Ultimate Red Dot Magnifier Setup Guide

Red dot magnifiers are magnified accessories that are installed behind red dot sights. These are commonly used on assault rifles to improve accuracy from longer distances.

In order to set your magnifier and red dot combo up correctly, you need to mount your optic, set your preferred height, and optimize the distance between your magnifier and red dot.

Read on to learn how to install a magnifier combo correctly to improve your shooting accuracy in the range and in tactical shooting situations.

holographic sight and magnifier setup

What Is A Red Dot Magnifier?

A red dot magnifier is an accessory mounted behind a red dot sight to increase the magnification power. It is a compact device that can provide variable magnification depending on the magnifier you use.

There are many benefits of red dot magnifiers including increased target clarity, extended effective range, and enhanced situational awareness.

Red dot magnifiers are commonly used in the following situations when a combination of speed and precision is essential.

  • Tactical applications
  • Law enforcement
  • Military operations
  • Competitive shooting

What Is The Main Benefit Of Using Red Dot Magnifiers?

The main benefit of using red dot magnifiers is the ability to shoot accurately from longer ranges. Red dot sights by themselves do not provide any magnification. They are normally effective from distances of up to 100 yards. By using a red dot magnifier combo you can shoot accurately from distances up to 200 yards and beyond depending on the shooters skill level.

How To Set Up A Red Dot Sight Magnifier Combo

There are 3 primary steps to getting a red dot sight and magnifier set up properly. Here are the 3 steps needed to get your magnifier set up correctly.

  1. Mount Your Optic & Magnifier
  2. Choose Your Preferred Optic Height
  3. Set Your Eye Relief

Setup Red Dot Magnifier

1. Mount Your Optic & Magnifier

The first step is to ensure your red dot sight and magnifier are mounted to your base properly. Be sure to read the instructions on your specific red dot sight model and magnifier model to learn how to install them correctly.

Not mounting your optic properly can result in your sight vibrating and losing zero after firing a few rounds. If this happens it will be very difficult to shoot accurately on the range or in tactical situations.

Shooters also need to consider if they are using an absolute co-witness or lower 1/3 co-witness. Your preferred co-witness will determine if you will need to shim your magnifier or not.

2. Choose Your Preferred Optic Height

Next, you will need to determine the best height for your red dot and magnifier.

Shims are the best tool to set the height of your red dot and magnifier. Shims are thin pieces of material that are placed between the optic and its mounting surface to control the height. They are typically made from various materials such as steel or polymer.

You can stack shims as necessary to find the perfect height for your needs and use case. Some optics may need just one shim while others many require several shims.

3. Set Your Eye Relief

The final step is determining the perfect distance between red dot and magnifier. This will ultimately determine your eye relief.

There is no perfect distance that works for all red dots and red dot magnifiers. It will vary widely depending on the specific model of your red dot and magnifier. Play with the distance to create an ideal sight picture from the distance you plan to shoot from.

How To Pick Your Magnifier & Red Dot Sight Combo

Choosing the right Magnifier and Red Dot Sight combo requires careful consideration of several factors.

  • Compatibility with your specific red dot sight
  • Magnification power
  • Mounting system
  • Consider the weight and size of the optic and magnifier

Which Magnifier Should Your Use?

You need to consider your specific use case before buying the best red dot magnifier for your needs. Pick a magnifier that is compatible with your red dot or holographic sight and provides the desired level of magnification.

Which Red Dot Sight Should You Use?

Before choosing a red dot you need to consider compatibility with your firearm, durability, price, and many other factors. Holosun and other optic companies make some of the best handgun red dots and other types of red dots.

What Distance Should You Zero Your Red Dot & Magnifier From?

As we learned in our post about zeroing EOTech red dot sights, there are several factors that affect the zero distance. Zero your optic based on the distance you plan on shooting from.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a red dot magnifier compatible with all types of firearms?

No, red dot magnifiers are not compatible with all firearm types. There needs to be adequate rail space to fit both a red dot and magnifier. Pistols do not have this space.

Can a red dot magnifier be used in low-light conditions?

Yes, red dot magnifiers will work in low-light conditions. However, thermal and night vision scopes will always be the best for nighttime use.

The Bottom Line

By now you should have a great understanding of how to set up your red dot sight magnifier combo correctly. Make sure your optic is mounted properly, shims are installed, and eye relief is set to your preferences. Red dot sights & magnifiers are great accessories to become a more accurate shooter from medium to long range. Set your optics up according to your specific needs and preferences.

About the author

Patrick Howard

I have been working as a gunsmith for 20 years. Rain, fog, moisture, high temperature, or even snow are all the things a product must withstand in order to be recommended by me.

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