Best AR-15 Red Dot for the Money

If you like this article share it!Share on Facebook2Tweet about this on TwitterPin on Pinterest0

If you are looking for a sight to help you get on target quickly at shorter ranges with faster acquisition than a scope or lining up iron sights a red dot sight is probably what you’re looking for. These seemingly simple sight systems are amazing for great accuracy with point and shoot type of aiming. Hopefully this will help you pick out the best AR-15 red dot for you. Please note that none of these discussed red dots will have any true magnification as the focus will be on 1X red dot sights.

Related Article: Vortex Crossfire II 1-4x Review

Best AR-15 Red Dot: Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 

best AR-15 red dot

Our Rating:


3.7 oz

To kick off this list we will work from the lowest price range upwards. Remember with today’s technology you do not have to spend all of your money on a sight because more companies are getting better about quality at fair prices. First off we have Bushnell Trophy TRS-25.

The base model comes in black but they also offer a camouflaged version for those who might want it. It is a good reliable sight and when it comes in under the $70 mark it is hard to beat. These have been put on everything from airsoft rifles to 12 gauge shotguns and have a proven track record of reliability. It has a 25mm objective and has a 3 MOA dot so the dot is not overly large so shooting at smaller things and targets further away is still possible.

It comes in at just 3.7 ounces with is pretty light and means you won’t lose much swing speed when you scan for targets with this red dot. It uses a simple CR2032 button style battery that is supposed to last 3,000 hours but your mileage may differ depending on setting and what not. It has 11 brightness settings giving you a wider range for different levels of ambient light. Remember for under $70 you might not have a perfectly clean little dot but it will still be accurate.

Related Article: Best Shooting Ear Protection

Best AR-15 Red Dot: Primary Arms Micro Red Dot 

best AR-15 red dot

Our Rating:


4.3 oz

The next option we have is made by Primary Arms and is their Micro Red Dot sight. At just around $90 it is a great option. It features a 2 MOA dot for more precise shooting and will not take up a lot of your sight picture on your target. It comes with 12 brightness settings letting you dial in just the right amount of brightness to keep the dot clean yet visible.

It also uses a CR2032 battery and is supposed to run for 1,000 hours on the medium brightness setting. It weighs 4.3 ounces so it is still very light and compact. Once again it has an excellent track record of reliability at an affordable price point.

Best AR-15 Red Dot: Primary Arms Advanced Micro Red Dot 

best AR-15 red dot

Our Rating:


3.9 oz

Now we break over the $100 dollar mark and jump into another Primary Arms product the Advanced Micro Dot with push buttons for brightness levels.

It goes for around $170 dollars and the main difference besides the push buttons for brightness setting is the boasted 50,000 hour battery life. This is a feature primarily advertised by probably the top company in red dot sights, Aimpoint.

This unit once again uses a CR2032 battery for power. The benefit to having such a long battery life is that you basically do not ever have to shut it off. This means it is ready to begin firing as soon as you pick it up making it very handy for a home defense sight.

It weighs in at 3.9 ounces making it very light yet it is still durable. It also has 12 adjustable settings for brightness that you simply adjust by pushing the plus or minus button the top of the sight.

Related Article: Best AR-15 Magazines

Best AR-15 Red Dot: HOLOSUN HS403C 

best AR-15 red dot

Our Rating:


4.4 oz

The next sight to discuss has a couple interesting features the last have not. The HOLOSUN HS403C is a micro red dot sight like the last three but also features a solar panel on the top for a back up or primary power source.

This is a big advantage especially if you have a “prepping” mindset because regardless of a battery as long as you have some ambient light on the solar panel it will run your red dot. The other great feature is the battery life for this optic is also 50,000 hours so it is a one two combo that is great for someone who wants to be prepared.

It weighs just 4.4 ounces with the high mount attached which means it is also light with a lot of good options. It uses the same CR2032 battery as the other aforementioned sights. It features a 2 MOA dot for more precise shooting with 10 daylight brightness settings and 2 night vision compatible settings.

The other really interesting thing is the dot will automatically adjust to ambient light to make the clearest dot for the amount of light. Overall there a couple of cool features you get and while it does cost a little more at around $199 it still does not break the bank for the awesome fact that it can operate without a battery.

Best AR-15 Red Dot: Vortex Sparc AR

Best AR-15 Red Dot

Our Rating:


7.5 oz

The final red dot to be covered is the Vortex Sparc AR. It is a ruggedly built red dot with a 2 MOA dot for clear crisp sight picture without a large dot interfering. It weighs in at 7.5 ounces and is the heaviest on the list but is built to be rugged and reliable.

One great feature for the red dot sight is the no questions asked return policy of Vortex. While a warranty doesn’t mean you won’t be angry if it stops working it will take some of the sting out if the failure is your fault and you are still able to exchange it for a different sight.

A good feature on this red dot is that to adjust the 10 different brightness levels the buttons used for adjustment are on the back side facing your face so you can simply see which button you are clicking. Not that it is a huge deal breaker obviously if a sight does not have this but it is a well thought out design nonetheless.

The battery life of this optic ranges from around 300 hours at full brightness to around 5,000 hours on the minimum setting. While this isn’t the longest battery life it does have an automatic shut off feature after 12 hours to prevent accidentally leaving it on. It is powered by one common AAA battery

This red dot comes in right under $200 dollars and while it seems expensive compared to some of these other options it is still very affordable comparatively to the big name sight companies.

Best AR-15 Red Dot: Conclusion 

The main point of this was to show there are great values for red dot optics, especially for the casual shooter. This doesn’t mean these sights aren’t reliable and they have a great track record at performing and good to great customer service. There are some interesting accessories to red dots such as magnifiers that will give you generally a 3X view and help to make your red dot effective at longer ranges. These add money and if you intend to just keep this red dot for shooting around 100 yards it isn’t really necessary but can add capability to your system. There are also different risers to help you co-witness your red dot with either your back up iron sights or your fixed iron sights. Most sights will come with different mounts but if not you can purchase them separately. Overall picking the best AR-15 red dot sight will come down to your budget and how many options you want it to have. Bushnell has sold thousands of their sights with great success just like Aimpoint, this does not mean they are of the same quality but it means that their performance is great compared to the cost ratio. Thanks for reading and check back for more articles. If you enjoy our site let us know by voting for us as a top prepper site with the link towards the bottom of our home page.