Just what does red dot magnifier actually means and how does it functions? For those who may still be a bit clueless about it, here is a little info regarding it. Simply put, one of the benefits of red dot magnifiers is that it allows the shooter to add magnification to his red dot sights.
After all, red dot sights basically perform the same way as iron sights do. They are a non-magnifying reflector that gives the shooter an aimpoint in the form of an illuminated red dot. They have a red light-emitting diode (LED) at the focus of the optics which produces an illuminated reticle.
It will stay in alignment with your firearm the sight is attached to regardless of your eye position because it is nearly parallax free. They are widely used as gun sights for target shooting, hunting, and in military and police applications.
Indirectly, this means that red dot sights does not provide magnification in order to help the shooter to distinguish red dots easily. As a result, red dot magnifiers have evolved to become one of the most sought after additional equipment for your firearm.
Usually, most magnifiers put a three power optic behind the red dot. However, in recent times, newer features are added in order to increase its performance level for your satisfaction.
In case you have set up for longer engagement distances but aren’t as worried about close quarters, you could run a magnified optic with a secondary red dot. You will have trouble shooting anything past 300 yards with much accuracy though. If you’re not a big fan of red dot sights, you can always opt for scopes and iron sights.
Usually, red dots are ideal for short-range quick acquisition. If you need it for 3-400+ yard ranges, I would suggest a 1-4x magnification. However, red dots with the flip or flip-over can go to around 5-600 yard ranges very accurately and reliably.
Hence, check out these best magnifier review in order to choose the best red dot magnifier out there.
Top 7 Red Dot Magnifiers Comparison Table
|Name of product||Weight||Magnification||Eye relief length||Objective diameter||Price||link|
|30mm Tube 3x Magnifier Scope for Red Dot Reflex Sight||10.4 ounces||3x||2 "||30mm||$||https://www.amazon.com/30mm-Magnifier-Scope-Reflex-Sight/dp/B00CNK4P3I|
|EoTech G33.STSTAN Side Mount Red Dot Sight Magnifier, Tan Matte Finish||1.1 pounds||3x||2.2"||30mm||$$$||https://www.amazon.com/EoTech-G33-STSTAN-Mount-Magnifier-Finish/dp/B00846148O|
|Vortex VMX-3T Magnifier with Flip Mount||11.8 ounces||3x||3 1/4"||30mm||$$||https://www.amazon.com/Vortex-VMX-3T-Magnifier-Flip-Mount/dp/B00BQWTC14|
|Aimpoint 3XMag Magnifying Module||0.3 ounces||3x||1.7"||20mm||$$$||https://www.amazon.com/AimPoint-11324-Aimpoint-Magnifying-Module/dp/B001I4A73M|
|Mako 7X Magnifier for Red Dot/Reflex Sights (3rd Generation) – Black||5.9 ounces||7x||2"||30mm||$||https://www.amazon.com/Mako-Magnifier-Reflex-Sights-Generation/dp/B002Q6UQIW|
|NcStar 3X Magnifier Scope with RB 24 Ring Mount, Black||12 ounces||3x||1"||30mm||$||https://www.amazon.com/NcStar-Magnifier-Scope-Mount-Black/dp/B00DSUGYT0|
|Primary Arms 3X Long Eye Relief Red Dot Magnifier Gen IV PA3XLERGENIV||12.8 ounces||3x||2.64"||30mm||$||https://www.amazon.com/Primary-Arms-Relief-Magnifier-PA3XLERGENIV/dp/B01AK8U9AM|
The top 5 red dot magnifiers are decided by certain factors:
- Length of eye relief
- Objective diameter
You might prefer a lightweight magnifier over a heavier one as the obvious reason would be that it will weight your rifle down. A heavier magnifier would also shift the balance of your firearm. This might affect the accuracy of your shots.
A wider range of magnification choices would help you in a wider range of different settings. You could use it with ease whether it is for short range or a long one. The bigger the magnification level, the more accurate your shots will be at short distances.
Length of eye relief
The longer the eye relief, the lesser the strain will be on your eye. It will also be easier to access the chamber of your weapon if you are using on bolt action rifles. Plus, it will also be easier to mount it as you could mount it further up your scope.
