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pros and cons of red dot on edc

KMT2KMT2 MemberPosts: 355 Member
I saw a neat video of a person on his conversion from iron sights to a red dot.
 any thoughts?
 Zee Id like to hear your thoughts greatly.
If you think OHSA is a little town in Wisconsin you may be in trouble!
Peace is firing my guns or 60 feet below the surface of the water.


  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 23,314 Senior Member
    I’m not the man for this question. I have very little experience with red dots on defensive pistols. 
    Mostly because I don’t want to use one.   A pistol is a last ditched tool (before a knife) and I want VERY little (sp: nothing) that can go wrong with my “circle the wagons“ option. So electronics (other than possibly a light) are WAY down on my list of need to adds. 
    I’ve tried them sparingly and immediately realized it was a different sight presentation/acquisition than irons and that..........is bad Ju-Ju when I shoot so many different types of handguns. Anything that requires a noticeable deviation from status quo’s requires a lot of training the brain and I don’t want to afford that right now. 
    Down the road, I see the writing on the wall, and I’ll have to adapt to one. When that time comes, I will. But, I’m not running out to spend my own money on one right now. 
    Shotgun Shooter has a lot more time behind one and will be a better brain to pick. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 16,539 Senior Member
    edited April 9 #3
    Yep...what Zee said...not a lot to be gained by complicating a basic tool...at least in my world...

    Anything with a battery is bound to fail when you need it the worst...which is why I still carry a compass....
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Senior Member Posts: 7,219 Senior Member
    I have one on a target 22, I wouldn't put one on a carry pistol. 
    They are big, even a little one. You would need a custom holster or have very limited choices. They require a battery. IMHO, anything that can go bad will at the worst time. For example, my XTC rifle is scoped with a lighted reticle. My team mate on the match we were shooting asked how long does the battery last. I told him right up to halfway through that last string. I am not saying it caused me to shoot worse on the last stage, but it did cause me to shoot differently. The height is different from the bbl. It feels like you acquire the sight picture differently.
    Now on the target pistol, it is the cats butt. I love it and I need to get past 50 yards so it isn't boring when dinging steel, but I wont put one on a carry pistol. 

    It's boring, and your lack of creativity knows no bounds.
  • SpkSpk Senior Member Posts: 3,781 Senior Member
    edited April 9 #5
    Like Varm said, for competition Yes, for EDC, not so much. Why? It's just another layer of maintenance and upkeep you need to train your brain to be aware of.
    There's a noticeable difference between picking up a target with a dot sight versus iron. You'll eventually get use to both but the batteries won't die on the irons. In competition, they're fun to play with but like Varm said, sooner or later you'll forget or neglect that layer of maintenance and constant checking and the batteries will die on you. In a competition you'll just be PO'd. I don't want to be worried about my batteries for EDC, I'm forgetful enough as it is. 😁
    Having said that, I'm well aware that RMR sites are being used in the military already. Again, constant maintenance and readiness checks are the norm in military life. I just don't do that anymore.
    Anyway, here's a good upbeat article on the subject.

    ETA: On the plus side if you're eyesight ain't what it use to be, you might just benefit from a dot sight. Something to consider.
    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience -- Mark Twain
    How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and [how] hard it is to undo that work again! -- Mark Twain

  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 8,059 Senior Member
    edited April 10 #6
    You're basically taking a "stone axe" level tool, in a "stone axe" level application, and adding "space shuttle" levels of additional things to consider and keep track of.

    Which mounting plate?  It matters.  Filling the gap in the slide; how much screw engagement; correctly torquing down. . .

    The sight itself? Batteries, glass, gears, switches, waterproofing (hopefully), different modes of brightness adjustment and their compatibility with your flashlight. . .

    Taller backup sights and a new holster to accept both them and the altered pistol.

    The next negative - once you start needing that crutch in order to stand up and walk, are you going to add that tech to every handgun you own?

    All of this, which potentially doubles the cost of the weapon,  to solve what problem?

    "The Job" is to place rounds into a volleyball-sized target at what will in all likelihood be ten yards or less.

    I'll take the stone axe that works without the need for a six page pre-flight checklist.  You can buy A LOT of practice ammo for the cost of one of these Game Boy sights and its peripherals.

