13 Best Reflex Sights for the Money (Complete Buying Guide)
Reflex sights, also known as reflector sights, are optical sights that allow you to look through a glass element and see an aiming point or image that’s been superimposed on the field of view. This could be a red dot, a hologram or a crosshair.
The best reflex sights are designed to fit your preferred firearm. The best reflex sights for the money will make it easier to track and hit the target without causing eye strain or other problems.
01. Bushnell Trophy Model TRS-25 Red Dot Sight Riflescope, 1x25mm, Black
One of the biggest benefits of reflex dot sights is that they provide eye relief; this means that they prevent eye strain that can cost you your perfect shot. It has 11 different brightness settings. You can adjust it using a simple to use external adjustment dial.
One point in favor of this riflescope is that it can be mounted on almost any picatinny rails. It will work on many if not all pistols, shotguns, muzzle loaders and rifles. You can even mount it low on non-AR-15s.
However, it is probably one of the best reflex sights for ar15. This riflescope by Bushnell is weather-proof. It has waterproof O-rings to keep the optics dry even if you drop it in a lake.
The scope has been nitrogen purged to prevent fogging up. The entire assembly is shock-proof. Dropping it won’t break the glass. And the entire thing weighs less than half a pound, so it won’t weigh down your gun.
Like many reflex sights, it has a very long battery life, and it is powered by the commonplace CR2032 battery. And it will hold zero even as it is dropped, knocked and sits in storage all summer.
It isn’t really recoil proof, though it is “shock-proof”. Sometimes the brightness changes because the recoil shifts the brightness knob. The lens quality itself is mediocre. It isn’t like a telescope mounted on the gun.
- Fits almost any gun
- Brightness knob and location may shift with use
- Lens quality is not great
02. Feyachi Brand Reflex Sight - Adjustable Reticle
This reticle has a 33 mm lens with a wide field of vision. It is unusual for offering a wide variety of sights based on what works best in that moment. This reticle has four different types of sights built into it.
For example, it has both red and green sights. You can switch between dot, circle, crosshair and a combination of these three. And the sight provides eye-relief. Furthermore, lens is parallax corrected. It has a sturdy rail mounting system. And it is easy to install.
The unit is advertised as suitable for paintball guns, but it can be mounted on a few rifles and shotguns. This is one of the best cheap reflex sights on the market. The manufacturer sells a wide range of related equipment like rifle slings and iron sights.
It is powered by a 3 volt lithium battery. This isn’t initially a problem, since the manufacturer provides one. Finding a replacement without buying a new sight is. However, it is so cheap you may just buy a new reticle instead.
The adjustment dial doesn’t necessarily stop where you want it, and it may change while you’re moving. This means the red dot could switch to a cross-hair and vice versa. And the reticle could move to the left or right of your zero. That can hurt your accuracy.
The lenses leave much to be desired. They’re surprisingly blurry, and they may fall out if the gun is dropped. This is not a shock-proof rifle sight.
- Unusual for having multiple sight options
- Easy to install
- Lots of related accessories
- Adjustment knob and reticle itself may move
- Not shock-proof
03. Field Sport Brand Red and Green Reflex Sight with 4 Reticles
This reflex sight by Field Sport has four different reticles as well as red and green lights. This aluminum reflex sight is lightweight and rust-proof.
It comes with a built-in picatinny mount base. And it is easy to mount on a wide range of guns, including the AR-15. Zeroing it out is easy, too. It is water-resistant, but it isn’t water-proof.
It is shock-proof. It is held securely in place by a windage similar to an Allen head screw. Adjustments will stay locked in place due to that screw holding that setting. However, things will drift once you loosen the screws. The elevation knobs don’t always work.
It isn’t a magnifying glass. It will show you what you’d otherwise see without the lenses. While it has red and green lights, they’re not very bright. It may not give you a bright enough setting to see your sight on a bright day.
One common complaint is that the dots start to dim or stop after the gun has been fired a hundred times or more with the sight mounted to it.
- Multiple colored lights and reticles
- Settings won’t change because you fired it 50 times at the range
- Fits on a variety of guns
- Somewhat unstable when not locked down
- May stop working after being used a few dozen times
04. Tacticon Armament Brand Predator V1
Tacticon Armament advertises itself as a veteran owned company, suggesting that they understand what hunters and self-defense advocates want in a reflex sight.
Tacticon’s V1 can put out a red or green dot, and you can adjust the brightness. It holds zero. It is sad that we have to mention it, but many other reflex sights don’t hold zero. It doesn’t have a magnifier, but the dot and the lens are clear.
