Last month was “retro month” for me, carrying and teaching with revolvers that harken back to the late Nineteenth Century.  The Smith & Wesson Model 66 .357 and Model 64 .38 Special I swapped between harken back to S&W’s Hand Ejector Model of 1899 in terms of basic design.

It was time to update.

I figured I couldn’t get a whole lot more Twenty-First Century than a polymer framed, striker-fired 9mm with the currently trendy “carry optics.”  I chose my Gen4 Glock 19 MOS (Modular Optic System) with Trijicon RMR (Ruggedized Miniature Reflex) sight.  Gotta keep up with the times.  The pistol was gone over by Wilson Combat, complete with high-rise “suppressor-type” Trijicon night sights, so if the battery in the optic dies I still have something to aim with. I agree with my colleague Karl Rehn, who has done some extensive comparison work between red dot sights like this,  laser sights, and conventional “iron sights” that being able to line up the  iron sights you’re already familiar with, through the glass of the optic, gets you onto the red dot faster. I’m carrying it in a High Noon Topless concealment holster which it fits perfectly, RMR and all.

This is a good thing for me, because I’m kind of like a house cat in one respect: I have trouble catching the damn red dot. The window in compact carry optics is a whole lot smaller than the bigger red dot optics that have been so successful on military rifles in the recent long conflict, or the ones we use on competition-only “space guns.”  Carry optics are designed to be compatible with concealment.

My eye surgeon has a busy schedule, and between his schedule and mine we haven’t yet been able to set a date for the cataract surgery I’ve been needing for a while on both eyes.  Thus, where you see a nice round dot through a red dot optic like the RMR, I see a blurry chevron-lookin’ thing tilted sideways with a starburst behind it.  Still, if I put that in the middle and keep control of the trigger, it gets the shots where they need to go.

I just heard about a shooting drill created by the legendary Larry Vickers, called the Vickers 300. You take an NRA B-8 target, the black bulls-eye they use for 25 yard Timed and Rapid Fire at the NRA National Pistol Championships.  In this drill, you shoot ten rounds weak hand only from five yards, ten strong hand only from ten yards, and the last ten free style at 20 paces. I didn’t know if “free-style” meant prone or whatever, so I ran it from two-handed standing. Cleaned it with a 100/100 at five paces left-handed, dropped one out of the ten ring all the way out into the eight-point ring right-handed at ten yards, and wobbled four nine-point hits from the 20 yard line for a total of 294 out of 300 possible points, or 98%.

Obviously, the old guy here needs to work harder, and drag himself deeper into the Twenty-First Century.  As some pussycat probably said, “I’ll catch that damn red dot yet.”

Wilson Combat Gen4 Glock 19, with Trijicon RMR optic backed up by hi-rise Trijicon iron sights.

The optic-sighted pistol carries well in this Topless holster by High Noon.

Vickers 300 drill started off well with all ten shots in the 10 ring, non-dominant hand only…

..but I had one sloppy shot at about 10;30 on the middle bull dominant hand only, and dropped four “9s” from 20 yards 2-handed.  Old guy here still needs more practice time on carry optics.












  1. Oh how I feel your pain with having Cadillacs. Mine are not bad enough for surgery, but do play hell with my shooting. I’ve gone to my Beretta 92 and Burris red dot. We’ll see how Carry Optics works out. Aren’t the golden years just, well a touch cloudy. At least we’re on the topside of the grass. Not ready for the dirt nap.

  2. Why not a Sig P320 RX in either compact or full size? It comes with the red dot optic and tall iron night sights installed, aligned,and co-witnessed at the sig factory? A single source for everything means that it all fits and works as a unit without having to have Wilson combat or another gunsmith assemble and smooth all the pieces together. P320’s are also reported to have a very good trigger right out of the box.

  3. As another “older” guy, my eyes have become messy the last couple of years as well. Lots of floaters and other things, maybe incipient cataracts… Gotten to where I can’t see the front sight too well without corrective lenses, but then I can’t see the target hardly – just a big blur. May have to go to a red dot at some point, but can kinda get by with painting the front sight orange, at least for relatively close work. Also affects my scoped rifle shooting – just as I get a good sight picture, a blur floats into the intersection of the crosshairs. I can get rid of it by looking away and then pressing the trigger as soon as I reacquire the sight picture I want.

    My mom always said, “Getting old isn’t for sissies!”, I’m starting to understand- sigh!

