8 Best Reflex Sights for Shotguns: Buying Guide

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8 Best Reflex Sights for Shotguns

In this article, we list the best reflex sights for shotguns, and we also share our tips and tricks for first-time users.

Missing a target is something any shooter has experienced. It’s embarrassing and frustrating. But it happens, even to the best of us.

What if we told you that there’s a way to improve your accuracy and speed? No, it’s not training (although it’s important!). A reflex sight can do the trick.

A reflex sight allows you to keep both eyes open while shooting in various conditions (day/night, winter, etc.). It’s lightweight but packed with features that improve target acquisition.

Best Value
Holosun Ring
Best Overall
Burris Fastfire III
Budget Pick
Browning Buckmark

8 Best Reflex Sights for Shotguns

1. Burris Fastfire III Reflex Sight with Picatinny Mount

BEST OVERALL

Burris 1

This reflex sight is known for its versatility and accuracy.

Thanks to its lightweight design, this reflex sight can be used as a primary optic or paired on top of another one.

It features an automatic brightness sensor, which will adjust to match the conditions. Alternatively, there are 3 manual brightness settings available.

It also offers two dot sizes. The 3 MOA is great for pinpoint accuracy, whereas the 8 MOA is ideal for short-range shooting. It also has a windage adjustment of 86 MOA.

Another note on versatility: this reflex sight is compatible with almost all kinds of guns, such as a handgun, shotgun, hunting rifle, and tactile rifle.

This reflex sight provides parallax-free, 1x magnification for greater awareness and accurate field of view. Plus, the lenses are polished to provide a clear and crisp picture of your target.

Constructed with metal, this reflex sight is a durable but lightweight optic at only 3.2 oz. It also has a waterproof roof to keep your vision clear.

Pros:

  • Easy to install
  • Convenient auto brightness settings 
  • Snap-on cover included for added protection
  • Pinpoint accuracy even for those with astigmatism/eye issues
  • Accurate and wide field of view

Cons:

  • Battery cover isn’t threaded properly
  • Difficult to use with only one button for on/adjust/off

2. Holosun Ring Open Reflex Holographic Sight

BEST VALUE

Holo Sun 2

This open reflex sight is packed with technology. It’s also a holographic sight.

For starters, this optic uses both battery and solar energy. For the battery, it uses a CR2032 lithium battery, which has up to 50,000 hours of battery life.

Pioneered by Holosun, it features its innovative Solar Failsafe Technology. That’s what makes it an excellent holographic sight.

This allows automatic brightness adjustment so that your reticle will dim down to match the lighting whenever you move to a darker spot, such as indoors.

This reflex sight provides a Multi-Reticle System (M.R.S.). It has 2 MOA dot and a 65 MOA ring, and you can choose from a dot only, ring only, or a dot-and-ring combination.

Plus, it allows you to turn on/off certain parts of the reticle so that you can choose the best reticle for your situation and target.

This product allows an unlimited field of view. It has an integrated QD mount for easy mounting and removal.

Holosun’s Shake Awake Technology allows you to save energy. Once it’s been motionless for some time, it shuts the LED off. Then, all you have to do is shake it to instantly activate the LED again.

All of this is packed in a titanium-alloyed, shock-resistant hood to make it last for years.

Pros:

  • Easy to install
  • Crisp and clear reticle
  • Uses solar power as a backup
  • Convenient, battery-conserving auto on/off feature
  • Long battery life

Cons:

  • Battery is time-consuming to change
  • Some reports of loose/wobbly mount after several uses

3. Browning Buckmark Reflex Sight

BEST BUDGET PICK

Browning 3

Don’t let the small price tag of this product fool you.

This affordable product makes it easy for entry-level shooters to obtain comfort and accuracy.

Depending on your need, this model provides 4 reticle patterns to choose from. It also has a wide field of view at 15.7m/100m to get a better look at your target and its surroundings.

It has a 7-position brightness rheostat, making it suitable for shooting in the day or night. It’s also durable as it uses a rugged aluminum alloy housing with a matte black finish.

This product is compatible with standard Weaver-style bases. It uses a #2032 lithium battery, which is already included in your order.

All lenses are fully multi-coated. This optic is most ideal for pistols or rimfire rifles.

Pros:

  • Budget-friendly
  • Can handle recoil
  • Wide range of reticle options
  • Compatible with all types of firearms

Cons:

  • Some reports of distortion
  • Reticle doesn’t lock, requires re-zeroing

4. Sig Sauer Romeo 3 Max Reflex Sight

BEST PREMIUM PICK

Sig Sauer 4

This Sig Sauer optic features a high transmittance red notch reflector. This ensures powerful brightness, light transmittance, and zero distortion.

