Crimson Trace Red Dot RAD Series – Worth buying?

  • By: Michaela King

The use of pistol red dot sights has seen an exponential increase in popularity in recent years, leading to more and more handgun models coming equipped with optic-cut slides or being offered with them as an option. In response to this trend, Crimson Trace introduced their RAD (rapid aiming dot) series, a lineup of 10 sights suitable for a variety of firearms, including micro-compacts, rifles, and shotguns.

History of Crimson Trace

Crimson Trace was founded in 1994 by Lew Danielson and Aaron Moore to provide handgun owners with laser sighting and tactical lighting solutions. The company was the first to introduce laser sights to the civilian market, making them available to the public in 1996. Crimson Trace has since developed a wide range of laser sighting and tactical lighting products for handguns, rifles, and shotguns, as well as products for the military, law enforcement, and personal defense. Today, Crimson Trace is a leading innovator in laser sighting and tactical lighting products, with its products found in more than 65 countries around the world.

Crimson Trace RAD Pro


  • Designed for compact and subcompact firearms
  • Battery life: 10,000 hours (1+ years)
  • Bottom accessible battery compartment
  • Aerospace grade aluminum construction
  • Industry standard mounting interface
  • Ambient light sensor
  • Shake to Wake sensor
  • Included low M1913 picatinny mount
Meet the CT RAD Micro

Of the three full-size options available, the RAD Pro stands out as the premium choice for shooters looking to mount it on a range of guns. It comes with a low profile mount for ARs and other Picatinny rail-equipped guns, and the CR2016 battery can be easily accessed from the top side of the sight, eliminating the need to re-zero after changing it. The RAD Pro also boasts an ambient light sensor that adjusts the dot brightness for a clearly visible aiming point in any lighting condition. With a 20,000 hour battery life, shake-to-wake feature, and IPX7 waterproof rating, the RAD Pro is a reliable and durable sight for any shooter.

The best thing about Crimson Tide RAD Pro is its versatility. It is designed to be used with both shotguns and rifles and can accommodate a wide range of ammunition types, from light birdshot to heavy magnum rounds. Additionally, its ergonomic design makes it comfortable to use and its adjustable length of pull allows it to fit any shooter. Finally, its recoil reducing technology helps to minimize felt recoil, making shooting more enjoyable.

One feature of the RAD Pro that may not get much mention is the split brightness adjustments, with + on the left side and – on the right. This arrangement makes it easy to quickly adjust the brightness on the fly, as you know that brighter is on the left and dimmer is on the right. This is a simple but effective design that can save time and frustration when using the sight in different lighting conditions.

In addition to its practical features, the RAD Pro has also proven to be reliable in a variety of weather and lighting conditions, from 90+ degree heat to freezing cold, and even held its zero after being sprayed with water and knocked around. It is also resistant to fogging, with the only instance of it occurring being a small amount of moisture on the lens when going from an air-conditioned car to a hot, humid outdoor range. Even in this instance, the sight picture remained more than usable.

While it may take some training and practice to fully utilize a pistol red dot sight, the benefits are undeniable. They allow for faster and more accurate target acquisition, which can be crucial in competition and personal defense situations. If you’ve decided that a pistol red dot sight is the right choice for you, the Crimson Trace RAD Pro is a top contender for its feature set, price point, and performance.

Crimson Trace red dot RADs are compatible with many brands including Glock, Smith & Wesson, Ruger, Springfield Armory, Beretta, and many more.

It’s worth noting that the RAD Pro is not the only option available in the RAD series. The RAD is a more budget-friendly choice, sacrificing features such as topside battery access, ambient light adjustment, auto-off, and shake-to-wake in exchange for a lower price point (about $50 less than the RAD Pro). The RAD Max Pro is the largest option and is better suited for use on ARs, pistol caliber carbines, and shotguns. There is also a RAD Pro with a green dot available for an additional $25.

However, there are some drawbacks of the Crimson Trace Red Dot Sight including its lack of magnification, lack of night vision capability, and the size of the red dot, which can be distracting in certain lighting conditions. The Crimson Tide Red dot could be improved by adding more brightness and contrast settings, making the dot more visible in a variety of lighting conditions. Additionally, the reticle could be upgraded to a higher-quality glass lens to provide a clearer image and better clarity when aiming. Finally, the Crimson Tide Red dot could be improved by adding an adjustable parallax setting, which would improve accuracy.

No matter which option you choose, the RAD series from Crimson Trace is a reliable choice for improving accuracy and speed of target acquisition with your firearm. The extensive range of sizes, features, and price points means there is a sight to suit the needs and preferences of any shooter. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, the RAD series has something to offer.

Also Read: Sig Sauer Red Dots Reviewed


The Crimson Trace Rad range provides fantastic value for money – retailing at $225. The Crimson Trace Red Dot is a great pick for shooters seeking an affordable and dependable optics solution for their firearm. Created to be light and rugged, the no-tool mounting system makes it simple to attach or remove. On top of that, its battery life is remarkable, allowing for up to 20,000 hours of continuous operation before requiring a replacement. In conclusion, the Crimson Trace Red Dot is an ideal choice for those looking for a cost-effective, dependable, and hard-wearing optics solution. However, if you are looking for magnification, there are other superior alternatives.

However, we also have recommended the following aimpoint  red dots which we think are absolutely awesome.

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