Quick Tip: Is an Offset Red Dot Sight Right for You?

Quick Tip: Is an Offset Red Dot Sight Right for You?

Some folks love ’em, some folks hate ’em. Today, Brownells Gun Tech™ Caleb Savant weighs the pros and cons of adding an offset red dot sight to your AR-15, so you can decide for yourself. We’re talking about a reflex-type red dot like a Trijicon RMR, Leupold DeltaPoint, Shield Reflex Mini Sight, Holosun, Swampfox, or others on an angle mount next to the scope. You use the main optic for distant targets. When it’s time to engage a close-in target, just tilt the rifle slightly to use the red dot.

If your primary optic has a 1x setting, do you need the angle-mounted red dot? Caleb says, “yes.” There’s no need to break your hold on the rifle to adjust the scope’s magnification lever – you just cant the rifle and aim through the red dot. Even if the scope’s already at 1x, your eye will take more time to acquire the target through its long tube than by using the red dot. That can make all the difference on a close-range shot you need to make FAST. You do need to practice transitioning between the two optics to get good at it.

An offset red dot frees you to choose a higher-magnification scope than you would use if it were the only optic on your rifle. Division of labor: the red dot handles close-range targets, so you can have more “reach” on your scope.

Putting an offset red dot on your AR-15 does adds extra cost to your setup, plus some additional weight and the enhanced “snag factor” of another piece of gear hangin’ off the rifle. With just a scope mounted on top of the receiver, you can shoot the rifle from either shoulder and be able to use the scope. That’s pretty cumbersome, if not impossible, to do with an offset mounted sight.

You CAN “piggyback” the red dot on top of the scope, either on a mount built into one of the scope rings or a mount that clamps to the scope tube. The problem is you usually have to raise your head to use the red dot – and you lose your cheekweld on the stock. But this setup is better when you’re using the red dot in conjunction with night vision gear (NVG).

If you’re carrying your rifle on a sling, there is a risk of the red dot snagging on something. But with a little care and a good-quality optic mounted on a sturdy mount, says Caleb, that shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

NOTE: Products in this video are to be used only for lawful purposes, including hunting, self-defense, and competitive or recreational shooting. If you purchase any of them, you are responsible for understanding and complying with all federal, state, and local laws that apply to the purchase, possession, and use of these products.


  1. Mike K. on January 18, 2023 at 1:11 am

    One of my ARs has an Arisaka offset mount with an RMR attached. I really like it. LPVO on it is a Weaver 1-5x that’s excellent.
    I got to try this type of set-up on a friend’s rifle before I purchased anything and I’d say if you can try it 1st, do it. You may not like it and instead of having to buy everything and finding out that you don’t like it, see if you can find someone with this set-up.
    Nothing wrong with just an LPVO either or just go with a red dot. Choices are a good thing.

  2. Aj Tao on January 18, 2023 at 1:11 am

    Caleb can you do a LPVO with red dot placed on top of LPVO scope? On top of scope red dot seems better because it is more flexible to use.

  3. Colton Lombardo on January 18, 2023 at 1:14 am

    IMO it’s better just to use a sight with a flip magnifier

  4. BlackCellAgent on January 18, 2023 at 1:14 am

    All I can say is that if it works for the individual and performs well, hell yeah. I’ll never scoff at a persons setup if it works for them.

  5. Michael Hill on January 18, 2023 at 1:15 am

    Is an offset red dot right for you? In other words, "Are you a complete douchebag?".

  6. Mark Reed on January 18, 2023 at 1:15 am

    Making multiple shots and not a hair out of place. Great reviews too.

  7. Alan C on January 18, 2023 at 1:17 am

    Why didn’t you talk about sighting it in? Is that different than 12:00 sighting? When you tilt it does it have to be perpendicular to the horizon extremely well for sighting or can it be off a few degrees from 000 to do that? Is it harder to sight an offset in?

  8. Paul Pugh on January 18, 2023 at 1:21 am

    What is your scope mount ?

  9. tony45x220 on January 18, 2023 at 1:22 am

    For my guns with a 1-whatever LPVO I think it’s a waste to get an offset RDS…I run 45 degree BUIS just in care but at 1x if you train properly it’s just as quick…now I do plan to run an offset RDS on my 308 because the main glass is a GLx 2.5-10×44 with no option for CQB distance engagements

  10. Royal Regt on January 18, 2023 at 1:23 am

    What is this rifle used for?

