If you use your rifle seriously, then a good red dot sight is a must. Red dot sights increase visibility, accuracy, and speed when it matters the most. However, shopping for one can be a daunting task. In this article, I am going to review some of the most popular red dot sights for AR15 with Fixed Front Sight. After testing several sights it became obvious to me that Trijicon Green Dot Sight performed the best. However, there are choices for every price-range, and I hope to be able to help you make an informed purchase.
Ready to know what’s the best red dot sight for AR 15s? Let’s get started.
- Best Bang for Buck
- 11 Brightness Settings
- Great Starter Sight
Best Red Dot Sights for AR15 with Fixed Front Sight Review
#1. Trijicon MRO Adjustable Reflex Sight
The Trijicon MRO 1x25mm red dot sight is an adjustable reflex red dot sight especially designed for close-quarters encounters. While this sight can fit most weapons with standard Picatinny rails, it truly excels when paired with an AR15. And although I prefer a 3 or 6 MOA dot sight, 2 MOA will certainly do the trick.
The first thing you notice when you pick up the Trijicon MRO is how rugged it is. This small sight is hefty and can withstand being thrown around — besides being resistant to most elements, the MRO is also waterproof and fog-proof.
So, you know from the get-go that this red dot sight is built like a tank — but does its performance live up to its build? The short answer is that yes, it does. That is why I rated it hands down the best red dot sight.
This Trijicon sight has 8 brightness control levels so that you can adjust how bright the reticle is — it doesn’t matter the light outside; you will always be able to aim through this sight. The MRO is meant to be used with both eyes at the same time, and there is minimal image shifting. Target acquisition is very fast thanks to this design and the brightness of the optics.
Adjusting the zero on this sight can be done without any special tools. This sight has a 2.0 MOA that can further be adjusted manually. Even with rough handling, holding zero was never a problem for me.
While a great red dot sight, the Trijicon MRO is not without its problems. The main issue is that the lens, even though it is multicoated, tends to reflect light under extreme brightness. There is also a reported issue with quality control — if you are unlucky you can get a product with defective glass. However, I can certainly live with these issues compared to problems with the Vortex Viper I’ve experienced over the years.
Of course, if that happens to you, Trijicon will be more than happy to replace your product. However, it is still good to know, lest you be caught off guard.
Regardless of its faults, the Trijicon MRO is still one of the best red dot sights for AR15s. It is durable, provides an easy to see reticle and it excels at close quarters. If you are looking for a great reticle for your rifle, be sure to consider this one.
Is the Trijicon MRO red dot good for people with astigmatism?
Astigmatism does not manifest itself exactly the same in two different individuals, so while this might be a good red dot for people with astigmatism, it might not be a good red dot for every person with astigmatism. For people with this eye condition, it is very important to consider green & red dot sights to see which works best.
Still, and speaking on general terms, this is one of the best red dots for people with astigmatism.
Can you use this red dot with a .44-cal handgun?
Yes. This red dot handles pistols just as well as it handles automatic rifles. However, not all optics that are best for an AR will also be optimal for handguns. For example, the best red dot sights for a Browning Buckmark will not be the same as this list of AR-15 sights.
Does this red dot have night vision?
No, the Trijicon MRO does not have night vision. It is, however, compatible with other night vision attachments.
Does this sight only come in a red dot version?
While this model is the red dot version, the Trijicon MRO is also available in a green reticle version. Trijicon now makes other compact red dot sights that are perfect for concealed carry weapons. Check out our comparison of the Trijicon SRO vs RMR to see which is best for you!
#2. Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight
For the cost-conscious buyer, the Bushell Trophy TRS-25 red dot is a great cheap alternative to the more expensive stuff. While it might be lacking some of the fancier features (and might force you to buy a mount riser) of the more premium scopes, this is still a serious red dot sight that will not disappoint you.
