The Ruger ReadyDot – An Odd Duck

Red dots on handguns are quickly becoming the norm. These days, if your handgun isn’t optic cut, it feels dated. Even revolvers these days are coming optics ready. It’s no surprise that firearm companies are producing their own optics, and the Ruger Ready Dot is one of the first to come out from a major manufacturer. The ReadyDot has a rather interesting design and a fairly low price point. At 100 bucks, it’s one of the more affordable designs on the market. 

Price is one thing, but what about design? The Ruger ReadyDot was a bit of a surprise because it is completely battery-free and powered by a fiber optic that absorbs light. More than that, it’s adjustment-free. The optic automatically adjusts to varying lighting conditions and cannot be zeroed. It’s pre-zeroed at the factory to sit in the center of the screen. 

That alone was controversial but intriguing enough for me to check it out. Ruger sent me a ReadyDot, and I plopped it on my SIG P322 for testing. The ReadyDot uses the RMSc footprint and was designed mostly for the Ruger MAX-9 handgun. The red dot is a rather massive 15 MOA, making it the largest dot I’m aware of. 

Sighting In With the Ruger Ready Dot 

One of the benefits of being the most minimalist dot on the market is the fact it sits super low. Low enough to cowtiness to standard height sights, which is nice. Typically, I’d go over zero, but that’s not a thing with this dot. So, let’s talk about what you see through the optic. Most red dots have a blueish tint to them or sometimes a purple tint. The ReadyDot has a very dark blue tint to it. 

The darker tint helps reflect more red light from the emitter to make the dot appear brighter without the need for more power. The fiber optics sits on top of the optic is easy to see under a translucent cover. The dot is quite large, very large, as you’d imagine. With an optic that you can’t zero, the big dot makes it more likely you’ll hit something the dot lays on. 

The brightness self-adjusts and does so rather quickly. In dim environments, it is still visible, but only barely. When you flick the lights on or step outside, the dot fires up and gets fairly large and bright. The dot is very easy to see and fairly crisp and nice looking. 

At the Range 

So how well does a dot you can’t zero work? Surprisingly better than I expected. Within 15 yards, it’s easy to get some lead on target with little difficulty. The big dot covers such a large portion of the target that it’s tough to miss. Big dots are easy to see, and they really stand out when you present the handgun. 

I used a 10-inch gong as my target at five, ten, and fifteen yards. Against a timer, I was able to land subsecond shots on target from a low ready with no accuracy issues. I did a failure to stop the drill on another steel target over and over and was ringing steel the entire time. 

When I put the dot on paper, it falls apart. My of my shots were hitting high and right. A nice tight group at the top edge of the dot. A little high at 15 yards isn’t terrible. If we extend the range to 25 yards, it becomes more of a problem. At 25 yards, the dot is bigger than my six-inch gong. This makes it pretty tough to hit a target you can’t see. 

Bad guys aren’t as small as 6-inch gongs, and with a center mass aim, I would be able to put lead in a bad guy if need be, even at 25 yards. I hit a full-sized steel IPSC target over and over with that center mass hold. The ReadyDot is made for close-range shooting, and in that realm, it works. 

The Problem With the ReadyDot 

Red dots are beneficial for a few reasons. They are faster, which is preserved with the ReadyDot. Another is it extends your range because the reticle is smaller than the target. A 15 MOA dot is still roughly the size of a front sight. You lose that benefit with the ReadyDot. It’s a close-range tool, and that’s it. It sucks in low light, and is impossible to use if you’re in low light like some shade, and your target is not.

The Benefits of the ReadyDot 

The ReadyDot is beneficial for folks new to red dots. Its MSRP is 100 bucks, but I’ve seen it for as low as 65 dollars. It allows you to learn the basics of red dot use without investing super heavily into a red dot. This is a great tool for the gun owner who only sees their gun as a defensive tool and doesn’t necessarily enjoy shooting or training. It’s still faster and easier to use than iron sights. Ruger wisely pairs these with the MAX-9, and that’s probably the best way to do it. 

Being Ready 

The ReadyDot wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but it’s far from perfect. It has a niche purpose, and I think Ruger is smart to do package deals with their MAX-9 series. For a new shooter or shooter not interested in anything other than self-defense, it’s not a bad tool. It’s not for me, but it serves as a great introduction to red dot sights. 

Travis Pike
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.