Finding the Best Red Dot Magnifier for Improved Range and Accuracy

best red dot magnifier

The huge growth in popularity of AR-style rifles means that more and more hunters and other shooters are beginning to understand the huge benefits a red dot sight can provide, especially in terms of improving accuracy and target-acquisition speed. For this reason, the market has become absolutely flooded with red dot sights and other electronic weapons sights. So much so that many people are now using them on a range of different rifles, as well as shotguns and even handguns.

However, the truth is that a red dot sight is really just a more expensive, albeit more accurate, replacement for your weapon's iron sights. This means that while it does offer improved accuracy and faster targeting, even the best red dot sight still suffers from one major flaw—a lack of magnification. For this reason, it didn't take long before many manufacturers began producing magnifiers, allowing you to turn your standard red dot sight into a low-powered scope.

The problem is that there are now so many different products available that it can be nearly impossible to find the best red dot magnifier, which is why we've produced this guide to help ensure you make a more informed purchase and get one that works for your needs.

Magnifier

Summary

Vortex VMX-3T

Best red dot magnifier for the money

Aimpoint 3x Magnifier

One of the best 3x magnifiers...But pricey

TMS AR Tactical 3x Magnifier

Best 3x magnifier under $100

Mako 7x Magnifier

Great 7x magnifier option

Choosing the Best Red Dot Magnifier

Some people prefer to purchase their red dot sight and magnifier at the same time. It's not actually necessary to purchase a red dot magnifier combo, as there are many after-market products that can work just as well. Of course, if you plan on spending the money on a top-quality electronic weapon sight like an Aimpoint or EOTech, you may want to pair it with a top-quality magnifier.

Even still, you can easily find a range of other options that offer similar quality at a much lower price. That being said, price isn't the only important factor, and there are a number of other things you'll want to consider to ensure you're fully satisfied with your purchase.

Optics & Lenses​

Like any other type of scope, one of the most important factors is the magnifier's lenses and optics. Any good magnifier should feature fully multi-coated optics, which helps to ensure a crystal-clear picture and superior light transmission for a bright, sharp image in almost any light conditions.

On some of the cheaper models, only one of the lenses features multi-coatings, while the other may only feature a single coating. While these multi-coated models are not a bad choice, they still can't perform nearly as well as those models that are fully multi-coated, which is why its always important to note the difference between the two.

Size of Magnifier​

The size of the magnifier is also important, as you'll need to ensure that it's compatible with your firearm and your red dot sight. This is especially important should you plan on using it on a shotgun or handgun, as these typically have fewer mounting options.

Quality & Design

The overall quality of the design and construction is obviously another important factor. In this sense, you'll want to ensure you choose a product that is rugged and durable enough to withstand heavy recoil and shocks or drops. Luckily, this usually isn't much of a problem, as most products are designed for military, law-enforcement and tactical purposes for ultimate strength and durability.

Mount Style​

Finally, you'll also want to consider the style of mount. The best red dot magnifier scope almost always features a flip-to-side mount, which allows you to use the sight both magnified and unmagnified. On the other hand, there are also fixed mounts, which require you to remove the magnifier whenever you wish to use the red dot sight on its own without magnification.

Obviously, when using a red dot sight for hunting, you'll definitely want to have the freedom to switch back and forth as needed as you never know at what distance your target will present itself.

A Quick Note About Bases

As you'll see, the majority of magnifiers we've chosen don't include a base/mount, although you usually have the option of purchasing an included mount. However, this isn't always the cheapest or the best option. In this regard, its important that you look at the overall quality and ruggedness of the construction.

As well, it's obviously important that whatever base you choose is comptaible with both your sight and your firearm. Finally, you should really only be looking at flip-to-side mounts for the reasons we've already mentioned.