Users can select from two types of dots: 3 or 6 MOA dot. The reticle also has over 12 illumination intensity settings for a faster engagement with the target.

One of the notable technology is the MOTAC™ (Motion Activated Illumination System). This saves battery energy when it’s not actively in use.

It uses a readily available CR2032 battery, which provides up to 25,000 hours of run time. The battery can be side-loaded without having to remove the optic from the firearm.

It’s made with aircraft-grade CNC aluminum, which makes it lightweight and durable. It’s also waterproof and fog-proof, allowing complete water immersion up to 1 m (around 3.3 ft).

Lastly, this one includes a low-profile M1913 Picatinny mount in your order. This means there’s no need to buy any extra tools or accessories.

Pros:

  • Long-lasting battery
  • Unlimited lifetime guarantee
  • Made with durable, high-quality materials
  • Compatible with all firearms and mounts

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Cover is too flimsy

5. Leupold DeltaPoint Pro Reflex Sight

Leupold 5

This exposed reflex sight features a DiamondCoat aspheric lens. These scratch-free lenses increase the field of view by up to 56% and provide shorter eye relief.

This model has been impact tested to ensure it will perform in the harshest conditions. It can survive a minimum of 5,000 impacts on the Punisher, which is Leupold’s recoil stimulation machine.

Plus, it’s waterproof and fog-proof, so you can submerge it up to 33 ft underwater.

This one also has no problem adjusting to multiple pressure changes and temperatures. For instance, this product can be used in temperatures ranging from -40ºF to 160ºF.

This optic focuses on ease of use. The battery compartment is located on the top and it can be removed without any tools. With just one click, you can adjust the dot size.

It features a Twilight Red Dot Light Management System, which allows you to see better in dark conditions and provides standard color consistency.

Last but not the least, it has a Motion Sensor Technology. After 5 minutes of inactivity, this one deactivates the illumination to save the battery.

Pros:

  • Excellent zero hold
  • Large and high quality viewing window
  • Easy to re-install battery
  • Simple, easy to use controls

Cons:

  • Limited mounting options
  • Dot can’t be seen when adjusting brightness

6. Aimpoint Micro T-2 Red Dot Reflex Sight

Aimpoint 6

This Aimpoint Micro reflex sight is a good option for those looking for a lightweight but compact product.

It features a 1x parallax-free optic with 2 MOA dot. It has over 12 brightness options: 4 night vision compatible settings and 8 daylight settings, including one for extra bright sunlight.

This one has an advanced objective lens system that provides a better light transmission. It includes front and rear plastic flip cap covers to protect your lens.

This product has a reinforced windage and elevation turrets, which aren’t something you always get in red dot sights.

On top of that, this model is waterproof and durable. It can be submerged up to 80 ft. With one CR2032 battery, it can run up to 50,000 hours (over 5 years) of constant operation.

While carrying all these features, this product remains convenient as it only weighs 3.4 oz.

Pros:

  • Long battery life of 50,000 hours
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Lens flip covers provide extra protection
  • Includes windage and elevation turrets
  • Has 2 MOA dot

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Need to be careful with counterfeit products

7. Sightmark Ultra Shot Reflex Sight M-Spec

Sightmark 7

This Ultra Shot reflex sight is made with cast magnesium alloy with a protective shield. This shockproof frame can shield itself from impact for up to .50 caliber recoils.

It also received an IP68 waterproof rating, making it submersible up to 40 ft.

This one features digital switch controls with 12 illumination levels: 6 brightness levels for daytime use and 6 night vision modes.

It’s equipped with dual-pane glass and a parallax-corrected lens system. This provides a large field of view to provide users with better accuracy.

It features an interlock internal locking system and illuminated reticle. For the reticle, it has a 65 circle dot crosshair and also a 2 MOA.

This optic offers up to 1,000 hours of battery life and has a low power consumption. Not to mention, it’s also lightweight and durable.

Pros:

  • Crisp and clear reticle
  • Excellent zero hold
  • Wide adjustment range with 120 MOA
  • Has a Quick-Detach (QD) Picatinny/Weaver mount

Cons:

  • Not fog-proof
  • Buttons are hard to use

8. Vortex Optics Reflex Razor Red Dot Sight

Vortex 8

This one is compatible with a wide variety of firearms and equally wide usage in shooting applications.

It features a premium wide-field lens that provides unlimited eye relief. It also has a daylight bright red dot for an easier target inspection regardless of lighting conditions or background.

