I remember wondering myself if the color of the dot made any difference. Turns out it does!
Both sights are intelligently made for different purposes, meaning they play a significant role in the tactical industry.
Red and green dot sights are the two most popular colors for reflex sight, and it’s easy to see why — our eyes tend to see these colors better than others.
This article will dig deeper into the main difference between a red dot vs green dot.
- What Is a Red Dot Sight?
- Main Features of a Red Dot Sight
- What Is a Green Dot Sight?
- Main Features of a Green Dot Sight
- Red Dot vs. Green Dot: Performance Comparison
- Other Types of Sights
- Final Verdict: Should I Choose the Red Dot or Green Dot Sight?
What Is a Red Dot Sight?
A red dot or red dot sight is ideally used for civilian target speed shooting, hunting, military, or law enforcement.
They allow a single focus point as the target practice, and the reticle is placed on nearly the same optical plane.
In this regard, a red dot gives off a FASTER target acquisition and easy-to-use.
In my experience, this allowed me to have a longer attention span on the view in front of me.
Red dots are commonly classified as non-magnifying reflector (or reflex) sights dedicated to firearms and other units that require aiming.
In this sense, it gives the user a point of aim through an illuminated red sight.
The design that uses the standard one has a red light-emitting diode (LED) at the focus of collimating optics, hence red dot.
The red LED produces a dot-style illuminated reticle that aligns with the weapon to wherein sight is attached, regardless of the eye’s position.
What Are the Other Uses of Red Dot Sights?
Besides being used in firearm applications, the red dot sights are also used on cameras and telescopes.
I’ve used red sights in cameras to capture moving objects in the air, such as aircraft, birds, and others.
Meanwhile, you can combine red sights with a red dot MAGNIFIER, a small optical telescope mounted behind the sight to increase magnification.
Lastly, red lights are advisable for use at night!
Since these sights are illuminated, I’m not stuck with black iron sights or a black optic reticle on a dark background.
In low-light conditions, using a red dot sight is a PLUS!
Main Features of a Red Dot Sight
Let’s take a look at some of the features the red dot has to offer.
Reticle Is Located on the Same Focal Plane as the Target
This makes the eye you need to aim more focused on the target as it is focused on the reticle.
This way, I do not need to transition my focus from one place to another and look at a blurry sight while aiming at the target.
Red Dot Sights Have Reduced Parallax
Parallax is the possibility of a reticle to make them appear to move in regards to a target as the eye moves behind the optic.
It displaces the object’s position as seen along two lines. It is more reduced and controlled in red dots as in some scopes.
Red Dots Are Parallax-Free
In this regard, the reticle remains FIXED on your target regardless of your head’s position behind the optic.
These sights are intelligently designed to make the response of optics fast and accurate, even in the most awkward positions.
I like that the red dot design is more focused on making my head position not as critical to accuracy.
Regardless of what position I shoot, I’ll always maintain accurate shots!
Red Dot Sights Have No Eye Relief
Eye relief allows you to further mount your scope for a WIDER field view and better shooting accuracy.
It is the distance between the shooter’s eye and the scope’s rear lens.
In this sense, if the device has a short eye relief, one must put the eye closer to the sight to see the entire sight picture.
- Perfect for beginners and skilled shooters
- Red dots most likely improve speed and shot accuracy
- Can it be battery-operated or not
- You can go for a red sight battery access or a version that requires no battery.
- Unlimited eye relief
- Reduced parallax
- Lets you shoot with both your eyes opened through reflex sights and a holographic sight.
- No need to align the rear and the front sight
- Quality sights come at a price
- It doesn't have any magnification
- Unlimited eye relief
- Prism sights have a small eye relief
What Is a Green Dot Sight?
I was surprised to learn that green laser or green dot sights shine BETTER than red ones!
Top green dot sights have more shades in terms of brightness settings on both the bright and dim sides.
This characteristic is especially needed when shooting in desert environments and other bright areas.
Also, our eyes adapt to green light FASTER than red ones. Additionally, a green dot sight produces lesser eye strain than a red one.
The catch is that combining green dot sights and night vision goggles does not produce consistent results.
Most will work with most night vision devices, while some may still not.
The green dot sights aren’t visible for Aviator Night Vision Imaging System (ANVIS) lenses.
NOTE: I advise transitioning from green night vision goggles to a green reticle rather than a red sight from a green-tinted night vision. A green dot pops well, which means that you’ll not miss the dot once it’s fired up.
Main Features of a Green Dot Sight
Without further ado, let’s check out what green dot sights have in store for their users.
Less Eye Strain
People with easily strained eyes will have to choose green dots over red ones. This is due to green sights having a shorter wavelength and higher frequency.
In this sense, older people will experience a more pleasant shooting experience.
I can concur that green dots are definitely more relaxing to look at than red, even at my not-so-advanced age.
Allow me to explain some science.
The human eye is more receptive to green dot sights than red due to the stimulation of two of the three kinds of cones in the eye, almost equally made by a green dot.
This means the green light will appear BRIGHTER at the same power level as the red light.
This occurrence will result in a lower power level for green dot sights, equivalent to saving battery power.
People with Astigmatism
Astigmatism is a common refractive error that makes one’s vision blurry or distorted.
In this sense, an astigmatic shooter will most likely see a distorted or blurred reticle when looking through a reflex sight.
Green dot sights are often deemed the better choice for shooters with blurry vision receptors since green light appears softer and easier on the eye.
In this sense, you’ll be less likely to experience headaches and discomfort.