  11. Jorqlip 1 on January 18, 2023 at 1:26 am

    What about right handed people who are left eye dominate?
    Naked/venom snake was left eye dominate so wouldn’t he mount it on the left or right side?

  12. Risky on January 18, 2023 at 1:27 am

    left hand is the only option for aks

  13. anonymous2024 on January 18, 2023 at 1:28 am

    honestly anything less then a 16 is not good at 300 or more yards. not sure what you need a lvpo for that distance. more weight and then you have the catch factor. its more like a why. the red dot is good to 300 yards unless you have bad eyes. but at that point why are you shooting at something that far.. just wait till it gets into range… and its just slower

  14. TheTeskeNater on January 18, 2023 at 1:31 am

    If my target is close enough for a offset red dot to be useful, I find it more effective to simply point the gun in its general direction and sight down the barrel. Works great for targets that are 0-10 yards away. The only distance where I would think a red dot might be useful is 10 -24 yards down range. Past 25 yards, the riflescope is superior in every way. Offset red dot sights are great for shooting competitions, But I think they are pretty useless as a backup sight in real life shooting situations.

  15. Brad Oldenburg on January 18, 2023 at 1:32 am

    I have a similar setup on a CMMG Banshee .308 with a 1-8 LPVO and offset Holosun Red Dot. Runs very well and absolutely necessary to maintain a cheek weld with this beast close in to 50 yards.

  16. mk crown on January 18, 2023 at 1:32 am

    I don’t know why Caleb reminds me of a Matrix agent.

  17. Kbar 11 on January 18, 2023 at 1:33 am

    Prefer top mount for RDS. Tried both and liked 45 for a while but then taking it to barricades or weird shooting positions I realized I couldn’t really use it when I needed it most. Height over bore is a concern for top mount but not much more than is already there. More so clearing a barricade so you can see and barrel isnt bumpin into something I find more an issue than anything. Top mount is also ambi which is nice. I even find that you can angle when using weak shouder but use top mount thru dominant eye kinda like 45. Training, either way it comes down to training

  18. Bluegrass Kid on January 18, 2023 at 1:33 am

    An interesting video would be Low Powered Variable Optic with offset optic vs optic paired with 3x magnifier that can be flipped to the side when not wanted. The magnifier would probably be the option I would chose but curious what pros and cons of each Caleb could teach us.

  19. Keenan Schouten on January 18, 2023 at 1:33 am

    If Mr, Rogers was an assassin.

  20. Don Enderlein on January 18, 2023 at 1:34 am

    Great video/advice. Thx

  21. Johnny BB Gunner on January 18, 2023 at 1:35 am

    I like options.

  22. Zarmin Drow on January 18, 2023 at 1:36 am

    you off set the shit outta that red dot yo

  23. RoadTravelerNet on January 18, 2023 at 1:36 am


  24. battlethebollocks Rodgers on January 18, 2023 at 1:37 am

    To each their own

  25. Mark Badia on January 18, 2023 at 1:38 am

    Why do you have it mounted so far back? I would assume you would mount it in front of your scope similar to how you would mount a red dot if you were just using the red dot alone.

  26. Dave T on January 18, 2023 at 1:39 am

    Anyone know what stand is that in the video? Wondering if we can buy something like that.

  27. william killingsworth on January 18, 2023 at 1:41 am

    You are holding zee boom stick backwards… frigin lefties

  28. John Johnson on January 18, 2023 at 1:41 am

    Left handed shooter, opinion invalid

  29. Thevn Bastid on January 18, 2023 at 1:42 am

    the red dot becomes your back up sight, you don’t have to use it all the time. I find I can get get better quicker sight picture on the dot if I mount it way forward on the receiver, I use a one piece DD and it needs just a touch of clearance so the off set mount will fit underneath. a tip off magnifier hangs out in the wind more than a dot does. the choice of stock makes a difference in sight picture, try a couple different ones. I use the arisaka mount set at 35 degrees. tacticon armament makes a much less costly and more streamlined 35 degree mount, mines on order. 35 degree tucks in noticeably better than 45, but 45 offers more clearance to scope or mount. I don’t mount the dot to the scope, if the scope or mount get fubar, then both sights are foobar.

