How to Sight in a Red Dot Without Shooting

No one wants to ever waste their ammunition. If you could have a more secure chance of hitting your target quickly without running through lots of ammo, you will want to try using the red dot sighting method. The use of red dot sighting is extremely accurate and you are much more likely to aim better when using one.

The most common way to sight in a red dot without shooting is by using a bore sighter. The target should be measured out so that you know the exact distance you will be shooting. You can also use visual sighting by lining up your barrel with the object that you’re shooting at.

Red dot sighting is not the easiest skill to pick up, but it is certainly worth learning! You will not only save your ammo (because you will not actually be firing ammo when lining up your target) but you will also have much more precision and a greater likelihood of hitting your target in the right spot.

Sighting in a Red Dot Without Shooting

You can sight in a red dot without shooting any ammo when you use specific tools to help you see where your target is. The red dot allows you to pinpoint your target and gives you a greater chance of hitting your target in fewer shots.

The whole point of this process is to line up the center of your firearm’s barrel with the sights. You need to point the rifle (or other firearm) towards your target. It is best to do this on a sturdy surface at first so that you can fine-tune the tools on your gun. It is important to make sure that everything is stable so that you can get your crosshairs lined up almost perfectly with your red dot. You will then zero in the gun scope with the target that you have.

It is necessary to make sure that your gun is unloaded when sighting in your red dot without actually shooting anything. You will need your gun chamber to be empty so that you can use the bore sighter tool.

Bore Sighter Tool

This tool points a laser beam directly at your target. This helps you perfect the aim for your target, without shooting. You need to be sure that your gun is secure and still so that you can accurately line up your laser beam to the target. There are actually three types of bore sighter tools:

  • Laser boresighter

This is the most common method of a tool to sight your red dot with. The tool is actually shaped like a bullet. The type of gun you are shooting with will determine the size of your laser bore sighter. You will act like the laser bore sighter is your ammo, because it will be placed in the barrel in the same way. You will then look inside and spot your red dot. Once you spot the dot, you will want to control the red dot with your eye to get it centered with the target that is being emphasized with the laser. This is a very high-tech method of red dot sighting.

You will rotate the crosshairs of the scope until you find that the middle of the red dot is aligned. You can achieve this result by adjusting the knobs that are the scope to properly get everything lined up. After rotating the knobs, you will eventually have your red dot in the center of the laser and your gun will be zeroed in on the target.

  • Optical boresighter

This method is a little more complicated but it works similarly to the laser tool. You will connect the optical to the base of your gun’s barrel and make sure that it is aligned properly. Then you will line up the lens on your gun to the scope. When you focus on your red dot you will be able to line it up with the grid shown through the scope.

A former employee that worked at the gun counter at Sportsman’s Warehouse shared that this was one of the most requested services from customers. He mounted many opticals on guns for the owners. The optical bore sighter was the most popular and classic tool that he noticed people wanted.

  • Visual boresighting

This is simply aiming at your object through the barrel of your rifle. You remove the bolt from your gun and aim your gun at the desired target on a stable table or stand. You will change the position of your barrel until it is lined up with your target.

Perks of Red Dot Sighting

By sighting in with a red dot you will be much more likely to hit your target. They can benefit you when hunting or when you are target shooting. It is a good skill to have.

In simple terms, you get to pinpoint your target, aim and then shoot. Redpoint sighting was designed to make the aiming process easier, simpler, and quicker for the shooter.

You are increasing the speed of aiming at your target. You will spend less time trying to make sure that things are all lined up when you use the red dot sighting tool. This tool has so much potential and it also improves your accuracy.

You do not need to change your focus when looking at the target, viewing the reticle, and making sure that everything is aligned properly. It is not magnified, so you will be even more accurate!

You can shoot with both eyes open when using red dot sighting. This allows you to still be very aware of the environment around you, while still focusing on the target. It also is great for moving targets. You can line things up quickly once you have your red dot sighted for the proper distance.

If you are shooting in a low-light environment, the red dot will be even more beneficial to you! It allows your target object to be spotted even easier than normal.

A company called Aimpoint, founded in Sweden, strives to enhance red dot technology for hunters and other gun professionals. Their website provides detailed information about the red dot tool.

