Red dot sights (RDS) are commonly used on handguns and rifles. They’re lightweight and versatile, helping you get accurate hits out to a certain distance. How far that distance is going to be depends on a lot of factors including skill level and the capabilities of the gun you’re using. So, how do you get a little more range out of your favorite RDS? You use a red dot magnifier.
Here to help you figure out how to zero your magnifier in a video tutorial is Aaron Cowan of Sage Dynamics.
Why a Red Dot Magnifier?
RDS magnifiers are useful because they make it possible to get accurate hits on target at longer distances. Different models have varying levels of magnification and, just like any optic, they are not all created equal. Some magnifiers have better clarity than others and some are tougher than others when they get banged against trees and barriers. And, as Aaron points out, using one helps you get good target identification.
When you choose your magnifier, do your homework first. Watch reviews by guys like Aaron who know what they’re talking about and really put gear through its paces. Decide exactly what you need the magnifier to do — hunting, competition, home defense — and choose the magnification level accordingly. Also, save up as long as necessary to be sure you get the right one for you.
What should you look for in a magnifier?
- Magnification level
- Field of View
- Holds Zero
- Battery Life
Yes, Magnifiers Need to be Zeroed
Aaron Cowan explains briefly that yes, magnifiers do have to be zeroed: “Just like on an optic you’ve got windage and elevation knobs and they’re not there for decoration. You actually have to zero the magnifier after you’ve zeroed the optic. It’s not the end of the world, it’s not that big of a deal; depending on how specific you want to be, you can literally…”eyeball” it. The reason it has to be zeroed is it may not be perfectly in visual alignment…parallax with the optic itself, the optic body, and the red dot, which is, of course, what you’re looking for.”
Here’s the video tutorial.
A Word on Red Dot Sights
Your choice of RDS matters, too. The RDS you choose should be well-suited to its use and it needs to be up to whatever abuse you’re going to put it through. Also, make sure the size of the dot itself works for you (adjustable dots are great) and stop to consider the color. Just because we call them red dots doesn’t mean they don’t also come in green, and if you have astigmatism, green may work much better for you. And, of course, the RDS needs to work well with whatever magnifier you choose. They don’t have to be a perfect match, but they aren’t exactly one size fits all.
As with any piece of gear, do your homework and take your time choosing. When it comes time to zero your magnifier or learn other skills, check out Sage Dynamics’ videos. Aaron Cowan is a wealth of information and a legit, skilled shooter.