A growing trend in defensive handguns, from police service pistols to armed citizens’ concealed carry guns, is “carry optics”: compact red dot sights.  I have three such in-house right now, all 9mms:  a Langdon Beretta 92 LTT with Trijicon SRO, a Wilson Combat Glock 19 with Trijicon RMR, and an LTT Springfield Armory Hellcat with Holosun 407K.

Good news: You can see more target area around the red dot aiming index, better allowing you to see what’s happening at the target. Many shooters find the red dot improves accuracy. You can focus on the target and see the aiming dot simultaneously.

Bad news: Gotta keep that glass clean and fog-free. Anything battery-dependent is a concern. There is added bulk: appendix carry is popular with these guns because the broad surface of the abdomen gives more room to discreetly conceal the shape of a now “taller” pistol. 

Carry optics on a handgun have a significant learning curve. Unlike a long gun, there’s no anchor point at the shoulder nor cheek index on the comb of a stock to help align eye with the red dot and the target.

I’m kinda like a cat chasing a laser beam: I have trouble catching the red dot.  Thus, while I appreciate the advantages of a red dot, I’m still not as fast with it as I am with the iron sights to which I’ve been so long habituated.

Readers, give me some input.  Tell me what you think of the concept, and let me know how much time you have working with them, and what type.

47 COMMENTS

  1. I was told that the dot chasing stage just highlighted challenges with the presentation, and proper practice would fix it. Also, I heard that a sight like Holosun 507 with it’s 32 MOA circle may also be of some help figuring out which way the dot went out of the tiny sight.
    However, I find it very valuable if you wear glasses and have to choose between reading glasses to see the sight or distance glasses to see the target.
    Plus, it makes it much easier to engage multiple targets (and property identify them) as your eye can see well both the target and the aiming dot.

  2. Mr. Ayoob:

    I vowed long ago to never put anything on a firearm which I might end up using for self-defense that requires a battery. Even with the extended life of modern red-dots and batteries, the odds of a failure are significantly higher (in my opinion) that the potential failure of a good set of iron sights.

    My self-defense carbine has a low-power (1.5x – 4.0x), non-battery scope mounted in a quick-detach REPR mount, with steel/aluminum flip-up BUIS on the rail in front of and behind it in case the scope ever becomes damaged in use. Push comes to shove I can pop the two mounting levers and rip off the cracked/broken/damaged scope, pop up the sights, and get back to shooting. Not as accurately; these 63-year-old eyes have given up a lot. But it’s still better than cussing a dead battery.

    The issue of a red-dot on a carry firearm is even worse (again, my opinion). My current carry pistol is a Sig C3 in .45 ACP, and the amount of carry-lint on that thing after just a couple of weeks is pretty amazing. I routinely shoot my carry ammo once a month, and then clean the bloody thing simply because it’s picked up so much crud from being hauled around on me day-in and day-out. It’s holstered in a Don Hume clip-on IWB, so it’s not like it’s being exposed to the dirt and dust, but it still gathers a lot of “moss”. My guess would be that the glass or plastic of the window on a red-dot would pick up even more crud.

  3. Still learning as well. I will be honest I can’t hit anything with a red dot pistol. Next year I plan on doing a two day class and forcing myself to learn.

  4. Just under two years ago I first tried an RMR with a dovetail mount (high and no iron sights) and got confident enough to get the spare slide machined for a low mount and taller sights installed. If you’re serious, the low mount and complimentary irons are the only way to go. The added bulk does make both holster availability (highly gun brand dependent) and concealment difficult at best. Accumulated dust & lint on the lens can be a major issue. The one “see through/tranparent” lens cover available turned out to be neither.

    I’m kind of waiting for the first reported case where a LEO bails out of their AC frosty patrol vehicle into deep South heat/humidity and can’t find the dot, sights or threat through the fog on the lens.

    The learning curve is definitely there, especially if you’ve experience with close range flash firearm alignment methods. Some work with a shot timer showed the difference in time wasn’t real world significant (with enough practice-it can also be fatally slow if not). The best method I’ve found to bring the gun up to the eyes is a vertical lift from the holster and comparatively close to the face with flexed elbows. The bowling for dollars extended arm sweep just doesn’t work for me. I believe the slight time difference was due to a sub concious “need” for more precision with the dot than really necessary given the problem.

