5 Best Budget Red Dots – Absolute Value for the Buck

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Purchasing good quality and high performing red dot sights should not always mean breaking the bank. All you need is one that meets all your shooting application needs and one that satisfies almost all of your personal preferences.

I have always loved hunting and for this particular reason, I have always invested in a variety of hunting equipment including red dot sights. When I was shopping for my first red dot sight, I was impressed and confused by the variety that has flooded the optical market. One thing I noted was that it was quite difficult to find high quality red dot sights at a pocket friendly price. I then realized that all I needed was a red dot sight that is reliable, one that has optimal optical performance and one that is rugged enough for use in all kinds of environments and for all kinds of shooting applications be it mid-range or long-range. In this article, I have narrowed down your options to 5 of the best budget red dots that I have come across over the years.

A summary table for the best budget red dots

Model
Red Dot Size
Adjustment Graduation
Magnification
Weight
Call to Action
Vortex Strikefire II SF-BR-504
4 MOA
1/2 MOA
1x
7.2 oz.
Bushnell Trophy  TRS-25
3 MOA
1/2 MOA
1x
4.0 oz.
Aimpoint PRO Red Dot Reflex Sight
2 MOA
1/2 MOA
1x
6.8 oz.
Burris Fastfire III
3 MOA
1/2 MOA
1x
1.5 oz.
Holosun HS507C-V2
2 MOA
1 MOA
1x
1.5 oz.

Best Budget Red Dots – How do they compare?

Vortex Strikefire II SF-BR-504 – Best Overall

Vortex Optics Strikefire II Red Dot Sight- 4 MOA Red Dot, Black
  • The new 2019 Strikefire II Red Dot is a rugged, reliable red dot sight that is at home in a variety of...
  • With aesthetics and functionality in mind, the power controls are at the rear of the Strikefire for easy...
  • An offset cantilever mount is provided; allowing you to move the sight forward to be used in conjunction...
  • Fully multi-coated lenses provide a clean and bright, unobscured point of view. Unlimited eye relief...

The Vortex Strikefire II is a rugged and reliable red dot sight that is ideal for short, mid and long range shooting applications. It features 11 illumination settings and is night vision compatible. Towards the rear, it has been fitted with power controls for easier access. It runs off a CR2 battery and it has a reliable battery life of up to 80,000 hours when you adjust its brightness to setting 6.

Specs

  • Nitrogen purged and O-ring sealed
  • 11 variable illumination settings
  • Fully multi-coated
  • 4 MOA Red Dot
  • Battery life of 80,000 hours on setting 6

It comes with an offset cantilever mount that allows you to move your red dot sight forward so that you can use it simultaneously with backup iron sights and a magnifier on the same rail. It features fully multicoated lenses that have been designed to provide you with a clean and bright point of view. It proides you with an unlimited eye relief that allows for rapid target acquisition. It has a single-piece chassis that ensures that it is compact and lightweight. It is Nitrogen purged and O-ring sealed to ensure waterproof and fog proof performance.

Pros

  • Waterproof and Fog proof
  • Rapid target acquisition
  • Clean and bright field of view
  • Night vision compatible

Cons

  • Slightly bulky

Verdict

The Vortex StrikeFire II is a very affordable red dot sight whose optical performance and ruggedness is ideal for hunting and range guns where stakes aren’t too high.

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Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 – the most affordable red dot sight

Sale
Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight Riflescope, 1x25mm, Black
  • Matte black featuring a 3 MOA Dot reticle with 11 brightness settings; Mounts easily on most picatinny...
  • Waterproof construction: O ring sealed optics stay dry inside, even when totally immersed in water....
  • Shockproof construction: Built to withstand bumps, bangs, drops and the rough and tumble environment of...
  • Nitrogen purged fog proofing: Nitrogen inside the scope ensures interior optical surfaces won’t fog due...

The Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight is a small and compact optical device that has been crafted with a durable and good quality metal housing. It rugged construction allows you to use it comfortably in all kinds of environments and for all your shooting applications. It is easy to mount and it works seamlessly with most picatinny rails.

