Red Dot Vs Scope: Which is the Right Tactical Optics?

There is always the challenge of deciding on the best optic for your rifle. There are pretty decent optics on the market to consider. However, the real decision comes down to deciding between a red dot and a scope. Once you get to learn the pros and cons of these two types of optics, making your decision becomes easier.

Most hunters want the right tactical optic. But first, let’s get to understand each optic and how it works.

What is a red dot?

A red dot is basically an optical illusion inside a tube or enclosure. It mounts of top of a rifle like scopes projecting a red dot on the screen. The red dot can sometimes appear as a reticle, line or red honing notation.

The red dot mounted on pistols or rifles helps calculate the distance from the gun to the target. It also improves accuracy when shooting by focusing your shot on the red dot.

What is a scope?

You probably know about scopes since they are common and widely used. A scope as opposed to a red dot feature magnification. It magnifies the target size bringing it closer for a precise shot. There are no markings or red dot on a scope. You simply get to see the image in a big size.

So, which is the best choice between a red dot and a scope in tactical situations?

To get a clear answer, we are going to look at both optics under different categories of speed, accuracy, weight, and reliability.

Red Dot Vs. Scope: Which is the quickest?

When you’re factoring speed, you’re basically looking to make fast shots at close ranges. This is where red dots come out as clear winners. They are built for speed due to the simple dot reticle designed to shoot quickly. Besides, the reticle is red drawing your eyes faster for quick shots.

Moreover, red dots feature unlimited eye relief and are almost parallax free. They allow you to quickly gain a sight of the target from any head position.  Red dots also feature a wide field of view. This is crucial when transitioning between targets. Since red dots lack magnifications, you can aim with both eyes open with some practice. You can also consider holographic sights which get targets faster and easier than traditional sights.

On the other hand, scopes tend to be slower since they have critical eye relief. You need to take time to see clearly through the scope. Moreover, scopes feature magnification which greatly narrows the field of view at close ranges. Only scopes with a magnification of 1X can shoot faster but still slower than red dots.  

Red Dot Vs Scope: Which is more accurate?

Some of the best expert shooters will shoot accurately with these two. However, the key factor to accurate and precise shooting is seeing the target more clearly. This is where scopes tend to have an advantage over red dots.

While you mount a magnifier behind your reflex, you can only get 3X power. Scopes are better suited for precise and accurate shooting at long ranges as opposed to reflex sights.

Red Dot Vs Scope: Which one is heavier?

Adding accessories to your rifle means adding more weight and making your rifle bulkier.  You don’t want to move around with a 10pound rifle. Generally, reflexes are much lightweight than scopes. However, technology has greatly improved and most scopes today are pretty lightweight. Weight should not be a major consideration when choosing the right optical for your rifle.

While scopes are light, there is little difference nowadays with most manufacturers producing lighter scopes. Most red dots will weigh between 3.5 to 4.5 ounces. On the other hand, most scopes will weight from15 ounces to 20 ounces. You need to consider functionality before deciding on weight. If both optics help you shoot precises, then a red dot is a better choice when you factor in weight.

Red Dot Vs Scope: Which one is more reliable?

Both are designed to be tough and ready for use. However, red dots rely on batteries which can die anytime. This is where scopes tend to have a slight edge working without relying on batteries. However, it is worth noting that red dots come with a very long battery lifespan.  But, when the batteries die, you’re not going to use them.

Reliability is not a big issue here as you can always have backup batteries in case the original ones run out. It all comes down to what gives you confidence.

Final verdict

To sum it all up, there is no clear winner between red dots scopes. The best tactical optics comes down to purpose. Do you need speed or accuracy in your shots? Is the extra scope weight weighing you down? Once you consider all these factors, you get to choose an optical that best serves your needs. There’re plenty of optics on the market you could choose for hunting, shooting, you could check out this article from OpticsAddict to find more.