how to sight in red dot sight

How to Sight in a Red Dot: 5 Easy Steps Explained

When you’re using red dot sight you must know how to sight in a red dot to make you user experience good. If you don’t know usage it is useless to spend buckets of dollars. Choose only best red dot sight and trusted one. After reading this article you will know how to red dot sight.

Either you’ve pistol or rifle, I will describe you how to sight in a red dot on your AR rifle and how to sight in a red dot on your pistol. I’m going to explain separately for rifle and pistols. There is no more difference in sighting in on your different firearms but there are some key point differences that help you to use red dot sight efficiently.

After getting a brand new red dot sight you must zero it before using so that you can hit the target precisely. The point of impact is actually the aiming point where you want to hit the bullet. The first step is to zero you red dot to project it to aiming point. Let’s discuss how to sight in red dot reflex on AR-15 and pistols keep reading the instructions and apply them side by side.

How to Sight a Red Dot on Your AR-15

If you’re mounting your red dot on your AR-15; here is a complete guide for you just keep engaging with the content. Okay now let’s start to sight in a red dot for your AR-15.

We set up the red dot on AR-15 so we can see through barrel to the target. The target is down range at 15 yards. I can clearly the dot on the paper and no we are ready to pull this back together and continue the process.

The red dot sight is mounted on rifle which is balanced on sand bags

After looking through the bore, if the dot doesn’t appear to be on paper

So make your adjustment to put it back on to the paper.  If the red dot is not lining up right on the paper for your AR 15   there is an independent system in case should be uses for this instead.

Now attach your rifle back and see through the barrel to the dot at 50 yards. You will the see the target down. Make your adjustment and keep in mind your zero is only good at position if it is not and you are not confident about your shot do net do that.

The red dot sight shows the central  zeroed position of red dot 100 yards away on the paper

You shot 5 shots to check your zero to make sure you’re doing proper adjustments. No check 5 rounds shot at its upper right target. We have 5 round shot here and look 2.75 inches height and 1.5 inches to the right. You have to do user adjustment until the shot bring the impact down and to the left.

The red dot zero position is not central as shows on the paper the bullets hits on top right corner

The click on this red dot is 1MOA and approximately equivalent to ½ inch when making our adjustment. Now after adjustment we have another 5 shot round. It is important that this time your shots exactly hit the center point

The red dot sight is click 1/2 inches making adjustment

Now look another 5 rounds looks pretty good in the center but 3 rounds hits to the left. Now we should make click adjustments to the right and they’re center in.

The right side of picture shows the central zero position of the reticle

Our final adjustments are here wow you see most of the bullets hits the center point. One thing is confirmed you might tight the grooves for the magnified optic on your precision rifle. That’s all about how to sight in a red dot on AR-15.

how to sight in a red dot scope

How to Sight in a Red Dot on Your Pistol

Finally, after you set up the red dot on your pistol and zero for accurate aiming with the point of impact to must know simple steps to sight in a red dot for your pistols.

Today we’re going through the process of sighting in red dot on pistol. The most important are the tools sand bag, rest bench and we at the 10 yards line. There are many distance that you can use for your pistols but  mostly 10 yards works fine and people use 15,20 and 25 as well.

The Gun is placed on the sand bag with mounted red dot sight for sight in adjustment

I’m going to use glock-17 with MOA with a vortex red dot on the top. Keep in mind this process is similar with all different open top red dot sight.

The target is seen clearly and large enough that we can see impact on paper. We have 2 adjustment locks for elevation and windage for adjustment ant red dot. Depending on the sight it may have 2 adjustment lock as like or it may have 1 lock or none.

The gun is grab in person hand and target on paper 100 yards away to show how to sight in a red dot sight

Before going to shoot make sure you’ve 5 rounds magazine and shoot on the paper. By shooting 1 shot you may notice where the aiming is hitting.

One thing is the red dot is not exactly at the aiming point when you see through the barrel to the target. Now we are going for shooting 5 rounds groove.

Here you can clearly see the shots are to the bottom left and you need to make adjustments to the right and the up so that we can hit little bit closer to the center. You can screw up to make adjustments and screw right to make hitting point to the right.

The shots are hit to the bottom left side and you need to make adjustment to the right for central zero position

You can check the user manual for the adjustment clicks. In case of vortex red dot it is 1MOA adjustment for each click for about 4 inches low and same for the left. Now we are going to make corresponding adjustments at 10 yards, 1MOA is roughly to the 10th of it. Now we are making precise adjustments in the elevations and windage.

The screw is used to rotate the adjustment knob to the right

Take another round of shots to check the aiming point on the paper. See the elevation pretty good but the windage adjustments to the right. This time make the adjustment to the left so that it can little bit move to the left to the center.

red dot sight is zeroed and hit the target at center exactly on paper board

How to Zero a Red Dot Sight

Know your adjustment value

The most necessary measure is to know your adjustment value MOA either ½, ¼ and so on. Approximately 1MOA is equal to 1 inch at 100 yards approx. You can use user manual to know the adjustment value. With each click of adjustment dial, you’re shifting ½ inch POI at 100 yards. This is the way how to adjust a red dot sight.

Fire 2-5 rounds on the your target

After adjustment value you’ve to shoot some rounds for taking extra actions. If you’re adjusting elevation 6 clicks down and your windage 6 clicks right make match your POI and POA at same distance.

Adjust elevation and windage properly to set POI

Till here you’re noticing the positive changes in your adjustment. Isn’t you?

Don’t worry we make further adjustment of elevation and windage to align point of impact with aiming point. The next is critical step to adjust and know the relation of trajectory of your round and deviation of windage and elevation at different distances.

The most ideal range is 50/200 yards in mostly red dot sight. First achieve the distance 50 yards in your shooting range. The adjustment value cut into half if you’re shooting half the distance.

How to Zero Red Dot Sight at 50 Yards

  • Use flat balanced surface to reduce human error and know how to adjust a red dot sight.
  • Mount your red dot sight securely on your firearm and tightened it.
  • Before shooting bore-sight the firearm which align the bore of gun and the reticle of target. You can save time and ammunition.
  • Choose your regular ammunition
  • First take your at 25 yards range and the shoots to check your ammunition hot the target at closer range and adjust elevation and windage unless you’re hitting the target.
  • Now move towards the 50 yards range.
  • Continue to shoot again and check the POI at 50 yards. If you’re hitting the target right position then it is ok to be using otherwise adjusts elevation and windage accordingly to get desire results.

Repeat the steps for better results

Repeat the whole steps to get the accuracy and precision in sighting in the red dot scope.


Finally it is completed on how to sight in a red dot and now you are able to zero your red dot itself without any problem. If you’re using AR-15 and pistol then you will not face any problem to zero and sight issues. here we have given detail on how to adjust a red dot sight and how a red dot sight works. it is very hard to get it right way and easy steps for beginners to adjust your scope. if you feel any trouble in sighting in a red dot you can mention below in comments.

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