1 MOA vs 2 MOA: Differences Between Red Dot Size!

It’s not the first time you have come across these numbers. While buying a red dot for a pistol or a rifle, we often find ourselves choosing the red dot size. Some of them offer it at 1 MOA, some at 2, and others at 3 or 6.

What is the difference between the two? And why should I pick one over the other? That’s a very good question and I hope to answer that today.

Without further ado, let’s find the difference between 1 MOA vs 2 MOA.

MOA (Minute Of Angle)

Before we begin, we need to understand what MOA stands for. Minute of angle aka MOA for short is a method of measurement.

It’s an angular measurement used to describe a gun’s accuracy, reticle size, windage, elevation, etc. adjustment values.

At 100 yards, 1 MOA stands for 1/60th of a degree. At 100 yards, that equals to 1.047 inches. In short, a rifle with 1 MOA accuracy shoots 1-inch groupings at 100 and 2-inch at 200 yards.

In terms of the red dot, it just means the reticle size. Smaller red dots are often preferred for medium to long-range shooting (paired up with a magnifier). And bigger dots are preferred for close-range combat.

1 MOA Vs 2 MOA – Key Differences

1 moa vs 2 moa

Precision Shooting

Smaller red dots are preferred for precision shooting due to their size. While larger ones are preferred for faster target acquisition. Meaning, that if you are shooting a target from afar and want the shot to be clinical, you would want a smaller red dot size.

That means 1 MOA allows you to shoot more precisely compared to 2 MOA. That doesn’t mean 2 MOA is not effective for precision shooting. It still is, but some may prefer the smaller one.


Compared to your front and rear sight, both 1 MOA and 2 MOA reticle has a better range. But if we are talking about long-range, then 1 MOA will have better accuracy due to the lower reticle size. On the other hand, 2 MOA will have better accuracy at a closer range.

Self Defense

If you ever find yourself in a self-defense situation, you will have a better chance of getting out of it with a red dot compared to your iron sight.

As it will require you to have faster target acquisition, you will find the 2 MOA more useful than the 1 MOA.

That doesn’t mean 1 MOA is not effective in close-range. It still is effective for close range and will work in self-defense scenarios as well.

Target Acquisition speed

You already know which one has a faster target acquisition speed. You guessed it right, it’s the 2 MOA!

Best situation to use a 1 MOA size?

If you are relying on precision shooting most of the time, then you will find the use of 1 MOA more than 2 MOA.

For example, if you are mostly shooting target practice or let’s say you want to add a magnifier in your journey, then you can opt for an optic with 1 MOA reticle instead of 2.

Best situation to use a 2 MOA reticle?

If you are finding yourself mostly in close-range scenarios and using your weapon for self-defense all the time, then you should get a 2 MOA reticle optic.

1 MOA vs 2 MOA for astigmatism?

Yeah, I know, astigmatism is a pain in the butt. But what can you do? I also suffer from this painful experience.

For me and all the other astigmatism victims, using a smaller-sized reticle will give you less distortion and better results after minimizing the reticle spread.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is 2 MOA too big?

Absolutely not! As I mentioned earlier, there are optics with 3 MOA, 6 MOA, and higher-sized reticles as well. Compared to those, 2 MOA is like nothing at all! It’s a great-sized reticle for close-range combat.

Is 1 MOA too small?

No, it isn’t. I mean, 1 MOA is the lowest you can go after all!

What is the difference between 1 MOA and 6 MOA?

The size of the reticle. That’s it, that’s the only difference between the two in terms of appearance. As you can guess by the number, 2 MOA is bigger and 1 MOA is smaller. You can go higher MOA if you want as well.

What MOA is best for rifles?

If you are using a rifle, then I would suggest you go for the 2 MOA. It’s the best sized for rifles. You can also go for 3 MOA sized for a rifle if you want.

What MOA size is best for hunting?

If you are using a handgun for hunting, then you would want to go with the largest size possible. But if you are using a rifle for hunting with magnified scopes, then a smaller 1 MOA red dot size will be better overall.

Closing Thoughts

In short, the bigger it is, the better it is for close range. The smaller it is, the better for longer-range.

That doesn’t mean 2 MOA is by any means not suitable for longer-range. It absolutely is! The size difference is not huge either. Hopefully, this cleared the confusion between 1 MOA vs 2 MOA and you know which size to get for your optic.

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