Red Dot vs Laser Sights – Which Is Best For Self Defense?

When it comes to self-defense, there are a lot of different options to choose from. One of the most important decisions you’ll make is which type of sight to use on your gun. Do you go with a red dot sight or a laser sight? Both have their pros and cons depending on your specific needs. In this post, we’ll help you choose between red dot vs laser sights.

Which Is Best: Red Dot vs Laser Sights

picture of a red dot sight and laser sight

The invention of the red dot and laser sights were a significant improvement from traditional iron sights. In the old days, a shooter would need to line up both the rear sight & front sight on their target. Laser and red dot sights make the aiming process much easier. Simply align your red dot or laser on the target & shoot. There is no wasted time aligning sights.

Which is the best red dot vs laser sights? It really depends on your needs.

  • Red Dot Sight – Allows for quick and easy target acquisition, ideal for medium to long-range shooting.
  • Laser Sight – Used to project a green or red laser onto the target. Very effective for close-range shooting, but it can be difficult to keep the dot on the target at longer distances. Great for firing from behind cover when you cannot properly line up a red dot sight.

Takeaway: Both are effective for home defense. Red dot sights are better for medium to long-range. Laser sights are optimal for close-range shooting.

Red Dot Sight Pros

When you compare popular red dot sights like the delta point pro vs rmr, you get a great sense for their benefits & features. Here are some of the main benefits of using a red dot optic.


  • Easy To Use – More intuitive to use than iron sights because they allow the shooter to align the weapon with the target without taking their eyes off of the target.
  • Poor Lighting – Red dot sights utilize an LED illuminated reticle. This makes them great for shooting in low-light conditions.
  • Improved Accuracy – Red dot sights make target acquisition quick and easy from medium to long range. Compared to a traditional sight picture, a red dot sight provides significantly better situational awareness & visibility.

Red Dot Sight Cons

Red dot optics are great…but they are not perfect. It is critical to learn how to sight in a red dot sight correctly. Here are some of the main cons to using this sight.

  • Battery Powered – Red dot sights are battery-powered. So if the battery dies the LED reticle will not show up. If you don’t charge your sight, it could die at the worst time.
  • Lose Zero – If your red dot sight is not properly secured on the rail it could start to move over time. This means you could lose your zero at the worst possible moment. For most people, we recommend using a 36-yard zero to sight in your weapon.
  • Not Great For Super Close Range – Compared to laser sights, red dots are not typically recommended for use at close range – under 15 feet or so.

Laser Sight Pros

Here are some of the main benefits of using a laser sight on our weapon.

  • Shoot Behind Cover – With a laser sight, there is no need to align yourself directly behind your weapon. Simply place the laser beam on your target and fire. This means you can shoot with accuracy while hiding behind cover.
  • Target Focused – Perhaps the most important benefit is that they allow the shooter to focus on the threat rather than the front sight. In a high-stress situation, aligning the front sight with the rear sight can be tricky.
  • Fast Target Acquisition – Laser sights can improve target acquisition, both in terms of speed and accuracy. No matter if you’re shooting indoors or outdoors, you can quickly acquire your target.

Laser Sight Cons

Although laser sights are great for home defense and close-quarters combat, there are some drawbacks.

  • Alerts The Enemy – If you can see the laser beam, so can your target. The bright light is especially visible in low light situations. This is not always a major issue but should be considered in situations where you value not being seen.
  • Battery Life – Just like red dots, laser sights rely on battery power. This means if you don’t take care of your sight, it may run out of battery at a bad time.
  • Long Distance Shooting – Laser sights are optimal for close-range combat. When it comes to firing at medium to long-range targets, these are not the best sights.

Best Laser Sights For Your Pistol

There’s no question that lasers can be a powerful tool when it comes to aiming a pistol. But with so many different models on the market, it can be tough to know which one is the best fit for your gun. Here’s a quick rundown of The Best Lasers for M&P Shield 9mm, so you can make an informed decision the next time you’re in the market for one. I also recently ran an experiment to find out what red dots fit canik tp9sf. It turns out Holosun was the best option!

