Question of the Day: Red Dot on Your Handgun?

Rich Grassi [not shown] recently reviewed the Trijicon RMR for a Tactical Wire email blast. Grok the grumpy: “I tried the Dual Illuminated RMR first. It was a bright, sunny day and the dot reflected that. It was large and bright to the point of not having a sharp edge.” Unsurprisingly, Trijicon’s Domestic Programs Manager loves him some red dot Glock. ”I drive out to the target and dip the muzzle at the end, putting the dot right on the target,” Shaun Rategan told TW. “It’s easy to find the dot now.” Now? “I tried his technique. It requires a bit of learning. Is it worth it? Grassi asks. “We shot the RMR out to 100 yards.” Despite concerns about adverse light environments, weaponlight compatibility and reticle shine back Grassi reckons “It’s the wave of the future . . . We can climb aboard now or get dragged aboard later.” Include me out. You?

avatar

About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

48 Responses to Question of the Day: Red Dot on Your Handgun?

  1. avatarEric says:

    I have one and it shines in low light conditions, does not obscure target ID, and has no difficulty at all in full sunlight (RMR-02 6MOA).

    I think I am a little slower but more precise engaging targets at longer distances. At close distances I point shoot anyway, so no change. It is possible to get too involved in looking for the dot, so lots of dry practice is necessary.

    It adds 1 oz to a Glock 19.

    The RMR makes a killer charging handle for one handed manipulations.

    Folks with bad eyesight (OFWGs) seem to see greater benefit, especially if they have difficulty visualizing a typical front sight.

    Like any sight there is a tradeoff between precision and speed. I am on the fence about whether the sight is worth it on a handgun with my current eyesight. The RMR would be awesome on any CQB rifle or PCC.

    • avatarAnon in CT says:

      How about a green dot? I’ve had LASIK, and red dots tend to flare and smudge. Orange dots are a bit better, but green is the best. I had to return an EOTECH because it looked like a flaming hoop.

      • avatarNot Your Mother says:

        I had LASIK and my RM02 on my G17 is fine.

        If red dots bloom for you, you may appreciate the dual illuminated (non-electronic) models.

  2. avatarMoonshine says:

    In competition? Sure. On one of my defensive weapons? Not so much. It blocks (or replaces) the irons with something that does not fail to the “safe” position. If your dot fails in a match, worst case is you lose. If it fails when you really, REALLY need it to work, the consequences are much more serious.

    • avatarEric says:

      Iron Back up sights which co-witness the dot are an essential part of the system.

      • avatarMoonshine says:

        I understand that. I’m just not sure that, in a situation where I’m desperately trying to get my brain to stop saying “ohfvckohfvckohfvck” and just DO WHAT IT’S SUPPOSED TO, an extra bit on the gun is necessary. Or even good.

        • avatarNot Your Mother says:

          If the dot doesn’t show up, the irons are right there, not obfuscated at all. The only way the irons *could* be obfuscated is if you installed some cheap sight (read: not a Trijicon RMR because there currently aren’t any competing sights that are tough enough) and that cheap sight broke on you (i.e. shattered glass). The RMRs are designed for high impact rifle work and are built like tanks.

        • avatarjkp says:

          And after all that time training with the red dot, if it goes out in the middle of an “oh shit” moment, will you be ready to react by going to the iron sights at that moment, or will you freeze?

        • avatarNot Your Mother says:

          @jkp

          You find the sights and the dot appears. It’s not a different skill set. Your best bet is to try one out for yourself. If the dot fails to appear, you have suppressor height irons in plain view and you do exactly what you trained to do for years.

          But go ahead and doubt this all you want, because it’s only yourself that you’re limiting– not those who have tried and now embrace the platform.

    • avatarAharon says:

      #1

      I’m going to buy a red dot to place onto my Buck Mark Camper which will be used for target practice, plinking, and possibly hunting.

  3. avatarm.ia says:

    If the micro red dot sights didn’t cost more than most of the plastic pistols out there I’d give it a go. But the only pistols I like for red dots have them machined into the slide with tall iron sights that Co-witness with the dot. Otherwise you are SOL if something happens to the red dot sight.

  4. avatarChuckN says:

    If your a competition shooter, sure. For everyone else, it’ll
    be a fine addition to all your other daisy chained accessories.

