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Best Pistol & Rifle Optics for Shooters with Astigmatism

Have you ever looked through a red dot and seen it blossom into what looks like a star?

Or maybe it looks like a comma, blurring badly?

Sig Red Dots
Do you low-key avoid these because they look blurry?

If so, you might have astigmatism.

(We’re not ophthalmologists here, so if the above applies, you might want to head to your friendly eye doc and get it checked out.)

And if you know you have astigmatism, then you definitely relate to how difficult it is finding a decent optic that you can actually shoot with.

CCW Range Practice
(Our Managing Editor Jacki knows this struggle all too well.)

Luckily, you’ve got us and we’re here to help. Leveraging our expertise, we’ve rounded up several optics that tend to work well for wonky-eyed folks.

Stick with us and by the end of this article, you’ll have a better idea of which optics might just work with your astigmatism.

Keep reading!

Table of Contents

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What Is Astigmatism?

Though they sound similar, astigmatism is not stigmata, so that’s good.

Different

Astigmatism is a type of refractive error that impacts the eye’s ability to focus light. Basically, people plagued with astigmatism do not focus light evenly on the retina.

That’s according to WebMD. Again, we’re not doctors.

Astigmatism

Where astigmatism can get tricky for gun owners and shooters is in the world of red dot optics.

While I might not be a doctor, I do know a thing or two about optics and finding the right ones for astigmatism.

So today, we’re going to walk through some of the better optics to purchase if you have astigmatism.

Astigmatism
Wait a minute…you mean not everyone sees starburst patterns?? (Photo: WedMD)

If you attempt to shoot with a traditional variable optic, you shouldn’t have an issue. Conventional variable optics aren’t as great at close-range shooting, though.

So, when I chose these optics, I kept their ability to be used at close and moderate ranges in mind.

If you are looking for a 3-9X scope for your hunting rifle, then your astigmatism doesn’t come into play.

Mossberg Patriot 30.06 with VX Freedom 3-9x
Mossberg Patriot 30.06 with VX Freedom 3-9x — no worries here.

If you are looking at a 1X optic, then that astigmatism becomes more of an issue.

Types of Optics Best Suited for Astigmatism

Holographic optics are famously one of the better options for those plagued with astigmatism.

It’s not that it’s a holographic optic, but it’s the reticle design.

EOTech EXPS2-0
EOTech EXPS2-0 is a holographic sight.

Most holographic optics use a complicated reticle made up of a big circle and a small dot or some variation.

These reticles often appear pretty clear and are easy to use for those with astigmatism.

Squint
Little squinting required

They do appear somewhat blurry to everyone when you focus solely on the reticle. Focus past the reticle and onto the target, and it will clear right up.

Prism Optics

Prism optics feature fixed magnification using a prism instead of two objective and ocular lenses.

All of the Prism Scopes
All of the Prism Scopes

For those suffering from astigmatism, the fixed magnification and etched reticle ensure they have a clear and easy to see reticle.

Prism optics come in magnification levels ranging from 1x to 8x.

LVPO

Low-powered variable optics are without a doubt the most versatile optics on the market.

Sure, they are big and heavy compared to other options, but they provide you magnification from 1X to 10X on the fly.

Swampfox Tomahawk LVPO
Swampfox Tomahawk LVPO

If you have astigmatism, then a variable optic of any sort works without issue.

Since LPVOs have a close-range component, they make our list.

Dig deeper into the world of red dots, LVPOs, and prisms in our guide!

Best Optics for Astigmatism

1. EOTech XPS3 -2

EOTech is the primary name in the game of friendly reticles for those with astigmatism.

Decades ago, they came up with the original -0 reticle with its 68 MOA ring and single MOA dot in the center. The -2 features the same 68 MOA ring with two dots.

While it remains astigmatism-friendly, the XPS3-2 provides you with two dots tuned to 5.56 with a second dot for 500-yard shots.

EOTech EXPS3 Drop Damage
EOTech EXPS3

Beyond the two dots, the bottom of the reticle can be used as a third aiming point for super close-range shots to compensate for mechanical offset.

EOTech’s reticle is quite diverse and allows for range estimation as well.

The ring size is rather specific, and at 100-yards, an average man will fill the reticle from top to bottom.

EOTech EXPS 3 .410 Birdshot Damage
Yeah we shot it with some birdshot.

So, when a man fills the reticle, he is at 200-yards; when he fills from the bottom to the center dot, then he’s 200-yards away. It’s rather handy.

Special Operations often choose EOTech optics for a reason.

It’s a rugged and reliable optic compatible with night vision optics and resists water and shock with little effort.

