Red Dot Magnifiers – Are They Any Good?

    Red Dots are a fantastic tool when shooting close to medium range.  There are a ton of people in the gun community who can reach out to 400+ yards consistently with a red dot; I am not one of those people and wanted the ability to reach out to further distances without having to break the bank or invest thousands of hours in improving a very specific skill. A real marksman would get to the range, hone his craft, and hit 400+ yards without so much as missing a beat humming the A-Team theme song.

    The Positives of a Magnifier

    Let’s be real we all can’t have that amount of skill or discipline all the time, especially under stress. We also arent Mark Wahlberg in Shooter and GD IT, those boys killed your dog! So what we can do is open our toolbox and grab a magnifier to give you some much-needed magnification. I’ve run a magnifier on my rifle off and on for the last five years. In certain situations, they are really helpful and can give you the clarity to make a decision on a target. They don’t always have to be used with the red dot and work great as a simple monocular.

    I think magnifiers are great when looking to see targets that may be further away much easier. My eyes aren’t perfect so I often struggle at longer range, and a magnifier makes it immensely easier to connect on target. My magnifier is typically set up with a QD Throw mount where I can push the magnifier to the side if I choose not to use it. I typically use a 3X magnifier, but there are several companies that offer 3X, 6X, and 8X magnifiers. I think magnifiers are a viable solution for added magnification when you need it. It helps the shooter not have the bulk of a variable power optic. It makes the user more versatile whether its 3 gun, training or outshooting your buddies at different distances on the range.

    The Downside of Magnifiers

    Magnifiers do a great job bridging two types of optics together, but they do have their downfalls. One of the biggest issues magnifiers have is the amount of weight they add to your rifle. Typically, a magnifier mount will add around 10-18 ounces to your rifle. Plus it will be another part you will have to spend money on. Certain magnifier mounts that push to the side are $200-300 depending on the manufacturer.

    The great thing about variable power optics is their ability to work under nearly any conditions. If your battery runs out on your red dot then your magnifier is rendered useless. Now I understand it may not be a magnifier issue, but I’ve seen it happen a few different times. It has happened in classes and range sessions where people lose function and can’t use either optic. It tends to be on cheaper optics that don’t have long battery life.

    Overall Thoughts

    For years now, people have gone back and forth on whether or not magnifiers are useful. I definitely think magnifiers are a great option when transitioning between long and short distance shooting. I’ve had great luck with the higher end red dot/magnifier combos, but the lower end models do struggle to be reliable with battery life and function. I still enjoy using my 3x Aimpoint magnifier with my CompM4, but it does add weight. If I know it’ll be short distances only, I typically will take it off to save weight. I think with time, magnifiers and their mounts will only continue to get better as technology advances. Let me know what you guys think in the comments below. If you have questions feel free to contact me on my Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there.

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    I’m an avid shooter and love educating whether it’s at my job or in the shooting community. I’m an average joe that really loves talking with other people about firearms and other passions
    .I’m active on Instagram on @fridgeoperator @just_pistols @thedailyrifle.