AR-15 is considered by many to be a light, reliable and accurate weapon which makes it an ideal choice for a wide range of purposes. Home defense, target shooting, big game hunting and so on, the ArmaLite rifle should be able to perform with distinction in each of the cases. Nonetheless, while the original sights of AR-15 are more or less adequate, you could considerably improve your shooting experience with a quality red dot sight. If you want to acquire targets and shoot with precision in the shortest time possible, you must get the best red dot sight for AR-15.
“Easier said than done”, you may think. Well, it’s true that there are a lot of brands with different models on the market nowadays. To find a red dot sight that suits your shooting style and personal preferences is not going to be easy. Fortunately, if you don’t know much about market products and in need of suggestions, this article is for you. Below is a list of some of the top best red dot scope for AR-15 along with their specifications and details. In addition to that, a couple of tips and tricks are also provided to help you make a logical purchase.
Top 5 Best Red Dot Sights For AR-15 for the money
1/ Trijicon RMR
- Magnification: 1x
- Dimension: 1.8 x 1.2 x 1.0 Inches
- Weight: 1.2 Ounces
In the case you want a super lightweight red dot sight for your AR-15, Trijicon RMR is a great choice. Whether it’s home defense or competitive shooting, the Trijicon sight should be able to meet your demands without fail. Windage and elevation could be easily adjusted with 1 click equal to 1 MOA, there is no need to use special tools. In term of brightness, there is an automatic brightness mode as well as 8 different brightness settings available at your disposal including 2 NV and 1 super bright.
If needed, you could conveniently mount Trijicon RMR right on top of fixed and variable magnification power optics from Trijicon. This versatile setup allows you to effectively engage in short range shooting using the Trijicon red dot sight and then promptly switch to the magnified optic for long-range shots. As the sight is parallax free, all you have to do are to point, click and shoot. For most of the time, a single CR123A battery could sustain the sight for around 4 years of continuous use.
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Light, compact and rugged
- Possesses multiple applications
- Quite expensive
- Quality control could use some improvements
2/ Sightmark Ultra Dual Shot Pro Spec NV Sight QD – Affordable red dot sight for AR 15
- Magnification: 1x
- Dimension: 3.23 x 2.95 x 2.24 Inches
- Weight: 8.9 Ounces
Featuring a double-pane glass lens and a side-mounted red laser, Sightmark Ultra Dual Shot Pro Spec NV Sight QD simplifies target acquisition and let you shoot with precision. The Interlok system of the Sightmark sight holds zero well so you don’t have to worry about constantly adjusting the sight in the field. Up to 4 reticle patterns are offered by the sight which means you could freely choose whatever style that suits you. Thanks to the handy quick detach mount, owners of the sight are capable of quickly adapting their firearms to the current situation without much difficulty.
Since Sightmark Ultra Dual Shot Pro Spec NV Sight QD is compatible with most night vision monoculars, it’s possible for you to assemble a flexible co-witnessed riflescope arrangement. About the resistance, the Sightmark sight is rated at IPX-4 which mean it’s waterproof. The robust all-aluminum body of the sigh also allows it to be used to good effects in a wide variety of conditions and environments.
- Bright reticle
- Reasonable price
- Long battery life
- Quite wide
- Mediocre instructions
3/ C-MORE Systems Railway Red Dot Sight
- Magnification: 1x
- Dimension: 4.8 x 1.25 x 2.48 Inches
- Weight: 6.5 Ounces
Designed with a special focus on fast target acquisition, C-MORE Systems Railway Red Dot Sight let the shooter achieve excellent accuracy and situation awareness. Compared to conventional tube style scope, the C-MORE sight provides unlimited angles of view and eliminate issues like tunnel vision, obstruction and so on. Because the sight is made to fit Weaver and Picatinny rail style mounts, you could attach to pretty much everything. Some examples of the sight applications include rifle, shotgun, handgun, revolver, crossbow and paintball gun.
Instead to traditional push-button setup, C-MORE Systems Railway Red Dot Sight utilizes a convenient click switch design in order to change brightness setting. There are 11 setting (8 daytime, 1 lowlight and 2 NV) you could select, the brightest of which is visible in extremely bright surroundings. The rugged 29 mm beam-splitter lens is hard-coated and scratch-resistant so its endurance is top of the line. Due to the interchangeable diode modules, 6 optional dot sizes are available for you to choose.
- Accurate and stable
- Improve shooting speed
- A bit high for some people
- Mostly suitable for competitive shooting
4/ Vortex Optics Sparc – Cheap red dot sight for AR 15 under $200
- Magnification: 1x
- Dimension: 3.1 x 4.6 x 3 Inches
- Weight: 5.9 Ounces
Highly compact and lightweight, Vortex Optics Sparc II permit you to quickly engage your targets with commendable accuracy and stability. Up to 10 unique dot intensity modes (including 2 NV) are offered by the Vortex Optics sights. In most of the case, the sight could last for 300 hours at the brightest setting and 5,000 hours at the dimmest. The presence of the 12-hour auto-shutdown feature allows the shooter to optimize battery life. As the sight body is O ring sealed and nitrogen purged, its operation is usually unaffected by any outdoor elements.
