Home Scopes & Sights 9 Best Red Dot Magnifiers

9 Best Red Dot Magnifiers [2021 Update with Combos]

uniformed man holding airsoft rifle with sights

Red dot sights, whether they are reflex sights or holographic weapon sights, are popular for good reasons: they are fast and easy to use without being imprecise.

These sights have a glaring weakness, though.

Red dot sights lack magnification.

The standard rule of thumb for long-ranged shooting is to use 1x of magnification for every 100 yards you’ll be shooting. This holds up for hunting and combat sights, though target shooters seeking small group will want more magnification than this.

Red dot sights, being unmagnified and so 1x, are therefore most suited for shooting out to 100 yards or less.

Adding a magnifier behind your red dot sight fixes this problem. In fact, most modern magnifiers flip to the side so you can take advantage of your sight’s speed for closer-in shooting, magnifying your optic for slower, more accurate fire!

However, not all magnifiers are made equal.

Let’s look at the best magnifiers for red dots you can buy and compare their eye relief, glass quality magnification, mounting methods, and how easy they are to use.

So, let’s aim our sights at the best magnifiers!

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9 Best Red Dot Magnifiers of 2021: Outdoor Empire Reviews

  1. Best for the Money: Holosun HM3X
  2. Best Budget Pick: Leapers UTG 3x
  3. Best Upgrade Pick: EOTech G43.STS
  4. Best for Hunting: Sig Sauer Juliet4
  5. Best High MagnificationAimpoint 6XMag-1
  6. Best for an AR-15: Vortex Micro 3x V3XM
  7. Best Combo for the Money: Holosun HS510C & HM3X
  8. Best Combo Budget Pick: Sig Sauer Romeo-MSR
  9. Best Combo Upgrade Pick: EOTech HHS-II EXPS2-2 & G33.STS

Check out the table below to compare our top picks at different price points!

CategoryBest Budget PickBest for the MoneyBest Upgrade PickBest Overall Combo

Leapers UTG
Holosun HM3X
Holosun HM3X

EOTech G43.STS

Eye Relief2 in2.75 in2.6 in7.7 in
Field of View45 ft at 100 yds37 ft at 100 yds39 ft at 100 yds38 ft at 00 yds
Length4.1 in3.9 in2.9 in3.9 in
Weight11.82 oz11.6 oz11.3 oz22.4 oz
MountFlip to sideFlip to sideSwitch to sideSwitch to side
What We LoveCheap but decent, good quality quick detach mountNo tools adjustment, good optics, solid mountGreat optics, durable, compact, military gradeHigh quality holo sight, high-end magnifier
PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price

Magnifier for Red Dot Options (No Sight Included)

1. Best Red Dot Magnifier for the Money

Holosun HM3X
  • Good adjustment range wihtout tools
  • Good optical quality
  • Comes with a good (but not great) QD mount
  • Scope shadow and small eye box
View on Amazon View at Optics Planet
03/19/2023 10:29 pm GMT

Compare prices at: Sportsman’s Warehouse, Brownells


  • Magnification: 3x
  • Eye Relief: 2.75 inches
  • Field of View: 37 feet at 100 yards
  • Length: 3.9 inches
  • Weight: 11.6 ounces
  • Mount: Flip to side


Holosun puts out some of the best value red dot sights, so it’s no surprise that their red dot magnifier is just as good.

The Holosun HM3X is a well-designed unit that has many strengths and few weaknesses. It’s also fairly priced. Overall, it is one of the most well-regarded magnifiers on the market today.

The HM3X comes with a fine QD flip-to-side mount.

It also comes with a riser, so you can use the magnifier with either an absolute co-witness or a lower 1/3rd co-witness optic. You can flip the QD mount base for left- or right-side flipping.

You can adjust it for windage and elevation without Allen wrenches. You can use a coin or a cartridge rim to rotate the dials. The diopter also has a good adjustment range.

Though the Holosun is a great magnifier, it’s still not as tough as an Aimpoint or EOTech magnifier. It also has a fairly small eye box and some scope shadow if your head is out of alignment.


My main problem with the Holosun HM3X is that it wasn’t available when I bought my first magnifier. It’s an all-around good magnifier for red dot sights that will be the best choice for most people.

