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Steve in Michigan
Junior Member

USA
168 Posts

Posted - July 25 2021 :  12:40:28 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Been looking at red dot sights for my carry pistol. One big question I have is what would be the ideal dot size, 3 MOA or now they have 6MOA dots. Anyone have any opinions what would be the best buy for the money for a defensive use red dot? Which brings up the question is it a good idea to have a red dot on a defensive carry pistol? Is a laser sight better or iron sights best?

Ace
Advanced Member

USA
6020 Posts

Posted - July 25 2021 :  1:24:04 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
By my observations, red dots or lasers could be viable on a carry gun, but in my view they take more training and practice to make them worth it. Virtually every student I've had over the years who had lasers on their gun tended to 'lose' the little red or green dot, and spend way too much time and effort looking for it rather than getting the front sight on target. From playing with red dots on pistols, my experience has been that without a precisely positioned grip, the dot disappears, and it's like a natural reaction to start looking for the dot rather than, again, getting the front sight on target and getting the shot off in a timely manner; and how easy is it to miss that perfect grip when we're trying to hurry? Plus a front sight can't suffer from a dead battery. I do have fun with the dot sight on one of my squirrel pistols, but there isn't a 'life or death' time frame to finding the dot with it--if the squirrel or rabbit gets away while I'm trying to find the dot, I still get to go home.

IF I were to plan to depend on a red dot for a defensive pistol, I'd probably opt for a 3-5moa model, considering the likely distances in a defensive encounter. If I remember the numbers right, a 5moa translates to 2.5 coverage at 50 yards, and 1.25 at 25 yards; and the bigger the dot, the more likely I'd be able to pick it up quicker with aging eyes.

There's a long $.02 for you to spend however you want. Ace

Give me $1 every time a Liberal lies, I'll give you $5 every time one tells the truth; I'll end up a wealthy man, you'll end up broke.
If pro-gunners are as murderous as anti-gunners claim, why are there so many anti-gunners still running their mouths?
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Steve in Michigan
Junior Member

USA
168 Posts

Posted - July 25 2021 :  1:49:55 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thank you Ace. Your advice is just what I have been looking for. I also have a few pistols with mounted lasers and agree they can be a real slowdown when it comes to getting on target and the ones with "push buttons" are bad news. I think I may try mounting a red dot on a carry-size pistol and see what the results are. I shoot about once or twice a week, so it should give me some approximation of the dynamics involved but nothing near what is involved in a lethal encounter so I'll keep an open mind.
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Evan
Administrator

34864 Posts

Posted - July 25 2021 :  2:17:49 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm not a fan of red dots on pistols and if my wife and I's vision was what it was when we were 20 we wouldn't have a 3X red dot on her AR and a SIG 1X4 scope with a lighted reticle on my AR..

"The greatest thing a Father can do for his children is to love their Mother."

Harold B. Lee

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monte
Starting Member

USA
13 Posts

Posted - July 25 2021 :  2:28:53 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I like smaller dots.

I've found if you properly cowitness the sights the "learning curve" vanishes. You look for the irons and the dot is there for when its needed. (In most cases this requires higher sights and works best with a milled slide.)
If the battery dies the irons still work. The only problem is in the rain the glass can be wet. If so use the lines on the slide to hit the target.

.
.
Monte
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WR Moore
Advanced Member

USA
1063 Posts

Posted - July 26 2021 :  3:02:53 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Due to aging eyes, I gave the red dots a try on a handgun. I ended up-reluctantly-with an RMR with a 3.25 MOA dot and think it's just about perfect. It's a really wonderful thing out beyond 15 yards, but since the average defensive handgun use is 5 yards, it's kind of guilding the lilly.

Ace does have a couple of points. You need that optic as low as possible and iron sights you can see through the optic. If you've had a lot of practice in up close & personal, the optic can be somewhat slower, not necessarily significantly so. You absolutely will need a lot to practice time to be able to acquire the dot at the draw. One thing I did notice was a tendency up close to try to be more precise than really necessary. Operating in low light while "hunting" they're great.

You do get the same rain, condensation issues you do with other glass optics. Plus, the bulk of the optic can interfere with concealment.

