Red dots are more popular than ever before and the perfect match for AR-15s and other tactical rifles. However, the truth is without magnification, and red dots are nothing more than amped up iron sights.
Fortunately, it didn’t take long for companies to figure out ways to add powerful 3x-5x magnifiers to them, transforming red dots with zero magnification into terrific low-powered scopes.
- 1 Things to Consider – A short guide
- 2 Find the Best Red Dot Magnifier
- 3 Final Thoughts on How to Find the Best Red Dot Magnifier
Today, red dots and magnifiers have flooded the market, so we put the most popular models to the test to find the best red dot magnifiers there are. Here are our top picks to help you find the perfect companion for your red dot sight:
- Vortex Optics VMX-3T
- EOTech G33
- Primary Arms 3x Long Eye Relief Red Dot Magnifier
- Leapers UTG 3X Magnifier
- Sightmark 5x Tactical Magnifier Pro
- Aimpoint 3X Magnifier
- Sig Sauer Juliet4
Things to Consider – A short guide
If you want to get a better understanding of those optical accessories and learn how to find out what you need to know about them, then check out our Red Dot Magnifier Buying Guide. It’ll help you gain the knowledge to make the best decision for your hunting and shooting needs – A Closer Look at Red Dot Sights.
How to pick
Here are the most important elements you have to consider when trying to find the best magnifier for a red dot sight. Click on the links to be directly taken to the section in our buying guide!
What you need to look for
Find the Best Red Dot Magnifier
Check out our recommendations for finding the best red dot magnifiers below.
Vortex Optics VMX-3T
The Vortex Optics VMX-3T is one of the most popular 3x red dot magnifiers on the market. Despite being half the price of more expensive magnifiers, it’s incredibly well-made and holds its ground well.
The Vortex VMX-3T 3X magnifier features a handy flip mount, which is great for switching from long-range to close combat and vice versa. The Vortex mounting system also allows shooters to make on-the-fly height adjustments so you can set your red dot sight and magnifier up for co-witnessing with iron sights.
The Vortex Optics VMX-3T magnifier is also compact and takes up little space on the rail. Plus, this 3x magnifier is durable and designed to hold up in a variety of weather conditions. So, not only is it versatile and barely noticeable, but it’s built to take years of use and abuse as well.
The durable and compact magnifier from Vortex Optics is made of high-grade aluminum. The red dot magnifier is nitrogen purged during the assembly process for superior water and fog resistance.
The Vortex VMX-3T also features a waterproof O-ring for an excellent seal. This means there’s no need to worry about fog, dust, and other particles obstructing your view.
Best of all, however, is the lens system of the Vortex VMX-3T magnifier. Its ocular eyepiece features multi-coated lenses that provide excellent light transmission (Light Transmission: The Key to Success), and the reticle or red dot sights are crisp and clear.
On the downside, the Vortex Optics VMX-3T magnifier weighs 11.9 ounces, which is a little on the heavy side. Depending on your rifle or firearm, it may affect its balance.
Another slightly more important issue is the short eye relief of the Vortex VMX-3T magnifier. Since it is only 2.2 inches, you may need to contract your rifle stock or move the sights down a little on the rail.
Nonetheless, if you’re searching for a top-quality red dot magnifier that checks most if not all of the boxes, the Vortex VMX-3T 3x magnifier may be for you to have a magnifier scope in combination with your red dot sight. Simply based on the features, performance, and quality it is one of the best red dot magnifiers you can get today.
- Excellent lenses
- Height adjustments
- Versatile flip-to-side mount
- Short eye relief
- A little hefty
EOTech G33 Magnifier
If you’re a serious shooter on the hunt for a no-frills military-grade magnifier, the EOTech G33 may be right up your alley. This 3x magnifier for red dot sights is used by the US military, it’s top-quality and ultra-reliable. What makes it so great?
Well, for starters, this magnifier scope comes in a neat Pelican box along with an instruction manual, optics cloth, and fixed quick release rail mount and spacer. Installation is also a breeze. Just install the two screws, add a little Loctite, and you’re good to go with the EOTech G33 securely mounted on your firearm.
Like other first-rate red dot magnifiers, it’s rugged and features a water- and fog-proof seal. It is made in the USA, which explains its quality and price.
As far as optics go, the EOTech G33 offers a great 7.3-degree field of view and top-notch optics. After all, it’s used by the military, so you can bet its optics are up to par. However, like the Vortex Optics VMX-3T, it has a 2.2-inch eye relief, which could be a bit larger when you’re using it on a rifle with somewhat heavier recoil.
Is the EOTech G33 the best red dot sight magnifier? Well, if you’re searching for military-grade gear and like things made in the USA, then the EOTech red dot magnifier is a solid contender worth considering when you’re looking for a 3x magnifier scope.
While it pairs perfectly with EOTech red dot sights and holographic optics, like the EOTech 512 or the 518, with a little fine-tuning, it will work great with other sights and scopes as well, which is also a plus.
