The most popular MOAs (Minute of Angle) in the market are 3MOA and 6MOA. I’ve used both in my day, and it’s not hard to see why they are the most popular!
To help you decide, I came up with a 3MOA vs 6MOA comparison guide between these options.
After reading this article, not only will you be able to tell the difference between the 3 MOA and 6 MOA red dot, you will also have a better appreciation of the intricacies of red dots!
- What Is MOA (Minute of Angle)?
- 3 MOA Red Dot Sight Overview
- 6 MOA Red Dot Sight Overview
- 3MOA vs 6MOA: What’s the Difference?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Recommended Red Dot Sights for Accurate Shots
- Final Verdict: Which Is Better, 3MOA or 6MOA?
- Final Words
What Is MOA (Minute of Angle)?
By definition, “minute of angle,” also known as MOA, is an angular measurement of the distance around the circumference of a circle.
We all know that a full circle is 360 degrees. A minute of an angle is measured at 1/60 of a degree.
Why 60? Because there are 60 seconds to a minute.
One minute of an angle is equivalent to around a one-inch diameter circle at a distance of 100 yards.
How does this apply to target shooting?
When you focus the red dot at around 100 yards, a 3 MOA reticle will look like a 3-inch circle, vs 6 MOA dot, which will appear as a 6-inch circle on the target.
3 MOA Red Dot Sight Overview
With a 3 MOA dot size, you will be able to shoot accurately over LONGER distances.
With a smaller red dot, you’ll be able to likewise aim at smaller target sizes.
A larger dot might obstruct your view of the target and make you aim at a more general area instead of providing a more precise shot.
I prefer using 3MOA because the sight is 4-5 inches away from my eye, which makes the red dot clearer and easier to differentiate from the target.
Because this small dot makes it easier for precision shooting, it is not ideal when aiming for larger and more easy-to-aim targets.
You would more or less get the same results as a bigger dot. I’ve put even put more effort to ensure that the tiny red dot is still actually on target.
It’s like using a telescope or binoculars to looking at something that’s directly in front of you!
Moreover, it’s hard to see 3 MOA dots under (or anything less) under bright sunlight since they are small to begin with.
Something larger, like the 6 MOA size, would be more likely to stay visible even under extreme light conditions.
6 MOA Red Dot Sight Overview
The 6 MOA is widely considered to be one of, if not the MOST POPULAR MOA size (and for good reason).
Bigger is not necessarily better, but when it comes to red dot size, then there are certain advantages that come with the 6 MOA.
Right off the bat, I can see the red dot, meaning it is highly visible at a glance, making it perfect for those looking to have fast target acquisition.
For close to mid-range scenarios, and even common law enforcement situations, the 6 MOA red dot more than enough!
Though a larger red dot allows for better visibility and generally makes target acquisition easier, it does come with a drawback.
A 6 MOA red dot may not provide the same accuracy as a 3 MOA dot.
Because as mentioned, it could cover your view of the target or make it hard to pinpoint precise parts of the target.
I tried it to shoot a far target with a 6 MOA; the shot didn’t land exactly where I wanted it.
Though you would technically be able to hit targets bigger than the dot, it’s easier to miss small targets or those positioned in tight small groups.
3MOA vs 6MOA: What’s the Difference?
The most noticeable difference would be that the 6 MOA possesses a BIGGER dot as compared to the smaller dot found on the 3 MOA option.
The 3 MOA dot shines in high precision applications where you’d be able to aim small.
Meanwhile, the 6 MOA dot, being the bigger and wider variation, works great for close-range shots where proximity can make up for precision.
Of course, you can apply the 3 MOA and 6 MOA dots outside of these two scenarios. They are not strictly bound to long-range and short-distance shooting, respectively.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Is the Best for Red Dots?
The answer really depends on what you intend to use the red dots for and the kind of weapon you have.
While there is no direct answer, I can say that generally:
- A 3 MOA is best for long-range shooting with rifles.
- 6 MOA is a popular choice among pistol owners who shoot from 25 yards or closer.
In a nutshell, my recommendation is to consider your target area.
