Best Red Dot Magnifiers
Hunting rifles are some of the best-hunting weapons available. The types of rifles used depended solely on the shooter, the time or season of the hunt, the size of the intended animals and the type of hunt. It could be target shooting; ferry ducks, big game hunt at a long range, and elk at a short range.
A shooter is sure to get more shots on target with a red dot magnifier. To better understand what a red dot sight is, when you watch news footage of American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, you’ll notice that just about every rifle, M16A2, M4carbine and all light machine guns have red dot sight on them. That is because the army understands that you can aim more quickly and hit more targets often with a red dot sight than with iron sights or a scope. Red dot sights make terrific sights for when one is inexperienced and needs to shoot close, fast and with precision.
The basic design of a red dot works like this: the structure consists of a tube whose length is 30mm. A red diode that projects a beam of light forward is affixed inside its wall. A thin concave lens with metallic coatings at the front of the tube reflects only red while letting all other colors pass. This happens at the speed of light and the red you see is light coming back to you from the diode.
This setting makes the red dot superb for close range hunting as you can just aim and shoot. Furthermore, another great feature is that it has no parallax to worry about. However, the red dot isn’t accurate in longer ranges. Thankfully this problem can be alleviated with a magnifier and we will run down some of the best ones available below.
THINGS TO CONSIDER
Before delving into the best red dot magnifiers out there, let us first run through some things to consider before settling for a red dot magnifier.
The average red dot magnifiers offer a 3X zoom which is well suited for long-range purposes. Going for a higher zoom of about 5X or 6X will, of course, make aim easier and targets larger. Bear in mind that the red dot reticle will stretch correspondingly with the zoom so you might want to stick with a 3X zoom if you have a big reticle. If you want to go with less of a magnifier, you could a pair of hunting binoculars during your hunting trip.
The eye relief is one of the most important things to think about. You can get issues or an eye strain while aiming at targets if the eye relief distance is too short. You may just end up struggling if you get the best red dot magnifier in relation to building quality and optics clarity and the eye relief distance is too short. Coupled with this, if your stock is extended, you will have issues seeing out of the magnifier. If this were the case, it is advised to get the longest eye relief distance that you can.
The red dot magnifier carries a lot of weight with it and is pretty bulky to move around with your gun. This is a common feature of the red dot magnifier. However, you can get a lighter magnifier which can be easier to maneuver but this shouldn’t affect quality.
Magnifier + red dot vs. Scope
The function of a red dot is mainly to help a shooter identify the distance between the shooter and the target and to improve accuracy and eye line by focusing on the dot. A scope, on the other hand, is purely meant to magnify the target and increase a shooters line of sight on it. It works like looking at a target through a magnifying glass or a telescope.
In hunting a target doesn’t wait for the shooter to aim properly this gives the magnified red dot an edge over the scope.
The top rate red dot magnifiers
Vortex is famous for making some of the world’s best red dot magnifiers. The VMX -3T comes at a relatively cheap price and is designed to be mounted behind a red dot and flip out of the way on demand. As an added advantage the magnifier is built to accommodate a rotated and adjusted length for perfect vision with its adjustable vision refractions. You can either mount it in an absolute co-witness or lower third style thanks to its shim. Using a screwdriver, its 2 knobs can be adjusted for elevation and windage. Like all great magnifiers, its lenses are multi-coated and O-rings keep moisture, fog, and dust away for optimum performance at all times.
Regarding its flip out feature, the vortex VMX magnifier is designed to flip out to the left side. This means it will obstruct the view of the majority of users who aren’t left-handed. This feature can be fixed by mounting the scope backward for right-handed users. The flipping technology is easy to get used to.
On the downside, the eye relief is short at 2.2’’ which may be a deal breaker for some shooters particularly in the case of an extended stock. Also, it is quite bulky and heavy weighing 11.9 oz. and doesn’t come with extra lenses. Owing to the difference in price compared to the more expensive magnifiers, this can be easily overlooked.
