. I am not sure if I want to sell it now. I may have to make another one and put the Venom red dot on that one to sell.
Shooting a red dot takes some practice, and shooting a red dot on a Glock-style gun takes even more practice. If you are one of the folks who does not like the Glock platform, you will never enjoy the red dot on one, for any reason, unless the gun is free. I like the Glock frames and wish I had put the Venom on a Glock 21 or, better yet, a Glock 20 (10mm), but the Venom on a Glock 17 is very nice to shoot.
The auto shut-off function is a good battery saver and will remain on for hours, not just minutes, so this will be a turkey gun optic; you will not have to move the gun to get the reticle on before lifting the shotgun to the shoulder. Another great function of the Vortex Venom reticle is the auto-brightness feature. The optic will sense the light and change the reticle to match.
All the items needed to mount the Venom come in the box, and you will be ready to boresight in about 20 minutes or less; getting the reticle zeroed will take longer. When I went to the range to zero the sight, I used my Caldwell lead sled (I was zeroing more than one gun that day), and it took long enough to be fun and short enough to not get on my nerves. The Vortex Venom is easy to see through and pick up the reticle; I may even get good at it with more practice."

Get it from Amazon now: $249.00 & FREE Returns


3. CVLIFE WolfCovert 3MOA for RMR Footprint

best pistol red dot sights

Highlight: Superb battery life of up to 50,000 hours.

Helpful review: "All right, folks, it's time to look at the CV Life WolfCover red dot. This little optical sight can stand toe-to-toe with the more expensive manufacturers. The build quality is very high, with an all-aluminum body, excellent and clear glass to see through, and the red dot is as bright as you want it to be. Before I forget to mention it, the CV Life Wolf Covert includes a rubber cover to keep the optic nice and tidy. The rubber sight cover will not stay on the gun if you put it in the holster; it will fall right off. This is more to keep the wear from the gun case.
The WolfCovert also includes the RMR cut mount in the box, o which is very nice. As is expected, the CV Life stuff comes with everything you will need to put the optic in use in the box. The Torx wrench included will mount the optic to the mount, then screw the mount to the gun. Along with the mount Torx, the battery is held under a cap on the top of the sight and is worked with the same Torx wrench. The battery cap is set up with an O-ring and is watertight.
This red dot is kind of a large size for a handgun. The window size is 20x28mm, so it is easy to see, though, and you can pick up the red dot after you learn how to shoot a red dot. If you want to go from open iron sights to a red dot, you must do some serious range time to ensure you can use them when the time comes.
If you shoot a full-size Glock, this one will look like it came in stock on the slide. If you carry a smaller gun for concealed carry, you will need a different CV Life optic. They make one smaller, which is the same high quality as this one.
The owner's manual says the battery life is 50000 hours. I am sure that is some math to figure out the length of battery life; who can watch a red dot for 50,000 hours to see if it works that long? The optic has the "shake awake" style of activation and tuning it off completely when walking with the gun in a holster or pulling it out of the side table drawer.
The size is on the bigger size for a handgun, mind you, and the weight is about the same; this is more of a sidearm sight, not really a concealed carry sight. This sight will make a full-size gun a valid combat-ready unit. I am using this with a pistol-mounted flashlight under the frame so that the sidearm is ready for any lighting situation in low light. Should you get one, absolutely! The build quality is high, and the price is affordable. Nothing should stop you from getting one unless your slide does not have the RMR cutout."

Get it from Amazon now: $109.98 & FREE Returns


4. Burris FastFire III 8 MOA Dot

best pistol red dot sights

Highlight: Allows to adjust elevation and windage without any tools.

