Zeroing your Red Dot 101: presented by Vortex Optics

Adam Scepaniak
by Adam Scepaniak

When it comes to zeroing your red dot there are all kinds of opinions and thoughts people have on the matter. Vortex Optics attempts to cut through the murky waters of this topic and give us some cold hard facts. They generally achieve that with a simple info-graphic that they shared on their company’s Facebook page a few days ago.

We are going to cut to the chase of zeroing a red dot for you. [SPOILER ALERT] There is no perfect system or answer. Basically, you need to ask yourself a lot of primer questions to figure out what is the best for you. What are you mounting a red dot on? How far do you intend to shoot? Are your shot distances varying from near and far? Are all of your shots going to be the same distance? Are you shooting a league? Are you in a fixed hunting scenario? Home defense?

The questions can go on and on as you can see. So try to take into consideration all the parameters of your firearm and its intended use. With all of that being said, we will let Vortex Optics‘ info-graphic on zeroing a red dot speak for itself.

Credit: Vortex Optics from their company's Facebook Page

The above info-graphic that Vortex shared on their company’s Facebook Page had this statement to accompany it as well:

‘What distance should I zero my red dot?’ – This question comes in all the time, so we figured an infographic with some of the most popular zeroing distances and each of their pro’s and con’s might help you determine which distance is best for your application. Remember – your results may vary based on your firearm, the ammo and your location, but this chart still gets the right idea across. As always – hit us up with any questions!

When Vortex Optics shared this information on zeroing your red dot they alluded to it being just the beginning of what could be many thought-provoking, but simple graphics in the future. This hint came in the comments section of the actual post on their Facebook page. Overall, we hope you found this information valuable and we will be on the lookout for similar items from Vortex Optics in the future.

Adam Scepaniak
Adam Scepaniak

Editor | AllOutdoor.comWriter | OutdoorHub.comWriter | TheArmoryLife.comWriter | Tyrant CNCWriter | MDT Chassis SystemsSmith & Wesson Certified ArmorerGlock Certified ArmorerFirefighter/EMSCity CouncilmanInstagram: strength_in_arms

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  • Old Tofu Old Tofu on Jul 24, 2018

    is there anything available showing the effect of optic height on the trajectory for an AR? i just got a truglo 2x42 and didn't realize it is about 1/2" lower than most AR optics. I have a riser on the way but was curious if anyone knew what kind of bullet path I could expect with the lower optic and a 25 yard zero(indoor range)

  • Tom Tom on Jul 26, 2018

    This is very interesting, we are almost always aiming at something that has an acceptable margin +/- above and below and most shooters are conditioned to aim at the center of their target. What I'm really surprised about esp. with the flood of PCC shooters, pistol carbines with braces, and also 300 BO, that we have not seen more small red dot sights companies attempt to employ some sort of hold over reticle.

    If you break the chart down and look at impact point/aim point deltas out to 200 yards:

    100 yard zero: 2.5"
    50 yard zero: 5"
    36 yard zero: 7.5"
    25 yard zero: 13"

    I see two schools of thought:

    1) The best compromise is a zero that gives you maximum range but stays in a +/- delta. Let's say your delta is 2.5" above and below your aim point, well a 50 yard zero gets you in that window from 0-250 yards. Anywhere from 0-250 you hold dead on and worst case you are 2.5" high or low.

    2) Better to have a delta that only goes one way from zero, so you never have to worry about mixing hold offs. If you really need a small delta and don't want to ever worry about holding under the 100 yard zero gets you to 200 yards with only a 2.5" delta and it's always lower or dead on. If you are really close fudge 2 dots high and if you are pushing 200 fudge two dots high again, but even if you hold dead on from 0-200 you're within 2.5". A 50 yard zero only gains you 50 more yards of range but it doubles the size of your miss.

    Food for thought: The 25 yard zero has more delta from 0-30 yards than the 100 yard zero does from 0-200 yards.