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Red Dot on Top of Scope: Should Every Hunter Have One?

Red Dot on Top of Scope

A rifle scope with red dot on the top… What do you use it for? Should I really get one for my scope? What can I get from it?

Yep, we totally get all your questions.

When you’re about to buy something you’re unsure of, you tend to get anxious. We mean, WHO ENJOYS wasting money on something that turns out to be not even worth the risk, right?

Well, don’t you worry because we’re going to erase all that doubt in your head. Today, we’ll talk about its purpose and whether a red dot rifle scope really worth buying.

What is a Red Dot Sight?

What is it

Basically, a red dot sight is a small optic that has a visual illuminating red marker on the center.

How does it work?

A red dot sight help you EASILY acquire your target in a short-range distance. Now, here’s the basic process of equipping your red dot sight on top of your AR 15 rifle scope:

  1. What you need to do is mount your scope with red dot to the rail system of your rifle.
  2. And then mount the optic on top of the scope. With that, you’re done already.

Simple enough, right? But that’s not all.

There’s more to learn about red dot sights and how they can be PRACTICAL choices for hunting or shooting.

TAKE NOTE: Red dot sights do not have a magnification range. They just have one magnification level — the same level that we see with our eyes.

This is the main reason why red dots are only great for short-distance shooting.

Advantages of Red Dot Sight on Top of Rifle Scope

Advantages

1. It Offers Versatility

When you have a red dot sight equipped on top of your rifle scope, you will be able to easily adjust to different shooting situations.

Your rifle scope is responsible for long-range distances while on the other hand, the red dot sight performs the best in short-range distances.

This is perfect for any event that requires a quick and precise reaction. Whether it’s for home defense, hunting, or target shooting, the red dot sight will work flawlessly, giving you a flexible shooting capability.

2. It Provides Unlimited Eye Relief

Unlimited Eye Relief

Most of the rifle scopes offer limited eye relief, whereas a red dot sight offers unlimited eye relief.

For better understanding, let’s give a sample situation:

You head outside to go hunting.

While red dot sight scoping, you caught a target.

You’re ready to aim and fire.

HOWEVER!

Before you can even PULL the trigger…

You worry about whether your eye is in the right distance as RECOIL may hit your eye.

In this case, you would have a SLOWER REACTION because you are minding the eye relief.

Whereas in the other situation where you are using a red dot sight, you won’t worry about the eye relief as much. Your eye can be anywhere as long as you can see the marker of the red dot.

3. It Gives You a Full Field of View

When using a rifle scope, you need to close your other eye to see the view better. This would mean that half of your sight will be more or less “blind” to you and you won’t be able to see the whole scenery.

A scope with red dot sight on top allows you to use BOTH of your eyes to look through the reflex red dot sight without affecting your best view at all.

This way, you will be able to see the full 180 degrees of your sight or in short — a full field of view.

4. It’s Great for Low and High-Light Conditions

The mini red dot sight you see on the optic has a high illumination intensity level.

If you’re in a dark place, you’ll be able to easily pick up the dot. Ever wonder why those spy action movies show guns with red dots?

Put simply, it’s 2x EASIER to see your target in low-light conditions.

If you are in a place where the light condition is almost blinding, the dot will still be crystal clear unless of course, the lighting on the environment is red-colored.

Furthermore, some reflex sight models offer various dot colors as well, though the most common one is just red.

5. It is Parallax-Free

Well…ALMOST.

You still have to consider moving targets or extremely close distances which may throw you off.

Red dot sights have just one magnification level.

Parallax is typically present in higher levels or farther distances so you won’t have to worry about this error that much over short distances.

Still, that doesn’t mean your optics is COMPLETELY illusion-free! You still have to focus to a certain extent to get an accurate shot!

Disadvantages of Red Dot Sight on Top of Rifle Scope

Disadvantages

1. It Looks Bulky

This really boils down to preference but some shooters and hunters don’t enjoy carrying a bulky rifle and scope with red dot at the same time.

People also do not see this as a great design for a hunting rifle scope.

2. It Feels Heavier

Although we’ve mentioned that these optics are small and compact, it doesn’t eliminate the fact they still contribute to the overall weight of riflescopes.

Especially since BIGGER sights mean a HEAVIER gun.

3. It Can Be Confusing to Use

Since you are using a scope with red dot sight on top, there’s one possible drawback from all this:

You’ll need to change the position of your head to look through the scope and the small optic from time to time depending on the situation.