First of all, you should know that this red dot sight will probably need to be mounted on a riser to clear most ARs. If you already have a riser, great. If not, you should do the math and see if what you are saving on this red dot is worth what you will have to spend on the riser.
With that out of the way, this is a great red dot sight. The build is not as sturdy as the Trijicon red dot, but it is still a respectable piece of equipment. There’s some weight to it and it definitely does not feel like a toy. It features O-ring sealed optics, and it is waterproof and fog-proof as well. Bushnell also makes one of the Best AK Red Dot Sights on the market today!
The TRS-25 has a 3-degree MOA and can easily be zeroed via the adjustment screws. The glass is not the best in the market, but under regular conditions you should have no problems seeing through it. The reticle is also very bright and easy to see — it features 11 brightness settings, so you can adjust it according to your preference.
The main problem with the Bushnell Trophy is that despite being relatively sturdy, it tends to have a short lifespan. Recoil will eventually get to it and one of the lenses will probably jump loose. Of course, this will not happen right after you buy it — but you should not expect this red dot sight to last you a lifetime.
For the price, you can’t go wrong — but if you can spend a few extra dollars, then by all means do so — you will end up with a much better product.
Does this sight come with an included mount riser?
No. While this sight works as-is, if you have a sub 2000 gen 2, you should probably get an 0.8-inch riser to use this scope with an automatic rifle. However, do your research before making a purchase. There are several different types of scope mounts out there.
How long do batteries last in this sight?
According to the manufacturer, batteries should last 3,000 hours. Even if that is not the exact number in a real-world scenario, batteries should still last plenty of time. It doesn’t hurt to keep a spare battery nearby, though.
Does this sight have acceptable parallax?
It is impossible to avoid parallax on a reflex sight. Some sights suffer greatly from it, others not as much. There is some parallax on this sight as well, but if you keep the reticle at the center of the window, it should not be a discernible problem.
Is there a starburst effect on the reticle?
Maybe at the highest brightness levels there is a bit of starburst, however it is barely noticeable. If you are noticing starburst on red dot reticles such as this one, you probably have astigmatism and should consult your doctor. I personally had some issues with the starburst effect with my sights for KSG & my doctor diagnosed me with Astigmatism.
#3. Aimpoint CompM4 Red Dot Sight
Do you want the best of the best? We are not talking about a compromise between price and quality, we are talking about the best of the best. It is really expensive, but it is also the best. Are you interested? Yes? Good. Then the Aimpoint CompM4 is for you.
For the price of this reflex red dot sight, you could probably buy 10 or so of most of the other ones. Is it worth it, though? Well, if you are looking for a professional-grade red dot sight, it definitely is.
First of all, the build: the Aimpoint CompM4 could probably survive a nuclear blast — ok, maybe that’s a bit too much, but this is one of the most durable sights out there. You can throw it around, roll it in the dirt, mud, or even water — the sight just won’t care and will continue working as usual. You can submerge it for up to 150 feet and it will still work.
The glass on this sight is a thing of beauty. It is almost as the glass doesn’t even exist — the image is super clear, and every bit of daylight is captured by the optics. Included in the package is an anti-reflective device that will definitely make sure that you get the best image available every single time. Trust me, you are getting your money’s worth. And if you enjoy the Comp M4, you might also enjoy the Aimpoint Comp M5 or T2 Sights!
The reticle has 2 MOA, and it can easily be zeroed. The quick-release mount snaps onto any picatinny rail with ease and retains zero almost perfectly.
Target acquisition is, of course, extremely fast. There are 11 different levels of brightness and you can truly make the Aimpoint CompM4 your own. The reticle co-witnesses perfectly with the iron sights and it comes with an included riser, in case you need it for your AR.
This is a very expensive red dot sight, but it is, hands down, the best sight money can buy. If you aren’t willing to spend the big bucks, then this is not the red dot sight for you — luckily, there are plenty of cheaper alternatives on this list.
How long will the Aimpoint CompM4 battery last with the switch in the first position?