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 16,539 Senior Member
    Kinda like putting a supercharger on a crescent wrench.
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • Diver43Diver43 Senior Member Posts: 10,489 Senior Member
    Not for me but SS3 seems to like his and is doing well with it.
    Logistics cannot win a war, but its absence or inadequacy can cause defeat. FM100-5
  • 10canyon5310canyon53 Member Posts: 1,976 Senior Member
    Biggest deal-breaker for me is the need for batteries.  I am just waiting for some genius to "fix" that problem with a hand-crank model.  :D
  • shotgunshooter3shotgunshooter3 Senior Member Posts: 5,682 Senior Member
    edited April 11 #10
    My main EDC has been a Glock 19 with a slide mounted RMR for about 18 months now. I'm very fond of the slide mounted MRDS for my own uses, but I don't necessarily advocate it for everyone. In the spirit of what you asked, I'll list pros, cons, and where relevant mitigating factors for cons.

    Spoiler Alert: For my personal uses, the pros greatly outweigh the cons. For my desires, adding a RMR and training with it have expanded the utility of the handgun (which is my primary defensive tool after avoidance and deescalation fail) for me. WITH THAT SAID, more practice and training is required to get the added value of the RMR. As such, I don't really consider it worth it for the casual user. The armed professional or more serious hobbyist, who is willing to put the time and effort in to learn, will glean added benefits. If you aren't willing or able to put the practice in, maybe it isn't for you.


    - Changes your shooting to target/threat focused. No more aligning sights, get front sight crisp, etc. Focus on target, break shot when there is acceptable sight picture.
    - Tied into the above, it genuinely makes longer distance shots easier.
    - With training, there are no short range disadvantages. I've found that issues "finding the dot" are mainly derived from inefficient, sloppy draws. Additionally, at short "get off me" distances, prove to me that you're really aligning your sights for point shooting anyway.

    Cons (and rebuttals where applicable):

    - Cost. This is by far the biggest con. The most recommended "HD/Duty/Carry" MRDSs, the ubiquitous RMR (my choice), various Holosun choices, and the Leupold Delta Point Pro range from $280-$450 or so depending on what sale you catch. Then you're getting into suppressor height backup sights should you choose. There's no way around it, realistically you're adding another $400-$500 in cost to the gun itself.
    - Set Up. If you're into tinkering with guns, this is really a non-issue, but it is there. Decide if you want a milled slide (another added cost) or a factory system such as MOS. Find the appropriate screw lengths and mounting plate (C&H really is the way to go), torque everything down, zero the optic, etc et all.
    - Batteries. Big yawn, on the RMR and the Holosun 507/508's the battery life could be measured in years. Change them out on some selected day each year, with every time change, whatever event you fancy that you'll actually remember. You change your smoke detector batteries, right? What about putting more gas in your car? Just like these other chores, make it a routine.
    - Zero must be verified. See above. So what? I certainly hope you're shooting your iron-sighted EDC more than once a year. Just verify the zero when you replace the battery. Plot twist: I've yet to have a RMR lose its zero.
    - Inclement Weather. Again, not convinced as to how real of an issue this is. I've used my RMR in driving rain, fogged up, etc and I could still see the dot and reliably make a shot. Anti-fog does wonders, which does tie back into the maintenance/set up con. Perhaps if the window is completely packed with snow it wouldn't work. How much this matters is up to each end user.

    Myths and Exaggerations:

    - Added weight and bulk. Does another 1-2 oz added to your EDC make or break you? If so, then maybe this is a fair statement. As far as added bulk, it's a non-issue. See the below photo comparing a RMR equipped Glock v. a normal one in the same holster:

    - Reliability. Red dots have worked reliably on rifles for years. The technology is now here on handguns. Modern red dots, particularly the RMR, are remarkably durable. Is there a chance of failure? Yep, definitely. To me, the chance is so remarkably low that I will take it (and train accordingly for potential failures).
    ***As a bit of a funny anecdote on MRDS reliability. Both my good friend and I shoot and carry RMR equipped Glock 19's. As a bit of irony, we have both experienced critical failures with the backup iron sights (my front sight flew off, his rear sight drifted out) but NOT with the RMR's mounted. This is obviously in no way a blanket condemnation, but I find it entertaining***
    - Reduced Proficiency with Irons. This is entirely hearsay and conjecture, but I'm hearing more and more that a lot of people feel they shoot BETTER than before when they switch back to irons on pistols. The leading belief in this is that the increased proficiency on draw and other components of weapons handling to utilize a red dot also translate back to irons. YMMV, and I haven't played with this much myself to speak on it.
    - Different Presentation than With Irons. I'm hesitant to mark this as a myth, but hear me out. YES, the presentation with the dot is different, ish. See my previous comment about efficient draw, etc translating back to irons. I personally have no issue whatsoever in regards to presentation switching back to irons, if anything it's easier because I'm relying less on "cheating" with my peripheral vision. Again, YMMV.