  30. Tom Van Conett Sr on January 18, 2023 at 1:45 am

    Hay. There is no wrong handed. There is right handed people and there is correctly handed people. We should loose the hand part. They say 11% of right handed people are left eye dominant. Should be right eye or left eye only. You

  31. David Schlageter on January 18, 2023 at 1:46 am

    ACOG with an RMR on top has been the easiest for me. The LPVO and the RMR at 45 was awkward. Yes, TREX is amazing with it, but he’s way more coordinated. The ACOG with an RMR on top is light, goes from 4x to 1x by raising my head a little ezpz, works from either shoulder and allows me to use passive aiming under night vision. A heads up 1x for near shots gives me good awareness too. Now that LPVO’s are no longer in vogue, it looks like I am trendy too. 🙂

  32. Dorin Kish on January 18, 2023 at 1:46 am

    What’s next? Install a periscope to the rifle? Sheesh…

  33. Verso Armament Company on January 18, 2023 at 1:48 am

    Can’t use an IR laser when all the enemy has some NOD capability.

  34. White Guy Tyrone on January 18, 2023 at 1:50 am

    When running a piggy back RMR on an ACOG, you should be using the Bindon Aiming Concept (both eyes open), just roll the rifle to the left (for right handed shooters) and the piggy back RMR will move in front of your left eye, without lifting your head off of the rifle. Then BANG! BANG! BANG!

  35. Johnny BB Gunner on January 18, 2023 at 1:50 am

    I added over $500 in optics and weapon lights on my $200 BB rifle just for fun while shooting indoors.🤣

  36. lee rethamel on January 18, 2023 at 1:51 am

    Love hearing swampfox mentioned…got one (kingslayer green circle dot) on a PSA dagger and love it…goof price and great quality

  37. fajfasjfjdfasj on January 18, 2023 at 1:51 am

    If you’re not fit, you’re going to die.

  38. Danny O'Connor on January 18, 2023 at 1:52 am

    Its about what works for you. It doesn’t matter what others think.

  39. Biden Sniffs Kids on January 18, 2023 at 1:56 am

    Even on one power, you still have to deal with eye relief on an LPVO. If you have to take a quick shot at close range, you may lose the eye relief. Red dots don’t have eye relief restrictions

  40. Berry Reading on January 18, 2023 at 1:56 am

    I like the combo of a lower cost lighter weight 2-10×40 or 3-4x and higher dedicated longer range optics with an offset dot, even with a holosun 503/T2 style dot (which is more durable/weatherproof unless using a closed emitter micro dot) either way the combo is lighter or equal to most quality 1-8/1-10 LPVOs, but with much better clarity and light performance, plus better fast target acquisition (also nightvision capability if applicable) The Arisaka mount is FANTASTIC but Brownells needs the T2 low and high plates for that awesome base mount (which they do sell) in stock! 😉 👍 Great topic as usual Caleb 👏

  41. American Patriot on January 18, 2023 at 1:57 am

    Good setup, one of my rifles is set up with a 2.5-10×40 with an offset sight as a quick aim for close in work. I can’t argue it’s great for a DMR rifle.

  42. koffeekage on January 18, 2023 at 1:57 am

    I like the piggyback not getting snagged like you mentioned with the offset mount.

  43. Bob Hartman on January 18, 2023 at 1:57 am

    I’m right handed, but left eye dominant. I like your offset idea, Thanks.

  44. N Sob on January 18, 2023 at 1:57 am

    Only thing wrong with that gun is there’s a left hand running it. Haha
    Ok it’s kinda nice to see some lefties doin good in the world. Keep rockin that hardware if it works for ya. Practice and it’ll work.
    People learn to shoot glocks with stock triggers in them…anythings possible.

  45. Big Dummy on January 18, 2023 at 2:02 am

    We’ve already debunked this over on Reddit.
    You’re a f***ing moron if you run this setup. 🙄

  46. Kaz Hanna on January 18, 2023 at 2:02 am

    From a fellow left hand shooter.
    Do you tune the ejection pattern to avoid brass to your right arm?
    Or do you suck it up and take the brass?

  47. Illustrious_Caveman on January 18, 2023 at 2:03 am

    I’m a fan of canted optics. I have a lot of time practicing with offset irons. I mounted my first offset dot earlier this year. After a half dozen practice sessions its second nature. As for the cons, they’re legitimate, but the alternatives have cons too.

  48. Ray S. on January 18, 2023 at 2:05 am

    For me? No.

  49. Sprung on January 18, 2023 at 2:06 am

    Left handed? I just can’t trust someone who has been tainted by the devil with that level of deformity.

  50. Chris. on January 18, 2023 at 2:08 am

    As much as I like the concept, I am of the firm belief that if I have a scope, if whatever reason I am no longer going to use it, my backups should be iron sights. I don’t want to have to be in a situation where I have to think about what could happen to another optic. I have flip up irons. Light, compact, and less margin of error.