How To Turn On A Red Dot Sight

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Gun and/or game enthusiasts would know the optic sight commonly used in firearms for targeting and aiming, otherwise known as the red dot sight. It is generally used to help the user focus their attention on the field of view in front of them by placing the target and the reticle, or the markings of the red dot sight in the same optical plane, and to give them a point of aim. 

Red dot sights are most frequently seen in shooting sports such as IPSC or even in hunting or police and military applications. Three varieties of red dot sights are prism sights, holographic sights, and reflex sights.

Mostly reflex sights are used since they are the most affordable and effective when shooting at a close range, with unlimited eye relief leading to better and easier target acquisition. Other than these features, different types of red dot sights possess many sizes, configurations, and features. 

Despite these upsides to red dot sights, after purchasing one, many viewers complain of difficulty or confusion in how to turn it on and off quickly without compromising on any other features since, surprisingly, they do not possess an “On/Off switch.” The way to execute this is thus, mentioned down below. 

How Can I Turn My Red Dot Sight On/Off?

  • Some firearms may be equipped with red dot sights that possess shake-awake technology, where a motion sensor is used to detect when the firearm is being shaken and, consequently, turns on the optic’s illumination. Some red dot sights that employ this technology are select Athlon Midas, Bushnell, and AT3 Alpha optics. In guns with such technology, an auto-off feature is also present where a timer is used to automatically switch the optic off hence, conserving battery life. 
  • Similar to the shake awake technology, a tilt sensor may also be used in tilt-off optics where the sensor detects the firearms’ orientation to automatically switch the red dot sight on or off, i.e., when the rifle is in a shooting position, it will turn on, and when it is laid on its side, it will switch off. 
  • The gun turrets generally have R and G positions where the intensity of the red dot sight can be adjusted to a zero which is the switch-off position. Furthermore, moving the rheostat knob to any numbered position will turn the red dot sight on. This knob controls the intensity with which the optic light is on. When it is at zero intensity, no light is being projected; hence the red dot sight is turned off, and the battery can be conserved. 
  • If the red dot sight does not possess a motion or tilt-off sensor or an intensity rheostat knob, users can remove the battery cap on the top with a screwdriver or even a coin while holding the adjustment knob below the cap. Then replace the battery’s positive side after removing the plastic blocking the negative side of the battery. The cap can then be fixed on again and adjusted past zero, turning the red dot on. 

Troubleshooting: How To Turn On A Red Dot Sight

Despite employing the above mentioned methods, the user may experience difficulties turning their red dot sights on or off. For this, try out the following:

  • If you cannot see your red dot, try changing the battery by removing the sight’s protective cover and loosening the cover with a screwdriver before replacing it. 
  • If changing the battery does not work, ensure that the battery cap has properly been installed. 
  • If the previously mentioned steps don’t work, then the equipment may have been set to night vision, in which case dot intensity must be increased until it is visible. 
  • If all this troubleshooting has failed, the equipment may be defective and should be returned for repair. 

Final Thoughts

A red dot sight attached to your firearm is great for improving your accuracy and performance; however, experiencing so many trials and tribulations in just turning it on or off takes away from that initial charm. So before throwing away a perfectly good and functional red dot sight, ensure that you’re doing your best to care for it and you know its ins and outs as well as you know yours. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is red dot sight safe for the eyes? 

Red dot sights use internal LEDs or light-emitting diodes, which are safe for the eyes as opposed to firearms using lasers which also project a red dot onto the target. 

Do red dot sights need to be charged? 

Shortly, red dot sights cannot be charged since they have batteries that need to be replaced once exhausted. 

How long do red dot sights last? 

Depending on the kind of red dot sight used, it can last up to 50,000 hours if simple LED technology is used. 

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