We have seen an amazing amount of progress in the world of red dot and reflex optics as firearm aiming solutions in the past five to ten years. From smaller form factors, insane battery lives, optical clarity, ruggedness, reticle sizes and shapes as well as competitive pricing – there is no better time to shop for micro red dot sights (MRDS). Unfortunately, in a bustling market, a variety of choices can also mean confusion. Besides brands and manufacturers, consumers need to consider all the options and decide on a budget. But in reality, the mission should always dictate the gear. So whether you are heading to the range to ring some steel or on patrol, we are going to give you a starting point for buying micro red dot sights.
Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?
What Are Micro Red Dot Sights?
There really isn’t a standard answer to what is an MRDS, so I’m going use my hours, maybe even days of scientific optics experience and make something up right now. An MRDS is a non-magnified weapon optic that is small enough to be mounted on the slide of a pistol, but with the right mounting solution can be used as a primary or backup sighting system on a carbine or rifle.
What Is The Difference Between Red Dots And Reflex Sights?
Nothing really. The differences really come when we start talking about holographic weapon sights that use reflectors to create a dot or series of dots on a clear screen. A red dot or reflex optic is simply projected onto an objective lens and into your eye. Another type of reflex or red dot optic involves etched glass that can be used to make more traditional scope-like illuminated reticles. But for our discussion today, we will be mostly concerned with red dot/reflex optics.
Do You Have An Astigmatism?
A misshaped eyeball can lead to multiple focal points within the eye, turning a nice crisp red dot into a bunch of grapes or starbursts. Before you get too far down the road in selecting a quality reflex sight, get an eye exam. In most cases, astigmatisms can be corrected with glasses or contacts. Before you return your new MRDS for a faulty dot shape, try looking at it using polarized glasses or through an aperture like a rear sight to confirm you aren’t the actual problem.
We published a popular piece a few years back on astigmatisms in the shooting sports. I think it is worth your time. (The author is a close friend).
Applications for MRDS:
A micro red dot sight can be used on almost any weapon platform. However, because of their smaller size, they are more at home on a handgun. A primary optic dedicated to a carbine or rifle probably should have a larger field of view. But many shooters, even competition shooters, successfully use MRDS on shotguns, rifles, handguns and more.
This is going to be a controversial discussion laced with personal preferences. Micro red dot sights come in a variety of dot sizes measured in minutes of angle or MOA. Dots range in size from 1 MOA to 7.5 MOA. Obviously, a smaller dot is more precise because it covers less of your target – bullseye shooting at the 25 yard line is going to be tough. The flip side to that scenario is that larger dots are faster to pick up – out of the holster and on target will be a little harder with a 1 MOA dot. Again, figure out your plan for this optic and it will guide you to a dot size that will work for you.
Enclosed Vs Open Emitter:
Recent chatter on the internet points to several debates regarding open emitter versus closed emitter devices. While I think that the issue is largely overblown, I thought we should at least explain it. Open emitter MRDS have exposed laser systems that can be occluded by debris and closed emitter optics act more like a traditional optic with a full enclosure. If you are working the streets of Detroit or being air-dropped into Syria (I’ll let you decide which is worse), you may want to bump this specification up on your list. Otherwise, continue on with your list of requirements.
Most quality MRDS units have brightness settings that can be selected by the user. Strangely enough, the sharper dots seem to occur at lower power settings.
We could have a whole article (and probably should) on MRDS mounting systems alone, but let’s just touch on the basics.
For pistols, there are really three choices: The first is to buy a pistol that is made to accept an MRDS natively (the GLOCK MOS guns and the SIG Sauer M17 for example). Second, is to buy a standard pistol and have a qualified gunsmith mill the slide to accept an MRDS. The third is to use an alternative mounting point like a rear sight slot or an accessory rail and a mount. Here are some examples:
For pistols that are optics-ready:
For long guns and secondary optics mounts, I’ve included some examples alongside the specific red dots we suggest below.
