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Red Dots on Carry Guns: Dumb Idea?

Not a fan of the concept. because it affords the non-professional an excuse not to practice. "Put the red dot on the target and pull the trigger, what can go wrong?"

Also, there's the danger that a lawyer will try to make the case that since the red dot allows more precise shot placement, one should have 'shot to wound' rather than aiming at COM.
 

SATRP

Master Class
Founding Member
I would recommend going with facts. 90+% of all gunfights occur within 10' and less. Sights will not come in to pay at that distance. It will be instinctive point shooting while hightailing out of a threat's sight picture. Admittedly, I have no clue of ability of optical sights to acquire a threat while in very rapid movement to safety. The question pares to justifying optical sights on a self-defense handguns in the very tiny percentage of deadly force confrontations that occur beyond 15'. At 15' and beyond, a survivor should consider not engaging and running to cover of a barrier or completely out of the county.

All survivors must acquire ability to instinctively point shoot with at least 90% efficacy to 10'. After thay have mastered 10' point shooting, they should extend their point shooting mastery to 15'.

When I come across videos such at the one above, my first thought is whether commentators have horses race.s In other words, is the presenter in any way benefiting from endorsing a product.

As always, shooters have to go with what works best for them.
 
Red dots are a force multiplier for pistols. They have their short comings but the current breed of guns with an electronic sight takes a pocket pistol from a belly gun+ and stretches it out to be competent at 25 or even 50 yards.

Sight acquisition is faster - assuming you have a trained index most irons shooters don't so they have to develop that when the switch over to the dot.

You can know where you shots went in confidence - shot calling with a dot is really simple and you can know with a high degree of certainty where each shot connected.

The dot itself will help you diagnose your grip and trigger press and show you clearly how you're messing things up - you'll become a better shooter through training with a dot.

If you're a "good" shooter with irons -if you can learn to shoot a dot you'll end up the equivalent of a great shooter.

I have carried red dot pistols exclusively since 2018 and the advantage is so profound using irons on a carry gun is a non-starter to me. I would be leaving capability on the table. I'm convinced in a generation pistols will be sold with optics on them - irons will be "back up irons" only unless they're nostalgia pieces.
 

ChanceMcCall

Master Class
I have used a red dot since they came out on a Ruger Mini 14 and was very pleased. Later I put a newer generation (smaller) on a Ruger Mark .22LR pistol to hunt rabbits and found I was getting more rabbits than my shotgun toting buddies on the same drive hunts. I still have a red dot on my Mark IV Hunter, I love them!

However for self defense carry pistols for civilians, I'm not so sure of the value. For a non uniformed LEO or Agent and for civilians, most encounters are really close and training in instinctive shooting is far more important because of the need for speed.

If I were a plainclothes officer I would being carrying a non red dot pistol (or two or three or four) and would have a full size with a red dot in my vehicle, or perhaps in a carried specialty portfolio . This way I would be better prepared for different situations at different ranges.
 

BangBang

Professional
Red dots are not just a “point and shoot” application. It makes it somewhat easier which in turn would be better in a self defense situation. In other discussions some are for them and some are against them. I like them WITH back up suppressor sights in case the red dot were to fail. Putting a red dot on a pistol does not make you a marksman.
 
I was always an iron sights guy but after much research online, sourcing Rob Leatham, Jerry Miculek, and others, I decided put the Shield RMSc on my Hellcat. After a little more than 2 months of training with it, my target acquisition speed and accuracy have increased greatly beyond 15 yards where "senior eyes" began to slow me down. I really like the red dot a lot, especially at distance.
 

Mr. Untactical

Elite
Founding Member
This is a good article/video by someone experienced with an old way of doing something having an open mind about a new way of doing the same thing. (IMHO) The points made in the video are valid:

1. Technology has improved
2. Manufacturing has improved
3. Integration has improved
4. Functionality has improved

These four improvements mean that mounting and using an optic on a carry weapon isn't the bad idea it used to be.

For me, I would have to handle and shoot a Hellcat and an XD-S OSP before making a decision to carry either... it's just too bad I can't do that with options available at our local ranges.
 