Helpful review: "Burris is a maker to whom I wish I had more exposure. The few optics I have had from Burris are outstanding, to say the least. The Burris FastFire III is my latest exposure, and I put it on a buddy's Desert Eagle in 50 AE. The main reason is to use the picatinny rail mounting that the FastFire III can use and the milled-in picatinny from the Desert Eagle. On top of all the logistics, it was just too cool to not try it all out.
The Burris FastFire III stood up to the massive recoil for our ammo and did not appear to lose the zero. We bore sight of the FastFire III, and from our first shots on the paper, the last shots were in the same place. We set the RedDot to the 2 MOA size dot. The FastFire III can adjust from 1 to 8 MOA for the dot size, which would also be great for a shotgun-mounted red dot.
When it comes to zeroing or bore sighting, for that matter, the adjustment knobs are finger adjustable. No need for a small screwdriver to make the adjustments. I read the owner's manual to understand the reticle brightness adjustment, and the on-off and auto functions are all controlled by the same push button. The setup on the Burris FastFire III for the led functions is not my favorite, I may not be the right guy for this setup, but to me, it is more confusing than it is worth – the push button series (I think that is what its called) is not my flavor.
The battery is easy to get to, and the top loading feature makes it easy to get to and change out if needed. The body is made from aluminum and small-bodied aircraft, so looking through the sight of a handgun takes a bit of practice. However, I found it easy to use after practicing for a while. From what I am told, a sight like this is easy to shoot with both eyes open. After trying to do this for years, I still have to close one eye to hit anything downward.
For the big question, should you get one? Yes, you should; the build quality is worth the money. The ability to withstand the recoil of the 50AE is impressive. After practice finding the red dot to put on target, I am sure my shooting will improve with this optic."

Get it from Amazon now: $266.99 & FREE Returns


5. Holosun 510C Open Reflex Sight

best pistol red dot sights

Highlight: Reliable shake-awake function.

Helpful review: "The Holosun 510C may be the only red dot to outperform the Vortex and maybe even the Romeo 5. The Holosun can outperform the more prominent brands because of how it operates. This unit is solar-powered and can recharge the power cell. The solar panel will adjust the brightness automatically, so you must look through the optics and make the right decisions.
The reticle has one of the "shake awake" functions like the big dogs, and all of the auto functions make this a true-to-life battle-ready gun. This makes it an excellent idea for the nightstand gun, or one in the handy gun box, for things that go bump in the dark. With the suitable mount, I could set this up to cowitness with the front sight post, making it ready to go however I pick up the gun in whatever situation I find myself in.
The reticle is bright and will not wash out in the bright sun. The reticle is 2 MOA and has a 65 MOA circle around it. The reticle quickly finds the center of the sight picture in a hurry. According to the owner's manual, the battery should last for years. The kit has a spare battery, so you will have plenty of power. The solar panel will power the LED when using the optic during daylight.
For the big question, should I buy one? YES! I have one on a large frame revolver, an old Ruger Redhawk I use in the woods (Bear County), and one on my AK platform to see how it works and it works perfectly. This magnificent optic costs half the money of the power players and performs better in most situations."

Get it from Amazon now: $309.99 & FREE Returns


6. Sig Sauer Romeo-MSR Red Dot Sight + FREE Magnifier

best pistol red dot sights

Highlight: Very affordable combo kit.

Helpful review: "I added the Romeo MSR with the Magnifier to this list because I thought it might fit on my friend's Desert Eagle just for kicks. I discovered that it would not work, not even close. So we did the next best thing and mounted it on an AR pistol platform picatinny rail. If you hold the AR pistol the way they are meant to be shot in one hand, it works OK. If you remove the Magnifier, it will work pretty well.
Sig Sauer makes all its products with top-shelf materials and high-quality machining. This little optic will be around as long as the gun. The Romeo MSR is a little large for a carry pistol, maybe a sidearm. The old-school scope on a revolver, carried in a shoulder holster or a cross-chest holster for hunting, may work the best.
So now that I have it mounted on the AR pistol, a 10-inch barrel set up, with a total length handguard, I bore sighted the setup, then went to the range to sight in the Romeo 5. The optic took minimal adjustment to get on target and stayed on target for the entire range visit. Part of the range visit to test this red dot was to treat it like it was given to me (thanks, Sig), and I tossed it around a bit to see if it kept the mount tight and the reticle on target. With my affordable torture test, it worked like a champ; everything stayed tight and on target.
Since I had the Magnifier handy, I had to use it. This is how to put an optic on an AR platform or any battle platform rifle. Flip the Magnifier in line with the sight, and you can reach a little farther and make better shots. The flip-in-place function of the Magnifier is something to get used to, but the coolness factor will make practice easy.
Should you get one of these kits? Everyone with a battle rifle-style gun should have one. If I figure out how to put one on a modern lever action gun, I will immediately try that."

