Hands-On: Leapers Utg Red Dot Review

utg red dot review

Are you looking for arguably the most budget-friendly red dot sight on the market? What if I told you it was possible to save hundreds of dollars and still get an optic that can perform reliably at close quarters? Today we're looking at the Leapers UTG 5th Gen 4" ITA Red / Green Dot Sight, and we're going to give you our honest opinion on what this optic is and isn't—and whether it might just be the perfect choice for you.

UTG (also known by its parent company Leapers) is one of the biggest names in ultra-budget rifle optics, and while you certainly shouldn't be expecting a red dot that performs as well as Trijicon or EOTech, you might be surprised by how much bang for your buck you can get out of one of these red dots.

At Hunting Mark, we are committed to giving you the unvarnished truth about the products we review, and in this case I can safely say that if you are looking for an optic for home defense or patrol use, you should look elsewhere.

This red dot simply isn't up to the standards of equipment that you would want to trust your life to. But if you are looking for an incredibly inexpensive option for target shooting that outperforms the other cheap knockoffs that you'll find in this price range, the UTG red dot might just be what you're looking for.

Read on to see our detailed breakdown of this optic and what you can expect from it terms of features and performance.

Overview

As the name implies, the UTG 5th Gen 4" ITA Dot Sight is the 5th iteration of the company's popular red dot sight, and it offers a few new quality of life upgrades and a more streamlined design based on user feedback, which is always nice to see. It's compatible with rifles, shotguns, and handguns, and can be mounted on both picatinny and weaver rail systems without any additional hardware needed.

utg red dot reviews

As you probably expect from a red dot, the UTG dot sight doesn’t have any magnification (unlike a reflex sight or holographic sight), though it is designed to be easily combined with UTG's 3x magnifier for a bit of extra reach. It does offer the typical benefits of a red dot – unlimited eye relief, fast target acquisition at close ranges, and the ability to shoot with both eyes open –but other than that you're looking at a pretty simple, reasonably solid bare-bones optic.

I have to admit I wasn't expecting much when I first saw that I'd be reviewing an optic that you can pick up for $65 brand new on OpticsPlanet, but my overall impression of this sight ended up being pretty positive, and it certainly blows away almost any other optic you're going to find at this price in terms of both durability and performance.

Let's take a closer look:

What's in the Box?

You might expect an optic at this price point to skimp out on some of the accessories, but I was happy to find that in addition to red dot sight itself, the box also includes a spare battery, a microfiber cleaning cloth, a miniature Allen wrench, a set of flip-open lens caps, and a detailed instruction manual. 

The optic also comes with a simple quick-detach mount and an “offset adapter” – basically a small riser that lets you push the optic a little farther forward so you've got a bit of extra room on the rail for other accessories.

Considering how many expensive optics don't include a mount or even sometimes something as simple as lens caps, I was pleasantly surprised that the UTG red dot gives you everything you need to get your optic up and running right out of the box.

UTG 5th Gen 4

UTG Red Dot

The price of UTG Red Dot varies, so check the latest price at

Features

Integral QD Mount

The quick detach mount features a fairly standard design – you clamp it onto your rail with a nut and Allen wrench, sight it in as usual, and then you can use the quick-detach lever to pop the entire mount and optic on or off your rifle without having to re-zero every time (assuming you mount it back on the same segment of rail each time).

I can't say how well it would hold up to the recoil of heavier-hitting ammo like .308, but on an AR chambered in .223 you can expect this mount to hold zero with little to no discernible drift. This is a big mark in this optic's favor, since loose, poor-fitting mounts are one of the first places many budget optics tend to cut corners.

Red / Green Reticle

The UTG Dot Sight offers both a red and green dot sight reticle that can be easily switched between by turning the brightness knob. It's a small but welcome feature, and which one you use is mostly going to come down to personal preference and the environment that you will be shooting in. 

utg red green dot

For instance, a red dot is more useful if you’re hunting in dense brush, while a green CQB dot is sometimes favored by law enforcement who need something that stands out in urban environments.

Compared to the previous generations of this optic, which experimented with a T-dot reticle and a double-circle reticle, the 5th Gen goes back to the basics with a 4- MOA single dot, which in this case is the right call. UTG's multicoating process and glass quality didn't lend themselves to more complicated reticles, which could get pretty fuzzy at higher brightness settings.

You will probably still notice a touch of washout at the maximum brightness, which is one of the unavoidable byproducts of using less expensive materials, but outside of the absolute brightest light conditions it isn't going to be a problem.

Overall Performance

As I mentioned earlier, the overall performance of this red dot is pretty impressive for the price. Inside of 75 yards you shouldn't have any trouble putting rounds on target—just don't expect to be ringing steel plates at 300 yards with it.

