How to Mount a Red Dot on a Rifle?

April 15, 2024 3 min read

Several questions you need to figure out when picking a mount to install a red dot on your rifle. What is your red dot footprint? What is your rifle mount rail? What is your rifle type? What is the cheek weld height? How many optics do you have? What is your personal viewing preference?

This article may refer other websites or brands for clarification and instruction.

Similar installment logic as the pistol, firstly you need to consider two sides of the mount. The upper side of mount should align with the footprint and the bottom side should match with your rifle mount rail.

Is it weaver rail mount or picatinny rail mount or dovetail rail mount?
Weaver and picatinny have parallel rails and slots perpendicular to these rails, while the slot size and space between slots are different.

Picatinny rail has the same slot size with even space between slots. Weaver rail has smaller slots and uneven spacing between them compared to Picatinny rails. It's kind of rare to see a recent rifle with a weaver mount rail. The things fit for weaver will fit picatinny, while not vice versa. The most significant distinction between dovetail and Picatinny rails lies in their width. Picatinny rails are 21mm wide, whereas dovetail rail typically is 11mm wide. There are other sizes available, such as 3/8 inches wide.

Let's proceed to the next step.

What shape of mount base do you need?
Usually red dot sellers will provide a mount base along with the red dot, and in most case, the base was designed for picatinny rail. If the mount base doesn't meet your personal requirement or preference, you will need to find a new suitable mount base.

Before explaining different kinds of mount bases, let's introduce an adapter (call it a converter for clarity). This adapter facilitates the transition from a dovetail on the rifle to a weaver under the mount base. If your rifle features a dovetail rail but the mount base is intended for a weaver rail, this adapter becomes essential. But, that's just in some rare situation.

Usually, you can find a base mount for dovetail rail. We offer a low base mount for dovetail rail, SCFRM-04, to fulfill your needs.

Getting back on track, when picking a mount base, you need to consider the bottom side, aligning with your rifle's rail, and the upper side, featuring your red dot's footprint. 

We have provided some pictures above to show various kinds of mounts. They are named differently based on their shape and height.

What height and what shape do you need? Let's see the pictures below.

You need to evaluate the vertical difference between the rifle stock (where your cheek rests) and the upper side of the rifle to determine the mount base you need.

Cheek weld means the contact of your cheek and gun stock. Cheek weld height means the vertical difference between your gun stock and the upper side of the gun.

The height varies depending on the type of gun. If the height is sufficient for you, a low mount base or an extreme low mount base will suffice to position your red dot and ensure proper cheek height. If the height is insufficient, you'll require a mount riser to gain the necessary cheek height.

That means your head is erect and you can look straight to the optics. Your position should be comfortable and natural.

Bolt action rifle with low weaver mount and red dot

AR with riser mount and red dot

Shotgun with low mount and open sight

Where to position your red dot?
Except the cheek weld height, there are other factors to consider such as eye relief, field of view, and personal viewing preferences, especially when dealing with multiple scopes.

There are three other types of mounts designed for specific situations: offset mount, cantilever mount (sometimes referred to as offset mount), and top ring mount. We'll keep it brief for now and provide detailed explanations in our upcoming blog posts.

A cantilever (offset) mount may provide a better eye relief and field of view.
An angled offset mount enables rapid transition from other optics to red dot sight. Different degrees of offset mounts offers flexibility to choose according to your individual needs and preferences. Usually it would be installed behind the prism, riflescope.
A top ring mount serves as another tool for transitioning between the riflescope and the red dot sight. It should be installed on the top of the riflescope.

Angled Offset mount

Top ring mount


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