  4. When the only reason you know it’s a STOP sign is because the red-blur is vaguely octagonal… that’s your sign.

  5. I will keep my cataracts, so have a good excuse why I always shoot so poorly.

    I’ve never been a slave to the latest fad, so will continue to stay with my 100+ year old design Browning 1911 in .45 ACP with a white dot front sight and solid black rear. I refuse to listen to (c)rap, join Facebook, or carry a 9mm as a primary piece. I have my share of polymer 9mm pistols and enjoy shooting them, but just don’t carry one for combat.

  6. I had cataract surgery on both eyes with the first being a week after NRA/Dallas and the second a week later. It was interesting trying to figure how to align the sights. New computer glasses are perfect for precision work. Front sight shows perfectly. Tactical training without any correction as that’s how I now live my life except for reading (after being nearsighted and astigmatic for 58 years). You’ll like the difference.

  7. I just had a checkup 1 1/2 years after having both eyes done at an eye surgery place in Swansea, IL. I can read 4 out of 6 on the 20-15 line with either eye and all six with both eyes open. Just a little plaque buildup at this time and I will have a checkup in one more year to monitor that. I am shooting iron sights, red dots and scopes with only safety glasses. I got the distance lenses, so I use readers at the computer. I am shooting like a kid again, and will be 67 in a few more days. I don’t know if you plan on retiring, but I just figured out that I have NO days off now, and the work day goes from when the dog whimpers in the morning until I lie down at night. Life is good!

  8. I’ve had chronically acute (severe bouts) of uveitis for almost 10 years now. The primary medication to treat it has the known side effect of causing cataracts; I’ve had them removed from both eyes now.

    I can tell you that you will be AMAZED at what you have been missing. For me the world had (unknown to me) turned to a dingy, dirty yellow color and had become fuzzy. You’ll be shocked at how bright and vivid all of the colors become when you have the first eye done. The world once again is bright, and insects that you previously thought either extinct or invisible return to sight.

    Do NOT get the so-called “bifocal” lens; no one that I’ve talked to that had them implanted could get them to work correctly, and everybody had revision surgery to have them replaced. Stick with the distance vision lenses and just make sure that you carry cheaters with you everywhere you go (your arms won’t be long enough to read).

    I find that I can shoot over iron sights reasonably well if I wear safety glasses with the built-in cheaters at the bottom. I don’t need any glasses at all (for the first time in my life) for distance vision, but to clearly see the front sight I need the assistance of the reading glasses. Having them built right into the safety glasses means I’ve got the protection and vision without having two layers in front of my eyes.

    I would refer to the results of cataract surgery as a “miracle” but that would be insulting to the doctors, nurses, technicians and all of the other people who have dedicated their lives to improving the vision of others. It is to those people I am truly grateful.

  9. Thinking back on the ad hoc Bob Munden and Jim Cirillo sighting methods, where sights may not have been employed at all, and wondering how good the shooters’ target scores would have been using their seat-of-the-pants methods. Maybe pretty good? Have you ever compared some of your non-sight scores vs. sight-aimed fire?
    I have often thought that you fire so many different models that you might become confused during a real street shoot and try to rack slides on your S & W Airweights, or try to reload your Glock with a .38 speed-loader. You are definitely at least keeping up with your age group, though. Please keep on truckin’, Mas.

  10. I greatly appreciate the discussion of cataracts from the perspective of a world-class shooter and trainer like Mas. As another recreational shooter with “Cadillacs” (to steal Don P.’s term), I need a source of info/opinions from shooters who have had cataract surgery about what type of lens to get, recovery time to shooting activity, and other personal experiences and opinions. I know that “your mileage may vary”, but the more opinions the better. Anyone know such a source or webpage or message thread?

  11. This is off-topic but I just have to mention it since it is sooooooo typical of the propaganda tactics of the leftist firearm prohibitionists that are loose in America today. See this link:

    The left is in such a frenzy to derail and stop the confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh to the SCOTUS that they are using pre-staged, manufactured, publicity stunts for the purpose. The only thing these criminals know or understand is the use of lies and propaganda as tool to secure more and more power for themselves.

    I say it again, everyone needs to turn out to vote in the upcoming Midterm Elections. The truth, the Constitution, democracy and America itself means NOTHING to these people. We MUST do everything we can to keep these criminals from regaining power in Washington.

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