How to Zero a Red Dot Sight

If you want to improve your target acquisition, the quickest way to do that is to install a red dot sight on your rifle. However, it does not help you a lot if the red dot sight is not calibrated correctly or zeroed on your weapon.

We will take a look at the simplest ways to zero your red dot so you can become more accurate and have more fun. That is mostly why you want to learn to fire your weapon, to become more accurate with your shooting.

So, if you want to find out how to improve your shooting, you need to learn how to zero a red dot sight. Keep reading to find out how to do that.

Why a Red Dot Sight?

The main reason you would want to have a red dot sight on your rifle is to improve your accuracy. This is especially important for beginners who are new to the sport of target shooting and target practice.

Red dot sights are also very easy to install on your firearm, and they are relatively easy to use for fast target requiring. You just need to put the red dot on the target and pull the trigger; that is how simple it is.

How to Zero a Red Dot Sight With a Firearm

There are a number of steps you need to follow when you want to zero the red dot sight on your firearm. First, you need to calibrate the red dot sight, so the red dot is squarely center and on top of the front sight post.

We will take a very simple approach not to bore you with technical terms such as MOA and mechanical offset. This is a straightforward method to get you ready to shoot your firearm more accurately, so follow these simple steps.

  • Set up your target at 25 meters from your shooting position.
  • Place your firearm at rest and aim on the target; make sure the barrel is not rested on anything.
  • If the red dot is to the left of your front sight post, turn the dial to the left to get it centered on the front side post.
  • This will move the dot to the right and more to the center.
  • When you find that the red dot is situated to the right of the front sight post, turn the dial to the right. This will bring the red dot to the left and back to be center on top of the post.
  • As you can see, you need to turn the dial in the opposite direction you want the red dot to move.
  • If the red dot is too low or too high, follow the same procedure with the Y-axis dial; the same principle counts here.
  • Now you can center the red dot on the bulls-eye of the target.
  • Take a shot and take a look at the point of impact.
  • The safest way is to use a target with a small square grid to make it easier to know how many clicks you need to turn.
  • If you shot to the right of the target, you need to use the same principle and turn the dial to the right. An impact to the left of the target needs to be adjusted in the opposite direction.
  • The same will happen if the impact on the target is either too low or too high; the opposite direction adjustment also works here.

The Technical Way

Take a target and draw a 1-inch square grid on the entire surface of the target. So if you have a 25 inches x 25 inches target, you will have 25 x 25 1-inch squares all over the target.

Now you need to take a look at the red dot; you will see that you have windage and elevation adjustment knobs. The one saying UP is the elevation adjustment, and the one marked with an R is the windage adjustment.

If your red dot sight says it is a 1 MOA sight, you know that means 1 inch at 100 yards. So if your target is at 100 yards, every square on the target represents one click on the elevation and windage adjustment knob.

Place the target at 100 yards with your bulls-eye in the center of the target and aim for the bulls-eye.

If the point of impact after you took a shot is, say, 2 blocks to the left and 3 blocks lower than the bulls-eye, you will have to adjust the elevation with 3 clicks on the knob down, and on the windage, you adjust 2 clicks to the right. This will move the zero on your red dot sight up and to the right to be closer to the center.

Keep in mind that if you put the target at 50 yards, that means you will now have a half-inch MOA. This means you need to double the number of clicks to the left or right and up and down.

If you place the target at 25 yards, you will have to multiply the number of clicks by 4 because it is now a quarter-inch MOA. That is why it is important that you need to know your sight and what the information on it means.

MOA is an acronym for Minute Of Impact, which is basically a measuring unit for target shooting.

Zero With Other Weapons

If you are not a firearm user but rather go for crossbows, the method to zero the red dot sight will be the same. All the adjustments will be made on the sight to get it calibrated and to zero the sight for accurate shooting.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, you do not really need to be an expert to zero a red dot sight, but it will be useful to know one. It is always best to ask for help than to struggle on your own to improve your shooting.

See the following Youtube video on how to zero the red dot using this MOA principle without it being too technical.

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