5-differences-between-red-dot-and iron sight
5 Differences Between Red Dot and Iron Sights

When you buy a rifle, the next question you might have is how to choose between the two sights – red dot vs. iron sights. Honestly, the best way is to have both, but if you have budget concerns, or you prefer to only have 1 sight on your rifle, then these 5 differences you need to consider when it comes to iron sights vs. red dot sights.

5 differences between 2 sights – Red dot vs. iron sights

Red dot vs. iron sights in accuracy, convenience, durability, simplicity, and flexibility.

Although it is ideal to have both a red dot sight and iron sights on your rifle, we understand some circumstances don’t allow us to keep both, then which one should we choose? The following paragraph will discuss the differences between them in 5 aspects.


The size of your red dot reticle on the optics decides how precise your red dot is. For rifles, 2 MOA is common to provide for both precision and speed. It gives you a more accurate and uncluttered aiming point than iron sights. The red dot will also allow you to focus more on your target than when using iron sights. In the end, you will find that combining speed and accuracy requires less effort regardless of your skill level.

Iron sights do not lend themselves as precisely as an aiming point as the red dot. Therefore, before breaking your shot, you will have to ensure your front sight post is wholly centered and in focus. Misalignment will dramatically throw off your shot. Iron sights also require more for your brain to process as your eye must process the rear aperture, front sight, and the target. And the process will make your target appear blurry when being utilized correctly.


While red dot sights savings on weight and simplicity of use lends to a very convenient platform for all skill levels, iron sights are incredibly lightweight and can be great if you create an extremely low profile on your rifle. Flip-up iron sights provide a very convenient experience as they are the most mechanically simple sighting systems. Keep in mind that your intended target will be more occluded with iron sights when compared to a red dot sight. This can lead to slower target acquisition and depleted situational awareness.


Red dot sights have come a very long way in durability. Having backup iron sights was firearm gospel until a few years ago. The red dot has become so highly regarded in durability and battery life that many shooters ditch their iron sights to save rail space. The modern red dot sight is generally submersible, shock resistant, fog resistant, and has battery life lasting up to 5 years on some red dot sights.

Iron sights are renowned for performing well in just about any environment. The lack of a battery leaves no room for electronic failure. In addition, the iron sight will not fog and is substantially easier to clean should your sights become dirty compared to red dots or magnified optics. This has always been a primary selling point for iron sights vs a red dot sight.


A red dot is as simple a sighting system as it gets. Adjustments, shooting ability, and maintenance are as close to foolproof as you will find. Simply put the dot on your intended location and pull the trigger.

Compared to the simplicity of mechanically, iron sights are not quite as simple for the overall shooting experience. Adjustments of the front sight generally require a specialized tool. Aiming is also less intuitive and involves a more occlusive sight picture. Your front sight post will normally take up the entire bottom half of your target.


Red dots take up very little rail space and are incredibly lightweight. Because of this, they are an excellent option for keeping the weight down a rifle while still offering improved performance over iron sights. You can mount your red dot in conjunction with other optics adding to their overall versatility. The red dot also has the option of including a magnifier for those concerned with positive identification and making precise shots at further distances.

Iron sights also take up a minimal amount of rail space. This has led them to be a popular option as a backup sighting system that lies dormant until a user’s primary optic goes down. They work exceptionally well when paired with a red dot sight mounted to a similar height of the rear aperture.

Why is it better to have both red dot and iron sights?

Red dot sight and iron sights can co-witness perfectly.

Red dots and iron sights work fantastically as a team compared to coupling magnified optics and iron sights. The reason for this is the iron sights can still be used through the window of the red dot sight when at the proper height. This is referred to as “co-witness.” This is a big deal because it does not require removing any equipment from the rail to switch between sighting systems. If your optic battery dies, simply flip up your irons, and you will be able to deploy them through the viewing window of your optic. When using a magnified optic, you will need to remove the entire optic to deploy your iron sights. There are 45-degree offset irons available should you want to circumvent this.

Get your red dot and iron sights at Taciton Armament today!

Tacticon provides high-quality optics at an affordable price.

Tacticon Armament is determined to provide high-quality optics at an affordable price. We believe everyone should enjoy shooting without worrying about their bank. A good red dot sight could cost you an arm and a leg. With all the other equipment you would buy for this hobby, your money will disappear before you know. And that’s why we offer our optics at a price you don’t need to think twice! In addition, we are constantly pursuing high-quality production to optimize your overall shooting experience! If you prefer iron sight, we got them ready for you as well! So, what are you waiting for?