    The dot system excells where you’re looking at 15 yard/meter plus ranges. Or, if you’re using a firearm mounted light or there’s enough ambient light to recognize a threat. A downside is that the lens coating to allow you to have a red dot doesn’t transmit as much light as clear glass.

    In short, I think there is a place for the concept. It’s going to be interesting figuring out exactly what that is and if it will last as a generally useful item. While the DOD has bought into the concept, I expect the folks who actually get the handgun optics are going to be the Special Ops folks. Their use of handguns isn’t really comparable to ours as private citizens. I think I’ll let it go at that.

    • WR Moore, sounds like you are going to pretty much a Ray Chapman stance. I like it in that elbow and shoulder assume positions so that the larger muscles provide a relaxed platform. Maybe a good idea to clean the sight lenses with fog-resistant glasses cleaner. The Jim Cirillo system of “sighting” with the whole handgun is also something I like to practice. I have a see-through scope mount for my .30-06 but rarely use a scope anyway because of factors such as greater handiness without a scope, general lack of the need for more precision, and shorter time generally required for target acquisition. I still like red dot precision, though. An ACOG could be something of a necessity in some situations, too.

  5. I’ve started competing in IDPA in Carry Optics and it’s way easier to call my shots. The key to picking up the dot is dry fire. That may be a problem if you have several guns and haven’t settled on a single platform, however.

    At some point in the near future I’ll be getting a carry gun with an optic. It’s so much better that it’s like cheating. It’s just expensive.

  6. I recently started running a RDO Pistol and I agree there is a learning curve. I got a few classes under my belt now with it and feel a lot more confident with it.

  7. I really prefer the red dot. I spent a decent amount of time sans optic on a handgun, but I’ve gotten used to it. I generally carry a Shadow Systems MR920 with holosun 507 or a Sig P365xl with Romeo 0. I check the battery every time I put the gun on and it always is on. I also proactively change the battery every year, whether it needs it or not. When I’m out in the field or at the ranch, I carry a G17/22 in an OWB holster and don’t have an optic on that, it gets way too dusty out there, but I AIWB carry the Sig most days in town. My 2 cents only.

  8. I’ve never used iron sights. Shooting for the last 5 years and started with a red dot. Took off the irons on all my race guns and just removed them from everything else. Yeah yeah….What if the battery dies or some other 1 in a million things happen if you are negligent in taking care of your firearms.

  9. I concur with the sight size, battery, and dot size objections. And twenty years ago, I would have laughed at the very idea of an optic on a carry pistol.

    However, I’m now old enough that I can only see one sight clearly enough to be useful; much of the time I’m ‘point shooting’ now. A big fat dot is better than no sight at all.

    Keeping the optic clean, given sweaty Dixie days, would be an expected problem. I also wonder about cold weather as well; fogged glasses are common enough, and I’ve had frost form on them in the damp cold.

    So, either a dot… or re-evaluate “practical shooting range” and go with no sights at all. Something I’ve noticed watching Ian’s “Forgotten Weapons” videos is how many old pistols had either no sights, or entirely useless sights, or even just a front blade and nothing at the back. Target shooting pistols wasn’t unknown, but I’m beginning to think the old timers had different ideas about the useful range for pistol work.

    • @ TRX – “…re-evaluate ‘practical shooting range’ and go with no sights at all…”

      There are those who argue that, in the 0 to 5 yard range of a typical civilian defensive engagement, no sights are needed. They argue that, in this zone, point shooting techniques are the way to go.

      A number of defensive handguns have been designed around this philosophy. The Seecamp LWS .32 semi-auto is one example. It is a tiny pocket pistol designed for deep carry. It uses a long trigger pull as its only safety (similar to a double-action revolver) and it has no (zero) sights to snag the draw stroke. It is a firearm designed, purely, for up close and quick personal defense. A gun designed for “Rule of Three” type engagements. (See my other comment below for an explanation of “Rule of Three”.)

      Another handgun designed for up-close fighting is the Charter Arms Boomer. See this link:

      https://charterfirearms.com/collections/bulldog/products/boomer

      Like the Seecamp, the Boomer is designed to be snag-free and has no sights and a bobbed hammer. Unlike the Seecamp, it comes in a powerful caliber (.44 Special) rather than the weak .32 ACP.