Primary Arms 3X Long Eye Relief
Primary arms come with the improved fourth generation version in the series. The model VI is an improvement on previous models in many ways. Its lenses are water and fog resistant. Its eye relief length is increased from 1.9” to 2.64” which I find quite impressive. Its magnification scope, as the name implies, is a 3X zoom. It comes at a light weight of 7.9 oz. this weight, however, doesn’t include a flip mount which means a flip mount needs to be purchased separately for optimal use.
The primary arms 3X magnifier comes with a quick detach mount which are good features to consider. A lower third mount is recommended by the manufacturer for the best alignment. Other specifications include a 30mm objective, azimuth and elevation adjustments, and 1-year warranty. It features an integrated diopter which allows for a fast focus ability to produce a clear image.
A not so good feature of the primary arms 3X is the clarity which could use some improvement, it doesn’t come with a focus adjustment and I find the one year warranty period a little too short. But for its price, the Primary Arms 3X is a sweet deal.
Ultimate Arms Gear Dark Earth 5X
Price: $31.88 – $34.41
Ultimate Arms offers you a 5X magnification in this model if the 3X magnification is not enough for you. The products of Ultimate Arms are competitively priced which makes it one of the best red dot magnifier for its price. It’s pretty light coming at a weight of 8.oz. There isn’t much adjustability and flexibility available either which is understandable given its price.
It has an option to adjust clarity but none for either windage or elevation. It comes with a weaver pica and tiny ring mount and a fixed scope. The lens extends 5.5 inches in length and it is 1.5 inches in diameter. The multi-coated lens is also waterproof and fog proof. The eye relief is 1.65”, which is less than I’d have liked and come in a beautiful brown color if you want some style. Considering its features, the Gear Dark Earth is for those who just want a 5X magnifier to include in their collection and play with a few times seeing that it comes at such a great price.
Mako Group 5X Magnifier
This is another 5X magnifier if you want something more than a 3X magnification. Mako Group makes magnifiers all the way from 3X to 7X, but I am of the opinion that the 5X shines brightest in its zoom group. The Mako 5X can switch from Close Quarter Battle (CQB) to long range in a split second. Its rubber coat is designed for a good grip while it is water and fog proof thanks to its being nitrogen purged. As a plus it is designed to be shockproof which adds to its durability.
Other specs of the Mako group include a field of view of 6 degrees, a length of 4.5”, and a weight of 6 oz. with the included mount and the ability to switch to a preferred zoom option within a split second. The included mount is a 30 mm quick-detach Weaver ring, which, should be easy to use. Similarly, the mount can be easily replaced with no problems. Disappointingly, the eye relief is pretty short at around 1.65 and the scope feels pretty bulky too. However, the Mako 5X slides its way into the top best magnifiers for coming at a fraction of the cost of the EOTech.
The EOTech G33 is built for shooters who mean business in a military style and is used by the US military; therefore, it is safe to say the military won’t be buying anything if it wasn’t of a high standard.
This magnifier has a 3.25 magnification which is pretty much the standard. As is the standard, the scope is waterproof, fog proof and rugged. It hosts a field of view of 7.3 degrees and an eye relief distance of 2.2” which is surprisingly short for such a sophisticated tool. The G33 offers a lock, quick detach lever to allow for easy attaching and removal of the optics and the mount.
It weights lighter than the previous variants coming at 11.2 oz., has finger adjustable windage features and an easy switch from 3 X to 1 X zoom. The package of the magnifier includes the magnifier itself, fixed quick release rail mount and spacer, optics cloth and an instruction manual.
The biggest flaw of this magnifier is the price and it causes one to question if it’s worth such a high price. Well, if you want military grade gear this is the magnifier to get and its best magnifier in the EOTech series.
Coming highly recommended is the primary arms 3X Magnifier. With a reasonable price, the Primary Arms 3X Magnifier is top quality. Being a fourth generation model, it has had improvements from previous variants which bring it near close to perfection. It has moisture and fog resistant lenses, ideal for outdoor hunting. It has an impressive eye relief distance, the longest of all magnifiers we have reviewed in this article, is lightweight which makes it easy to use even for beginners.
As a bonus, purchasing one of these will not break the bank; it has elevation adjustments and a one year warranty period coupled with its great features. The Primary Arms 3X Magnifier as stated earlier is a sweet deal.