6 Best Cheap Red Dots Under $100

Best Red Dot Under 100

Choosing a red dot sight can be a pain.

And if you’re on a limited budget? Even worse.

It can be hard to figure out which red dot sights are good — or what even makes a good red dot sight in the first place. And when you do find one that seems okay, so often you go to look at the price and it’s, well, not exactly feasible.

best red dot under 100

But buying a red dot sight doesn’t have to be like that, even if you can’t (or just don’t want to) shell out a lot of cash for one.

This guide will take the pain and stress out of red dot buying. By the time we’re through, you’ll know everything you need to in order to get the best red dot that fits both your particular needs and your budget.

We’ll start by talking about exactly what a red dot is and why you might want one in the first place. Then we’ll move on to what you need to look for to make sure that you’re choosing one that works for you. Then we’ll get to what most of you are probably really interested in: reviews of a handful of our favorite red dot sights that ring up at less than $100.

Ready to make red dot shopping easy? Then let’s get to it.

PRODUCT

DETAILS

Products

Bushnell Optics TRS-25

Bushnell Optics TRS-25

  • Magnification: 1
  • Battery : CR2032
  • Dimensions:5.4 x 3.4 x 2.2

Sightmark Ultra Shot

Sightmark Ultra Shot

  • Magnification: 1 x
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Battery ‎: ‎CR123A

MidTen Micro Red Dot Sight

MidTen Micro

MidTen Micro Red Dot Sight

  • Material: Aluminum
  • Dimensions:3.98 x 3.7x 2.32
  • Battery : CR2032

TruGlo Red Dot Sight

TruGlo Red Dot Sight

  • Magnification: 1
  • Weight:0.45 Pounds
  • Diameter: 30mm

TruGlo Open Dot Sight

TruGlo Open Dot Sight

TruGlo Open Dot Sight

  • Weight:0.01 Pounds
  • Dimensions: 5 x 4 x 3
  • Battery : CR2032

Primary Arms Classic Series Gen II

Primary Arms

Primary Arms Classic Series Gen II

  • Material: Aluminum
  • Weight: 4.2 Oz
  • Battery: CR2032

What Is a Red Dot Sight Anyway?

It was around the time of the Battle of Mogadishu in Somalia in 1993 when the red dot sight was observed by the American Army to be the clear ticket when participating in house to house fighting. Fast and dead-on every time was generally the outcome, but push the range and things could change quickly.

best cheap red dot

Red dot sights are a type of reflex sight that uses a reticle in the pattern of, you guessed it, an illuminated red dot.   

In general, the red dot sight is used as a quick reference sight on close, moving targets. Red dots are standard in the military and can be used with pistols, rifles, or shotguns. They’re a popular choice for AR-15s and other MSRs and are even used with crossbow and longbow weapons.

For extended range and sub MOA shooting accuracy the red dot is not the best choice for your rifle's sight system.

best red dot sight under 100

On the other hand, when the targets are close and shooting time is limited, a red dot sight system owns the farm. 

We tried red dots in the field on the big game here in the Dakotas and found them to be less effective. Accurate sighting is required here. Much of the time the dot will not meet the ranging requirements or blanks out in a moving field of standing corn when trying to sight track a departing eight-point whitetail.

In effect, learning to shoot is still a requirement even though this sight is fast, single pointing, and a snap to learn.

How Do You Choose the Best Red Dot Sight Under $100?

When choosing a red dot sight on a budget, it’s especially important to make sure that you’re getting the most for your money. 

After all, you’re not saving money by buying an $80 red dot over and over again because it breaks every six months instead of investing in a $200 sight that lasts you for years. Nor are you saving money by buying an $80 red dot that has such poor optical clarity that you end up not even using it. 

cheap red dot

To make sure you’re getting a red dot that’s affordable but not cheap, there are a few things that you should keep in mind.

Building on the examples above, optical clarity and durability are both of the utmost importance. Providing a clear picture is the most basic function of a red dot sight (or any sight, for that matter) so if it doesn’t do that, what’s it good for? 