      I actually have a Boomer and sometimes use it as my carry gun. It is just small enough for pocket carry (at least, in my pockets! 🙂 ). I did make one change to the gun. I replaced the factor grips with laser grips made by Crimson Trace.

      The idea being that, if I am forced to defend myself in the typical 0 to 5 yard range, then I will just point shoot to score hits with the heavy .44 special caliber. If a longer shot is required, say 7 to 25 yards, I will use the laser dot to place hits on the target. The dot will be the only option at longer ranges since there is no front sight, at all, on this firearm.

      One question about Red Dot sights has yet to be addressed. Mas, how prone are Red Dot sights to snagging during a draw. This is not a problem for a competitive shooter who is drawing from a standard belt holster and who has no cover garment to get in the way. However, it might be a real concern when drawing from deep cover.

      If things like the hammer and the front sight, on revolvers, are issues for snagging, what about something as big and clunky as a Red Dot sight?

  10. Another dinosaur used to iron sights.
    But have been using dot on ruger mk 11 .22,
    For steel matches for yrs now. Seems to me still faster with irons at 10 yds and in with plates ten “ and bigger. Faster with dot past 10 yds or any plate smaller than ten”.
    Recently picked up a canik 9 mm. Need to use 1-2 more grains of powder with dot vs irons. More powder = more recoil arthritic wrists don’t like.

  11. The Holosun HS507C-X2 with its ACSS Vulcan reticle featuring a red chevron and large indexing outer ring is reportedly a game changer in regards to acquisition. Still, it’s difficult to imagine how often that long-range advantage is going to be a factor at typical self defense distances.

  12. For today The place for dots is on gaming gun in my opinion. Where a fail only cost you points. The day is coming however that the dot will become dependable. That dot however will be nothing like what we have now. Que pic of rotary dial phone.

  13. I’m with Blackwing1, I have a Mepro M21 sight on my SHTF rifle with irons. Between these @70 eyes and damn Mn cold half the year, I just ain’t a gonna depend on batteries. Just my .02

  14. I agree Mas. I do have Red Dot optics on one AR and on a CX4 Beretta and
    both are the type that movement wakes the site up and have 5 yr batteries.
    I like those, especially the Aimpoint. A friend of mine has a Glock 19 with
    slide milled for a Red Dot. One of the earlier ways of getting one. I’ve shot
    it a few times and there’s something about eye to hand coordination that
    just don’t work for me. With a rifle, the site is held fixed between 3 points,
    shoulder, trigger hand and support hand on the foregrip. The site moves into
    place every time the weapon is brought to bear. But a pistol doesn’t have
    those 3 points, at best it has 2 but even then, the mass of the
    weapon is at one point, not 3. I may not be wording this correctly and for
    that I apologize but the point is, I just can’t shoot a handgun with a red dot
    site for crap but do great with a long arm.
    Dano

  15. My Springfield XDS MOD 2 OSP is so designed that the iron sights can be seen through the optic window. This allows for battery/failure and, when there’s time, allows for an extra (iron sight) validation.

    Finding the dot has been very useful practice as it pointed out (by repetition) that my natural inclination (pun) is to aim a bit high. So the dot chase has forced me to *swing low, sweet chariot* and thereby be naturally closer to the desired point of aim.

    I found that aligning the optic was an exercise best left to the experienced. In this, I had excellent help!

  16. I recently added a Swampfox sentinal sight to my Hellcat. I am doing alot of dry fire training to assist me in picking up the dot quickly. This is helping a great deal. The Sentinal cowitnesses with the Hellcats sights. By finding the front sight as I normally would, the red dot automatically comes into view. At this point with my tired 69 year old eyes, the Sentinal has helped a great deal with my accuracy.

