We aren’t all lucky enough to be blessed with perfect 20/20 vision! Some of us are even less fortunate and might have astigmatism: a kind of optical disorder that means certain objects can appear blurred or difficult to see accurately.
Does this mean you can’t shoot or go to the shooting range with your friends? Not at all! It just means you need to pick up a pistol or rifle optic designed for astigmatism. Lucky for you, this guide will break down 10 of the best pistol and rifle optics for use with astigmatic eyes.
Best Optics for Shooters with Astigmatism
The optics below are ideal choices if you have astigmatism in one or both eyes. Consider your options carefully.
Holosun Paralow HS503G
This pistol red dot sight is perfect if you have astigmatism. Why?
Simply put, the Holosun Paralow offers a super crisp and clear red dot reticle, minimizing distortion and totally eliminating the blurriness common with astigmatism. Additionally, the glass used in the optic is very clear and the reticle is bright and sharp.
The optic overall is lightweight and compact, making it a perfect partner for even smaller pistols. It’s also unfortunately more expensive than some of the budget-friendly pistol optics you can get on the market. It’s the price you pay for quality!
All told, this is a solid pistol optic through and through and is an especially good pick for astigmatic users. It features 3x magnification and can quickly swap, using its side-mounted switch, to 1x magnification for closer target shooting.
- Very easy to mount
- Very lightweight, so it won’t ruin your pistol’s balance
- Reticle quality is sharp and bright
- Glass is durable and clear
Holosun HS510C Reflex Sight
Holosun’s S510C reflex sight is a holographic model that’s perfect for astigmatic users. While it only has a 2 MOA dot, it’s still a good pick in our eyes (no pun intended) since it doesn’t cause any distortion or blurriness. Furthermore, you can select between three different reticle options: a single dot, a single circle, or a combined circle with a dot in the center.
This customization is excellent for astigmatic users. Also excellent are the long battery life (about 50,000 hours) and the rugged design. You’ll be able to rely on this optic for a long time to come, even if you use it regularly or take your pistol into inclement weather.
- Uses a shock-resistant and titanium alloy hood
- Has excellent battery life
- Very bright holographic LED reticle
- Reticle can be customized between a few different versions
Vortex Optics Razor AMG UH-1
Also called “The Huey”, the Vortex Optics Razor AMG UH-1 is another reliable holographic sight for astigmatic users. Its clear and sharp reticle uses a single fused holographic element design for maximum durability and reliability.
The large field-of-view and lack of lens glare solidify this as an excellent optic for bright sunlight, foggy conditions, and everything in between. It has a good battery life and a micro USB port for fast charging.
- Has an excellent reticle using a fused holographic design
- Good battery life and fast charging port
- Very durable and built to last
This ultra-lightweight optic weighs just 13.6 ounces and is a top-tier choice for users with astigmatism. It has a novel, triangular-shaped reticle that tends to be crisp and defined, particularly in very bright conditions.
Still, it’s powered with a tritium lamp (removing the need for batteries), and it comes with excellent glass lenses and a large field of view. The Meprolight M21 optic is very durable and lasts for a long time even under heavy use.
- Very sharp and accurate reticle design for daytime shooting
- Made with durable, military-grade materials
- No need for batteries due to the reticle lamp design
- Very lightweight and great for pistols
Vortex Spitfire 3x
Prism sights are often excellent choices for astigmatic users, so the Vortex Spitfire 3x is a naturally good pick. This removes the starburst effect common with most astigmatism, leaving you with a very clear and sharp reticle.
Furthermore, this optic comes with red or green illumination controls and 12 different illumination settings. Customization is the name of the game with this optic, which can also be used on longer rifle platforms or even shotguns. Rails come with the purchase and it’s backed by a lifetime warranty.
- The reticle is crystal-clear at all times
- Has both color and brightness or illumination settings
- Comes with easy mounting rails
- Very durable and comes with a lifetime warranty
Vortex Spitfire AR
The Vortex Spitfire AR is similar to the Vortex optic above, and it’s a 1x prism sight that boasts a super-sharp reticle regardless of environmental illumination. Astigmatic users will particularly appreciate the excellent glass quality, which leverages multiple antireflective coatings to eliminate reticle blurriness and boost light transmission.
This is also a very durable optic, being made of aircraft-grade aluminum to withstand recoil and impact damage. It’s only weighs 4.94 ounces and is only 3.3 inches long. The reticle type, however, can’t be adjusted from its default 2 MOA dot and 65 MOA ring design.
- Built with very durable materials
- Lightweight and not too large
- Has excellent glass quality with anti-reflective coatings
- Good reticle design, even if it can’t be adjusted
This Holosun is a perfect pick for rifle users thanks to the size of its red dot reticle. In fact, you can swap the red dot reticle between four different versions up to a 65 MOA ring reticle design: ideal for astigmatism and its blurriness-inducing effects.
Also nice is the near-infinite battery life. This optic comes with solar-powered failsafe technology that can help extend the life of the optic provided you use it in bright daylight. Though it doesn’t have any magnification options, it has excellent eye relief at about 2.4 inches and it only weighs 14 ounces.
