How to Pick Out a Red Dot Sight for AR-15

By firefield

A red dot sight is a general term we use when referring to a non-magnified firearm optic that displays an illuminated red or green (or other colors) reticle—typically a dot or a dot with circle—on the optic’s lens. Red dot sights are commonly used for fast, accurate target acquisition in low-light and primarily used for self-defense, military, competitive shooting and predator hunting.

Reflex sights are popular optics to mount on an AR-15.
Reflex sights are popular optics to mount on an AR-15.

Even though there are truly only two types of red dot sights, people often group many different types of sights in with the red dot category. For example, Trijicon ACOG, EOTech’s holographic and prismatic sights. These sights aren’t reflex or red dot sights, as they operate differently.

The way we distinguish between the types of firearm sights is based on how they work internally. Because holographic sights use a laser holograph, prismatic sights use prisms and the ACOG uses tritium and fiber optics, they are not red dot sights.

The two types of red dot sights fit under the umbrella category of reflex sights. A red dot sight is actually a type of reflex sight.

What is a Reflex Sight?

A reflex sight uses a reflective glass lens to gather light from an LED to serve as an aiming point (the reticle.) An open reflex sight has an open window design, while the red dot sight is a reflex sight but enclosed in a tube-style housing.

To read more about the differences in these sights, click here.
Firefield's Agility is a tube-style red dot sight.
Firefield’s Agility is a tube-style red dot sight.

Because neither the red dot or open reflex sights magnify without a separate magnifier, they are usually purchased to be used in a close-quarters situation, either for self-defense/home protection or fast target shooting. Red dots and reflex sights are also often used for predator and turkey hunting. Law enforcement and military use red dot sights, as well. Reflex sights are mountable to AR-15s and other MSRs, shotguns and becoming increasingly popular—handguns.

Red dot and reflex sights, despite their different designs, have a few things in common. They both have unlimited eye relief, meaning you can mount it virtually anywhere along your rail without worrying about scope bite and are parallax corrected.

The major differences lie in the reticles, brightness adjustments and types of batteries. These three major specs will determine which sight you choose. Secondary features include construction, waterproof/water-resistance, types of mounts and whether they are night vision/magnifier compatible.

Click on this banner to buy the Agility 1x25 Agility with 1 MOA red dot sight

 

Pros and Cons of Red Dot vs. Reflex Sights

Both red dot and reflex sights have their advantages and disadvantages. Reflex sights have a wider field of view because of their open head’s up display providing you with better situational awareness. Yet, this feature also makes the reflex sight more vulnerable to weather. Even though reflex sights are slightly faster at acquiring targets than tube red dots, the open objective lens also leaves an exposed light path, so if something blocks it you may find it difficult to acquire your reticle. The tube red dot sight’s main benefit over reflex is the brightness of the reticle.

In short, open reflex sights offer faster target acquisition and a larger field of view but are less accurate due to generally larger reticles. Tube red dot sights are more accurate and don’t suffer from sun washout but have a smaller field of view.

Reticle and Brightness Adjustment

5 MOA dot, 3 MOA dot with 50 MOA circle, 3 MOA dot with 50 MOA crosshair and 3 MOA with 30 MOA circle/crosshair illuminated red reticles.
Different reticle choices make for a more versatile reflex sight.

Multiple reticle choices and a wide range of brightness adjustments will offer you the most versatility and help you adapt to different situations. A single red dot with a set brightness can limit your accuracy range, especially in broad daylight. Firefield reflex sights, both open and tube, come in a large variety of dot sizes and reticles, from the tactical 1 MOA all the way up to 10 MOA.

Listed below are all Firefield’s reflex sights with the main features highlighted, which reticles they have and the best use for each sight. We hope this helps you decide with red dot sight is right for you.

Firefield Reflex Open Sights

Multi Red and Green Reflex Sight With 1 MOA Dot / FF13004

Open reflex sight on mount
Reflex sights make you more accurate by always being right on target.

Features:

  • 50 MOA windage and elevation adjustment range
  • Red or green illuminated reticles
  • Aluminum construction
  • IPX4 weatherproof
  • Shockproof, maximum recoil 600Gs
  • Weaver mount
  • CR2032 battery with up to 180-hours life
  • Weighs 3.2 ounces

Reticles: 4 Pattern (5 MOA Dot, Circle Dot – 5 MOA central dot with 45 MOA circle, Crosshair – 1 MOA dot with 40 MOA subtension, Circle Dot Crosshair – 1 MOA dot, 40 MOA subtension with 30 MOA circle with 5 brightness settings.