Best Red Dot Sight For Your Pistol

Just like with lasers, red dot sights & LPVO sights can significantly improve your accuracy in combat situations. However, there are so many different sights on the market that it can be tough to know which is the best. Check out our post on the Best Red Dot Sights For The Money. There is a red dot optic that fits everyone’s needs and budget.

Training Is A Must

Choosing between red dot vs laser sights is very important. But they are no substitute for practice. In order to shoot accurately, you need to be familiar with your weapon and comfortable with your aim. Only by putting in the time and effort to hone your accuracy and trigger control skills will you be able to shoot with the precision that you need in high-pressure situations.

Zero Your Weapon

When it comes to shooting, there are a lot of moving parts. It’s important to make sure your sights are properly aligned. That’s why we always recommend zeroing your laser and red dot sights.

To do this effectively, try using a laser bore sighting cartridge. This will increase the precision and consistency of your sight. And if you specifically use handguns for self-defense, check out our post on how to sight in a laser on a pistol.

By taking a few minutes to calibrate your sights, you can rest assured that your shots will be on target. So save yourself the headache (and the wasted ammo) and make sure to zero your sights before you start shooting.

Are Laser Sights Or Red Dot Sights Better For Tactical Situations?

Red dot sights are better than laser sights for tactical situations. There are more tactical advantages gained by using a red dot optic in tactical shooting situations.

Red dot sights offer several advantages such as fast target acquisition, better accuracy, better situational awareness, and more! With a red dot sight, shooters can quickly place the dot on the target in high-pressure situations. They also allow for both eyes to remain open, enhancing situational awareness and peripheral vision. Red dot sights are also parallax-free which allows shooters to aim from various angles without worrying about eye alignment.

Shooters can also consider using weapon lights like the TLR7A or TLR7 in addition to their red dot sights. This allows shooters to light up their environment and shoot more accurately in low lighting conditions.

Can Laser Sights be Used on AR-15’s?

Yes, laser sights can be used on AR-15 rifles. Laser sights are among the many different Ar-15 modifications that can be made to improve the performance of your rifle. Various firearms, including the AR-15 platforms and can be attached to the rifle’s Picatinny or M-LOK rails. Laser sights can assist in quick target acquisition, especially in low-light conditions or when shooting from unconventional positions.

FAQs – Red Dot & Lasers

Are red dots lasers?

Red dot sights and laser sights are not the same. Lasers project an actual laser beam onto a specific target. However, red dot sights, produce an LED illuminated reticle that a shooter aligns with a target.

Are laser sights good for home defense?

Home defense is a great use for laser sights. In close-quarters combat, there is no time to take careful aim. A red dot on the wall or floor can help you guide your shots and stay on target, even in the heat of the moment.

Why is green laser better than red?

Green light triggers a higher number of cones in your eye than a red laser. These cones are responsible for color vision. And since green is at the center of the visible spectrum, it's easier for your brain to process than red lasers.

Do laser sights work in daylight?

I've found that laser sights significantly improve my accuracy in daylight conditions. The main reason for this is that the laser dot is easier to see in the daytime than the front sight of a traditional gun.

Which is better red dot or green laser?

It will depend on your specific needs and preferences. The green laser will be more visible in a variety of light conditions.

Is it worth putting a red dot on a pistol?

For most people, it is worth it to put a red dot optic on your pistol. The main advantage of a red dot sight is that it can be used with both eyes open, providing a wider field of view. This is a great benefit for a self-defense or combat weapon.

Do police use laser sights?

Law enforcement frequently uses laser sights in their operations. Laser sights are just one tool that officers use to gain greater situational awareness. In other words, they are able to sight a target quickly, while being able to see the surrounding environment.

Does the military use red or green lasers?

The military relies heavily on infrared lasers for night operations. They use both red and green lasers in their operations.

What color laser is most powerful?

Green lasers are more easily seen by the human eye. Not only is green more visible than other colors, but it also packs a bigger punch. Since green light has a shorter wavelength than red or blue light, it produces more energy and can travel further before being scattered. This is especially true when choosing between green vs red dot sights for people with Astigmatism.

The Bottom Line

There is no question that choosing between red dot sights vs lasers can be tricky. Hopefully, you now know which type of sight is best for your specific needs. Both have their own specific pros and cons. Let us know which sight works best for your needs!

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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