Red Dot Sight for the AR-15

Red Dot Sight for the AR-15

Posted by STNGR USA on Oct 11th 2022

What is a red dot optic? Let's find out.

Hello and welcome to the STNGR Workshop. My name is Rick Barrett and I'm your host for these series of videos where we will talk about everything from gun accessories to gun maintenance. And tonight's topic is the red dot optic.

The Red Dot Sight

Now the red dot optic is one of the most popular options for people to put on their long guns in today's market. As a side note when I talk about long guns I'm talking about anything from AR15s to shotguns to pistol caliber carbines to bolt action rifles.

Now for some of you who are looking for a technical definition of what a red dot optic is, it is a small electronic sight system that generates a dot-shape reticle that serves as a designator for where your round should land.

The reason why red dot optics are so popular is they allow the shooter faster target acquisition. This is because you can get a sight picture far quicker than you can using a flash front sight picture. They're also extremely accurate.

What are the types of red dots and how do they work?

When the average person thinks of a red dot optic what they're thinking of is what is called an exposed reflex sight. However, reflex sights are just one type of red dot optic.

There are actually three different types: there's the reflex sight, there's the holographic sight, and the prism sight.

Exposed Reflex Sights

As stated before, the reflex sight is the most common type of red optic. Now the way the reflex sight works is that a small LED projects a colored dot of light against the lens. Now this lens works like a mirror reflecting the dot of light back towards your eye, allowing you to see the red dot through the sight.

There are two advantages to the reflex sights. The first one is that they're usually cheaper than the other types of red dot optics. And secondly they have unlimited eye relief.

Now hold on, I wanna talk to you about unlimited eye relief and eye relief in general. Now eye relief means that your head can be positioned anywhere and you can keep both your eyes open while aiming.

Reflex sights are an excellent option for many different weapon uses from home defense to tactical shooting. It is the go-to option for the general shooting public.

Prism Sights

Now, in addition to reflex sights, the second red dot optic we're gonna be talk about is prism sights. Prism sights are usually short, tube shaped optics. They work similarly to traditional lens scopes, but instead of a lens or lenses, prism sights use a prism to focus that image you see down the scope.

One thing I need to say about prism sites is they do have a major downfall, and that is small eye relief. This means that your eye must be close to the optic in order to pick up a proper sight picture.

When looking at reflex sights versus prism sights, reflex sights are more of an overall general tool for multiple functions, whereas prism sights fit the more traditional hunting role.

Burris AR-332™ Prism Sight

Holographic Sights

The last red dot optic we're gonna talk about briefly is the holographic sight. The reason we're not going to dive too deeply into it is because the patent is owned by a company called EOTech and it's *one of the only ones on the market (EOTech was the only company to produce holographic sights until Vortex came out with their own holographic sight in 2017). So if you're interested in that, you can look up what the specs are on an EOTech or Vortex holographic sight.

Red Dot Mounts: Cowitness vs Low Profile

In addition to talking about the different types of red dots that are available, let's talk briefly about the two most common types of mounts that you'll find when working with red dot optics. These two mounts are the low profile mount and the co-witness mount.

Now a co-witness mount refers to the alignment of your iron sight with your red dot sight. If your irons and your optics are both sighted in, you would expect them to be aligned or otherwise known as cowitnessed with each other when you line up your shot.

This is in contrast to low-profile mounts, and these mounts go directly on the frame of your long gun.

STNGR AXIOM II Red Dot Sight with Low Profile Mount

STNGR AXIOM II Red Dot Sight with Quick Detach T1/T2 Lower 1/3 Co-Witness Mount

Why Use a Red Dot?

The biggest question that is asked when we're talking about red dot optics is: Why? Why not just use iron sights or a traditional scope?

Well, when we're talking about red dot optics they are a great advantage to beginners. Those who are new to rifles can shoot using this red dot sight without training. New shooters can use red dot optics in a variety of roles, from competition to hunting. Red dot sights can be a fantastic way for beginners to get over that initial learning curve, and they can boost seasoned shooters' accuracy and speed as well.

Final Thoughts

And that's it for this video. I'm Rick Barrett coming to you from the STNGR Workshop. I hope you enjoyed this video and I'll talk to you again soon.