It is designed to work with iron sights. The manufacturer offers iron sights that work perfectly with this reflex sight. But you don’t need to use it with a parallax. It is water-proof and fog-proof.
The hardware is poor quality. Things wear out as the rifle recoils. You’ll start to see the knob become less firm, such that after 100 to 200 rounds, it won’t firmly click into place. After 200 to 300 rounds, the dot itself may disappear.
In other cases, the red dot will seem like an elongated oval because the lens isn’t perfectly aligned. In other sights, it may flare, actually getting in the way.
- Both red and green dots
- Fog proof and water proof
- Holds zero
- Poor quality control
- May be unusable after a few hundred rounds
05. DAGGER DEFENSE Brand DDHB Model Reflex Sight
This reflex sight by Dagger Defense or DD has both red and green dots. It also has four different position reticles. Flip between them using a rotary adjustment knob.
It runs off of a standard CR2032 battery. It uses a locking set screw to hold the adjustments in place. This reflex sight comes with two different Allen wrenches to make these settings. That’s one more than most reflex sights. It can be mounted on a picatinny rail,
but it is unusual in taking up as little space as possible to make room for other rail mounted accessories like flashlights. The company sells a compatible picatinny rail mounted iron sight.
There are issues with the lenses. Its single dot or crosshair may blur. The projection lens and primary lens may blur or flare, too. That’s separate from the glass slipping during repeated sessions on the range, though that’s an issue reported with other rifle sights. That’s fine if you’re playing paintball but not good enough if you’re shooting on the range or going hunting.
- Takes up minimal space on your rifle rail
- Uses standard batteries
- Holds its zero and brightness settings
- Blurry at times
- Mediocre quality
06. Tacticon Brand Predator V2 Model Reflex Sight with 45 Degree Offset Mount Included
This rifle sight is unusual for having a 45 degree offset mount included. This is in addition to the four reticle patterns and two different dot colors. And you don’t need a parallax to use it.
It is fog-proof and reflection-proof. It relies on 3 LR44 batteries. Normally, using an unusual battery type is a strike against a particular product. Tacticon gets extra points for not only including a set of batteries to power the reflex sight,
but they include a free spare set of batteries. The company also offers a compatible flip up iron sight with adjustment tool. But this reflex sight comes with a lens cleaning wipe.
Recoil loosens the screws, and that can cause the settings to shift. The adjustment screw itself is prone to stripping to the point it will no longer hold position. The manufacturer says it is water-proof, but we’d call it water-resistant.
The rubber seal isn’t always tightly glued in place. If water gets in, it will be ruined. Don’t use it in the rain or let it get submerged.
- One of the few reflex sights with a 45 degree mount included
- Extra batteries included
- Prone to screw wear that can prevent it from holding position
- Not really water-proof
07. Vortex Optics Brand Venom Red Dot Sights
The Venom red dot sight is a premium rifle sight. For example, it has 6 MOA or minute of angle, while the next product tier has just 3 MOA. Note that an MOA is a sixtieth of a degree, making about a one inch difference per one hundred yards.
This is one of the best reflex sights on the market, though you’ll pay a higher than average price tag to get that level of performance. It fits on both rifles and shotguns. At six inches by five inches by two inches, it has a relatively compact profile.
It uses a CR1632 battery. The system is designed to make changing the battery a breeze. That helps power this smarter-than-average reflex sight. For example, the system is supposed to automatically adjust the brightness of the spot based on the ambient light level.
You can also choose between ten different brightness levels. The lens is clear and provides a wide-angle view, though it does not provide magnification. It puts out a standard bright red dot. No green dot option here.
Battery life is short. And this isn’t an easy to find battery. That can even cause it to randomly turn off. While it is a high-end reflex sight, it doesn’t automatically turn on when the gun is in motion.
That is a strike against it when you’re buying it to use on guns intended for self-defense or hunting. The extra motion necessary to turn it on consumes precious seconds.
- Incredible accuracy
- Compact design
- Short battery life
- Doesn’t have all the features you’d expect in a premium unit
08. Burris Brand Fastfire III with Picatinny Mount
It has a standard 3 MOA red dot sight option, but you can upgrade to a 8 MOA option. This makes the Burris fastfire III one of the best reflex sights for short range shooters and defensive applications.
This reflex sight is also one of the few on the market that is compatible with almost all optics-ready handguns. This is arguably the best reflex sights for pistols.
This reflex sight is lighter than average. It weighs just 0.2 pounds, when many equivalent models weigh twice that much. It is compact enough to be used as a primary sight or in conjunction with a primary sight.
