Two Ways to Boresight a Pistol Red Dot Before Heading to the Range

Boresighting the red dot on your pistol before heading the range is a must if you want to save ammo and time. Taking two minutes to adjust your optic at home will get you on paper at the range and this can be done both with a laser and without.

Disclaimer: As always, any firearm no matter if it is boresighted or not should be verified at distance with the preferred ammunition. Boresighting is not enough to trust the zero on your firearm.

Boresighting/Borelighting is a great way to save ammo by first getting your dot as close to your proper zero without expending live ammo. Doing this before heading to the range will also ensure that you are on paper. Sighting a red dot on a pistol is a pretty simple task and can be done both with a cheap borelight or without any tools at all in the comfort of your home.

Ensure that the pistol is clear and free of ammunition.

With a Borelight

This method is using an EZshoot Boresight in 9mm that was bought off of amazon for 17 bucks. While it comes in 9mm, there are other calibers available. The proper caliber of borelight is important because to use this tool it will need to be set into the bore of your pistol. Due to this laser acting as the center of your bore, it does need to sit in the chamber without movement.

To Use

  1. Find something to aim at at the preferred distance that you want your zero. Let’s say 15 yds.
  2. Insert the borelight into the chamber of the gun and lightly push the slide forward onto the laser.
  3. Find something to steady your pistol as you are aimed at the 15 yd mark you chose
  4. Point the laser at that mark
  5. Adjust your actual red dot to the point where the laser is. You may need to bring your head off the gun to ensure that the dot you are seeing is the laser and not the red dot and visa versa.
I chose to aim at the top of a work in progress walking stick that was about 12yds away. This is the laser. Now, just line up the dot on that laser and you are boresighted.

This can be easier with two people so that one person can steady the gun and the other can adjust the optic. One person is totally capable of completing this though.

Now that the dot and the bore are lined up at 15 yds you can go to the range and verify and perfect the zero. It should get you very close to where you want to impact though.

Without a Borelight

If you don’t have a laser there is still an option for getting your dot close by using your iron sights. I absolutely hate the term “cherry popping” because it is so improperly used and the method is often done incorrectly however, this is kind of what we are going to do here..

This works with any height of iron sights meaning you can do this even if you still have too short of iron sights after adding a dot to the pistol. It happens, we are lazy and don’t plan ahead, trust me I get it..

Note: This only works if your iron sights are zero’d to the gun.

How to w/ Short Iron Sights

  1. Hold your pistol out and again, aim at something at your preferred zero distance with your iron sights.
  2. Line up your iron sights, don’t worry about the dot yet
  3. Now, as you are lining up your iron sights look at the dot, does it look to be landing in the same spot your irons are aimed at? Adjust it if not
  4. Line up the iron sights again, adjust again. You want the dot to be in the same place that you are aimed at with your irons

If you have iron sights that you can’t see when properly lined up do your best to line them up as you are tipping the gun down. Seems weird but it will get you close and on paper for when you head to the range.

There you have it, two easy ways to save ammo and time at the range when zeroing your pistol. Happy shooting!

Anna Martinez
Anna is a Federal Weapons Gunsmith with 8 years of previous experience within the US Army Ordnance Corps (91F). She has taken multiple armorer and weapons proficiency classes to include FN, Knights Armament, and Small Arms Weapons Expert course. She also writes for American Gunsmith, AR Build Junkie, and is active in Precision Rifle sports around the nation.