A man looking through the eye piece aiming to shoot

How To Sight in a Red Dot Scope Without Shooting


A red dot scope brings the excitement of shooting to a whole new level. It is well-liked and popular among shooters. You can use it with any of your weapons, including a pistol, shotgun, bolt action rifle, and sniper rifle. In this article, we'll go through the fundamentals of a red scope and how to sight one without shooting. Let's get started.


What Is a Red Dot Scope?

 Red dot Scope Optic with ammunition

Credit: Envato Elements/ Fabrika Photo


It's crucial to understand that red dot sights and red dot scopes are two different things. While a red dot sight does not have magnifying features, a red dot scope does, but the technique for zeroing in or sighting in is the same.

Red dot scopes are a type of optic that shooters use at short to medium ranges. They are among the most basic scopes used to locate a target. They are widely used by new shooters because they are simple to use.

These devices use a red dot that acts as the reticle. A reticle is a dot or line that serves as a measuring scale and helps locate objects on pieces of optical equipment such as red dots.


How Do Red Dots Function?

 Red dot scopes commonly used as a red LED laser dot

Credit: Envato Elements/ Fabrika Photo


Red dot scopes commonly use a red LED laser dot. This enables the red dot reticle on your gun to stay aligned regardless of eye location.

A red LED and an angled spherical mirror combine to form a red dot. The term "red dot" scope refers to a special coating on this mirror that only permits red light to flow through. This makes it simple for you to see where you are aiming. Due to the low energy consumption of LED lights, red dots can last hundreds of hours, depending on the brightness level.


What Do You Mean by Sighting in a Scope?

 An image of the sighting markings

Credit: Envato Elements/ orcearo


Sighting in or zeroing in a scope refers to lining up the crosshair with the actual landing spot of the shot. In other words, it means adjusting your red dot scope to hit your target precisely where you aim. Sighting-in helps you to identify the center point of your target. Any error made while sighting in your rifle scope can affect every shot you take after that. Therefore, mastering it is crucial for effective shooting.


How To Sight in a Red Dot Scope Without Shooting?


A red dot scope can completely alter your shooting experience. Once mounted, the scope needs to be sighted in. Amazingly, you can accomplish this operation without ever firing a bullet from your rifle. Recent technological developments have greatly simplified the process of sighting a target without shooting. You use the following strategies to avoid wasting ammunition:


1)  Using Laser Boresighter

 A bore sight with a red lazer coming out on the other side

Credit: Kempoo.com


If you wish to sight in your rifle or pistol without shooting, you must be comfortable with using a bore sight. This expedites and streamlines the procedure.

The Laser Boresighters are the most common and efficient way to zero a scope without shooting a target. It is a fantastic method to use because, when compared to other methods, it is more accurate. Additionally, mounting and installation are simple.

Depending on where they are placed, laser bore sighters are attached in one of two ways: end-mount or muzzle-mount. While the latter is mounted into the rifle's arbor inside the muzzle, the former is installed in the mouth of the barrel. Whatever approach you decide on, the objective is to aim at the red dot while rotating the crosshairs for better vision.


2)  Using an Optical Boresighter

 An orange optical boresight device

Credit: ezoc.biz


When compared to the Laser Boresighting approach, the Optical Boresighting method is more complicated. Knowing that precision could be compromised if it is not correctly aligned makes it a little challenging. These devices are installed at the bottom of a gun barrel and aimed toward the target.

You must align an optical lens properly before attaching it by looking through the grid at the red dot. 


3)  Using a Visual Boresighter

 A Visual Boresighting device used on guns

Credit: BSA


The Visual Boresighting approach is significantly simpler than the optical one. The objective in this instance is to line up the sight's center with the barrel's center; to do this, you must remove your rifle's bolt. After removing the bolt, place the barrel properly so that it is centered with your target.

The duration of this method is its only disadvantage. It does, however, promise complete accuracy. Additionally, you might need to zero the scope at a target and adjust the crosshairs on the dial of the scope for improved visibility.


The Method

 A person using a red dot scope to aim before shooting

Credit: Envato Elements/ Studio Peace


Regardless of the type of boresighting method you choose, all of them involve the following steps:


  • Depending on the type of bore sight it is, insert it into the weapon.
  • Set up your target appropriately depending on whether you're zeroing at 25 or 50 yards.
  • Use the laser to find your aim point.
  • Lastly, move the reticle over to rest on top of the laser using the windage and elevation adjustments.


Things To Keep in Mind


While bore sighting your red dot, there are a few key things to keep in mind. Whichever approach you choose, these issues must be taken into account.


1) Keep Your Rifle Steady

 A person keeping his rifle steady so that he can use the boreshot

Credit: Envato Elements/ svitlanah


No matter whatever technique you use to boresight your red dot, always keep your rifle steady. To provide such stability, you can use a vise, a wood stand, or sandbags.


2) Unload Your Weapon

 A boreshot next to some ammunition

Credit: Envato Elements/ Fabrika Photo


Before starting the technique, it's essential to empty your weapon. If not, it might have terrible consequences.


3) Remove the Boresighter Before You Begin Shooting

 A person removing the bore sighter so that he can start shooting

Credit: Savage Arms


Once you've done boresighting the red dot, it's imperative to remove the bore sighter before you begin firing. Failure to do so could result in severe injury.


4) Mount it Correctly

 A person behind his gun with a green lazer showing him where to shoot

Credit: Rangerexpert


The difference between a properly sighted in red dot scope and a bad one is its installation. For instance, if a laser bore sighter is mounted correctly, using it for sighting in won't obstruct your ability to take a good shot.




A red dot scope can be used both at short range and long range. You can sight in a red dot sight without shooting if you follow the instructions above. While you're here, be sure to check out EasyShot Shooting Targets if you're looking for gun targets to practice shooting.


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