Man Shooting a Pistol

Why Choose an Enclosed Emitter Red Dot?

March 8, 2024 by Tyler Berthelsen

Enclosed emitter red dots (EED) have become increasingly popular in the last few years. But what is the difference between an EED and a more traditional red dot with an open emitter? What benefits are there to the enclosed emitter design rather than a traditional open emitter? Is your application is better suited to an enclosed or open emitter red dot? While some of it will come down to personal preference, the answers to all of these questions are pretty simple and can help you decide if you need to choose an enclosed emitter red dot. 

Differences Between Enclosed and Open Emitters

This may come as a shock, but the main difference between enclosed and open emitter dots is that the emitter is enclosed. While that answer may seem a little snarky, that really is the difference. To make sure we all understand what that means though, let’s explain what the emitter is. The emitter of a red dot is where the light that creates the dot on the front lens originates. That emitter projects the dot onto the front lens so you have a dot to use as an aimpoint.

An enclosed emitter uses a design that completely encases the area between the emitter and the front lens. This creats an optics with two lenses, with the rear one simply acting as a window through the enclosure so you can see the front lens where the dot is being projected.

An open emitter dot still has an emitter, and a front lens, but other than the base, that’s pretty much it. The function of the dot is exactly the same. The only thing that changes when you go from an enclosed to an open emitter is right in the name. Either that little point of light origination is enclosed, or open to the elements.

It really is that simple.

Benefits of an Enclosed Emitter Red Dot

An EED, such as the 3 Tactix EED from Riton, has two main features that open emitter dots don’t have to offer. 

An enclosed emitter keeps obstructions out. EEDs work great in conditions with mud, dirt, and water because the emitter cannot be obstructed by the elements. This keeps the dot projected on the glass right where you need it at all times. An open emitter may get some debris or material between the emitter and the lens. Is it too difficult to remove that and get the emitter projecting properly? Not really. But is it an extra step that depending on application might not be something you want to deal with? 

Durability is the other main benefit. For users that often find themselves in harsh conditions, from the line of duty to hunting, an EED may be more durable than an open emitter by design because when an impact does occur, the surface area of the optic disperses the impact. The mailbox-type body of an EED protects the internal components and glass, making them less likely to be damaged. 

Should You Choose an Enclosed Emitter Red Dot?

Knowing what the benefits of an EED is, what application suits them best? 

EEDs work well on pistols and are a great every day carry and range optic. Perfect for training in harsh conditions and reliable if you ever find yourself in a situation where you would need to defend yourself. Are they an absolute must for concealed carry? Probably not, since being concealed probably protects the emitter and lens from the kind of debris or obstruction that would hurt dot performance. But if you’re someone who really prefers to plan for the worst case scenario, it can offer some extra peace of mind. 

While you typically see EEDs used on pistols, that doesn’t mean it is the only use for them. EEDs work great when mounted on a shotgun for turkey hunting. Trudging through the woods in early spring often means mud, rain, leaves and other ground litter. Not to mention if you’re up and moving around on a run-and-gun style hunt you may be knocking your shotgun around a fair bit. The enclosed emitter dot configuration offers that little extra bit of security.  

Enclosed emitter red dots are also a great option for tactical applications because of the durability offered with them. Using this optic mounted with a picatinny to ACRO or a 45 degree offset mount is ideal when you need a red dot but want that smaller profile. While it may weigh a bit more than an open emitter dot, the extra durability might be worth it. 

Most enclosed emitter optics, including the 1 Tactix and 3 Tactix EED optics from Riton, use the ACRO mounting footprint. You can’t mount them directly on a shotgun or modern sporting rifle pic rail.

Is an Enclosed Emitter Right for You?

Having an EED solves problems the environment can present to you, whether you’re hunting or in the line of duty. If you’re someone that’s concerned about the conditions you may need to use a dot-style optic in, or just really want that extra level of durability, you may want to choose an enclosed emitter red dot.