Zeroing your new red dot sight is the fundamental first step for accurate shooting. Zeroing, especially final zeroing, must be done at the range and preferably with the specific ammo you plan on using with the firearm.
However, sometimes you need to get a rough zero at home first before heading to the range. There are a couple reasons people may want to zero a red dot at home, and we will discuss those and how to do this. We will also discuss why this method of zeroing isn’t optimal and should not be used as an absolute zero for a defensive firearm.
Zeroing a Red Dot at Home
Access and Expense
The first and probably best reason someone may want to zero their optic at home is limited access to a range or ammo. Most often this is due to time constraints and busy schedules making it difficult to pack gear, and drive to a range which also may be far away.
Similarly, the last three years were difficult when it came to finding ammo, and if you found a reliable source it was likely double what you used to pay. Those were rough years, shooting became an expensive sport like golf or skiing.
Thankfully, prices are beginning to stabilize somewhat, especially if you purchase ammo online using Ammoseek.com, or other comparative buying methods.
The other reason someone might want to zero a red dot at home is to achieve a preliminary zero.
This is when you mount an optic and zero the optic using a bore sight prior to going to the range in the hopes of using fewer rounds. It’s called a preliminary zero for a reason however, and that is because you cannot fully rely on the zero from a bore sight.
The Tacticon Armament Universal Laser Bore Sight is a valuable tool for zeroing a red dot sight at home.
This compact device projects a laser beam onto a target allowing shooters to align their red dot sight with the laser and easily adjust the sight’s windage and elevation to achieve a preliminary zero. This boresight works by utilizing caliber specific shims that can be interchanged for use in different firearms.
Tacticon Armament also sells caliber specific boresights as well. These function by putting them in the chamber of a firearm of that specific caliber and the laser projecting out the end of the barrel.
How to Zero a Red Dot at Home
Always make sure your firearm is completely unloaded before beginning this process
Choose a target where you can easily see the laser from the boresight but is close to the distance you want to zero at when you get to the range. Keep in mind that a laser will not show up as well in bright light at distance.
Once your new optic is in place on your firearm, attach the appropriate caliber adapter/shim to the universal laser bore sight and then insert the bore sight into the muzzle of your firearm. Activate the laser and observe the point of impact.
Look through the red dot sight and adjust the windage and elevation settings until the red dot aligns with the laser on the target.
Although the Tacticon Armament Universal Laser Bore Sight can help establish a preliminary zero at home, it’s essential to verify and fine tune the zero at a shooting range.
I don’t want to sound discouraging but you must ultimately use live ammo to zero. I knew a guy who went hunting after only zeroing with a boresight, needless to say his tag went to waste.
Zeroing a red dot at home is a good way to achieve a preliminary zero and save some ammo come range day. That said, if you are hoping to get a perfect zero for your home defense weapon without using live ammo you are mistaken. I have seen boresights that put the point of impact two feet above the point of aim at 50 yards.
From what I have read this isn’t a one-off, and some say their sight has been near perfect. Boresights are not designed to give you a perfect zero, they are a tool to help you save time, money, and frustration. Trying to use boresights as something more than they are will set you up for frustration.
I have used boresights, and I can say they helped me zero an optic using less than 10 shots, and in under three minutes. They are a valuable tool when expectations are realistic.
Get out and shoot, y’all, the weather is warming up and it’s a great time.
The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Tacticon Armament.