Get it from Amazon now: $258.85 & FREE Returns


7. Aimpoint PRO 2 MOA with QRP2 Mount and Spacer

best pistol red dot sights

Highlight: Constant-on battery life of 30,000 hours.

Helpful review: "If you find the new and improved idea of "super reticles" more of an annoyance than a help, the Aimpoint PRO with its 2 MOA simple red dot is what you are looking for. The Aimpoint is more suited for large-frame handguns, sub-guns, and short AR platform guns. Another thing Aimpoint does not do is get all fancy with the packaging. The red dot will come in a plain box, almost like an ammo box, but with foam padding instead of a plastic bullet tray.
Aimpoint started this world of the red dot as a supplier to police departments. EOTECH had the military bottled up tight, so Aimpoint went after the police market and did a great job of tightening that up. So, Aimpoint did not go all fancy with the packaging; they went with how many could fit in the box when shipped.
The Aimpoint PRO comes with the Allen wrench to install it and some different screws if you decide to take the riser plate off and mount it directly to the gun. I almost forgot to mention the red dot also comes with a battery to power it. I could pull this out of the box, mount it, boresight it, and then head to the range to see what this optic is all about.
The Aimpoint PRO comes with a fantastic mounting option; it has a torque-limiting feature, so the tip rail cannot get munched by overdoing the mounting knob. When I learned this, I had to try the Aimpoint PRO, a "Scout Rifle" setup, and put it about the midpoint of the total top rails in an AR in 50 Beowulf. I wanted to see if the mount would spare my top rail on the handguard. I wanted that optic away from my eyebrow ridge when that much recoil lets loose. I am happy to report that both parts of the experiment worked well.
When not in use or in transport, the Aimpoint PRO has a scope cover; it covers the ends to protect the glass, turrets, and battery cap. The lens covers are clear on the back and solid black on the front. The manual and website say that two clear caps can be purchased when things happen fast, so you can shoot without flipping the caps off.
The reticle adjustments are slotted, and a coin can be used, so you need to carry a special tiny screwdriver, just a penny. The reticle brightness has 10 levels of adjustment to fit anyone's needs. I don't have anything to use to test the night vision settings, so I cannot attest to their functionality. The red dot itself, for my eyeballs, needed to be set pretty high on the settings clicks. I don't know if everyone will have that same issue, but a bright sunny day at the range will make you realize the need to set them up to witness your sights.
When I was reading the manual, it told me that the Aimpoint PRO is waterproof to 150 feet! This is the one for you if you are a diver of some nature and need to exit the water with a gun ready to fight. Think of this for the action shooters that crawl in the mud and stuff for the range challenge; when you are done, you can safely hose off the rifle and optic without worrying about damaging anything. If you decide to use the infantry method of gun cleaning, get the water displacement oil on the parts immediately after."

Get it from Amazon now: $482.00 & FREE Returns


8. Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 1x20mm Red Dot Sight

best pistol red dot sights

Highlight: Compatible with almost every pistol, rifle, shotgun or muzzleloader.

Helpful review: "I mounted a Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 on a Remington 12 guage for my cousin to get into turkey hunting. The shotgun was an older model, so I had to drill and tap the receiver and mount a picatinny rail on the top. After that was done, attaching the red dot was an easy matter. It was one of the installations that I thought something was wrong or missed due to the ease and speed at which it happened. In the end, 4 years later, it is still attached and working like a charm, so I guess it is just that easy.
Bushnell has done itself proud with the Trophy TRS-25. The 1x20 is an excellent small red dot scope. This scope would work great on a .22 long rifle for folks who have difficulty seeing the open irons and do not want to spend the money or add weight and size to the small rifle.
The reticle is a simple red dot; the manual says it's a 2 MOA dot. However, the dot seems to grow when the brightness level increases. That may be a quality issue with the LED or the glass; I honestly don't know. But for the price, especially for a turkey gun, it is right on the money for what I needed for this shotgun.
To this day, my cousin has not replaced the battery in the Bushnell Trophy TRS-25. This is a turkey gun, so it does not go to the field daily like a pistol in a carry rig that "shakes awake" every time the owner moves.
Why am I talking about this red dot on a shotgun, not a pistol? It's just too big to fit on a pistol unless you had a Glock 17 in the long slide and used it one for bullseye shoot, maybe for some folks in the pin shooting clubs, but to put this on a carry gun, it won't work. After all that, the question is, "Would I buy another one?" Yes, I would, especially for mounting on a shotgun or something not too precise; the next one, I suspect, will go on a 10/22 Ruger for my Dad, who has a bit of trouble seeing tiny things anymore."