Specs

  • 3 MOA Dot Reticle
  • 1x magnification
  • Unlimited eye relief
  • Nitrogen purged and O-ring sealed
  • 11 brightness Adjustments
  • Compatible with handguns, shotguns and rifles

The Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 is compatible with shotguns, rifles, muzzleloaders and pistols. It allows you to easily adjust the brightness of your red dot through its easy-to-use and convenient adjustment dial. It is nitrogen purged and O-ring sealed to ensure its waterproof and fog proof construction. It runs of a CR2032 battery and it has a decent battery life that is reliable enough for all your shooting applications.

Pros

  • Waterproof and Fog proof
  • Rugged construction
  • Decent optical performance
  • Rapid target acquisition

Cons

  • It does not get bright enough to see when it is too sunny outside
  • Intense red glare that could distort sight picture

Verdict

If you are looking for the most ideal red dot sight for low light conditions and you are trying to avoid breaking the bank, you would be impressed by the optical performance and overall features that the Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 has to offer.

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Aimpoint PRO Red Dot Reflex Sight – decent optical performance

Aimpoint PRO Red Dot Reflex Sight with QRP2 Mount and Spacer - 2 MOA - 12841
  • Designed to deliver premium performance under harsh conditions
  • 2 MOA dot with 4 Night and 6 Daylight brightness settings
  • Up to 3 years of continuous operation using one DL1/3N battery (included)
  • Front and rear flip-up lens covers included; In-service and battery change date decal

The Aimpoint PRO is a compact and lightweight red dot sight that features a minimalistic design that fits comfortably into your hunting gear. It features a bright red 2MOA red dot that ensures accuracy at all distances when you are out hunting. It has 11 illumination settings; 6 daylight settings, one of which is for use in bright sunlight and 4 night vision compatible settings. It is compatible with almost all Night Vision Device generations and it is parallax free.

Specs

  • 2 MOA red dot
  • DL 1/3N battery
  • Submersible to 150 feet
  • 10 illumination settings

Advantageously, the Aimpoint PRO red dot sight provides you with 30,000 hours of consistent battery life when you are using it at its 7th brightness setting. It comes with a QR2P tightening knob that ensures accurate focusing and mounting.

Pros

  • Parallax free
  • Unlimited eye relief
  • Waterproof performance
  • Reliable battery performance
  • Good clarity on the glass

Cons

  • Slight blue tint on the lens

Verdict

The Aimpoint PRO red dot sight is reliable and versatile enough for all your shooting applications. It has a decent battery performance and a decent sight picture.

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Burris Fastfire III – red dot with a great build quality

The Burris Fastfire III features a compact and portable design and a durable aluminum housing that contributes to its versatility in all your shooting applications. It features a bright red dot that has been fitted at the point of impact within the entire visible spectrum to ensure optimal performance when it comes to overall speed and pinpoint accuracy during target identification and acquisition.

Specs

  • 1x magnification
  • 3 MOA dot reticle
  • 1 MOA windage and elevation adjustments
  • Waterproof
  • Comes with a Picatinny mount

The Burris Fastfire III features an automatic brightness sensor that adjusts its illumination levels to match the environmental conditions that you are shooting in. also, it allows you to manually control its brightness levels using its three brightness settings. Aside from that, it is waterproof to a depth of 3 meters and it is shockproof enough to withstand high levels of force.

Pros

  • Bright enough for shooting applications
  • No parallax
  • Fast and easy target acquisition
  • Sturdy and rugged construction

Cons

  • Has only 3 brightness settings unlike other red dots that have up to 10 brightness settings
  • Some users have complained of battery defects

Verdict

The Burris Fastfire III is affordable and reliable enough for most of our shooting applications. Despite its limited illumination settings, it is a guarantee of fast target identification and accurate target acquisition.

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Holosun HS507C-V2 – exceptional battery performance and sturdy construction

Sale
Holosun HS507C-V2 Multi-Reticle 2 MOA and 32 MOA Circle Parallax Free Pistol Red Dot Optical Sight with Solar Failsafe and Shake Awake, Red
  • INCLUDES: Holosun Red Dot Sight | Coin Battery CR1632 | T10 L Key | Picatinny Mount | Lens Cloth | User...
  • LONG BATTERY LIFE: Features include Holosun’s Super LED with up to 50k hours battery life
  • ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY: There are 12 different brightness settings, including dim settings compatible with...
  • SHAKE AWAKE: Holosun’s Shake Awake Technology shuts the LED off during periods of motionlessness. The...

