Red dot sights are one of the most versatile sights out there for gun owners. Their design makes them easy to use and allows for fast and easy target acquisition with a broad sight picture.
These benefits make red dots useful for a wide variety of platforms from self-defense to shooting sports. Just like a rifle scope, a red dot sight must be properly zeroed in order to be effective.
But before we go over how to sight in a red dot, let’s look at some other information you need to know first.
What is a Red Dot Sight?
Red dot sights are a type of optic that help a shooter focus on their target. They do so by appearing as a red dot on the target being aimed at. Red dot sights utilize just one focal plane and allow a shooter to focus on the target without needing to shift their focus. The rounds fired will land where the red dot is positioned. Red dot sights come in different sizes which are ideal for different weapons.
How To Adjust a Red Dot Sight?
Just like a rifle scope, red dot sights can be adjusted to fine tune your point of impact. Depending on the type of red dot sight, these adjustments can be made using either turrets or buttons to adjust the elevation or windage on your red dot sight.
Elevation adjustments move your reticle vertically (up and down), and windage adjustments move your reticle horizontally (left and right). Typically, when zeroing a red dot sight, both elevation and windage adjustments must be made in order to achieve an accurate zero.
What is MOA, and why is it important?
This measurement is used to help shooters adjust the reticle on their rifle scope or red dot sight, so knowing how to convert inches to MOA is important.
MOA is an acronym that stands for Minute of Angle. A Minute of Angle is an angular measurement which is equal to about 1/60th of a degree, and spreads about 1 inch for every 100 yards. Therefore, 1 MOA would be 2” at 200 yards and 3” at 300 yards.
The benefit of using MOA is that you can make quick calculations and adjustments to your reticle whether you are zeroing at 25 yards or 100 yards using the following formula:
Distance between point of impact and point of aim (inches) / [Distance in yards / 100]
Let’s say you decide to zero your red dot sight at 25 yards. After the first shot, the point of impact is .25” inch below and .5” to the left of the point of aim.
This means that you will need to adjust your reticle 1 MOA up, and 2 MOA right in order to line up the point of aim with the point of impact. It is important to read the manual that comes with your red dot sight so that you know how many clicks or button pushes will equal 1 MOA.
How To Choose Zeroing Distance
When zeroing a red dot sight, the first thing you must do is choose what distance you will zero at. First, consider the type of firearm and its intended use. When zeroing a pistol-mounted red dot , a 25 yard zero is practical for several applications. When zeroing a rifle mounted red-dot sight, a 50 yard zero is generally more appropriate.
Again, shooters must carefully consider the firearm, its capabilities, and all of its intended used when deciding at which distance to zero their red dot sights.
How To Zero a Red Dot Without Shooting
Just like with a rifle scope, you can begin the process of zeroing your red dot by utilizing a laser bore sight. By using the laser bore sight, you will reduce the amount of ammo needed in order to zero the red dot. It is important to note that although the bore sight will get you close to an accurate zero, you should always confirm your zero by shooting live rounds at a fixed target at a known distance.
How To Zero A Red Dot Sight in 5 Simple Steps
- Place your zeroing target at your desired zeroing distance.
- Choose your point of aim and shoot a grouping at the point of aim.
- Measure (in inches) the distance between your point of aim and your point impact and use the formula above to convert the inches to MOA. This must be done for both elevation (up and down) and windage (left and right).
- Using your calculations from Step 3, adjust your red dot sight to line up the point of impact with the point of aim.
- Shoot another grouping to confirm that your zero is accurate.
The Bottom Line
Red dot sights are an incredibly useful tool that can be used across many shooting applications. Whether you are using your firearms for self-defense or involved in shooting sports, an accurate red dot sight is one of the best pieces of equipment you can invest in.
Taking the time to ensure that you have achieved an accurate zero on your red dot sight is paramount in the performance of your equipment.
Looking for a new red dot sight?
Check out the Mepro RDS Pro V2, It is built to Mil-Spec standards and offers you the choice of either a red or green reticle. To see the full line of Meprolight red dot sights, visit.meprolight.com to find the red dot sight that meets your needs.