March 16, 2023
Shooter with a Vortex® Defender-CCW® red dot mounted on a pistol

Pistol dots are offered in 3 MOA and 6 MOA configurations. But which one is right for you?

Whether you’re new to red dots on pistols, or you’ve been enjoying the accuracy and rapid target acquisition they offer for year, one of the first choices you have to make before getting your next dot is dot size. (Still on the fence about putting a dot on your pistol? Check out this blog for all the reasons you should do it.)

And while there are a variety of sizes available, two of the most popular are 3 MOA and 6 MOA. Here’s how to choose between the two and get yourself a dot that helps you become a more confident shooter.

3 MOA vs 6 MOA Red Dot Graphic

Size Matters

Before we get into the pros and cons of 3 MOA vs. 6 MOA, let’s make sure we’re on the same page about what dot size really means. When we say, “3 MOA dot,” MOA refers to Minute of Angle, which is a ranging term used to describe the size of an object at a known distance. To make it simpler, 1 MOA is about 1 inch at 100 yards. Knowing that, a 3 MOA dot will appear approximately 3 inches in size at 100 yards.

Graphic showing the difference in size of a 3 moa & 6 moa red dot on targets

As the illustration above shows, a 6 MOA dot is larger, and will cover more of your target. But what does that mean for you?

Pros and Cons of 3 MOA vs 6 MOA Red Dots

Still not sure which dot is right for you? Here’s an application breakdown by size.

3 MOA Dot

  • Capable of more precise shooting, especially at distance
  • Dot blocks less of your target for superior accuracy at distance

6 MOA Dot

  • Larger dot is easier for your eye to pick up when moving quickly
  • Easier to pick up during recoil cycle for faster follow up shots

Making Your Choice

It really comes down to one big question: How precise do you need to be as a shooter? If you’re competing as well as carrying, a 3 MOA dot can give you the more precise point of aim you need to score well past 20 yards.

Image and quote by Chris Urrutia, Firearms Instructor and Range Officer at Vortex Edge

However, if your red dot will be on a carry weapon, we know most self-defense shooting happens inside of 10 yards. A dot that is simpler to pick up and easier to follow through recoil might be your best choice.

As always, try to shoot a dot of each size so you can experience the differences for yourself.

Looking for tips on how to make the move from iron sights to a red dot? Check out this blog. Want to build your self defense skills at home? Here’s three dry fire drills you can work on.

It’s our hope you can learn and laugh along with the expert voices we feature on this blog. We want to be clear that the opinions you see featured here are just that: opinions. The content belongs to the authors and is not necessarily the opinion of Vortex Optics.

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