The battery is expected to last up to 30,000 hours in the seventh position. If you dial brightness all the way back to the first position, the battery will possibly last more than 10 years (assuming it doesn’t deteriorate meanwhile). This is much better battery life than you would expect from competitors like the EOTech EXPS vs XPS red dots.
Where exactly is the battery located?
There are two different models with different battery placements. The military issued CompM4 has the battery compartment on the bottom of the sight. The civilian one’s battery compartment is located at the top.
This model has the bottom battery compartment.
#4. Vortex Optics Crossfire Red Dot Sight
- Great Adjustability
- Low-Shine To Camouflage During Hunts
- Great In All Weather Conditions
- Tight Adjustability Knobs
- Not Great For Astigmatisms
The Vortex Optics Crossfire is one of the better known red dot sights out there, and for a reason — it is one of the best affordable red dot sights on the market.
There isn’t any fancy stuff — this is a simple red dot sight that just works. The sight itself is simple and rugged enough — it’s not the most durable piece of equipment out there, but you never feel like you are holding a toy. I found a few problems with the Vortex Crossfire red dot, but overall its a solid optic.
This 2 MOA sight has windage and elevation adjustments, which can help you better find your zero. There are 11 levels of brightness and up to 50,000 hours of use on a single battery — for the money, you can’t beat this.
The Crossfire Gen II offers unlimited eye relief and a very comfortable shooting experience. Target acquisition is fast, and the glass is clearer than you would expect given the price. There is also an anti-glare and anti-reflection coating that greatly increases visibility.
The low profile of this red dot sight allows it to 1/3 co-witness the iron sights with ease with its included high mount. Alternatively, you can use the low-profile skeleton mount for a sleeker experience.
The sight picture could be bigger but given the price that is hardly something to complain about. My biggest complain is the fact that the brightness settings do not go both ways — you will need to rotate it through every setting if you wish to go back from 4 to 3, for example.
Is a riser included with this sight?
Yes. This riser comes with an included riser.
Does this sight come with a quick-release mount?
No. You can buy a quick-release mount separately and it will fit — it does not come included.
#5. HOLOSUN Military Grade Micro Red Dot Sight
The Holosun Military Grade Micro HS515CM is a rugged military-grade red dot sight with an adjustable MOA and powered by solar power.
The Holosun Military Grade Micro HS515CM is not a cheap red dot sight either. It is not as expensive as the CompM4, but it is going to cost you more than a Vortex Crossfire will. However, should you really splurge a bit more instead of going for a lower-priced alternative?
Well, it depends. For the price you are getting a mil-spec red dot sight that can withstand submersion for up to 30 minutes at a depth of 30 meters. This is to say, this is a rugged lens, made from 7075 aluminum.
Besides having battery-support, this sight guarantees that you won’t be let down in the battlefield — true to its name, the Holosun is also powered by solar power.
The controls are easy to use and this sight perfectly 1/3rd co-witnesses with an automatic rifle. However, I found the best feature on the Holosun to be the “shake and wake” function — simply pick up your rifle and the red dot automatically turns on.
The glass is very good — sure, it’s not as good as the glass on the CompM4, but you will surely not be disappointed. The reticle is clear, and the 11 levels of brightness allow you to make it as bright as you wish.
This is not a cheap red dot sight. However, I feel like you are getting your money’s worth. If you can spend the extra dollars for this sight, then by all means go for it. I am sure you will be happy with your choice. If you are looking for smaller Holosun optics, check out our review of the Holosun 407k vs 507k red dots!
Can you mount it lower than with the included mount?
Yes. You can buy a mount that allows for absolute co-witness; however, it will not be a quick-release mount.
Best Red Dot Sights for AR15 with Fixed Front Sight Buyer’s Guide
What does co-witnessing mean?
Ever heard the term co witness sights for ar 15? Co-witness is the ability of using both the installed sight and the iron sights from the rifle. As the image shows, there are two main different types of co-witnessing: absolute co-witness and 1/3 co-witness.