  17. My 5 cents? If an red dot sight works for you then by all means USE it. We are too hung up on hardware in my opinion. We just saw the greatest military the world has ever seen humiliated by a bunch of 12th century mountain tribesmen. In the end did all that gee whiz gear matter- in the end? Better to work on your mindset than rely on gizmos- just my opinion. Ive only been in one handgun fight in my life and that was with Uncle Sugars issue 1911A1 with its minuscule sights.Im still here

    • Mike in a Teuck3,

      Good point. Goat herders with only small arms. I despise the civilian leadership of our Armed Forces. Another amazing fact. Look at our supply chain. The USA was fighting on the other side of the world, and kept our military better supplied for twenty years than jihadists fighting on or near their home turf. Those jihadists could have been supplied by Afghan people, or other Muslims who live in neighboring countries. Many of those people are poor, but not the ones who own oil fields. If I was a jihadist, I would believe Allah was on my side, and now I even have proof. They can claim to have defeated the British, the Soviets, and the USA. Guerrilla warfare is powerful stuff.

  18. Hi, Mas – I’m of the more seasoned generation as you are, and I started having real problems focusing on my front sight about four years ago. Up close that was not a problem, but I was very frustrated at my lack of accuracy at longer (>15 yards). Of course, some of that frustration was due to poor triger control, but the horrible sight picture made it harder to ignore the little voice saying, “Pull the trigger NOW!” when my brain perceived a decent sight picture. I put things off as long as I could, trying to cope since I also didn’t want to be reliant on a sight using batteries. I have been shooting and carrying a Sig 320 X-Carry that had really good iron sights, and it also had a slide with an optic plate on it. I could have just put an RDS on that slide, but I would have lost my rear iron sight, which is attached to the optic cut cover. So late last year I got a Sig 320 Pro slide assembly with both the optic cut and also a rear iron sight behind the optic cut. I mounted a Sig Romeo1 Pro RDS on the slide and began the carry optic journey.
    At first, I also spent a lot of time finding the dot and also was “dot focused” instead of target focused. But my ability to make accurate hits at longer distances was much improved. No it didn’t turn me into a champion bullseye shooter (still got that pesky trigger control thing going on, although it’s better), but my groups at 25 yards were more than halved almost immediately.
    As far as finding the dot quickly, that took more time – but working on a consistent presentation helped a lot. I worked on it a bit, then got help – took a 2 day red dot class from Brian Hill at The Complete Combatant in north Georgia and another 2 day RDS class from Scott Jedlinski – both are excellent instructors/coaches, and those classes helped a lot. I’m not hunting for the dot nearly as much, and I’m finding I really like it, especially when I stopped worrying about the dot wobbling – the gun isn’t moving any more than with irons, it’s just more apparent with a dot. Learn to ignore it and smoothly press the trigger straight back.
    One note about irons on a red dot pistol – I ordered a set of suppressor height iron sights but have yet to put them on the gun. I decided to go all in on the RDS and didn’t want to learn to rely on the irons at all. Not sure if that was the right way to go, but I imagine having a co-witnessed set of irons would help find the dot when learning to use the RDS. And if/when your sight plate screws come loose after a while or the battery dies unexpectedly, the irons will be better than using the sight housing as a very large rear aperture sight.
    In summary, I wasn’t able to pick up an RDS equipped pistol and from day one be able to shoot better and faster, but putting in some work and getting good coaching has been very helpful going along this path. In fact, since I have a more consistent presentation of the pistol now, my shooting up close with iron sights has also improved. At least I no longer have my vision problems as a convenient excuse for poor performance at distance! 🙂

  19. I found myself chasing the dot shooting Bullseye with a Ruger 22/45. I don’t know as I’d want to have to try and find it when adrenaline is surging.

    I do have a laser on a couple guns, but if I can’t see the dot as I bring the gun up, there’s always the irons.

  20. I have a 1x magnification red dot sight on my carbine but still use iron sights on my carry pistol. If I ever had to fire at at threat I really doubt it would be further than 10 yards away anyway, and that’s church security. If I were attacked personally, 7 yards would be a stretch. I can hit a grapefruit sized target consistently at 15 yards so the added bulk and expense of an electronic gadget just isn’t worth it to me.

    Love ’em on the carbine. Makes hitting a full size silhouette at 200 yards is a little easier than iron sights, and get easier everyday as age progresses.

  21. Back when I was shooting steel, I had two compensated 1911, one with a red dot, one with coarse open sights. Usually I point shot the first target (on tried to . . .) and picked up the sights while going to the second. I always felt more comfortable with the open sights, and I set both of my fastest times with open sights. As for carry guns, I won’t trust my life to batteries.