“The single red dot has been proven to be the fastest type of aiming reticle and provides the greatest hit probability on moving targets. Red dot sights allow you to remain focused on the target.”



You will cut your time down significantly when aiming your target with a boresight.

There are many people who enjoy shooting as a hobby, one man from Idaho shared his experiences with red dot sighting. He explained in simple terms, “There are devices called boresights and they look like a bullet that goes into the barrel of the gun. It shoots a laser out and then you can line up your scope/red dot to the right place.”

This method of sighting has helped him successfully hit many of his targets with his red dot handgun. He explained that it’s much easier to get the perfect shot once you get everything lined up with a boresight.

When asked if he could do this without actually firing the handgun he said, “Yes. It’s not always 100% accurate but it works really well.” He noted that when using red dot sighting with a handgun, you can shoot accurately across even longer ranges! This is a nice perk to using the red dot sighting method with a handgun.

Ammo can get pretty pricey, so it is worth the practice of sighting your red tool so that you can save money and precious ammo. You will also develop a strong skillset so that you become quicker at aiming and shooting and lining up your target.

Using a Boresight

One easy way to use a boresight and line things up accurately with your target is by setting up hanging targets about 25-100 yards away from where you will be shooting.

  • You will then chamber your boresight as if you had actual bullets in your gun. (The bolt can be open or closed when doing this, depending on the type of gun that you are using).
  • Aim your gun towards the center of your chosen target.
  • Align your reticle with the laser beam that is shooting out of the gun.
  • You will want to fine-tune things so that your red dot and the laser beam are both aligned with your target.
  • Once you have things properly lined up, you can replace the boresight with your ammo and fire!

How Does it Work?

The red dot is a successful method due to the results of using glass and light. The red dot actually uses a mirror and reflects a LED light, so that you can view the red dot projected onto the target that you’re aiming at.

The LED light is the only thing that reflects off of the mirror, so you can stay very focused on your target. The glass is curved so that the LED light can reflect the reticle. That way you can see the reticle through your object. It not only speeds up the process of aiming but provides you with even more accuracy!

The red dot is great when you are shooting at fairly close distances. They also vary in size, so you could use them on a rifle, handgun, etc. After lots of practice, you will be able to speed up the process of aiming and firing at your target successfully by the use of this incredible technology! You will zero in your gun and line up the red dot to accurately aim at your target.

This video below shows how you can zero on and sight your red dot. You do not need to shoot any ammunition when sighting the red dot. This will not only save you money but time as well. The more that you practice the easier it will come to you and the less time you will have to spend on making sure that your aim is on point.

Tips on shooting with a red dot

  • Make sure to keep your focus on the target. You will want to align things as best you can to ensure the most accuracy when you actually fire your gun.
  • Use a stand, table, or another object that can hold your gun in place. Any movement will throw off your alignment. If you want to get the best shot at your target, the red dot sighting will be most beneficial when it is still.
  • When you keep your focus on the target, you will view the reticle and red dot for the best shot.
  • Make sure that you are within fairly close range when shooting with a red dot. In most cases, you will want to be within a range of 100 yards. Going further might make your actual shot inaccurate.
  • Read the instructions for your red dot! It is important to know the guidelines listed for your specific red dot purchase. Doing so will allow you to be more familiar with its functions.
  • Ensure that you are actually aiming at the red dot. This is the focus and is what will help you get an accurate shot.
  • Make sure to practice! You will get more familiar with your red dot gun as you spend time familiarizing yourself with this method of aiming. With time you can likely gain muscle memory and become even quicker with your red dot sighting.
  • Find out if your red dot has different brightness settings. This will be a game-changer for you if you are shooting in different lighted environments.

Your results will be much more successful when sighting your red dot and using a boresight. These methods not only improve your aim but will save you time and money! You can also save your ammo and increase your chances of hitting the center point of your target. Improve your skills by gaining experience with red dot sighting. It is worth the investment. The technology will only keep going up from here with guns, so learn how to get the best shots now and build up your experience!


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Matthew Osborn

Matt is an entrepreneur who has created and successfully exited multiple companies and brands. Now, he dedicates his time to Legionary, where he produces content on guns, family, and freedom.

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