Since at least the early 2000s, the red dot and riflescope combo has been popular with tactical teams in law enforcement personnel as well as Tier One operators within the United States military. These elite operators favored this system for its versatility, as well as the several advantages it had over the alternatives: LPVOs and magnifier/optic combos.
Over the years, however, the red dot/scope combo has been adopted by civilian shooters and hunters for the same reasons it was favored by the military. While a Tier One operator might appreciate this system’s versatility for quickly transitioning from long-range outdoor engagements to close quarters combat, so can an IPSC shooter, who might need to quickly transition from an outdoor range to an interior shoot-house. Hunters who are on the prowl for their prey can utilize the red dot’s quick target acquisition to find their prey while using the scope’s high magnification to zoom in for a precise, ethical shot.
Unlike a magnifier/red dot combo or an LPVO, the red dot/riflescope combo is not limited to the short ranges typical of these other systems. While a good magnifier offers magnification at 3x or 4x at maximum and high magnification LPVO typically goes between 1-6x and 1-8x, a shooter can mount a 1x red dot on a riflescope with a magnification as high as they require. It would not be unheard of for a shooter to mount his red dot on top of a 20x or 50x optic simply for the sake of target identification. The only limitations to this would be the red dot’s weight and style as well as the type of rails in use.
It’s not advisable to mount a red dot with a hooded sight on top of a scope, since the extra weight would affect the shooter’s fatigue. Instead, shooters who wish to modify their shooting setup should consider mounting mini or micro reflex sights like the Mini Shot A-Spec M2 or using them as offset or canted sights. This is because the weight of a fully enclosed optic might be bad for the rifle’s ergonomics.
To put it in perspective, a hooded red dot like the Wolverine CSR weighs 10.3oz, while a Mini Shot M-Spec M2 Solar, one of the latest red dots from Sightmark, weighs in at only 2.5oz. The resulting weight difference of 7.8oz is equivalent to a little less than a box of 5.56x45mm ammunition. Not only is it lighter, but the shooter gets the benefits of both the red dot and the riflescope, negating the disadvantages of both platforms.
The Mini Shot A-Spec M3 Micro is a red dot optic featuring a unique dual dot reticle system. Built for pistols as well as rifles and shotguns, the Mini Shot A-Spec M3 Micro is designed with an RMS-C® footprint for easy mounting on compatible handguns. Powered by a single CR2032 battery, the Mini Shot A-Spec M3 Micro boasts a 100,000 hour battery life as well as a reticle that intelligently changes its brightness level depending on the light level of the surrounding environment. Shooters who value rapid target acquisition will find the Mini Shot A-Spec M3 Micro to be rugged, dependable, and accurate.
Since the Mini Shot A-Spec M3 Micro is so small, it makes the perfect optic for mounting on a canted mount or offset sight.
For hunters, this means quick target acquisition and unlimited eye relief with the red dot. With the red dot’s close quarters dominance, it’s perfect for turkey or raccoon hunting, but not so much for hunting large game at great distances like deer or boar, in which case a riflescope would be more appropriate. However, with this setup, switching to the right optic would be as simple as raising or lowering your cheek or canting the rifle.
Thankfully, no gunsmithing or specialized machine work is needed for this type of optic solution. Affordable options for dual-mounting such as picatinny-ready scope rings or canted/offset optic mounts are readily available everywhere from Amazon to Bass Pro Shop.