Some people take this as a kind of a BREAKNECK PROBLEM because they need to adjust their eyes quickly every time they switch views.

Best Rifle Scope and Red Dot Sight Combo

While you can separately mount a red dot optic on top of the scope as you wish, there are still available built-in rifle scopes with red dot on the top.

Among all the best scopes out there, these are the best combo setups you can get for shooting and hunting purposes.

Burris Optics Fullfield TAC30 1-4x24mm

Burris Optics Fullfield

This rifle scope is designed for competitive shooters and dangerous game hunters.

This scope also works the best for short to medium ranges as it only offers magnification power of 1-4x. Though with 42mm, its objective lens is quite big so it is heavier.

It gives you 4″ of eye relief so your eyes are in a safe place.

Ready to hear something that STANDS OUT?

Burris Optics has an illuminating red dot small optic on the top, along with an illuminating reticle on the scope itself (Both can adjust to the sensitivity of any lighting conditions).

That means you get twice the visibility on the field and better acquisition of your target overall!

Price: Roughly $320

Trijicon ACOG Dual Illuminated Red Horseshoe Rifle Scope

Trijicon ACOG

The Trijicon rifle scope is popular among U.S. marines and after taking a look at Trijicon ACOG, we now understand why.

Do precise shots for different targets sound appealing? Because that’s what the majority of users have said after using the Trijicon ACOG.

Not to mention, it’s a great firearms equipment for home defense.

What about its features? Well…

  • This has an objective lens of 32mm and an illuminating reticle on the scope.
  • The mini red dot on top of the scope has a fixed 4x power optic. With this, this rifle becomes ideal for short to medium-range shooting.

Even though the scope only has a fixed magnification, U.S. marines were still able to drop HEADSHOTS. It’s THAT good.

It even went under Congressional investigation because of how dangerous it was. If THAT doesn’t convince you how great this scope and red dot combo is, we don’t know what can.

Price: Roughly $2,200

RELATED: Best ACOG Clones for Your Budget

Leapers UTG 6-24x50mm Riflescope

Leapers UTG

With a magnification power of 6-24x, Leapers is designed for long-range shooting. The objective lens has a size of 50mm so it’s obviously HEAVY.

But what’s great about this is its mini red dot optic comes in green illumination too. Shooters and hunters have the option to choose whatever is needed depending on the lighting of the environment.

Finally, the scope itself offers 4 RETICLE OPTIONS. This gives a user A LOT of setup adjustments which can SAVE you time and hassle when it comes to hectic situations.

Price: Around $150

Scope with Red Dot Sight Guides & Hacks

Guides and Hacks

#1 Increase Your Reflex Sight’s Magnification Power with Magnifier One

Some shooters and hunters found an option to increase the magnification power of their small red dot optics — equip their rifle scopes with MAGNIFIERS.

Its purpose is for you to use your small optics for medium-range shooting.

One great thing about this setup is you can just SIMPLY FLIP it to the side when you’re done using it.

Our Top Choice

If you want to get a scope with red dot on top to set up SOLELY for home defense use only, an AR-15 equipped with Eotech XPS2 is the best option.

Why? Because Eotech optics are specially made for short-range shooting. They are holographic weapon equipment great for capturing fast-moving targets.

#2 A Small Optic is MORE Worth It with Higher Scope Magnification Power

So how is this possible?

Well, we’ve already talked about how the small optic performs the best in short range, right?

Then, it would make more sense to get a scope with higher scope magnification power for full utilization of both pieces of equipment.

As mentioned above, this type of setup will give you more versatility, but ONLY if your accessories can offer a wider range.

A combination of scope with red dot on top can only work the best IF the scope itself has been built for long-range shooting. So, look for a scope that provides more than 4x power.

Verdict: Is a Red Dot on Scope Worth It?

Verdict

Is having a red dot on top of your riflescope really worth it?

As far as we can tell, it’s CRAZY helpful when it comes to short-range distance shooting regardless of whether it’s for home defense, hunting, or target shooting.

Overall, we think it’s a great setup to invest in IF:

  • It FITS your budget
  • You need a scope you can easily switch from magnified to close range to account for CLOSE encounters of animal attacks in the wild
  • You have weapons for different purposes. Say you have a rifle specifically for hunting and need one for home defense. A firearm with red dot is highly useful.

Pro Tip: You can find all the best red dot options when you go through our article on the Best Red Dot Scopes and Sights.

About the author

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.