Shooting Mystery is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

6 Best Tactical Shotgun Optics: Red Dot, Reflex, Holographic

Shotgun Optics

Using a shotgun as your hunting weapon of choice? Looking for the best shotgun sights for home defense shotguns?

It’s no surprise you would want the best performance, right? Then, we got you.

For that to happen, you NEED the best shotgun optics, and browsing through countless choices isn’t going to be easy either.

In this post, we’ll guide you through different choices of the best shotgun sights on the market. We’ll even cover how they work, why you need one, and how to choose.

Let us help you choose the perfect piece of gear for you.

Best Value
Trijicon RMR Type 2
Best Overall
Aimpoint Micro T-2
Budget Pick
Bushnell Trophy TRS-25

The 6 Best Tactical Shotgun Optics, Red Dot Sights, Reflex Sights, and Holographic Sights

Getting straight to the point, red dot sights are the best choice for shotguns.

They do their job in almost all conditions. They’re also perfect since a shotgun is for fast shooting in close quarters.

The products we’ll be going through on this list are all great choices for that.

1. Aimpoint Micro T-2

BEST OVERALL

Reticle: 2 MOA | Battery: CR2032 Lithium | Magnification: 1x to 6x

Aimpoint Micro T-2

Let’s start off with something top-tier.

The Micro T-2 is a red dot sight/shotgun scope by Aimpoint. They also created the first red dot optic ever, so you can trust their quality, no questions asked.

Their brand is one of the most prominent when it comes to red dots. It’s small, compact, and weighs only 3.7 ounces with the mount included.

Need shotgun scopes to help you see better at night?

This shotgun scope has clear glass that provides excellent light transmission. It’s an excellent choice for low-light situations. The great clarity you get lets you see the environment easily whether you’re out hunting or in home defense situations.

If you’re looking for something tactical, this is your choice. It has night vision settings and is submersible to a depth of 25-meters.

The shotgun scope is also bombproof and can withstand massive amounts of force. Can’t beat that, right?

As for its mounting, it comes with a low mount which is perfect for shotguns. It’s an optic that helps acquire a target quickly from 5 to 50 yards.

Its battery life is also no joke. You can get up to five years of battery life with continuous use. Not only are you spending on top-notch quality but also an optic to last you for a LONG TIME!

The Aimpoint Micro T-2 is also compatible with magnifiers. If you want to shoot slugs accurately from long range, this optic is for you.

It also allows you to hit targets with birdshot, buckshot, and slugs with accuracy and speed.

Honestly speaking, it’s expensive. Is it worth it? Yes.

This shotgun scope is the perfect choice, whether it’s for home defense or hunting. It’s great for police and military work too. It’s also an awesome optic for hunting.

This shotgun optic by Aimpoint is plain well-made.

Pros:

  • Premium optical attachment
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Super durable and has a long battery life
  • Useful in so many situations

Cons: 

  • Most expensive product on the list

2. Trijicon RMR Type 2

BEST VALUE

Reticle: 3.25 MOA | Battery: CR2032 Lithium | Magnification: 1x

The Trijicon RMR comes in a variety of designs and reticle sizes. Despite the varieties, it’s our top go-to red dot reflex sight if you’re looking to go lightweight as possible.

Run faster. Load faster. Transition faster. These are just some of the best benefits of having lightweight shotgun sights for hunting or home defense.

It’s one of the smallest red dots available on the market. The RMR is also one of the best red dots ever made.

Want proof? We’ll start by saying…

These reflex sights are widely known for their high durability and easy-to-use design.

The RMR is so easy-to-use and easy to mount that it’s a widely accepted red dot sight, even for pistols and rifles! So much so that the US military even uses it for machine guns and rifles.

This red dot sight has several different models. The best for shotguns is the 3.25 MOA reticle with a low mount. This 3.25 MOA dot variant is an optic for shotguns specifically.

This reflex sight auto-adjusts to any brightness level and provides you with a reticle that’s easy to see in ANY situation.

The MOA dot is easy to see, and it’s small enough that it’s still precise even when you switch to slugs. The target acquisition is perfect for shotguns, wouldn’t you say?

The RMR has a single CR2032 battery with a battery life of up to 2 years with normal use. It is also completely waterproof and shockproof.

This red dot reflex sight has features that combine to guarantee it’s capable of withstanding years of heavy usage.

You also acquire targets faster and shoot more accurately. Despite shotguns using kinds of ammunition that fire with a wide spread, accuracy is still important.

The biggest plus is it adds little weight to your weapon.

Pros: 

  • Very durable
  • Great value
  • Lightweight
  • Easy-to-use and easy to mount
  • Used by professionals

Cons:

  • Bottom-loading battery

3. Bushnell Trophy TRS-25

BEST BUDGET PICK

Reticle: 3 MOA | Battery: CR2032 Lithium | Magnification: 1x

Bushnell Trophy TRS-25

This red dot sight/shotgun scope is proof that great things can come at a budget.

The Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 is a compact red dot optic. It has a 25mm objective lens and comes with a low mounting system.

One thing to note: the TRS-25 has great accuracy and durability. 50 yards. 100 yards. You name it.

Durability-wise, if this accidentally fell at waist height, you’d only see a small crack on the back glass compared to others that well…died.

The mount attaches to any standard Picatinny rail and is easy to lock down. Its 3 MOA red dot reticle is also easy for your eye to catch.

The TRS-25 has 11 different selections for brightness, so anywhere you are, expect GREAT VISIBILITY.

Its reticle is sharp but flares out at higher brightness settings. Despite this, it’s still small and precise, making it good for hitting a target at shotgun range.

The TRS-25 is also shockproof, so you know it can handle the strong recoil shotguns have. It’s also waterproof and fog proof.

What about its single CR2032 battery?

This battery gives you a battery life of about 1,000 hours of use at moderate settings. Decent, but not too great either.

The Bushnell TRS 25 is easy-to-use too. It’s suited for hunting and range and competition shooting activities.

It’s also one of the most affordable shotgun sights you can find. It’s one of the best deals if you want to take a step up from using iron sights for hunting.

If you want a good red dot and shotgun scope that fits your budget, then the TRS-25 is your choice.

Pros:

  • Good field of vision
  • Best budget option among optics listed
  • User-friendly
  • Great accuracy with the help of the 3 MOA red dot reticle
  • Very durable

Cons:

  • Battery could be improved

4. Burris Fastfire 3

Reticle: 3 or 8 MOA | Battery: CR2032 Lithium | Magnification: 1x

Burris Fastfire 3

The Burris Fastfire 3 is one of the best mini red dot sights you can find because of some key characteristics worth mentioning:

  • It’s small and lightweight
  • The Fastfire 3 is easy-to-use
  • It’s durable
  • It’s very affordable

The Burris Fastfire 3 has three intensity settings, and its auto setting adapts the reticle to the light around you. Tweaking settings becomes less of a chore.

Even after using the Burris Fastfire 3 heavily, it’s still kicking strong. Not to mention, it comes with a Picatinny mount and a hood that protects your red dot sight.

The Burris Fastfire 3 also has a top-loading battery and one-button controls. It’s lightweight to boot.

The 3 MOA variant only weighs a whopping 0.2 pounds, and the 8 MOA variant weighs 1 pound. This helps balance out a heavy shotgun.

Most of the time, the pushed choice for shotguns is the 8 MOA since it delivers more speed.

A Robust Mounting System: The Burris SpeedBead

A top reason we think the Burris Fastfire 3 is one of the best is the Burris SpeedBead mounting system. It mounts between the weapon’s stock and the receiver while the reticle replaces the bead sight.

This also allows you to mount the reflex sight without needing to tap them for an optics rail.

This mounting system also positions the optics down so you can use it easily with a traditional shotgun sight. It allows for a low mount and works for tactical shotguns too!

The Burris SpeedBead is also a great choice for turkey hunters and trap/skeet shooters.

Combine all of these features with its low price compared to the others; we’d say the Burris Fastfire 3 reflex sight is one of the best deals you can find.

Pros:

  • Budget-friendly
  • Great balance between price and benefits
  • Modular design makes it user-friendly
  • Very lightweight
  • Very durable

Cons:

  • Limited brightness selection

5. Leupold DeltaPoint Pro

Reticle: 2.5 or 7.5 MOA | Battery: CR2032 Lithium | Magnification: 1x

Leupold DeltaPoint Pro

Leupold makes high-quality scopes, but it also makes great red dot optics. A testament to this is the Leupold DeltaPoint Pro.

It has an auto-brightness sensor. This gets rid of the inconvenience of adjusting brightness. It automatically adjusts the LED lights intensity based on lighting conditions.

On the other hand, you could still adjust it manually if you wish.

The DeltaPoint Pro also has a motion sensor that automatically turns on and reflects the reticle once it detects movement. In contrast, it automatically shuts off after five minutes of inactivity.

Now you don’t have to remember to turn your red dot sight on and off constantly.

Although it’s a bit small, it offers a wide field of view. The DeltaPoint Pro is also waterproof and built to be sturdy.

This little guy’s CR2032 battery is also easy to replace. That’s because of its spring-loaded battery compartment.

You no longer need to remove your red dot when replacing the battery. Just imagine the hassle you can be free of!

Even better, the reticle doesn’t move despite heavy recoil, so rest assured, you can fire PRECISELY when shooting at your target.

The only thing we don’t like is the button for adjusting the brightness manually. You need to cycle through the settings rather than simply increasing or decreasing the brightness.