If you are looking for a budget red dot magnifier then the G33 is for sure not your best choice. You’ll be looking at the Vortex, Primary Arms, or other affordable choices. However, if you have a closer look at the EOTech HHS II which is probably the best red dot magnifier combo you can get, then you can get the G33 magnifier together with an EXPS 2-2 holographic sight for a few bucks less than buying them separately!
- Very rugged and durable
- Water and fog-proof
- Excellent field of view
- Quick-release rail mount
- Easy to install
- Pelican box included
- Made in the USA
- Eye relief could be a little longer
- A bit pricey
Primary Arms 3X Long Eye Relief Red Dot Magnifier
If you appreciate a longer eye relief and getting a good deal, you may want to consider the Primary Arms 3X Long Eye Relief Red Dot Magnifier. Now in its fourth generation, it’s vastly improved over previous models in many ways.
In addition to being more compact, as its name suggests, the Primary Arms 3x magnifier features a longer eye relief. The folks at PA extended it from 1.9 inches to 2.64 inches, making it considerably more comfortable to use.
With its compact design, it also only weighs 7.9 ounces, which is pretty light. However, this is primarily because it doesn’t come with a flip to side mount. You have to purchase one separately.
When using the Primary Arms Red Dot Magnifier, you must be perfectly aligned to see its full field of view. While this may be a problem for some novices, a little practice can make this a non-issue.
Plus, according to Primary Arms, you can use a lower third mount to improve the alignment, but the choice is yours to make. This mount also allows to setup the optics for co-witness with your iron sights – What Are Iron Sights? How to Use Iron Sights and Shoot with them?
Despite the lower price of the Primary Arms red dot sight 3x magnifier, the optics of this magnifier are more than serviceable. It features a 30mm objective lens that provides a clear and accurate vision downrange.
Like other quality red dot magnifiers, the Primary Arms 3x magnifier is also water-resistant, fog-resistant, and features an azimuth and elevation adjustments.
Unfortunately, the Primary Arms 3x magnifier only comes with a one-year warranty, which is a little shorter than some magnifiers. However, for the price point, this isn’t surprising and shouldn’t be too disappointing.
All in all, the Primary Arms 3x magnifier is a comfortable and well-priced choice for budget-conscious shooters. If that sounds like you, it may be worth giving it a shot, pun very much intended.
- Good value
- Comfortable extended eye relief
- Lightweight design
- Water and fog-resistant
- Azimuth and elevation adjustments
- Lacks focus adjustments
- Lens clarity could be better
- Short warranty period
Leapers UTG 3X Magnifier
Speaking of budget-friendly, the UTG 3X Magnifier is one of the most affordable on the market. However, it has a lot more going for it than its budget-friendly price tag.
For instance, the UTG 3x magnifier is capable of boosting the performance of your red dot and offering crisp, clear vision while doing it. With fully coated lenses, this 3x magnifier produces high-quality images and allows you to shoot more accurately at a distance in a variety of weather conditions.
Aside from good optics, the UTG 3x Magnifier also features a flip mount, which is something generally found on much more expensive magnifiers. With it, you can easily transition from long or mid-range to close-range shooting in an instant.
As far as drawbacks go, the eye relief of the Leapers UTG 3x magnifier is on the shorter side. It also lacks adjustments and isn’t the best at gathering light. However, it delivers solid performance for the money and is worth a look.
- Flip to side mount
- Easy to use
- Fully coated lenses
- Good field of view
- Short eye relief
- No adjustments
- Not the best at gathering light
- The flip mount is nice but could be improved
Sightmark 5X Tactical Magnifier Pro
Inspired by military applications, the Sightmark 5X Tactical Magnifier Pro combines impressive 5x magnification and slide-to-side mount for quick and easy target acquisition.
This red dot magnifier is designed to work with collimated reflex, holographic, and other forms of red dot sights to provide users with both serious magnification and the advantages of reflex technology. This allows shooters to significantly improve target recognition at medium to long-range distances up to a whopping 350 yards.
If that weren’t enough, the Sightmark 5X Tactical Magnifier Pro also has an extended eye relief for increased aiming and shooting comfort. It also has a full field of view and multi-coated lenses for improved clarity.
What we also like about this Sightmark is the fact that it’s designed to work with red dots from Trijicon, Aimpoint, EOTech, and several other brands. Oh yeah, it just so happens to be lightweight, weather-proof, and super durable as well.
With so much to offer, the Sightmark 5X Tactical Magnifier Pro makes a strong case for being one of the best all-around red dot magnifiers being made today.
- Great bang for the buck
- 5x magnification
- Very rugged and durable
- Crystal clear optics
- Quick disconnect toggle
- Elevation, windage, and sight adjustments
- A flip-to-side mount would be nice
- Magnifier has a little bit of play
AimPoint 3X Magnifier
The Aimpoint 3X Magnifier is one of the top ones on the market, and for a good reason. First of all, it’s incredibly compact and lightweight.
