5 Best Red Dot Sights Under $500 – The Best Mid-Range Optics

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What should you expect from red dot sights under$500? Well, for starters, mid-range optics provide decent durability levels, unique optical features and they are a guarantee of reliability. Let us take a look at 5 of the best red dot sights under $500.

I would assume that finding the best red dot sights for your ammunition begins with evaluating your shooting needs and looking into your personal preferences. Next, you would need to look into their size and weight, their overall design and structure and their battery performance. In addition to that, you would need to evaluate its specific optical features such as the reticle type and size and unique optic features such as lens and prism coatings fitted onto them by their respective manufacturers. In this guide, I have compiled 5 of the best red dot sights that you can find within $500 and under, price range. The table below serves as a summary of their top features, their similarities and their major differences.

5 Best Red Dot Sights Under $500 – A Comparison Table

Model
Dot Size
Optical Magnification
Illumination Settings
Battery Life
Call to Action
Vortex Strikefire Gen II
4 MOA
1x
11
80,000 hours
Vortex Sparc Gen II
2 MOA
1x
12
50,000 hours
Aimpoint PRO Patrol
2 MOA
1x
10
30,000 hours
Aimpoint Carbine Optic
2 MOA
1x
10
10,000 hours
Sig Sauer Romeo 5
2 MOA
1x
10
40,000 hours

5 Best Red Dot Sights under $500 – Reviews

Vortex Strikefire Gen II Red Dot Sight- Our Top Recommendation

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 provides 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 rugged, durable and reliable red dot sight that has been designed to meet all your shooting needs. It has unique optical features that ensure that you are able to enjoy an immersive observation experience and it further ensures pin point accuracy when you are out shooting.

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Vortex Sparc Gen II Red Dot Sight – combines effectiveness, accuracy and speed

Vortex Optics SPARC Red Dot Sight Gen II - 2 MOA Dot
  • The updated SPARC features rugged construction that’s still compact, with a lightweight form-factor....
  • With up to 700 hours of battery life on the highest setting, 50, 000 hour on its lowest, and night-vision...
  • Increased light transmission with multiple anti-reflective coatings on all air-to-glass surfaces....
  • Highly durable hard-coat anodization provides a low-glare matte surface and helps camouflage position. A...

The Vortex Sparc Gen II red dot is compact, lightweight and it features a rugged construction that is ideal for almost all your shooting applications. It features a 2 MOA dot and it is very quick when it comes to target acquisition at close-quarters and it is great performing in terms of pin-point accuracy at extended ranges. It has a decent battery life that runs for up to 700 hours on the highest setting and about 50,000 hours on the lowest setting. In addition to that, it is night vision compatible which makes it ideal for use in low-light conditions.

Specs

  • 12 illumination settings
  • 2 MOA dot
  • Battery life: 700 hours (highest setting) and 50,000 hours (lowest setting)
  • Unlimited eye relief
  • Night vision compatibility

Aside from that, the Vortex Sparc also features multiple anti-reflective coatings on all its air-to-glass surfaces that ensure increased light transmission across the entire visible spectrum. It provides you with an unlimited eye relief that ensures rapid target acquisition and it has 12 illumination settings that allow you to change the dot brightness intensity to match the situation at hand. Its optical housing features O-ring seals that prevent debris, moisture and dirt from penetrating the glass to ensure reliable waterproof performance when you are moving across different surroundings.

Pros

  • Waterproof and shockproof
  • Reliable battery performance
  • Rapid target acquisition and identification
  • Bright and crisp sight picture

Cons

  • Has an auto-timer of 12 hours so you may need to continually turn it on

Verdict

The Vortex Sparc Gen II AR red dot provides you with a decent optical performance and a reliable battery performance for all your shooting performance. It features a durable build quality that is rugged enough to withstand almost all environmental conditions.

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Aimpoint PRO Patrol Red Dot Sight – reflex sight with LED technology

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 reflex 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 Patrol reflex sight is dependable and versatile enough to meet all your shooting application needs. Also, it has a reliable battery performance that would last you for a year plus.

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Aimpoint Carbine Optics Reflex Sight – Ideal for use on modern sporting rifles

Aimpoint ACO Red Dot Reflex Sight with Mount - 2 MOA - 200174
  • Aimpoint quality and performance at an entry-level price
  • 2 MOA dot with 9 low light and daylight brightness settings
  • Includes mount configured for absolute co-witness with standard height sights
  • Up to 1 year of continuous operation using one DL1/3N battery (included)

The ACO Reflex Dot Sight has been designed specifically designed for use on modern sporting rifles and has been developed using premium Aimpoint quality and unique features. It is ready to mount and shoot directly out of its packaging box. It features a 30mm aluminum sight tube that has been paired with a TMP fixed height mount by Aimpoint. It is customizable with a full range of accessory options including an anti-reflection device and flip covers.

Specs

  • 2 MOA red dot
  • Battery life of up to 10,000 hours
  • 10 illumination settings
  • Submersible t0 5 meters

The Aimpoint Carbine Optics Dot Reflex Sight features a 2 MOA red dot optimized for faster target acquisition and it runs on a DL1/3N battery. It provides you with a dependable battery life of up to 10,000 hours. It is a non-magnifying operationally parallax free optic with 10 illumination settings that allow you to adjust the dot intensity to match the lighting conditions in your surrounding environment. It is waterproof to 15 feet and it is rugged enough to withstand use in all kinds of weather.

