Red Sight Sights Vs. Iron Sights

If you’re shopping around for a red dot sight then you probably are already familiar with its advantages over iron sights.  While iron sights are great for some situations it is more often the case that a red dot can out perform them for most objectives.

Such so is the point that now red dots are standard issue in most military outfits and for law enforcement.  These organizations have done the real world testing to know that an investment in upgraded optics is worth the price for the enhancements over iron sights it delivers.

There are a few key ways in which a red dot sight can out perform iron sights that we’ve pointed out below

Sight Picture

When staring down the barrel at your target its key to have a sight picture that doesn’t obscure the target and allows for the most situational awareness to what else is happening down range.

This is critical for threat analysis, target acquisition, and decision making.  In the case of iron sights it is always a fact that the sights themselves will block out the lower portion of the sight picture, thats just a fact.

When aiming at a target 100 yards away the sights will obscure everything from the ground in front of the target to where the front sight is centered on the mass.

The advantage of a red dot is that it is designed so that the reticle hovers in the center of the image window without anything else blocking the sight picture.  This allows the shooter to see the entirety of the target at any given time and its surrounding area.  Holographic sights have large windows which allow for maximum viewing awareness.


Red dot sights are quicker for target acquisition than irons.  This is simply the case because there is one less thing to line up on target before pulling the trigger.

Iron sights require the shooter to line up the rear sight, front sight, and target all in a perfect line for an accurate shot.  A red dot takes on of these steps out of the equation and just requires the aimpoint to be line up with the target, a 33% reduction in effort.

You also don’t have to worry about your eyes rack focusing between the read and front sights and the target.  The collimated light used by the red dot allows it to stay in focus as you center you eye down range.  Even the least expensive red dots can give this simple advantage.

The other advantage of red dots is that they are essentially parallax free.  That means as your head moves around the eye relief the aimpoint will appear to stay in a consistent location on the target.  Any head movement with irons means resetting the lineup again.

Low Light Conditions

Iron sights are worthless in low light conditions.  It is nearly impossible to line up the front and rear sights over your target when there is not sufficient contrast provided by light on the target.

Low light conditions will require anyone using iron sights to also equip a mounted flashlight in order to remain effective and combat ready.

The illumination of the red dot reticle itself, powered by its internal battery, is all that is needed to be visible in low light conditions.  It provides a high contrast aimpoint that is distinguishable against shadowed or silhouetted objects.


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