Holographic Sights. Red Dots. Reflex Sights.

These terms get tossed around a lot often interchangeably. After all, how different could they be? Each of them features a reticle, a glass surface, and 1x magnification, right? The truth is that red dots and holographic weapon sights work on two completely different principles. Here's the CliffsNotes version: Red Dots use an LED emitter to project a reticle onto glass. Holographic Sights use a laser diode and mirrors to project a reticle that appears to be floating on your target. Of course, there's more to it than that, but it's a good place to start.

Red Dots

As stated, a red dot sight uses an LED emitter to project a reticle onto glass, which is then bounced back to your eye. The LED emitter uses very little battery power, so red dots can have battery life up to 50,000 hours. And because the design is so simple, red dots are much lighter and more compact than holographic sights.


There are two types of red dots: Tube Red Dots, and Reflex Sights.



Tube Red Dots

Tube Red Dots

Tube red dots feature enclosed optics that are protected from the elements. Field-of-view is limited, but the optics are shielded from outside factors.

Reflex Sights

Reflex Sights

Reflex sights are far more common than tube red dots (and what most people are referring to when they use the term red dot.) Reflex sights provide a much wider field-of-view, but the optics are not protected from the elements, and if something blocks the light path, they don't function properly. That said, they're easily scaled down for use on pistols and SBRs, so if you want a compact optic, a reflex sight is probably your best bet.


Holographic Sights

Holographic Sights

Holographic sights use a laser diode and mirrors to project a holographic reticle that appears to be floating on your target. Red dot sights require your eye to move back and forth between the optical plane and the target plane, but holo-sights allow you to focus on both the target AND reticle at the same time. This makes them much less susceptible to parallax distortion. Most operators prefer holographic sights for exactly this reason.

Optics, Scopes & Sights

 
4.8 out of 5 star rating (427 reviews)
Buyer's Club $161.99 Non-Member $179.99
 
5 out of 5 star rating (4 reviews)
Non-Member $499.00 Club Pricing Applied at Checkout!
 
4.3 out of 5 star rating (247 reviews)
Buyer's Club $71.99 Non-Member $79.99
 
0 out of 5 star rating (0 reviews)
Buyer's Club $31.49 Non-Member $34.99
 
4.6 out of 5 star rating (75 reviews)
Non-Member $309.99
 
5 out of 5 star rating (20 reviews)
Non-Member $339.99
 
4.2 out of 5 star rating (121 reviews)
Buyer's Club $224.99 Non-Member $249.99
 
4.8 out of 5 star rating (348 reviews)
Non-Member $199.00 Club Pricing Applied at Checkout!
 
0 out of 5 star rating (0 reviews)
Non-Member $89.99 Club Pricing Applied at Checkout!
 
4.7 out of 5 star rating (13 reviews)
Non-Member $224.99
 
4.2 out of 5 star rating (23 reviews)
Non-Member $295.99
 
0 out of 5 star rating (0 reviews)
Buyer's Club $4,084.05 Non-Member $4,299.00