Look for sights with multicoated lenses. Lens coatings help with light transmission, contrast, and more.

Durability also matters. 

Like we said, you aren’t saving money if you have to replace the sight. Recoil is the silent killer of optics of all kinds, so make sure that your red dot is shockproof, particularly if you plan on using it with a large or magnum caliber round. This will also protect your sight from drops, bumps, and similar accidents.

cheap red dot sight

Moisture can also kill a sight, though it’s less discrete than recoil, so look for one that’s waterproof and fogproof. Fog-proofing has the added benefit of helping with picture clarity.

Beyond durability and optical clarity, the other factors, such as dot size (and general reticle style) and mounting system, are largely up to your personal needs and preferences.

Now let’s move on to what you’re really here for, the red dot recommendations:

1. Bushnell Optics TRS-25 - Best Red Dot Under $100

Here we have the Bushnell Optics TRS-25 budget model red dot that meets the needs of many part-time shooters or the guy that hauls the old smoke pile out once or twice a season.

best cheap red dot sight

This red dot features a 25mm housing and has a built in mount that allows you to simply slide it onto your Weaver or Picatinny rail, bolt it on, and go shoot. The head-up style sighting gives you the ability to see your surroundings very clearly.

Built to last, this lightweight (4 ounce) unit has a 3 MOA dot that is workable for many varied targets whether you are shooting varmints and game or defending your home.

The unit features 11 brightness settings that allow the shooter to reset the red dot brightness to fit the surrounding light conditions. The battery life is self-regulated as the level of brightness adjusts to meet the needs of the sight. Using the storage hood powers down the unit completely.

And, like all red dots, it has unlimited eye relief and is virtually parallax free.

If you have a bit more room in your budget, you can also check out Bushnell TRS-26, which is an upgraded version of Bushnell TRS-25 and one of the best red dots under $200.

Bushnell TRS-25

Bushnell Optics TRS-25

The price of the Bushnell Optics TRS-25 varies, so check the latest price at

2. Sightmark Ultra Shot Plus

The Sightmark Ultra Shot Plus is priced at $99 and offers some fantastic features. The green or red reticle retains a 4 pattern illumination system operated by a single switch. The sight features adjustable brightness settings for whatever light conditions you find yourself in.

good cheap red dots

The sight makes use of a quick detach Weaver-style mount and has an aluminum alloy cased body for increased strength. The sight weighs in at 9.2 ounces. The whole unit is waterproof and can handle recoil from rounds up to .50 caliber.

The sight is powered by a CR123A battery and has 2,000 hours of total battery life. 

This red dot sight system features digital switch controls, multiple reticles options to choose from, and an IPX4 waterproofing system. This sight has a wide field of view of 105 feet at 100 yards.

Sightmark Ultra Shot

Sightmark Ultra Shot Plus

The price of the Sightmark Ultra Shot Plus varies, so check the latest price at

3. MidTen 2MOA Micro Red Dot Sight - Best Reflex Sight Under 100

The MidTen 2MOA Micro Red Dot Sight is a red dot reflex sight with numerous features that make it great for the red dot shooter who’s searching for a glass sighting system with a lower price tag.

best ar 15 red dot under $100

This red dot sight includes a 2 MOA red dot and has 11 brightness settings for any level of ambient light The multi-coated lens on this unit is scratch-resistant with an amber surface lens color. This tinted lens offers increased image clarity.

This dependable unit is waterproof with sealed housing. It is also shockproof. The main housing has a black anodized finish that withstands general field use. 

The battery life on this unit is stated to be at 50,000 hours when used at the lowest brightness level. Batteries are included. 

The sight features a riser system for Weaver-style mounting. The included 0.83-inch pro mount brings the sight up to a workable level when mounting it on a Weaver rail.

