Red dots on pistols and rifles have become the it thing in the gun world…with good reason.
These handy devices can improve target acquisition and make the shooting experience more fun and enjoyable. But not all red dots are made equal..in fact; some are made green.
Green dots have slowly risen in popularity over the years as more and more people are finding they’re pretty easy to use.
But the colorful world of red dots can be confusing and overwhelming. With so many options, you might be asking yourself what do I choose?
No worries, we’re here to help. We have our resident astigmatism-plagued shooter here to walk you through the difference between red and green dots and which green dots are actually worth your time and money.
So, keep reading!
Editor’s Note: Updated with new models April 2023.
Summary of Our Top Picks
Table of Contents
Red Dots vs. Green Dots
To understand red vs green, let’s get into some science.
First, it’s important to know that light is measured in wavelengths. The distance between the peaks is called nanometers. Those distances correlate to a number, and every color has a number.
Since we’re talking about red vs green, we’ll keep to those colors. So, red is 625nm-740nm, while green is 520nm-565nm.
The long and medium cones in human eyes peak at 560nm and 530nm. As you can see in the image above, both are in the green area.
Yes, most of us can see red (sorry colorblind, pals), but we tend to be able to see more green — both in terms of shades and vibrance and also depth. In fact, the average person can see 30x as much green as any other color.
So, our brains are wired to pick this color up faster and process it more easily.
Decades of trial and error experimentation have proven that green delivers the best depth perception, which is why you’ll see it in night vision goggles and sights.
Our eyes are basically designed to see more shades of this color, making it ideal for stealthy nighttime optics.
But Why Aren’t All Dots Green, Then?
You may be wondering why green isn’t more prevalent if our eyes do better with it…
Science aside, it depends a lot on the person behind the optic.
Everyone’s vision is a little different. You might do better with green, but your buddy’s eyes might work with red better.
Generally speaking, though, if you’re older, have poor eyesight, or suffer from astigmatism — a green dot might work better for you.
Personal factors aside, battery and close are other reasons these aren’t as popular.
It takes a lot more power to run a green dot than it does a red. With a lot of consumers wanting long battery life and since most can see red dots fairly well, optics companies tend to produce red dots more.
Also, the price of green dots is a little more than their red dot counterparts.
Now that we’ve talked about red vs. green dots, let’s run through some of our top recommendations…
5 Best Green Dot Optics
1. Holosun HE510C-GR Elite
Holosun is known for making affordable optics of good quality, and the Holosun HE510C-GR Elite is no exception.
This feature-rich model offers three reticle settings, a Titanium-alloy hood, solar battery assist, and Shake Awake.
It also sports an internal battery tray which means you can replace batteries and not have to re-zero. That alone is a win.
Speaking of battery life, the HE510C brings 50,000 hours of max battery life. That comes out to over 5 years or so. Not bad!
In addition to an impressive battery life, this optic has a 32mmx24mm lens, offering plenty of visibility to see your target.
The only thing you might want to watch out for is that exposed emitter. IMud, debris, or other junk could block it. That hasn’t happened to us yet, but it’s worth mentioning.
Overall, we really dig this model and its durability. It’s a good blend of price and features.
2. Trijicon MRO
We can’t talk optics and not mention one of the biggest names in the game…Trijicon.
This company is known for producing durable, reliable, and high-quality optics, and the MRO is no exception.
Though its features err on the side of basic, this reflex sight really earns its keep in how bomb-proof it is. In terms of what it has to offer, it comes with a 25mm lens, great glass quality, and eight brightness levels.
Battery life for the MRO sits at around a year.
Additionally, this optic comes with two night vision compatibility settings, so if night vision is your jam…look no future.
The only downside to the MRO is the price. Edging closer to $500, it is a little pricey but it’s well worth the coin.
We have a video review below and a written review on the Trijicon MRO if you’re keen to learn more.
3. Holosun HE507K-GR X2
The Holosun HE507K-GR X2 is a great green dot perfect for your carry pistol.
The 507K comes with multiple reticle settings and features solar battery assist, Shake Awake, and 50,000-hour battery life.
Additionally, the HE507K-GR X2 brings Lock Mode technology. This mode locks the buttons and prevents users from accidentally changing settings. This is a great way to ensure your settings don’t get messed with in your range bag.
This Holosun also sports a side-mounted battery tray, so you don’t have to dismantle the whole thing to swap batteries. I really like this feature because, let’s face it, it’s a hassle to remove your red dot just for a battery change.
Overall, the HE507K-GR X2 is a reliable and affordable option for those looking for a good pistol optic.
What’s your take on the Holosun? Rate it below.
4. Sig Sauer MSR Green Dot
If you’re looking for an option to test the waters, then we highly recommend the Sig Sauer MSR.
This optic is super budget friendly…like around $100. It’s a great way to dip your toes in the green dot pool and see if this option is the right one for you.
The MSR ops for a 20,000-hour battery life as well as two night vision modes. It also comes with lens covers and a top-mounted battery compartment. We already talked about the convenience of battery compartments that are easy to access and don’t require removing the whole optic.
To top it off, the MSR comes with a mount, so you’re ready to rock and roll with it straight out of the box.
To put it simply, we think this is one of the best budget green dots on the market.
5. EOTech XPS2-0GRN
Want a holographic style but need that green dot? The EOTech XPS2-0GRN is the way to go.
This optic is like most other EOTech designs in that it’s built to be durable. Seriously, these are pretty bomb-proof.
We have even shattered the glass of an EOTech optic before, in the name of science, and it still ran.
That’s about as good as it gets, folks.
The dot itself is a nice, bright green that appears very crisp — even when magnified.
Battery life on this model is less than previous optics mentioned, sitting at around 600 hours BUT holographic sights pull some serious power.
So, it’s not a surprise, and for a holographic and green dot, 600 hours is still pretty good.
6. Viridian RFX35
Viridian has a long-standing name in the green dot world and the RFX35 is a great addition to their lineup. The 6061 aluminum housing looks very similar to the Trijicon SRO and the footprint is the same as well.
With that design, the shooter gets a large window, allowing for quick access and sight picture. The glass is also multi-coated to aid with visual clarity.
The RFX35 has a 3 MOA green dot and features instant on when moved. The buttons allow you to manually adjust between 8 daytime and 2 night vision settings.
Of course, the green dot is IPX6 waterproof, and it is powered by a 2032 battery. Combining the instant on with a 2-minute back to sleep cycle, the RFX35 gets approximately 30,000 hours of use.
We tested this optic out with the Arex Delta Gen 2 and found it to be daylight bright, and very durable. Despite repeated efforts, we couldn’t beat the awake feature while drawing!
Green dots are a great way to get into optics if traditional red dots just don’t work for your eyes.
Not to mention, for some, they can improve target acquisition times, offer better contrast, and an overall sharper reticle.
While battery life and the larger price tag may be a limiter for some, we think these are solid models for those looking to jump into the green dot game.
What are your thoughts on green dots? Let us know in the comments! For some optics options, head over to the Best AR-15 Scopes & Optics.