This is How to Zero a Red Dot [Expert Advice]

The distance at which you are shooting and whether you have AR platforms, iron sights, a laser, and other equipment, all have a role in how to zero a red dot.

The old-school way, on the other hand, is to position a barrel in the center of the target, look through the sight, and modify the dot placement so that it is directly in the center of the target.

Below we will go over how to zero your new red dot sight in greater detail. This article is completely beginner-friendly, so don’t panic if this is your first time shooting using a red dot sight, or “zeroing”.

Continue reading to discover everything there is to know about how to zero a red dot.

Techniques to Red Dot Sights 

red dot sight

Let’s talk about zeroing a red dot a little bit more before we go into the techniques – keeping in mind that this post is designed for beginners.

If you’ve ever enjoyed a shooting game, you probably know that the initial impact and the point of aim sometimes aren’t the same thing – this is also true in real life. To strike your target exactly where you want it, you must “zero” your red dot sight. Every time we zero a red dot, we adjust it to make it as accurate as we can on the desired target.

Your point of impact, on the other hand, is more directly influenced by the air, the range at which you fixed the optic, and the distance at which your target is located in relation to you. Make sure you have a firm grasp of each of these concepts before we discuss them in further detail. 

Here are a couple of techniques for zeroing a red dot:

Checking for Boresight Spots

If you possess a bipod or other type of secure platform to hold the rifle or upper component, checking for boresight spots will be considerably easier.

Let’s assume that your rifle already has the optical mounted. To preserve ammo and significantly help with zeroing with fewer rounds, you should first completely separate the upper part of the rifle from the lower recipient’s half.

Second, focus on the target through the bore, then adjust the elevation and windage knobs to place the red dot as close to the target’s center as possible. This will allow you to see where you are puncturing the designated object far more quickly than you otherwise would.

If everything is done perfectly and there are no obstacles, you can dial in your zero in as few as 30 rounds or less.

Boresight Laser

Gun and Laser

You can find boresight lasers that come in the size and type of your choice and slide it right into your weapon’s barrel cell.

All you need to do is line up the reticle or marker with the optical red dot or reticle on the page – the reticle or red dot sight should theoretically have a somewhat absolute witness – assuming you’ve already set up the pistol of aim at the center of your selected target or to track motion.

A set of binoculars, a spotting scope, or even just a sandbag will be helpful if the light and the optic are both red. Finally, to confirm how accurate your zero is, you might need to test shoot a few bullets.

How To Zero a Red Dot: The Importance of the Zeroing Distance

After you’ve figured out how to zero your red dot sight, you must determine the distance at which to zero it. As with many inquiries surrounding shooting techniques, it really depends on the desired purpose of your shot. 

Below, we’ve listed the most typical zeros along with a brief justification for why you might want to zero your red dot vision or another optic there.

Fifteen to Twenty-Five Yard Zero 

The 15-yard and 25-yard zeroes are the most popular for pistol users with red dot sights since people rarely engage objects at a range much farther than this.

These two ranges will both work whether you’re a competition shooter or conceal carry for self-defense because the dispersion of shot groupings at various distances is rather close to one another.

Twenty-Five to Three Hundred Meter Zero 

The 25-meter zero is most famously used by the US Military. The initial impact and direction of the target are identical at 300 meters as they are when centered at 25 meters.

As one of the Army’s main divisions, the Army Infantry is very large so they needed to come up with a method for teaching their rifleman as quickly as possible. This was done by creating a perfect zero that would enable the soldiers to engage the adversary at different rates.

Fifty to Two Hundred Yard Zero 

Law enforcement professionals frequently use the 50-yard zero. At 200 yards, the position of the target and point of contact is the same as when centered at 50 yards. The appeal is that the red dot sight requires little or no adjustment to hit targets accurately whether they are 50 yards or even more.

While it may be relatively uncommon for law officers or regular civilians to encounter threats from so far away, it makes a great zero in shooting competitions like 3-gun competitions.

Thirty-Six to Three Hundred Yard Zero 

The US Marine Corps employs the 36 to 300-yard zero since it best suits their range of skills and operations. The sort of military engagement the Marines have been engaged in over the last few decades included a lot of close-quarter battles with structure and room clearance in urban contexts, as well as long-distance confrontations in rugged terrain.

Therefore, the 36 to 300-yard zero is a viable choice for practically everyone because civilians do not always have access to ranges with great lengths beyond 25 yards.

Additional Red Dot Zeroing Techniques 

Zeroing must never be done on the spur of the moment. It will influence whether or not the shots you fire hit their intended target, which ultimately is the goal.  

That is why, in addition to boresight spot-checking and laser bore sight, we have developed several additional techniques to assist you in aiming for your desired target.

Confirm the Value of Your Adjustment

The most typical adjustment value on red dots designed for rifles is 1/2 MOA; nevertheless, you should double-check your owner’s handbook to make sure. This means that at 100 yards, each click of the adjustment dial will modify your point of impact to 1/2 inches.

For example, if you’re zeroing at 100 yards and your bullets are landing four inches high and four inches left of your Point of Aim, you’ll need to change your impact point to better suit your Point of Aim.

Fire Several Rounds at the Target 

A matched point of aim and point of impact at that range can be achieved by adjusting your elevation down six clicks and your windage right six clicks.

To ensure uniformity, we suggest firing three to five sets while zeroing. Fire three rounds, then watch and modify. Repeat this process until you have three to five-round sets in your target area regularly. This brings us to the topic of distance zeroing.

Elevation Adjustment 

Another notable advantage of zeroing is that it will help you understand the connection between your season’s trajectory, wind variation, and elevation adjustment value at various distances.

The 50 to 200-yard zero is the most frequently used and recommended zero with red dot sights. A 50-yard range will be required to attain this zero. Because you’re shooting half the length, your elevation and windage adjustment values will be halved as well.

Final Thoughts 

Thank you for reading this article all the way to the end. We hope we demonstrated how to zero a red dot and what factors to consider when aiming your target. 

A few final tips: don’t forget to bring some binoculars or a scope to the range, otherwise, you’ll be blaming yourself for taking all those additional steps from the firing line to the target. Also, consider the ranges, the objects you could encounter at a competition, and the type of interactions you might have as a result of your obligation. Then, with all these things in mind, choose the zero which is most appropriate for you.

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