Absolute co-witness needs no realignments and offers full visibility of the iron-sight, while 1/3 co-witness offers a clearer sight with reduced clutter.
When a sight co-witnesses with the iron sights of the rifle, you know you can rely on the iron sights in case something goes wrong with your sights.
Why do I need a red dot sights?
If you are asking this question, then you probably do not need a red dot sight. However, if you want to increase your reaction time, have a faster target acquisition, and to be able to aim your weapon in poorly lit conditions, then you probably could use a red dot sight.
Red dot sights are an excellent upgrade from standard iron sights and will enhance your experience with your rifle in every single way.
How to choose a red dot sights
As always, choosing a red dot sight will depend on your needs — and on your budget. So if you’re shopping for the best AK47 red dot sights, you should first ask yourself what you expect from the red dot sights, and then shop around for something that meets your expectations.
There are many different types of red dot sights — and they all have different features. On this list I’ve reviewed a few of them and they are all widely different.
You need to decide what is best for you and then make your decision.
Which is better for an AR15, a reflex sights or a red dot?
To answer this question, we first need to understand the difference between a reflex sight and a red dot sight.
A reflex sight is a type of red dot sight. That is, every reflex sight is a red dot sight, but not every red dot sight is a reflex sight.
Red dot sight is the general term that encompasses the three main types of red dot sights, in which reflex sights are included. There are prism sights, holographic sights, and reflex sights. All of these are red dot sights — they all provide a red reticle for you to aim your gun with, but they are not the same.
The reticle in a reflex sight is projected from the back of the scope and reflected on the frontal lens — hence the name reflex sight. These types of sights are wide and have minimal eye relief, which means they allow for fast target acquisition and are good in close quarters situations.
Prism sights have the reticles etched on the glass and act like a standard scope — they are not ideal for close range but are adequate for longer range engagements.
Holographic sights use lasers and mirrors to provide the red reticle. The size of these sights allow you to shoot with both of your eyes open, which means that target acquisition is generally faster than with a traditional reflex sight.
So, the question “is a reflex sight or a red dot sight better for an AR15” makes no sense. The question you should be asking is “which type of reflex sight should I use with an AR15?” The answer will, of course, depend.
If you are intending on shooting targets at long distances, then the prism sights are a safe bet. At close distances, the reflex sight and the holographic sights are both good. Generally, holographic sights are better than reflex sights, but they are much more expensive.
Frequently Asked Questions
What distance is a red dot sight good for?
A red dot sight is really good within 100 yards, as it can help you to quickly and accurately line up your shot. Beyond 100 yards, the dot begins to spread out, making it harder to hit your target. So if you’re looking to take down a target beyond 100 yards, you’ll likely need to switch to a different type of sight.
Are red dot sights worth the money?
For most people, red dot sights are definitely worth the money. There’s no question that red dot sights are a great way to improve your shooting accuracy, especially in close-quarters combat. Depending on your shooting goals, a red dot sight could be a great addition to your weapon.
Do you have to zero a red dot sight?
Yes, you do have to zero a red dot sight. Zeroing a red dot sight simply means calibrating it so that the point of aim is aligned with the point of impact. This is done by adjusting the sights on the firearm so that when the red dot is placed in the center of the lens, the bullet will hit where you’re aiming.
Browsing for the best red dot sight can be confusing. As you’ve seen there are many different types of sights, yet they all seem to do more or less the same — they offer you an easy to see reticle that increases your target acquisition speed.
If you want a budget-conscious option, then the Vortex Optics Crossfire Gen II is the best red dot for AR 15 owners. It offers an excellent compromise between price and usability. The Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 is the go-to if you are on an extreme budget.
On the other hand, if you have the money to splurge, it is difficult to beat the Aimpoint CompM4. This red dot sight offers the best money can buy — and don’t be fooled, it is expensive.
Do you use red dot sights? Which one do you prefer?