2. Best Budget Red Dot Magnifier

Leapers UTG 3x Magnifier
  • The cheapest magnifier that's worth anything
  • Surprisingly good mount quality for the price
  • Bulky, which can interfere with installing a backup ironsight
  • Mediocre optical quality
  • You can damage the mount by forcing it carelessly
View on Amazon View at Optics Planet
03/19/2023 10:04 pm GMT


  • Magnification: 3x
  • Eye Relief: 2 inches
  • Field of View: 45 feet at 100 yards
  • Length: 4.1 inches
  • Weight: 11.82 ounces
  • Mount: Flip to side


The Leapers UTG 3x magnifier was my first AR red dot magnifier, bought for use on a “budget challenge” .300 Blackout AR-15 I built.

I’ve since moved on to a better magnifier, but the Leapers UTG 3x remains the best magnifier I’ve used under $100.

The UTG magnifier has a built-in quick-detach mount base that works rather well. You flip the magnifier to the side by pulling it back to clear a locking lug before flipping it over. I find it easy to use and surprisingly solid.

However, you can’t upgrade the mount, and you can sheer off the locking lug by strong-arming the magnifier to the side without pulling it back.

As for the optical quality of the magnifier, the glass is OK. You get a surprisingly wide field of view. Unfortunately, there’s a bit of a fishbowl effect at the edges of the lens, so you can’t take full advantage of this field of view.

The magnifier is also pretty bulky.  I couldn’t find backup sights that would fit underneath.

Also, you will need an Allen wrench to sight in the UTG magnifier.


The Leapers UTG 3x magnifier is the cheapest magnifier you can buy without throwing away money.  It makes for a surprisingly good budget AR red dot magnifier.

3. Best Overall Red Dot Magnifier

EOTech G43.STS
  • Good optical quality and durability
  • Great mount
  • Compact design makes the G43 even more versatile than most other magnifiers
  • Expensive
  • Relatively heavy
View on Amazon View at Optics Planet
03/19/2023 10:14 pm GMT

Compare prices at: Euro Optics, Palmetto State ArmoryBrownells, Primary Arms


  • Magnification: 3x
  • Eye Relief: 2.6 inches
  • Field of View: 39 feet at 100 yards
  • Length: 2.9 inches
  • Weight: 11.3 ounces
  • Mount: Switch to side


All of the magnifiers on this list are good magnifiers, but only a couple are good enough to be used by the military. The EOTech G43.STS is one of these magnifiers.

The G43 is the fourth generation of the G33, which is still an excellent magnifier in its own right.

EOTech G33.STS
EOTech G33.STS

The “STS” stands for “switch to side,” which is another way of saying “flip to side.” The included mount is of exceedingly high quality and can be flipped for either left or right-hand operation.

The G43 includes a 7-millimeter riser which allows you to align the magnifier with both absolute co-witness and lower 1/3rd co-witness optics.

The magnifier itself is high quality. It has a good field of view and above-average eye relief, all while being less than 3” long. In fact, the FOV and eye relief are both improved over the G33!

These improvements do come at a cost as the G43 is almost $100 more expensive than the G33. However, you don’t buy EOTech expecting it to be a budget choice.

The only feature holding the G43 back is its comparatively heavy weight. Almost any other magnifier will be lighter by several ounces.

Though the G43 is designed for use with EOTech’s holographic weapon sights, it can be used with traditional red dots as well.


The EOTech G43.STS can survive a war. It’s overpriced for range use but is a great choice for hunters or survivalists who need an effective and durable red dot magnifier.

4. Best Hunting Red Dot Magnifier

Sig Sauer Juliet4
  • 4x magnification, which is better for hunting than a 3x magnifier
  • Impressive water resistance
  • Not as much optic for the money compared with other choices, unless you are willing to spend more for waterproofing or 4x magnification
View on Amazon View at Optics Planet
03/19/2023 10:29 pm GMT

Compare prices at: Euro Optic


  • Magnification: 4x
  • Eye Relief: 2.6 inches
  • Field of View: 32.7 feet at 100 yards
  • Length: 4.2 inches
  • Weight: 12.5 ounces
  • Mount: Flip to side


Some may not think of a red dot sight and magnifier as the right type of optic for a hunting rifle, but it can make sense. It can even be a lot of fun.

Hunting often exposes optics to serious amounts of water. For example, southeast Alaska experiences a constant light rain while Florida is prone to short yet intense torrential rain.

The Sig Juliet4, designed to be partners with the Sig Romeo, is an IPX8-rated magnifier. This is a better waterproof rating than other magnifiers in the same price category. Drop your rifle off a boat while moving to your hunting spot? Not a problem, since the Juliet4 can survive 20 meters of water pressure for an hour!