Get it from Amazon now: $110.99 & FREE Returns


9. Trijicon RMR Type 2 3.25 MOA LED Red Dot Sight

best pistol red dot sights

Highlight: Lifetime Warranty.

Helpful review: "Folks who know about Trijicon Type 1 red dots will understand the happy feeling regarding CCW for the Trijicon Type 2. The Trijicon Type 2 is much smaller and will do well as an all-day carry gun.
A client in the executive protection world asked me to mount one of these on his 509-based custom-built pistol, which he had purchased with fiber optic sights from me a few months earlier. His thoughts were the limitations of the fiber optic needing an external light source, and he chose to go with the red dot as it brings its light source when active. I can't argue that logic and the area where he works has many dark places, so unless he turns on the mounted light, he is shooting in the dark. Everyone knows a flashlight in the dark shows what is in front of the shooter and shows everyone exactly where the shooter is as well.
The Trijicon Type 2 has a 3.5 MOA dot, which makes it more of an action shooter than a bullseye shooter. This makes it perfect for jobs involving reacting to surprise more than getting the perfect shot. The Trijicon Type 2 works best with both eyes open. It is fantastic for lines of work requiring full use of peripheral and night vision when engaged with unfriendly things.
For everyone who does not need this type of red dot for work, the Triicon Type 2 is a riot of fun when shooting plate racks or speed-shooting steel targets. My favorite target with the Trijicon Type 2 is the Texas Star equipment. The speed at which a target can be acquired is impressive after learning to use the red dot."

Get it from Amazon now: $497.95 & FREE Returns


10. Feyachi Absolute Co-Witness Reflex Sight

best pistol red dot sights

Highlight: Fully-adjustable brightness, height, windage and elevation.

Helpful review: "Feyachi Absolute Co-witness is an entry to this testing review from the budget-friendly crowd. If I buy a more expensive red dot from myself, it has to be on a gun that my life depends on. For the guns that I shoot just for fun or to see if a gun will work well with a red dot, I use a red dot like the Feyachi.
Can the Feyachi Absolute Co-Witness be dropped off a cliff like the Vortex and submerged like the Aimpoint? No, the Feyachi cannot. Can the others perform well and not break the bank? No, they cannot. There is nothing wrong with buying and using budget optics; if the crowd you shoot with has an issue, get a better crowd to shoot with.
The Feyachi has a 4-way adjustable reticle. This adjustable reticle option will let the shooter experiment with reticle choice for a reasonable price before saving for the big dollar purchase, and that is an authentic try-before-you-buy experience. After trying the Feyachi and finding what works best for me, I still had the Feyachi Absolute Co-Witness to use on whatever I wanted to set up with a red dot optic. I mounted this one on a .22 long rifle pistol for plinking around and practicing picking up the red dot when I pointed the gun.
The Feyachi uses an adjustable reticle brightness that gets pretty bright at its top end and uses a simple on/off button on the side. With an on/off button, this is not the optic for the high-stand or carry gun unless you plan to use the iron sights and then turn on the red dot as a multiplier. If you go into dark places and want to be able to turn on the red dot when the light is not good enough to use the iron sights, this may be the answer for you.
As the name says, this optic is made to co-witness with the stock or upgraded sights. The optic has a built-in rear sight that is not adjustable, so the co-witness works better with the front sight and some training or modification for the built-in rear sight if you plan to use that option. I use this site as a training tool, not a carry optic. Its size makes it more suited for a shoulder-fired gun. Still, it can't be beaten to practice picking up the red dot and showing customers the different types of reticles on a lightweight gun in my shop."

Get it from Amazon now: $69.98 & FREE Returns


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