The most efficient way to increase your marksmanship potential is to equip your weapon with the best reflex sight on the market. To take an accurate shot with iron sights, you need to align front and rear posts over the target, in a way that the front post is perfectly centered horizontally and vertically in reference to the rear post. The tip of the front post should not cover the target, and you’ve got the inherent problem of not quite seeing beneath it.
Reflex sights skip all but one of those steps – the only thing you need to do is put the reticle on the target. There is no real adjustment period, as it is highly intuitive and easy to use, making it a favorite option from the very beginners to the absolute best within special forces units.
The main difference between a reflex sight and a classic tube red dot is the field of view, stemming from different designs. Reflex sights are indeed a subgroup of the red dot sight family, but they have improved on the design in such a way that they’ve become a sub-group of their own. They stand at the middle ground between the classic red dot, and the holographic sight, offering a fine compromise between the two.
At all levels of skill, reflex sight provides an objective advantage in speed and accuracy, proven by many tests publicly available. We have deep-dived into the options and prepared for you a list of the best reflex sight options available on the market, followed by purchasing tips and a detailed explanation of the reflex technology. So take a look below, get yourself one of the options, and improve your skills immediately!
Best Reflex Sight 2020: Our Picks
Trijicon RMR Type 2 Reflex Sight
|Size (LxWxH in inches)||1.8 x 1.1 x 1.0|
|Waterproof Depth||66 ft|
|Battery Life||4+ Years|
The Trijicon RMR Type 2 stands at the very top of the reflex sight lineup, with an extensive feature list to back it up. Trijicon, well known for its VCOG and ACOG scopes, has been dominating the reflex sight market for years. What truly separates them from most of the competition is the extensive use of their products by The United States military forces and law enforcement agencies. The RMR Type 2 is no exception, proudly advertised as the official USSOCOM handgun reflex sight.
Forged aluminum construction provides outstanding durability against impact shock and extreme weather conditions, while the patented shape of the RMR Type 2 diverts the impact force away from the lens, further improving durability and longevity. Ruggedized battery contacts and electronics will perform to the fullest even in the harshest of environments, backed by a 5-year warranty, and a limited lifetime warranty. Naturally, it comes with easy to use, 1 MOA per click windage and elevation adjustments.
Customization options are far from lacking, as the RMR Type 2 has nearly 100 variations between the three main model options:
- Trijicon RMR Type 2 Adjustable LED Reflex Sight, with 28 available options, including 1.0, 3.25, and 6.5 MOA Dot
- Trijicon RMR Type 2 LED Reflex Sight, with 19 available options, including 3.25 and 6.5 MOA Dot
- Trijicon RMR Dual-Illuminated Reflex Sight, with 50 available options, including 7.0, 9.0, 12.9, 13.0 MOA Dot
Any of these options is a great pick, but deciding on the most suitable one depends on the intended use. The adjustable LED version has 8 brightness settings, two of which are night-vision compatible. It keeps the automatic mode, present on the Standard version. The Dual-Illuminated Sight offers a battery-free option, as the fiber optic collects ambient lighting to automatically adjust the brightness of the reticle, illuminated with tritium. This option comes with a 15-year warranty on illumination, which is a nice addition.
The RMR Type 2 is a versatile option applicable to almost any type of firearm, both as a primary or secondary sight option. The rather high price will put off some customers, which is totally understandable, but those who are willing to open their wallets will receive the best reflex sight available on the market.
Vortex Venom Red Dot
|Size (LxWxH in inches)||1.9 x 1.1 x 1.0|
|Battery Life||150 – 30,000 Hours|
Another firm contender for the best reflex sight comes in the form of the Vortex Venom. Whether it is actually better than the Trijicon RMR Type 2 is open to discussion, but at roughly half the price, it’s unmistakably the best value for money option on our list.
The Venom comes in a fancy package that includes a Weaver/Picatinny mount, rain cloth, lens cover, mounting screws, as well as installation tools. The free mounting attachment provides an elevated mounting position, yet you can always mount it directly for a low-profile look. Vortex Venom is a highly versatile sight and usable on nearly any conventional firearm.
Windage and elevation are adjustable in increments of 1 MOA per click. Brightness can be set to automatic, or manually toggled between the 10 settings. Unfortunately, as you increase the brightness increases, battery life drastically falls. Use the lower to mid settings and you’ll be fine for a long time, but if you need anything higher regularly, having a backup battery in your pocket would not be a bad idea.