For anything but a pure range toy, it is my opinion that you need a set of iron sights to complement your new micro reflex sight. And because your original sights now probably sit too low to be useful through the MRDS, you are going to need to invest in a set of suppressor height sights. You can either choose a height that co-witnesses the dot (same parallel plane when aligned on target) or pick a height that sits in the lower quarter of the optic window, allowing more field of view around the dot. It’s a personal preference.
First, make sure you look at your optics specifications to make sure you know the correct replacement battery type.
The majority of MRDS’s run on CR 2032 Lithium batteries, but the CR 1632 (SIG Romeo 1) and CR1225 (Aimpoint ACRO) are in play as well. Most drug and home improvement stores carry these coin-shaped batteries in the hearing aid battery carousel near the checkout. But, they aren’t always easy to find when your optic is already dead. My suggestion is to pick up five to ten new batteries and stick one in your grip compartment, range bag and carrying case so you always have a spare available.
Bring It On Home:
In the end, you should try to pick something in your price range that also has all of the features you need and most of the features you want. I polled the staff and came up with a list of top micro red dot sights for you to review. Hopefully one suits your needs.
DOT THE EYE: TFB’s Top Picks For Micro Red Dot Sights
When the action is fast, target acquisition and accuracy are paramount. Our miniature, open reflex ROMEO1 sight withstands the punishment of deployment while maintaining a confident zero. TruHold™ twin adjustment springs provide a lock-less zeroing system that is on-target shot after shot. Designed to fit the most popular pistols, or you can mount it low and co-witness your iron sights on a SIG SAUER® pistol with a custom-machined slide. CNC-machined from a solid billet of Magnesium for lightweight strength. The molded aspherical lens is bright and distortion free, and the red-notch coating ensures a brilliant red dot. Manual brightness controls with our MOTAC™ (Motion Activated Illumination) system remember your last setting after powering off. Powered by a top-loading battery so you never have to lose your zero.
- Magnification: 1x
- Objective Clear Aperture: 30 mm
- Reticle: 3 MOA Red Dot
- Adjustment Increments: 1.0 MOA
- Battery: (1) CR1632
- Contains: the Romeo1 unit plus the “Handgun Adapter Pack” mounting plates / dovetails
The ideal sighting solution for the modern semi-automatic pistol as well as MSR platforms and shotguns.
The DeltaPoint Pro is proof that you don’t have to compromise performance, even on a small sight. Its incredibly wide field-of-view and crystal-clear glass dominates the competition, while its rugged aluminum housing and steel sheath ensure it will perform in the harshest conditions. Ease-of-use was also a focus when designing this elite red dot sight, which is why we put an easy access battery compartment on top and gave it click-adjustments for more precision.
- Leupold Model #119687: DeltaPoint Pro with 7.5 MOA Inscribed Delta reticle and Matte finish.
- Battery saving Motion Sensor Technology – Automatically deactivates illumination after 5 minutes of inactivity yet reacts instantly when movement is detected.
- DiamondCoat Aspheric Lens increases the usable field of view by up to 56% and provides a scratch resistant crystal clear image.
- Tool-less top loading battery access and true 1 MOA click adjustments provide unparalleled ease of use.
- Rugged 100% waterproof construction makes it equally at home in hunting or tactical environments.
- With a wide variety of available mounting solutions, the DeltaPoint Pro is compatible with nearly any firearm.
- Accepts optional backup rear iron sight. Sold separately.
- Designed, machined and assembled in the USA, and backed by the Leupold Full Lifetime Guarantee.
The Trijicon Specialized Reflex Optic (SRO) 2. 5 MOA Adjustable LED red dot is the most popular reticle size and can be used in a wide variety of pistol and other shooting applications such as target shooting or plinking. The wide field of view and clean, crisp dot makes it easy for users to find and track the dot in both target and competitive shooting applications, helping improve shooting accuracy and speed. Every SRO features both manual and automatic.
- Magnification: 1x / Illumination Source: LED
- Length: 2. 2 inches / Weight: 1. 6 ounces with battery
- Day/Night Reticle Color: Red / Adjustment @ 100 yards (clicks/in): 1 click = 1 MOA
- Housing Material: 7075-T6 Forged Aluminum / Batteries: 1 CR2032 Lithium Battery
- Adjustment Range: 150 MOA Total Travel / Illumination Settings: Automatic and 8 Adjustable Settings (2 NV, 6 Visible)
- The Viper Red Dot Sight has a super low-profile making it perfect for handguns with cut-out slides.
