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Reflex Sight vs Red Dot Sight | Difference Between Them | Hunting Hoop

Did you know that most people are unaware of the fact that a reflex sight and a red dot sight are not the same things? Bet you didn’t know that fact either, did you? Well, now you do. In the battle of reflex sight vs red dot sight, it is very important that we, first of all, learn about each of the sights before favoring either. And that’s exactly what we are here to help you with today.

Hello and welcome to our class! If you have a gun, then take a sit because this lecture is going to be very important to you. Read along our little coverage to find out the character of a reflex sight and a red dot sight, their similarities, and differences that we bet you never knew! You will be thanking us for this. Let’s start!

Backup For Your Scope

Introduce To Red Dot Sight

Our Top 3 Red Dot Sight

Bushnell Red Dot Sight

  • Lightweight and compact
  • Unlimited eye relief
  • Great under low-light
  • Includes mount

Vortex Red Dot Sight

  • Offer 1x magnification
  • Long run time
  • Battery-powered; battery included
  • Solid build and construction

Venom Red Dot Sights

  • Promotes rapid target
  • fully multi-coated lenses offer a clean
  • auto-brightness mode
  • 1 MOA windage

Alright, folks. Here’s the news that is going to drop a few jaws today: a red dot sight is, technically, not a specific kind of sight. It is, in fact, a general term used to classify a whole entire range of sights that use a red dot to mark and aim a target. BOOM!

2 MOA Red Dot View

Kind of like how all thumbs are fingers, but all fingers are not thumbs. Get it? To put things into perspective, a prism sight is a red dot sight, a reflex sight is a red dot sight and a holographic sight is also a red dot sight. Despite being operating differently and having variable construction features, all of these aforementioned types of sights share a very common and fundamental feature: the red dot.

3 MOA Dot

Hence, they are all red for sight! Simple, right? A red dot sight is therefore not a specific type of sight, like a prism or holographic sight. But most importantly, it is not a reflex sight. The bottom line here is that any sighting device that uses a red dot to aim targets can be classified as being a red dot sight. Period!

Barrel View

Introduce To Reflex Sight


Our Top 3 Reflex Sight

Feyachi Reflex Sight

  • Reticle allows for 4 different styles
  • A 33mm lens provides quick target acquisition
  • Very sturdy and secure rail mounting system

Sightmark Reflex Sight

  • Cast magnesium alloy housing with protective shield
  • IP68 Waterproof rating – submersible to 40ft
  • Low power consumption


  • Both red and green dot, four position reticles
  • Equipped with a locking set screw to stabilize your sighting adjustments 
  • 33mm LENGTH

But we must give you. We admit: detecting the difference between a red dot and a reflex sight is very difficult if you don’t have the proper knowledge. Out of all the other types of sights in the market, people almost always confuse a red dot and reflex sight for being the same thing, and we totally understand why.

Rifle mount view

You see, all other types of sights, say prism or holo, have a distinct physical feature to them. For example, a holographic sight will almost always have a bulkier body and a square-ish field of view. Apart from just the physical attributes, there are also some very stark differences in how each type of sight operates. Let’s take a look at how a reflex sight works!

Regular red dot reflex sight view

A reflex sight has a red dot (sometimes, green) flashed on to its reticles.. . . . like all other sights. But it is how this red dot is produced that separates it from the lot. In a reflex sight, a low-power LED light is projected onto a lens ahead. This projected dot hits the lens and reflects back to your eyes. It is in fact also called reflects sights!

precise dot reflex sight

Well, anyway. That’s pretty much the basics of it. Reflex sights happened to be one of the most common and widely used types of sight there is. These types of sights are very lightweight and compact thanks to their traditional tube design which houses all the components inside. They are also very resilient against extreme temperatures and are furthermore very affordable, if not cheap!

doughnut reticle reflex sight

However, reflex dot sights aren’t that perfect either. One of the worst flaws in this type of sight is that it lacks sufficient parallax correction. But its durable nature, paired with decent performance, is what attracts its consumers. To add to this, the reflex sight also tends to have a very long battery life which is also an advantage for shooters and hunters in remote places! One other very important perk to almost all reflex dot sights is that they offer unlimited eye relief.