The bigger the diameter of the objective lens, the brighter the produced image will be. However, if the objective lens are too big, it may appear bulky.
30mm Tube 3x Magnifier Scope for Red Dot Reflex Sight
The first best magnifier review will be the 30mm Tube. This best magnifier converts a CQB red dot sight into a 3x long range sniping scope. It has adjustable windage and elevation adjustments if you want to center the red dot without changing. The magnifier is a 30mm straight mounting tube with rubber armored griping area.
The lenses are fully coated for better performance especially under low light condition use. It converts instantly into a sighting system for your use in longer range targeting and sniping.
The combination use of the red dot sight and a magnifier scope will sometimes have the dot reticle out of center in the field of view. This is due to the natural slight misalignment of optical axis among the sight and the magnifier.
This Hammers magnifier scope works perfectly with standard 30mm scope mount of your chosen center height which matches that of the red dot sight. I would advise you to get one of those flip mounts that rotate which helps to stay on and off line of sight quickly.
You must make sure that the center height of the mount used is compatible with that of the red dot sight. The magnifier has the magnification of 3x with the length of eye relief around 50mm (2inch). It weighs about 7.8oz.
The overall length of the magnifier will be 4 1/2inch. The product comes along with free lens covers. It’d be great if they were a snug fit and clear to view through but unfortunately they are not.
To simplify, this product is a magnifier with the ability to adjust to the red dot that it is looking at. In case your dot doesn’t line up perfectly to the middle of the magnifier, you could adjust it manually to the center.
Once you have sighted in using the windage and elevation adjustments, you just simply mount this magnifier behind your red dot sight. Then, you could adjust using the windage and elevation adjusters on the magnifier itself until you see your red dot centered.
The main body of the best magnifier sits right above my rear sight. If you are not using rear sights you could mount it lower with a fixed scope mount. The glass seems good, clear and bright. Eye relief is not too bad but I wish it was a bit longer because I feel that the eye relief is extremely limited.
It doesn’t work well with varying temperatures as the lenses are easier to get condensed. The moisture will cloud the glass. However, the ability to tweak elevation and windage is a huge advantage.
The adjustments click too just like a mil dot click on a scope. The screws on caps protect those adjustment knobs. The inside of the objective lens side is threaded. I would prefer having an “extension tube” to be able to thread into it and to extend it towards you for better eye relief or maybe as a sun shade too.
- Low light condition
- Adjustable windage/ elevation
- Longer range targeting
EoTech Side Mount Red Dot Magnifier
The next best magnifier review is from Eotech. This lightweight and compact designed magnifier uses a holographic sight to provide a large 7.3° field-of-view. It is easy to transition from 3X to 1X zoom. It also offers a locking, quick detach lever for easy attachment and removal on your rifle.
It has a new and improved mount and an adjustable diopter for improved, more precise focusing. It is an affordable and could transition from a fielded HWS into a lethal medium range magnifier. It provides immediate transitioning from CQB to medium range targeting.
The eye relief is noticeably larger and the windage and elevation adjustments could be manipulated by hand, without any tools. The slap to side mount provides increased durability and operates with the slap of your hand to knock the mount to the side.
This EoTech best magnifier aligns perfectly as I wanted with standard height sights. It also comes with a 7mm riser to accommodate the 7mm raised sights. The new Quick Switch to Side (STS) mount is faster too.
Just push the magnifier to the side. It will lock securely on its own in that position until you push it back into place if you want magnified viewing. The length of eye relief is 2.2″ (55.8mm).
The magnifier is faster to pick up, spending less time trying to find the right eye relief especially for shooters who are unfamiliar with the platform it’s mounted on. However, for someone who is experienced with the platform this doesn’t make much difference.
For even an experienced shooter to get on target when shooting from an awkward position that does not allow a natural stance. The shorter overall length gives you more options about how you place this and other items on the rail, too.
The mount doesn’t have any release tab or small springs. You would have to just shove the body of the magnifier out of the way. This system is a little bit slower but easier to be manipulated even when using fatigued, sweaty hands.