Made from quality aluminum, Vortex Optics Sparc II could handle a lot of abuse without suffering any reduction in performance. For most of the time, the sight should work flawlessly between -4 degrees and +158 degrees Fahrenheit. A combination of air-to-glass surfaces and anti-reflective coatings result into respectable light transmission rate in many conditions. Because of the multi-height system, it’s easy to set up the Vortex Optics sight in a way that matches your needs and requirements.
- Tough lens cover cap
- Simple control layout
- Inadequate shipping service
- Some customer receive damaged products
5/ Holosun HS403A Micro
- Magnification: 1x
- Dimension: 2.36 x 1.57 x 2.95 Inches
- Weight: 8 Ounces
If you want a to get a nice red dot sight that could fit your AR-15 without any need to replace the mount, Holosun HS403A Micro is for you. Compatible with virtually every AR-15 models as well as other firearms, the Holosun sight is a flexible and versatile product. With just 1 CR2032 battery, the sight is able to work uninterrupted for 50,000 hours which is excellent compared to other products. Since the sight is parallax free, you should have no trouble hitting your target consistently.
About the endurance, Holosun HS403A Micro is made out of high-grade aluminum and completely waterproof up to 100 feet. As a result, the Holosun could withstand pretty much everything you could throw at it. With up to 12 different brightness settings (including 2 NV), it’s simple to adjust the dot intensity as you see fit. A sensitive sensor shall turn on the sight as soon as it detects any movement. Thanks to the convenient memory function, the sight could remember the last mode you use so there is no need for you to re-adjust. After not being used for around 8 hours, the sight would automatically enter into sleep mode.
- Good clarity
- Very easy to set up
- Robust performance
- Hard-to-distinguish elevation clicks
- The screw quality is barely acceptable
How To Find The Best Red Dot Sight AR-15 for the money
- Price Tag
In the usual case, the price tag of red dot sight could go as low as $50 and as high as $550. Feel free to choose any design that matches your need and requirement but the rule of thumb here is:” You get what you pay for”. If you don’t want to replace your red dot sight repeatedly, it’s advised that you avoid models with an unimaginably low price tag. If you have money to spare, it’s not a bad idea to go after sights that are specifically built to work with AR-15 platforms. Those specialized red dot sights could be easily fitted to a variety of AR-15 variants which simplify the interchangeability issue.
- Reticle Pattern And Dot Size
The reticle of a red dot sight is not always limited to dots, there could be additional features such as crosshair and grid lines too. In most of the case, you should go for red dot sights with a reticle that you could comfortably use. Stay away from complicated reticle pattern because their features could impair your vision and serve as distractions in critical moments. Generally speaking, the size of the dot should correspond to the anticipated shooting distance but you must be able to distinguish it from the target.
- Brightness Level
Since virtually all red dot sights have the same magnification power of 1x, the brightness level of the sight is an important factor to consider. The dot of the red dot sight must be bright enough so you could spot it in daylight without difficulty. However, the dot brightness should also not reach a level that you find it hard to clearly see the surroundings. In the case you feel the color red is too bright in every light condition, it’s best that you choose a green dot sight.
Types Of Red Dot Sight
There are 3 types of red dot sight you could come across: Reflex, Holographic and Prism. Each of the sights possesses unique characteristics which make it essential to know which type is suitable for your situation.
- Reflex Sight
For most of the time, reflex sights could be classified into 2 styles: Exposed and Tube. In exposed sights, the aiming reticle is projected from the rear of the sight on to a single lens which reflects back to the shooter. The working principle of tube reflex sights is quite similar with the exception that they use 2 lenses instead of only 1. In any case, reflex sights are famous for their simplicity: you could position your head in whatever manner you want. Target acquisition is extremely easy and the sight could be used to good effects by the average rifle users. Reading this article will help you to find out the best reflex sight for ar 15.
- Holographic Sight
The reticle of holographic sights is essentially a laser transmission hologram sandwiched between glass layers. These sights allow you to shoot with both eyes open which should enhance situation awareness and shorten the reaction time. In term of cost, holographic sights are quite expensive compared to other types of red dot sight on the market. As a result, this type of sight is mainly employed by people like soldiers and competitive shooters who view accuracy is the number one priority
- Prism Sight
While other types of red dot sight often utilize lenses, prism sights use a prism and they are comparatively compact. Furthermore, a standard prism sight could offer some magnification power which should come in really handy if you want to engage targets at long distances. On the downside, you have to keep your eyes near the optic in order to receive a proper target image. About the cost, prism sights are more expensive than reflex sights but the average price has been on the decline. In conclusion, prism sights are suitable for shooters with average skills or people that want to shoot at extended ranges.
Battery Free Sights Vs Electronic Sights
As the names suggest, battery-free sights don’t use battery to power up the dot which means there is significantly less room for failure. In these sights, the dot is generated by fiber optics or tritium beta lamps so there is no way to manually adjust the brightness level. If all you need is a robust and straightforward red dot sight, you should consider getting a battery-free model.
On the other hand, powered by battery, electronic sights are some of the most common sights you can get nowadays. Depending on the power consumption and battery capacity, an electronic red dot sight could work between 100 and 1,000 hours without interruption. Certain sights are equipped with a handy auto shutoff function in order to conserve battery life in case the owner forgets to turn them off. All things considered, electronic sights are excellent choices if you want to have a high-performance red dot sight around.