The 3 Best Red Dot Magnifier [2020 Update]

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Today I’m going to show you the best red dot magnifier.

In fact:

I’ve hand- tested over 10 magnifiers alone for this review.

The best part?

I’ve sorted the magnifiers by use. So whether you’re on a budget or need the best red dot magnifier for ar15, you’ll find it here.

The 3 Best Red Dot Magnifier

If you’re pressed on time, here’s a quick list of the best red dot magnifiers:

  1. Vortex Micro 3x: Best AR-15 Red Dot Magnifier
  2. EOTECH EXPS2-2 with G33 Magnifier: Best Red Dot and Magnifier Combo
  3. UTG 3X Magnifier: Best for the Budget

1. Vortex Micro 3x: Best AR-15 Red Dot Magnifier

There are times when I’m shooting that I don’t need a huge magnifier with a ton of features.

Sometimes all I need is the perfect fixed magnifier for the job.

When I’m using my Vortex Optics SPARC Red Dot Sight, I need a small magnifier to sit behind it to make the best shot.

Sale
Vortex Optics SPARC Red Dot Sight Gen II - 2 MOA Dot , BLACK
787 Reviews
Vortex Optics SPARC Red Dot Sight Gen II - 2 MOA Dot , BLACK
  • The updated SPARC features rugged construction that’s still compact, with a lightweight form-factor. The 2 MOA dot is as easy as point and shoot - it’s quick to acquire in close-quarters, but fine...
  • With up to 700 hours of battery life on the highest setting, 50, 000 hour on its lowest, and night-vision compatibility at the lowest two settings, the SPARC red dot will keep working in a variety of...
  • Increased light transmission with multiple anti-reflective coatings on all air-to-glass surfaces. Unlimited eye relief for rapid target acquisition. 12 illumination settings allows shooters to change...

Usually the best magnifiers are huge and take up more space than necessary.

That’s where the Vortex Micro 3x comes in.

At a great price, it’s ultra compact, lightweight, and can be used with any holographic or red dot sight. In fact, this is hands down the best red dot magnifier for AR-15.

Keep reading and I’ll tell exactly why you need this magnifier.


Glass Clarity & Magnification

This is a fixed magnifier, so 3x is what you get.

Combined with the 22mm objective lens, it’s perfect for close to mid-range shooting.

This thing is crisp. We’re talking crystal clear.

It’s got a fully multi-coated lens and anti-reflective coatings on its glass.

There’s almost no glare when I’m shooting and its clarity is incredibly helpful when zeroing my red dot sight.

I did have some issues with parallax at first but I was able to adjust and mitigate that.

It comes with a rubber lens cover and lens cloth. You should utilize those to keep your glass safe and clean.


Eye Relief & Weight

The eye relief is really cramped at just 2.64”.

It fits beautifully behind my red dot sight, but there are definitely times when I wish I had more room.

Despite that I really appreciate how light and compact this magnifier is.

At only 9.5oz it’s a lot smaller than many others on the market.

I don’t even notice any of the added weight when i put it on my rifle.

Then there’s the fact that it works with any holographic or red dot sight which is a huge plus in my book.


Durability & Turrets

For how small it is this thing is surprisingly durable.

It’s nitrogen purged as well as shock, water, fogproof.

The high quality aluminum it’s made from makes it tough and it’s withstood everything I’ve thrown at it with hardly a scratch to show for it.

The elevation and windage knobs are easy to manipulate and click audibly.

I was able to make all of the little adjustments that I needed and within a few shots had my sight perfectly zeroed.


Mounting & Rings

It’s got an adjustable and ambidextrous flip mount which makes it usable by everyone.

It’s incredibly easy to flip on and off for when you need the magnification and when you don’t.

Then there’s the quick release feature to quickly attach and detach it from your rail.

That’s a huge time saver when you’re switching rifles and it’s one of my favorite features.


Is the Vortex MIcro 3x worth it?

If you’re looking for a fixed magnifier for your red dot or holographic sight then this one can’t be beaten for the price.

Let’s review the features:

  • Super lightweight
  • Fixed 3x magnification
  • Nitrogen purged to keep moisture out
  • Adjustable and ambidextrous flip mount
  • Shock, water, fogproof for added durability
  • Extreme clarity with multi-coated glass lens

It’s also backed by Vortex’s incredible unconditional warranty. Go check out the Vortex Micro 3x for yourself.

Sale
Vortex Optics Micro 3X Red Dot Sight Magnifier with Quick-Release Mount, Black
  • The Micro 3x Magnifier adds next level 3x magnification to your rifle's red dot or holographic sight in an ultra compact, lightweight, and optically crisp package. The V3XM weighs in at only 6. 9 oz...
  • Anti-reflective coatings on all air-to-glass surfaces provide increased light transmission for greater clarity and low-light performance. The V3XM offers a wider field of view, better eye relief, a...
  • Integrated quick-release mount allows fast attach/detach from your rail and a patented camlock desing quickly engages/disengages magnifier with direct pressure. Adjustable flip mount allows for right...