It is also a lot more solid. I’m sure that any impact that is hard enough to damage this mount would crack the glass in the optic, which is itself very much rugged. It has taken all of the abuse it has been exposed to and has not shown any signs of great damage.
The glass of the magnifier is clear and I’ve not found any tendency for it to parallax, even if there is a bad cheek-weld forcing my line of sight out of the middle axis of the magnifier. However, you would have to be pretty close to see through it.
It will take around maybe 2″ between your eye and the unit. I prefer a lot more of the eye relief. Plus, the magnifier proves to be an added weight to my rifle. It is quite noticeable and shifts the “balance” of my AR, something which I will gradually have to get used to.
- Shooters who are unfamiliar with the platform it’s mounted on
- Precise focusing
- Medium range targeting
Vortex VMX-3T Magnifier with Flip Mount
The third best magnifier review will be from Vortex. This Vortex magnifier is made out of hard-coat-anodized machined-aluminum for increased durabilty. It allows for quick 3x magnification of red dot sights and it is internally nitrogen purged to make it a reliable waterproofing magnifier.
The optics are fully multi-coated for optimal light transmission and the eye relief is around 2.2 inches. It also provides a field of view of about 38.2 feet at 100 yards. The tube size is 30 mm and the length would be 4.3 inches. It weighs around 11.9 ounces.
The best magnifier will work with any red dots. However, it is not recommended to be used with the prism scopes. The push-button design engages and disengages the flip-mount. This allows the magnifier to lock in place.
As a result, 3x magnified or unmagnified views at will. It provides ultimate magnified versatility for any AR-height red dot sight. The magnifier also allows for a lower 1/3 or either an absolute co-witness mounting heights. This is ideal for any shooters who want to increase their effective range.
The optics have multiple anti-reflective coatings on all air-to-glass surfaces. The waterproof O-ring seals feature prevents moisture, dust, and debris from getting inside the tube. This increases the magnifier’s reliable performance in all environments.
The barrels are fogproof and filled with nitrogen gas to prevent internal fogging. It has Matte black finishing with 3 1/4″ eye relief. The magnifier’s performace at the range were exceptional and the scope is of very good quality especially the optical clarity and the eye relief distance.
The Vortex magnifier also included a nicely designed mount that I used on my AR15. However, I mounted it in reverse mode. This is so that the scope swings out to the right and clears out of my left eye vision.
I had no problems with the mounting hardware. The mount is solid and well designed and flipping the scope to the right was simple and easy. I could do it one handed. I even used the shim plate that was included along with this scope and it worked perfectly.
Although the scope does have elevation and windage adjustments on it, it is not related with the accuracy of the scope. The red dot is the accuracy setting. All you need to do is to set the red dot in the center of the scope while making sure that your field of vision is centered around the red dot.
However, there is a nut that is used to tighten the scope onto your rail and the nut is slotted. I would advise you to tighten it by hand. Then get a good wrench or socket to tighten it down. I wouldn’t recommend you to use a screw driver and scratch up the mount.
After around 200 rounds, check it and tighten it again because it can get loose from vibration. Also, the button to flip the mount requires the use of your index fingers instead of your thumb which is a bit harder.
- Waterproof performance
- Shooters who want to increase their effective range
Aimpoint 3XMag Magnifying Module
After Vortex, Aimpoint will be the next best magnifier review. This tactical magnifying module is designed for compatibility with any Aimpoint sights. When the magnifier is combined with Aimpoint’s patented TwistMount, the device offers the ability to rapidly convert from close quarter battle to long-distance or semi-sniping modes of operation.
It can quickly change from non-magnifying to magnifying while at the same time keeping sight on your firearm. It can also be used as handheld magnifying glass monocular as an added feature. It is suitable for discrete observation and identification.
The dimensions are 1.7 by 1.6 by 4.3 inches (W x H x D) and it weighs around 7.1-ounce including the rubber cover. The objective diameter is 20 millimeter.
The product’s warranty includes limited manufacturer’s warranties of two years for your professional or competitive use as well as ten years for any personal or recreational use. It is designed with maximum flexibility for increased performance in the field.
