If you are looking for the best scopes with a red dot, you’re in the right place. These red dot scopes are perfect for almost any AR-15 rifle that you can use for hunting, target or competition shooting, and even tactical uses. The reason why is because the red dot reticle will provide you with better accuracy so you can hit your shots exactly where you want them.
Using a scope with a red dot alone with a regular scope will definitely give you the edge over your fellow shooters when you want precision and accuracy in your rifle. You’d be hard-pressed to find a combination anywhere else for any firearm you own.
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How To Choose? Factors To Consider
Choosing a scope and red dot combo might be tough for most. However, this buyer’s guide will ensure that you make the right decision. We’ll be taking a look at how you can choose a scope with a red dot by looking at different features, what purpose you need it for, and the end goal you want to get out of your scope.
It’s important to look at some of the following features while making a decision. While not all scope and red dot combos are created equal, there’s always that one feature or difference that will stand out among the rest. Let’s first take a look at how you can choose one based on features:
Elevation and Windage: Adjusting for elevation and windage will be key for your scope. That’s because you’ll want to make some adjustments if and when your shot looks a little off. You want to make it easy just by taking a few turns of the knob if and when needed.
Magnification Compatibility: If you need to look at your target up close and personal, magnification will definitely be key. But with red dot scopes, you don’t have magnification as a stand-alone feature. But it can be compatible with other scopes that do have it. The solution is isolating a small piece of the reticle to ensure that the red dot doesn’t obscure your view even when the scope you use is under full magnification.
Objective: The size of your objective will play a factor in choosing a scope. Larger objectives will give you plenty of real estate when looking through it. Likewise, a smaller objective will have less. Keep in mind that the larger the objective, the more light will be gathered. This can be a good sign if you are a hunter that is starting the day around dawn and wants a better picture quality in low-light conditions.
Power source: Nine times out of ten, your red dot scope will be powered by a battery (unless otherwise stated). The question to ask is whether or not you need to buy extra batteries. Even if batteries are included, the smart thing to do would be to purchase batteries just in case. That’s because batteries included by the factory in red dot scopes may not last long.
Reticle type and size: The type of reticle and the size included are two other things to look for. Reticle types will come in the form of dots, chevrons, and other designs. The sizes will vary, but any reticle size that is 2 MOA or smaller will be hard to use and may be difficult to pull off an accurate shot (especially for beginners). Large dots may be tricky if you want to pull off accurate shots against larger targets. So your MOA range is wide varying from 2 to 12 MOA. The closer you can find to a happy medium, the better.
Factors To Consider
With the features listed, we’ll now take a look at factors that you’ll need to consider. Here are some to think over prior to making a choice:
What are my intended targets?
Are you using an AR-15 red dot scope combo for hunting big game? Small game? Or are you using it for target shooting at various distances? How far are you willing to take them out.
Knowing your intended targets will help you decide which red dot is right for you. Especially if you are planning on taking out larger targets. This is why the reticle size is such a key feature when choosing a scope.
For smaller targets, a reticle size with a small MOA at 100 yards is sufficient enough. However, for larger targets, you’ll obviously need to go slightly larger. The key here is to make sure the reticle doesn’t obscure the target even if you intend to hit it accurately at long ranges.
What rail do I have?
There are two rails that an AR-15 has: Picatinny or Weaver. Some red dot scopes will fit one rail or the other. Others may have hybrids where it can fit on either rail. Regardless, if it fits on your rail, you should be good to go. The difference between Picatinny and Weaver rails are the spacing measurements.
Does my rifle go long range?
There are AR-15 rifles that have the ability to go long range. Rifles that fire 6.5 Creedmoor rounds are a prime example. Scopes are your long-range optics while red dots can handle close ranges. So if your rifle has the capabilities of going short or long, then a combo can work out either way. After all, accuracy and precision is the name of the game. And you’ll want that no matter how far the target is.
Here’s a quick comparison of our top recommendations before we get into detailed individual reviews:
Best Scopes Red Top Combos: My Top 3 Picks
Now, we’re going to dig into the top picks for scopes with a red dot on top. As you look through this list, take note of any features that might stand out as interesting. What are some you like or don’t like?
As you go through this list, you’ll want to ponder over the considerations that were listed above. At the end of the day, personal preferences and what you absolutely need in a red dot scope combo will be the factors in your final choice. With that said, let’s take a look at the first item on the list:
Leapers FTS Magnifier With Red Dot Sight Combo — Best Overall
First on the list, we have the Leapers FTS Magnifier with Red Dot Sight Combo. If you are looking for the perfect red dot scope combo along with some of the best magnification levels, this might be right up your alley. This is a scope that can handle everything nature throws its way.