- Has solar technology to extend battery life
- Very excellent reticle choices, including a 65 MOA ring reticle
- Not too heavy, especially for rifles
- Good eye relief and durability
Trijicon ACOG 4X
Trijicon’s ACOG 4X is another ideal optic for rifle shooters with astigmatism. This allows you to comfortably cover both short-range and moderate-range shooting needs.
This prism optic uses radioactive isotopes to collect light from the outside and improve light transmission, as well as automatically adjusting brightness to compensate for ambient light levels. The reticle is normally quite bright, though it isn’t necessarily as accurate as a true red dot.
- Lasts for a long time due to tritium lamp design and durable materials
- Has set 4x magnification, great for carbines
- Lenses automatically adjust based on ambient light levels
The Eotech 512 is a standout holographic weapon sight overall for both rifles and pistols. It offers multiple reticle options, including an excellent version with a 1 MOA dot and a 68 MOA ring. This adjustability will suit astigmatic rifle users perfectly.
Furthermore, this comes with an easy mounting system that’s compatible with both 1″ Weaver rails and MIL-STD 1913 rails depending on what your rifle takes. The adjustable brightness settings let you flip between 20 illumination options, making this a perfect optic for both bright daylight and nighttime shooting conditions. However, the battery life at 2500 hours could be a little better, though this downside is offset somewhat by the fact that it is powered by standard AA batteries.
- Has 20 illumination options
- Very easy to mount on several rail systems
- Has an adjustable reticle and good options available
- Powered by AA batteries
- Battery life could be a little better
Try the Swampfox Blade if you want a rifle optic that can offer good close-range accuracy. This 1x prism optic has a specialized reticle designed for close-range shooting (called a “bullet rise compensating reticle”), which is also etched onto the glass so it works regardless of battery life.
It’s also a very affordable optic overall, and it’s made of durable materials and boasts waterproof functionality. Check it out if you want something affordable, reliable, and effective, particularly for home defense or close-range target shooting.
- Has an etched reticle specifically designed for close-range shooting
- Very durable
- An affordable optic overall
- Is waterproof down to a few meters
What is Astigmatism?
Astigmatism is an ocular condition that results when your eye’s cornea or lens is curved slightly improperly. Normal eyes are regularly shaped roughly like basketballs. But if you have astigmatism, your eyes are actually shaped more like a football!
Technically, there are two types of astigmatism. If your cornea has a distorted shape, you have corneal astigmatism, whereas lens distortion means you have lenticular astigmatism.
Regardless, astigmatism causes your vision for both near and far objects to be blurry and slightly distorted. Astigmatic eyes have a little more trouble focusing light evenly across the retina, resulting in lower than average vision acuity.
How does this affect shooting? When you use a red dot optic or similar sight, the red dot reticle can appear blurry or smeared. Naturally, this can significantly and negatively affect your accuracy!
How to Get a Great Pistol or Rifle Optic if You have Astigmatism
Although astigmatism can be tough to live with, there are plenty of excellent pistol and rifle optics to use that can counteract or minimize the effects of astigmatism. With certain optics, you can still be very accurate with your firearm and minimize the likelihood of accidents or hitting a target far outside where you are aiming.
So, which optics should you target?
- Holographic rifle and pistol optics are excellent for shooters that have astigmatism. Reticle designs for holographic optics are typically complex, featuring lots of small hashes, one big circle, and a small dot in the middle. These optics can look very sharp to folks who have astigmatism
- Prism optics are also good choices. These types of rifle and pistol sights use fixed magnification through a prism lens rather than pairing two objective and ocular lenses together. The fixed magnification and the etched design of the reticle make it overall easier to see, especially for folks with astigmatism
- LPVO or low-powered variable optics are also versatile and effective options for astigmatic shooters. These are a little heavier and larger than other optics varieties, but they do allow you to tweak or customize the optic according to your needs
Speaking of customization, there are certain things you should look for when selecting a rifle or pistol optic and you have astigmatism. These are:
- A larger than average reticle MOA or minute of angle. This lowers the blur effect common with astigmatic vision. In general, you’ll want to go for an optic that has at least 4 MOA or more. Your mileage may vary on this point; some astigmatic folks find smaller red dots to work a little better
- Adjustable settings. Optics that have different illumination or brightness settings are usually ideal since they will let you tailor your optic according to your unique needs
- Co-witness mounting options. If your optic can be co-witnessed with a rear aperture, like a peep sight, you may be able to sharpen the red dot and make for a better shooting experience
Ultimately, the above optic choices are solid picks for general accuracy in addition to being great choices if you have astigmatism. Be sure to check out individual user reviews and consider the kinds of weapons you tend to use most.
When in doubt, go to the shooting range and experiment with some of the available optics there or ask to borrow an optic from one of your buddies. Spend some time seeing how it feels to shoot with astigmatism to figure out what will best suit your preferences or needs.