What's wrong with a $30 red-dot sight?


April 29, 2013, 11:37 AM
There appear to be two price levels for red-dot sights,$30 or (on sale) and $150and up. So what don't you get with the $30 variety?

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April 29, 2013, 11:40 AM
Quality, Accuracy, Battery Life, Dependability, ...

Look through the threads in Accessories and you'll see those issues brought up over and over again.

dogtown tom
April 29, 2013, 11:40 AM
Durability for one.

April 29, 2013, 11:40 AM
The cheap ones often can't stand up to the recoil for very long.

April 29, 2013, 12:44 PM
Depends what you are using it for. I have this $50 Tru Glo that I've used for the last year and a half at the range without issue. Red or green dot. Still the original battery and it stands up to the recoil of 7.62x39 without issue. I'd buy another if needed. But....I wouldn't stake my life on it....


April 29, 2013, 01:26 PM
I've tried a couple of the budget dots. Neither could be zeroed and hold a zero even on a 22. I burned a box of 22's trying to get one zeroed, and this was closer to $100 than $30. I'd get a nice tight group 3" high, move the adjustment down a few clicks and the next group would be 6" left and 4" high. Move the adjustments right and down and get a group low and left. finally after about an hour of chasing groups all over the targets and not having the adjustments track properly I got it hitting where I pointed.

Next range trip the 1st groups were off by several inches. I took it off and threw it as far into the woods as possible and swore off cheap dot sights.

April 29, 2013, 01:30 PM
You get what you pay for. Don't be fooled.

I am the NRA, sent with Tapatalk 2

April 29, 2013, 02:44 PM
I used to use red dots. Cheap ones and 200.00 ones. Got rid of them all!!!!!!! Your eye moves with the dot, you need to look down the tube straight, your eye won't line up to the red dot every time so your eye will wonder with the dot. I quit using them, and scoped everything.

M2 Carbine
April 29, 2013, 07:04 PM
What's wrong with a $30 red-dot sight?
I wouldn't want to take one to war, but for everyday use they are fine.

I have so many of the things, mostly BSA, that I do not know how many I have. About three dozen I guess. Bought two more last week.

For example,

http://i1183.photobucket.com/albums/x464/Bell-helicopter-407/MossbergMaverick_zps1cdf732a.jpg (http://s1183.photobucket.com/user/Bell-helicopter-407/media/MossbergMaverick_zps1cdf732a.jpg.html)

http://i1183.photobucket.com/albums/x464/Bell-helicopter-407/Winchester9422.jpg (http://s1183.photobucket.com/user/Bell-helicopter-407/media/Winchester9422.jpg.html)

http://i1183.photobucket.com/albums/x464/Bell-helicopter-407/RugerCarbine.jpg (http://s1183.photobucket.com/user/Bell-helicopter-407/media/RugerCarbine.jpg.html)

http://i1183.photobucket.com/albums/x464/Bell-helicopter-407/Ithicapistolgrip.jpg (http://s1183.photobucket.com/user/Bell-helicopter-407/media/Ithicapistolgrip.jpg.html)

http://i1183.photobucket.com/albums/x464/Bell-helicopter-407/RugerMKIIIwithBSA.jpg (http://s1183.photobucket.com/user/Bell-helicopter-407/media/RugerMKIIIwithBSA.jpg.html)

http://i1183.photobucket.com/albums/x464/Bell-helicopter-407/GSG5pistol.jpg (http://s1183.photobucket.com/user/Bell-helicopter-407/media/GSG5pistol.jpg.html)

http://i1183.photobucket.com/albums/x464/Bell-helicopter-407/SW22withBSA.jpg (http://s1183.photobucket.com/user/Bell-helicopter-407/media/SW22withBSA.jpg.html)

http://i1183.photobucket.com/albums/x464/Bell-helicopter-407/Beretta22neoswithBSA.jpg (http://s1183.photobucket.com/user/Bell-helicopter-407/media/Beretta22neoswithBSA.jpg.html)