Dave399

Alpha
I have carried a handgun since 1971 as a State Trooper, Sheriffs Deputy and City Police Officer and was a member of the State Police pistol team. Due to old eyes, I recently switched to the Hellcat with Shield red dot. I absolutely love it. I can shoot faster and more accurately with it than I can with iron sights. No more iron sights for me.
 

ChanceMcCall

Master Class
I have carried a handgun since 1971 as a State Trooper, Sheriffs Deputy and City Police Officer and was a member of the State Police pistol team. Due to old eyes, I recently switched to the Hellcat with Shield red dot. I absolutely love it. I can shoot faster and more accurately with it than I can with iron sights. No more iron sights for me.

Dave - I concur about both "old eyes" and that the red dot improves distance shooting. When you state, "No more iron sights for me", does that mean you are actually depending on the red dot at 7 yards or less, or that at closer distances you are using point shooting and revert to the red dot at some (your choice) further distance?

I, and I suspect many others, are eager for clarification and more details. Thanks for any reply.
 

Red_Label

Operator
Put me in the camp of being curious about red dots on concealed handguns, while at the same time being skeptical that they'll actually make any difference at normal arm's length distances and split-second times in which real defensive scenarios occur. I wouldn't mind having a reflex sight-eqipped pistol in the safe (provided I could jam another one in there), but considering that I carry either my tiny Kahr CW380 or Kimber Solo 99% of the time, it doesn't matter anyways.

Now my three Springfield Saint Victor AR pistols are a different story, as all are equipped with red dots. I use irons on my SA M1A and M1 Garand. I only put in this 2nd paragraph so people would know that I am an actual fan of SA products (have owned two SA 1911s too). ;-)
 

SimonRL

Professional
I have four pistols with red dots on them and have done quite a bit of defensive training using multiple targets and inside 7yds i don't chase the dot. I'm point aiming and the dot is there - because I train. 10 yds and out I can sometimes chase the dot (typically if I'm shooting a large pistol like my X5 Legion) for a split second on the first shot, but when that dot is acquired you can be moving at top speed and pick your shots because it's so intuitive - and there's none of the shooting high nonsense that can often happen with iron sights when shooting in a pinch. When I'm shooting anything with a 4 in or shorter barrel, if the gun is up in front of my face, so is the dot.

And despite what some say, a red dot will not make you a better shooter. You still have to master all the mechanics.

I don't have red dots on my 1911s because I think it ruins their looks and I love how accurately I can shoot with them, but 10 yds and out, any target - including someone's chest - is a massive blur, my aging eyes just can't cut it. But at ten and beyond with a red dot I can see like an eagle. For me, I'm all in on red dots.
 

Dave399

Alpha
Dave - I concur about both "old eyes" and that the red dot improves distance shooting. When you state, "No more iron sights for me", does that mean you are actually depending on the red dot at 7 yards or less, or that at closer distances you are using point shooting and revert to the red dot at some (your choice) further distance?

I, and I suspect many others, are eager for clarification and more details. Thanks for any reply.
 
And despite what some say, a red dot will not make you a better shooter. You still have to master all the mechanics.
It absolutely does make you a better shooter - not by virtue of it being there - but by practicing. The level of feedback on your trigger pull and muzzle movement is imperceptible on irons - the learning to do the mechanics better takes off at a much faster rate than trying to learn the same skills when you train with a dot. Shooting on the move becomes significantly better since acceptable sight pictures are far easier to judge with a dot vs. irons.

With a dot you learn to index properly and target focus. Those two skills are the name of the game.
 

SimonRL

Professional
It absolutely does make you a better shooter - not by virtue of it being there - but by practicing. The level of feedback on your trigger pull and muzzle movement is imperceptible on irons - the learning to do the mechanics better takes off at a much faster rate than trying to learn the same skills when you train with a dot. Shooting on the move becomes significantly better since acceptable sight pictures are far easier to judge with a dot vs. irons.

With a dot you learn to index properly and target focus. Those two skills are the name of the game.
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I thought that was implied in what I was saying. You’re preaching to the converted.
 
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