How does a red dot sight work?

Optical sights are in demand among security guards, security officials, soldiers, hunters. Of the dozens of models used, red dot has a special status. Such devices greatly simplify the process of operating weapons and reduces the percentage of inaccurate shots.

What is a red dot optic?

Products with an aiming grid in the form of a red or green (in modern variations) dots are called collimator sights. These products are designed for professionals and novice users who are just starting to learn their business. Most of all, optics are useful at short and medium distances. However, it does not provide the necessary accuracy in the case of working with distant targets.

Red dot (RD) was invented about 50 years ago. During this time, it was repeatedly modernized and gradually transformed into a popular model. The greatest development took place in the second decade of the 21st century. During this period, manufacturers surprised users with new developments that helped improve image clarity and increase battery life. In addition, the optics became as compact and lightweight as possible, which allowed even pistol owners to install it.

How does a red dot sight work?

All RD sight models have a simple design. Its main components are uniquely shaped lenses and an LED. The former have a unique coating that reflects light and enables the user to follow the object of interest. Such a coating gives a chance to avoid various defects that often interfere with normal aiming. The built-in LED is used as a light source. It forms a dotted grid that is centered based on the position of the pistol or other weapon.

The principle of operation is as simple as possible. The device aims a beam at a curved lens. Rays are reflected from it and form a parallel light beam. He heads towards the owner of the weapon and he sees him with his eye. The parallelism of the rays contributes to the fact that the mark remains in the center, regardless of changes in the location of the pupil in one direction or another. This provides a stable aiming mark designed to improve the accuracy of firing. At the same time, do not forget that only the owner of the weapon sees the point on the grid. It is not noticeable to people and animals that fall into the line of fire.

Different types of red dots

For civilians and the military, dozens of collimator sights are in the public domain. They differ from each other in characteristics and are intended for use in certain conditions. Users have come up with several classifications of such optics. According to them, all manufactured models are divided into groups according to the dimensions and the projection mechanism used.

Size classification:

  1. Standard. Models belonging to this category are created specifically for full-size weapons designed for firing at minimum and medium distances. Such devices are equipped with a fairly large lens, the diameter of which starts from 25 millimeters. This gives a chance to detect various objects and aim well. Modern models from this category are universal. This feature makes it possible to combine with NV devices and accessories to maximize the range.
  2. Miniature. Sights of this type are compact and intended for pistols. In addition, they can be a good addition to classic optics mounted on rifles of various calibers. The models produced by different manufacturers differ from the standard ones only in dimensions.

Classification by type of projection system:

  1. Reflex. The classic sight is widely used by owners of rifles of various calibers. It forms a dot mark that allows you to quickly find the target, as well as avoid a large number of misses. Reflex models are known for their simplicity, versatility and performance in all conditions.
  2. Holographic. This view differs from the previous one in that it is not a mark that is visible, but a hologram visually located at a short distance. Such models boast that they have lenses without any coating. In this regard, the light freely penetrates through them, and the eye sees the picture without defects.

The pros and cons of red dot sights

The popularity of RD sights is due to the huge number of advantages. They open up the possibility of frequently operating devices in various situations. Despite this, they also have several drawbacks that every gun owner should be aware of.


  1. Versatility. Most often, the owners of red dot sights praise them for their versatility. It gives a chance to use this device with almost all modern models of weapons, from large-caliber rifles to pistols.
  2. Speed ​​of aiming. The presence of the label makes it possible to point the weapon at the target in a couple of seconds. This saves time, which is important when conducting military operations or hunting shy animals.
  3. Efficiency at medium and short distances. RD owners speak positively about the operation of the optics when it is used at a distance of 90-120 meters from the target. Almost always, these device capabilities will be enough to satisfy the needs of ordinary users (hunters, security guards).
  4. Lack of visibility. All RD models do not unmask a person. They create a grid that the owner of the weapon sees. At the same time, animals and other targets will not be able to notice the presence of a mark on their body.
  5. Compactness and moderate weight. Collimator sights produced today are small in size and weigh only a few hundred grams. This simplifies their operation and avoids excessive load on the weapon.
  6. Affordable price. For red dot buyers, it is important that the scope has an acceptable price. This will make optics affordable even for buyers with little financial resources.


  1. Inefficiency in some situations. All RD scopes are not suitable for remote targeting. This is facilitated by the lack of a zoom function that allows you to notice an object of interest from a long distance.
  2. Fast energy consumption when working at maximum settings. Most often, for better visibility of the label, users set the maximum brightness. This leads to a rapid consumption of battery power and does not allow the optics to operate for a very long time.

Do red dot sights work at night?

Hundreds of potential buyers are interested in the question of whether it is possible to operate red dot in the dark. The answer is yes. Modern models have the function of backlighting the grid, so that it will be noticeable even in pitch darkness. At the same time, the user can independently select the brightness of its display. This will make it possible to adapt the sights to changing illumination.

Some models support night vision technology. Thanks to its presence, the process of pointing weapons and shooting will become simple. At the same time, one should not forget that the optics in question is quite expensive compared to classical models and is operated mainly by soldiers or professional hunters.

To increase the percentage of accurate shots, it is advisable to buy a red dot. This device creates a visible mark, which serves for fast and high-quality aiming. Everything increases the accuracy of shooting and allows you to achieve your goals. Before purchasing such optics, you should study the principle of its operation, its constituent elements, positive and negative qualities. This information will help you to fully unlock the potential of the riflescope and increase comfort during its operation.


How does a red dot sight work?


How does a red dot sight work? Deciphering the definition of a red dot, the principle of operation of such optics with pistols and rifles of various calibers. Varieties of available models, their features, positive, negative qualities. Possibility to use optics at night.

Huynh Nguyen

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