Is it close range, or does it cover longer distances?
Given their overall benefits, choosing between the two would definitely yield better results than using traditional iron sights.
Iron sights do not use illumination like red dot types, though it still has two sights (the rear sight and front sight).
Instead you must align the front and rear sight to create an accurate aim.
But what happens when you have both an iron sight and a red dot sight together?
Since they are used to aim at the same spot, they should be aligned (this phenomenon is called co-witness).
I really like combining these sights as co-witnessing allows me to land high-precision shots.
I recommend familiarizing yourself with different co-witness types as well as the concept of reticle smear (if you’re really particular about your gun’s reticle).
What Is the Best MOA for Rifles?
Rifles generally cover a larger range than pistols, so a 3 MOA red dot may provide better accuracy over longer distances.
Other shooting enthusiasts like to use a magnifier to enlarge the reticle size. In this case, 3 MOA would go well with this accessory.
What Is the Best MOA for Pistols?
If you are looking for SPEED in your shooting game, then a 6 MOA would definitely be a good choice for the simple reason that a bigger dot is easier to spot.
However, the choice still comes down to personal preference.
Some find the 6 MOA dot size a bit of an obstruction and still prefer the smaller 3 MOA dot.
FUN FACT: The popular choice for law enforcement or defensive use (like home defense) is a 6 MOA dot for their pistols.
Recommended Red Dot Sights for Accurate Shots
Now that you know more about 3 MOA vs 6 MOA red dots, here are some top red dot picks you might want to check out.
1. Trijicon RMR Type 2
A well-loved and trusted option.
The Trijicon RMR Type 2 is widely considered to be mechanically superior and the standard when it comes to reticle options.
This sight is PERFECT for my pistol and rifles as it comes in both 3 MOA and 6 MOA.
With this reticle, you’re sure to improve your shot in no time!
2. Vortex Venom
The Vortex Venom also offers 3 MOA and 6 MOA options, giving it amazing versatility and variety when it comes to the reticle.
Shoot accurately with this small but precision-ready option, which boasts fast target acquisition at a good price!
3. Vortex Viper
The Vortex Viper may be a bit older than the Venom variety, but it’s by NO means outdated or obsolete.
This option sadly doesn’t offer a 3 MOA dot size, but it offers amazing focus capabilities.
Being waterproof and shockproof, the Viper is also set to shoot in all situations, be it close ranges to farther distances.
Final Verdict: Which Is Better, 3MOA or 6MOA?
After all that’s been said, the main question at hand really boils down to this:
There is NO RIGHT OR WRONG ANSWER, and there is no one sight that is perfect for shooting 100% of the time.
Only you, as the hunter, customer, and decision-maker, can truly discern what your use case and situation require.
Although this guide may have taught you all you need to know about 3 MOA and 6 MOA red dot sights, either choice should work fine!
When to Use a 3MOA Dot
I recommend 3 MOA if you think you prioritize accuracy or precision over speed.
Furthermore, if you are shooting mainly in the nighttime, 3 MOAs are better as you can increase their illumination to assist you in the dark.
3 MOAs are also ideal for long-range shooting.
As mentioned earlier, if you prioritize accuracy over speed, a 3 MOA will help you land a MORE PRECISE shot.
In other words, instead of merely hitting your target, you will it it EXACTLY where you want it.
When to Use a 6MOA Dot
On the other hand, 6 MOA is ideal for FAST target acquisition.
Since the dot is larger and easier to see, it will be easier to use to acquire moving targets at a closer range.
I personally use the 6 MOA to practice short-range target shooting. Using it at farther distances will only cover the target.
Make sure to actually try these different red dot sights in person!
3 MOA or 6 MOA seemed ideal in my head, but after trying both out on the field, I found it really depends.
Although you might be able to visualize the size contrast between the two, it would really be best to actually get a feel and view of it.
Of course, you need to make sure that the seller offering the 3 MOA or 6 MOA red dot you wish to buy is comfortable with you trying it out.
Now that you know more about the topic, pick your reticle and sight option, and get those guns ready to try your new reticle with a bang!