There are over 9 illumination levels designed for various conditions. At the highest setting, you can use this for 150 hours. At the lowest, this one lasts for up to 30,000 hours.

The lenses are coated with anti-reflective XR and ArmorTek coatings. These help increase light transmission while protecting the lenses from oil and scratches.

This product uses aircraft-grade aluminum to ensure waterproof and shockproof performance. It needs a CR2032 battery, which can be easily switched in and out.

It includes a Picatinny mount in your order, so there’s no need to buy any additional equipment. This is a compact optic that only weighs 2.5 oz with the mount.

Pros:

  • Compact and lightweight
  • Made with durable, high-quality materials
  • Large viewing window
  • Unlimited eye relief
  • Lifetime “no questions asked” warranty

Cons:

  • Requires an Allen key to adjust the optic
  • Buttons are too close to the lens

Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best Reflex Sight  for Shotgun

Buying Guide

Now that you’ve taken a look at our recommendations, you might be wondering what’s the best reflex sight for you.

We’ve listed factors you should consider before buying the best reflex sight for your shotgun.

Reticle

Reticle size is measured in MOA, or minute of angle. What size you need will depend on your shooting intentions.

The MOA will tell how much distance you’re able to cover. It also refers to the size of the dot, where a higher number means a bigger dot.

For perspective, 1 MOA is equal to 1 inch at 100 yards. Similarly, 4 MOAs will translate to covering 4 minutes of the angle at 100 yards.

Lower MOAs are useful for providing pinpoint accuracy on your target at longer distances. This is useful in competitions that have a small target.

Larger MOAs are better for shooting faster at close ranges but have less precision. Since the dot is larger, it will cover a broader area of the target.

Type

There are two housing configurations for reflex optics: open and tube.

For open types, the optical window, which is the only optical element, doesn’t require aluminum alloy housing. This allows you to see the reticle through an open window.

The result is a more compact design and a wider field of view. This allows you to view the target and its surroundings, providing a tactical advantage.

But because of their design, you cannot use any filters or accessories on this type of sight.

It also has an exposed light path due to its heads-up display (HUD). This may be a disadvantage in case something blocks the path.

Tube types look similar to telescopic red dot sights because it has a cylindrical tube surrounding the optics.

Tube types are compatible with various accessories, such as optical scopes, filters, and protective covers.

Because of their tube enclosing, the reticle and dot will appear brighter even in broad daylight. This will improve the user’s accuracy and precision.

Which one is better? Both have their pros and cons, so it will depend on what you need.

Size & Compatibility

When choosing the best reflex sight, it’s important to consider if it’s going to be compatible with your firearm, base, and purpose.

Some models are compatible with all types of firearms. But some may not have the ruggedness to last a few rounds. Some may not fit at all.

In terms of mounts, some models include a Picatinny or Weaver mount in your purchase. Keep in mind that if your gun fits on a Picatinny mount, it will not fit on a Weaver rail.

If your order doesn’t include a mount, check how much it will cost separately. If you’re tight on budget, purchasing extra equipment may end up being more expensive.

Consider the compatibility with other accessories as well. For example, you might need two optics or a magnifier. Not all reflex sights are compatible with magnifiers, so make sure to double-check this.

Last but not the least, consider the size of the product itself. This refers to the bulk and weight of the reflex sight, as this will play a big factor in your success.

Battery Life

The majority of reflex sights use AA, AAA, or CR batteries. The battery lifespan can range anything from 2,000 to 50,000 hours.

The best battery would be the CR2032 battery, which provides up to 50,000 operating hours. This eliminates the need to carry around a spare battery.

Along with this, consider the battery cover or aluminum alloy housing. Some products have reported issues of battery covers being difficult to re-install.

There are some models that use solar energy as a backup. Select Trijicon models and the Holosun Ring Open Reflex Sight are some examples.

Quality

It’s important to choose a high-quality model as it is directly related to durability.

A reflex sight may have fancy features, but those features will be nothing if the product won’t stand the test of time.

Check if the product is water-, fog-, and shock-proof.

You probably won’t be jumping into the water with your firearm. But the waterproof feature will help during rainy or snowy days.

A waterproof product doesn’t mean it will be fog-proof as well. On days with heavy fog and mist, it’s entirely possible for your optic to clog up and disrupt your vision.

Lastly, shockproof refers to how well an optic will handle the recoil. Some products don’t hold zero well, and some might even end up having loose screws after a few rounds.

To check this, it’s best to check customer reviews.

Authenticity

If you’ve been looking at product listings online, chances are you’ve seen a handful of customer reviews that complain about counterfeit products.

The sad reality is that there are a lot of vendors that sell fake products of well-known brands.

