The 4 Best M1 Carbine Red Dot Sights – Reviews 2021

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Photo by Spaxspore / CC BY

Getting a red dot sight for your M1 Carbine makes a ton of sense. After all, the M1 served our country well, fighting Nazis across Europe and seeing action in Korea and even Vietnam. The rifle is an iconic American rifle that introduced the idea of a rifle that was smaller, lighter, and easier to use in close quarters. Like a lot of “old school” weapons, it can be improved with modern optics. However, the M1 Carbine may not have designed with an optic in mind but through modern gunsmithing, plenty of means to mount an optic exist. So, without further ado . . .

These are our reviews for the 4 best M1 Carbine red dot sights on the market:

Vortex Optics Crossfire Red Dot Sight

Vortex changed the game by producing low cost but high-quality red dot optics and the Crossfire is no different. This miniature optic sits nice and low and is a perfect fit for the M1 Carbine. The Crossfire comes ready to go with a low and a high mount. With the M1 Carbine, the low mount is perfect. It’s a small and light optic that’s built to be rugged. The Crossfire sports a sharp and clear 2 MOA red dot reticle that allows you to engage targets out to 200-300 yards easily.

The small dot keeps the target from getting obstructed and makes even small targets easy to see. The Crossfire red dot does have 11 different intensity levels that give you both low light shooting ability and Florida-in-August levels of brightness. The Vortex Optics Crossfire red dot is very easy to use and really complements the simplicity of the M1 Carbine platform. The controls are simple, as are your means to make adjustments. It’s perfect for both new and old shooters.

The Crossfire has fully multicoated lenses, is water, shock, and fog proof, as well as built from anodized aluminum. At this price range, it’s a tough optic to beat. The small and light design keeps things quick and simple and well suited for the light and handy carbine, making it among the best M1 Carbine red dot sights around.

Vortex Crossfire Red Dot

SIG Romeo 5 Red Dot Sight

The SIG Romeo 5 (see full specs) is one of Sig’s most successful red dot optics to date. The SIG Sauer brand aims to be a complete systems provider, so an extension into optics made complete sense. Their optics line has exploded in popularity, and the addition of magnified and even thermal optics has occurred. The SIG Romeo 5 line is a small red dot optic that’s affordable, easy to use, and quite capable. Models of it have been adopted and approved for duty use.

The M1 Carbine is a workhorse, and the Romeo 5 is an excellent addition to the old fighting rifle. The dot is a 2 MOA reticle with 10 total brightness settings. There are 8 daylight settings and 2-night vision settings. Night vision options on an optic affordable is a nice touch. The Romeo 5 comes with both a low mount and an AR height riser. The SIG Romeo 5 is IPX-7 rated for complete water immersion up to 1 meter and is purged for fog proof performance.

The Romeo 5 is a very small optic that will function perfectly on both types of M1 optic’s mounts. Its small size and light weight will help keep your already low-profile and lightweight weapon light and handy. The addition of a red dot will make snapshots and long-range shots easy. The SIG Romeo 5 comes from an outstanding company, and its reputation speaks for itself.

Sig Sauer Romeo 5 red dot review: Surprising for a budget optic

Bushnell TRS 25 Red Dot Sight

The Bushnell TRS 25 is probably the most well-known affordable optic on the market. It’s remarkably small but capable and comes in at a killer price. In a world where optics can cost as much as a house’s down payment, it’s nice to see something in this price range that works.

The TRS 25 is backed by Bushnell’s legendary warranty, and overall it’s a great little optic. The 3 MOA reticle is a good compromise between size and speed and the dot itself is easy to see through the amber TRS 25 lenses.

The Bushnell TRS 25 has 11 different settings, and they are all daylight settings. The objective lens is a small 25 MMS, and Bushnell really worked to save space and cut size through the optic’s efficient design. Everything is placed for easy access and in a way to make the optic short and small. Adjustments are easy to make, and the red dot only gets a little too blurry at the highest settings.

The TRS 25 sits nice and low on the rifle and zero additional bulk. The TRS 25 makes it affordable to rapidly transition between targets, to hit targets rapidly, and to stop and take those precision long-range shots. Hands down, this is among the best M1 Carbine red dot sights for the money.

Bushnell TRS-25: High Performance Micro Red Dot

Aimpoint Micro T-2 Red Dot Sight

The Aimpoint Micro T-2 is the latest in miniature tactical optics from Aimpoint. The T-2 designation separates it from the more affordable and less feature-filled H series. This is a serious optic designed for serious use. The T2 series of optics is designed for combat use, so this is the optic to go with if your M1 Carbine is designed for home defense. The M1 Carbine is an old rifle the design is proven and reliable. The old girl has some miles on her, but she has plenty left in front of her too.

The T-2 (see full specs) offers 50,000 hours of constant operation with one battery. This is years of service, and you never have to turn it off. So if something goes bump in the night, you can just grab your rifle and run with it. And if you live underwater and need to defend your kelp-and-shellfish house, the Aimpoint T2 is submersible up to 80 feet so you can accurately blast those fishy home invaders as well.

The Aimpoint T2 is a very capable optic and provides a bright and clear picture. On top of that, the dot is one of the sharpest and most consistent on the market. The Aimpoint Micro T2 weighs 3 ounces, and that’s it. It can mount low or high and is a rugged and dependable optic.

Aimpoint T2 Micro: The Best Red Dot Sight

The Right Red Dot Sight for the Rugged and Reliable M1

The M1 Carbine may be wood and steel, not polymer and aluminum, but it’s still a very capable weapon. Buying the best M1 Carbine a red dot sight is all you really need to make this light and handy rifle a weapon fit for battle. Good luck!

  • Owner of, Boyd Smith is a major handgun enthusiast, and although he owns Glocks, he prefers the revolving wheel type. His go-to guns are a Smith & Wesson 642 Performance Center for carry and a Ruger GP100 in the nightstand biometric safe (he has kids). He loads both revolvers with old-school 148-grain Federal Gold Medal .38 wadcutters. It’s OK if you think he’s a wimp. Email him.

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2 responses

  1. What is an acceptable red dot mount to use in the rear dovetail slot of a M1 carbine?

    • I have a Fulton Armory M1 Carbine with a scout rail, which sits in place of the original hand-guard. I placed an Aimpoint Micro T2 with standard mount on it. Works great! You don’t have to make modifications to your rear sight in case you want to remove the red dot sight to use your original carbine sights. Of course, with the scout rail, you can use whatever red dot sight suits your fancy or pocketbook.

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