It won’t take up too much space on your rail, and at only 7.1 ounces, it’s hard to notice it’s even there.
Unlike many other red dot magnifiers, which often require a ton of adjustments, the Aimpoint makes it super easy to center the reticle. However, a little more adjusting may be needed for non-Aimpoint sights.
That being said, the real selling point of the Aimpoint 3X Magnifier is its optics. Not only does the reticle appear crisp and clear, but it produces excellent light transmission, which is excellent for low light conditions.
It also has little to no glare. This is a difficult combination to pull off and is a testament to the high-quality optics Aimpoint offers.
Regarding drawbacks, at under 2.3 inches, the eye relief isn’t the best. It also doesn’t include a flip mount, which would be quite nice for tactical situations.
The good news is, you can purchase a flip-to-side mount separately, and pair it with the Aimpoint’s stellar optics for a superior tactical magnifier that’s tough to beat.
- Outstanding optics for all light conditions
- Wide field of view
- No need for zeroing
- Light and compact design
- One of the pricier options
- Short eye relief
- Flip mount not included
Sig Sauer Juliet4
Unveiled not too long ago, the Sig Sauer Juliet4 is designed to be the perfect complement to the brand’s Romeo red dot to make it one of the best red dot magnifier combo packages available.
It provides terrific magnification for long-range target acquisition and medium-range engagement. However, it works just as well with nearly any other red dot optic, making it a great choice to round out this list of the top-rated red dot magnifiers.
The new optic features the Sig Sauer’s 90-degree PowerCam mount for quick and easy transitions from medium to close-range shooting. Users can opt for a 1x red dot magnification and sufficient field of view for close-range work or flip the Juliet4 in front of their red dot sight for increased magnification of targets 100 yards or more away.
This combination makes it ideal for self-defense use as well as for hunting and medium-range to long-range shooting.
Unlike other flip mounts, the Juliet4 is also equipped with a handy quick-detach feature with recoil lugs to provide a repeatable zero. Plus, some spacers are included as well, allowing shooters to adjust the optic’s bore height to align with the red dot optics perfectly. Pretty neat indeed.
The other aspects of the Juliet4 don’t disappoint either. Not only does it feature an aircraft-grade aluminum housing, but it has dialectic-coated prism lenses to provide any red dot with crystal clear 4x magnification. Did we mention it has a threaded objective lens cover and a rear protective flip cover as well?
It’s hard not to be smitten with the Sig Sauer Juliet4. It’s only been out a short while and isn’t yet the most popular red dot magnifier out there, but it’s incredibly well-made and a high-quality accessory every shooter can appreciate. Did we mention it comes with a lifetime warranty?
- Very well-made
- Crystal clear optics
- Great mount system
- Protective lens covers
- Lifetime warranty
- Not the most budget-friendly option
- Not a great match for Trijicon optics
Final Thoughts on How to Find the Best Red Dot Magnifier
Before we leave you to decide which of these best red dot magnifiers is the top choice for your setup, we thought it would be a good idea to quickly talk about our top choice and recap the features responsible for landing it at the top of our list.
Who’s the winner?
As you can see, there are some great red dot magnifiers on the market to choose from. We mostly concentrated on the 3x models as they in our opinion are the most useful in combination with a red dot sight – Red Dot on Top of Scope – A combination worth considering?
Best 3x Red Dot Magnifier
The Vortex Optics VMX-3T outshines them all. It’s our pick for the best red dot magnifier that offers you great performance for a good price.
Sure, the Aimpoint (have a look at the best clones of Aimpoint sights) and a few others may perform slightly better from an optics perspective, but the Vortex performs nearly as well and is compatible with a much greater range of red dot options.
The Vortex magnifier is also rugged and built to withstand almost any weather conditions or tactical situation. Lastly, it’s more affordable than many other ones so we think it overall is the best 3x magnifier that’s available today.
Best 5x Red Dot Magnifier
When you look at a magnifier with more than 3x then the Sightmark 5X Tactical Magnifier Pro is a great choice. You should consider though whether a 5x magnifier will be useful for you. The choices you have are either non-magnified or 5x which is a big jump.
There is constant speculation on whether Vortex will come out with such a device and, should they decide to do that, whether a Vortex 5x magnifier would be as good as the VMX-3T. That’s all speculation and there’s not been any sight of a Vortex magnifier 5x or even 7x around.
Besides the ones we looked at, there are many others. And many of those perform well in any situation and would be worthy to make the list.
Another example of a great magnifier is the Meopta MeoMag 3x. You can find more information by clicking the following link https://riflescopescenter.com/meomag-3x-magnifier-red-dot-sights-announced-meopta/.
However, almost any magnifier is better than none at all. Regardless of which red dot magnifier you choose, it will instantly transform your rifle into a versatile tactical weapon ready for anything you throw at it.
Check out our guides on the best red dots that you can combine with the reviewed magnifiers: