Where To Mount Red Dot On AR – Placement Tips

Red dot sights are probably the most popular optics for assault rifles. For a reasonable price, shooters can get a red dot that significantly improves their accuracy. However, if you don’t install your red dot correctly your shooting performance will suffer. In this post, we’ll teach you exactly where to mount red dot on AR rifles.

Where To Mount Red Dot On AR 15

picture of where to mount red dot on ar 15

We recommend mounting your red dot as far forward as possible on the receiver. This is for a few main reasons:

  • Peripheral Vision – Pushing your sight forward gives you the most peripheral vision. When you mount your red dot further the optic itself can obstruct your horizontal vision.
  • Situational Awareness – Mounting your optic forward maximizes your vision, reduces tunnel vision, and makes it easier to find the dot in your field of view.
  • Extra Room – Provides extra room for removing your handguard.
  • Balanced weight – Placing the optic forward more evenly distributes the weight on your AR-15.
  • Magnifier – Forward red dot sight gives you room to mount a magnifier behind it.


You’ll need to experiment a bit to find the exact spot that works best for you. But once you do, you’ll be able to take full advantage of your red dot sight and enjoy more accurate shooting. You should also read our post about how to mount a scope on your AR15 to learn even more!

Tip #1 – Apply Loctite

threadlocker and red dot sights

Firing hundreds of rounds can cause screws to loosen and your red dot to slide out of position. Once you lose zero it will be very hard to shoot with consistent accuracy. I recommend using a small amount of Loctite to lock your screws in place. This will ensure your sight does not rattle out of position slowly over time.

Tip #2 – Mount Your Red Dot Pushed Forward

Push forward on your red dot sight as your screw it into the rail. There is always some tolerance between the screws and mounting holes that can cause the sight to slide around. Push the sight forward as your screw it into place to ensure the screws sit flush against the mounting holes. This will keep your sight more still while firing.

Tip #3 – Use The Rail’s Forward Half

Mounting the red dot sight in the forward position will give you better situational awareness and allow room for other accessories. Take advantage of the red dot sights eye relief and get a larger field of view.

What About The Rearward Optic Position?

We have already made the case for mounting your red dot sight in the forward position. However, you also have the option to mount in the rearward position.


  • Sight will be closer to the shooter’s eye
  • Easier to aim with both eyes
  • Bigger field of view


  • Offers less peripheral vision
  • No space for a magnifier
  • Poor weight distribution

Different Types Of Rifle Scope Mounts

It is also important to choose the correct type of rifle scope mount when mounting your optic. Here is a list of the main types of AR15 scope mounts.

  • One-Piece Scope Mounts
  • Rifle Scope Ring Mounts
  • Weaver Rail Scope Mounts
  • Picatinny Scope Mounts
  • Integral Scope Mounts
  • Quick-Detach Scope Mounts

The quick-detach (QD) mounts are amongst the most popular for mounting red dot sights. This system makes it very quick to attach your red dot to your AR-15 rail and get shooting! Also, you should consider the height and offset of the mount. The mount’s height determines the sight’s alignment with your eye and the bore axis, affecting your sight picture and co-witness with iron sights. Choose a height that suits your shooting style and provides a comfortable cheek weld.

Red Dot With Magnifier

By mounting a red dot on top of your scope, you can take advantage of the benefits of both sighting options. A red dot sight is ideal for close-range shooting, while a scope is better for long-range accuracy. This combination gives you the flexibility to shoot accurately at just about any distance.

You also have the option to mount your red dot in the offset/side-mounted position instead of directly over the scope.

What About The Carry Handle AR?

If you’re looking for an M16 A3 style rifle, you’re only option is to mount the red dot on the carry handle. While this might not be the most convenient or comfortable option, it’s the only way to get that classic look.

Red Dot Sight Benefits on AR-15

Red dot sights are some of the most popular gun accessories on the market, and for good reason. Here are some of the main reasons why you should consider a red dot sight for your AR-15. And if you want to shop, check out our list of the Best Red Dot Sights For AR-15s.

  • Target Acquisition – With a red dot sight, you don’t have to take the time to align your front and rear sights, which can save valuable seconds when you’re trying to take a shot. You can aim with both eyes open and quickly lock on to your desired target.
  • Versatility – Red dot sights are extremely versatile optics. You can use them on pistols, rifles, shotguns, and even bows. They can be used for close-range or long-range shooting. They are also very rugged and can take a lot of abuse.
  • Accuracy – Red dot sights provide a clear and concise aiming point, making it easy to hit your target. And because they’re so easy to use, red dot sights are perfect for any shooter, from beginners to experts.

FAQs – Red Dot Mounting

Should red dot align with Front sight?

As long as the red dot is visible, you can shoot accurately. There is no need to worry about your front sight. As long as you have zeroed your sight, all you have to do is line up your red dot with the target and shoot. If you want to zero your sight with precision, I recommend using a laser bore sighter to maximum precision.

Where do you aim red dot?

When you're using a gun with a red dot sight you should keep things simple. Put the dot on your target and pull the trigger. The dot should be in the center of the target to ensure accurate shooting. This holds true no matter if you're shooting a pistol or an AR rifle.

Should red dot be in center of glass?

Ideally, your red dot should be centered on the optics glass. An off-center red dot would lead to inaccuracy and inconsistent shooting.

What distance are red dots good for?

Red dots are designed for short- to medium-range shooting and perform best at distances of 100 yards or less. The dot size and brightness are both calibrated for close-quarters engagements, and the unlimited eye relief allows you to place the dot anywhere on your target without having to adjust your firing position. Of course, more experienced shooters can shoot accurately from long range. For most people, 100 yards is a good distance.

Is it worth putting a red dot on a shotgun?

For most people, a red dot sight is worth adding to your shotgun. It allows you to take aim with both eyes open, which can improve your situational awareness, and it makes it easier to line up your shot. There will always be old-school people who prefer iron sights, but a red dot sight allows you to produce more precise shots.

Can you mount a reflex sight on a shotgun?

Yes, a reflex sight can be mounted on a shotgun. In fact, they are great for shotguns because they provide fast target acquisition and offer unlimited eye relief which allows you to keep both eyes open when shooting.This sight allows you to maintain your peripheral vision and be fully aware of your surroundings. Reflex sights are a great option for home defense when close-quarters shooting and speed is important.

Where should I zero my red dot sight?

Red dot sights for pistols are normally sighted in at about 15-25 yards. For assault rifles, 36-yards is a popular distance to zero your red dot optic. The best yardage to zero your red dot sight is definitely open for debate. It really depends on your specific needs and which distance you plan to shoot from.

The Bottom Line

Now you should be able to mount your red dot like a seasoned pro. It doesn’t need to be complicated. Follow these basic tips to make sure your red dot is set up correctly to shoot with the most accuracy. Let us know if you have any questions!

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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