From Recoil Magazine:

Learning How to Master Red-Dot-Equipped Pistols

Red-dot optics on pistols are everywhere nowadays. I resisted for a while, as the bulk of my civilian and law enforcement students still used iron sights. But over time, that’s changed. Whether in special operations, competition, concealed carry, or specialized law enforcement units, shooters now commonly use pistols with red-dots mounted on their slides.

S&W has the M&P Core series, Glock has the MOS series, CZ and FN have mini-red dot slide cut guns too.

By far, the greatest challenge is to properly orient the pistol so that you can find and maintain the dot in your sight picture. Thus, we first focus on grip. When using a pistol with iron sights, it’s easy to make adjustments to the gun as you present it on target, because you can perceive the orientation of the sights as soon as they appear in your periphery. It becomes subconscious.

Yes it does, which is why I will never use a mini red dot on a pistol ever again.

I have the FN FNX 45 Tactical, which is a beast, it came cut for a mini red dot.  I put a Vortex Viper on it for 15 minutes.

I can grab just about any handgun I own and with my eyes closed, bring up to eye level and when I open my eyes I’m lined up on the sights.

It is a training drill I was taught years ago (do this dry, no ammo), to take an object about the size of a basketball or pie pan (about 10 inches) at 10 yards.  Focus on it.  Close your eyes, draw and point at the target, then open your eyes.

You should be able with a bit of practice to be able to have your sights lined up on the target when you open your eyes.

This is really helpful in defense shoots or competition to get the feel of getting the gun out and on target without needing to track the sights.  Using the sights is for the last bit of precision.  The difference between hitting the target and the X-ring.

I could not do with my red dot.  The red dot is about 1/2 and inch higher than the axis of the iron sights.  This was enough that all my muscle memory went to shit and I found myself looking thought the irons and under the dot.

I’d have to reposition my head or hands to use the dot.  It was slower and awkward for me.

I have no desire to retrain my brain to run one gun with a red dot when all my other guns have irons.

I’d rather have consistency across all of my weapon platforms than have the latest and greatest slick thing on one pistol.

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By J. Kb

9 thoughts on “I’m going to buck this trend”
  1. I guess some people are into hunting with handguns, which seems interesting as a challenge but not otherwise a terribly sensible thing to do. But apart from that, why would you ever want a handgun with anything other than iron sights?

    1. The same reason rifles now typically have either a red dot, fixed magnification optic (Acog type), or a LPVMO (1-4x, 1-6x, ect). They are faster and can provide a higher degree of accuracy.

    1. My dog tells me forget the red dot, she wants a megawatt laser with “look and bark” targeting. (She hates it when birds – crows, in particular – eat “her” berries off the bushes in our backyard. If the pup had thumbs I’d need to hide the shotgun and ammo…)

      Re red dots on pistols, I guess I see the utility to an extent … however, given my astigmatism I don’t do well with many red dots. And there is something to not needing batteries to function.

      The FNX-T is a nice pistol, and yes, very large – with 15+1 rounds of .45ACP on tap, it’s not a lightweight. Loads of “intimidation factor,” thought … it’s about the closest I’ve seen to a real-life “kill-o-zap” that doesn’t slip over into silly-looking territory.

  2. I’m currently jonesing for a CZ P-10 optics ready. Every since IDPA accepted the optics carry division, i’ve been ready too. My eyes are old now; it’s uncool shooting a match using reading glasses.

  3. If you want a red dot get a laser… i do the same drill guy, luv it. I teach my students to try it too

  4. J, sounds more like an equipment issue.

    Most of the people who run red dots on pistols have the dot cowitnessed with the front sight.

  5. That’s the beauty of our community. If you like red dots on pistols, use them. If not, don’t. You could choose to stick with what you are used to, or try to train up on something new. Again, your call.

    I know plenty of people who are red dot is the only way to go. Yet, they never try to force their personal preference on me or anyone else.

    Do you consistently place shots on target? Who cares how you do it.

  6. When your eyes go you will change your mind. I have to wear progressive lenses now so the front and rear sites are not in focus at the same time… think about how to deal with that.

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