I would recommend the Aimpoint Twist Mount for this 3XMag as it allows for quick attachment and detachment but they are not included. Therefore, you would have to make a separate purchase. The mount will fit any MIL-Std 1913 Picatinny Rail. It could also be mounted with a regular 30 mm ring.
The practical use of fast switching 1X dot to a 3X magnifier is quite helpful for those in urban environment with camouflaged or partially exposed to targets out to around 200 meters. Nonetheless, if you require the speed to rapidly switch from 3x back to a dot, this magnifier is most likely not your ideal choice.
The Aimpoint dot provides quick and accurate target acquisition out to about 200 meters, and it does so perfectly. In my opinion, I don’t see the use of a fancy twisting gadget. In case the target is 300+ meters out and this requires spotting, I would advise you to get for a proper 4X scope.
Now, for the optical datas. The magnifier provides 3X magnification with seven-degree field of view. The exit pupil is seven-millimeter in diameter.
As for the environmental data, it can operate at the temperature range of -50 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit and it submersible up to 67 feet.
The 3x magnification is quite durable while the field of view for anything around 25 yards is too close. I found out that at around 150 yards to 250 yards, it is much more accurate with the magnifier. The image produced is clear and the glass is coated. This is done so for a glare free experience.
The rubber outer coating is ideal for any non-reflective surface. Plus, it’s waterproof. I was surprised though, at the limited eye relief for such an expensive optic. Although, it is certainly bright and there is no distortion, you would really need to get right on it.
- Military personnel
- Sport shooters
- Law enforcement
Mako 7X Magnifier for Red Dot/Reflex Sights
The best magnifier review continues on to Mako. It is rubber armored and has multi-coated lenses for increased light transmission to produce a brighter and clearer image. It is also nitrogen purged to provide a shockproof, waterproof, and fogproof performance.
The 7-power best magnifier could be mounted behind reflex (red-dot) sights. This is to provide magnification whenever needed. It could also transition between no magnification for increased speed in close-range combat to magnification for precision shooting as the situation dictates.
The tube length is 30mm tube and about 5 1/4 inches long. I would like to emphasize that the eye relief is a little shorter than typical full-size optics. The eye relief is approximately 2 inches but that is normal if you consider from a higher magnification scope of this type.
As for the mounts, the mount that was included with it worked fine with MagPul flip up BUIS sights but it was around 1/2″ lower compared to the Holosight. Since the eye relief is short, focus adjustment is tight and the rubber ring could slip.
It is also not possible to “co-witness” iron sights with a magnifier. There is a generic focus adjustment on the magnifier. The mount is where you would do the adjusting. I used a flip-down and vertical adjusting mount.
Although, it doesn’t really magnify out to long distances, it more or less brings it into focus. Bear in mind that clarity and magnification are two separate things. One modification which I feel was slightly missing was that the magnifier does not the ability to angle to center the red dot.
Instead, you will have to align the allen screws perfectly if you want to get it centered but it is just a pain for me. It magnifies great for easy 100 yards targets and it is of very solid quality. It also has a focus ring that works well too and has the perfect amount of resistance.
Also, about the mounts, the detachable mount does not lock down snugly to the mount attached to the rail. Therefore, there was play between the detachable portion with the part that is connected to the rail.
Furthermore, I wish that the scope does come with lens caps. However, on the positive side, it is also slightly smaller and lighter as well. Do make sure that you use blue Loctite on the mounting screws to prevent them from loosening up, and you are good to go.
In order to get a rapid sight picture, you would have to mount it over the charging handle which is quitw problematic. If your eye is not at the right distance, it shrinks the field of view
Overall, if you are looking for the best magnifier to take into combat, I would look into other options such as Aimpoint or Eotech. However, if you are only looking to add some more versatility to your red dot sight, the Mako 7x Magnifier is the perfect choice.
- Waterproof performance
NcStar 3X Magnifier Scope with RB 24 Ring Mount
The optics have prismatic lens in order to produce a clear high definition image quality. It is fully adjustable for elevation and windage if you want to get your Primary optic’s reticle centered in magnifier.