    Overall, for me it's well worth it. I argue that for the average citizen carrying concealed, the handgun is in fact not your last ditch weapon. While your most valuable assets in your daily safety are avoidance and deescalation, when that fails you're not relying on a rifle, you're relying on your carry gun. Why would you turn down the opportunity to make that tool more effective? Just my $.02.
    - I am a rifleman with a poorly chosen screen name. -
    "Slow is smooth, smooth is fast, and speed is the economy of motion" - Scott Jedlinski
  • KMT2KMT2 Member Posts: 355 Member
    Thanks for all the honesty in this. Thank you Z and SGS3. 
    If you think OHSA is a little town in Wisconsin you may be in trouble!
    Peace is firing my guns or 60 feet below the surface of the water.
  • pjames777pjames777 Senior Member Posts: 1,258 Senior Member
    edited April 27 #12
    I use laser grips on both of my EDC.  Eyesight is not what it used to be even five years ago.  I can see clearly a red dot and am confident that is where the bullet will go. (Practice practice practice)  Can see my laser's print at twenty yards in sunlight, better at seven where most likely a SD issue would arise for me.  No special holster required.
  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 20,705 Senior Member
    I'm with pjames
    I have laser grips on my main carry 1911
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.

  • KMT2KMT2 Member Posts: 355 Member
    Thank you guys
    for the comments

    If you think OHSA is a little town in Wisconsin you may be in trouble!
    Peace is firing my guns or 60 feet below the surface of the water.
  • CHIRO1989CHIRO1989 Senior Member Posts: 12,274 Senior Member

    Maybe just stick with iron sights ;)
    I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn away from their ways and live. Eze 33:11
  • KMT2KMT2 Member Posts: 355 Member
    CHIRO1989 said:

    Maybe just stick with iron sights ;)
    Thouse would be good for a rifle !
    If you think OHSA is a little town in Wisconsin you may be in trouble!
    Peace is firing my guns or 60 feet below the surface of the water.
  • AxeAxe Member Posts: 421 Member
    lots of pros and cons. My take on the pros would be fewer then cons though. Pros would be with shot placement in low light, and maybe even quicker target acquisition. Cons are if you need a red dot to hit your target, you shouldn’t be carrying a firearm to begin with and holster selection. Red dots are better in a competition or target platform with a handgun. If you were talking about a rifle platform it would be better for a defensive weapon.
  • KMT2KMT2 Member Posts: 355 Member
    Axe said:
    lots of pros and cons. My take on the pros would be fewer then cons though. Pros would be with shot placement in low light, and maybe even quicker target acquisition. Cons are if you need a red dot to hit your target, you shouldn’t be carrying a firearm to begin with and holster selection. Red dots are better in a competition or target platform with a handgun. If you were talking about a rifle platform it would be better for a defensive weapon.
    Axe, Thank you for your comment.
    It seems that you have made a point that because I need  or desire the use of a secondary device on an edc, that I should not at all be carrying one. That I am not capable of handling myself with a gun. I have been considering your comment and , quite honestly  sir, if i choose to have a site on my edc, that is a hollow, red dot, or anything other than iron sites , it is my choice. I was asking people that I trust to  help out on a decision. 
    To let you know I am very proficient with my hand guns irn and scope site. Matter of fact, I use a handgun as a primary weapon when hunting. That is a fact that many here will testify to.
     You also do not know what issues I have to deal with to allow for my shooting. I do not like wearing trifocals, but I wear them. Why because of surgical interventions that allow me great distance sitting. I prefer to not make a mistake at the range or in a carry situation.
     If the red dot will help with that I'm fine with it.
     If a laser will do that I'm also fine with it.
     I will still out shoot most average shooters , with my pistols using iron sites. SO I am not afraid of it.
     But you have no right  to tell me not to carry or shoot, let alone what I should have. The post was for me gathering information, and specifically from a few that I felt would be honest and give good comments.
    It would be good of you to curb your comments of this sort  here. It is not appropriate. We are here to have fun and talk guns and shooting. We are not here to down grade or belittle others. 
    The admins will review this and most likely understand I have dealt with it. If not they will.
    May you have a good day and safe shooting.
     Kevin M. Thomas