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Dependable battery performance
  • Rapid target acquisition
  • Rugged, durable and versatile
  • Great optical performance

Cons

  • Shorter battery life than most optics

Verdict

This particular red dot sight is an entry-level Aimpoint that has been designed to deliver outstanding optical performance and ensure ruggedness and durability during your shooting escapades. In as much as it has a shorter battery life than most red dot optics, it uses readily available AA batteries that you can replace easily.

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Sig Sauer Romeo 5 Red Dot Optics- unique optical features

Sig Sauer SOR52001 Romeo5 1x20mm Compact 2 Moa Red Dot Sight, Black
  • 2 MOA Red-Dot provides 10 illumination settings (8 daylight plus 2 NV) for visibility in all light...
  • MOTAC (Motion Activated Illumination) powers up when it senses motion and powers down when it does not....
  • Integrated M1913 Picatinny interface provides industry-standard mounting options for a wide range of...
  • Dependable waterproof (IPX-7 rated for complete water immersion up to 1 meter) and fog-proof performance

The Sig Sauer Romeo 5 is a compact, lightweight and rugged red dot optic that has been crafted from a durable aluminum material. Its aluminum frame ensures ultimate resistance from water and fog. This makes it ideal for use in different climatic conditions no matter how harsh. It features a Spectra coating that significantly reduces reflection and increases the light transmission levels across the entire visible spectrum.

Specs

  • 2 MOA red dot
  • Battery life of 40,000 hours
  • 10 illumination settings
  • Night Vision Compatible
  • Waterproof to 1m

It runs on readily available AA batteries and it has a reliable battery life of up to 40,000 hours. It allows you to easily replace its batteries through its conveniently placed casing towards the side of the red dot. It features a unique MOTAC system that automatically goes on as soon as it senses any movement. Unfortunately, it goes off within two minutes of inactivity. It has 11 illumination settings and is night vision compatible. This allows you to comfortably use it in low light conditions and you are able to seamlessly access a bright and clear sight picture even when it is too bright outside.

Pros

  • Dependable battery performance
  • Water resistant
  • Readily available batteries
  • Decent battery performance
  • Incredible optical performance

Cons

  • The base pad cannot be removed
  • It is difficult to remove the adjustment caps

Verdict

If you are looking for a high-quality sight with multiple unique optical features at an affordable price, then you would be impressed by the Sig Sauer Romeo 5.

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What factors should you consider when purchasing a red dot sight for your weapon?

Red dots are a great addition to your shooting activity gear as they ensure rapid target acquisition and pinpoint accuracy when you are out hunting, during sports shooting and even when you are trying to protect yourself and your home from predators. The following factors are important to consider when you are trying to purchase the best quality red dot for your hunting weapon;

Size of the Red Dot

Generally, the size of the red dot should match the size of your weapon. Rifles would work well with larger red dots while smaller handguns would work better with smaller red dots. In addition to that, smaller red dots are more compact and lighter which significantly reduces equipment bulk in your outdoor activity gear.

Reticle Size

The reticle size generally depends on the types of shots that you will be taking and the distance from your shooting position to your target. A smaller reticle is ideal for taking more accurate shots at longer distances but it may be harder to see while larger reticles are suitable for close-range shots and for newer shooters as it is easier to use.

Battery performance

Generally, you are at a higher advantage when you settle for a red dot that features readily available batteries that one that runs on special order batteries. Also, you would rather settle for a red dot with a prolonged battery life as it allows for the longest possible operating times.

Night Vision Compatibility

Hunting and shooting in low light conditions such as dusk and dawn would require you to purchase a red dot that has night vision compatibility so that you can see clearly in the dark.

Conclusion

Generally, red dot sights ensure fast target identification alongside rapid and accurate target acquisition. Mid-range red dot sights under $500 are excellent options if you are looking to benefit from high-quality optics. They provide you with a decent sight picture and they have a sturdy construction that ensures they are rugged enough for use in all kinds of environments. Among the five, the best overall is the Vortex Strikefire Gen 2 red dot sight which allows you to access an immersive observation experience.

FAQs

  1. Is the red dot on the Sig Sauer Romeo 5 crisp or blurred?

The Red Dot on the Sig Sauer Romeo 5 is crisp but can be blurred if you have non-corrected astigmatism.

  1. How tall is the riser on the Vortex Sparc II red dot sight?

The riser on the Vortex Sparc II is 3 mm.

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Terrence Miller
Terrence Miller is a hunter by birth, picking it up from a lineage of hunters and will probably hand the skill down to his son. He has been hunting since he was a young boy and has knowledge of both the new and old hunting equipment. This goes to say that the information provided is very reliable and conclusive. Using the hunting rifles and getting the right hunting gear seems to be a challenge for many individuals who want to learn the skill of hunting. And the reason why the information presented by Miller has detailed coverage on the different types of rifles, and rifle scopes. When not in the wild hunting, Miller loves horseback riding.

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