What is the Difference Between Reflex Sights vs Red dot?

Difference Between Reflex Sights vs Red dot

Are we using the proper terminology when we speak about the many types of electronic, generally non-magnified sights for our guns, and does it matter? 

People often use the two terms interchangeably. People have even referred to their non-Trijicon as an ACOG. 

Though we don’t think it’s as bad as abusing the words “mag” and “clip,” there are distinctions between the different sights.

Red Dot Sight

Any rifle optic that projects an illuminated red or green dot or various other reticle forms on an object is referred to as a red dot

Some people are likely to use more than a single dot as an aiming point. Some include a Chevron, crosshair, circle, and a circle with a dot, for example.

We categories these lighted sights based on how they work. Reflective sights with a conventional lens are known as reflex sights. 


Holographic sights, on the other hand, rely on lasers. Open and tube reflex sights are the two kinds of reflex sights. A genuine red dot sight is the tube reflex sights.

Reflex Sights

A reflex sight uses a reflecting glass lens to collimate light from an LED as an aiming point, allowing the user to see both the field of vision and the aiming point at the same time. 

A reflex sight is simple in construction, with just two to three basic components: an objective lens, a light-emitting diode, and an etched diaphragm.

A reflector sight’s objective lens, also known as the objective aperture, is a transparent lens that the shooter sees through when aiming. 

The lens is typically angled to guide collimated light, referred to as the reticle, towards the shooter’s eye. 

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To project the reticle toward the shooter’s eye, the inner surface of the lens facing the shooter is coated with a reflective coating. 

To enhance reticle vision, the outer surface of the lens facing away from the shooter is covered with an anti-reflective coating.

At 50 yards and beyond, some shooters believe tube sights are more accurate than reflex sights. 

Open and tube sights, on the other hand, are flexible and can be used on both rifles and handguns; however, small reflex sights are preferable for weapons and fast-paced shooting events like 3-Gun. 

Rifles, shotguns, and other long weapons and object shooters should have tube-style red dot sights. 

You should not be concerned if you are reluctant to get a red dot sight because of the lack of magnification. 

Most reflex sights, both tube and open, are suitable with magnifiers and night vision. What is a reflex sight and how does it work? It’s a slanted piece of glass that reflects the light from an LED to create a visible dot. 

Special coatings on the spherical portion of the glass reflect the red light from the LED—simple technology for a simple gun sight to perform a simple task.

Feature benefits of reflex sights:

  • Infinite eye relief
  • No magnification
  • Battery-powered LED
  • Forgiving with shooting on angles
  • Can shoot with both eyes open
  • Low mount profile

Standard Features of a Red Dot Sight

You should be able to distinguish between red dots, reflex sights, and any other kind of optic by now. 

Even said, we’re still lenient when it comes to utilising the word “red dot” as a general term. So, while we go through some of the common characteristics of red dots, the trolls and the optics cops may take a vacation.

Red Dot Colors

Are there red dots on all red dot sights? No, this is a textbook case of the word being misused. Green and amber are two more lighted choices. 

Furthermore, some red dot sights are either available in one hue or have dual lighting to provide both red and green illumination. 

Green dots are claimed to be gentler on the eyes, producing less strain, and to help reduce the effects of astigmatism when compared to red dots.

Red Dot Reticles

The dot is, of course, the most common design. The dot is available in a variety of sizes, ranging from 1 MOA to 12 MOA. 

A little smaller drop, on the other hand, is recommended for usage on rifles when a little distance shooting is expected since it won’t conceal vitals on an object, allowing for precise groups. 

The usage of large dot sizes is primarily for close-range applications, with speed as the main objective.

Some reticles will include different triangles, chevrons, and even BDC drop-ranging reticles for shooting out to hundreds of yards.

Reflex Sight vs Red Dot Sight – Key Differences

The following are the main differences between the types of red dot vs. reflex sight.


Due to their compact size, reflex sights are more practical than conventional rifle scopes, which are frequently heavy and lengthy. 

Not only that, but they’re also quite light. As a result, reflex sights may be used on a wide range of weapons, including tactical rifles and pistols.

The red dots, on the other hand, are somewhat larger. Although that design has certain benefits, the smaller size improves reflex sight somewhat.


One of the reasons why reflex sights are so popular is because they are less expensive. 

When you compare the pricing to other kinds of sight, such as a prism or holographic sights, you’ll find that the latter two are more expensive, which may be a deal-breaker for some.

When comparing reflex sights to other types, it’s easy to see that red dot sights are more costly.


Unfortunately, one of the most significant disadvantages of reflex sights is the absence of magnification.

Unfortunately, various individuals have varied perspectives on this; while some may recommend using a magnifier, others may claim that it is inconvenient.

Fortunately, certain reflex sights are likely to come with an additional scope that allows magnification. You’ll have to keep an eye out to see whether the reflex sight you want has this function.

Red Dot vs Reflex Sight Detailed Difference

We’ll now go over some of the small distinctions between reflex sight and other kinds of red dot sights. But first, let’s go through a quick overview of reflex sight to see what this gadget has to offer.

  • Built Quality or Physical Appearance
  • Magnification Power
  • Reticles
  • Field of View
  • Acquisition
  • Co-Witnessing

Bottom Line:

As you can see, we can’t compare reflex sight with red dot sight since one of them isn’t a kind of sight in and of itself. 

Red dot sights, on the other hand, do count as a category, and we compare them to reflex sights using the other sights in that category.

After reading this instructive article, you have seen the outcomes. As a result, in this post, we will go over the main differences and characteristics in depth. Now it’s up to you to pick which one to receive in the end.