Throughout the crazy world we call the internet, there are countless optics available for sale in every budget you can imagine. Throughout the years, I’ve had the opportunity to try out a ton of different optics and prefer a few in various price ranges. Out of all the red dots on the market, there are three different options (technically four) I prefer depending on your budget so let’s jump into the different categories.
Entry Level Optic Budget $0-350
This entry price bracket is probably the most crowded in the red dot market space. The most common issue I’ve run into with this price bracket is quality control. It’s possible to find quality durable glass in this budget but it’s important to look at reviews to see what people think of it. My go-to entry-level optic would have to be the AR Sparc from Vortex Optics. The AR Sparc comes with an unconditional lifetime warranty so even if you blow both lenses out, Vortex will replace your optic for you.
I have been using an AR Sparc for the last five years with zero issues. I took the rubber piece off protecting the optic and even with a number of scratches and dings, the optic still holds zero and works like brand new. The Vortex AR Sparc retails for $259.00 and in my mind is the best value for shooters who want a quality product but can’t afford the more expensive options. Honorable mention would be the SIG Sauer Romeo 5 optic or a few different Holosun optics that are affordable.
Mid Priced Optics $400-550
I would say this is where the more common choices for shooters who want quality optics with features like IR settings and improved battery life. For this price, you can get a great quality optic that will have hours of battery life and upgraded features compared to more economical options. When trying to pick one red dot for this category, I was really stuck between the Trijicon MRO and Aimpoint PRO. I think either optic is a fantastic option truthfully. I own a couple of these optics and love both sets I own of the MRO and PRO. Battery life on both optics is very good with the PRO being 50,000 hours or just under 3.5 years and the MRO with a 5-year continuous run time on Day Setting 3.
I really like the MRO for the larger field of view and compact size overall. The MRO also has an off setting between each brightness setting so you can turn it off next to your favorite setting if you don’t want to constantly leave it on. The Aimpoint PRO is a workhorse of an optic and throughout all the abuse I’ve put my PROs through, they’ve always survived and held zero. The Aimpoint PRO is typically around $499.99 but you can find them online for $440-450. This will include the beefy factory mount that is nearly indestructible as well. The MRO prices are typically $400-500 depending on what mount you decide to buy with it. I typically use the Scalarworks mount for my MROs but at $149, they aren’t the cheapest option.
High-End Red Dots – $600 and Up
Higher-end optics are extremely durable optics that have multiple features with excellent battery life. There aren’t usually many options for red dots because you’re starting to get into the realm of quality LPVO optics for the price. Over the last 10-12 years, I’ve used an Aimpoint CompM4 and have been thoroughly impressed with its performance. The EOTech XPS3 is another good option but If I was only allowed to have one optic in this price bracket it would have to be the new Aimpoint CompM5.
The CompM5 is a smaller version of the CompM4 that has a smaller field of view footprint and seems less intrusive to your sight picture. Typically, you can find the CompM5 for sale online for $850 or more depending on the mounting system.
No matter what your budget is there are always great options available for a quality red dot. Let me know what your favorite red dot is for the price in the comments below. If you have any questions feel free to message me on Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there!
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