- The Viper’s low height allows it to co-witness with iron sights and the 6 MOA dot is easy to pick up and get you on target fast. Power and illumination controls are easy for shooters to access and adjust.
- The fully multi-coated, ultra-clear lens offers a wide, unobstructed field of view while Armortek coatings protect your lens from oil, dirt, and scratches.
- Hard anodized finish- highly durable low-glare matte finish. 1 MOA windage and elevation adjustments move the dot to your point of aim.
- Waterproof and shockproof construction ensure your Viper Red Dot is ready for all conditions; O-ring seals prevent moisture, dust and debris from penetrating for reliable performance in all environments.
- 3.25 MOA ADJUSTABLE LED RMR: Features an automatic brightness mode and easy push buttons for eight adjustable brightness settings including 2 nv and 1 Super bright
- DEPENDABLE ELECTRONIC DESIGN: Ruggedized Battery contacts and electronics ensure performance and survivability in harsh environments
- UNIQUE PATENTED HOUSING SHAPE: Military-grade aluminum alloy forged housing shape diverts force of impact away from the lens, greatly increasing its durability. Extreme temperatures high or low will affect lithium battery performance
- Battery automatically adjusts aiming dot to ambient lighting conditions after 16.5 hours. Battery life is efficient when used at 21 degree celsius at setting 4 of 8. Bullet drop compensator not present
TFB Review: Trijicon RMR Type 2
The new HE507C-GR is just the same as the original HS507C, but now in a green reticle version! It is powered by a CR2032 battery and Holosun’s innovative Solar Fail-safe back up. The HE507C-GR will run up to 10 years on a single battery on setting 6, dot only. Featuring their Multi-reticle system, the HE507C-GR allows the operator to switch the reticle between a 32 MOA circle with 2 MOA dot, a 2 MOA dot only, or a 32 MOA ring only, all at the push of a button. Better yet, the same LED projects all three reticles, so no re-zeroing is necessary. It comes equipped with Holosun’s Shake Awake technology with last setting recall.
- Parallax free optical design, with unlimited eye relief.
- Multi-reticle System.
- Shake Awake technology with last setting recall.
- Solar cell and high capacity battery provide dual power supplies.
- CNC machined with 7075 aluminum housing.
Solves All Your Issues With Slide-Mounted Red Dots
A popular addition to many of today’s handguns is a slide-mounted red-dot optic, a feature made possible by the technology and durability of today’s electronics. However, users of these slide-mounted RDOs are finding some issues with the design, namely that the optic window can gather dirt, dust and other debris, making it harder to aim a gun. The Aimpoint Acro P-1 solves this issue and many others, thanks to its innovative design.
Each Aimpoint Acro P-1 red-dot optic is designed as the smallest enclosed sight available today and is fully tested to withstand the stresses and shocks of being installed on a fast-moving handgun slide. Engineers tested the Acro P-1 with more than 20,000 rounds on a .40-caliber pistol slide, and the Acro passed with flying colors.
- Provides 1/2 MOA adjustments
- Offers 10 brightness settings
- Weight: 2.1 ounces
- Powered by CR 1225 battery
In addition to its shock- and vibration-proof design, the Aimpoint Acro P-1 red-dot optic is also waterproof to a depth of 82 feet and has a battery life of over 15,000 hours on a medium setting. The optic is also compatible with night-vision devices and is purpose-built for direct mounting onto handgun slides.
OMAX microscope is perfect for home school, teaching, demonstration, clinical examination, laboratories and advanced applications. Glance at the structure of fungi and protozoa, and even see the details of cell walls, membranes, organelles, as well as the nucleus in cells. It can easily connect to a USB digital camera (sold separately) to record what you see in the microscope and save it into your computer as a picture or a video clip. OMAX compound biological microscope comes with eight level magnifications from 40X to 2000X
We are committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using the retail links in our product reviews. Learn more about how this works.