    If you think OHSA is a little town in Wisconsin you may be in trouble!
    Peace is firing my guns or 60 feet below the surface of the water.
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 8,059 Senior Member
    FWIW - I got to fire a controlled pair at seven yards yesterday from a full size Glock that had NO sights at all - result was about a two inch spread centered about 3" left.

    And thinking more on it, many people routinely participate in splatting fast moving clay pigeons and small fluffy birds quite successfully with nothing more than a steel BB for a sight.

    Whatever. . .the fishing industry would probably fold if not for products designed to catch fishermen more successfully than fish.

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • KMT2KMT2 Member Posts: 355 Member
    True, but if you can effectively see the target, and know that they target is all that you are hitting , would that not be more effective?

    If you think OHSA is a little town in Wisconsin you may be in trouble!
    Peace is firing my guns or 60 feet below the surface of the water.
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 11,525 Senior Member
    Ah, here we go again.  Don't like them, not surprisingly, on an EDC.  I have one on my .22 Buckmark w/can since can't see the front sight w/out it.  For a SD handgun, I think it adds a layer of dependence on electronics that I don't want.  What if your dot goes down in your holster for some reason...can you see your irons with the dot mounted?  I don't know because I'm not familiar enough to know.  If not, I REALLY don't want one. Battery life is great on dots, but battery failure isn't the only thing that can go wrong.

    They work well on rifles, military uses them very effectively and if I was in the sandbox, I'd have one.  On my rifle. Dot is big (or was) but I once shot a pigeon with a red dot on a M 16. Same rifle, same dot...went to a 2-week rifle course and the dot quit on me,,,in the middle of an exercise.  That was long ago, though, and the newer rifle dots are outstanding.  On a rifle.

    Without going again into the morass of "expectations of a SD handgun" thread, do you really need an electronic on your pistol?  I don't but your needs may be different.  If my eyesight gets like Mr. Magoo's, I'll consider it.  In the meanwhile when I practice SD shooting I'll do it either with irons (to build confidence) or by instinct: point and shoot as quick as I can and still hit the target.

    Lasers?  Not for ne, either. Same argument.  A well-known firearms trainer and I discussed this subject regarding J-frame revolvers.  He thought the money spent for laser grips could be better spent on  practice ammo.

    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 8,059 Senior Member

    We're headed in the direction of these things at work, so it's yet another case of me being dragged kicking and screaming into a future into which I don't particularly  want to go - so, I've been doing the research.

    Iron sights are a possibility - figuring out what parts to buy is a bit of a nightmare that we are in the early stages of working through.  You have the red dot sight. . .you have a mounting plate available from several sources. . .you have taller "suppressor sights".  You need the height dimensions of all three to build a system that works with the right co-witness appearance.  Basically, it turns a stone axe tool for a stone axe job into a comparative Apollo rocket of complexity

    Lately, I have some potential for interest/necessity - I had my non-dominant left eye LASIK-corrected for distance 4 months ago, and it turns out that it can still crank back into the front sight distance for everything I shoot.  The myopic dominant right eye got left alone thinking that would be a problem (and that's been driving me nuts uncorrected), but after a shooting trial with a contact lens at the required prescription, I'm 99.9% likely going to get it done for distance shortly as well.  I SHOULD be good to go for both irons and red-dot optics and only need reading glasses for super-close stuff, but I probably won't know until I know.

    If you're sorted out for distance and CAN'T crank back to front sight distance, they've got some real possibilities - the trade off being glass, batteries, gears, wires, etc...  

    Should be an interesting next few months...

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,527 Senior Member
    It needs to offer improved sight acquisition without hinderence or the possibility of an unsighted weapon. I think the new one's do and will.

    I know its as sinful as a full magazine waiting to be wasted. Insert mag cut off here. But human's have physical limitations and compensate with tools.
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 11,525 Senior Member
    You've heard of "luddites," well, I'm a "luddot." On pistols, anyway. 
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 6,527 Senior Member
    So am I on my own pistols ;)
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