http://i1183.photobucket.com/albums/x464/Bell-helicopter-407/ChargerTact3.jpg (http://s1183.photobucket.com/user/Bell-helicopter-407/media/ChargerTact3.jpg.html)

http://i1183.photobucket.com/albums/x464/Bell-helicopter-407/HenryML.jpg (http://s1183.photobucket.com/user/Bell-helicopter-407/media/HenryML.jpg.html)

http://i1183.photobucket.com/albums/x464/Bell-helicopter-407/M4RedDot.jpg (http://s1183.photobucket.com/user/Bell-helicopter-407/media/M4RedDot.jpg.html)

http://i1183.photobucket.com/albums/x464/Bell-helicopter-407/AK75rdpistol-1.jpg (http://s1183.photobucket.com/user/Bell-helicopter-407/media/AK75rdpistol-1.jpg.html)

http://i1183.photobucket.com/albums/x464/Bell-helicopter-407/UZIBSA.jpg (http://s1183.photobucket.com/user/Bell-helicopter-407/media/UZIBSA.jpg.html)

M2 Carbine
April 29, 2013, 07:06 PM
http://i1183.photobucket.com/albums/x464/Bell-helicopter-407/SWMPwBSA.jpg (http://s1183.photobucket.com/user/Bell-helicopter-407/media/SWMPwBSA.jpg.html)

http://i1183.photobucket.com/albums/x464/Bell-helicopter-407/M4withStreamlight.jpg (http://s1183.photobucket.com/user/Bell-helicopter-407/media/M4withStreamlight.jpg.html)

http://i1183.photobucket.com/albums/x464/Bell-helicopter-407/PLRCarbinesling-1.jpg (http://s1183.photobucket.com/user/Bell-helicopter-407/media/PLRCarbinesling-1.jpg.html)

April 29, 2013, 07:44 PM
I agree with 45lcshooter, the dot wanders with my eye, and I guess I can never get the same hold on the gun or something because I am always an inch or 3 off when I next take the rifle out. But I have used cheap dots before. Generally they are a little bulkier, and the "5moa dot" is generally more of a 7 moa irregular blob with fuzzy edges. You can get into a decent bushnell tr-25 dot for close to $70, and they are much better in the dot and size category, but I would still prefer a 1-4x scope every time.

April 29, 2013, 10:14 PM
I posted this before years ago, but............

I had a buddy that believed in the free lunch.
He told me that he was going to buy a BSA brand red dot sight to mount on a .41 mag pistol. I did my best to talk him out of it. He didn't listen.

By coincidence, I happened to be at the range when he showed up with his new rig. On the third shot, the sight completely disassembled itself with parts flying through the air. I wanted to laugh in the worst way, but he had his wife and kids there and I didn't want to show him up in front of his family.

It's my opinion that you simply can not buy a quality, optical instrument for less than a couple hundred dollars. No matter what gun I am shooting, I make every attempt to shoot in accurately. There is never a time when I am shooting that I am not serious about hitting the target. There is also never a time when I am shooting that I want to be handicapped by my equipment.

Buy good stuff and pay the money for it and cry once. Buy cheap stuff and cry as long as you own it. Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten.

Something I have read a thousand times on internet gun forums:
I am not going to spend that much money on an optic for a .22
If you think about it, what gun do you shoot the most ? For me I fire thousands of .22s for every centerfire rifle round I fire. Wouldn't it make sense that I would spend MORE money on a .22 optic than I would on a rifle I seldom fire ? Same logic even applies to air rifles. I frequently practice with an air rifle in the basement. I can shoot there year round, day or night, no matter the weather. It only makes sense for me to buy a good quality air rifle with a good quality optic since I use them all the time. If I divided up the price of the scope per round fired, the .22 wins every time. Same with the air rifle.

The price of an optic has absolutely nothing to do with the price of the gun. Another thing I see frequently posted is: "I am not going to spend more on the optic than I paid for the gun". Why not ? What has one got to do with the other ? If I got a free rifle does that mean that I can't spend more than zero on the optic ? In the end you have a good rifle with a cheap scope.

