When asked the question: rifle scope or red dot? What usually comes to mind is: are they both not mounted on a rifle? Yes, they are. And if they can be mounted on a rifle then what makes them different? All these are questions that when answered are supposed to put a clear picture to one’s mind.
Rifle scope, as you may know, do a lot of things well that red dot does not do well. They can also have weaknesses where the red dots can excel. Rifle scopes are much better for long range shots than red dots do not. They are better when shooting small targets. They are better for shooting small groups or precision shooting. They are also great for shot placements: if you have a target or animal you want to shoot on a certain area of the body, a rifle scope is going to be the better and suitable choice for that type of task, and they are not rechargeable, and they do not need batteries. You can also get illumination rifle scope. The illuminated rifle scopes illuminate the reticles, and when the batteries die, you still have a working optic. You will still have a reticle that works effectively in your rifle scope.
As they say “there is nothing without a minimum amount of side effect”; rifle scopes have their own disadvantages too. This may include:
- Most rifle scopes are not good when it comes to close range targets or shooting
- Take for instance you are in the house and an intruder ventures your territory, and you are having a 6X power rifle scope on your rifle, believe it or not, the rifle scope would not be of maximum use –
- On a close range with a 6X power rifle scope or larger power i.e. 20X… , it will be more difficult to find the target, and it will take more time to adjust than the red dot scope
- If you are using a non-illuminated rifle scope, then be assured that is not going to work on low light conditions
- To say less, rifle scopes are not so good at close range and not so good at low light conditions if compared with red dots
However, there are awesome exceptions, and there are awesome options that kind of mixed the ideas of having a rifle scope and a red dot altogether. There are rifle scopes that are made from 1-4X power scopes, and that give you some magnifications and also give you some hold-over to where you can do some precision shootings. You could shoot at extended distances because you have hold over to your maximum on you rifle scope. However, you may have a scope that actually tracks properly so that you can use your turrets to dial in your elevation and windage to shoot your targets at an extended ranges. So, note that there are some of the best rifle scopes with lower powers as mentioned that do really well and they can do a lot of things that bigger rifle scopes will also do.
These 4X power rifle scopes will do a lot of the things that bigger rifle scopes can do. They will do an adequate job in those areas where the bigger rifle scopes can also. They also have illuminations so that you can turn it down to one power. So if you work close around your house or target, you can get yourself a 1-4X power scope that is illuminated so you can foot on your illumination and when you hold that rifle scope up, you will have a proper clarity of your image. These maybe difficult to find in red dots. As far as seeing your targets through red dots, it is going to be very close. The best red dot scopes do great jobs at very close ranges. But for the 4X power rifle scope, they can be used for extended ranges and precision shootings and things like that.
Fixed power optics which have fixed magnifications like at 3X and 4X; they have reticle inside so you can have a hold-over for precision shootings and extended ranges or even longer range shootings. These are the kinds of things and great options that they can offer.
If you want the best scope for close range and low light conditions, then red dots will be the better option for you. But if you want a scope for longer range shooting and precision shootings, then you will have to go for the rifle scope with some magnifications.
This boils down to what you are going to do with your rifle. If you are going to set a next to your bed tide, and you are just going to go out shooting on some boxes and something like that. And you are not worried about shooting some really tight groups of targets: you also want it close to your bide tide and also good at low light conditions, maybe for home defense purposes. Then the red dot will be the best option for you. But if you want to do exclusively target shooting, hunting, shooting a small target or shooting a specific object on a target, then your best option should be the rifle scope.
However, if you want to do both of those types of things and you want a good all-around type of scope, then it will be advised to put a nice 4X power optics like Vortex Spitfire Prism scope or Trity Acog Red Dot on your rifle. With these two scopes, you can kind of do both close range, long range shooting and precision shootings under low light conditions. This does not imply that you will be able to pick an optic that does both of these functions very well. For example: if you pick an optic that can put down a target at a 1000 yards or beyond comfortably and with a really good level of consistency with 1-4X power optic. You may be able to do that; but it is definitely going to be more difficult than if you have a fixed 6X, 10x, 12x power optic or a variable power optic that is going to go from 6-20X power or more. They will be really better if shooting for a long range shooting like that.