That doesn’t downplay its usefulness, though. It’s still a good choice.

Pros:

  • Avoid the hassle of constantly turning the power on and off
  • No need to constantly adjust brightness settings
  • Steady reticle keeps you precise

Cons:

  • Changing brightness is inconvenient

6. Sightmark Ultra Shot M-Spec

Reticle: 65 MOA or 60 MOA | Battery: CR123A Lithium | Magnification: 1x

Sightmark Ultra Shot M-Spec

The Sightmark Ultra Shot M-Spec is an option with an aluminum body and a protective exterior shield. It’s also good for mid-range.

These holographic sights are made to handle heavy recoil, making them suitable for shotguns. It can last long despite heavy use.

The Ultra Shot M-Spec is also designed with a square heads-up display and multiple reticle patterns. This gives you a wider field of vision without taking up as much space for target acquisition.

It also has a motion sensor that automatically turns the dot and crosshair on or off.

You can switch between four different reticle choices too. These reticle varieties include:

  • A 65 MOA circle dot crosshair
  • A 60 MOA circle with a 5 MOA sub-tension or 2 MOA central dot

The Ultra Shot M-Spec also has its own sunscreen. This makes it one of the few optics with this feature. Its retractable sunshade reduces glare and reflections.

It’s also reasonably priced for an optic with these features. It’s one of the affordable deals you can find when it comes to shotgun sights.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Multiple reticles for different situations and distances
  • Retractable sunshade to reduce glare and reflections

Cons:

  • Weighs 14 ounces, quite heavy
  • One of the larger optics in this list

Do I Need Optics on My Shotgun?

“I don’t need a sight for shotguns! I probably won’t miss, even without it!” That’s probably what you’re thinking, right?

Nope.

That’s a common myth that’s actually a huge misconception about shotguns. Like any other gun, you aim shotguns before you shoot.

To be frank, you’ll greatly benefit from a sight for shotguns. You may think you don’t need it, but it does wonders for your shooting activities.

Typically, shotguns come with a simple bead. There’s nothing wrong with it, mind you. A bead sight works fine for buckshot or birdshot. It’s even good for shotgun slugs up to 100 yards. It’s not the best, though.

Why? Bead sights are often quite small and can be difficult to see.

In situations with low light, it’s even tougher to use. If you’re using a bead, it works. There are better choices for you, though.

To tell you the truth, a majority of weapons can benefit from upgraded sights. Shotguns are no different.

Well-chosen shotgun sights help you with three things:

  • Faster target acquisition
  • Precision
  • Helps you see in the dark easier

And I know you don’t want to miss out on increasing your range and ability to hit small targets.

“Okay. You’ve got me. I need it. How do I choose, though?”

You have to look at a few things. It depends on the gun, the kind of ammo, and the task you’re looking to accomplish with your shotgun.

A good example of this would be how tactical shotguns would meet different needs compared to hunting shotguns. Let me go through it with you.

Picking Your Optics Based on Shotgun Type

What are tactical shotguns?

Basically, they’re designed more for defensive use.

Tactical shotguns are typically lighter and have higher capacities for ammunition. So when home defense becomes an issue, there is your choice.

Based on its purpose, a tactical shotgun is better paired with lighter optics. This is why you choose a red dot for this variant, a Mini Red Dot Sight (MRDS) design to be specific.

Why the MRDS Design?

There are multiple reasons.

#1 Full-Sized Red Dots Can Get in the Way of Reloading

They prevent emergency port reloads. How? They block the way when reloading over-the-top and prevent you from tossing a round into the chamber.

You can go under, but another means to reload is still cut off.

#2 Full-Sized Red Dots Have Problems With Side Saddles

There are times where the optic or mount obstructs the side saddle. This inhibits ammo removal for a reload.

#3 Keeping a Balance

Shotguns tend to be heavy, and choosing lightweight optics helps.

#4 You Can Mount an MRDS Red Dot Ultra-Low

Low-mounted optics give you a cheek weld rather than a chin weld. This is more ideal for shotguns.

Now that you’ve planned your optical solution, here’s something you should remember.

Your chosen optic for your tactical shotgun should also be well-built and reliable. It’s going to take a bit of a beating if you use it a lot.

We might not need to explain what hunting shotguns are since it’s pretty much self-explanatory. In terms of the selection of products, though, you’ll have more options.

Choosing the right optics for your hunting shotgun is all about what you’re hunting and how you’re hunting it.

  • Buckshot is originally designed for medium-sized game such as deer. Like all types of shot, its pattern grows in size as the range increases.

It’s good to a certain extent because you can afford a little room for error when aiming. But you’re looking to minimize the chances of making those errors, right?