This has a red dot reticle but also has a green dot available if the light conditions are a tad too bright to use a red dot. But nevertheless, they are both visible so you can be able to pull off accurate shots at shorter distances. If accuracy is the one thing you don’t want to compromise on, the Leapers FTS Magnifier might just be your cup of coffee.
Users were quite happy with the overall look and design. Some say it looks intimidating and menacing (there is no disputing that). But nevertheless, it’s a reliable scope that is easy to adjust and will make sure your shot groupings are consistently tight.
- Affordable. Even for the best overall scope
- Consistently tight shooting groups
- Easy to install
- Easy to zero in
- No-fuss adjustments
- Dot may disappear at certain magnification levels
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Ozark Armament Rhino Red Dot Sight — Best For The Money
If you are looking for a budget option, this is probably what you need right here. The Ozark Armament Rhino Red Dot Sight will give you and other users more bang (no pun intended) for their buck in more ways than one. For example, the durability is unmatched and is guaranteed by a lifetime warranty.
What really makes this combo stand out is that it can co-witness with your iron sights right out of the box and as soon as you install them. Even after you fire off so many rounds, the zero settings will remain the same. The customer sentiments from what we’ve heard have found that to be true.
This has a red dot sight, but also comes in green as well. The brightness levels can be easily adjusted so if it’s too bright to see the target, you can always bring it down a notch. At 4 MOA, this red dot scope combo will definitely do some damage whether you hit your targets at short range or slightly farther (like mid-range distances from 300 to 450 yards).
Accuracy and speed are two of the best attributes that you can find in the Ozark Armament. In the words of a legendary lawman who was known for being a master of the gun, “speed is fine, but accuracy is final”. The Rhino Red Dot lives up to those words especially when it can withstand shot after shot without losing its zero.
- No additional co-witness needed
- Zero stays the same after 1000+ shots
- Easy to install
- Superior durability
- Accurate shooting up to 200 yards
- Sight may flicker at times
- May have a bad habit of collecting dust
- You may need Loctite to secure it properly
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Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Riflescope — Runner-Up
Our final scope that we’ll be looking at is the runner-up to the best overall. But nevertheless, the Bushnell brand does a good job providing AR-15 users with reliable and very durable scopes. This red dot riflescope can be your best friend out in the field or at the target range.
With 11 brightness settings, it can fit on pretty much any AR-15 rifle that has a Picatinny rail. If you are looking to customize your rifle with this bad boy, you’ll be like a kid on Christmas morning once you install this puppy. It can get the job done at a short-range (and perhaps beyond that).
Imagine landing a big buck or a bullseye during a combination with this beast of a red dot scope combo. Many users have stated that installation was a breeze and the shooting groups were quite consistent and tight from 100 yards and beyond. At 3MOA, that’s not a bad thing to have.
- Excellent durability
- Affordable for most budgets
- Easy to zero in
- No resetting after 10000 rounds
- Crisp and visible red dot both indoors and outdoors
- Not the best for long-range
- Flip-up sight protector may be needed
- May not be useful for larger caliber rifles
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Open Questions About Scopes With Red Dot On Top
How far can a red dot be accurate?
Red dots will usually be better sighted at 100 yards. If you want to talk about beyond that distance, it will depend on the scope you are using. Unlike regular scopes, red dot scopes don’t have a magnifying feature. So in particular, they are great for stand-alone short-range and mid-range shots.
Does it make sense to mount a red dot on top of a rifle scope?
Short answer: yes. It does make sense if you intend to switch it up a bit when it comes to what you are shooting at. A red dot will come in handy at a certain range (100 to 250 yards).
Likewise, a scope can do some good if you are anywhere from 300 yards and beyond depending on which scope and rifle you’re using. As mentioned before, an M1A can be effective up to 875 yards with the right kind of optics installed.
While there are so many red dot and scope combos out there, one might stand out among the rest. In this regard, the Leapers FTS Magnifier With Red Dot Sight Combo combo is our top choice. With the tightest shooting groups possible and your choice between a red dot and a green dot, there is no doubt that you can get the job done at shorter ranges.
Especially when you are hunting big game and your target is no more than 200 to 250 yards out. At that distance, it’s more than enough for a red dot sight to make it easier for you to hit exactly where you want it.