    • avatarNot Your Mother says:

      Sounds like you have never used a quality red dot on a pistol.

      • avatarernunnos says:

        I have, and he’s right. It’s a fun toy, but on a non-compensated pistol, given that tiny amount of glass, you WILL lose the dot between shots. It’s slower to recover than a simple fiber optic or tritium sight. Some people recommend using the front sight to track through recoil, but if I’m already watching my front sight, I can save a lot of money and just do that. Like I said, fun range toy, and great if you’re using a larger optic and a compensator, but on carry pistols? No. It’s a fad, and will be discarded.

  5. avatarjwm says:

    For things that go bump in the night. Gun. Flashlight. All else is doohickies. For fun at the range, iron sights work just fine, and i’m an ofwg with bifocals.

  6. avatarKD says:

    I have an FNP-45 Tactical which comes from the factory with the machined slide and adapter plates for the red dot sites. The gun is more accurate then I am and a blast to shoot. It would be a very easy conversion for me and I see many examples on the FN Forum (fnforum.net). However I’m quite happy with the gun as it is and I’ve seen no reason to spend the money.

    Just sayin’ :^)

    • avatarcmdrlimpet says:

      I totally agree, I have the FNP45TAC as well. The tall sights are so nice that I’d hate to mess with perfection. But someday I might try an RMR and the co-witnessing sights will be nice.

    • avatarracer88 says:

      I’ve got the FNP-45T…. an awesome pistol. Love it. I couldn’t leave the pre-milled slide alone and put an RMR RM07 (6.5 MOA LED). I really like it. The tall iron sights co-witness perfectly. Now all I have left to get is a suppressor! :D

  7. avatarBen says:

    I am planning on getting a 22/45 soon with a top and bottom rail and mounting a red dot or reflex on top and a white light on the bottom. Possibly a suppressor someday as well. This would be my fun gun/varmint control gun. Otherwise, not a chance.

  8. avatarRyan Finn says:

    I actually really like the concept. I had a chance to shoot a student’s Para-Ord 1911 that had a J-Point melted into the slide and was shocked at how accurate I was shooting. I was always indifferent to the concept up until then. I honestly think it’s going to be the next big thing on defensive handguns in the next few years or so.

    If I had the dinero, I would seriously consider modifying my P-07 to incorporate some type of red dot and backup sites.

  9. avatarRuun says:

    I’m sure Aimpoints were just fads and doohickies when they were first put on rifles but now every rifle issued to our forces has a red dot. I fail to see how they could be a detriment on a handgun. If you’re just point shooting anyway, might as well take off your iron sights, too. You lose nothing but gain the ability to take more precision shots much more quickly and easily. If the red dot goes down, that’s what irons are for.

  10. avatarHenry Bowman says:

    I am not a fan of high tech “solutions” to low tech problems. Especially when the problem doesn’t really exist.

    • avatarNot Your Mother says:

      Carson City, NV IHOP Shooting – a CCW across the street saw the shooter in the parking lot, but chose not to shoot because he wasn’t confident he could hit with his pistol at that distance.

      The problem does exist. I can confidently hit steel at 150-200 yards with mine. I bet the victims in that IHOP wished that CCW had a TSD RMR Glock.

  11. avatarRKflorida says:

    Love to have one, but at $625 retail, there is no way. The price is way out of my range, hope they come down some day. This would solve a few problems I have with my eyes and provide an excellent sight picture for my home defense gun.

  12. avatarPeter Wolf says:

    I have a RMR-02 6MOA on a highly modified 1911. It’s a range gun – fun to shoot and easy to teach with. But even with practice I find that at most gun fight ranges I am quicker with iron sights. Over 20 feet the red dot shines, but up close and personal, KISS.

  13. avatarAroundlsu says:

    I had an FNP tactical with an RMR 01 on it. It made me shoot like a IPSC pro. At my local range a crowd gathered as I knocked down the steel plates as fast as I could pull the trigger. In the past I always had trouble with those plates. With the red dot it was ridiculously easy. Unfortunately, it’s valued so high (even on the used market) that I was too tempted to sell when I wanted something else. I would buy another though.

  14. avatarFyrewerx says:

    I’m one of those OFWGs Eric referred to, and am severely red/green colorblind. I tried the red, and while it wasn’t too bad, I find the green much better. The one on my wife’s G-19 is just a little too bright in total darkness, but it sure eliminates the need for a flashlight.

