Whether you are an experienced shooter or a rookie, a reflex sight will definitely increase your efficiency. While traditional iron sights could provide this accuracy, red dots sights have gone through technological improvements enabling them to aim and shoot with increased precision.
When the red optics dot hit the market, they were only used by the military but today they have become increasingly popular and are employed for recreational uses such as hunting and paintball.
The best reflex sights will help in you engaging long-range shots, help you acquire targets easily, enhance one-handed operation, and improve your low light shooting. Choosing a red dot might seem like an easy task but their sheer number can be overwhelming.
Not to worry though, we got your back and will scan through the best five 1911 reflex sights in the market today.
Our Best 1911 Red Dot Sights
|Trijicon RMR Dual Illuminated|
|Leupold Delta Point Pro|
|Burris Fastfire 3|
|Vortex Venom Red Dot Top Load 3 MOA Dot|
|Sightmark Ultra Shot|
Our Top Picks
1. Trijicon RMR Dual Illuminated – Best Red Dot For Your 1911
Designed to be attached to a concealed carry, the Trijicon RMR Dual Illuminated optic uses fibre optics and tritium to absorb light and power the reticle. With the Trijicon, there are a variety of options ranging from 7 to 13 MOA amber and green dots.
The RMR (ruggedized miniature reflex) sight is extremely strong and durable and features elevation adjustments. It is equipped with a tactical and audible windage as well. Like the Leupold Delta Point Pro, the Trijicon RMR Dual also fits into a variety of weapons.
This one edges out the former a little bit as it includes models that are less common and also incorporates adaptors for large and medium revolvers. The adapters are manufactured by the Trijicon Company and are just as durable.
With the RMR, comes a semi-squared lens with the tritium device and fibre optic mounted on top of the lens. The optic is easy to use in any lighting condition as it automatically adjusts to brightness levels outside of the optic.
- Rugged construction
- Dual illumination
- Adjustable elevation
- No battery required
- Difficult to mount
- Not bright enough during the day
2. Leupold Delta Point Pro – Superior Build Quality
In its first miniature red dot optic, Leupold still holds firm to its tradition of high quality products. The Delta point pro is tough, clear and works very well with a 1911 pistol. In case the optic fails, the Delta Point comes with a rear iron sight that serves as a backup.
More often than not, you will be required to remove the rear sights when milling the slide to accommodate the red dot sight. This nifty addition is cost effective as it makes it cheaper to install the iron sight in front of the optic.
This pro pistol mount manufactured by Delta Point accommodates plates for a variety of firearms including Glocks, Sig Sauers, Standard 1900’s, Taurus and the Beretta. With these many options, shooters can use the optic over a variety of firearms negating the need to buy another one.
The Delta Point uses a CR 2032 battery that comes included and is waterproof up to 33 feet. In addition, gun owners will appreciate the motion sensing technology that activates the sight when the weapon is moved.
This feature enables the optic to conserve battery as the reticle only flips when the weapon is drawn and goes off soon after a moment of non-movement. This makes it ready to go in a moment’s notice while also preserving the battery.
One thing that didn’t sit well with many users is the fact that you have to remove the optic from the weapon in order to change the battery.
- Great construction
- Highly durable
- Batteries are affordable
- Works well in low light
- Unknown battery life
- Cannot adjust with varying light conditions
3. Burris Fastfire 3 – The Budget Option
It’s no surprise that the Burris Fastfire 3 makes it to this list. This affordable red dot sight packs some serious improvements over its predecessors. It has both a manual and automatic adjustment and can be mounted without milling your slide.
The Burris Fastfire 3 supports a variety of weapons including the Springfield XD, 1911s and Glocks. At a very pocket-friendly price, you are equipped with a miniature red dot that should illuminate your target in low as well as well-lit conditions.
The Burris Fastfire 3 is very lightweight coming in at a mere 0.9 ounces without the Picatinny rail mount. As a potential buyer, you have two options with the Fastfire, a 3 and an 8 MOA red dot. All these are made the same with a keen eye on their quality and construction.
The red dot has 10,000 hours of battery life and is fitted with an automatic turn off feature that turns it’s off on its own in case you forget. The manufacturers made sure to include a simple manual to aid new users in order to keep it working as easy just as they intended.
The Burris is a solid option for gun owners who are looking to equip the pistols with an RDS without breaking the bank.
- Has a unique design
- Highly durable
- Adjustable depending on the lighting of the environment
- Not ideal if your eyesight is weak
4. Vortex Venom Red Dot Top Load 3 MOA Dot – Best Value for Money
Vortex Optics is widely known for creating high quality optics at a bargain and the Vortex Venom Red Dot Top Load 3 MOA Dot is no exception. Built upon feedback from its consumers, the Venom Red Dot was built durable enough to withstand a drop and nothing more.
The Venom Red Dot’s design is built for rapid target acquisition and just begs to be put on your 1911. The sight features a 3 MOA that makes this bad boy ideal for rifles. Users will appreciate the common CR 1632 battery that runs the optics and an auto-battery shut-off.
The sight has a 1 MOA windage and elevation click adjustments that are handy for tactical use, a shooting competition or hunting. Overall, the Vortex Red Dot sight is ideal for hardcore shooters who are in search of a better grade reflex.