If you need a scope for your AR-15, I highly recommend checking out my AR-15 optic guide.


2. EOTECH EXPS2-2 with G33 Magnifier: Best Red Dot and Magnifier Combo

The EOTECH EXPS2-2 with G33 Magnifier is one of the best EOTECH sights I have purchased and I have to say:

Don’t let the high price tag sway you. This sight is by far the best combination I have ever used in my long history of firearms.

This setup has made my combat AR into the absolute workhorse it is today.

Here’s why the EOTECH EXPS2-2 with G33 Magnifier will make you just as happy as it makes me…


Clarity & Reticle

The clarity on the EOTECH EXPS2-2 with G33 Magnifier is very high quality. Whether looking through the holographic or the red dot with magnifier combo, my vision has been pristine.

This is something I have come to expect from EOTECH and they have never let me down.

The combination of great clarity and increased magnification makes this setup a no brainer.

The reticle is a 68 MOA Ring and (2) 1 MOA Dot Reticle. This is not my first time using this reticle and it is easily one of my favorites.

In addition, the reticle has fantastic brightness in both day and low light conditions.

The EOTECH EXPS2-2 with G33 Magnifier is a great option as an assault or combat rifle optic.


Durability

As an assault or combat rifle optic, this sight exceeded all my expectations in the durability department.

My firearms are expected to work no matter what kind of conditions they are put through.

My AR takes an especially hard beating and the EOTECH EXPS2-2 with G33 Magnifier has rolled with the punches.

The durability of this sight provides me with great comfort if I ever needed to protect myself with my AR.

With the high end reticle brightness and ease of use, I have been considering ordering another one of these setups to use for my home defense AR.


Magnification

The EOTECH EXPS2-2 with G33 Magnifier setup allows you to swap between 1X and 3X magnification.

This is a perfect setup for my AR usage. I have never been a fan of long distance shooting.

Probably because of my subpar accuracy, but we’ll move past that!

I predominantly keep my AR shooting within 100 yards and the 3X is more than enough for this.

In addition, I love the ability to go right back to 1X and have a fantastic red dot for up close shooting.


Turrets

The turrets on the EOTECH EXPS2-2 have been a joy to use. They have a satisfactory adjustment and click.

Each click has a value of 0.5 MOA which is perfect for my purposes.

The sight combination came practically zeroed out of the box at 100 yards and only took a few minor adjustments.

To date, the sight has not lost a zero and I am using the EOTECH EXPS2-2 with the G33 Magnifier constantly. It comes to the range with me everytime I go.


Mounting

The EOTECH EXPS2-2 with G33 Magnifier comes with a quick detach mount that fits 1” Weaver and Mil-STD 1913 Rails.

Usually I always buy my own mounts; however, I chose to give this one a try and I have loved it so far.

I do not use the quick detach feature as much as I originally thought, but the mount is so sturdy and easy to use I don’t think I will be replacing it anytime soon.


Is the EOTECH EXPS2-2 with G33 Magnifier worth it?

The EOTECH EXPS2-2 with G33 Magnifier is one of the more expensive sight setups I have purchased, but I must say I felt every penny was worth it.

Here’s why:

  • Reticle
  • Durability
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Magnification Versatility

In Short: The EOTECH EXPS2-2 with G33 Magnifier is a high quality setup that has reinvigorated my love for an old AR that didn’t get the use it deserved. The sight combo screams quality and is the best combat AR sight I have ever used.

EOTECH HHS II Holographic Hybrid Sight - EXPS2-2 with G33 Magnifier
  • EOTECH HHS II - Holographic Hybrid Sight includes EXPS2-2 sight with G33 Magnifier
  • Quick Transitions - Change quickly from close quarter to medium range targets with the included G33 Magnifier and Switch-to-Side mount
  • Mount - Quick Detach lever fits 1" Weaver and MIL-STD 1913 Rails

3. UTG 3X Magnifier: Best for the Budget

The UTG 3x Magnifier is the best budget red dot magnifier.

I own a wide variety of red dot and reflex sights that I use for hunting and target firing. As wonderful as these optics are, the lack of magnification limited me to short-range shooting.

So, I bought and hand-tested a few magnifiers, including the Leapers UTG 3x, which I found was the most affordable option.

I’ll be going over its pros and cons so that by the end of this review, you’ll know if the UTG 3X Magnifier is for you.

Let’s get started!


Lens Quality

The lens on the Leapers UTG 3x is crystal clear. It doesn’t make the red dot appear to be a giant blob.