  22. Not enough experience myself to opine— I only recently installed Holosuns on 3 of my pistols (2 SIG 365XLs and a Glock 40 MOS)— but from what I read of tests that have been done, once a person becomes acclimated, they get more accurate hits with the dot than with iron sights.

    Of course, that says nothing about the diminished reliability of anything relying on batteries.

  23. Like you stated, I’m with you on the cat chasing the laser. I haven’t had the time to invest in getting competent with the dot on a pistol. I too don’t want to have a battery device in a carry gun. I’ll stick with the iron sites

  24. Let me start off by saying that I am not opposed to new technology. Red Dot sights certainly have their uses. I don’t have any handguns equipped with Red Dot sights but I do have some equipped with lasers and I do have multiple long-guns equipped with Red Dots.

    Red Dot equipped handguns certainly have their place. I can see that they can be useful for competitive shooting and for some forms of handgun hunting. I do not doubt that they are a benefit to more accurate shooting at distance. Especially for a person, like myself, who has “aging eyes”.

    Nevertheless, I don’t think that they are practical for a personal defense handgun. Let’s face it. The majority of civilian defensive handgun incidents occur at close range. Most statistics place the typical defensive (Type II) incident as occurring in the 3 to 5 Yard range. The old proverb, that most defensive shootouts involve “Up to three shots in less than three seconds at a range of about three yards”, has a good deal of truth to it. Under the above “Rule of Three” conditions, a Red Dot would offer no advantages and would, if anything, be a handicap.

    I will grant that the oddball “once in a blue moon” civilian engagement may occur in the 20 to 25 yards or even longer range. In these exceptional conditions, a Red Dot would be a real benefit but such long range defensive shots are the exception not the rule.

    In my view, Red Dot’s add bulk and complexity to the defensive handgun platform. They add an additional layer of “possible” equipment failure to a system that MUST BE absolutely reliable. At the ranges where a typical (Type II) defensive engagement occurs, they offer no sighting benefit to offset their complexity, weight, and bulk. In my view, they fail the “Benefit/Cost Analysis” that I apply to my defensive equipment. None of my carry firearms will be equipped with Red Dot sights. It is a concession that I did equip a couple of them with laser sights.

    For military or law-enforcement use, the calculation may be different. The military will likely engage the enemy at longer ranges. A State Trooper, who operates out on the open highways and who may engage suspects at a distance and with vehicles as possible barriers, my be in a completely different circumstance. A Red Dot sight might well be a useful addition to a soldier’s or trooper’s handgun. Especially if he finds himself in a more protracted (Type I) Firefight. But for civilian concealed carry? No Thanks!

  25. Still not convinced that this is the way to go. There seems to be two camps – WAY Pro and undecided. When instructors like John Farnam and Tom Givens say they are not on board, you have to listen. I think there may be some benefit for longer ranges shots but, based on real statistics, the longer shot, I’m most self defense situations, is inconsequential. I also wonder about the conceal-ability issue. To each their own. I’ll stick with ‘post and notch’ for now.

    • I attended Tom’s instructor course this year and used my carry pistol with a dot. Many (I didn’t actually count, perhaps most) instructor students also had dots. No one experienced any problems to my knowledge and Tom had no issue with students using them.

  26. I have more experience on a handgun than your “average” shooter but probably less than serious competitive shooters or trainers. That being said, I did not have any real problem making the switch to a red dot. I edc an FN 509 compact. I agree with what others have said, dry fire practice is essential. I may not shoot as much as a serious competitive shooter, but I do at least 45 minutes to an hour of dry fire work every week. One of the dry fire drills that I do is to turn off the dot and practice, “not finding the dot” I think it is like making malfunction drills second nature, you have to get to the point where you don’t waste time looking for the dot if you cannot find it and just immediately transition to irons. After a few hours of dry firework I found that I very rarely did not find the dot, but it does happen

  27. I started with a compact M&P semi-auto with an RMR installed by David Bowie. Impeccable workmanship. I found picking up the red dot to be very slow and needing conscious effort. The iron sights are very much of the backup variety – there isn’t a lot of room on the slide for a fancy rear – although the front sight is from Mr. Bowie to get the suppressor height the rear sight is not much to see. I accepted this slow pickup as part of using a red dot after many years of iron – a training issue. Then I replaced my iron sighted 1911 EDC with a Fueled by Ed Brown S&W full size M&P with an RMR from Ed Brown, First rate accuracy trigger and everything you’d expect at the price point. Rather than being rudimentary backup iron sights the iron sights are very high and very high visibility custom replacements on a full size pistol. Suddenly I pickup the red dot RMR as quickly as I ever picked up iron sights on anything I now buy into co-witness and find the red dot as quickly as the irons.