The Holosun HS507C-V2 is renowned for its incredible field of view and its unique set of optical features that keep you at par at all times when shooting. It is c rafted from rugged and high quality aluminum and it has been fitted with multicoated lenses that have been designed to provide you with a crisp and bright sight picture.

Specs

  • Picatinny mount
  • Coin Battery CR1632
  • 12 illumination settings
  • Uses shake awake technology
  • Solar chagrining abilities

It features a side access battery tray and large brightness control buttons that allow you to change the battery without having to un-mount the battery. It uses both solar and a lithium battery to ensure its reliability at all times when you are out in the field. For this reason, it offers a maximum of 50,000 hours of battery life. Its optics have been designed with Shake AwakeTM Technology that senses any kind of motion that powers it on and off.

Pros

  • Exceptional battery performance
  • Durable, portable and versatile
  • Exceptionally wide field of view
  • Bright and crisp sight picture

Cons

  • Loose screws

Verdict

The Holosun HS507C has an exceptional battery performance that makes it ideal for prolonged shooting applications.

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What should you consider when buying the best budget red dot sight for your firearm?

Red dots are crucial for the optical performance and visual quality of your firearm during target acquisition. Your hunting gear may have a pistol but without the best red dot sight, this may not be enough to support successful hunting escapades. Therefore, when you are looking for the best red dot for your firearm, you should consider the following features;

Design and Structure of your Red Dot Sight

The question here is whether you prefer an open or a closed tube design. But, this entirely depends on what you are using the red dot sight for. Open red dot sights are comprised of a flat base with a simple loop of material that supports their reflective optics. Advantageously, they are lightweight and they have a smaller footprint.

The tube red dot sights are almost similar to what riflescopes look like. They feature dust covers and they provide you with the ability to add filters such glare reducing sunshades and haze filters. Also, if you are looking for a more versatile and rugged option, you would be impressed by the performance of the tube sights when you are moving across unruly weather or dynamic temperatures.

Design and Structure of the Reticle

The reticle is the aiming point that has been projected to the objective lens that you would be viewing from before target acquisition. Most reticles are illuminated to help you shoot your targets easily and effectively. The reticles in red dots differ in terms of their size and pattern. Some are simplistic while others are quite complex. The one that you choose often depends on your specific optical needs.

When you are invested in long range shooting applications, you would need to pick a budget red dot that has a smaller dot because it provides you with an exceptional view of your target, it is more versatile and more refined than a larger one. Aside from that, you will notice that some red dot sights feature outer rings with a smaller dot in the middle to cater for variable shooting distances. The outer rings are very important as they provide you with a greater sense of direction and optical consistency.

Some red dot sights feature gridlines and crosshairs which have been designed to help you determine the distance between your shooting position and your target. Some red dot sights feature multiple reticle designs that can be changed across different situations and when you would want to use a different shooting style.

Battery life and Charging Abilities

Considering the fact that red dot sights are electronic devices, their battery life and power are things that you would need to keep in mind when trying to find the best one for your pistol. Reflex sights use LED illumination to enhance your optical experience during target acquisition. This means that they use a very little amount of power and they have a prolonged battery life.

Holographic red dot sights on the other hand, use lasers. This means that they run out of battery really fast and they require a lot of energy to charge. At times, you could find either reflex or holographic sites that use alternative source of power such as fiber optics or tritium capsules. This are a better investment because they lack electronic parts. The only defect is that, they are not as illuminated as the LED and Laser powered sights.

Reticle Projection

Red dot sights are classified based on the way that they project their reticle. Here, you would need to look at whether you prefer the reflex or the holographic sights.

If you are a hunter and are trying to find the best red dot sight for your pistol, you would be better of purchasing the reflex red dot sight. The Reflex sights feature an LED light behind their lens which illuminates the objective lens. This way more light can be reflected to your eye and you can see your target clearly.

For military purposes, a holographic sight is more ideal because military men would need to embark on strategic shooting. For this type pf reticle projection, a laser diode has been designed to shine in front of its objective lens.

Conclusion

Red dot sights particularly ensure optimal optical performance in your rifle and they elevate your accuracy levels during target identification and acquisition.

FAQs

Will the Burris Fastfire III fit the Ruger 22/45 supplied weaver mount?

Yes, it will.

Can I remove the Picatinny mount on the Burris Fastfire red dot sight so that I can mount it on its mounting plate for a glock?

Yes, you can.

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