Is Your Red Dot Turning Into Sour Grapes?


I used to have a Comp M4, but I could tell, even at 30, that my eyes were not what they used to be. The biggest and chief concern to me was the gradual smearing of the dot and seeing it lose some of its crispness as my eyes aged. I typically wear corrective lenses, but even that wasn’t able to fully mitigate some of the smearing.

The 2 MOA RDS was still very useable, but I didn’t like the idea that ten years from now my $800 dollar investment might not have the same value to me as a shooter that it once did. Along the way, I learned of some tips and alternatives to help any other shooters with poor eyesight still make use of RDS or similar 1x systems.


Flipping up the irons is a good way to help increase the crispness of the dot. In this example, I used the large aperture for the picture just as an example, but in reality using the small peep is an effective way to reduce the smearing effect of your RDS and give it a resolution boost. Practically, I used this method to shoot at longer range targets at competitions when I needed a sharp dot and to reduce dot glare. This assisted me with 200-300-400 yard targets as it made the dot incredibly crisp.


Sighting through your small peep is a band aid solution to a fuzzy reticle, and if your eyes are very bad, it may not increase the sharpness of the dot enough to help. Furthermore, it eliminated some utility of the RDS… but if you have to settle into your sights and concentrate on a distant shot the speed loss might not be so critical. Another alternative to a RDS is a simple prismatic optic.

Prismatics are like a 1x scope that’s fixed at, well 1x. I have had a chance to look through a Leupold Prismatic at the funshop, and have recommended it to others who have experienced a loss of RDS resolution. Since it doesn’t rely on a LED diode and a reflective lens, the prismatic should offer a solution to dot distortion and loss of resolution that can help keep your 1x game up for years to come.


The disadvantages to these systems are, however, a smaller eyebox than traditional RDS and short battery life on the illuminated reticle. On the flip side, these optics will maintain their resolution and still offer the shooter a black etched reticle should the electronics ever fail.

My chosen route, for now, was to go with a variable to eliminate the concern of a fuzzy reticle and give me a more versatile shooting setup. I wouldn’t mind getting another RDS, but I would like to keep the cost on the lower end for something that may decrease in value for my shooting as my eyes age.

I hope this can help some of our older shooters looking for options on their defensive rifles!