You’ll be able to choose between a 3 MOA dot, and a 6 MOA dot version, which is sufficient for the majority of situations, although I expected a smaller dot option from Vortex. Compatible accessories offer specialized mounting options, including a 45-degree mount, perfect for making the Venom into a canted backup sight. The VMX-3T flip-up magnifier will further increase the versatility of your weapon, delivering effectiveness at any close to mid-range distance.
As we go through the list, you’ll see great options that drastically vary in price. The budget naturally plays a large part in any purchase, but most of us prefer getting the most optimal product. Among the reflex sights, that’s Vortex Venom. Adjustable, light, versatile, and with a lifetime warranty, Venom firmly contends for the position of the best reflex sight available.
|Size (LxWxH in inches)||4.01 x 2.24 x 2.32|
|Waterproof Depth||40 ft|
|Reticle Pattern||Circle & Dot Crosshair|
|Battery Life||200 – 2,000 Hours|
Sightmark brings a different design to the table with the Ultra Shot M-Spec, which bears a closer resemblance to a holographic sight more than a conventional reflex sight. This stems from the housing with integrated sunshade, which doubles as a protective shield thanks to the 6061-T6 aluminum construction. You’ll find several impressive features in the Ultra Shot M-Spec that make it stand out from the competition with more than just looks.
The Ultra Shot M-Spec promises ultra-fast target acquisition, repeatable accuracy, and mil-spec reliability – backed by a lifetime warranty. What I like about this scope is the crisp 65 MOA Circle with a central 2 MOA dot. Dot is ideal for precision shooting at distance, while the circle can be used either for initial target acquisition or as a reticle itself at close range. Application possibilities go even higher with the 10 brightness options with an automatic mode, as well as night-vision compatibility.
Benefits don’t stop there, as the Ultra Shot has motion sensing activation and shut-down, as well as 1 MOA per click windage and elevation adjustments. Another brilliant feature, available with the LQD option, is the Picatinny locking quick detach lever. It allows for quick detachment that should retain zero after remounting, which is very convenient if you’re swapping between sights or want to transport it separately.
Construction of the Ultra Shot M-Spec is impressive from the design to materials. Proofed against water, dust, shock, and up to .50 BMG of recoil, this scope will never let you down. The aluminum protective shield and magnesium alloy body make for a not only rugged but also good looking sight. Extendable integrated sunshade lets you get the most field of view under normal conditions or better visibility under bright sunlight.
Battery life could be better, but at least there’s a low-battery warning so you’re not suddenly left without a reticle. Additionally, while the weight of the Ultra Shot M-Spec is low, it’s still noticeably heavier than the other options. Still, as a trade-off, you’ll get some outstanding features, securing it the spot on our best reflex sight list!
Burris FastFire III
|Weight||0.9 oz without mount|
|Size (LxWxH in inches)||1.9 x 1.0 x 1.0|
|Waterproof Depth||N/A, submersible|
|Battery Life||Up to 5 Years|
From Burris, we get the FastFire 3, their bestseller, and another great addition to the list. A no-nonsense approach to the characteristic design makes for a hassle-free sight option that will become a natural component of any weapon including those with scopes for over 1000 yards. With or without the included Picatinny mount, the FastFire 3 will fit flawlessly on any optics-ready handgun, shotgun, or rifle, letting you interchange and play around with different setups.
Much like the other options, brightness can be left to the automatic system, or via 3 manual settings. The battery can last up to five years thanks to the time-out feature and is easily replaceable without the need to take the sight off the weapon. Together with the windage and elevation adjustments, that’s about everything that the Burris FastFire 3 has to offer.
Construction is top-notch, attributed to the design and high-grade optical glass and Index-matched, Hi-Lume multi-coating that provides better visibility in low-light conditions and removes glare. It’s both shockproof and waterproof, and while the unspecified depth limit could raise some concerns, Burris states that the Fast Fire 3 is fully submersible, and provides the Burris Forever Warranty.
You might be wondering why it’s included on this list, and the answer is simple, just like the FastFire 3. While most of us love our features, some users just want a reliable, durable, and easy to use sight. Sure, you might not be able to have the most optimal setup for every situation, but for shooting at the range, carrying, or home defense, you really don’t need anything else.
|Size (LxWxH in inches)||3.3 x 1.7 x 1.8|
|Waterproof Depth||3 ft|
|Reticle Pattern||Circle & Dot Crosshair|
|Battery Life||Up to 50,000 Hours|
The Holosun HS510C has a great set of features with some unique additions that make it a serious contender for the title of the best reflex sight. If you’re willing to take into consideration something relatively new and off the radar, you might end up with the best reflex sight that delivers a lot more than the competition.