It’s one of the toughest optics on the market and well-proven on carbines and rifles.

2. Vortex UH-1 Gen 2

Following up the EOTech is the Vortex UH-1.

It’s one of the few other true holographic optics on the market. A segmented circle reticle kicks off the chains of astigmatism and provides a clear, easy-to-see close-quarters reticle.

Vortex UH-1 Reticle, 3x Zoom
Vortex UH-1 Reticle, 3x Zoom

Vertically the reticle measures 81.5 MOA long and 65 MOA wide.

A big reticle is easy to see – shooting fast and accurately is all about seeing your reticle.

In the center, a 1 MOA red dot makes precision shots easy. While large, the segmented design ensures your field of vision is not overly crowded.

Vortex UH-1, USB Charging
Vortex UH-1, USB Charging

The UH-1 features four-night vision settings and 15 total brightness settings.

Rear-placed ambidextrous controls make navigating your brightness levels easy. A dedicated NV button allows an instant switch to night vision compatibility.

Water presents no threat due to the optic’s IPX-8 waterproof rating, and shock is shaken off without a second thought.

Vortex UH-1 Gen 2 on rifle
Does it also make for badass pictures of your gat? Yes. A resounding yes.

Without a doubt, this is a pro-grade optic that capitalizes on the durability and versatility of a holographic optic.

Plus, it looks cool, and looking cool is half the battle.

3. Holosun 510C – GR

If you want a more budget-friendly option than the above two, the HS510C might be for you.

This is not a holographic optic but a red dot featuring Holosun’s multi reticle system. The reticles include a 2 MOA dot, a 65 MOA circle, and a combination of the circle and dot.

These big reticles are perfect for shooting with astigmatism.

Holosun 510C At the Range
Holosun 510C At the Range

Red or green works, but green tends to be more friendly for those with astigmatism.

A 65 MOA reticle might be a little smaller than the EOTech but works for the same range-finding purpose.

Holosun packs these optics full of features, including a solar panel for battery backup. Why risk that little 1632 going dead when the sun can power your optic!

Holosun 510C
Holosun 510C

Plus, the optic adopts a Titanium construction for increased durability.

It can withstand submersion in up to a meter of water and vibration up to 1,000Gs.

It’s a tough optic, at least when you consider the budget-friendly design.

Most Worth It Holographic Sight
309
at OpticsPlanet

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Have you tried the Holosun 510C? Rate it below!

Readers' Ratings

5.00/5 (59)

Your Rating?

4. Swampfox Blade

If you don’t want to deal with a red dot, but want a close-range capable optic, then the Blade is for you.

This 1X prism optic provides you with an excellent home defense design.

Not only does this optic replace a red dot, but it’s better in some ways.

Swampfox Blade
Swampfox Blade

An etched reticle overcomes astigmatism issues for sure. That same etched reticle will work with or without batteries.

On top of that, the Blade has a specialized reticle for close-range shooting. Swampfox calls it the Bullet Rise Compensating reticle.

Swampfox Blade Reticle
Blade Reticle

Swampfox built four aiming points into the Blade. Your first aiming point is for your normal 50/200 zero.

Beyond that, you have aiming points for shots at 15-, 10-, and 5-yards. You can compensate for mechanical offset and be quite accurate at close ranges.

The reticle, explained!

A budget-friendly price tag is tacked onto the optic, and it’s rather robust for its design.

It can shake off 800Gs of vibration and submerge up to a meter for half an hour. Plenty tough for home defense and competition.

It’s large and in charge but relatively lightweight.

5. Lucid P7

I’ll never understand why the Lucid P7 is such an underrated optic.

This 4X fixed power prism optic is just the sweet point for a carbine, especially of the AR variety.

Lucid P7 (SOFREP)
Lucid P7 (SOFREP)

A four-powered optic allows you to easily engage human-sized targets out to 500-yards or so.

The Lucid P7 provides you with a dynamic reticle perfect for both those 500-yard shots. The reticle features a broad degree of subtensions for range estimation and bullet drop compensation.

For those close-range shots, the reticle comes partially illuminated.

For close-range shooting, you have a big circular reticle with a dot in the center. Perfect for fast eye acquisition and getting lead on target with both speed and precision.

Lucid P7 Reticle (SOFREP)
Lucid P7 Reticle (SOFREP)

On top of that, the P7 is rugged and reliable. P7s have been kicking around for over a decade now with few reports of failure.

It’s waterproof for submersion to a meter for half an hour and can withstand the abuse of whatever rifle you attach it to. For the price, it’s tough to beat.

