A Different Kind Of Red Dot Sight


If you’ve been around guns and shooting for any amount of time, you know that there are number of options for sights for your firearm. Whether you use the iron sights that typically come installed on a firearm when you purchase it or a telescoping or laser sight, you have a number to choose from.

Possibly the most popular aftermarket sights (and coming pre-installed on more and more firearms from the company) for non-hunting uses, though, are red dot sights.

If you’re not familiar with red dot sights, Jason J. Brown’s description will help you get an idea of this type of sight. Brown writes,


“red dot” sights [are] usually small, electronic sight systems that generate a dot-shaped reticle – often in red – that serves as the designator for where your rounds should land. 

What you may not realize is that there are a couple of different types of sights that are generally called red dot sights. For example, many shooters are primarily going to think of reflex sights when they think of red dot sights for their concealed carry pistol.

However, another type of red dot sight is a prism sight which some folks like to use particularly for rifles. A writer going by Theoden has this to say about a specific prism sight:

Is the Bushnell Lil P prism sight a serviceable replacement for the traditional mini red dot?  It is my habit to give the bottom line at the top, so yes, the Lil P is replacing my mini red dots.  The Lil P is an extremely small “scope” with a 1x magnification that has an illuminated etched reticle, but the best and the perhaps most overlooked feature is the adjustable diopter that allows you to focus the reticle exactly to your own eyesight. In my opinion and for my use, it’s superior to a red dot.

To put this in layman’s terms, this particular prism sight allows you to adjust the focus of the sight for better clarity (and, thus, accuracy) if you have certain eyesight issues. Reflex red dot sights don’t tend to allow this focus option.

Still, the prism scopes that I’ve seen aren’t as compact as reflex red dot sights, so the type of sights that makes sense for you is going to depend on your specific needs (i.e. focus or not) and your intended uses of the sight. Either can be a good choice, and only you can decide what is going to best fit your needs.



  1. Understanding, selecting, and utilizing optics is more convoluted than your choice of firearms, ammunition, and holsters. Purchasing optics can quickly become very expensive. It is relatively easy to rent or borrow a variety of firearms but that option is generally not available with optics.

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