The 2 MOA dot with a 65 MOA ring reticle is nothing new, but the advanced LED technology lets you pick and chose what appears in your sight picture: dot only, ring only, or both combined. The customization does not stop there, as you can choose between standard red or green reticle color. Lastly, a dozen brightness options, two of which are night vision compatible, will deliver excellent visibility in any situation or time of day.
Furthermore, HS510C comes with a Solar Failsafe that powers the sight even when the battery fails, and automatically adjusts the brightness to match the situation. Shake awake technology preserves battery life and activates the LED reticle at the slightest movement. Windage and elevation are adjustable without special tools and toggle in crisp 1/2 MOA per click.
Extra steps were taken even with the construction, as the HS510C is built out of aluminum and titanium, with multi-layer glass coating. Results are the highest protection against impact, recoil, and nearly any weather conditions, as this sight can operate in temperature ganging between -30 up to 60 degrees Celsius. Quick-release hatch is present on the Holosun as well, as this reflex sight continues to impress and strongly compete for the best reflex sight.
How to Choose the Best Reflex Sight
Equipment of this type will rarely disappoint you, as long as you’re not buying copies or from brands that have not established themselves as a reliable option on the market. It is important for you to set your priorities straight so that you can get the most value out of the purchase.
As the options on this list are competing for the title of the best reflex sight, you can safely overlook most aspects that you’d otherwise have to strongly consider. Build quality, durability, warranty, lens and reticle clarity, retention of zero, and so many others are going to be marginally different between the options. You can safely boil it down to price tag, features, size&weight, and reticle.
Establishing a budget before even looking at the options is a commonplace practice. With that in mind, I’ve picked options across the spectrum, but even the cheapest options aren’t exactly cheap. Reflex sights are considerably more expensive than the red dot options on the lower end of the spectrum, due to having to achieve equal durability with a more complex design.
With all of that in mind, consider your budget in relation to the type and frequency of use and a long term plan. If you’re an avid shooter, participant of gun competitions, or a passionate hunter, Trijicon RMR Type 2 will deliver the best results. On the other hand, if you’re a recreational shooter or own several weapons that need attachments, you’ll lose nothing by going with the cheaper options, and might even score Burris Fastfire III and a Vortex Venom for the price of the RMR.
When talking about features, it’s important to not get wrapped into the mindset of needing them all. Much like your weapon, reflex sight should be simple. Automatic mode for brightness will keep the reticle crisp and bright in almost any situation, but it’s handy to have a higher number of settings, preferably around 10. Night Vision compatibility sounds cool, but realistically, it’s almost never going to see use.
As the windage and elevation adjustments are more or less the same for all the options on our list, the only other feature I’d value highly is the quick detach lever. The snap-on system is simpler to use and allows for more interchangeability between weapons, and will come in handy in day-to-day use. If you’re looking for the most features in your reflex sight Holosun is the pick, but the other sights are not trailing far behind.
Size and Weight
This criterion is straightforward – heavier sights weigh your weapon down, larger sights see limited application across multiple platforms. For a pistol, options weighing around 1oz are ideal. They’re still perfectly usable on other platforms, and this versatility raises their value. The weight of a more robust sight will not affect a rifle or shotgun considerably but will offer better visibility due to a more protected design and larger lens.
The size of the dot greatly impacts the application of a sight, which is why you’ll have to consider the range at which you’ll be firing, and the purpose of the sight. A small dot allows for more precise targeting, especially at longer ranges. However, the acquisition of the target is slightly slower. With a large dot, the acquisition is much faster – you’ll ‘catch’ the dot quicker and put it on the target more easily. But at a longer range, the size of the dot can be larger than the target itself, causing accuracy issues.
If you’re looking to get the most application out of a simple dot reticle, 3 MOA dot is the best option. While that’s a perfectly valid option, you can take it a step further, and get a circle&dot pattern reticle. A circle, typically 60 MOA in size, with a 2 MOA dot in the center provides the best of both worlds. At distance, the small dot will let you take those accurate shots, but if the target is close enough, the ring itself can act as a reticle. While you don’t necessarily need this option, I find it to be one of the strongest benefits in comparison to a red-dot sight.
During the process of picking the options, it was very difficult to pick a clear winner based on the general specs. The application plays a very important part of making the decision, as every option has its ideal use.
Burris Fastfire III and Vortex Venom bring affordable options to the table, competing with the tried and true Trijicon RMR Type 2. Choosing between them will come down solely to budget and features. Sightmark and Holosun have their own approach to the reflex sight design, trading some of the versatility for some convenient features and reticle design.
Whichever option you pick, it’s going to impress you, provide a significant improvement over iron sights, and last you for decades to come. I hope we’ve helped you make an informed purchase of the best reflex sight on the market!