Why You Need a Red Dot Sight and How to Install It
Red dot sights date all the way back to 1974 when Aimpoint introduced the first one to the market. Over the next few decades, the concept really caught on and is now booming.
If you’re in the market for any kind of electronic optic, there’s never been a better time to buy. The market is bursting at the seams and prices keep coming down. Just be sure to do your homework first, though, because, with so many options out there, it can get confusing and overwhelming if you don’t.
What is a Red Dot Sight?
“Red dot” is a catch-all term used to describe any sighting device that utilizes a -surprise! – red dot (or, in some cases, a green dot). How the optic displays that red dot to the user is what creates the specificity of different types of red dot sights.
Reflex and Holographic
A red dot sight is a red dot sight is a red dot sight, right? Wrong.
The two main types are reflex and holographic. Reflex sights use an LED and coated glass to bounce the image of the red dot back to the user. A holographic sight, on the other hand, uses a laser and mirrors to project a red dot that appears to be in front of the optic back to the user.
While both kinds of technology produce essentially the same result, there are benefits and drawbacks to both. Generally speaking, holographic sights will be larger and more expensive than their reflex counterparts because of the advanced technology that goes into them versus a reflex optic. If you want to use a magnifier in front of a reflex sight, your dot will get proportionally larger, too. However, this is not the case with a holographic sight. Science!
Why Use a Red Dot?
For hundreds of years, people have been shooting guns with traditional open sights, or what is sometimes referred to as iron sights. This means you’ve got a rear sight and a front sight and you line the two up to get your point of aim. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with shooting this way – and you should absolutely know how to do it – but red dot optics allow you to work (shoot) smarter, not harder.
If ever there was a way to shoot as accurately as the concept of “point and shoot,” it would be with the red dot sight method. Once you have your red dot calibrated and sighted in correctly, all you have to do is point your gun so that the red dot is on the target and then shoot. No more lining up the front and rear sights!
A red dot sight makes it easier and faster to initially get your gun on target for the first shot and then easier to get back on target for any follow-up shots that you may need.
Mount Types for Red Dot Scopes
Red dot sights can be mounted on just about any kind of gun, whether it’s a rifle, pistol, shotgun, or even a revolver.
Some of the red dot models that have been on the market the longest have lent their once-unique designs to the greater benefit of the red dot world as a whole. This is most easily seen with the standardization of mounting options. C-More is used by the Vortex Razor and the Sig Sauer Romeo3. Docter/Noblex is used by the Burris FastFire and the Vortex Viper. Aimpoint Micro is used by Vortex Crossfire, Sig Sauer Romeo4 and Romeo5, and others.
Red dot sights can also be mounted to segments of Picatinny rail or even Weaver rails.
How to Mount a Red Dot Sight
Mounting a red dot sight is a very simple process. The parts needed and the steps you go through to do it are minimal. You don’t need a professional gunsmith to install one, but if you’re not comfortable doing it yourself, a gunsmith will be happy to help you.
Assuming you’re going to mount the red dot sight yourself, let’s move on to the mounting process.
A number of guns available today have specific spots milled into the slide or the receiver. This makes mounting incredibly easy. Just consult your owner’s manual to find out what mount type footprint the gun is equipped with and then shop for an optic of your choice that fits the correct footprint. Once you have your red dot in hand, it’s as simple as using the provided screws and a screwdriver and attaching the two together.
Not all guns have milled spots for red dot sights, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use a red dot on them. If your gun either has built-in rail segments or spots for adding your own rail segments, then you can easily add a section of Picatinny rail or a Weaver rail to your gun. From there, you would need to buy the correct corresponding rail mount that matches your red dot sight’s footprint. Once you have the red dot, the mount, and the rail, you simply attach them to your firearm using the included hardware and a screwdriver.
Let’s Go Shooting!
Once you’ve got your red dot sight installed on your gun, it’s time to go to the range and get sighted in. After you’ve got your red dot dialed in the way you want it, you’ll wonder why you didn’t get a red dot sight sooner!
Red Dots and Suppressors
There’s one other shooting accessory that, once you try it, you’ll wonder why you didn’t get one sooner, and that’s a suppressor. Here at Silencer Central, we’ve been selling silencers all day, every day for more than 15 years. In that amount of time, we’ve sold countless silencers to people for firearms that are equipped with red dot sights. If you’re unsure which one to pick, give us a call and we can help select the right silencer for your firearms that are equipped with red dot sights.