Shooting With A Red Dot Optic

Shooting With A Red Dot Optic

The days of being forced to shoot our handguns with iron sights are pretty much a thing of the past. A vast majority of modern handguns now come cut to host a pistol red dot optic. In the early days, red dots and other optics mounted on handguns were more of curiosity than a reliable setup. As technology in the optics world has evolved, however, pistol-mounted optics have become a viable and popular accessory.

The benefits of putting an optic on your handgun are numerous. First and foremost is the ease of acquisition. When we shoot iron sights, we have several things going on with sight picture and slight alignment. Ultimately working to have a crystal-clear front sight on target. Red dot-style optics allow us to simply put the dot on our target and go to work.

With that comes increased speed. While experienced shooters are able to quickly get their sights lined up, most people take a second to make it happen. The red dot does not require any special alignment and in turn, is faster than iron sights. One other point that is important here with red dots is the ability to use them with both eyes open. While some shooters are able to shoot iron sights with both eyes open, a majority of people shoot with one eye. The benefits of shooting with both eyes open include greater down-range awareness which is critical in a defensive situation. By seeing a larger area, we can determine if there is possibly more than one assailant or if there is another person close by that could be hit by gunfire.

Red dots do require a bit of retraining however for those who cut their teeth on traditional iron sights. Once again, with iron sights, we have a blurry rear sight, a crystal-clear front sight, and a blurry target. It is centered around all of our real focus being on the front sight. With red dots, however, we look at the target itself. As we do that, we lay the red dot in our optic onto the target, and we are ready to shoot. As I mentioned above, this gives us great vision downrange. While it may take some practice, the transition to red dots can be made pretty quickly.

I know from experience that some people will never make the jump to red dots and cling to iron sights forever. That is absolutely fine and pistol optics aren’t for everyone. I say that because I was one of the curmudgeonly guys that had tried red dots two decades ago and was not impressed. What I did do however was decided to open my mind and give modern optics a try.

In truth, my eyes aren’t 20 years old any longer and the front sight was less than crystal clear. Modern pistol optics are revolutionary and I found them to be significantly faster and more accurate than my iron sights. In short, I joined the 21st century and am happy I did it. A pistol such as the Mossberg MC2C makes a solid platform to host an optic and turn it from a good EDC gun to an exceptional one. If you are even remotely curious about making the jump to pistol-mounted optics, my one and only piece of advice is to do it!

About the Author

Fred Mastison

Fred Mastison is a professional Firearms and Combatives instructor, national magazine contributor, and author. He has been teaching in the industry for over 30 years and has divisions in the US, Ireland, Germany, and Mexico. He is also an instructor for the DOD Defense Security Cooperation University on OPSEC and Personal Security for US personnel being deployed worldwide to US embassies.
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