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Thoughts on Offset Red Dots

Long ago I tried an offset Mini Red Dot on and really didn’t like it. I was using the short lived TNVC el-cheapo red dot. The red dot sucked and I didn’t like how I couldn’t use the setup left handed. I really thought the MRDS type optics were junk for a while due to my experience with the TNVC red dot.


I’ve found that there have been many times I’ve tried something, disliked it, and never wanted to do it again. I find my self plenty quick to keep bad mounting something. Well I don’t want to be someone who is so set in their ways that they ignore advancements.

A military unit running ACOG 4x Scopes with offset Micro Aimpoints

An offset sight is most popular in competitions like 3 gun where speed is the key to winning. The offset red dot is run with a magnified optic to allow the user to instantly switch between them by rotating the rifle 30-45 degrees. This is much faster than trying to dial the adjustment on a 1-4 or 1-6 power scope.

I saw in increase of popularity of using an offset Micro Aimpoint. So I figured I’d give it a try. I picked up a Larue LT724 Offset Mount during a sale, and pulled a Aimpoint T-1 off a rifle to give it a try. I put it on my 5.45 upper so that I could get some good trigger time with it. I fired a couple hundred rounds with this combination.

One of the first things I noticed when I set up the combination was that thin strip of aluminum holding the optic. I have no doubt it is strong enough during normal use, but I’d be worried about it bending if the rifle were dropped on the optic.

Adding an offset optic instantly makes a firearm a little bulkier, a fair bit wider, leaves more stuff sticking out that can catch of stuff.

Shooting with the offset Aimpoint was so much better than that old cheap MRDS from back then.

There is no argument that an offset red dot is fast.

At close range, with an AR, it isn’t hard to tilt the rifle and rapidly fire shots into a torso. Something like the offset red dot really shines when you have larger more awkward guns with higher magnification scopes.

There is a story of a Police Sniper who was carrying his bolt action sniper rifle running up some stairs to get into an overwatch position when he ended up running into the bad guy in the stairwell. As he was holding the bad guy at gun point with his sniper rifle, he realized the high magnification scope was not ideal for that.

The M110 Carbines and M110K1 had offset iron sights to give the user the ability to rapidly engage close targets.

Firearms like the long range precision rifles that might get used in close distance fight are ideal for an offset or piggyback reflex sight.

For lighter or smaller carbines, with low power optics or variable optics, the utility of the offset sights becomes questionable.

Back to the shooting.

I found turning the gun to use the offset red dot reduced the recoil control a little. Not terribly so, but enough to be noticeable.

The T-1 is high enough and out enough that I was able to use it left handed with my left eye. Had to cant the gun counter clockwise and it was awkward, but it worked. I didn’t expect to be able to do that.

The offset sight was tucked in closer to the handguard. I’ve gotten use to higher mounted optics so I found when I rotated the rifle that I had to lower my head a bit for a better sight picture with the T-1. I don’t think other people would have that issue.

An odd setup by one of the High Speed Low Drag guys. Note the offset T-1 with the Nightforce 1-8X

The offset Aimpoint Micro is a rather nice setup. Downsides are the price and width it adds to the firearm. But I think it is only worth while if you are running a higher power optic in addition to needing to make precise close range shots quickly.

1 thought on “Thoughts on Offset Red Dots”

  1. “I don’t want to be someone who is so set in their ways that they ignore advancements.”

    -That alone puts you above 99% of the rest of our species.

    I don’t see a lot of people running or talking about offset red dots these days. I think that’s because of the popularity of the 1-6x/8x already filling that “up close” role, like you mentioned. If I do put a high magnification scope on my rifle, I’ll keep the offset red dot in mind.

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