Some are very crafty to the point that it’s difficult to tell them apart by appearance only. And you end up telling them apart once you start using it and the quality falls short.

Counterfeit products are more common for high-end brands such as Leupold, Aimpoint, Vortex, etc.

So how can you tell if a product is a knock-off? Here are a few tips:

  • Check the manufacturing or shipping location: Let’s say the brand says their products are made in the USA, but the product listing states a different location. Chances are, it’s fake.
  • Cost: If it’s priced unusually low, then it’s better to be suspicious. An exception is if it’s a used product, of course.
  • Customer Reviews: This is probably the most reliable information. Check what previous buyers have said about the product.

Features

The best feature is the one you need the most. What does this mean?

A reflex sight may have all these fancy technology and features. But at the end of the day, if it’s not something you need, then it’s useless.

So when buying a reflex optic, ask yourself: What features do I need?

Below is a list of features to consider.

  • Windage & Elevation Adjustments: Some models allow you to adjust by hand, whereas others require you to use a separate tool.
  • Brightness: Check how many options you need in terms of illumination. Along with this, check if you need night vision or automatic adjustments.
  • Field of View: The best kind of optic will offer unlimited eye relief. A large field of view will help you view the target and its surroundings.
  • Controls: Check if the optic uses a manual or digital control. Since many products are compact, sometimes the button can be located near the lens. This makes it difficult for making adjustments, especially if you’re in the middle of shooting.

Price

When purchasing any item, an expensive product can be a dealbreaker.

The good news is that reflex optics are available in various cost ranges.

An expensive product doesn’t always mean it has a better quality. Instead, consider the various kind of features and see what’s the best one for you.

Along with that, check the warranty and return policy. Some manufacturers don’t offer one at all.

The upside is that most manufacturers offer a warranty but always double-check the details.

Does the warranty apply to the entire set or certain parts only? How long is the warranty valid for?

These are some questions to keep in mind, even if a manufacturer offers a “lifetime” warranty.

FAQs About Reflex Sights

FAQs

#1 Is a Red Dot Sight the Same as a Reflex Sight?

No, it’s not.

A red dot sight is an umbrella term for all sights that use a red dot.

This means a reflex sight is one of the many types of a red dot sight.

The distinct characteristic of a reflex sight is that it uses LED to project the red or green dot onto its lens. The projected dot hits the lens, reflecting it back to your eyes.

#2 What Are the Advantages of Using a Reflex Sight on a Shotgun?

Reflex sights provide accuracy and speed while remaining compact and lightweight.

They help provide better accuracy as many models are designed to work both day and night. Plus, they can also cover a wide range of distances.

Many good models have a large viewing window. This way, you can open both of your eyes the whole time. In the long run, this causes less strain on your eyes.

Pinpoint accuracy also helps in acquiring a moving or faraway target. The red dot will put your target within the field of view for a more accurate shot.

They are also more affordable and lighter than prism and holographic sights.

Last but not the least, it has a long lifespan. The lifespan depends on the quality of materials and battery.

For the battery, lithium batteries, such as CR2302, can last up to 50,000 hours. Some models use solar power, making it more energy-efficient.

In terms of the materials, most, if not all, reflex sights are made with durable materials such as aluminum. With proper care, these will last you for years.

#3 Are Reflex Optics Better Than Iron Sights?

Yes. Why? Reflex optics are more accurate and reliable.

Iron sights have been around forever. Because of this, the design can be a bit outdated unless you’re a skilled shooter.

With iron sights, one has to imagine the point of impact on a target.

Chances are, you’ll be using only one eye to shoot as this is how iron sights are typically used.

Lastly, the aim point is nowhere near as accurate or visible. Reflex optics use LED technology, which can perform well in both daylight and nighttime.

In comparison, an iron sight, even if has a tritium or fiber optic, won’t be as visible or bright. This will be a disadvantage, especially for long-range shooting.

#4 Is a Red Dot Better Than a Green Dot?

It depends.

A red dot allows a faster acquisition speed because it catches the eye faster. It also has a lesser chance of “blending” into the background.

In cold or freezing temperatures, a red dot will have no operational problems. But depending on your product, a green dot may not work at all.

Green dots also have their advantages. It’s easier to see in low light settings, such as nighttime. It doesn’t require a high brightness setting, so this can conserve battery power.

Green dots also cause less eye strain, making it more beneficial for those with astigmatism.

#5 Are Reflex Sights Good for Short or Long Range Shooting?

They are suitable for both short and long-range shooting.

For short ranges, it’s advisable to choose a bigger dot size.

