3 Steps sight in your red dot

Finally! You got your brand new red dot and you can’t wait to try it out on the next shooting! But how to sight in a red dot? If you sight in a red dot properly, it could absolutely optimize the shooting experience! In this article, we will break the process into 3 stpes, moreover, we will also share how to sight in a red dot scope without shooting! Just follow the steps and sight in your red dot now!

We call sight in a red dot “Zero.”

Sight in a red dot A.K.A Zero

After getting a new optic, properly zeroing your red dot should be the first thing a shooter does. Your zero will dictate when the trajectory of your round perfectly coincides with where you are aiming. This is referred to as your Point of Impact or POI. Your aiming point is your Point of AIM or (POA). This is where your red dot is projected on your target. We will discuss the AR-15 style of weapon systems utilizing a 16 in the barrel and 55 gr XM193 ammunition @ 3100 FPS.

Time To Learn The Steps Of Sight In A Red Dot

Steps of sight in a red dot

Zeroing should never be done haphazardly. It will determine whether the rounds you fire land where you want them to. That is everyone’s goal, right? Your optic will come with adjustment dials that can be found at the 12 and 3 o’clock positions on your optic. The dial at the 12 o’clock position will adjust your elevation (up and down), and the dial at the 3 o’clock position will adjust your windage (left and right). Your adjustment dial will typically be measured in Minutes of Angle (MOA). 1 MOA will equal approximately 1 inch at 100 yards.

Step1. Confirm your adjustment value

The most common adjustment value on red dots intended for rifles is ½ MOA; however, I recommended you check your owner’s manual to confirm your adjustment value. This means with each click of your adjustment dial; you will shift your point of impact to ½ inch at 100 yards. So, for example, if you are zeroing at 100 yards and your rounds are hitting 3 inches high and 3 inches left of your Point of Aim, you will need to adjust to shifting your point of impact to match your Point of Aim.

Step2. Fire 3-5 rounds at the target

Adjusting your elevation down 6 clicks and your windage right 6 clicks will achieve you a matching Point of Aim and Point of Impact at that distance. I recommend firing 3-5 groups while zeroing to ensure consistency. Fire 3 rounds, observe, and adjust. Repeat this step until you get consistent 3-5 round groups in your desired location. This moves us to the subject of zeroing distance. 

Step3. Adjust elevation and windage

Another critical aspect of zeroing is that it will help you understand the relationship between the trajectory of your round, the deviation of your windage, and the elevation adjustment value at varying distances.

The most common and recommended zero you will find with red dot sights is the 50/200 yard zero. To achieve this zero, you will need access to a 50-yard range. Since you are shooting half the distance, the adjustment value of your windage and elevation dial will also be cut in half.

Zero at a 50-yard range

Each click will now be equivalent to ¼ of an inch. Using the same example above, you will now need to adjust your elevation 12 clicks down and your windage 12 clicks to the right to achieve a matching Point of Aim Point of Impact. The real benefit to using this zero is that your Point of Impact will stay within 2 inches of your Point of Aim out to 200 yards. This zero will render you capable of engaging targets out to 200 with the least amount of deviation from your Point of Aim. See the image below to get a visual understanding of this.

The relationship of the line of sight and the trajectory

This is not to say other zeroing distances cannot be used. They certainly can. Just be aware that the deviation between your Point of Aim and Point of impact will be more dramatic between 0 and 250 yards. Up to 9 inches are utilizing methods such as the 25 yard zero. If you prefer to shoot at a distance further than 200, the 36/300-yard zero method might suit you better. The zeros in most common use among red dots are the 25-yard, 36-yard, 50-yard, and 100-yard zeros. See below for a comparison chart.

Trajectory comparison chart

Do you know how to sight in a red dot scope without shooting?

Sight in a red dot scope without shooting

Kind of, but not to the degree you should trust your life with it or go out and shoot competition. There are a few methods that make sighting in your optics considerably easier without having to fire around.

A. Using a laser boresight.

A boresight is a piece of brass with the exact dimensions of whichever round you are using in your firearm. It holds an electrical housing instead of gun powder that allows a laser to project directly through the bore of your firearm. I would say 10 yards should suffice for using this method, so it is possible to get this done in the contents of your home before ever heading to the range.

 After chambering the boresight, set up a target and find a stable shooting platform. When you look through your optics, point the firearm at the target, and observe the difference between where the laser sight projects through your bore and where the red dot is projected. Next, adjust your optic using your windage and elevation dials to match the projection of your red dot to the laser being projected through your bore. As simple as that! Just keep in mind that gravity is not working against the laser, so the two trajectories will deviate from each other after leaving the muzzle. It’s not a replacement, but it will make your life a heck of a lot easier!

B. Involves bore sighting using your naked eye and separating the upper and lower receiver.

You will need something to hold the upper as still as possible for you to peer through the bore and optic without disturbing its position. A vice or two-point rest of some sort would probably work best. While looking through the bore, center the view you have on the target. Now switch to your optic and observe where your reticle sits with the image you gathered from your bore. Adjust your red dot to match the dot to the position of the image through the bore as closely as possible. Doing this before shooting should significantly reduce the number of rounds you have to use to sight in your optic.

You only need 1 tool to sight in a red dot

Tools you need for sight in

Most commonly, the adjustment dials for red dots mimic the profile of any flat head screw. A screwdriver will work. However, it is not necessary. I found the most straightforward and most accessible tool to use is the tail end of some 5.56 brass. This ensures that you will likely always have something to use. If the brass you are using is too large, a penny also works great for this.

Tacticon provides technical support with our products. If you have any problems with sight in a red dot, shoot us an email or give us a call! We will have our experienced crew answer your questions in no time! We are excited to hear how you sight in a red dot scope without shooting!