  • For the usual buckshot, a red dot optic would be your choice. Mini red dots and smaller red dots, again, work best, to be honest.
  • The same goes for birdshot. On a side note, as its name implies, this kind of ammunition is for birds or smaller game.
  • The last kind would be a slug gun. Choosing the proper optics for a slug gun shotgun is situational.

Yes, red dot sights are good choices. But if you’re hunting an animal that blends into its environment, you’ll be needing magnification to see your target.

Lightly-magnified optics would work well with a slug gun. They usually have three ranges of magnification:

  • 1x to 4x
  • 2x to 7x
  • 3x to 9x

They’re smaller, lower-powered, and deliver the maximum benefits of using a shotgun slug gun.

That was a lot of information to take in, but don’t worry. What we’re talking about next is pretty basic when it comes to choosing your shotgun optical attachment. It’ll be a lot easier to digest.

Other Things to Look for When Choosing Your Optics

Price

First and foremost would be cost.

Honestly, this pretty much applies to almost everything we buy. It’s always a good idea to determine how much you’re willing to spend for your shotgun’s optical attachment.

If it fits your budget, go for it. But don’t forget to equally consider quality and affordability.

Durability

Shotguns, in general, tend to have more recoil compared to a pistol or low-caliber rifle. This is why it’s important to look for a durable and quality optic. They’ll surely take abuse if you use your shotgun a lot.

The best options absorb and withstand the heavy recoil shotguns have. This, in turn, protects the internal electric components from damage. Some variants even have these features:

  • Waterproof
  • Fog proof
  • Advanced shock proofing

Imagine how long your chosen scope would last if you have all of these features. Worth the money, right?

It also helps to compare other features like mounting options, brightness settings, and lens size.

A red dot usually has a dial for adjusting the brightness of the LED. In situations with low light, you probably have to increase the brightness for a clearer view.

Lens Size & Quality

Another factor that impacts your optic’s performance is the lens size and its quality.

Tracking can be easier using lenses with a wide field of view. You also know you have a quality lens if the sight picture is crisp in most lighting conditions.

An issue with a cheaper red dot is that the image gets a little blurry with increased LED brightness.

As for mounting options, optics usually come with either a Weaver-style or Picatinny mount. Many optics and mounts are for use in a co-witnessing setup with iron sights.

Mount Quality

Also, a quick reminder, ensure that your mounting option is solid and reliable. If you feel a bit iffy about it, you can purchase your mounting separately.

We’ve gone through a lot of information. By now, you know enough to be able to choose your shotgun optic wisely.

Let’s finish things up by presenting you with our top choices out of the ones I’ve reviewed on this list.

Wrapping It Up

We’ve divided our top picks into three categories, one pick for each to be exact.

We mostly based it on whether you get the right balance between the features, benefits, and the money you have to shell out.

Best Overall: Aimpoint Micro T-2

The Aimpoint Micro T-2 is the best shotgun optic on this list. If you’re wondering why there are a number of reasons.

  • First, it’s lightweight enough for your to carry, transport, and run with!
  • Second, it’s easy-to-use and has superb versatility, capable of handling various situations.
  • Third, the excellent light transmission makes it superb in bright and low-light conditions.
  • Fourth, its durability is on another level! The fact it’s bomb-proof!
  • Fifth, the battery lasts long, so you know you can get years of heavy usage from this optical attachment.

And last but not least, with being able to acquire a target easily from 5 to 50 yards and great accuracy, you can’t go wrong with this shotgun optic at all!

But hey, if you’re worried about the price, the RMR Type 2 is an excellent value deal!

Best Value: Trijicon RMR Type 2

For the best shotgun sight value, look no further than the Trijicon RMR Type 2. Optics for shotguns should be lightweight, durable, and user-friendly.

Simply put, the Trijicon RMR Type 2 meets all of these criteria. The biggest plus? It meets a great price point being just a little over 200 dollars.

Best Budget Option: Bushnell Trophy TRS-25

There’s no question that the Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 is the best shotgun sight budget option. This is probably the best out of all the deals you can find when your budget is tight.

Meeting a mind-blowing price point of less than 100 dollars, it’s astonishing what this little guy can give you.

You get a good field of vision. It has a brightness selection that’s useful at any time of the day. It’s also very durable.

The fact that it’s waterproof, fog-proof, and shockproof means that this small piece of gear stays with you for the long run.

All of that for a very low price point? Sounds like a bargain to me.

Final Thoughts

Using a sight for shotguns may sound weird at first, but just toss that thought aside.

These small devices will actually improve your chosen shotgun further. You’ll acquire targets faster and your precision will be even better.

You’ll land those shots right where you want them without a problem!

Shotguns and optics go hand-in-hand. You’ll never regret getting one.

Time to load up your shotgun shells, attach the best shotgun sight for you, and get to work!

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.