The 4 Best Red Dot Magnifiers

Magnifier

Summary

Vortex VMX-3T

Best red dot magnifier for the money

Aimpoint 3x Magnifier

One of the best 3x magnifiers...But pricey

TMS AR Tactical 3x Magnifier

Best 3x magnifier under $100

Mako 7x Magnifier

Great 7x magnifier option

Vortex VMX-3T

vortex vmx-3t: best red dot magnifier combo

Vortex makes some of the best red dot sights on the market, so it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that the company also makes some of the best magnifiers. In terms of the best red dot magnifier combo, you definitely can't go wrong with a Vortex sight and this Vortex VMX-3T flip-to-side magnifier.

The overall quality of the multi-coated optics ensures optimal light transmission and guarantees that your red dot reticle will appear cleanly and clearly every single time. As well, this model has the advantage of coming with its own mount and base to ensure a precise fit.

The magnifier features adjustable 1x-3x magnification, ensuring you can tackle targets at both short and medium distances with ease. In addition, the rugged housing provides resistance against shocks, while the nitrogen-filled body and internal O-rings ensure the unit is fog-proof and resistant to water and dust.

Aimpoint 3x Magnifier

best 3x magnifier

Although it's definitely not the best red dot magnifier for the money, it's easily the best 3x magnifier currently on the market due to its outstanding durability and truly impressive optics.

If the thought of spending upwards of $600 on a magnifier doesn't trouble you, then this is easily the best option out there for you. Of course, there's no reason to spend this much on a magnifier if you plan on pairing it with a cheap red dot sight. In this case, you'd definitely be better off saving your money and instead choosing one of the less expensive options below.

Like all other Aimpoint products, this magnifier is built to military specifications, which is why many people are fond of referring to Aimpoint products as bomb-proof. Although we can't actually vouch for whether or not this is actually true, there's no doubting the fact that this magnifier is strong enough to withstand almost anything you can put it through. When combined with the exceptional image quality, this makes the Aimpoint 3x magnifier one of the best money can buy.

TMS AR-Tactical 3x Magnifier Scope

best red dot magnifier under 100

If you're in the market for the best red dot magnifier under $200, then this excellent product from TMS more than fits the bill. In fact, it actually happens to be the best red dot magnifier under $100. Of course, for the price, you can't expect this unit to be able to provide anywhere near the optical quality or durability of the higher priced models. That being said, the aluminum housing seems to be quite strong and rugged, and the coated optics still provide a fairly bright, sharp image. As well, the rubberized grip allows you to quickly and accurately adjust the focus.

If you're looking for a decent red dot magnifier that won't cost you an arm and a leg, you could do a whole lot worse than this one from TMS.

Mako 7x Magnifier

best 7x red dot magnifier

The majority of red dot magnifiers generally feature 3-5x magnification, which makes this unique Mako magnifier really stand out. Unlike the other 3x magnifiers on our list, this Mako product features an amazing 7x magnification that allows you to greatly improve the range of your firearm.

The fully coated optics provide a fairly bright and clear image, even if it's not quite as sharp as one would hope for 7x magnification. As well, the unit seems to be quite durable, as it's fully fog-proof and water-resistant.

If you're looking for something with more power than the 3x magnifiers, you really don't have that many options, which is why we felt it necessary to include this Mako magnifier on our list. Unfortunately, it can't quite live up to the quality of the Aimpoint or Vortex magnifiers, but it's still one of your best options if you're set on something more powerful.

One Final Piece of Advice

As you can see from our list, you can find a range of red dot magnifiers in virtually every price range. This means that you shouldn't have a problem finding a decent product within your desired budget. However, there's no doubting the fact that the more money you spend, the better product you'll end up getting. For this reason, if we had to give one essential piece of advice when choosing the best red dot magnifier, it would be to not be cheap, and instead, but the best one that you can possibly afford.

By doing so, you'll be rewarded with a high-quality product that ensures you enjoy all of the same benefits of your red dot sight at even greater distances. Otherwise, with an inferior scope, you may easily find that the reticle appears slightly blown out and results in reduced accuracy and precision on those longer distance shots. On the other hand, by choosing a high-quality magnifier, you'll find that you can easily take out even small targets at distance, allowing you to extend the range of your favorite high-caliber rifle, handgun or shotgun.

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