This magnifier is designed with broadband, multi-coated lenses to provide clarity and maximum light transmission. Sadly, this wasn’t always the case.

I had a difficult time using the UTG 3x in low light conditions. It isn’t ideal for hunting at dusk or dawn, but for $80, I’m willing to disregard this setback.

It features a tailorable eyepiece diopter. If you have old eyes or impaired vision, you can personally adjust it to where it focuses easier for you.


Eye Relief & Eye Box

The eye relief on the UTG 3x is its most significant disadvantage, in my opinion.

The magnifier is listed and advertised with 2 inches of eye relief, which for a fast targeting system is already low to begin with. However, the eye relief on the unit I received was closer to .75-1 inch.

Also, when I was using it in front of a rear BUIS on an AR, I had to move my cheek weld forward a bit. If you’re placing it in the second most rear slot, it’ll work fine.

The UTG 3x features a 30% wider field of view compared to other brands. Unfortunately, you can’t take full advantage of this field of view because the lens’ edges have a fishbowl effect.


Durability and Weight

Surprisingly, the UTG 3x is lightweight yet remarkably durable.

I expected to get a relatively low-quality magnifier for the price point, but I was wrong. I was impressed by its ability to withstand the heavy recoil of the .243 Winchester.

The UTG 3x is constructed using precision machining and anodizing. It’s also completely sealed and nitrogen filled to ensure maximum strength and protection from the elements.


Elevation & Windage Knobs

The UTG offers adjustable windage and elevation for optimum view centering.

Out of the box, the windage and elevation adjustments were miscalibrated. I centered on my red dot at the very end of the adjustable range for both the elevation and windage screws, which left me no extra room to spare.


Magnification

The UTG 3x sports a flip-to-side mechanism that allows you to switch between 1x and 3x magnification quickly.

The 3X magnification allowed me to shoot and hunt mid-range targets excellently.


Mounting

The UTG magnifier has a built-in quick-detach mount base that works decently. You flip the magnifier to the side by pulling it back to clear a locking lug before flipping it over.

Unfortunately, it is extremely stiff and requires incredible amounts of force to engage the locks.

The center of the magnifier is 42mm tall, and it lines up well with my Aimpoint Pro. If you’re unsure about the UTG Magnifier’s compatibility with your red dot, measure the sight from the base to the middle of the glass, approximately where you think the red dot is. If that number is 42mm, it should work.

If you have an absolute co-witness red dot sight, the UTG 3x maybe a little obnoxious as it can sit higher than your sight.

However, you can buy a riser for your specific red dot sight, like the UTG Hi-Profile Compact Riser Mount, 1″ High:

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UTG Hi-Profile Compact Riser Mount, 1' High, 3 Slots , Black
2,317 Reviews
UTG Hi-Profile Compact Riser Mount, 1" High, 3 Slots , Black
  • New Gen. Riser Mount for Rifles with Picatinny/Weaver Rail
  • 1.6" Long Picatinny Rail with 3 Slots
  • Side Plate with Spring Tension for Quick Easy Installation

Another option is to buy an optic that has a lower ⅓ co-witness if you’re going to use the UTG 3x magnifier. Either way, it’s an easy solution.


Is the Leapers UTG 3X worth it?

If you don’t want to dump dollars into expensive optics or simply want to test out the idea of a magnifier, the Leapers UTG 3X is a great option to use with your red dot sight.

It may not be the highest quality, but it gets the job done.

Here’s a recap…

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Great mount quality for the price
  • Fogproof and weatherproof

Cons

  • Short eye relief
  • Mediocre optical quality
  • You can damage the mount by being careless

All in all, the Leapers UTG 3X is the best budget red dot magnifier. It’s not a Vortex, but then again, it’s a fraction of the cost.

Sale
UTG 3X Magnifier with Flip-to-side QD Mount, W/E Adjustable , Black
3,522 Reviews
UTG 3X Magnifier with Flip-to-side QD Mount, W/E Adjustable , Black
  • Broadband Multi-coated Lens to Provide Crystal Clear 3X Image, Wide Field of View - 30% Bigger Than Comparable Models from Other Brands.Compatible Rail-Picatinny/Weaver.
  • Windage/Elevation Adjustability for Optimum View Centering. Refer user manual for list of compatible manuals
  • 42mm Center Height for Most Common Dot Sight Combination, Innovative Flip-to-Side Mechanism for Quick Transition between 1X and 3X Image.Objective Diameter:25mm;Field of View @ 100 yards:45'

Now It’s Your Turn

I hope you enjoyed my best red dot magnifier guide.

Now I want to turn it over to you:

Which magnifier will you pick for your rifle?

Let me know by leaving a quick comment down below.

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