For the most part, my experience with handgun glass sights goes back about 40 years to date. In those days when living in the central midwestern USA I would travel o western South Dakota in search of varmint targets, and when shooting prairie dog towns find the use of the .223 chambered in a Savage Arms Striker hand cannon (110 bolt action ) to be quite effective.
At the time we did not have red dot sighting systems in place, but rather glass tubes built by Bushnell in a straight 4X scope that did the deed just fine.
In the red dot world, the sight is best utilized when taking on competitive paper targets or steel challenge competitions.
The systems I have in house currently are all very workable on a hand cannon, but for the most part, saved for crossbow deer and shotgun pig shooting. However my needs are not yours, and to that point, let’s take a look at some different red dot sighting systems as applied to possible use on the handgun.
Best Handgun Red Dot Sights
1. Cyelee Red Dot Sight (Pistol) Reflex system
I call this sight the HUD display sight because it is both eyes open and a picture with zero magnification right in the shooter’s eyes. Like a fighter pilot, the shooters can pick up the target image, aline the sub tensions (red dots) to the target, and touch of a round downrange. Simple, effective, and carries with it a very low learning curve.
This Cyelee Red Dot makes use of a 3.5 MOA dot that is also easy to pick up for a fast shot. Areas of issue here are that the sight retains a zero magnification and that means closer range shooting is desirable. In most cases, handgun hunters and target shooters are working at closer range limits.
Want to go long? Buy a rifle in my humble opinion. As an example in real time here I shoot deer from a ground blind on my own place. I set up my shots like a bow hunter using close range techniques and using my 44 Magnum Ruger Super Blackhawk Magnum Hunter, and a Leupold 4X scope never stretches a shot much beyond 50 yards. I know that some handgun wiz-kids will scoff at that range limit, but I hit what I shoot at, harvest it clean, and eat well thank you very much!
This red dot sight retains a very cool side access to the battery which allows a change out using a side tray and not requiring the sight to be taken off and re zeroed once again. At the current price of ammunition, today ( July 2021), re-zeroing is a point to be considered with care to be sure.
In terms of the sight being reviewed here the manufacture states that the HUD sight will hold up to high recoil. This is a problem today with the current advanced development of very heavy recoiling handgun rounds. Even full blown rifle cartridges like the heavy 45-70 Government are being chambered in custom-built single-action wheel guns today, and the manufactures of chest holster rigs are building systems to haul these behemoth hand cannons around.
I shoot about as big a handgun as I care to get into regarding my 454 Casull, and even with an 8” pipe and age old double-action design in a super heavy wheel gun weight the Taurus Raging Hunter is still a nasty recoiling handheld weapon that can turn a cheap scope to junk in just a few rounds.
2. TruGlo TRU-TEC Micro Red Dot
Here we have a reflex sight HUD display that is again very simple, uses the single open screen, and retains a unitized pica-tinny mount. The red dot reticle is 3-MOA in size making for fast target acquisition. The objective lens is 23mm x 17mm multi-coated retains a digital push button brightness control, and the unit houses up to 10 different brightness levels.
The unit is compatible with all optics ready handguns and makes use of a common lug bolt pattern for again flexible use on a wide variety of handguns. CNC machined from aircraft grade aluminum, and retaining unlimited eye relief, the sight is field ready right out of the box.
3. Trijicon RM06-C Type 2
Here is an advanced design in a HUD sight that runs on the LED display surface, retains a 3.25 red dot reticle, and has auto brightness control that has eight selectable settings.
The sight retains an auto battery saver mode, and the outer housing is designed to drive shock from a drop on contact with heavy objects away from the lens surface area. This housing is built of aircraft grade aluminum and meets the strict standards of Trijicon, being a military sight builder of the first order.
This sight is military, police, and professional contractor grade in terms of possible combat field applications.
Magnification 1X, with a sight window of .87x.63 in, and elevation and windage adjustments run at 1 clock – 1 MOA. The length of possible sighting adjustment travel is at a maximum of 150 MOA. Total weight less mounts 1.17 ounces, and with battery 33.2 g
The battery unit is type CR2032 lithium.
4. Vortex Optics Viper Red Dot
In this Vortex sight, we have a mid range priced unit that carries a good solid reputation in HUD/reflex sight circles.
The compact unit weights in a 0.4 pounds, carries a red dot display ( reticle, ) and is a low profile sight very workable for handguns with cut out slides.
The sighting dot is 6 MOA making it a cast pickup regarding fast moving targets, or a target display for very short periods of time (heavy brush, or urban combat settings).
