A Simple Guide On How to Sight In Your Red Dot

Learn how to sight in a red dot so that you can hit your target every time. This guide explains the basics of sighting in a scope, as well as specific tips for sighting in your favorite red dot optic.

Most sights (like the typical iron sights on a gun) have an open rear sight and a front sight. The shooter looks through the rear sight and aligns it with the front sight, then looks down the barrel of the gun to see the target. If you're using a scope, you'll usually have to adjust the focus on the eyepiece so that you can see the reticle (crosshairs) clearly.

For a red dot, things are a bit more simple. And in this blog post, we will show you how to sight in a red dot so that you can hit your target every time.

The Background

A red dot sight is a common type of optical sight that is used on a variety of firearms, including rifles, pistols, and shotguns. Red dot sights are popular because they are relatively inexpensive and they are easy to use.

To use red dots effectively, you need to position your head in such a way that the red dot is positioned in the middle of your eye. The dot should be visible whether you're looking straight ahead or slightly off to either side. Some red dots have an adjustable intensity setting, so you can make the dot brighter or dimmer depending on the lighting conditions.

Sighting In A Red Dot Sight

When a firearm is described as being "sighted in" or having "been sighted in", it means that the weapon has been aligned with the user's line of sight so that when the sights are aligned on the target, the bullet will hit where the user is looking.

In other words, the firearm has been adjusted so that the spot where a bullet hits when fired, its Point of Impact(POI) is in line with the spot where the user is aiming, that is the Point of Aim (POA). The process of sighting in a firearm usually involves adjusting the elevation and windage of the sights. Height adjustment affects how high or low a bullet will hit compared to where you're aiming, while windage adjustment affects how much to one side or the other the bullet will hit.

Zero In A Sight

Sight in a red dot is also called zero a red dot, however, if you look at these two terms very closely, they are not exactly the same thing. This difference is negligible for red dot sights and so they are used interchangeably. But if you have a riflescope with higher magnification that support readjustment for any on-field correction, take into account factors like higher distances and wind speeds.

So, the step of sighting precedes zeroing in. Zero-in is readjusting your scope to mark the middle of crosshairs (0,0 mark) for windage and elevation at the newly sighted-in point of aim. Zeroing allows the shooter to have a reference point when adjusting for windage or elevation changes in the field.

For example, if your rifle was sighted in and zeroed at 100 yards on a calm day but you are out shooting targets that are 300 yards away in a windy environment. Instead of holding back your crosshairs off target to account for the changes, a simple way would be adjusting for Drop (windage and elevation adjustment) and holding your crosshairs directly on the target after re-zeroing.

How to Sight In A Red Dot Sight

There are a few different ways that you can sight in a red dot sight, but we will be discussing the two most common methods. But the most common way is :

1. Mount the red dot sight on your firearm. Make sure that the sight is securely mounted and that it is positioned in a way that is comfortable for you.

2. Look through the red dot sight and find an object that you can use as a target. The object should be at least a specific yardage away depending on the firearm you are using.

3. Adjust the windage and elevation screws on the red dot sight until the red dot is centered on the target object.

4. Shoot at the target object. If the shot hits the target, then you are properly sighted in. If the shot does not hit the target, then adjust the windage and elevation screws until the red dot is centered on the target object and try again.

5. Repeat step 4 until you are able to consistently hit the target object.

Look at the video to learn about sighting in your AR :

How to Sight a Red Dot Without Shooting

You can also sight in (or zero) your red dot without shooting if you follow the bore sighting method, which will require you to have a bore sight handy. The bore sight method is one of the quickest and most accurate ways to adjust your red dots.

What is Bore Sighting?

Bore sighting is the process of aligning the barrel of your firearm with your optic so that you can get on target faster. This is especially useful when you're mounting a new optic or if your current optic has been jarred out of alignment.

There are two main ways to bore sight: optical and mechanical. Optical bore sighting uses a laser to align your barrel and optic, while mechanical bore sighting uses an arbor to physically align the two.

How to Bore Sight a Red Dot

1. Start by removing the bolt from your firearm (if applicable) and inspecting the chamber to ensure that it's clear.

2. Next, mount your red dot sight onto your firearm according to the manufacturer's instructions.

3. Once your red dot is mounted, look through the sight and find something at least 100 yards away that you can use as a point of reference (a distant tree, for example).

4. Adjust the windage and elevation screws on your red dot until the dot is centered on your point of reference.

5. Now, without moving either your firearm or your point of reference, remove the red dot from your firearm so that you can see where it was aligned in relation to the barrels' muzzle.

6. Finally, re-install the red dot onto your firearm and confirm that it's still centered on your point of reference. If not, repeat steps 4-6 until it is.

Watch the video on using a laser bore sight to zero in your sight:

Frequently Asked Questions

You've just bought a new red dot sight for your rifle, but you're not sure how to use it correctly.

With all of the different types of red dot sights on the market, it can be confusing to know which one is right for you and how to use it correctly.

In this guide, we'll walk you through the basics of using a red dot sight, provide tips for getting started, and show you how to adjust your sights for maximum accuracy.

Do red dots need to be sighted in?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the proper sighting in of red dots can vary depending on the specific firearm and its individual characteristics. However, in general, it is usually recommended that red dots be sighted in so that the point of impact coincides with the point of aim. This will ensure that the bullets hit where you are aiming, which is essential for accuracy and precision when shooting.

How far should a red dot be sighted?

There is no definitive answer to this question since it can depend on the firearm and the shooter's preference. However, most people tend to zero their red dots at around 50-75 yards depending on the firearm and the type of shooting they will be doing.

