Welcome to Optics Trade debates. In each episode, we talk about a different topic and try to answer the most common questions we receive about it. Today, we are going to talk about the differences between red dot sights and wide-angle riflescopes. We are going to point out the advantages and disadvantages of both.
Close range shooting is the main purpose of both types of devices - Red dots and wide-angle riflescopes are meant for close quarters, hunting, tactical shooting, driven hunting, etc. Both are meant for shooting from 5 m to 100 m, aiming in chaotic situations, when you are at close range and have to react very fast, under pressure.
Wide-angle riflescopes have a couple of advantages. The main advantage is that if your target is approximately 200 m away, you can shoot at the target without a problem. With a red dot sight, shooting at a target that far is impossible. Consequently, wide-angle riflescopes are more versatile. With them you can even do some quick shots at close range. The second plus are mounting solutions which are much more reachable. It is also much easier to install the mounts.
Red dots are definitely better when it comes to the extreme close range and when it comes to rapid target acquisition. You can look through with both eyes open and it is really easy to locate the target. The field of view is better, especially the eye-box which is almost unlimited - you can be really close or far away and you can still see the red dot and take a shot. This is important in hectic situations when you just throw the rifle on your shoulder and your tactical position is not optimal. With the red dot, you can take a shot immediately. The price is the second advantage, red dots are a lot cheaper than wide-angle riflescopes of the same level of quality. They are usually a better choice if you are searching for a combination of a light rifle with light optics.
The eye-box is very small and it is probably the biggest disadvantage of wide-angle riflescopes. They usually cost a lot more if you want similar quality.
The main disadvantage of red dots is shooting at the medium range. Anything at the distance farther than 70 m away is quite hard to hit, there is no magnification and the dot is very big. On some rifles, some smaller reflex-type red dots have a very limited selection of mounts. You are always dependent on a battery. Without it, you are just looking through the glass, without an option to hit the target.
In short, we can say that wide-angle riflescopes are for close to medium range shooting. Red dot sights are for close or extremely close range shooting where it is important to acquire targets quickly. If your target is 5 or 10 m away, it is impossible to take a shot with a wide-angle riflescope while with the red dot it is very easy.
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Red dots: https://www.optics-trade.eu/en/dot-sights.html
Wide angle riflescopes: https://www.optics-trade.eu/en/riflescopes/wide-angle-rifle-scope.html
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