Also, the Quick Focus Ring helps to get your Primary optic’s reticle in focus. The RB24 places the middle of the 3X Magnifier at 11/2″ above the rail which is a popular AR15 Optics height. Although, there is a focus ring on the scope, it is not as crystal clear as I had expected for.
It is a little blurry but still functional. Furthermore, it is a little tough to adjust it in the beginning. I believe the eye relief is about an 1″ away from the eye. On the positive side, it has a very bright view.
The focus works great and you could center the dot within the magnifier. As a side note, you may need to buy a flip to the side mount as the included mount is a simple fixed one. I would like to remind you though that you can’t expect everything from an inexpensive magnifier as this.
The view is optically clear with no distortion and has adjustable optical centering. Nonetheless, it consumes a bit of light and a bit of a tight eye box in my opinion. I would prefer a greater eye relief but it is still plenty usable with a nose to charge handle hold.
The diameter of the magnifier body is 30mm for compatibility with other mounting options. It has excellent light gathering ability to produce a very bright view as I have stated before. Keep in mind that no tools are included so you may need to buy one separately.
The installation was easy and it works best on an even plane. Therefore, measure your attachments and prepare any risers you might need. At the same time, factor it into the cost of having to buy a good ring for it too.
When I used it, I had to adjust the windage to the far left. As a result, there is the black shadow on the right side on the sight picture. It is either the black shadow and center or a no shadow of off-center. I tried rotating in the mount but it proved to be a futile effort.
On top of that, there isn’t any focus adjustments. So far, it’s always been in focus but certain conditions can change that. You would also have to be positioned almost perfectly when you are looking through the scope in order to get the full field of view. Once you find that spot, it wouldn’t be a problem anymore.
Overall, the NcSTAR 3x Magnifier is a top-notch choice to mount your red dot sight on your weapon.
- To produce a bright image
- No distortion
- Adjustable windage and elevation
Primary Arms Red Dot Magnifier Gen IV
The last best magnifier review is from Primary Arms. This is a 3x red dot magnifier which has an adjustable diopter. It also has adjustable elevation and Azimuth. The manufacturer offers 1 year warranty for this product.
The Primary Arms best magnifier is waterproof and fog resistant. Just place the magnifier behind your red dot or either a holographic reflex sight and you could instantly magnify the sight picture at 3x power. The model also has a longer eye relief and a wider field of view to improve clarity as well as to provide an enhanced user experience.
The integrated diopter offers fast focus ability to keep a clear image. Elevation and Azimuth adjustments keep the dot centered in at your field of view. The rubber armored sleeve protects the main body of the optic from any harsh impacts.
The Gen 4 best magnifier has a different body style which makes it more compact. It has a 24mm objective and an eye relief of 2.64″. I would recommend you to use a lower 1/3 riser to get the best alignment. The eye relief is very generous and this allows me for easy target acquisition.
As for the magnifier mount, I would suggest you to use the standard height mount. Although the PA 3x magnifier has a diopter to focus on the red dot, it is not designed to eliminate the effects of astigmatism though.
This may be due to the fact that the way you see the red dot depends on the way your eye is receiving the light. Some people may misunderstand it by thinking the way the light is transmitted through the magnifier is the reason behind it.
It will increase the size of the reticle by three times and will also magnify the slight tail you see. It was designed to have the ocular end (eye piece) about 2.64″ away from the shooter’s eye. This means that by going too far forward, you will mess with your eye relief.
As a result, you will see a half moon shape or black ring. You won’t see your front sight through this magnifier. Even if you do, it will only be so out of focus or either indistinguishable. It won’t be of any use if so.
The lens is clear and decent in low light conditions. However, you can’t expect a glare free experience from this magnifier. If you look through it, it makes it look like as if the light is coming from inside the scope but it’s actually just the glare.
The construction of the magnifier overall is pretty good and black aesthetics of the magnifier looks great. Although this magnifier may not be the ideal choice for those trying to maintain a rifle setup as light as possible, it is still suitable for those who want the option for a magnifier.
- Range use
- Extended eye relief choice
I hope my review has been helpful for you to choose the best red dot magnifier. After all, it is a very important component that gives you the ability to add magnification on red dots when you need them. Now, all you need is a solid hunting/shooting rifle to pair with your magnifier!