My only complaint would be it’s a little heavy compared to other options.

350
at OpticsPlanet

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

6. ACOG 4X

There are tons of ACOGs out there, like way too many, but each is pretty awesome.

My choice would be a 4X variant because, for a carbine, it’s the sweet spot for both moderate and short-range shooting.

The various prism models often differentiate between barrel lengths and calibers to ensure the bullet drop compensating reticle is accurate.

Trijicon TA-02 Acog POI Retest
Trijicon ACOG

When it comes time to choose one, make sure it matches your caliber and barrel length for the most accuracy possible.

ACOGs use radioactive isotopes that gather their power from the sun! The reticle automatically adjusts to the light outside.

Sometimes it’s too bright, but a little duct tape over the tritium vial will reduce the brightness.

Trijicon-ACOG-TA44c-View-Thru
Trijicon ACOG View Through

That bright reticle works as nearly a red dot for close-quarters shooting. It’s not as precise as a red dot, but it works good enough to stop a threat.

Marines and Soldiers have fought for 20 years now with ACOGs, making them the most proven optic on the market.

If you have astigmatism and don’t mind the ACOG cost, it’s the best choice for a general-purpose carbine.

Best ACOG
1109
at Optics Planet

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

7. Primary Arms SLx 1-6×24 ACSS

Looking for a budget LPVO that doesn’t suck? Well, the Primary Arms SLx 1-6×24 is perfect for your needs.

A simple ACSS reticle makes astigmatism shooting simple. It consists of a 3/4 quarter circle with a chevron in the center of the circle.

For close-range use, the red illuminated reticle is broad, easy to see, and fast on target when shooting at close range.

BCM with Primary Arms 1-6x ACSS
BCM with Primary Arms SLx 1-6x ACSS

When you up the magnification to reach out and touch a target, the ACSS provides drop points out to 800-yards. The reticle works with 5.56 NATO, 5.45x39mm, and .308 Win.

The SLx series come designed to be rugged and reliable.

Primary Arms gained its reputation for quality budget optics by abusing them and ensuring they’re reliable.

A 1-6X optic works perfectly on a general-purpose carbine and even works well with a heavier .308 platform.

If you want to shoot things both far and close without spending a fortune, this is the optic for you.

290
at Primary Arms

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

8. Trijicon Accupoint 1-4×24 TR24R

The Accupoint does not have the broadest range of magnification, but it does offer you one of the lightest LPVOs on the market.

Trijicon Accupoint 1-4x24 TR24R in a LaRue Mount (Northwest Firearms)
Trijicon Accupoint 1-4×24 TR24R in a LaRue Mount (Northwest Firearms)

It’s very simple and best used within 300-yards or so. Yes, it can touch out to 500-yards, but you better know your dope because the reticle doesn’t offer drop compensation. 

The TR24R reticle is a big red triangle, etched but also illuminated. It’s very simple, but for close-range use, it’s very rapid.

That triangle is easy to see and well-defined for astigmatism sufferers. At 1x, it’s basically a red dot with an eye box.

Trijicon Accupoint 1-4x24 TR24R
Trijicon Accupoint reticle view

Push that magnification to 4X, and now you can see and hit targets at 300-yards with relative ease.

The big reticle is always easy to track and find between shots and stands out in most environments.

Like every other Trijicon optic, the Acupoint is hard to kill. It’s tough but lightweight and perfect for a hunting rifle, a competition rifle, and even a duty rifle.

It’s not cheap, but Trijicons never are.

750
at EuroOptic

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

8. Razor HD Gen 3 1-10X

If you want the best LPVO currently on the market, then the Vortex Razor HD Gen 3 1-10X is it.

Vortex went hard in the paint to produce this 1-10X. It’s not the first 1-10X, but at the time of this writing, it’s the very best.

But an LPVO with a 1-10X setting must be massive, right?

Vortex Razor Gen 3 1-10X mounted
Vortex Razor Gen 3 1-10X mounted

Well, you’d be surprised to learn it’s the same weight as the 1-6X variant. It’s even the same length as the 1-6X.

1-10X gives you lots of extra range, and the reticle makes use of that.

It’s complicated with subtensions for windage and ballistic drop and a pyramid that combines ballistic drop and windage.

Shooters get lots of room to make on-the-fly estimates to ensure they hit their target.

Vortex Razor Gen 3 1-10X down sight
Vortex Razor Gen 3 1-10X down sight

Sitting in the center of the reticle is a circle cut up into four parts, illuminated for rapid shooting at lower magnifications.

In the center of that circle is a red dot, and guess what? It’s all clear for those with astigmatism.