The Juliet4’s other qualities are good as well. It has a 4x magnification, which hunters will appreciate, and a fair eye relief.

The QD mount is slim yet tough. It also comes with three height adjustments to fit any red dot sight.

Dialing in the Juliet4 is easy with the hand-adjustable protected turrets.

The exit pupil is small, though, so you won’t get as much light transmission when darkness falls. Also, the Juliet4 is quite long for a magnifier, though as it clears some backup iron sights this just means you can get your eye close to the sight more easily.


The Sig Juliet4 is a good hunting and survival optic because it can withstand plenty of water pressure. The 4x magnification is another plus. However, if you don’t need these two features, another magnifier for your red dot will help your money go further.

5. Best High Magnification Red Dot Magnifier

Aimpoint 6XMag-1
  • Great eye relief, especially for a 6x magnifier
  • High magnification compared with other magnifiers
  • Very durable thanks to the shock-absorbing rubber coating and high build quality
  • Small eye box
  • Mediocre light transmission
  • Narrow field of view
View on Amazon View at Optics Planet
03/19/2023 10:19 pm GMT

Aimpoint 6XMag-1


  • Magnification: 6x
  • Eye Relief: 2.8 inches
  • Field of View: 15.75 feet at 100 yards
  • Length: 6 inches
  • Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Mount: None included


Most magnifiers only provide 3x magnification. A few give 5x, 6x, or 7x, but most of these have low enough light transmission, a short enough eye relief, and small enough eye box to be frustrating to use.

The Aimpoint 6XMag-1 is a 6x magnifier that’s easier to use than the competition. It does have some of the weaknesses of other high-magnification magnifiers, but not as many as the cheaper models.

You do still need to have your eyes properly aligned with the lens in order to see your target clearly, moreso than with traditional scopes. However, the 6XMag-1 has one of the longest eye reliefs for any magnifier at 2.8 inches, so you don’t have to have your eye crammed up against the optic!

This does come at the expense of the field of view, which is under 16 feet at 100 yards. Expect to use the 6XMag-1 for slow, precision shooting.

Being an Aimpoint product, the 6XMag-1 is extremely durable and is tough enough to survive combat.

The 6XMag-1 does not normally come with a mount. You can purchase it with an Aimpoint twist-to-side mount; however, Aimpoint mounts are themselves more expensive than most magnifiers.


The Aimpoint 6XMag-1 is a tough-as-nails magnifier that can help you make accurate shots at more extreme ranges than other optics but it’s long, takes up lots of rail space, and is unforgiving regarding the eye box.

6. Best AR Red Dot Magnifier (for an AR-15)

Vortex Micro 3x V3XM
  • Long eye relief
  • Short and light so it can fit tight sight configurations
  • Versatile mounting options
  • More expensive than magnifiers of comparable visual quality
View on Amazon View at Optics Planet
03/19/2023 10:29 pm GMT

Compare prices at: Cabela’s, Euro Optic, Amazon, Brownells


  • Magnification: 3x
  • Eye Relief: 2.64 inches
  • Field of View: 38 feet at 100 yards
  • Length: 2.9 inches
  • Weight: 9.55 ounces
  • Mount: Flip to side


Most magnifiers will work with AR-15s. However, the Vortex Micro 3x V3XM is the most versatile magnifier and will work with a greater variety of setups, making it superior for putting on your AR-15.

The V3XM is the micro version of the well-regarded Vortex VMX-3T magnifier. It’s shorter than all other magnifiers except the G43 and weighs less with its mount than some other magnifiers weigh without their mounts. This is good for balance and for fitting it onto your top rail, where space is a premium.

Most magnifiers can interfere with rear backup iron sights. The Vortex V3XM can as well, but its smaller form factor makes this less likely, especially since you can set it to flip left or right.

The V3XM’s eye relief is a respectable 2.64 inches, which adds to its versatility. However, it also has a relatively small exit pupil, so low-light performance will suffer.

It also comes with a shim, so you can use it with both absolute co-witness and lower 1/3rd co-witness sights.


The Vortex Micro 3x V3XM’s small form factor makes it compatible with a wider variety of red dot sights than other magnifiers and allows it to be positioned in more locations. That’s why it’s our pick for the best AR Red Dot Magnifier.