Some shooters may prefer to zero their red dots at a closer distance such as 25 yards, while others may choose to zero them at a longer distance such as 100 yards. It really all depends on the individual shooter's preference and what they are most comfortable with. But for beginners, 25 yards should be a good starting point.

Can you zero a red dot without shooting?

Most people would say no because a red dot is designed to be zeroed in conjunction with the barrel of the gun. However, there are ways to do it.

If you have a borescope or some other way of looking down the barrel of the gun, you can gently adjust the sights until the red dot is centered. You can then use masking tape or some other type of adhesive to hold the sights in place.

Can you zero a red dot with iron sights?

You can zero a red dot with iron sights by adjusting the sight alignment.

The first step is to ensure that your rifle is mounted solidly to a shooting bench or some other stable platform.

Next, loosen the screws on the rear sight assembly and you need to adjust the windage and elevation so that the red dot is in the center of the sight picture.

Tighten the screws and check your work, then repeat as necessary. Always make sure that your firearm is unloaded before making any adjustments to the sights.

Why use a riser for red dot sights?

A riser is used to raise the height of the red dot scope so that the user can see through the scope more easily. Raising the height of the scope brings the target within closer range and makes it easier to aim at. Additionally, a riser can also help improve stability and accuracy while shooting.

Should you co-witness a red dot pistol?

There is no definitive answer to this question. Co-witnessing can be beneficial in some cases, and detrimental in others. Some factors to consider include the type of firearm, the sights/red dot system used, the user's experience and proficiency with firearms, and the specific shooting situation.

In general, co-witnessing can be helpful when using a red dot sight on a pistol because it allows for a more accurate alignment of the sights and the red dot. This is especially important if you are not proficient with pistols, or are new to using a red dot sight. When both sights are aligned correctly, it is easier to place rounds on target accurately.

However, there are also some drawbacks to co-witnessing. One is that it can make the sight picture more cluttered and difficult to see. Additionally, if the red dot fails or goes dark, it can be difficult to continue shooting accurately without being able to see the iron sights.

Ultimately, whether or not you should co-witness a red dot sight on a pistol is a decision that you will have to make based on your own preferences and needs.

What is the best way to sight in a red dot sight?

It will depend on your firearm, personal preferences, and what tools you have at your disposal. That said, the easiest and simplest way to sight in a red dot sight is to use a laser bore sight.

What is the best way to practice with a red dot sight?

The best way to practice with a red dot sight is to use it in live fire exercises as often as possible. This will help you become more familiar and comfortable with using the sight and enable you to develop the muscle memory necessary for accurate shooting. Additionally, you can also use dry fire exercises and target practice to improve your proficiency with the red dot sight.

What is the best way to determine the correct windage adjustment on a red dot sight?

There are a few different ways to determine the correct windage adjustment on a red dot sight.

One way is to use the elevation turret to adjust your point of impact (point of aim) left or right by eye, and then use the windage turret to "zero" the sight in. This can be a little tricky since you need to make sure that the crosshairs on your sight are perfectly aligned with the point of impact before making any adjustments.

Another way to determine windage adjustment is by using what's called a ballistic calculator. A ballistic calculator takes into account factors such as muzzle velocity, ballistic coefficient, atmospheric conditions, and even the twist rate of your barrel in order to calculate how much adjustment you need to make to your red dot sight.

You can also use a method called the "Kentucky Windage" which involves using the windage turret to make small adjustments until the point of impact is where you want it to be.

Ultimately, it's up to you to decide which method is best for you and your needs.

What should you do if your shots are consistently off target?

If your shots are consistently off target, it could be a result of poor technique or a problem with your equipment. It's important to troubleshoot the issue and determine the cause before you can correct it.

Poor Technique

If you're having trouble hitting your target, it could be because of poor technique. Here are a few things to check:

-Are you using the correct stance?

-Are you keeping your shoulders square to your target?

-Are you aligning the barrel of the gun with the target?

-Are you using the correct grip?

-Are you squeezing the trigger correctly?

-Is your stance too wide or too narrow?

To improve your shooting technique, it's important to practice often and seek out a qualified instructor who can help you troubleshoot and correct any problems.

Poor Equipment

If you're using poor-quality equipment, it could be the reason your shots are consistently off target. Here are a few things to check:

-Do your sights need to be adjusted?

-Is your ammunition the correct type and caliber for your firearm?

-Is your gun clean and well-maintained?

-Is your scope mounted correctly?

If you're using poor-quality equipment, it's important to upgrade to better-quality items. Additionally, be sure to regularly clean and maintain your firearm and accessories to ensure optimal performance.

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Some Common Mistakes to Avoid

1. Not checking the wind

A red dot sight is not as forgiving as a traditional iron sight in terms of windage. Make sure to take into account the wind before taking your shot.

2. Mounting the sight too low or high

When sighting in a red dot sight, it's important to mount it at the correct height on the gun. If it's mounted too low, you will have difficulty getting a good sight picture; if it's mounted too high, you may end up hitting your eye when you shoot.

3. Not adjusting the brightness level

Red dot sights can be very bright, especially in direct sunlight. Make sure to adjust the brightness level so that the red dot is visible but not overwhelming.

4. Not using the right size dot

There are different size dots available for red dot sights. Make sure to use a dot that is appropriate for the intended use and target size.

5. Failing to clean the lenses

Dirty or smudged lenses will affect your ability to see the red dot clearly. Be sure to clean the lenses before each use.

6. Not practicing

As with any new skill, practice makes perfect. Sighting in a red dot sight is no different. Make sure to spend some time practicing so that you can get familiar with the sight and become proficient with using it.

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Final Words

Sighting in your red dot sight is a relatively simple process that only takes a few minutes to complete. By following the steps outlined above, you can ensure that your shots are accurate and that you hit your target every time.

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You need to sight in properly before shooting

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