It’s also unbearably durable. Vortex set a new standard for LPVOs with the Gen 3.

1999
at OpticsPlanet

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

9. Holosun 507C

Since red dots on handguns are all the rage, you may be asking yourself, “Can I partake if I suffer from astigmatism?”

Well, maybe.

Astigmatism varies in severity, and some shooters have had luck with the HS507C.

Holosun 507c Mini Red Dot
Holosun 507C Mini Red Dot

The Holosun 507C comes with a multi reticle system that includes a 32 MOA circle.

As discussed, these circular reticles tend to be better suited for those with astigmatism. Here that big circle is easy to use on handguns but works for PCCs and shotguns.

The 507C packs the solar panel we all know and love on Holosun optics.

Holosun 507C on a Benelli M4
Peep that solar panel.

Additionally, it fits Trijicon RMR footprints, so it’s easy to attach to the various factory systems and aftermarket slides.

It’s tough enough for duty and proven by guys like 1911 custom manufacturer Joe Chambers and firearms instructor Aaron Cowan.

Conclusion

Our eyes are pretty freaking great, right? Sadly, not all eyes work the same, and astigmatism can be challenging for gun owners looking at optics.

bubbles glasses
Trying to see that itty bitty red dot feels like this, sometimes.

Hopefully, our above suggestions have something that works for your needs.

Remember, there’s no perfect option for every task. But we are lucky enough to have an industry that offers a multitude of options for every task.

If you have astigmatism and some optics suggestions, drop them in the comments below! Ready for more optics? Check out our articles on the Best Red Dots and Best Scopes & Optics.

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15 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Kris

    Interesting. The title seems pretty misleading though. "Best Pistol & Rifle Optics" implies that the article will actually mention a couple of pistol optics, but everything appears to be for rifles.

    August 30, 2021 11:33 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    FredLead

    I have astigmatism and have tried many different optics. I recently got a Primary Arms Raptor 1-6 and put it on my rifle. It's pretty great overall and very comfortable with an ADM tall mount. I also have an Eotech EXPS and a couple of inexpensive red dots. I put each one in front of the Raptor at 6X to see what it looked like. The Eotech looked good, the center dot was perfect. Each of the LED red dots had a comma effect to different degrees.

    If you have a magnified optic or magnifier put it behind the red dot to be able to see what it really looks like to your eye.

    May 10, 2021 10:09 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    GhostofJohnBrowning

    The Swampfox Kingslayer also has a larger "ACOG" style reticle (3 MOA Center Dot
    65 MOA Ring) that can help with astigmatism

    May 10, 2021 6:58 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Mark G.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the ACOG had a fiber optic cable on the top for the daylight brightness and tritium for low light.

    May 7, 2021 6:30 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Greg K

      You are right. When I read that it made me doubt everything else in the article

      June 2, 2021 5:00 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Chase Jorgensen

    I competed with the Primary Arms ACSS 3x32 300blk this weekend and it was amazing. Normal red dots star burst so badly for me even with contacts or glasses, but the ACSS is crisp and clear.

    May 7, 2021 1:33 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Garrett F

    The most surprising Red Dot that offers me excellent clarity even with astigmatism. The Trijicon MRO HD. I picked one up at a local gun store, something about their new reticle options crisps up the center dot similar to the Holusun 510c, and it’s in a more hard use optic. The dot isn’t a perfect circle, but there is zero bloom to my eye, I could actually aim with that reticle.

    May 7, 2021 7:08 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Jeff Frankowski

    Holosun 510 in Green works awesome for me, it seems Green helps my eyes pick up the reticle quicker / easier - going green for all my optics now.

    May 6, 2021 6:41 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Wallace Bryant

      AOC approved

      May 6, 2021 11:41 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Jim

    I’ve got the Burris 3 power with etched/illuminated reticle that works very well for me and my astigmatism price was around $350 as I recall. Worth a look.

    May 6, 2021 5:58 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Rodney

    The Primary Arms micro prism optics look very promising

    May 6, 2021 5:58 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Seth

    If you wear corrective lenses, in contacts or in you shooting glasses and everyday glasses, is this an issue?

    May 6, 2021 10:52 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      John

      Not an issue for me.

      May 6, 2021 12:30 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      John

      Try the ACUVUE OASYS contacts. Reduces the star burst effect.

      May 6, 2021 12:35 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Jacki Billings

      For me, yes. Even wearing my glasses I still see the star burst. It's definitely worse without my glasses, but it never completely goes away for me even with corrective lenses.

      May 7, 2021 6:42 am