Sight Specs To Consider

There are a lot of different options for red dot sights on the market today.  More and more optics manufacturers are putting out new products or updates to previous generation models.

Every year now technology allows for some new feature or optimization to be introduced, pushing the performance and accuracy of these sights to new levels.

With all these different configurations and options to choose from it can be a challenge to figure out what pecs are actually important to consider when shopping around for upgrades to your stock sights.

However, there are definitely a handful of specs that stand out among the rest as essential to really research before buying. For any sight you are looking at be sure to see how it stacks up in each of the following areas.


This isn’t so much a spec per se, but it can reveal a lot about the sight’s quality and build.  There are a handful of well known manufacturers that have built their brand on high quality optics built throughout their company’s history.

This means both material quality and build quality. A good sight that lasts a lifetime can be a lot better investment than one you have to switch out every couple of years as it can’t handle regular use.

Some great brands you can hang your hat on would be Bushnell and UTG.  Both of these companies have been in the optics business for a while and dialed in their build process to put out some of the top line product available.  There are other manufacturers that produce Mil-Spec sights that fit all the requirements set by military services.  Most common are Aimpoint and EOTech sights.  Although they primarily are sold to the military they are also available for civilian use.

Reticle Type

The reticle is the illuminated point that is overlayed onto the objective window and is used for lining up the barrel onto the target.  There is a bit of variety in reticles but the main factors to keep in mind are shape, color, and size.

The most typical shape is a simple dot, which gives a good open sight picture for situational awareness and accurate shot placement.  Donut or ring shapes are great for close range shooting and quick target acquisition.  There are also crosshair reticles which can be used for bullet drop compensation at longer distances.

Sizes can vary between 3-5 MOA for dots and up to 10-15 MOA for rings.  A larger MOA is great for getting a quick overlay on the target at close distances but a smaller MOA with a proper zero is great for accurate shots at mid range distances.  For any AR 15 optics a smaller MOA is suitable in most cases.

Reflex Vs Holographic

Choosing which type of reticle projection is another factor to keep in mind.  There are two main types: reflex and holographic.

A reflex sight operates by having the objective lens work as a partial mirror, reflecting collumated light off of it an back into the shooters view.  It is designed to only be reflective at the wavelength of the internal LED so it is transparent for all other wavelengths.

A holographic sight works by having collumated light shown through the lens from the opposite side of the shooters eye.  The light exposes an etched reticle that is in the objective window.

Tube Style

Sights can be housed in two different configurations, either tubed or open.  You’ll be able to find inexpensive sights of either version.

Tubed sights have a look similar to traditional scopes, be it a little shorter and narrower.  It includes a cylindrical casing that holds the lens and optics components.  Most reflex sights are tubed designed because of the need for good sunshade to enable a visible reticle.  Sight end caps can also be placed on tubes to help protect the sight when it is not in use.

Open sights are typically reserved for holographic style dot sights and are a slight change in configuration.  These usually have a rectangular viewing window as opposed to a circular objective lens.  The window itself is he held in a thin encasing so it doesn’t have the longer width of a tube, giving it a smaller profile.

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