The multi red and green reflex sight is Firefield’s most affordable reflex sight and includes a tactical 1 MOA dot reticle choice. The smaller 1 MOA dot on this sight is better for precision shooting at further distances but isn’t as easy to acquire as bigger dots, that is why the circle and crosshairs are added to help with reticle acquisition. The 5 MOA is perfect for fast target acquisition in close quarters for home protection and self-defense.

Best used for:

  • Daylight use
  • Competition
  • Target shooting
  • Moving targets

Click this banner to purchase the multi red/green dot sight with 1 MOA.

Impact Reflex Sight / FF26022

Black, reflex sight
Designed for MSR platforms and shotguns, these rugged, water-resistant reflex sights are able to handle recoil from .308 rifles and 12-gauge shotguns.

 

Features:

  • 150 MOA windage and elevation adjustment range
  • Aluminum and polymer construction
  • IP55 water-resistant
  • Shockproof to 800Gs
  • Weaver or Picatinny mount
  • CR2032 battery with up to 200-hours life
  • Measures 3.03” long
  • Weighs 4.7 ounces

Reticles: 4 Pattern- 5 MOA dot, 3 MOA dot with 50 MOA circle, 3 MOA dot with 50 MOA crosshair, 3 MOA dot with 30 MOA circle/crosshair with 6 brightness adjustments.

Firefield Impact reticles, red 4 patterns 5 MOA dot, 3 MOA dot with 50 MOA circle, 3 MOA dot with 50 MOA crosshair, 3 MOA dot with 30 MOA circle/crosshair
Firefield Impact reticles

 

The 3 MOA dot is the most popular dot size for these types of sights because the 3 MOA strikes a good balance between precision and speed in both close quarters and medium-range shooting distances. The added 5 MOA dot is much faster to acquire a target, yet less precise. Used in speed competitions where precision isn’t a prime factor and in close-quarters self-defense, the 5 MOA dot works well.

Best used for:

  • Close-quarters self-defense
  • Low light
  • Tactical training

Impact Reflex Sight with Laser / FF26023

The Impact’s 3 MOA reticles are good for precision shots up close and the laser helps quickly identify a target in low-light.
The Impact’s 3 MOA reticle is good for precision shots up close and the laser helps quickly identify a target in low-light.

 

Features:

  • 150 MOA windage and elevation adjustment range
  • Integrated laser
  • Aluminum and polymer construction
  • IP55 water-resistant
  • Shockproof up to .308
  • Weaver or Picatinny mount
  • CR2 battery with up to 9,000-hours life without laser/up to 40 hours with laser
  • Measures 3.46” long
  • Weighs 5.6 ounces

Reticles: 4 Pattern- 5 MOA dot, 3 MOA dot with 50 MOA circle, 3 MOA dot with 50 MOA crosshair, 3 MOA dot with 30 MOA circle/crosshair with 10 brightness adjustments.

Firefield Impact reticles, red 4 patterns 5 MOA dot, 3 MOA dot with 50 MOA circle, 3 MOA dot with 50 MOA crosshair, 3 MOA dot with 30 MOA circle/crosshair
Firefield Impact reticles

The Impact’s 3 MOA reticles are good for precision shots up close. The 5 MOA dot helps with faster target acquisition at close ranges for steel target or speed competition shooting. This larger dot is also good for people who have astigmatism. The added integrated laser helps acquire targets quickly in low-light self-defense situations.

Best used for:

  • Close-quarters defensive shooting
  • Training
  • Medium-range shooting
  • Target shooting

Impact XL / FF26024

With four red dot reticles to chose from, the Firefield Impact XL reflex red dot sight is made for close quarters engagements
Quick target acquisition and a multiple red dot sizes make this a versatile reflex sight.

Features:

  • 120 MOA windage and elevation adjustment range
  • Aluminum and polymer construction
  • IP55 water-resistant
  • Shockproof up to .50 BMG
  • Weaver or Picatinny mount
  • CR1632 battery with up to 120-hours life
  • Measures 3.6” long
  • Weighs 5.6 ounces

Reticles: 4 Pattern- 5 MOA dot, 3 MOA dot with 50 MOA circle, 3 MOA dot with 50 MOA crosshair, 3 MOA dot with 30 MOA circle/crosshair with 5 brightness adjustments.

