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How to choose a red dot for your shotgun

Brady Kirkpatrick Avatar
choose a red dot for your shotgun

Holosun 507c on Benelli M4. (Photo courtesy of America Pro Guns)

When it comes to choosing a red dot sight for your shotgun, you want to make sure you get the best one for your needs. You need to consider your budget, the type of shooting you plan to do, and the features you need in a sight. 

With so many options available, it can be difficult to decide which red dot sight is the best one for you. With the right research and considerations, you can find the perfect red dot sight. Let’s take a look at some important factors to consider.

Factors to Consider When Looking for a Red Dot

You have decided you are definitely in the market for a red dot for your shotgun. You have read through our list regarding red dots and the time has come to decide which red dot you should purchase. Follow these simple steps to ensure you get the most return for your hard earned dollar.

Intended use

The first and most important thing to consider when buying a red dot is what is the purpose of the shotgun it will go on. Depending on your preferences some of these red dots will appeal to you more than others. The Holoson 507c for example. The multiple reticle system makes this an ideal red dot to go on your home defense shotgun. The 32 MOA circle is perfect for the spread pattern of a home defense shotgun as home defense distances.  

For deer hunting with a shotgun, you are going to want a red dot with at most 2 MOA and preferably 1 MOA to ensure the best possible accuracy. Humanely dispatching game animals is one of the most important responsibilities of any hunter and a 1 or 2 MOA red dot will go a long way in ensuring this as opposed to a red dot with 6.5 MOA. 

Price Point

It does no good to spend hours researching red dots and comparing their features, finally picking out the best one for your purposes when all of the ones you have been examining are beyond your financial resources. Set yourself a budget and follow it. If you buy a red dot only to discover you have no money left over to buy ammunition and train with your choice, you have already made a poor choice.


It goes without saying that if your red dot isn’t working when you need it most you have not made a good choice when purchasing a red dot. Reliability includes several factors.  

One is durability. If your red dot can’t hold up to the abuse you are going to put it through you need to save your money until you can afford to purchase a product that will hold up to the uses you have for it.  

Battery life is also incredibly important for a red dot’s reliability. If the battery is constantly dead because you forgot to turn it off or running it on a sufficiently bright level drains the battery very fast you are going to have issues as well. It is not a good feeling to discover your red dot has a dead battery when you hear something go bump in the night.

Final decision

When you make your final decision for which red dot is best for you and your shotgun try to find the ones you are interested in and get your hands on them. It is always preferable to have actual experience using one before purchasing but even if you aren’t able to get actual trigger time on a gun with the red dots you are considering you can go to a local gun store and get a feel for the size, weight, and feel before you purchase.


What MOA is best for a shotgun?

The best MOA for a shotgun depends on its purpose. For hunting deer and other four-legged game animals, a 1 MOA red dot will be the best option. For home defense, a red dot with 3, 6.5, 8 MOA is going to be preferable.

Can you put a red dot on a 12-gauge shotgun?

Modern red dots like the RMR Type 2 or any of the other red dots listed in this article are capable of standing up to the recoil of a 12 gauge shotgun.

Are red dots good for hunting?

Red dots can be good for hunting. There is no absolute answer to this question, but for many hunters, the red dot provides better feedback for obtaining and humanely harvesting their target.

Can a red dot sight be used at night?

Red dots can be used at night and in general, are better in the dark than in daylight. Unless you are using iron sights with tritium or fiber optics, most people will not be able to see their iron sights in the dark. A red dot optic will allow the shooter to more clearly identify where their firearm is pointing and ensure a safer outcome.

Is green dot or red dot better?

Green dots are frequently considered preferable to red dots because of the way the human eye works. The green dot will catch the user’s attention faster than a red dot will. Additionally, In a bright light situation, a green dot will be easier to pick out than a red dot.


The most important factor in the effectiveness of a red dot is for the individual to take their chosen red dot and train in effectively using it, whether for hunting, sports shooting, or home defense. The best gear is only as good as the person using it. If you’re looking for the best red dot to use, check out our list here.

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