"Holster HQ is an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from links on this page that you clink on and make qualifying purchases, thanks for helping support us"

Sights are a great way to increase your accuracy when shooting. In the last ten years, the sight of choice has become the red dot sight. These helpful tools used to only be available to military personnel or in video games. However, today you can purchase a great one of your very own.


But, what are red dot sights really? Do you need one on your pistol? And, if you do, what are the steps for mounting it? We answer all these questions and more in the rest of this article. 

What are red dot sights

First of all, let’s talk about red dot sights. Red dot sights are a type of reflex sight. They use a red dot to help you aim, hence their name. The red dot is created by an LED and is meant to be used at close and medium ranges. This is why red dot sights are so popular with pistol users. Overall, this is one of the easiest sights to use and master quickly. Reflex sights are called red dot sights but this is a little too simple. Red dot sights are reflex, but to make it just a bit more accurate not all reflex  are red dot sights. This is also the case for some  holographic sights which are also fall into the reflex category. 


Red dot sights do not only appear on firearms. In fact, you will find them on cameras and telescopes as well. The red dot is very easy for our eyes to find and follow. They allow the target and the reticle to be on almost the same optical plane. Essentially, this ensures that there is only one point for you to focus on in the sight. You can keep your attention on the field of view while also aiming. 


Obviously, red dot sights come with a lot of pros. There are some drawbacks as well. Red dot sights work best in close ranges. They do not work well on long ranges, which may mean you need another sight for hunting or other long-range activities. You will also need to carry extra batteries as they run out of charge quickly. This reduces the amount of space in your gear for other things. And, red dot sights can be extremely expensive.  If you are willing to deal with the drawbacks, then a red dot sight may be for you. These are truly the sights of the future. Therefore, it makes sense for the serious gun owner to have at least one in their arsenal.  This post is about mounting the sites but if your looking to buy one then I would start here for reviews of the Best Reflex Sights.


How to mount a red dot sight on a pistol 

Now that you know a little bit more about red dot sights, it is time to talk about how to mount them on your gun. Mounting involves putting the red dot sight on your firearm. Most pistol manufacturers now make their pistols red dot compatible. Some of the firearms in this category include the


  • Glock MOS series
  • Springfield XD OSP
  • Beretta APX
  • S&W M&P CORE series
  • And many many more


Pistols with a mounting location for red dot sights make mounting easy. Just secure the sight to the mounting plate and secure.It is extremely important to ensure the red dot sight is securely fastened to the pistol. Otherwise, it can shake loose or become less accurate. 


If your pistol is not designed with a mounting location for a red dot sight, you can still use one. You just have to purchase an after-market red dot sight. There are a variety of ways to mount a sight on your pistol. Each mounting option will lock you into mounting the sight in a specific location. The two most common ways of mounting a red dot sight on a pistol are as follows. 


You do not have to do a lot of work for this mounting option. But you will need to shell out a significant amount of money. For this mounting option you send the pistol and sight to a gunsmith. They will mill into the slide and attach the optic. 


Milling is the most secure way of attaching a red dot sight to your pistol. It is also the most expensive method. 


Replacing Rear Sight

Another popular way to mount a red dot sight on any pistol is to replace the rear sight. You can even find red dot sights that come with special plates for this purpose. First, you will need to remove the current sight on the pistol. Then you attach the red dot sight using the special plate. 


Replacing the rear sight is a much less expensive option than milling. However, it will add height to the gun, which can be a problem for some holsters. It is also much less secure than milling. 


Once you have your red dot sight mounted, it is time to zero it in and begin practicing. The more practice you have using the sight, the better you will be in the field. You can learn about zeroing in the red dot sight here


Red dot sights are amazing tools. They are easy to use and master. Plus, they are extremely accurate. It is no wonder they have risen in popularity in the last decade. By ensuring your red dot sight is mounted correctly, it will be with you for a long time.