Whether you arrived here on the hunt for a red dot for your turkey shotgun, home defense shotgun, tactical shotgun, or any other common purpose, we’ve got you covered. In this guide, we’ll not only show you how to select the best red dot for your shotgun but also unveil our top selections. We’re of the mind that only the best options should rise to the top, and we do our best to fit every budget with said options.
How to Choose a Shotgun Red Dot
First, let’s go over several key factors to consider when selecting a red dot sight for a shotgun:
- MOA – In reality, it’s as if the optics gods created the red dot for use with a shotgun. Since red dots are best for close range, it’s not a bad idea to increase your MOA for the quickest target acquisition. If you’re completely green, MOA stands for “minutes of angle.” To make a long story short, the higher the MOA the larger the dot. For shotguns, it’s possible to choose sights with larger dots than for rifles and target pistols.
- Open vs Tubular Reflex Sights – Open reflex sights are perfect for shotguns. Similar to MOA, an open reflex sight has a larger viewing area, and for shotguns, it’s also not a bad idea to choose open reflex sights with larger objective lenses. Thus, you have the ability to acquire your target even faster. Plus, open reflex sights are easier to use with both eyes open than tubular reflex sights. On the other hand, you might want to choose a tubular model for hunting.
- Reticles – This is an important consideration if you suffer from poor eyesight or astigmatism. For folks with eyesight issues, choosing a sight with a circle dot can help. To clarify, a circle dot is simply a circle with the typical red dot in the middle. Most operators find that circle dots are easier to pick up than a red dot alone.
- Durability – Lastly, the final key consideration is durability. Since shotgun recoil is stronger, you want to choose a red dot that’s built like a tank to stand the test of time. Most brands use high-quality aluminum alloy housing that’s listed as “aircraft-grade” or other similar names.
So, with those thoughts, let’s check out the sights.
Best Red Dots for Shotguns Reviewed
Each of our reviews includes all the information you need to make your final decision. You’ll find helpful pros & cons, key features to consider, and reasons you may or may not want to choose a particular sight.
#1) EOTech HWS 512 Holographic Weapon Sight
Durability, clarity, speed, reliability are just a few of the words that come to mind when considering an EOTech sight. For shotgun owners, it doesn’t get any better than this. Perfect candidates for this sight are home defense shotgun owners, military personnel, and hunters. Firstly, the advantages of this sight are lightning-fast target acquisition, extreme durability to survive shotgun recoil while maintaining zero, and consistent pinpoint accuracy.
Next, EOTech offers the crispest circle dot reticle you’ll find. The entry-level HWS 512 is ideal for folks who are new to holographic sights and veteran owners alike. Currently, the 512 features a 1 MOA dot and a 65 MOA ring. Plus, this unique reticle allows for three different aiming points. Then, combine the reticle with the brightness settings, and you get an elite optic in all light conditions, including bright sunlight and low light.
However, the one drawback is that the 512 is not night-vision-compatible, while model 522 is. So, if you want an NV-compatible model for hog hunting or home defense, you’ll probably want to level up. The drawback is that EOTech sights are already pricey, therefore the top-tier models can easily go beyond what’s worth paying for a shotgun optic. For this reason, we feel the 512 is the best EOTech sight for a shotgun.
- The 1 MOA dot makes the 512 the best red dot sight for shotgun deer hunting or turkey hunting
- 65 MOA ring for rapid target acquisition
- Excellent clarity in all light conditions (20 brightness settings)
- The dot and ring do not expand under magnification like a typical red dot
- Built tough to handle shotgun recoil
- Holds zero like a pro
- Made in the USA
- 10-year limited warranty
- This model is not night-vision-compatible
- Heavier than MRDS at 11.5 oz
- Short battery life compared to most good reflex sights
#2) Holosun HS512C
Is the HS512C better than an EOTech holographic sight? That, my friends, is the question a lot of people are asking for good reason. Yet, it’s important to note that this optic is not a holographic sight. For that reason, one should not expect the perks of owning a holographic sight. But, for the money, this is an exceptional enclosed reflex sight that’s more durable than the popular HS510C model.
In addition to durability, the enclosed design prevents the elements and/or debris from obscuring the dot. Accordingly, you never have to worry about harsh weather conditions ruining your shot. Next, another main reason gun owners are gravitating toward Holosun sights is the multi-reticle system. Unlike rolling the dice on a sight that features a single reticle, the HS512C allows you to choose between dot, circle dot, and circle. Clearly, this is advantageous because of its utility in all scenarios.
Furthermore, the HS512C sports Holosun’s popular battery-saving Shake Awake tech, solar backup power, an auto-brightness mode. Then, there’s the fact that the battery life is up to 50,000 hours even without the solar backup option. All in all, there’s a whole lot to like here, and the enclosed design gives you the wide FOV offered by an open reflex sight with added durability. Hence, the reason we like this type of sight more than a tubular red dot for shotguns.