The dot is fairly clean and bright enough

This is a HUGE plus for shooters or hunters because they can position their eye as far or as near to the exit pupil of the sight and still be able to lock the aim on a target very quickly. A reflex sight is perfect for general shooting purposes whether you are a recreational shooter, hunter, police, etc. Great for training too!

There’s two types of reflex sight:

  • Open Type Reflex Sights
  • Tube Type Reflex Sights

Open Type Reflex Sights

Open-type reflex sights (OTRs) are completely different sights. They function similarly to RDSs but instead of a small LED or laser spot. An open sight has a built-in open circle that appears to have a crosshair once the bullet is locked on the target. They are easier to use and tend to be less expensive than red dot sights, but they lack the accuracy that an RDS would.

Tube Type Reflex Sights

Tube-type reflex sights (TTRS) are a hybrid that functions similarly to a standard sight but with the added advantage of some light amplification in front of the open circle. This means that you can see your target in low light situations a bit easier and you can use the TTRS as a red dot in daylight. In addition, they are often cheaper than a traditional reflex sight. The downside is that the TTRS requires you to either change between your TTRS and open circle or turn off the light amplification when transitioning from daylight to dark lighting conditions.

  • Lightweight and compact
  • Long battery life
  • Durable
  • Affordable
  • Weak parallax correction


A reflex sight and a red dot sight are not the same things.
A reflex sight is a red dot sight, but a red dot sight is not a reflex sight.
The red dot sight is used to generalize all devices or sights that utilize a red dot in its operation for aiming at the target.
Using LED lights that bounce back to the eye of the user is the trademark operating mechanism of a typical reflex sight.
A reflex sight is one of the many different types of red dot sights. The prism and holographic sights, for instance, are 2 other very popular types of a red dot sight.

Difference Between Red Dot And Reflex Sight

There’s not much difference between a red dot and a reflex sight. One is for low light, the other is for general lighting. Many red dots are like a reflex sight, and many reflex sights are like a red dot. However, there are some features that define each system. A reflex sight is commonly threaded and has a pressure pad that activates the action. Some can also be used as a pistol or rifle scope. Red dots are designed for very close work where fast target acquisition is critical. And mostly used on rifles.

Some reflex sights have features that can be used with a rifle or shotgun such as illumination, so you could make the case that they are either red dots or reflex sights. That said, I feel both red dots and reflex sights are viable types of optics. Some shooters prefer one over the other. I personally like them both, depending on my setup and needs.

Common Features of a Red Dot Sight and Reflex Sight

Dot Colors

Most reflex sights are red or infrared. Red dot sights are usually green. Each color has its own applications. Red is used for bright light and distance, infrared is used for low light situations, like black-out and night scopes.

Dot Reticles

Reticles are another very important feature of these sights. These reticles enable the shooter to easily and accurately determine if the target is hit. There are two common reticles: Mil Dot and MOA. These reticles enable shooters to determine the distance in thousands of meters and inches respectively.


Both red dot sight and reflex sights are fixed. The magnification of reflex sights is adjustable; whereas, the magnification of red dot sights is fixed at its maximum setting. But you can use an extra magnification tool if you need it.

Night Vision

Red dot sight and reflex sight don’t have night vision capabilities. But they can be used in low-light short-distance shooting. But holographic sight has some night vision options.

Fornt view

Other Types Of Sights

Optics are an important part of any firearm. It’s no surprise that with the number of guns out there, more and more companies have developed their own sight systems. The two most common styles are red dot sights (RDS) and reflex sights. But we have a few other sights on the market.

  • Iron sight
  • Prism sight
  • Holographic Sights
  • Collimator sights

Let’s learn some details about them.

What is Iron sight?

