Troubleshooting Red Dots
What does it mean if the dot is not a dot?
If the dot in your optic doesn’t look perfectly round, the distortion may be caused by the way your eye is perceiving the reflection of the LED inside the red dot, making it appear misshapen. This is called astigmatism. Most everyone has some degree of natural astigmatism. Here are a few ways you can tell if the distortion is caused by your eye or if there is a problem with the optic:
- Take a photo of the dot with your phone. Face the optic towards a plain, dark background. Set the illumination at a reasonable intensity level for the environment (i.e. if you are indoors, don’t set it at the highest magnification as the dot may begin to bleed from being too bright for ambient light). Take a photo and compare what the camera is seeing to what your eye is seeing. If the shape is the same, then there may be a problem with your red dot.
- Look through the dot with both eyes. If the dot changes shape from one eye to the other, the misshapen dot is likely caused by astigmatism.
- Look through the red dot and rotate the scope on its optical axis. If the irregular shape maintains its position, it’s likely how your eyes are seeing the dot. If the irregular shape of the dot rotates with the optic, there may be a problem with the optic.
Note: The appearance of a starburst can be caused simply by having the brightness intensity too high for the environment. Turning the brightness up to the maximum brightness indoors or in low light is very likely to cause the dot or reticle to bleed or look like a starburst, regardless of whether or not you have an astigmatism and it is not recommended. Turning down the brightness in many cases will help the dot look crisper while still maintaining quick acquisition.
Why won't my red dot turn on?
- Try changing the battery first
- If you've replaced the battery, make sure it is properly installed with the battery cap fully seated.
- If your unit still doesn't come on, it is possible that you are in night vision setting.
- Try increasing the dot intensity until the dot becomes visible in normal conditions.
- If you still don't see a dot or reticle, the unit may be defective and should be sent in for warranty service.
Why won't my red dot turn off?
- Red dots with digital button controls require the off button to be depressed for 5 seconds to turn the unit off.
- If your red dot won’t turn off after depressing the off button, or begins shorting out, change the battery.
- If your unit won’t turn off at this point, it may be defective and should be sent in for warranty service.
Why doesn’t my dot look bright anymore, even on maximum brightness?
- Batteries naturally put out less power as they drain. The closer your battery gets to dying, the dimmer the dot will appear even when on maximum brightness.
- Change to a new battery and check to ensure the dot is at a normal brightness level.
- If your dot still appears much dimmer than normal, it may be defective and should be sent in for warranty service.
Why does the dot appear much bigger than it’s supposed to?
- If you’re in a relatively low-lit area or indoors, try turning down the brightness to a more appropriate level for the ambient light.
- Focus on the target rather than looking at the dot and keep both eyes open.
- If you happen to be looking through the optic with the objective lens cover on, this will also make the dot seem larger than normal.
- With the dot at an appropriate illumination intensity and any objective cover removed, does the dot appear as it should? If not, feel free to send it in for warranty service and evaluation.
What does it mean if the dot is a cluster of dots, not one dot?
Sometimes, when we look at the dot long enough, our brains will begin to adjust for what we are seeing and actually separate the dot into pixels. This is particularly obvious if looking through the red dot if any kind of objective lens cover is in place. Rest your eyes for a moment, then look through the scope with the objective flip-cap open, as if you are using it on your gun. Does this make the dot appear as it should? If not, feel free to send it in for warranty service and evaluation.
Why is there a halo around my red dot?
Decrease the intensity of the illumination to a more appropriate level for your ambient light. If you are indoors or in relatively low light, having the dot on maximum brightness will almost surely cause this halo effect. If this still does not correct the issue, feel free to send it in for warranty service and evaluation.
Why won’t my red dot hold zero?
SPARC and SPARC II – Check to ensure that the screws attaching the mount to the red dot unit itself are the correct length. There is a long set of screws for use with the lower 1/3 co-witness shim and a short set of screws for use without the shim.
Other red dots – Check to ensure the screws attaching the mount to the optic itself are tight. Also check to ensure the cross bolt attaching the mount to the receiver of your rifle is secure. If the cross bolt attaching the mount to the receiver of your rifle was not indexed forward toward the end of the barrel against the rail lug when tightening, it could also be possible that it is slipping slightly under recoil.
If these do not solve the issue, feel free to send it in for warranty service and evaluation.
Why is my red dot flickering?
This is normally caused by a poor battery connection and can be fixed simply by tightening the battery cap until is fully and completely seated. You will encounter resistance before the cap is fully seated as the rubber O-ring begins to compress. This is OK and is actually part of the water-proofing of your red dot.
Viper red dot – The Viper red dot has a bottom load battery and thus does not have a battery cap to tighten down further for a better connection. If you are mounting the Viper to a pistol with a cut out slide, it’s possible the recoil lugs at the corners are too tall and pushing the Viper red dot up slightly, even when the screws are tightening it securely to the pistol. This will cause the battery to rattle as it is not fully seated against the pistol slide and will cause the dot to flicker. Taking a small sanding file to those recoil lugs can solve this problem or “shimming” underneath the battery with some electrical tape.
If these do not solve the problem, feel free to send it in for warranty evaluation and service.
My UH-1’s reticle looks pixelated.
By nature of holographic sight technology and the method of which the hologram is created, all holographic sights’ reticles will appear slightly pixelated. As is the case with red dots, prism scopes and other illuminated optics, if your illumination intensity is too high for the ambient lighting conditions, it will make the reticle appear worse. If you’ve turned your illumination intensity to a more appropriate level for the ambient lighting conditions and still feel it is excessively pixelated or blurry, please feel free to send it in for warranty service and evaluation.