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My Take on Appropriate Red Dot Sight Usage for Various Applications

  1. My Take on Appropriate Red Dot Sight Usage for Various Applications

    Red-dot sights are evolving into a very practical and useful tool for shooters, particularly when they are mated with handguns. This is especially so with the law enforcement services.

    I can see a day when the police will be mandated to go to red-dot sights. The dilemma with iron sights is; when an officer focuses on the front sight (which is proper), then everything in front of that point (the front sight) is blurry. With a red-dot sight; if the red dot is on target, both the dot, and the target, are in focus. No more "I thought he had a gun" when, in fact, the guy was holding a cell phone (or whatever).

    Red-dot sights have evolved to a point where they make very good sense as a general issue piece of equipment. I'll go one further. Putting on my administrator's hat, I'd like to see a FIXED SIGHT red-dot sight. No ability on the part of officers to fiddle with their sights. For any rational distance an officer might be using their handgun, such a design would be just fine. And eliminate much potential mischief on the part of inventive officers.

    I would also require the following of this sight:

    * Battery change must be done easily (with a special tool?) without removing the sight from the sidearm

    * No less robust than adjustable sights (adjustable sights have been accepted for duty use by many agencies over the years, and have been found to be serviceable)

    One other advantage red-dot sights have; training people to use iron sights is very difficult. Often, no matter how much training time is allotted to an officer, the proper relationship between front sight, rear sight and the target is never fully mastered. Or, if understood, during a confrontation involving shots fired, all the training simply turns to poo.

    For the purposes of this discussion, I suggest the following red-dot sights would be appropriate for the uses outlined below:


    * Trijicon RMR: Very robust, long battery life. Con: Sight must be removed from weapon for battery replacement

    Law Enforcement

    * Trijicon RMR: Very robust, long battery life. Con: Sight must be removed from weapon for battery replacement

    * Leupold Deltapoint: Reasonably robust, battery replacement is from the top (no sight removal needed)


    * Vortex Venom or Burris Fast Fire III: Very similar sights. Battery replacement is from the top for both models. Based on my empirical experience with these sights (mostly the Venom, now with some limited exposure to the Burris model), they hold to their set point-of-aim.
    If I were King (and I ought to be), I would have Glock manufacture a pistol with a tough red-dot sight attached, with the battery for that sight located in the grip (that dead air space at the rear of the grip could hold a battery that would last a user a decade. Seriously.)

    The sight would be “on” all the time. When no movement was detected, the sight would go “off“ after a finite number of hours.

    There would be two versions; a police, fixed-sight model, and an adjustable-sight model (for us competent guys...).

    Please feel free to critique all of the above. Having served in law enforcement for forty-one years, I’m used to pain.

  2. Under the topic "appropriate uses" you didn't list self defense. Was that intentional?

    My personal experience: I switched to carrying a red dot for concealed carry about 1 1/2 years ago. I carry it in a Comp-Tac OWB Paddle Holster. Part of the process was getting lots of practice drawing and acquiring the red dot vs. the front sight. That said, at my... (advanced) age :) I find it far more accurate than iron sights for old eyes. And with sufficient practice acquiring the dot has become second nature.

    I have suppressor height sights as a back up as well, so I'm not SOL if the battery dies while I'm carrying. The dot activates with movement and I've found that changing the battery about every three months keeps the red dot working.

    So, any reason NOT to consider carrying a self defense pistol with optics?
  3. No mention of backup iron sights. If you have those then you have to train for two sighting systems. Might as well add a laser and then you can train for three systems.
  4. Oversight. I highly recommend red-dots for self defense purposes.
  5. I think red-dot sights will evolve as a sole sight system.
  6. A bit more on the lower priced sights. As I mentioned, I’ve used the Vortex Venom and the Burris FFIII. I like both models of red-dot. I think they are excellent sights for use in sport shooting.

    Should one of these red-dots go belly up, it would happen at a range. The consumer back-up of both companies is excellent.