For longer ranges, a smaller dot would work better. To achieve better precision, you could also zoom in using a magnifier.

But there are other factors to consider, such as the firearm used, dot size and type, and the skill level of the person.

With that being said, reflex sights are much better suited for a close-range if you’re using it without a magnifier.

#6 What Dot Size Is the Best for a Shotgun?

It depends on the condition you’re in and what you need it for.

If your target is at a close distance and you need speed, a bigger dot will suit you better.

If you need precision, it’s better to get a smaller dot. This comes handy in situations such as target shooting or hunting.

Here’s a quick rundown of dot sizes for your information:

  • 1 to 2: Provides a very precise aiming dot, suitable for longer ranges. But people with eye problems may struggle to locate the dot.
  • 3 to 5: Provides a clear and accurate dot, suitable for close and mid-ranges. Suitable for target shooting and self-defense.
  • 6 to 8: Provides speed, suitable for close ranges. Suitable for handguns and shotguns. The larger dot also helps people with astigmatism.

If you’re unsure, your local gunsmith shop will provide a wealth of information depending on your need.

#7 How Do You Mount a Reflex Sight on a Shotgun?

Mounting a reflex sight will require Allen wrenches and Hex keys. If your package doesn’t include a Picatinny rail or Weaver mount, you can get it from your local gunsmith.

The installation method is slightly different for long and short guns.

A rifle, shotgun, carbine, and machine gun are all examples of long guns.

For long guns, it’s best to mount the optic on top of the receiver end of the rail. This provides more stability and balance.

Installing a reflex sight on a long gun is pretty straightforward. Once you have a rail, all you have to do is tighten the bolts and screws in place.

For short guns, it’s trickier.

Besides the tools listed above, you’ll also need a mounting plate. This mounting plate will replace the rear iron sight.

Instead of relying on the screws, it’s a smart idea to use a blue Loctite for extra stability.

A blue Loctite will allow you to replace or remove when needed.

On the other hand, a red Loctite is a permanent attachment, which won’t allow any adjustments in the future.

Once the sight is mounted, it’s a good idea to do a few test rounds. This will tell whether the screws are tight enough.

#8 How Do You Zero a Reflex Sight?

Also known as sighting in, zeroing means aligning the red dot with your firearm so that you can accurately aim at your target.

If you have used a rifle scope before, zeroing a reflex sight is similar to this.

When zeroing for the first time, it’s best to turn the optic off or ignore it. If possible, flip it down once it’s zeroed.

For the next step, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Since each model is different, the information provided will differ.

For best results, make all variables as consistent as possible. This includes your firing position, the ammunition used, trigger control, and so on.

Fire at least three test shots. Take note of all the information you got from these rounds.

From there, check what kind of adjustments need to be made.

Repeat the process until you zero in.

Top Picks

Top Picks

Our buying guide should give you an idea which reflex sight is the best for you.

But if you’d like our two cents, these are our recommendations:

Winner: Burris Fastfire III Reflex Sight with Picatinny Mount

This sight checks all the marks. For starters, it’s versatile. It fits all firearms and can be paired with another sight if needed.

The features are impressive, too. It has an automatic sensor to adjust the brightness levels, and 3 manual settings as a backup.

Plus, there are no extra tools needed to adjust elevation and windage. It’s also waterproof and shockproof. Made with high-quality aluminum, it can withstand years of punishing recoil.

All of this is available in a compact design weighing only 3.2 oz and at a very reasonable price.

Runner Up: Holosun Ring Open Reflex Holographic Sight

This sight is a close contender. For this one, it’s all about features. It uses a CR2032 battery, which is said to last up to 50,000 hours. As a backup, it uses solar power so it’s one dependable product.

This sight provides accuracy with its new LED technology and various reticle combinations. This titanium-alloyed sight will last you for a long time with its battery-conserving auto on/off feature.

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

As we’ve seen from this article, reflex sights come in all shapes and sizes.

So hope that our article provided enough information for you to find the best reflex sight for your needs and budget.

Remember, a reflex sight is one method in improving your speed and accuracy. At the end of the day, it’s all about practice—and some luck.

RELATED: Dickinson Shotgun: A Complete Review, Vortex Scope vs. Aimpoint Scope

About the author

Christopher Wade

Christopher Wade

Christopher Wade is a true outdoorsman. After spending most of his career as a firearms expert and instructor in Nebraska, he retreated to the great outdoors to enjoy retirement.

Christopher’s expertise in handling firearms and hunting gear are what propelled him to create the Shooting Mystery blog. He hopes for all readers to gain useful and practical knowledge for enjoying their time outdoors.