    I am curious about eyeglass lens colors for use with red dot sights – mostly for IDPA or outlaw competition so orange for cardboard? query for field use? effect of yellow?

  28. I have had red dot sights on my defensive carbines for years & on my 44 magnum deer hunting revolver for several years. All of my defensive pistols have big orange/tritium front sights with a light/laser on my home defense 45. I think a red dot provides an advantage at distance but does not outweigh issues with bulk, battery & speed on a carry handgun.

  29. My first experience with a red dot sight on a pistol was the Aimpoint Mark III in 1983 when I was a member of an Army pistol team. The Aimpoint was the “newest thing” and several of my team mates had purchased them and mounted them on their bullseye pistols. Even though the sight was too large and heavy for practical carry they worked well as bullseye pistols. We had several Distinguished shooters on the team who could hold the 1.69 inch “X” ring on an NRA standard B-6 50-yard target with both iron sights and the red dot.

    I could not consistently hold the 8-inch bullseye at fifty yards much less the X ring. The bouncing red dot frustrated me because it was a constant reminder of how large my arc of motion was at that point in my shooting career. I took the Aimpoint off the pistol and installed it on a Ruger Mini-14 and proceeded to use it to hunt jackrabbits. I still have the sight and it still works.

    Fast forward to 2015 and my introduction to the Miniature Red Dot Sights (MRDS) and their ability to be slide-mounted for daily carry. I tried a MRDS during one of Gabe Suarez’s classes and was immediately struck by its utility.

    What impressed me about the red dot was that it removed one variable in the aiming process. With a dot, you do not need to maintain the relationship between the front/rear sights that you must maintain with iron sights. The red dot is on a single focal plane. If the dot is on the target and you maintain this alignment while properly pressing the trigger, you will hit the target assuming a properly zeroed pistol. However, a red dot sight will not correct a flinch, jerking the trigger, etc.

    I have been using one on my carry pistol for over six years and find that the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. I started with the Trijicon family and have now moved to the Holosun green dot. Buy a quality dot and change the battery every six months.

  30. Hi Mas,
    This last weekend, you had a firsthand look at student who was new to red-dot optics. Many thanks to you, Dorothy, Justin, and the folks at Nebraska Shooters for another great MAG 40 course! 100%

    I purchased my Glock 43X MOS the first of August and added a Holosun 507K. I wanted an optic on my carry gun because of my aging eyesight. I did have a chance to shoot it without the optic, and I believe I shot it better than I did this weekend with the optic. However, I wasn’t “under the gun” of a MAG 40 qualification so the outcome might not have been different.

    The Holosun “circle & dot” is easier to pick up than iron sights. With iron sights, I need to find the sweet spot in the progressive lenses to get the necessary sight alignment. I look like grandpa trying to read the newspaper! The “circle and dot” were instantly there when I presented the weapon during this weekend’s training. From 4, 7, and 10 yard lines, I used the “circle and dot”. I had couple of shots outside of the IDPA circle.

    Dropping back the 15 yard line, I turned the circle off and used the 2 MOA dot to better sight the target. I had more time and really needed to focus on the “dot” to get the shots to go where I wanted them to. That’s when things went south.

    I found this weekend, that I cannot see when I jerk the gun as easily with a red dot as I can with iron sights. When you’re looking over the barrel of the gun and across those sights, you can pick up jerking of the gun much easier. Because I couldn’t pick up on that with the dot, I had more shots on the Weaver and Chapman cycles go wild.

    I did not clean the glass the entire four days and 500 rounds. I did not find that to be an issue. I also didn’t notice any fogging, but it was Nebraska (low humidity by Florida standards).

    I’m still on the fence about carry optic. I need to get better at it using it and picking up when I jerk the gun. Still a novice on all this shooting stuff.