  15. avatarJustin says:

    I’d love to get one, but the high initial investment (milling of slide + RMR) is holding me back…I have no doubt that they make shooting at longer ranges with a pistol easier!

  16. avatarRalph says:

    I’m a curmudgeon. The only red dot I’d want on a 1911 is one that shows that the safety is off.

  17. avatarfcp503 says:

    I agree that the irons have to co-witness, or be otherwise usable should the red dot fail.

    I don’t understand why so many are reluctant to try a red dotted pistol. If it works better, it’s a good thing..

  18. avatarNot Your Mother says:

    At 20 feet and under, point shooting shines. You could file off your sights and hit just as well with a little practice. Ask most people who have actually been in a 7 yards or less gun fight and they’ll tell you that they didn’t even SEE their sights.

  19. avatarblehtastic says:

    My guns are primarily for SHTF and home defense so no, nothing that takes batteries, aside from maybe a flashlight would ever make it onto my guns. Also, no night sights. I would probably be out of ammo after 5 years of societal breakdown, but if I wasn’t, I’d want my sights to still function just as they did the last day before the apocalypse.

    • avatarNot Your Mother says:

      I guess you didn’t do your homework. The Dual Illumination models of the Trijicon RMR do not take batteries, nor have electronics in them. They rely on daylight and radioactive tritium gas to glow, which has a half life of years and years.

      If the “bad things” you are “prepping for” actually happen, it will be the people with the better gear (read: red dots) and better training that will outlive people who go low tech.

  20. avatarYawner says:

    No thank you.

  21. avatarRey says:

    I’d give it a try however coming up with the necessary $$$ is the hard part.

  22. avatarLennie says:

    Why when he slingshots the slide after the reload does it appear that a round is ejected from the gun?

    • avatarNot Your Mother says:

      I think that previous/last round didn’t eject until he racked the slide. It happens too fast to know for sure, though.

  23. avatarMercutio says:

    Had a laser Internal to the slide on my Glock 34 – worked very well for me until it didn’t. Like most electronic gear in Hawai’i, it only lasted about 2 years before it crumped (humidity & salt air). Hate to rely on anything electronic w/r/t firearms.

    • avatarAlphaGeek says:

      How did you like it prior to failure? I quite like the concept, not to mention the minimal bore-to-laser offset, but I’m concerned about the on/off controls.

  24. avatarMercutio says:

    BTW_ comments foce mw to type over the labels in comment boxes – doable but ugly

    • avatarFyrewerx says:

      I had the same problem when using Internet Explorer. It seems to have cleared up after I cleared out the cache (temporary internet files), cookies, and history. Then close and reopen Internet Explorer.

  25. avatarJ- says:

    Tried it and HATED it. The red dot messed with my muscle memory. I was used to bringing the gun up to eye level to see the irons. With the red dot, I was still using the co-witness irons and sighting below the dot. I’d have to raise my head or drop the gun half-an-inch to use the dot and it feld weird. At 25 yds, I was just as accurate with the irons as the dot (the limit on accuracy at distance is trigger control not sight picture). Traded the gun, went back to regular old Nite-Sights, never looked back. I believe it’s more of a fad than anything else.

    • avatarNot Your Mother says:

      Sounds like you either had a dot that was mounted in the rear dovetail or that you had a really crappy gunsmith set it up for you. Where did you get that from? That’s not my experience from TSD Combat Systems (the same as the one in the video).

  26. avatarAlphaGeek says:

    I’d love to have one of these fitted to a major-league pistol. Realistically, though, I’m going to try this out on my Mark II Target 22LR first. My grandfather put a (useless) 2X pistol scope on it before I inherited his guns, and that rail is just crying out for a red dot sight.

    • avatarNot Your Mother says:

      Keep in mind a red dot on the rail of your Ruger is nothing like the experience of an RMR sight machined into the slide of a modern pistol like a Glock or M&P. You won’t have cowitness on your setup. Also, I’m guessing you’ll go low budget on the sight (which is OK for a 22LR plinker), but don’t do the same thing on a self-defense pistol and expect decent results.

  27. avatarEric says:

    This video is a very extensive overview of an RMR cowitnessing iron sights from the perspective of a three gun competitor. I thought it was great.

Leave a Reply

Please use your real name instead of you company name or keyword spam.