- Lower power levels can be used for green lasers, which saves battery power
- Greenlight is the sweet spot for our color vision
- Highly visible light spectrum
- Shorter wavelength and higher frequency
- More visible to the human eye, especially in bright light
- Better than any color in terms of depth, brightness settings, and sharpness
- Deemed better for other refractive eye conditions
- Causes lesser strain on the eyes and fatigue
- One can use it in low light conditions through a chemical called rhodopsin
- Can maintain night vision goggles
- More expensive compared to the red sight
- Reduced battery runtime
Red Dot vs. Green Dot: Performance Comparison
You might be confused about which sight is better: RED or GREEN laser.
In this section, I will compare both sights in terms of pricing, visual capacity, accuracy, and durability.
Generally, the Amazon price list has shown that a green laser or green dot sight is more expensive than a red dot sight due to the batteries and LEDs.
Some red dots are so AFFORDABLE and come at less than a 100 dollars! Not only that, green illumination may require more power than red illumination.
Winner: Red Sights
Astigmatism is the known cause of anomalies associated with red dot sights.
Additionally, other refractive conditions of the eye, such as myopia, hyperopia, scotopia (low light vision), and presbyopia, may produce similar dot distortion.
These anomalies may be in various forms, such as:
- Excessive star bursting
- Dot clusters
- More than one dot
- Sight with a tail
These problems are often associated with red illumination.
I must note that everyone’s degree of error is different, as are the experiences with the dot’s shape, color, low light, and brightness.
Some troubleshooting methods are provided below.
- Keep your contacts or glasses on for the correction of dot anomalies.
- Turn the illumination to the point where the dot anomaly is no longer distracting.
- Put a magnifier behind the red dot sight.
Generally, people with astigmatism can benefit more from a green dot than a red dot.
Normally, green dots work better for older shooters or those with blurred vision.
Winner: Green Dots
Green and red dots are suited for white paper target shooting, black shoot-and-see, and steel targets.
However, I must emphasize that accuracy may VARY per personal preference.
For example, I am more used to red dots, so it’s difficult for me to switch to green dots. The case is the same the other way around.
This is because my brain wants to look for a red dot but must be told again that they’re using a green dot, which affects speed.
To know which among the two dots makes you FASTER and suits your vision well, you can perform timed tests.
However, red sights are at an advantage in acquisition speed — it catches the eye faster.
Therefore, it means a faster picture of sight and acquisition of the target. Red rays have a very high wavelength and a small frequency.
For the durability of these sights, I will dwell on their respective longevity.
Red sights are entitled to 50,000-hour battery power. Meanwhile, green dot sights may only be able to sustain a 1,000-hour runtime.
However, you can argue that green dot sights are long-lasting because they don’t have to run high in illumination intensity to get the same brightness level as red.
Winner: Red Sights
Other Types of Sights
Want to explore more about red illuminations and its other types? You might want to consider the following types of red sights:
1) Holographic Sight
Holographic sights are non-magnifying gun sights.
These enable the shooter to look through an optical glass window to see holographic sights superimposed at a distance on the field of view.
- Projects the reticle directly on the target
- Lets you focus on the target and reticle at the same time
- It has a lesser parallax distortion
- Faster in close-quarters scenarios
- It works better with a magnifier than a red sight
- Can operate with a broken front lens or obscured by snow/mud
- Heavier and bulkier
- More expensive than other sights
- Shorter battery life
- Too big for pistols
2) Reflex Sight
A reflex sight enables the shooter to see through a reflecting glass and look at an illuminated projection of an aiming point.
Reflex sights are named after the projection of a small light from the scope’s rear, which the front lens reflects as the red sight for you to aim with.
- Small, light, and handy
- Ideal for quick sighting over short and medium distances
- It makes target acquisition easier (rear sight, front sight, and target no longer have to be brought into one optical axis)
- Inexpensive alternative to classic rifle scopes (some are priced under 100 dollars)
- The luminosity of the red sight at night (it may overlap the target depending on the brightness
- Can fog up in the event of sharp temperature fluctuations or condensed breath
- Possible reflection of sunlight through the front lens.
3) Prism Sight
Experts usually advise shooters to go for a colorful sight.
As the name suggests, a prism sight utilizes a prism to focus light, which also focuses the image and reticle on your eyes.
Most importantly, it has a diopter that corrects some refractive conditions.
- Fixed magnification with a prism scope
- It has both an etched reticle and an illuminated reticle
- It gives off a brighter and sharper image
- Great for people with astigmatism
- It has a diopter to adjust your vision
- It has a compact design
- Difficult to use if you need a larger eye relief
- May have issues with parallax
Final Verdict: Should I Choose the Red Dot or Green Dot Sight?
Green optics are at a high advantage for most shooters due to eye physiology, resulting in faster target acquisition, better contrast, and sharper reticle.
However, the green dot optic has a very high price difference from the red one because of its battery power.
Thus, we can’t deny that our eyes adapt faster to green light.
PRO-TIP: Choose a shockproof, fog proof, and waterproof red or green dot, even the blue one.
Use Red Dots If You…
- Plan to shoot at both day and night
- Are on a budget
- Are shooting in a place with not a lot of trees or green
Use Green Dots If You…
- Have astigmatism
- Have more money to spend
- Are shooting mainly in the daytime
We are currently faced with several different variants of sights: red and green dot sights and amber.
More so, photoreceptor cells or cones support color vision, such as red, green, and blue support color vision.
Ultimately, the central question of choosing between blue, red, or green dots lies in your eyesight condition and personal preference.
I hope this red and green sight similarity-difference guide helped you through your shot adventure!