Firefield Impact XL four reticles: 5 MOA dot, 3 MOA dot with 50 MOA circle, 3 MOA dot with 50 MOA crosshair, 3 MOA dot with 30 MOA circle/crosshair
Firefield Impact XL four reticles

The Firefield Impact XL is a traditionally designed open reflex sight for AR-15s and other modern sporting rifles. It withstands up to .308 caliber recoil, so it also works well on bird and tactical shotguns. Its multiple red reticles with five brightness settings are designed for low-light shooting accuracy from close-in to medium-range targets.

Best used for:

  • Competition
  • Target shooting
  • Home defense
  • Predator hunting

Impact XLT / FF26025

Firefield Impact XLT reflex sight
The Impact XLT has 4 different reticle patterns and 5 brightness settings.

Features:

  • Includes integrated protective hood
  • 120 MOA windage and elevation adjustment range
  • Aluminum and polymer construction
  • IP55 water-resistant and shockproof up to .50 BMG
  • Weaver or Picatinny mount
  • CR2032 battery with up to 250-hours life
  • Measures 3.6” long
  • Weighs 7.8 ounces

Reticles: 4 Pattern- 5 MOA dot, 3 MOA dot with 50 MOA circle, 3 MOA dot with 50 MOA crosshair, 3 MOA dot with 30 MOA circle/crosshair with 5 brightness adjustments.

Firefield Impact reticles, red 4 patterns 5 MOA dot, 3 MOA dot with 50 MOA circle, 3 MOA dot with 50 MOA crosshair, 3 MOA dot with 30 MOA circle/crosshair
Firefield Impact reticles

Like the Impact XL, the XLT is made for versatility. The added integrated protective hood helps with glare, as well as shield your lens from damage. A quick-detach mount allows you to quickly remove and remount the sight without losing zero. Having one sight that quickly and smoothly transitions from AR 15-platform rifles to shotguns makes the Firefield Impact XLT perfect for competitors, tactical training and airsoft combat sim.

Best used for:

  • Competition
  • Target shooting
  • Home defense
  • Predator hunting
  • Tactical training

Impact Mini / FF26021

Black, mini red dot sight
The 5 MOA red dot reticle on this mini reflex sight transitions easily between your handgun, rifle, or shotgun.

Features:

  • Compatible with Smith & Wesson Core, GLOCK MOS
  • 120 windage and elevation adjustment range
  • IP55 waterproof
  • Shockproof to 800Gs
  • CR1632 batteries with up to 200-hours life (low)
  • Measures: 1.9” long
  • Weighs 1 ounce without mount

Reticle: 5 MOA dot with 5 brightness settings.

Though the mini reflex red dot sight is designed especially for pistols, it will work well on AR-15s and other semiautomatic sporting rifles. The 5 MOA dot is optimized for close-quarters lightning fast target acquisition, making the Firefield Impact Mini perfect for your self-defense pistol and for competitors of 3-Gun, IPSC and other speed-based shooting sports and competitions. The ultra-compact red dot pistol sight weighs only one ounce and includes low-profile and co-witness mounts.

Best used for:

  • Handguns
  • Self-defense
  • Competition

Impact Mini 45 Degree Kit / FF26021K

Mini reflex sights made for handguns offer quick target acquisition.
Mini reflex sights made for handguns offer quick target acquisition.

Features:

  • Compatible with Smith & Wesson Core, GLOCK MOS
  • Includes 45-degree mount
  • 120 windage and elevation adjustment range
  • IP55 waterproof
  • CR1632 batteries with up to 200-hours life (low)
  • Measures: 1.9” long
  • Weighs 3 ounces with high mount

Reticle: 5 MOA dot with 5 brightness settings.

The Impact Mini is made for those shooters who have a dual optic setup with a handgun scope as their main optic but also want to utilize a reflex sight. If your pistol is a .45 ACP, you will want this model that includes the 45-degree kit.

Best used for:

  • Handguns
  • Self-defense
  • Competition

Machine Gun Kemper XL Reflex Sight / FF13025

Large objective lens on a black machine gun reflex sight
With the largest objective on the market, this reflex sight lets you shoot with booth eyes open

Features:

  • 120 MOA windage and elevation adjustment range
  • Aluminum construction
  • IPX4 weatherproof
  • Shockproof, maximum recoil 1,000G
  • Weaver or Picatinny mount
  • CR2032 battery with up to 180-hours life
  • Measures long
  • Weighs 9.4 ounces

Reticle: Red or green illuminated circle dot BDC with 5 brightness settings.