Red Dot Sight with Magnifier Combos

7. Best Red Dot with Magnifier Combo for the Money

Holosun HS510C & HM3X Combo
  • Feature-filled red dot sight
  • High-value magnifier
  • Gap between magnifier and sight can allow debris or water to impede your view
View on Amazon View at Optics Planet
03/19/2023 11:49 pm GMT

Compare prices at: Palmetto State Armory, Euro Optic, Brownells


  • Magnification: 3x
  • Eye Relief: 2.75 inches
  • Field of View: 37 feet at 100 yards
  • Length: 7.2 inches
  • Weight: 16.54 ounces
  • Mount: Flip to side


The Holosun HS510C and HM3X combo will not only save you half the cost of the EOTech HHS-II but will also get you some features the EOTech doesn’t provide.

The Holosun HS510C is one of Holosun’s best optics. It’s a reflex sight with a massive field of view. The reticle is a crisp 2 MOA dot surrounded by a 65 MOA ring.

Two main features elevate the HS510C above most other red dots. First, it has a solar cell that can power the optic even without the battery! Not that the battery is likely to fail, since you can leave the HS510C on for 50,000 hours before it runs out.

Also, this Holosun sight has a shake-awake feature that turns the optic on when you grab your gun. This is a great feature for defensive rifles.

The magnifier that comes with the HS510C in this combo is no slouch, either. I’ve already pointed out that it’s one of the best magnifiers available today.

The potential downside of this combo is that the HS510C is of the open reflex design. This means that there’s a gap between the front of the magnifier and the rear glass of the optic, which increases the chances that debris can block your view.


The Holosun HS510C and HM3X combo is a high-value combo that’s more than enough sight and magnification for many shooters.

8. Best Budget Red Dot Sight with Magnifier Combo

Sig Sauer Romeo-MSR Juliet3-Micro Magnifier Combo Kit
  • Excellent value since you get both an optic and a magnifier for about the same price as some optics
  • The Romeo-MSR is a basic red dot sight that lacks modern features such as shake-awake
View on Amazon View at Optics Planet
03/19/2023 11:54 pm GMT

Compare prices at: Primary Arms, Palmetto State Armory, Sportsman’s Warehouse


  • Magnification: 3x 
  • Eye Relief: 2.56 inches 
  • Field of View: 35.7 feet at 100 yards 
  • Length: 5.9 inches 
  • Weight: 14.8 ounces 
  • Mount: Flip to side 


Fitting high-quality optics to your firearm can be an expensive proposition. Sig Sauer makes meeting that objective easy with their Sig Romeo-MSR & Juliet3-Micro Magnifier Combo Kit.

The Romeo-MSR is an entry-level red dot sight. It won’t win any awards for features but, with its 2 MOA dot, 10 daytime brightness levels with 2 nighttime brightness levels, and IPX7 waterproofing, it’s still a capable optic.

The Juliet3-Micro is the compact version of the Juliet4 recommended above. The eye relief is shorter and the magnification is 3x instead of 4x. However, the Juliet3-Micro is also shorter, lighter, and has a wider field of view

The whole combo is compact and lightweight compared with any other magnifier with red dot sight setup, which is another bonus.

Sig did cut some corners with this optic, though. You need a T10 Torx tool to mount the included riser but the tool they threw in the box is made from soft steel.

Also, while the Romeo-MSR does include see-through caps, they still muddle your visuals. Remember to flip the rear cap up before swinging the magnifier into place!


The Sig Romeo-MSR plus Juliet3-Micro combo kit costs about as much as either a quality red dot optic or a quality red dot magnifier while still being better than other budget options, making it a great choice for people who are unable to save up for their ideal optic.

9. Best Overall Red Dot and Magnifier Combo

EOTech HHS-II EXPS2-2 & G33.STS Combo
  • Combines an excellent holo sight with an excellent magnifier
  • Very expensive package
View on Amazon View at Optics Planet
03/19/2023 11:19 pm GMT

Compare prices at: Brownells

EOTech HHS-II EXPS2-2 & G33.STS Combo


  • Magnification: 3.25x
  • Eye Relief: 7.7 inches
  • Field of View: 38 feet at 100 yards
  • Length: 3.9 inches
  • Weight: 22.4 ounces
  • Mount: Switch to side


EOTech manufactures both some of the best holo sights and best magnifiers. It’s natural for EOTech to claim the mantle of best red dot magnifier combo.

Holo sights are often, but not always, called red dot sights. The EOTech HHS-II combo includes the G33.STS magnifier with the EOTech EXPS2-2 holographic weapon sight. It uses a laser to produce a holographic image of a reticle between your eye and the target.

