How to Zero a Red Dot Scope [A Complete Guide]

Today, we are going to reply to one of the most frequently asked questions about red dot sights “ how to zero a red dot scope.” We will include all the necessary information in this article that you need to zero your brand new red dot scope.

We all want to be as close to the bullseye as possible because accurate shooting is the main objective of using sights and scopes. Zeroing a red dot sight is not much different than a regular scope. Whether the scope is on a handgun, rifle, or shotgun, the process of zeroing is still the same.

First of all, this article is not for individuals who have a lot of experience and are professionals in zeroing the red dot. We are talking to those individuals who just either get their first rifle, first firearm, or first red dot. And want to know how to zero a red dot scope. Before we get started, We want to talk about the principle that is called MOA (Minute Of Angle).

So, What is MOA? MOA is just a unit of measurement. 1 MOA equals 1 inch of adjustments at 100 yards. And 1 MOA (Minute Of Angle) at 50 yards equals to ½ inch of adjustments.

We are talking about MOA because the unit of the Windage and Elevation adjustment is MOA. You can see, on your windage/elevation adjustments or in the instructions manual, the per-click value of the adjustments. Usually, it is 1 MOA per click.

Mount your Red Dot Scope

Most of the firearm models come with built-in red dot mounts. These models tend to fit several red dots. If your gun has no red dot mount, then don’t worry. The market is full of manufacturers who offer mounts for almost all types of guns. Sometimes, the red dot scope package includes a mount in it.

Here is how to mount a red dot sight on any rifle in 3 easy steps.

  1. Use thread locker on screws, it keeps your screws nice and snug.
  2. Place the red dot scope on the forward end of your rifle top rail.
  3. Push the optic forward and tighten it down.

Now your red dot is ready.

Place your Rifle on Solid Rest

The key to zero-in red dot is eliminating movement in the rifle while you’re performing the task. You need a proper rear and front rest for optimum stability. There is a number of good ways to do that. You can use sandbags or an especially designed sturdy steel frame that gives a solid platform for zero-in your red dot scope. Place your rifle on proper solid rest and center the red dot on the target.

Set a target at Certain Distance

When we say zero, it means nothing more than taking the point of aim inside the red dot and making a match with the point of impact down range at a certain distance. The distance is important in zeroing the red dot.

For example, we like to zero the rifle at 100 yards and you might choose to zero your rifle at 200 yards. If we both shoot our zero rifles at a 100-yard target then our impact will be different. But that’s ok, It does not mean that your rifle is not zeroed. It means your rifle is zeroed at 200 yards.

Now, once we have that setup then we can use it as a baseline in the future to make adjustments at certain distances. The target distance may vary for different types of weapons. We generally set a target at 25 yards or 50 yards to make sure at least close enough on paper.

Fire 3 Shots

The aiming tip for anyone who is a beginner is that aim for a small area on your target if you can. For example, don’t aim at the big diamond on the printed target, aim at one of the corners of it.

First of all, load your weapon and position yourself to hit the target. You will have to shoot at least 3 shots to see the grouping. The grouping of the shots on the target helps in making adjustments for zeroing your red dot scope.

Make adjustments to the Red Dot sight

If the rounds that were fired land somewhere on the target, away from the aim point then you can bring the point of impact to the area that you are aiming at. As we know, usually MOA equals 1 inch of adjustments at 100 yards.

On your red dot, you will see an up arrow on the elevation knob, and a right arrow on the windage knob. If your point of impact is 4 inches below and 5 inches on the left side. So you will have to click the elevation turret 4 times and the windage turret 5 times to bring the red dot to the exact point of aim.

Fire More Shots   

Now fire 3 more shots to see if you are on the aiming point or not. You may not be exactly perfectly on the aiming point but you will be damn close. Make any adjustments if it is needed.


We hope that our step-by-step guide about how to zero a red dot scope will help you in zeroing your red dot. It not only enables you to zero your red dot scope quickly and easily but also, allows you to tell your friends in detail about how to zero a red dot scope. If you have any suggestions about how to zero a red dot scope guide, please let us know in the comment box.