Where to Mount Your Red Dot – A Beginner’s Guide

As a beginner, you may wonder what all the fuss about red dot sights is. What are they? How do they work? Why do they matter? More importantly, where should they be mounted for the best performance?

No worries, I got you covered! 

In this article, I’ll share my experiences with red dot sights and where to mount them. I promise to keep this guide simple, easy to follow, and practical. So by the end, you’ll have a solid understanding of where to mount your red dot sight.

Read on!

Understanding the Red Dot Sight

reflex red dot sights

A red dot sight is a type of non-magnifying reflector used for firearms. What it does is project an illuminated red dot as an aiming point onto a lens. This is an ingenious device that allows you to aim with precision and ease, providing fast target acquisition.

It’s worth noting that the term “red dot sight” is often used to encompass all kinds of reflector sights that project a dot for aim, regardless of color. Now, understanding where to mount a red dot sight on your firearm will go a long way in ensuring optimal performance and accuracy.

Basics of Mounting a Red Dot Sight

To mount a red dot sight, you’ll first need a compatible mounting system for your firearm. The mounting system could be a Picatinny or Weaver rail, or a specific mounting base for certain firearms.

Once you have a compatible mounting system, you’ll need to secure the sight to it. It’s crucial to ensure the sight is firmly attached to the firearm, so it won’t move or shift during firing.

You also need to consider the position of the sight on your firearm. Where you mount the sight can greatly influence your aiming and shooting performance.

Related Article: How to Mount a Scope

How Far Back Should a Red Dot Be Mounted?

Vortex Venom 6 moa red dot for PPQ Walther

where to mount red dot

Mounting to the rear

When you decide to mount your red dot sight towards the rear of your firearm, closer to your eye, it opens up your field of view through the sight. By offering an expansive vision of your surroundings, this positioning can aid in faster target acquisition. 

The placement towards the rear can also help keep the weight distribution of your firearm balanced, leading to better handling during use. Plus, it supports instinctive shooting, which means you’re likely to aim accurately even when under pressure or in motion.

However, every coin has two sides. While mounting at the rear offers several benefits, it does come with potential downsides. The primary one being the obstruction of your backup iron sights, if your firearm has them. 

Additionally, due to the close proximity to the eye, mounting at the rear might cause eye relief issues for some users.


  • Provides a wider field of view.
  • Allows for better awareness of your surroundings.
  • Enables faster target acquisition.
  • Ensures better balance and handling of the firearm.
  • Facilitates intuitive shooting.


  • May obstruct usage of backup iron sights.
  • Can be uncomfortable for people with long arms.
  • Might cause issues with eye relief.

Mounting all the way forward

Alternatively, placing your red dot sight all the way forward on your firearm provides a different set of advantages. For starters, this position can offer a more focused view of your target, which can be especially useful for long-range shots. 

Since the sight is far from your eye, it reduces the apparent size of the red dot, allowing for increased precision. Plus, the forward placement enables the usage of backup iron sights without any obstruction.

On the flip side, mounting your sight all the way forward can limit your peripheral vision through the sight, making it more difficult to track things in your immediate surroundings through the optic. This position might also require you to spend a tad more time acquiring your target compared to the rear-mount setup. 

Lastly, a forward-mounted sight could potentially affect the balance of your firearm, making it front-heavy and more difficult to handle during rapid movements.


  • Gives a more focused view of the target.
  • Allows usage of backup iron sights.
  • May enhance the accuracy of long-range shots.
  • Reduces the apparent size of the red dot, increasing precision.
  • Minimizes distractions from the environment.


  • Smaller field of view through the sight
  • Might require a longer time for target acquisition.
  • Can affect the balance and handling of the firearm.

Where to Mount a Red Dot on a Rifle

On a rifle, I prefer to mount the red dot sight about two to three slots forward from the rear of the rail system. This position typically gives a good balance between a wide field of view and easy target acquisition.

It’s also important to consider eye relief – that is, the distance between your eye and the sight. With a red dot sight, you have unlimited eye relief, meaning you can mount it further away from your eye without losing accuracy.

red dot reflex sight eye relief scope riflescope

Where to Mount a Red Dot on an AR-15 or AR-10

For AR-15 or AR-10 rifles, the red dot sight is usually mounted on the top rail. I typically mount the sight two to three slots forward from the rear. This offers a good balance of field of view, target acquisition speed, and rifle handling. However, personal comfort and shooting style should be the primary determinant in your choice of mount position.

Related Article:

The Best Red Dot for ARs [Complete List]

Dovetail Red Dot Mount

A dovetail mount is a unique mounting system that connects directly to the firearm without a rail system. It’s often used in handguns and small-sized firearms where a rail system would be too bulky.

In this case, you would typically mount the red dot sight on the slide or frame of the firearm, as close to the eye as comfortably possible. It provides a secure mount for the sight, but the position can’t be adjusted as much as with a rail system.

Wrapping It Up: Where to Mount Red Dots

In the end, where to mount your red dot sight depends on several factors, including the type of firearm, the shooting application, and personal comfort. 

It’s essential to experiment with different positions to find what works best for you. Remember, the ultimate goal is to improve your aim and shooting accuracy. 

Good luck on your journey to becoming a proficient shooter!

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