- Our favorite enclosed reflex sight for shotguns
- Multi-reticle system (3 in total)
- Shake Awake mode for battery conservation w/ backup solar power
- 50,000 battery life
- The toughest Holosun model
- IP67 waterproof rating
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Heavier than other Holosun models at 8.1 oz
- You might like the 1 MOA dot on the EOTech sight more than the 2 MOA dot
- Not as covert as an EOTech sight for hunting purposes
#3) Vortex Venom
The best Vortex red dot for a shotgun is the Venom optic, available in 3 MOA and 6 MOA. Unlike our first two picks, this optic is a true open reflex sight. Advantages of an open sight compared to an enclosed version are lower weight, typically a wider field of view, and affordability. Next, if you’re concerned about how well this sight will hold up on a shotgun, don’t be. Vortex built the Venom with aluminum housing and added its ArorTek scratch-resistant coating to the lenses.
For hunters, the ability to choose between manual brightness adjustments and a reliable auto-brightness mode makes for a more productive turkey hunt. Additionally, hunters who are picky about their optics will appreciate the edge-to-edge clarity of the Vortex glass provided by the multi-coated wide-field lens. On top of that, Vortex tests its Venom sight for parallax-free performance.
Finally, a couple of shortcomings to consider are the shorter battery life and lower number of brightness settings compared to an EOTech sight. Presently, the latest version of the Vortex offers 150 hours of battery life on the highest settings and up to 30,000 hours on lower settings. Compared to Trijicon, Aimpoint, and Holosun, this is a significantly shorter life at the highest setting.
- Wide FOV
- Bright, clear multi-coated lenses
- 10 brightness settings with auto-brightness mode
- Rugged enough to withstand shotgun recoil
- Good value for the money
- Waterproof & shockproof construction
- Vortex VIP lifetime warranty
- Single reticle
- Battery life
- Vortex has yet to upgrade the battery cover
#4) Sightmark Ultra Shot M-Spec Reflex Sight
Landing at number four on our list is currently one of our top mid-range red dot picks for a shotgun. Similar to picks one and two, Sightmark’s Ultra Shot is in the running for best red dot sight for a tactical shotgun, especially if you don’t have the scratch for an EOTech. The integrated sunshade, or hood, gives you another layer of protection. Plus, as the name suggests, it helps to reduce glare in bright light, and we all know glare is a common complaint about red dots.
Next, you’ll be happy to hear that the Ultra Shot is a circle dot with a 2 MOA dot and 60 MOA circle. However, the downside is there’s no option to switch reticles. Therefore, your only option is a circle dot, unlike Holosun’s multi-reticle system. Beyond the reticle, the Ultra Dot features 10 daytime and 6 night vision brightness settings. Though, there’s no auto-brightness setting, which is a bit of a downer.
The final considerations are battery life, weight, and construction. Compared to an open reflex sight, this optic does weigh more at 9.6 oz, and battery life is up to 2,000 hours with a 12-hour auto-off feature. Regarding construction, the durable magnesium alloy body carries a .50 BMG recoil rating to give you some extra assurance before mounting it to your shotgun.
- Integrated sunshade to eliminate glare
- Circle dot reticle
- 16 total brightness settings with 6 NV
- Rugged magnesium alloy construction
- IP68 waterproof rating
- Limited lifetime warranty
- No auto-brightness setting
- Fairly short battery life
- Heavier than open reflex sights
#5) Swampfox Justice
Coming in at #5 on our list is for fans of extra-large viewing areas. Swampfox’s Justice objective lens measures 27mm for the quickest target acquisition. Next, Swampfox stepped up its game by offering some noteworthy upgrades to its popular Kinglsayer sight. Comparatively, the newer Liberty and Justice models have a longer battery life, battery-saving features, and a lower profile.
To clarify, the Justice battery life is 4,000 hours on mid brightness settings, which is a solid move in the right direction compared to the Kingslayer. Plus, Swampfox added Shake ‘N Wake Illumination, which is clearly its own version of Holoson’s battery-saving tech. With Shake ‘N Wake, your sight automatically wakes up from its slumber when you move it.
Next, the Justice is shockproof, waterproof, and built with durable 7075 aluminum to survive use with a shotgun. Also, Swampfox backs its sites with a 50,000 round guarantee, which we think is pretty cool compared to most warranties that are based on time. Finally, it’s important to note that this sight is available in 3 MOA only.
- Longer battery life than the Kingslayer
- New lower-profile
- Large 27mm viewing area
- IPX-7 waterproof construction
- Built with durable 7075-T6 aircraft-grade aluminum housing
- Shake ‘N Wake battery-saving tech
- RMR footprint
- 50,000 round guarantee
- Single reticle
- Missing auto-brightness
The best red dot for a shotgun is built to take a beating. We’re big fans of the enclosed reflex sights for shotguns because they fall somewhere between open reflex sights and tubular red dots. Essentially, you get the best of both worlds because the enclosed design enhances durability and keeps your dot clear without sacrificing much FOV.
For tactical shotgun owners, there’s no better red dot on the market than what EOTech has to offer. Especially, since EOTech optics are widely regarded as the best for CQB. For operators who arrived here on the lookout for the best red dot for your turkey shotgun, all of the optics in this guide are solid options. As is the case with most optics, your preferences are the final determiner, so be sure to consider the pros & cons of ownership if you’re still undecided.