- Nifty auto power off mode tools
- Water and shockproof
- Rigid exterior
- Difficult to mount on some weapons
5. Sightmark Ultra Shot – Water Resistant Alternative
Although the sight comes in at a mere 7.6 ounces, which is about half the industry standard, the sight still packs a fair amount of features. For starters, this optic comes with a wide field of view of between 105 feet to 100 yards. This comes with an impressive eye relief for any shooter.
Although not ideal for DOA sight, the Sightmark still manages to punch above its weight when used to zero in on quick moving targets. The device is also water-resistant but should be submerged under water though.
A clever feature that makes this sight stand out is its digital switch. The switch eases you work when working under different brightness settings. This utility is very much appreciated especially when you are working under light that keeps changing rapidly and erratically.
- A massive field of view
- Responsive digital switch
- The battery is not long lasting
- Not fully waterproof
Factors to Consider When Buying a 1911 Red Dot
When looking to purchase a red dot you should definitely consider the purpose. Most of them function in the same way, with small differences from one manufacturer to another. You should, therefore, know what variables matter more to you. Before we look at what factors you might consider, let’s see why you might need a red dot in the first place.
Why Choose a Red Dot Sight?
Technological advancements over the years have improved red dots and made them a lot more compact. Today, manufacturers provide affordable options for a variety of weapons. Although red dots were initially used on hunting pistols, competitive shooters have quickly adopted them due to the benefits below:
- Faster Sight Picture Acquisition: While traditional sight force the shooter to align both the rear and front, with red dots you only have to focus on the target. This inadvertently makes you faster and you will be able to engage targets quickly.
- Long-Range Engagement: Perfecting a long-range shot takes time and even so, the most professional shooters fail in consistency from time to time. With a low MOA red dot, however, you will significantly extend your range and hit the target with incredible consistency. Although the sight won’t fix bad shooting skills, they are ideal for inexperienced shooters.
- Better Low Light Shooting: red dot are creeping nearer and nearer to night visions in the dark. Red dots require that you dial them to the right brightness in order to make out your target. This is however not necessary for automatically adjustable sights.
- Helps with Poor Eyesight: for shooters who do not have the best eyesight, a red dot will help you focus better. A red dot will help you focus on the target still or moving and align the reticle.
- Increased Awareness: a red dot gives you a competitive advantage, as you do not have to shift focus between every target. This allows you to continuously focus your sight through multiple targets with ease.
Before choosing a red dot sight, you ought to know that they vary in size from one to another. The size you will pick will depend on the size of the reticle and the amount of room left on your firearm.
Most of these red dots, however, have crosshairs of a variety of choices. Like the dots on many reflex sights, they won’t appear defined and shard. The dot will look different from one person to another, it will mostly look fuzzy, but it’s okay.
There isn’t one dot that will give you a crisp contrasting outline so you are better off not wondering about the sharpness of the reticle at all.
The size of a sight is measured in MOA (minute of angle) and is either one, one half and two inches at 100, 50 and 200 yards respectively. The smallest dot is 1 MOA, these have a huge field of view, are reliable and are very sturdy.
Most, however, are around the 4 MOA mark which means that they can cover up to 200 yards and can cover 4, 2 or 8 inches. When buying a red dot, we recommend that you buy one of 4 MOA.
Sights and Batteries
An important piece of information that you should have when shopping for a red dot sight is that they are battery powered. Nothing is visible when you look through the red dot without power, as they appear black.
The reticle needs to be available when needed and with a low battery powered sight; there are chances that it’s not going to be usable when you are ready to aim at your target.
Do keep in mind that cold weather wears down battery power and its best that you carry additional back up if you intend to hunt in such conditions. Fortunately, red dots tend to have long battery life. It’s important that you buy a sight with good battery life and turn it off when not in use.
Newer models like the Vortex Venom Red Dot Top Load 3 MOA Dot have an auto-power off mode that turns off power when your weapon is motionless for some time. The longest red dot battery life is 10,000 hours or 5 years.
If battery life is an important consideration for you, we recommend that you go for such sights.
Type of Reticle Projection
There are two different styles of reticle projection. Red dots sights can either be holographic or reflex.
Reflex sights are common among hunters. There are more mainstream and are mostly used for recreational purposes. A reflex sight works by reflecting an LED behind the screen to your line of sight.
Holographic sights, on the other hand, are common amongst military and law enforcement agencies. The laser diode with these kinds of sights shines from the front of the lens.
These have a more intricate design that allows the laser to shine through the viewing window to illuminate the reticle. These top-notch features make this reticle ideal for strategic shooting.
In a world full of accurate rifles and modernly designed pistols, the classic 1911 still holds its own in almost any application. The addition of a good reflex sight on top enhances this pistol to the same level as other heavily upgraded artillery.
A combination of the best triggers in the industry and enhanced target acquisition lowers match time, which is something you are going to need in combat. Moreover, you will need to consider the reticle size, the battery life, and type of projection depending on the intended purpose.
To sum it up, the five options above are all good enough where you are in the military or buying for paintball.
Please let us know which Red Dot sight you opted for in the comments section below.