MidTen Micro

MidTen Micro Red Dot Sight

The price of the MidTen Micro Red Dot Sight varies, so check the latest price at

4. TRUGLO 30mm Dual-Color Dot Sight

TruGlo is an established sight manufacturer that has been turning out dependable sights with a budget price point for many years. This TRUGLO 30mm Dual-Color Dot Sight features a 5 MOA dual-color red and green reticle that provides quick target acquisition against virtually any background.

good cheap red dot

This is a CNC machined sight. The housing is designed to take a pounding in the field. The multi-coated, anti-reflective lenses reduce stray light and develop clear sight pictures.

Click windage and elevation adjustment knobs are easy to access. Other controls for turning the sight on or off and changing rheostat color and intensity levels are also within easy reach.

This sight is workable on all types of firearms including crossbows. I have been using one of these on a crossbow for about 10 years and have made only a single battery change in that time.

Hunting here in the Black Hills of South Dakota, I have climbed my tree stand almost every day of the three month season. This sight has seen quite a bit of field time and to date has not let me down.

This sight features a Weaver-style quick detach mounting system and works well for general use on a wide variety of firearms rails.

TRUGLO Dual-Color

TRUGLO Dual-Color Dot Sight

The price of the TRUGLO Dual-Color Dot Sight varies, so check the latest price at

5. TruGlo Open Dot Sight - Best Cheap Red Dot Under $100

This TruGlo Open Dot  sight is slightly different from others reviewed here. 

This compact, ultralight sight has an open-style construction for those that don't want a tube-style sight window. This sight is fast and is designed for close-range or moving target work. 

best cheap red dot for ar15

The thin housing that holds the spacious 24x34mm sight window almost disappears when viewing the sighting dot. There are two choices of reticle color, red and green, for contrast against whatever background you encounter. The dot itself has a 5 MOA diameter. All of this works together to promote fast, easy target acquisition.

The tough little sight is parallax free from 30 yards. The sight can be easily added to and removed from Weaver-style rails. The sight mounts solidly on the base and easily handles heavy shotshell and high power rifle loads. 

These sights have stood the test of time.

TruGlo Open Dot Sight

TruGlo Open Dot Sight

The price of the TruGlo Open Dot Sight varies, so check the latest price at

6. Primary Arms Classic Series Gen II Removable Microdot 

The Primary Arms Classic Series is the company’s entry level series of optics, but that doesn’t mean that these affordable optics aren’t good quality. 

The Classic Series Gen II Removable Microdot has fully multicoated, anti-reflective lenses and a high contrast 2 MOA red dot. It has 11 illumination settings and is night vision compatible, so it has you covered for pretty much any light conditions. At the medium brightness setting, you’ll get about 1,000 hours of battery life from a single CR2032 battery.

best red dot under 50

It’s also very durable and ruggedly constructed. The 6061 aluminum housing is o-ring sealed and has a matte black hardcoat anodized finish. The turrets are protected by aluminum caps (and have audible ½ MOA click adjustments). 

With the turret caps off, the optic is water resistant and with them on, it’s waterproof up to 6 feet. Either way, the scope is fog resistant. 

Despite all this, this little optic is pretty lightweight, weighing just 4.2 ounces.

It comes with a bikini-style lens cover to keep the lenses safe from dirt, oil, and other debris while it’s not in use. 

It also comes with a removable MIL-STD-1913 picatinny rail mount and is compatible with standard micro mounts.

Overall, the Primary Arms Classic Series Gen II Removable Microdot is a great red dot sight for target shooting, competition, or hunting.

Primary Arms

Primary Arms Classic Series Gen II

The price of the Primary Arms Classic Series Gen II varies, so check the latest price at

Parting Shots

Choosing a red dot sight doesn’t have to be a pain, even if you have a limited budget. Now that you know how to choose a red dot sight and have some recommendations to start (and hopefully end) your search, finding the best red dot for you should be easy.

But maybe you still have some concerns.

Looking for a budget optic but aren’t sure you want to go with a red dot? Check out our guide to the best rifle scopes under $100. Or check out our list of the best red dot magnifiers for the money to get the magnification you want for a great value.

So what do you think of these red dot sights? Is there one that you like best? Do you think it will find a home on one of your firearms? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.

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