    Having said that, I will state that I intend to use my Burris Fast Fire III on my Ruger LC9 Pro, for personal defense (pocket pistol). It will be installed on a Galloway Precision mount, which I have already purchased:


    The Ruger will be a pocket pistol. Thus, I am looking for a very compact sight. The Burris is quite narrow, so it should suite my purpose. Is the sight perfect? Well, no. I’d sure like it to be “tougher.” But, if I use care, I believe the combination of small pistol and this red-dot sight should work out.
  7. There is a significant downside to reflex sights. If you don't have perfect 20/20 vision, the dot can appear as a blurry, blown out halo. I have to get Lasik done again to fix that issue due to the strange shape of the cornea from previous surgery. They can't make a corrective lens or contact to fix the issue ...
    But as I'm only 20/40 in my dominant eye, it doesn't make a lot of sense to do it right now
    They said, if I have FSA money left over at the end of the year, I will get it done. I want the new Aimpoint P1 when it's released if my eyes are fixed.
  8. Try a red dot in the dark or low light before reaching your conclusion. I love them for daylight.

    But i like and find night sights and lasers much more useful than red dots for dark/low light.
  9. No, they aren't both in focus - that is physically impossible. However, you can focus on the target and still see the dot on it - it's a fuzzy dot, s you may not notice it being out of focus and it probably won't matter. There is much debate on whether it's best to focus on the dot or the target. I have been taught that the dot looks like it's moving more when you focus on the target, but it's a mental game for very precise shooting - not important for shooting fast.
  10. Bren, all I can tell you is, when I look through red-dot sights, both the sight and the object I'm aiming at are in focus.

    The dilemma police face, when using conventional open sights, is that they are taught, and quite properly so, to focus on the front sight. As you mention in your post, the human eye can focus on only one object at a time. Thus, if both of the shooter's eye are open (as they should be) when using open sights, and depending on where their target is in relation to their location, the target will be both blurry and there will be two of them.

    I have my students extend one hand out to arm's length, stick up one finger, and both focus on the tip of the finger (about where a front sight would be), then focus on the target. They quickly see the difference.

    The advantage of the red-dot sighting system, is, as I stated previously, both their target and sighting point (red-dot) are in focus.
  11. Bren's right. It isn't any more possible to focus on a dot and target that are 20 yards apart than it is to focus on a post and target in the same relationship.

    The difference is that your brain doesn't hold onto the idea of the dot being attached to the gun, and you can more easily imagine it being on the target surface.

    And regarding the issue of moving accommodation from target to sight focus, faster shooting is done with target focus, so no need to shift vision. Slower shooting is done with sight focus, so there's plenty of time to shift vision.

    And even an older guy can shift his accommodation on a transition between targets. That just needs to be practiced. As does the skill of staying in sight focus when transitioning between multiple targets that will be engaged in that manner.
  12. Guys, I was at the range today, firing handguns with open sights (S&W K 38 6", and a beauty of a H&K P7), and my Glock 17 and a vortex Venom. I was at the 20 yard line and both my target ( a metal impact plate), as well as the red-dot, were clear in my line of vision. I was not shifting my vision from the dot to the target and back.

    I'm beginning to wonder if different people see the red dot in these optics differently?
  13. Here's something I found explaining how red-dot sights work. I've taken just a bit from the article (address below):


    Diagram of a typical "red dot" sight using a collimating mirror with a light-emitting diode at its focus that creates a virtual "dot" image at infinity.
    Red dot sights place the target and the reticle on nearly the same optical plane, allowing a single point of focus.
  14. Here's another author's take on these sights. Article address is below:


    From USA Carry

    An oversimplification is that these sights are based on a simple optical principle that anything at the focus of a lens looks like it is right in front of you at whatever distance. Through the reflector lens process of bouncing images off a slanted or curved glass (e.g. illuminated reticle), the viewer can see the infinity image and the field of view at the same time, without most sighting errors and regardless of the viewer’s eye, head, and body position. With MRDS only ONE FOCAL POINT is needed, rather than front and rear sight alignment. A MRDS places the dot in the same focal plane as the target, so BOTH are in focus.
  15. "A MRDS places the dot in the same focal plane as the target, so BOTH are in focus."
    This right here. [​IMG]