How to Sight in a Red Dot – A Comprehensive Guide for Precision Shooting

How To Sight in a Red Dot

Now that you have got a new optic, are you ready to channel your inner John Wick? How prepared are you?

Wait, do you know that your bullets have a mind of their own and you need to make them behave by getting them to go where your red dot points are? Yes! I am talking about zeroing the red dot that helps you predict the flight pattern of the bullet.

So, without any delay, let’s put on our learning caps and dive into the world of sighting in a red dot scope.

How To Adjust a Red Dot Sight?

How To Adjust a Red Dot Sight

First of all, let me clear one thing: we call sight in a red dot ‘zero.’ The first thing you should be doing after getting a new scope is to zero it, which will absolutely optimize the shooting experience. Zeroing a scope will perfectly match your point of aim to the point of impact of your bullet. And how do you zero or adjust your red dot?

Well, it can be done by firing a bullet or two, or sometimes you can fix the red dot scope without shooting. So, you need not worry about shooting a gazillion rounds just to figure out the trajectory of your round.

Your red dot scopes come with adjustment dials that can be tweaked to sight in your red dot. There are two ways to do it – by using turret knobs or buttons to adjust elevation and windage. You need to think of these adjustments, like turning the dials on a safe to get to the jackpot.

There are two types of adjustments you can make to fine-tune your point of impact (POI). One is known as ‘elevation’ – that is the up-and-down movement, and the other one is ‘windage,’ which means left and right. You need to do a little dance with both of these settings to confirm your adjustment value.

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Steps Of Sight In A Red Dot

Steps Of Sight In A Red Dot

Zeroing is no guesswork! So, sit tight and pay attention while I make each step easy for you to understand how to sight in a red dot.

Wait! Before I do that, I need you to understand the concept of Minutes of Angle (MOA) and how it relates to sighting in a scope. Just so you know, the dials on your scope or red dot sight are typically measured in MOA.

Minutes of Angle is a unit for measurement used to describe small angles that you adjust by tweaking those dials on your red dot sights. In the context of adjusting your optic, it is a way to measure how much you need to move your reticle to change the POI of your bullets to the target.

Each MOA you adjust represents a small change in where your bullets will land on the target. One MOA equals approximately 1 inch of adjustment at a distance of 100 yards. So, if you adjust your elevation dial or windage dial for 1 MOA, it will move your POI by about 1 inch at a target located at a distance of 100 yards.

Step 1. Check Your Adjustment Values

As I mentioned earlier, your scope has something called ‘MOA settings’ that set the adjustment values; now, it is time to play with the dial at the 12 o’clock position to adjust elevation and also with the dial at the 3 o’clock position to adjust windage.

The most common setting or adjustment value on red dots intended for rifles is 1/2 MOA, and it is like moving your bullet by half an inch on the target at 100 yards zeroing distance every time you ‘click’ or twist a dial. Since 1 MOA will equal approximately 1 inch at 100 yards, therefore, 1 MOA would be two inches at 200 yards and three inches at 300 yards.

Let’s assume that you are shooting at a target of 100 yards, and your bullets are hitting a little too high and to the left of the bullseye. Let’s suppose the deviance to be 3 inches away from the center of your target. It implies that the red dot is projected incorrectly.

What will you do to fix the red dot properly and the POI? You will tweak the windage left and right! To adjust it, tweak it half an inch to the right to correct the leftward miss and half an inch down to fix the high shots.

Step 2. Fire 3-5 Rounds at the target / Test shots

 Sight In A Red Dot

For the case discussed above, tweaking your elevation and windage down by six clicks will get you a matching point of aim and point of impact. Practicing zeroing three to five sets of rounds could absolutely optimize the placement of red dots.

So, take three to five shots and make observations. This data will guide you in making adjustments to scope turrets.

Step 3. Adjust Your Windage and Elevation

Now, let’s see how far you should be setting your zero distance. Zeroing can be done at a variety of distances. Such practice of zeroing the red dot at different distances not only gives you insights into the bullets’ path it also guides you regarding elevation adjustments at different distances.

Adjust Your Windage and Elevation

Shooters mostly prefer a range of 50 to 250 yards. However, just be aware that the deviation between POI and POA will be comparatively more dramatic at 25 yards. That is why I suggest you to zero for red dots at 50 yards or a maximum of 2000 yards. 50 yards would be ideal to zero on the first try. Why? Because this way, you are shooting the usual distance.

Now, if you are shooting at a 50-yard distance, every single click of the adjustment dials will move your shot just a quarter of an inch. In this particular situation, you would have to turn your elevation dial 12 clicks down and the windage 12 clicks to the right to achieve a perfect POI.

The fun part is that this POI will stick close to two inches from your POA all the way out to 200 yards as well. To conclude, you can try this at 200 yards as well. However, if you go for 25 yards zero, the difference between POI and POA can be much bigger, especially between 0 to 250 yards.

Step 4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 to find your Desired POI

When it comes to zeroing your red dot sight, precision is the name of the game. Adjusting your red dot sight involves understanding the connection between trajectory, windage, and elevation adjustments at different distances.

A common and recommended zero for red dot sights is the 50/200 yard zero, which means using a 50-yard range and halving the adjustment values on your dials. This zero offers the benefit of keeping your Point of Impact within 2 inches of your Point of Aim up to 200 yards.

However, other zeroing distances like the 25-yard, 36-yard, 50-yard, and 100-yard zeros can be used, but they may result in more significant deviations between your Point of Aim and Point of Impact, particularly at varying distances. To fine-tune your zero, repeat the steps above as needed. Fire a few rounds, observe where they land, and then make necessary adjustments.

How To Zero a Red Dot Without Shooting

how to zero red dot without shooting

Indeed, sighting a red dot is possible without shooting, but it involves bore sighting using bore sight optics or sights. However, you need to learn the way a laser boresighter and red dot works. So, a red dot utilizes the reflection of an internal mirror to create a reticle on the target, and you are required to align the reticle with the barrel of the rifle.

So, first of all, you need to attach the laser boresighter to the barrel of the gun. This boresighter is going to project a laser dot onto the bullseye, which you need to align with the red dot of your scope. To do so, tweak the dials on your scope and get them lined up.

If you don’t have a laser or any optic bore sighter, you can remove the bolt from the gun and try visual bore sighting. This procedure involves bore sighting using your naked eye.

Final Thoughts

A precisely calibrated red dot sight stands out as one of the most paramount investments you can make for successful hunting and shooting ventures. Devoting the necessary time to guarantee precise zeroing for your red dot optic is essential for optimal performance.

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