    Thanks for a great weekend!

    Rich Boll

  31. I have been working with a G34MOS with a Holosun 507C for about a year. I have a 296/300 on the Quadspeed MAG qual in MAG-IC with iron sights on a G34 gen3, I am not nearly that fast with the red dot yet. I do find it to be more accurate at 25 yds with my 48 year old eyes.

  32. The Red Dot is a definite advantage for aging eyes. It tightened my groups at 15 yards by about one inch. It also does help the issue of focus: You do NOT need to focus on the red dot; instead, focus on the target and the red dot (since it is holographic) is “in focus” overlaid on the target–no need for “reading glasses” or “reading lenses on top” shooting glasses in order to focus on the dot like you might need to clearly see the front sight. “Chasing the dot” is fixed with practice of presentation and the Holosun-type outer circle can also help. But, with practice, even the truly small red dots like the Trijicon RMRcc and RomeoZero can pop right into view upon the draw.
    All my red dot equipped handguns (6 so far) have height-appropriate (typically “suppressor height”) iron sights that can be seen through the “window” in case of battery failure. That said, it is still disconcerting when you are accustomed to using the red dot to have it fail to appear due to battery failure. Counter this by training with the red dot turned off and by using other, iron-sighted pistols. And by changing the battery long before the end of anticipated battery life. (I embarrassingly had a battery go dead on a MAG firing line–and later realized the battery was then 18 months old, plus whatever time it spent in on the shelf prior to sale). Good to learn the lesson then rather than “on the street.”
    Also, “window fog” is a real issue that requires diligent cleaning. Use extra care in cleaning a Sig Romeo Zero: it has a plastic lens that is easy to scratch–guess how I know this–but, the upside is that it should be harder to shatter by dropping it.
    I prefer the 3 MOA size to the 6 MOA size for pistols. The larger dots supposedly speed your shot because (a) they are faster to find and (b) (probably more important) they reduce your perception of wobble, so you spend less time waiting for the dot to “settle”, and still provide adequate “combat accuracy”. But, if you want tight groups, go with the smaller MOA red dots and/or turn them down to the lowest setting: Aim small, miss small.
    Overall, I find a red dot on a pistol to be a net positive. Even with a battery life up to 5 years on the better red dots, some advise changing the batteries on your birthday each year to be sure.

  33. Aging eyesight forced me to look for solutions. Shooting was no longer fun with the front sight being no more than a blur.
    Red dot sights on my pistols have absolutely restored my ability to shoot accurately and quickly again. The technology has become conveniently available and affordable, just in time for me.

  34. Not sure I want one for my carry gun. I need to be convinced it will help and not hurt. Not saying I can’t be convinced. They clearly help in, say, competitions. I’d like more info. about the pros and cons of self-defense. Who in the real world has used red dots in a life or death situation? Is there any substantial info. on this?

  35. I found everyone’s comments above to be fabulous. I especially appreciate the comments about lint on the glass, and fogging. Those are conditions that only show up in field testing, not laboratory testing.

    The pattern is that new things usually replace old things. I have my doubts about driver-less cars and living on Mars, however. The Golden Age of Technology could come to an end someday, . . . . . maybe.

    We should hear from civilians, military and police who have experienced finding dead batteries. It is always good to carry a second gun, if possible. My guess is that batteries keep getting better, but having back-up iron sights and even a back-up gun may be wise.

    We all realize dots can really help with long shots. In self-defense situations, these are very rare. One I always remember is March, 2012 at the Woodbridge Mall in NJ. LEO Ed Barrett, Jr. shot hostage-taker Andres Garcia in the head, without harming the hostage. Red dots might enable more shooters to make a live-saving shot like that. These types of shots are very rare, and will hopefully remain rare in the future. Still, it doesn’t hurt to practice them.

    I’m clicking around on Google to see if Officer Barrett’s gun had a red dot. I can’t find that information, but I think he used iron sights on a handgun that was .45 ACP (just using my memory). I’m sure Mas or one of you will find the info.

  36. It belatedly dawned upon me early this morning, that the issue of the added bulk of the optic might be better concealed with a cross draw setup. Kind of appendix carry but on the other side. Gonna have to find time to visit the holster drawer and give this a try when I get a chance.

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