The EXPS2-2 is the upgraded XPS2 with the two-dot reticle. It has a quick-detach mount, the controls are on the side, and it sits at a lower 1/3rd co-witness with your iron sights.

Holo sights have an advantage over traditional reflex sights when it comes to magnification in that the dots do not appear to magnify. You get the same perceived 1 MOA dot at both 1x and 3.25x views. This maintains your ability to make precise fire on your target at any range.

Read the section about magnifier pros and cons below to learn how this works.

This combo is a one-and-done way to achieve fast target acquisition at close ranges and precision shooting at longer ranges while being as durable as possible.

Note that this combo includes the G33 magnifier, not the G43! It’s an inch longer than the G43, with slightly worse eye relief and FOV.


  • Combines an excellent holo sight with an excellent magnifier


  • Very expensive package


The EOTech Holographic Hybrid Sight II combines the EXPS2-2 holo sight and G33.STS magnifier for the best of both worlds.

Why Should You Buy a Red Dot Magnifier?

man aiming rifle with sights upclose

The basic idea of red dot sight magnifiers is that they offer a solution to the problem of red dots offering no range advantage compared with traditional iron sights.

For a long time, your choice was either a red dot sight or a magnified optic. This changed when flat-top AR-15s became the norm and optic designers realized they could take advantage of the longer rail space.

You could call these products AR-15 magnifiers because of this, though they will fit on other guns as well. You might have a hard time installing both a magnifier and a red dot sight on an AK-47, though!

A magnified red dot allows you to extend the effective range of your firearm to distances past what you can comfortably achieve with just the red dot sight.

A red dot with a magnifier, provided it has a flip-to-side mount, is far more versatile than a red dot alone and faster than a magnified optic at its lowest magnification.

Red Dot with Magnifier Pros

3X Magnifier Scope with flip to side mount

The primary advantage of a red dot magnifier is that adding one to your rifle allows you to use the reflex sight that’s already installed at longer ranges without having to purchase or sight in a new optic.

Good magnifiers will also slide or flip out of the way when you don’t want to use them. This allows you to use full advantage of the red dot’s speed for close-range shooting. Then, flip the magnifier up, and you can take your time for more accurate shots at triple the distance!

Many magnifiers come with a quick-detach mount that allows you to remove the device when you don’t want the extra weight. This also allows you to use the magnifier as a monocular without violating the laws of firearm safety by pointing your gun at an object to magnify it.

Red Dot and Magnifier Cons

rifle held in open field with magnifier flipped to side

Magnifying your red dot does have some disadvantages.

For one thing, magnifiers are bulky and heavy. They add almost a pound to your gun and can interfere with backup rear iron sights.

Red dot magnifiers also magnify the red dot itself. A 3x magnifier will turn a 2 MOA dot into a 6 MOA dot! This cuts down on how precise you can shoot your rifle.

Note, though, that this may not apply to holographic sights. An EOTech’s dot will stay at 1 MOA in size whether viewed without a lens or magnified 3x.

How to Choose a Red Dot Magnifier

You can spend anywhere from $50 to $1,000 on a red dot magnifier. Are the more expensive ones truly worthwhile? Can you get by with a cheaper magnifier?

Most people don’t need a magnifier that costs more than $200 or maybe $300.

Let’s look at some options which may push you one way or the other.


view through Primary Arms magnifier

By far, most magnifiers give you a three times larger image.

You can find 2x, 4x, 5x, and 7x magnifiers. However, most of them are 3x, with some 6x magnifiers around.

A good compromise between making the image larger and reducing your field of view is 3x magnification. Most people who need more than 3x magnification would be better served with a dedicated magnified sight rather than by adding a more powerful magnifier.

However, more magnification is still a good idea for some people. In this case, I would recommend getting a 6x magnifier that has a good amount of eye relief.


hand attaching magnifier to rifle

A magnifier that falls off if you bump the gun is worthless.

Most magnifiers have a fixed magnification, which means there are fewer internal components that can get messed up from shock or vibration. Also, they don’t contain the reticle, which makes them fairly impervious to most scope failures.

Mounts, however, can be a weak point.

When you get a cheaper magnifier, you typically get a cheaper mount that can’t handle as much abuse. For example, it’s possible to manhandle the Leaper UTG magnifier in a way that breaks off the flip-to-side mount’s locking lug!

