How To Sight In A Red Dot Scope Without Shooting: Tune Your Red Dots!

Red dot optics are the best for close-range shooting. The sights are quite compact and lightweight. Out of the box, your red dot will have a factory setting that may or may not be viable for you.

While finding the right setting for your scope and gun, you don’t want to waste too much ammo. That’s why, sighting in the red dot without shooting is the best way to do it. How do you do that? Let’s find out.

Sight vs Scope

Before we begin the zeroing process, let’s talk a bit about sight vs scope and which one is better.

Between the two, one is not outright better than the other. Sights are made for close-quarter combat and scopes are made to cover grounds that your naked eye or 1x magnification from sight isn’t enough. Red dot scopes are also quite inexpensive compared to long-range optics.

How To Sight In A Red Dot Scope Without Shooting?

You must understand how a red dot works. The red dot uses reflection on an internal mirror to create a dot reticle in your sight.

To make it function accurately, you will need to line up this reticle with your barrel. It’s always recommended to fire a couple of rounds and see where they land. Judging from that, you can easily zero your sight. But it’s not necessary to zero the red dot using ammo.

Use a Boresighter

The best way of sighting a red dot without firing is by using third-party tools. There is a tool called boresighter. There are quite a few types of boresighter available. For beginner shooters, you can use a laser boresighter.

The laser boresighter comes with a set of tools that is made to fit in your gun barrel and direct a laser on the target. Once you install the boresighter on your barrel use the laser as your bullet and start making small adjustments to your sight. Once you are fully satisfied with the result, take out the boresighter shoot a couple of rounds, and see if your zero is perfect or not. If it wasn’t, do the same steps again.

Now, if you are using a bolt-action rifle, you can easily remove the bolt and try visual boresighting. It’s an older method of zeroing your sight picture. Visual boresighting functions the same as laser boresight.

If you are not satisfied with the laser boresighter and want something more advanced, then you can opt for the optical boresighter. This uses an etched grid on a lens that you will need to attach to your gun barrel. Once you install it the right way, you now can proceed to sight in your red dot through the center point of the lens.

Balancing Act

You thought you were done already? Well, you are not. To make sure you can line up your shot, you will need to be able to gauge the distance with your eyes open. Yes, both eyes. This is what the balancing act means.

It’s easier for an experienced shooter but if you are a beginner, you don’t need to be disheartened. Being able to perform the balancing act is crucial to zeroing your sight.

What About The Distance?

You will need to do a range test to find out if the zero of your sight is proper or not. Red dot sights are made for 25 yards and similar. But for anything longer than that, you will need to bring out the math.

Most veteran shooters use 100 yards as their reference target. Because one click of adjustment in a red dot scope is around 100 yards.


Can you sight in a red dot without shooting?

Yes, sir. You definitely can. Thus this article. Using a boresighter is the easiest way to sight in your optic.

Do red dot sights turn on automatically?

Not all of them. There is a sensor called MOTAC that senses movement on the gun and turns on the illumination of the optic. And when it senses there isn’t any movement going on for 5 minutes, it turns off to conserve battery. But most traditional red dot optics don’t have any motion-activated sensors, on them, you will need to use the regular turn-on or off button.


And that’s about it folks. See, how easy it was to sight in your red dot scope without shooting. Sure, shooting is the more accurate and money-saving way. But for folks who just don’t want to go that route, boresighters are amazing little products.

That’s all for now. Thanks for coming by and hanging around with me. Hope you found something useful from this guide. Hope to see you at the next one soon. See ya.

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