The brightness sensor should automatically adjust the brightness of the red sight. You can also adjust the brightness level manually. A major concern with the earlier model is the fact that the on-off switch may be hit when you’re loading or reloading the pistol.
Now you’ve turned off the sight right before you’re going to use it. The Fastfire III eliminated this problem. Unfortunately, it automatically turns off after eight hours.
That’s a feature intended to extend battery life, but it can create issues for hunters and those carrying the gun for defensive reasons. It has a picatinny mount.
You can adjust the elevation and windage without a special tool. The problem is that the adjustment controls don’t always work.
- Built-in brightness sensor
- Option for ultra-high accuracy
- Tool-less adjustment
- Adjustment controls may not work
09. Sightmark Brand Ultra Shot Multi Red and Green Plus Reflex Sight
It has the relatively standard red and green dots and several reticles. This gives you eye relief. It has a weaver mount instead of the picatinny rail.
This Sightmark reflex sight isn’t the most compact. At almost a pound, it is one of the heavier reflex sights on our list. So why did we include it? One point in its favor is the incredibly long battery life. The battery can last up to 1000 hours.
The unit turns off after most shots in order to extend battery life. This could be a plus or a minus, depending on your intended application. It has a sturdy body that protects the lens. It has minimal parallax. It uses easy-to-find CR123 batteries.
The QD or quick detach lever sticks out and can get in the way. The reticle selector switch is located under the bottom of the sight. It spins a little drum that spins the sight patterns. There’s “play” in the grooves intended to help you feel when you’ve selected a sight and hold it in place.
This can result in sights that are off-center, and this may be to the left or right of the actual location of the target. In these cases, the reticle intended to improve your aim is getting in the way even though you thought it was zeroed.
- Long battery life
- Uses standard batteries
- May not be zeroed, may have play
- Larger and heavier than average
10. CVLIFE Brand1x22x33 Reflex Sight with 2mW Gun Sight Laser
This is a laser dot reflex sight in addition to a standard set of reticules. It is designed for use on handguns. Forget the red and green dots – this one has a laser.
In fact, it has a 2 mW class 3A gun sight laser. That’s in addition to the reflex sight with four different reticles. Switch between them using a pressure switch pad and switch button.
Note that the laser will burn through batteries rather quickly. It has a wide angle lens instead of a tube, giving you a wide field of view.
This is ideal for moving targets and rapid-firing. It fits on both a Picatinny rail and a 20 mm weaver rail. While weaver rails are close in size, it isn’t the same, and trying to use a sight designed for a picatinny rail can cause it to be lose or have play due to recoil.
And we already mentioned that it can fit on pistols and handguns. That makes this one of the best budget reflex sights for sig p320 pistol owners.
The sight may drift due to recoil. If you don’t re-adjust it, it will be very far off center by the end of the day. In other cases, the reticle goes out because the electronics break due to recoil. It is not shock-proof.
The remote switch doesn’t always work, too. The lens may be blurred. The sight can be hard to use in bright daylight conditions. This isn’t an issue if you’re using it on the range or at night.
- Fits on both 20 mm weaver and picatinny rails
- Fits on pistols
- Prone to drift due to recoil
- May stop working
11. Holosun Brand Model HS510C Red Dot Sight
This is the best holographic reflex sight on our list. You can switch between a 2 MOA dot sight and a 65 MOA ring. You can also combine the dot and ring reticles. More importantly, it will hold zero even with heavy usage.
It isn’t going to drift while you’re out on the range. One of the benefits of holographic sights in general is that it is easier to reacquire a target. This reflex sight is designed to use as little energy as possible.
It can run up to 50,000 hours on a single CR2032 battery. The manufacturer says it can be powered by a solar panel, as well. It is shock-resistant but not shock-proof. It has a built-in QD or quick detach mount, also known as a quick detach sling mount.
This allows you to use an attaching sling with the reflex sight. Unfortunately, the locking cam is of poor quality and doesn’t always work properly. For example, it can loosen while you’re in the middle of a shooting spree.
One point in its favor is the shake and wake feature, where the sight should light up when you’re in motion. The downside is that it doesn’t always work. You can adjust the brightness.
Unfortunately, the higher brightness settings can create a red “splash” inside the lenses that interfere with sighting of the target. It doesn’t come with a riser.
- Holds zero
- Low power requirements
- Shake and wake feature doesn’t always work
- Visibility made worse by brighter settings
12. Vortex Optics Spitfire 3x Prism Scope - EBR-556B Reticle (MOA)
This reflex sight is designed for medium range shooting applications where you need to catch the target as fast as possible. There are multiple lenses, each one of which has an anti-reflective coating.