If you’re going to be taking the magnifier into the wild, then it’s a good idea to get one with a solidly designed mount that’s not known for getting loose. A magnifier that bounces around on your gun might as well be trash.

Inline or Flip to Side

UTG flip up scope mounted on rifle upclose
Flip to side

Inline magnifiers are permanently attached behind your red dot sight.

I don’t recommend those.

A major reason why people use magnifiers is to have the option to use the red dot sight with or without the magnifier. Permanently magnifying your red dot sight is a bulky and heavy way to minimize your options!

Get a flip-to-side, slide-to-side, or switch-to-side magnifier if you’re going to get one at all.

Mounting Method

man assembling magnifier on rifle

Most magnifier mounts have a quick-detach lever so you can remove the tube with little hassle.

I would recommend sticking with this mounting method. QD mounts are just as solid as more-permanent mounts when adjusted properly and allow you to remove or install the magnifier if you so choose.

In any case, it is crucial that your red dot sight be properly mounted in order for the magnifier mount to function properly.

Eye Relief

red dot sight and magnifier on rifle aimed by lady
Aimpoint 3x magnifier

Eye relief is one of the ways in which modern magnifiers are superior to old magnifiers. Two-inch eye relief used to be good. Now you can get inexpensive magnifiers with almost three inches of eye relief.

All other options being equal, it’s a good idea to get the magnifier with the longer eye relief.

Short eye reliefs are harder to use and can put your eyebrows at risk of being whacked when the gun recoils.

Note that extending your eye relief will almost always result in a smaller field of view when comparing magnifiers of the same tech level. However, when it comes to a red dot sight and magnifier, a slightly smaller FOV is not a big problem.

Top Brands


EOTech logo

EOTech is the first company to have introduced a holographic weapon sight to the world. These sights quickly became known for being faster than reflex sights because the reticle is a hologram that appears to float downrange your gun.

This fact, combined with the tough construction of EOTech’s sights, made these sights excellent choices for military and law enforcement personnel, as well as competitive shooters who demand the best performance out of their optics.

EOTech designed the G33 to complement their holo sights perfectly, so the G33 is a battle-proven magnifier that demands a high price yet won’t let you down.

In 2015, EOTech came under fire because their sights exhibited thermal drift, a change to the point of impact when you don’t sight in the gun after the temperature changes to one extreme or another.

The company responded well and is again producing high-quality sights and magnifiers for U.S. Special Forces.


Holosun logo

Holosun is one of the newest brands putting out optics, and their designs have shaken up the red dot sight industry.

The company started as the no-name OEM for Primary Arms until the people manufacturing the sights had some ideas of their own. Primary Arms helped Holosun get on their feet, and Holosun came out with the first solar-powered red dot sights.

Holosun continues to push the field when it comes to reflex sight technology, and several other brands have had to play catch-up and also add features, such as shake-awake and extreme battery lives, in budget optics.

When I think of a non-magnified and non-holographic sight for my firearms, my first thought goes to Holosun. They offer some of the highest-valued optics in the business, and their magnifier is no different.



How do red dot magnifiers work?

Red dot magnifiers are basically telescopes without any reticle inside. If you remove the mount, you have a monocular.

An objective lens up front gathers light and sends it to the ocular lens, which magnifies the image. The ocular lens is the one closest to your eye.

The red dot sight’s reticle is gathered and magnified just like any other light in front of the magnifier’s objective lens.

Typically there’s a diopter adjustment that changes the focal length of the magnifier. This lets you dial in the focus to match your eye so you get a crisp image instead of a blurred-out sight picture.

Are red dot magnifiers worth it?

Many people like red dot magnifiers, and many people do not.

I find that it depends on the use case of the firearm as well as the individual.

Red dots plus magnifiers compete with low-power variable optics (LPVOs), which are scopes that can rapidly switch from 1x to 4x, 6x, or 8x. LPVOs tend to be lighter than a red dot and magnifier combo and the 1x magnification level almost functions as a red dot sight.

However, that “almost” doesn’t work for me. LPVO scopes rarely have a true 1x magnification and are often 1.25x, which gives me a headache. Also, the reticle will have slightly worse parallax error than you get with a red dot.

So, for me, a red dot magnifier is worth the added weight for my short-range rifles to increase their range.


  1. Yes a magnifier magnifies the red dot. 3x would make 2 moa 6 moa etc. However it also does this on a holographic. It also magnifies the target by 3x so the dot relative to the target remains the same moa as without magnification. So overall this is a myth. Neither a red dot or holographic can defy physics.


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