Many shooters — this one among them — harbor a certain level of gun snobbery. We see anything too modern, anything too “tacticool” as a method of separating a lot of fools from their money. As we know, a lot of people have been separated from their money in short order for a whole bunch of things.
Right now, that separation is in full force. As tax refunds begin to trickle in, many of us are plotting how we’re going to spend that “found” money. And your local gun store is only too happy to help.
Chassis-based rifles, for instance, are too heavy to do anything but shoot at the range. But the truth is that only a minority of gun owners actually hunt. Suppressors don’t actually make anything silent. They only attenuate noise so a hunter can reduce the risk of permanent hearing damage.
But not everything gun-related is just a vehicle for ripping off suburban gun owners with more money than sense who like to buy black guns in the midst of their looming midlife crises. In fact, sometimes those hot items make too much sense to ignore.
One item that really can make a big difference in your shooing is a good red dot sight. In fact, they may be one of the best of the “recent” improvements to pistols and rifles. The make target acquisition — on either a rifle or a handgun — so much easier and since they work in low-light environments even better than many night sights out there…frankly, standard iron sights seem inadequate.
And it’s actually a little strange that they haven’t been a thing before.
You see, red dot sights, which many people are starting to refer to as RMR sights, despite that being a brand name from Trijicon, are actually a modern version of reflex sights, which have been in use in military applications since at least World War II. The idea actually emerged around the start of the 20th Century, with the Irish designer Sir Howard Grubb.
Grubb envisioned a compact optic which used ambient light to illuminate a reticicle, with a mirror mounted inside the optic. The ambient light, mirror and curved lenses function as a collimator, aligning the image with the reticicle at any distance without parallax. After a few decades of development, reflex or reflector sights – as the reticle seen by the user is actually a reflection and moves with the target – found use on anti-aircraft guns, artillery and even on aircraft themselves.
The heads up display in many fighter jets today is a fancy version of the RMR sights that work so well on our pistols.
They’ve gradually been deployed on small arms which, as it turns out, was exactly what Grubb had in mind. My next gun will more than likely have one.
What about you? Is there any new-fangled bit of gear that you eventually came around to?
Tim lives in the Spokane area. He grew up around guns and the outdoors and spends as much time around both as he can.