This sight makes use of a low mount height which allows the co-witness of iron sights as well. The wide lens surface offers fast target acquisition and viewing to the sides regarding incoming possible targets. This red dot sight is both eyes open as are the other basic HUD display models listed in this review.
Windage and elevation adjustments are set up in 1 MOA clicks, and the unit is O-ring sealed against water. The sight is designed for hunters using handguns in that use range of functional design applications.
With the previous sight introduced to the reader, I will move to the tube housing types of scope sights that are red dot implicated. These sights are in general larger and retain a bit more moving parts within the sighting function. The sights can be longer or in some cases very short stubby tube designs. In all cases, the sights are look through then pickup the red dot on the target through the reticle.
5. Feyachi RDS 22 MICRO Red Dot
I have used a number of red dot sights that fit the description of this prism sight. This sight uses a 2 MOA red dot that rides in the reticle enter along with all clear open space around it.
Shooting both eyes open with this sight you can move to different targets quickly, observe incoming targets from the sides, and still maintain accurate holds on given subjects.
All prism sights require a look through event, and to be sure you will lose some of the advantages give over by the HUD systems of sighting.
The best advantage when using these types of sight is systems optical strength regarding field toughness. The tube in this sight is heavy aluminum as a incased internal housing, and the sealed lens surfaces allow great light control much like a better grade rifle scope.
The scope retains 11 total brightness settings that allow for both low and high light aiming situations.
The basic setup on this and many other red dots tube style sights is in the closer range department. I shoot almost all of mine under 50 yards and in case of crossbow inside 20 yards for sure shot accuracy and game harvesting power of the given weapon the scope is being mounted on. Hand-gunning again is in most cases a close range event and here when mounted on a long barreled 44 Magnum by example the shooters owns the designated kill net to a highly degree.
Compact but by serviceable in many situations this is a good option for the handgun hunter.
6. Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot 1x20mm
This little sight is a look through optical system that has been around for years and in terms of my time in the field, these sights have been tied to just about everything I shoot save for long range rifles (500 yds, through one mile). For long range shooting, read my long range scope guide.
Close range is the deal here, and the function is letter correct when I look back on my field results using this sight system.
Long hours on the battery and good light control at close range being pre-dawn or later in the evening are a part of this sight. The sighting dot is a 3 MOA in size making it very workable on whitetail deer and other game animals in the medium size range.
This sight makes use of 11 brightness settings, and retains its own Weaver-style mounting base for a fast install. And the light control knob is large and easy to see in terms of setting numbers.
Waterproof, shock-resistant, and lightweight, this is a hand-gunner glass sight to be sure.
Currently, I have no information in terms of shock use on very large hunting style handguns but I have used the sight as applied to 1-ounce slug 12 gauge shotguns when down on a bench rest with no issues whatsoever.
7. TruGlo 30mm Dual-Color
Here we have TruGlo in a tube sight and I can say that owning several of these I tend to believe they are about indestructible in the field. Currently, I have a model in this sight mounted on a 454 Casull. This is a very very big gun and in handguns one of the top level wheel guns in terms of delivered power. In terms of standing up to the large super magnum, weapons recoil so far so good using the TriGlo 30mm sight housing.
8. TruGlo red dot sight
This sight retains a 5 MOA red dot and is designed for fast target acquisition.
The red dot is dual color designed with both red and green dots available. The size of the unit is 1x1x1 inches, and it carries a weightless battery of 0 .45 pounds.
Shock-resistant up to 1000 grams, and waterproof as well as fog proof as well.
Eye relief is handgun style and unlimited. This lets the shooter get back away from the receiver when shooting the heavy super magnum rounds. 454 Casull, and 500 Smith.
A special anti-reflective interior surface treatment prevents the stray light for any source from projecting inside the scope itself.
Weaver-style mounts are built into the scope tube housing for fast install and strong weld to the weapons sighting rail.
The sight retains a lifetime limited warranty and is built of solid well designed components.
The sight is a both-eye open model if desired and allows for fast and accurate target retention even when on the move away or across the shooter. The sight also retains flip-up lens caps.
Changes in light settings are carried out by way of a large control knob that also houses the battery for very fast change outs when required.
In general, I have been getting about five years out of a single battery install. That includes both crossbow deer hunting ( three months almost daily event), and handgun steel and paper target shooting. ( Summer off season event). As you can see the sight gets a great deal of use.
With more than 50 years experience in the field and the testing lab, author L.P. Brezny is one of today’s most recognized shotgun experts and authors. He is a contributor to dozens of firearms publications, such as Wildfowl, Shotgun Sports, and Varmint Hunters, and he is a regular columnist in the Gun Digest annual as well as AmmoLand News.