Red Dot Optics: Tools or Toys?

Many of the red dot sight detractors claim that they can do the same thing with their standard iron sights as they can with a dot sight. This claim generally comes from time spent on the practice range not in the real world.

            All the of the previously mentioned issues become increasingly important if the target is moving, the shooter is moving, and the light conditions are poor.  If you are fortunate in a gunfight you will be in shadow and your target in the light.  That’s a great tactic but dark shadows make it hard to see your front sight.  

Coming Soon: Pistols

            I have it on good authority that the boys at Bragg are heavily involved in training with service pistols that employ varied red dot optics.  These aren’t IPSC competition shooters, but guys training to fight with red dots on their handguns.  While the mechanics of using a dot sight on a pistol vary from a shotgun or carbine, the concept is the same.

            My good friend, David Biggers of XS Sight fame, and now head of his own consulting company is working diligently behind the scenes with both optic and pistol makers to see duty pistols outfitted with red dot sights from the factory, not aftermarket.

            Another good friend, James Yeager, has reported that several competent and serious shooters have taken his Fighting Pistol courses with a red dot mounted handguns.  None of the shooters thus far have had any issues or negative experiences.

You Can’t Buy Your Way Around Training   

            If there is a downside to red dot optics it could be the misconception that putting a dot sight on a firearm somehow negates the need to train or practice with said gun.  A red dot sight enhances the shooter’s ingrained ability.  It is not a substitute for it.  Another friend of mine, who makes his living as a professional shooter remarked, “The dot doesn’t press the trigger for you.  You can’t make up for a lack of skill by purchasing expensive gear.”

            Should you be able to use traditional iron sights and have them mounted on your gun along with a red dot?  Most certainly you should.  Red dots aren’t perfect, they are devices made by men.  However, the new optics are tough as nails when you buy them from a reputable company. 

One SOF trooper put it to me like this when discussing the Micro T-1.  “We got took incoming rockets on the way to the hit.  I was thrown from the vehicle and landed so hard on my M4 I thought I might have bent the barrel.  We fought through it and not only did my Aimpoint not break, it didn’t even lose its zero.” a resounding endorsement to say the least.   For more information contact


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