Because I spent a lot of time in environments where steam, fog and smoke were common, I'm not real fond of the concept of lasers. Visible light lasers can show up as lines in those conditions. Lasers also don't compensate for lousy trigger manipulation. Yes, the military uses lasers, but largely because they have night vision gear and then they use infra red lasers of much higher power than commerical units. Avoids many of the downsides of visible light lasers.

Beware the politically obsessed. They are often bright and interesting, but they have something missing in their natures, there is a hole, an empty place and they use politics to fill it up. It leaves them somehow misshapen. Peggy Noonan


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Chris Christian
Advanced Member

USA
3839 Posts

Posted - July 26 2021 :  3:43:30 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Regarding laser sights on concealed carry self-defense handguns.
I use several different reflex sights on competition pistols and long guns. MOAs from 3 to 8, depending upon the game. But, I always get to make sure they're clean before the match, and have time to clean them during the match, before I fire my next stage, if I see they are getting dirty. And, they can get dirty.

Has anyone looked at their edc pistol lately? How dirty does it get just riding in a concealed holster? How about the sights? How about those reflex sights in extreme cold, then walking into a warm room, or the reverse... getting out of a AC car into high humidity? How 'bout the normal dust and dirt that will show up on the lenses from normal carry? That stuff happens during a match when I've carefully cleaned the sight beforehand. What happens during daily carry?

Those situations suck on the range during a match. But I can clean the reflex sights before the next stage. Do you have the time to do that when a thug or 2 are coming after you?

I'm, obviously, not a fan of a red dot sight on a EDC handgun. Many things can go wrong, and I've seen a lot of them at matches... including batteries dying or just the sight deciding to die.

Given that most personal protection usages occur within 10-yards... what's wrong with a basic set of "we always work" iron sights?
At least you know they'll work.




Chris Christian
There are those who make things happen. There are those who watch things happen. There are those who wonder What The Heck happened! Pick one.

Edited by - Chris Christian on July 26 2021 3:49:21 PM
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jle3030
Advanced Member

USA
5753 Posts

Posted - August 02 2021 :  9:01:12 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Caveat: I have no red dot experience, so my opinion is based on things I've read and what seems logical to me. I understand that, aside from the durability issue of electrical/optical devices slamming back and forth for hundreds or thousands of rounds on a pistol slide, the main issue with red dots is training the shooters eyes to use them effectively. Is it a problem going back and forth from red dot to laser to iron sights? At the speed of life and death? I don't know, so I'm asking.

It seems to me that most folks who opt for red dots might be better served by limiting themselves to a couple optics only carry guns to avoid having to figure out where to focus their eyes at the critical moment.

I believe that the plethora of marketed add-ons leads us to overthink and overequip for that shootout that may never happen. Tom Givens of Rangemaster points out that nearly all of his sixty-odd students' successful shooting incidents have occurred within the length of a large SUV. Not one has involved the use of a flashlight. Reduced light? Yes. Too dark to ID the target and shoot accurately with the gun at hand? Not so much. Nobody has had to reload.

Rather than investing in pricey accessories, I believe the money is better spent on practice ammo and training to achieve an instinctive competence to hit with one's gun(s) of choice. Very deadly lawmen have been winning gunfights for a very long time with very basic guns. You can't order skill from Amazon and bolt it onto your gun.

Target shooting, games, and hunting would be separate issues.

Jeff

jle3030
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Chris Christian
Advanced Member

USA
3839 Posts

Posted - August 07 2021 :  2:07:47 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Another thought on red dot sights on personal defense handguns. I think I explained MHO regarding reliability and 'dirt gathering' in a previous post. I do use them extensively in competition and am aware of their drawbacks... which is why I won't put them on my EDC guns.

But that doesn't provide any advice as to what to do if your eyes have reached the point that you can't clearly see your iron sights. That is the situation I am in.

Cataract surgery on both eyes left me with 20/20 vision... with corrective lenses. My regular "street" glasses have the focal point set to 20 feet (which I think is an industry standard). I can't focus on iron sights with those glasses. When I do shoot iron sights in competition I have a second pair of glasses with the same prescription, but with the focal point set at 25 inches. I can see iron sights very well with those.... but I can't wear them driving around and doing normal daily activities --- which is precisely the situation where I might need my EDC.