The Kemper XL reflex sight is made specifically for full and select auto firearms. It features the largest objective lens window on market and circle dot bullet drop compensating illuminated reticle in either red or green, useful for both daylight and low-light situations.

Best used for select-fire and full-auto

Red Dot Tube Sights

Impulse 1×22 / FF26028

Firefield Impulse 1x22 red dot sight with flip up lens caps is technically a reflex sight, but sub categorized as a tube or red dot sight.
The Impulse red dot sight has the option of an illuminated green reticle, as well.

Features:

  • 120 windage and elevation adjustment range
  • Aluminum construction
  • IPX5 weatherproof
  • Shockproof up to .50 BMG
  • Weaver or Picatinny mount
  • CR2032 battery with up to 240 hours
  • Measures 3.5” long
  • Weighs 7.5 ounces

Reticle: Red or green illuminated circle dot reticle with 2 MOA dot and 30 MOA circle with 5 brightness adjustments.

The Impulse 2 MOA dot reticle with 30 MOA circle
The Impulse 2 MOA dot reticle with 30 MOA circle

The Impulse 1×22 red dot is best used for precision shooting out to longer distances. The choice of the illuminated green reticle makes this sight good for daylight use when target shooting or hunting

Best used for:

  • Daylight use
  • Larger calibers
  • Hunting
  • Precision shots at longer distances (100 yards+)

Impulse 1×22 with laser / FF26029

Laser and red dot combo sight
This model has an integrated laser.

Features:

120 MOA windage and elevation adjustment range

  • Aluminum construction
  • IPX5 weatherproof
  • Shockproof up to .50 BMG
  • Weaver or Picatinny mount
  • AAA battery with up to 170-hours life, up to 14.2 hours battery life with red dot and laser on
  • Measures 3.54” long
  • Weighs 8.6 ounces

Reticles: red or green 2 MOA dot with 30 MOA circle with 5 brightness settings.

With an integrated red laser, the 2 MOA with 30 MOA circle dot reticle is made for precise shots at ranges extending past self-defense close quarters. The 30 MOA circle dot will help you acquire the reticle faster. This reticle is good for predator hunting at distances up to 200 meters. AAA batteries make it convenient to power this laser/red dot sight combo.

Best used for:

  • Self-defense
  • Tactical training
  • Home protection
  • Target shooting

Impulse 1×28 / FF26027

The 1x22 Impulse has a 2 MOA dot with 30 MOA circle reticle.
The 1×22 Impulse has a 2 MOA dot with 30 MOA circle reticle.

Features:

  • 120 MOA windage and elevation adjustment range
  • Aluminum construction
  • IPX5 weatherproof
  • Shockproof up to .50 BMG
  • Weaver or Picatinny mount
  • AAA batteries with up to 1,000-hours life
  • Measures 5.59” long
  • Weighs 10.9 ounces

Reticles: red or green 2 MOA dot with 30 MOA circle with 5 brightness settings.

Red or green 2 MOA dot with 30 MOA circle illuminated reticle.
Red or green 2 MOA dot with 30 MOA circle illuminated reticle.

The Impulse 1×22 compact red dot sight has a 2 MOA dot for precision shooting at longer distances. This red dot sight also works well for target shooting and predator hunting.

Best used for:

  • Self-defense
  • Tactical training
  • Home protection
  • Target shooting

Agility 1×30 Hunting Red Dot / FF26030

1x30 red dot sight
The Agility has four reticle patterns to chose from.

Features:

  • 120 MOA windage and elevation adjustment range
  • Aluminum construction
  • IPX5 weatherproof
  • Shockproof up to .308
  • Weaver or Picatinny mount
  • CR2032 battery with up to 440-hours life
  • Measures 4.56” long
  • Weighs 9.4 ounces

Reticles: 4 red or green reticles: 2 MOA dot with 40 MOA crosshair, 2 MOA dot with 20 MOA circle and 40 MOA crosshair, 3 MOA dot, and 2 MOA dot with 30 MOA circle with 5 brightness settings.

4 red or green reticles: 2 MOA dot with 40 MOA crosshair, 2 MOA dot with 20 MOA circle and 40 MOA crosshair, 3 MOA dot, and 2 MOA dot with 30 MOA circle
The Agility red dot sight has four reticle patterns with 2 MOA dot and 3 MOA dot.

One of Firefield’s most versatile red dot sights, the Agility 1×30 is ideal for target shooting and hunting at close distances. The choice of red or green illuminated reticles transitions the sight from day to night. With a variety of reticles from 2 to 3 MOA dot, the Agility is accurate and precise at close to medium ranges.