Just one man's opinion. I have been down this road a number of times and learned this lesson the hard way. There is no free lunch. You get what you pay for.

April 30, 2013, 05:15 PM
Well, thanks for all of the replies, guys. Thanks also for jolting me back into reality by pointing out that you don't get something for nothing.

The main thing influencing me was that I bought a used, very nice Ruger .22 with a bull barrel 13 years ago that had something called an Oakshore Electronics Ultra Dot sight on it. It has served perfectly all these years, needing a new battery just once, and remaining dead accurate once I realized I had to Loctite the screws. Since I never heard of Oakshore Electronics, I assumed it wasn't a big major brand. It must be a big name I never heard of.

So I guess it's the same old story, as so many of you said: You get what you pay for.

April 30, 2013, 07:32 PM
I don't know about oakshore, but there is a brand called ultradot, and they are really good red dots. maybe in the $200 range?

April 30, 2013, 09:33 PM
One thing that is for sure.
If you own something and it works for you, then keep using it.

I never heard of that company either, but it sounds like it was a good buy.

April 30, 2013, 10:34 PM
My opinion, buy an optic based on what you will use it for.

If I'm going to war or my life will depend on the rifle and optic, you bet I'm buying a Trijicon or Aimpoint.

Now if you are just plinking your 22 rifle or pistol, there is nothing wrong with a $30 RDS. I've even used my $30 RDS on a AK pistol and it still holds zero after hundreds of rounds.

Ideally if you can afford good quality optic, that is what you should do. but if you are on a budget, nothing wrong with sub-$100 RDS.

May 1, 2013, 01:03 AM
Durability for one.
Tried an inexpensive one on my shotgun. I think it lasted about 30 rounds.

May 1, 2013, 05:27 AM
I tried a few cheap red dots, and an expensive one on a friend's gun. I went to 1-4x20 scopes instead, they live on 1x, never run out of battery or forget to switch it on, and are cheaper than the high-end red dots.

Carl N. Brown
May 1, 2013, 06:30 AM
In the post-apocalyptic wasteland--or a weekend on the mountain--a run to the battery store is not an option. I have used three red dot sights (the Aimpoint was best) but have since tended toward passive optical sights with iron sight backup.

May 1, 2013, 08:24 AM
There are some good mid priced dots. Bushnell TRS-25 and Primary Arms come to mind.

May 1, 2013, 10:23 AM
When people talk about their eyes wandering with the dot, is that the same as parallax errors? I thought red dots were designed so that you could look through the sights in any way, and the red dot will stay on the target.

May 1, 2013, 06:36 PM
I'd never put a cheap optic on a hard use gun but spending $30 on a knock-off just to see if you like that style of optics makes perfect sense if you don't have a buddy that will let you play with one.

May 1, 2013, 09:08 PM
Thanks for this info, I might take a tumble.

May 1, 2013, 09:25 PM
Agree 1000% been down that road a few times.

May 3, 2013, 02:08 AM
It depends on what you are going to do with it. I shoot in a centerfire 25yd bullseye league. Last season I used a 30 dollar barska red dot. It worked great all season. Changed battery once, as a preventative issue, not because it was dead. I just didnt want it to die on the line in competition. At the end of the season my wife shot three cylinders of 357mag with it and it died.

This season I am using a 40 dollar TruGlo on the same revolver. No real worries, it works great, just wont use magnum loads with it. The 148gr wadcutter loads are perfectly fine with it.

You just have to know the limitations of the dot and dont exceed it.

May 3, 2013, 10:50 AM
As others have said the big difference is durability, battery life, and repeatability.

Obviously, the top of the heap tends to be the aimpoint brand designed and tested in warfare with ridiculous battery life.

I personally have owned a couple of the vortex brand optics. While not as overbuilt or long battery life of the aimpoints, I think they offer excellent durability and repeatability for the money. I'd use cheaper red dots on guns only intended for plinking or fun. If I need to hunt or provide defense I'm comfortable with the Vortex until I can afford an aimpoint. I just keep a couple extra batteries with me.

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