You can switch between red and green lights to light up the reticle and you can use five different lighting levels. The reticle is etched on the prism, so it won’t drift.
At half a kilogram or a little over one pound, this is one of the heaviest reflex sights on our list. At five inches by nine inches by three inches, it is a little larger than average reflex sight, though any prism sight is going to be smaller than a traditional scope.
However, this reflex sight comes with some unusual features. This reflex sight is unusual for having dual picatinny rails. This allows you to combine the reflex sight with an offset auxiliary sight.
However, it doesn’t come with an auxiliary sight or 45 degree sight. As a prism sight, it is better for distance shooting than up close. It is shock-proof. It is advertised as fog-proof and water-proof. It holds zero.
Optics is mediocre to poor. It does not magnify your target, but that’s normal for red dot sights. In this case, the lenses in the sight may be blurry. It can be hard to bore sight.
While there are red and green lights, they are not bright enough for a sunny day. The hex screws in the rail mount are prone to strip with repeated firing. The design makes this a poor fit if you have an AR platform.
- Dual picatinny rails
- Holds zero
- Designed for the range rather than a bright sunny day
- Poor fit with AR-15s
13. EOTECH Model 512 Holographic Weapon Sight
The last gun sight on our list is a holographic sight. It isn’t cheap, but it is effective. It has both a 1 MOA dot reticle and 68 MOA ring. What do you want to mount it to? It’ll fit.
It can be mounted on both one inch weaver rails and MIL-STD 1913 Rails, also known as picatinny rails. It is easy to install, too. Plus it will fit on the AR-platform, so it is a great choice for AR-15 owners. It runs off AA batteries.
These batteries can be found almost anywhere. That’s invaluable given the fact that the unit has a short battery life. They extend the battery life by automatically shutting it off after several hours of use.
It doesn’t fog up. It is unusual in the fact that it will work even if the screen is cracked. It works well in low light and no-light (night time) conditions.
The reticles are too fuzzy for a sight that costs this much. For example, it may look pixelated when you look through the sight. The problem is compounded by the brightness buttons not always working, so you may not be able to get the reticle brighter in order to make sure you can focus on the target. It does not have a quick detach (QD).
- Count mount on almost any firearm
- Uses AA batteries
- It should be clearer than this
FAQ's about the Best Reflex Sights
What are the best reflex sights for the money?
One benefit of reflex sights is that they’re cheaper than prism sights. They don’t provide eye relief, but some consider that a point in its favor. It forces you to use both eyes while using the weapon, and you can hold your head in any position you want.
Are Sightmark reflex sights any good?
One gun magazine called Sightmark ultra shot the poor man’s red dot sight. Only one Sightmark sight made our top 13 list. However, it is a good compromise between price and performance. The brand itself rates four out of five stars. Different reflex sights made by the company range from two to five stars.
What is the best sight in modern warfare?
The obvious answer is the Trijicon TA31RCO. The United States military has used the Trijicon ACOG model TA31RCO for years. It has 4x magnification and a 32 mm lens. This makes it a 4x32.
Which is better: reflex or red dot?
This is not an either-or question. There are three types of red dot sights: prism sights, holographic sights, and reflex sights. This is why the terms may be used interchangeably, since red dot sights include many reflex sights. But when you say “red dot sight”, most people are thinking of an exposed reflex sight.
Reflex sights are designed for near to medium range shooting applications. This includes self-defense and medium range shooting at the range. Red dot reflex sights are ideal for self-defense and tactical shooting.
How much does a reflex sight cost?
The cheapest reflex sights cost less than a hundred dollars. You have to pay more for performance, added features, or the ability to mount it to pistols and rare gun sizes. For example, expect to pay more for a reflex sight with motion sensors, extra-long battery life and advanced optics.
Why are red dot sights so expensive?
The first reason why red dot sights cost more money than traditional iron sights is that you have to include a significant amount of technology. You have to have a light source and a power source for the light. The glass used in red dot sights has to meet a demanding and often contradictory set of requirements.
It has to be incredibly clear. It has to gather light without creating a “flare” when using a lighted reticle or laser. It has to resist fogging and not break when subject to stress, though it is going to experience significant forces every time the gun recoils.
That said, a basic exposed reflex sight costs around a tenth the cost of a holographic sight. Holographic sights are typically only worth it if you’re shooting professionally, because the small reticle is supposed to significantly improve accuracy.
The best reflex sights for the money will fit your gun, the conditions in which you expect to be shooting and your budget. The ideal reflex sight will support you whether you’re shooting at targets competitively, hunting, or planning on defending your home from intruders.