After you buy a new red dot sight, the first thing you need to do is zero your sight. But how do you zero a pistol red dot sight? If you have never done this before, we got you covered! In this post, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process to get your pistol sighted in correctly.
What Is Sighting A Pistol?
Zeroing a pistol’s red dot sight is an important step for ensuring that your firearm is accurate and shooting where you are aiming.
To put things simply, sighting your pistol red dot is making adjustments to your optic so the point of impact aligns with your reticle from a desired distance.
When completed correctly, zeroing a SIG p365 red dot will greatly improve comfort and accuracy at various distances. At times you will need to make minor adjustments. And other times you will need to make significant adjustments.
Once you understand how to get your pistol’s red dot’s reticle zeroed, your accuracy and shooting performance will improve significantly!
How To Sight In A Red Dot On A Pistol
Most pistol red dot sights, like the Vortex Venom or Burris Fastfire, can be zeroed by following the steps shown below. Remember, not all optics are exactly the same. Therefore, the appropriate adjustments may not be exactly the same from optic to optic. Let’s get into it.
1) Prepare Your Iron Sights
Before making any red dot sight adjustments, you need to get your iron sights set up. Although we are going to Co-witness our red dot & iron sights, we’ll start by completely ignoring the red dot.
Find a comfortable shooting position and fire a few shots on target to ensure you can shoot a group.
2) Set Your Target
Set your target at your preferred distance downrange. I personally use a zero distance of 7-10 yards because that’s the range in most self-defense situations.
For larger weapons like assault rifles, shooters choose to use a 36-yard zero distance or a 50-yard zero distance. It really depends on their specific use case!
3) Test Shot
Now that your red dot and target are set up, take your aim & fire your first group. Analyze your results before making any changes!
4) Windage and Elevation Adjustments
Now it is time to make the proper windage & elevation adjustments! To do this, we are going to use the windage adjustment & elevation adjustment turrets.
- If you miss high or low – make elevation adjustments.
- If you miss left or right – make windage adjustments.
There is no telling exactly how much you’ll have to adjust your red dot until after you have fired your first group.
5) Final Confirmation Shot
Before completing the sighting process, I recommend firing one final shot to verify your adjustments were accurate. If you find your point of impact is still slightly off, make further adjustments as necessary to fix the issue. Even high-quality Hellcat Pistol Red Dots will need this final test shot!
Congrats! Your red dot sight is now zeroed and ready for use.
Laser Bore Sight
Many shooters will ask: can I zero my pistol red dot sight without firing a single shot?
Yes, you can! To do this I would recommend using a laser bore sight device. This tool will mount to your pistol and project a laser onto the target. Follow the same process as described above, but you don’t need to fire any shots! Just get your red dot reticle aligned with the laser bore sight dot.
Frequently Asked Questions
What distance should you sight in a red dot on a pistol?
How do red dot sights work on a pistol?
How accurate are red dot sights on pistols?
Can you sight in a red dot without shooting?
Where do you sight in a red dot on a pistol?
The Bottom Line
By now, you should have a firm understanding of how to zero your pistol red dot scope. Your red dot sight manufacturer may claim that the sight comes “pre-zeroed”, but I wouldn’t buy it! If you’re serious about shooting accurately on the range & in self-defense situations then you need to zero your pistol red dot and iron sights. Also, if you use magnifiers like the hm3x vs hm3xt, the zero process will be slightly different. Let us know if these tips helped!
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