Reflex Sight vs. Red Dot Sight – What is the difference?


Terminologies surrounding scopes are many and can be a bit complicated. Reflex Sight and Red Dot Sight are words that are thrown around quite often. So, what sets them apart?

To know the difference between a Reflex Sight and a Red Dot Sight, you first need to know what each is used for. A Red Dot Sight is generally any type of scope that works as a non-magnifying reflector. It works by being attached to a firearm such as a rifle, a shot gun and even a pistol. A Red Dot Sight is characterized by a glass or laminate objective lens, and just like the name suggests, it comes with a red dot used to indicate the point of contact between the target and the bullet.

There are three types of Red Dot Sights which include:

  • Reflex Sights 

These depend on a light emitting diode, commonly known as an LED to produce an aim point which gets reflected on to a lens through which the shooter looks. Reflex Sights come with a lot of freedom since your aim will be precise and accurate no matter your position behind the lens. In addition, they are great for using without squinting one eye.

  • Holographic Diffraction Sights

These sights form a holographic dot by making a record of the light reflected by a target, decoding the recording and then recreating the light field within the lens for easy aiming. Keep in mind that this dot is non-magnified.

  • Prismatic Sights 

They resemble riflescopes quite closely, but these feature fewer lenses. Prismatic Sights depend on a prism which works by flipping the image so that it appears upright. They are incredibly effective and are known for providing bullet drop indication.

Having broken down the types of Red Dots, it is clear that a Reflex Sight is one of the three types of Red Dot Sights. Below are some of the most common Reflex Sights.

  1. Sig Sauer Romeo 5 

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

It comes with a 20mm digital lens diameter along with a 2 MOA reticle, 12 brightness adjustment settings, two of which are ideal for night vision and a battery life of up to 40,000 hours which is quite impressive.

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  1. Trijicon SRO

With a 25mm objective lens and a 2.5 MOA reticle, this scope makes a great device for a wide field of view. It is a waterproof tool that comes with a battery life of up to 27,000 hours.

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  1. DeltaPoint Pro

This scope comes with a 26mm objective lens and a 2.5 MOA red dot. Also a fully waterproof device, it makes a great device for using in wet and humid regions. The only downside is that it has a short battery life of 300 hours.

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  1. Vortex Venom

This scope comes with a 27mm objective lens, and it also presents a choice of 2 reticle sizes which are the 6 MOA and 3 MOA. It is fully water proof and has a battery life of anything between 150 and 30,000 hours.

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Below is a summary of the above scopes’ specs

Sig Sauer Romeo 5
Trijicon SRO
Leupold DeltaPoint Pro
Vortex Optics Venom
Red Dot Size
2.5 MOA
2.5 MOA
1.9 inches
Objective Lens Diameter
3 MOA, 6 MOA
Brightness Adjustment Levels
Weaver, Picatinny
Reticle Color
Bright red
Battery Life
Up to 50,000 hours
27,000 hours
300 hours
150 – 30,000 Hours


There are many types of Red Dot size, but they are all made for the same reasons. Reflex Sights are part of this variety, and they are known to be incredibly reliable.


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