Best used for:

Agility 1×25 Multi-Dot / FF26007

The Agility Firefield FF26007 has four MOA dot reticles to chose from, including 1 MOA.
The Agility 1×25 has a 1 MOA to 10 MOA dot reticle.

Features:

  • 200 MOA windage and elevation adjustment range
  • Aluminum construction
  • IPX6 weatherproof
  • Shockproof up to 1,000Gs
  • Weaver or Picatinny mount
  • CR2032 battery with up to 440-hours life
  • Weighs 8.4 ounces

Reticles: 4 red or green reticles: 1 MOA dot, 3 MOA Dot, 5 MOA dot, 10 MOA dot.

This is one of Firefield’s most versatile red dot with four different MOA dot reticle sizes, starting at 1 MOA, including 3 MOA, 5 MOA and 10 MOA. In red or green with 5 brightness settings. This truly makes the Agility 1×25 red dot accurate at all ranges. The choice of green illumination makes target acquisition in broad daylight easier.

Best used for:

  • Tactical training
  • Dy or night use
  • Close quarters
  • Longer ranges
  • Hunting

Agility Shotgun / FF26031

The Agility shotgun model mounts to popular shotguns, including Remington 870.
The Agility shotgun model mounts to popular shotguns, including Remington 870.

Features:

  • 120 MOA windage and elevation adjustment range
  • Aluminum construction
  • IPX5 weatherproof
  • Shockproof up to 1,000Gs
  • Weaver or Picatinny mount
  • CR2032 battery with up to 440-hours life
  • Measures 4.56” long
  • Weighs 9.4 ounces

Reticles: Red or green, 2 MOA dot with 40 MOA crosshair, 3 MOA dot, 2 MOA dot with 20 MOA crosshair and 40 MOA circle, 2 MOA dot with 30 MOA circle with 5 brightness adjustments.

Red or green, 2 MOA dot with 40 MOA crosshair, 3 MOA dot, 2 MOA dot with 20 MOA crosshair and 40 MOA circle, 2 MOA dot with 30 MOA circle
The Agility Shotgun has four reticles in either red or green.

The Agility shotgun model red dot sight is made to use with shotguns, including the Remington 870/1100 and 1187. It is a great turkey hunting sight with a choice of red or green illumination.

Best used for:

  • Shotguns
  • Turkey hunting
  • Daytime use
  • Close- to medium-range

Firefield Impulse 1×28 / FF26026

1x28 black red dot sight with mount and flip-up lens caps.
The Impulse 1×28 red dot sight has a red or green illuminated dot reticle.

Features:

  • 120 MOA windage and elevation adjustment range
  • Cantilever mount
  • Aluminum construction
  • IPX5 weatherproof
  • Shockproof up to .50 BMG
  • AAA battery with up to 1,000-hours life
  • Measures 5.9” long
  • Weighs 9.6 ounces
Red dot sight red and green reticles
Illuminated red dot reticles are good for low-light and night shooting. Green dot reticles are visible in daylight.

Reticle: red or green 2 MOA dot with 60 MOA circle with 5 brightness settings

The Firefield Impulse 1×28 tactical red dot sight has a cantilever-mount design, allowing it to be mounted forward for use with a magnifier. It will mount to rifles and shotguns and withstands harsh recoil up to .50 BMG.

Best used for:

  • Target shooting
  • Hunting
  • Magnifier-compatible

Close Combat 1×28 With Integrated Red Laser / FF26003

Red dot sight with integrated laser sight on a mount
Choose between a red or green illuminated reticle, on this dot sight/laser combo.

Features:

  • 60 MOA windage and elevation adjustment range
  • Aluminum construction
  • IPX4 weatherproof
  • Shockproof up to 1,000Gs
  • Weaver or Picatinny mount
  • CR1620 battery with up to 220-hours life
  • Measures ” long
  • Weighs 10.9 ounces

Reticles: Red or green, 5 MOA dot with 5 brightness settings.

The 5 MOA dot makes acquiring the reticle incredibly fast, especially in low light. Bigger dots are made to shoot at longer ranges, while the integrated laser helps with target acquisition for self-defense.

Best used for:

  • Longer distances
  • Tactical training
  • Day or night use
  • Self-defense
Do you have any questions about how to choose a reflex sight? Leave them in the comment section and we will do our best to guide you in the right direction!