Construction feels solid, and while it's not going to be as rugged as an optic with an anodized aircraft-grade aluminum construction, it's still sturdy enough to hold up to average wear and tear, and is still rated as waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof. UTG also offers a warranty to repair or replace any optic that suffers from a manufacturing defect.

The adjustment knobs feel a little stiff, though I expect they would loosen up a bit over time, and to be honest I prefer that to overly soft knobs that could end up accidentally activating your dot and draining your battery. Another nice design consideration is that the optic is the perfect height to co-witness with most integrated front sights or back-up iron sights.

Pros / Cons

Pros

  • Excellent value for the price
  • Simple, clear reticle with two color choices
  • Stable quick-detach mount that doesn't drift
  • Able to co-witness with iron sightsEnter

Cons

  • Not reliable enough for home defense or duty use
  • Reticle can get slightly fuzzy at maximum brightness
  • Slightly stiff adjustment knobs 

Alternatives

PRODUCT

DETAILS

Products

ALTERNATIVE

Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight

Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight 

  • Diameter: 20mm
  • Magnification: Magnifie
  • Length: Dot
ALTERNATIVE

Sig Sauer SOR52001 Romeo5 1x20mm

Sig Sauer SOR52001 Romeo5 1x20mm 

  • Diameter: 20mm
  • Magnification: 1x
  • Length: Dot
ALTERNATIVE

Primary Arms Advanced Micro Dot

Primary Arms Advanced Micro Dot

  • Diameter: 20mm
  • Magnification: Magnifie
  • Length: Dot

1. Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight Riflescope

Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight Riflescope

Very similar in both performance and price to the UTG red dot, this optic from Bushnell has a slightly tighter 3-MOA dot at the cost of a reticle that is a little bit less crisp. As well, it's worth noting that if you want an absolute co-witness with standard AR irons, you will need to buy a 1-inch riser in addition to the optic itself. (Ironically, UTG's high riser is perfect for the job).

Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot 1Sight Riflescope

Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight

The price of Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight varies, so check the latest price at

2. Sig Sauer SOR52001 Romeo5 1x20mm

SIG Sauer Romeo5

At slightly more than twice the price of the UTG red dot, this optic from Sig Sauer is considerably more expensive, but makes for a solid alternative if you need a low-budget option that is durable enough for home defense or other CQB use. There is a bit of washout on higher brightness settings, but that's something you can expect to see from pretty much every sub-$200 red dot.

Sig Sauer SOR52001 Romeo5 1x20mm

Sig Sauer SOR52001 Romeo5 1x20mm

The price of Sig Sauer SOR52001 Romeo5 1x20mm varies, so check the latest price at

3. Primary Arms Advanced Micro Dot

Primary Arms Advanced Micro Dot

I'm a big fan of Primary Arms' red dots, and their micro dot is a nice, though slightly pricier, alternative to the UTG. If you're looking for a very compact, lightweight, and reasonably durable red dot that won't break the bank, it might be worth saving up a little extra and springing for this optic. Primary Arms runs pretty frequent sales, so if you have the patience you can pick one up at a great price.

 Primary Arms Advanced Micro Dot

Primary Arms Advanced Micro Dot

The price of Primary Arms Advanced Micro Dot varies, so check the latest price at

Conclusion

Now that the dust is settled, what do I think of UTG's latest red dot offering? I'd say this is a very hard optic to beat if your budget is $75 or less, and is a vastly better option than most of the cheap knock-offs you're going to see at that price. 

With the caveat that it's not something I'd put on a home defense or duty weapon, I can safely say this is a good pick for anyone who just wants a solid red dot for close range target shooting or plinking in general.

If you're looking to pick one of these up for yourself, we recommend Amazon (also a great place to pick up the UTG 3x magnifier if you're interested in getting a little bit more range out of your red dot) or OpticsPlanet, both of which have excellent customer service and almost always beat the price you're going to see at other retailers.

Parting Shots

Not everyone has the budget to stick hundreds of dollars worth of glass on top of their rifle, and at Hunting Mark we try to keep that in mind by periodically looking at high quality, budget-friendly alternatives so that everyone can get enjoyment out of their guns.

While the UTG red dot isn't perfect, it's a great entry-level option for a low-budget build, and the alternatives we offered are also excellent choices if you're able to stretch that budget a little further.

Do you have experience with this optic or any of the alternatives we listed? Sound off in the comments and let us know how it's treating you! And if you want to check out even more budget-friendly red dot options, head on over to our rundown of the best red dot sights under $200!

References

Featured Image ZAINAL GUNS

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