Iron sights are also known as “conventional sights” or “open sights”. The terms “iron sights” and “tactical sights” are often used interchangeably, but there is a difference. Traditional iron sight is a small peep sight that is mounted on the barrel. They have either an aperture or a small red dot etched into the face of the front piece (or both). Traditional iron sights have been around since the beginning of firearms, and the term “iron sights” is used to describe them.

If you are looking to learn some more information about iron sight please read this article.

What is Prism sight?

If you have ever heard of prismatic sights, it’s because these types of reflex sights are almost always found on inexpensive or proprietary rifles that are designed for CQB use. They can be very rugged, but they are basically nothing more than a tube-type reflex sight (TTRS) with an open circle in front of the lens. These types of sights are inexpensive and usually have an added light amplification option.

Please read the article about prism sight if you want to learn more

What is Holographic Sights?

Holographic sights are the exception to the rule because this type of sight has a lens embedded in the front that gives you the ability to see your target in three dimensions (think 3D). This type of sight has been around since WWII, and they are the exception because they are extremely expensive. There are a few major companies that produce holographic sights, including Leupold, Trijicon and Eotech.

Learn more about holo sight? Read this article of ours.

What is Collimator sights?

Collimator sights are a very recent development (I’m talking about a few years ago). Collimator sights combine the functionality of a peep sight and a holographic sight. Collimator sights are very small, and they are typically used on handguns. They provide a magnified image of the target with two functions, they magnify the image and they adjust the aiming point. Since world war I these are used on mortars and field guns. But now it’s updated not available for civilians.

Why Use a Sight?

Sights are great for target shooting. They give shooters an advantage inaccurate aiming. The way we use and adjust our sights is just as important as what we use them for.

The sight aids the shooter to aim, stabilizes his/her point of view, and provides the hunter with a powerful advantage. It can help you in hunting, specifically with long-range shooting.

Gives you the opportunity to shoot at a wider variety of targets. Allows the shooter to find the target or aim at a specific spot and stay there.

These sights are a great tool for improving your shooting skills. Helps you in your practice. Allows you to focus on certain aspects of the target and shoot an eye-to-eye/center mass target accurately.

Reflex VS Red Dot: What to choose?

I highly recommend you to consider the red dot sights over the reflex. This is because reflex does not allow you to see the dot properly and you are likely to miss your target. With a red dot sight, the range to your target is always known. This makes it easier for you to keep on your aim and shoot at an eye-to-eye target easily. You might have heard of the green dot and orange dot shooting. A red dot is better than both because it allows you to focus on your target without worrying about the dot.

The red dot allows you to concentrate on your target perfectly.

In my opinion, I prefer the red dot because it allows me to shoot at a center mass target accurately and reduce pressure off my shoulders. You do not have to continuously adjust your aim because the red dot is always on target. You just need to focus on your aim and shoot.

Final words

So, there you have it, guys. A red dot sight and a reflex sight were disclosed and analyzed. Now that you have learned some informative facts and details, you can finally hop in on the age-old reflex sight vs red dot sight train. But here’s the thing: what’s best is what works best for you! Something that is working for your friend may not get your approval, and vice versa, of course. So get busy and try and test and trial as many sights as you can to find out your perfect device! Some will work, some won’t. And that’s absolutely fine.

With that, it’s a wrap to our class today. We hope you thoroughly enjoyed staying with us and reading through our little coverage to make you more informed and more aware. Thank you and we will see you around soon!

13 thoughts on “Reflex Sight vs Red Dot Sight | Difference Between Them | Hunting Hoop”

  1. Your blog helped explain reflex sights. Thanks! However, that was not a word of explanation of how red dot sights work :^(

  2. Very helpful article. Explained well so the principles are easy to understand. Love the way pros and cons of each were listed with strengths and weaknesses compared. Thank you for the information.

  3. I apologize for being a complete moron, but I came looking for an explanation about the advantages and disadvantages but what these sites actually do. You gave me barely a thumbnail sketch of a reflex sight and nothing else. I hope your good salesman because your talent as a teacher or instructor’s subprime.
    Sincerely yours Kevin Arthur Cleveland


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