My solution was Advantage Tactical Sights. They look strange. But I can see them clearly enough with my 'street eyeglasses' to quickly align for COM hits to 20-yards. They are bold, bright, and fast to acquire.... sorta what I want for one of those sudden "Oh Gosh!" situations.

I have them on both my EDC semi-autos (M&P 9c and G29). They are a bit of a PITA to get properly aligned, since elevation adjustments involves removing the front sight and adding or subtracting shims. But once I got that done there is no way I would EDC ANY other sight! I have even shot the 9c in IDPA matches and done pretty darned good. I favor the yellow rear and the pink front (no smart remarks, please). Even without finding the front, the yellow rear provides a bright 'back of the gun' sight pic that will handle close stuff. I'm happily carrying them, and have no plans to change to anything else.

FWIW

If vision is an issue it's worth Googling them.

Chris Christian
There are those who make things happen. There are those who watch things happen. There are those who wonder What The Heck happened! Pick one.
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WR Moore
Advanced Member

USA
1063 Posts

Posted - August 08 2021 :  10:12:51 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Cataract surgery is years down the road, but coming. OTOH, I've decades of experience dealing with the bifocal/trifocal issue and ron handgun sights. There are occupational lens grinds that can put your close distance Rx at the top (and bottom) of the lens. This lets you bring your irons into focus with a slight forward tilt of the head. When I finally gave in a did trifocals, the middle distance Rx went into the top of the lens and the close distance at the bottom.

Now, you can wear these "magic glasses" all the time as the distance Rx is in the middle of the lens where you look under most circumstances.

I started working/playing with the handgun optics when the target was getting too fuzzy for really good shot placement but the sights were OK. However, at the 5 yard average confrontation distance, that's not an issue.

While you can't widget your way to competence, relying upon a mythical "instinctive competence" isn't a path to salvation. Once past arms reach, you need some form of visual reference between firearm and target to get the good hits you need. They put sights on firearms for good reason.

Beware the politically obsessed. They are often bright and interesting, but they have something missing in their natures, there is a hole, an empty place and they use politics to fill it up. It leaves them somehow misshapen. Peggy Noonan



Edited by - WR Moore on August 08 2021 10:18:25 PM
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jle3030
Advanced Member

USA
5753 Posts

Posted - August 09 2021 :  08:57:16 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
+1. My use of the term 'instinctive' competence was probably misleading. What I was referring to is the automatic application of the marksmanship fundamentals that a person (hopefully) achieves by the end of a multiday training course. You get the technique down to where you can pretty well see/feel when you're getting the hit.

Jeff




jle3030
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Ace
Advanced Member

USA
6020 Posts

Posted - August 09 2021 :  10:59:06 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I once got to handle a pistol with the Advantage Tactical sight on it, when a customer brought it into the store. I could see the attraction, but after the maybe five minutes of 'playing' with it, I could envision myself getting caught up in trying to get the 'pyramid' just perfect before taking the shot; kinda the same idea of finding the dot on the RDS. Just me, but I think I'll stay with the old-timey Sight Enhancement Formula (some people call it 'fingernail polish') for now. I'd really like to try those Advantage sights on a rabbit pistol, though; they look like they could be really helpful for precise shots.

My 'pattern' is usually yellow on the front, and either orange or pink on the rear--pink especially if I'd ever plan a trip to San Fransissyco; I'd probably also get one of those lavender colored guns, too, for that. Ace

Give me $1 every time a Liberal lies, I'll give you $5 every time one tells the truth; I'll end up a wealthy man, you'll end up broke.
If pro-gunners are as murderous as anti-gunners claim, why are there so many anti-gunners still running their mouths?
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WR Moore
Advanced Member

USA
1063 Posts

Posted - August 09 2021 :  8:39:20 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Well, the lavender gun would probably get you a walk on a bogus brandishing claim. "What color was the gun?" "Uh,silver?, No, wait, it was black? "

Beware the politically obsessed. They are often bright and interesting, but they have something missing in their natures, there is a hole, an empty place and they use politics to fill it up. It leaves them somehow misshapen. Peggy Noonan


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