Shield RMSw
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Shield Sights’ SMS and RMS lines are the most compact reflex sights on the market, which makes them perfect for sub-compact and micro-compact pistols. In fact, the mounting pattern — the “footprint” — of these sights has become an industry standard that is used by many other optic manufacturers for their smallest reflex style pistol-focused red dot optics, but there has been come market confusion as to what this footprint should be called and where it comes from.

The following is a statement from the CEO of Shield Sights explaining this a bit further:

I just wanted to take a moment to help clear up some confusion in the marketplace in regards to the Shield Sights footprint and other branding being used around it. We have been receiving a lot of questions from our customers and other communications that show a great deal of confusion about the compatibility of different optics with all of the new factory cut pistol options.  A lot of this stems from us not taking time to educate the public on the history of that footprint and the work that has gone into making it a standard that so many are now adopting.

Shield Sights developed the footprint in the mid 1990s with the design and launch of the SMS.  You may know the SMS as the jPoint, Firepoint, Tasco Optima, and the Trijicon Red Dot since we originally designed and manufactured all of those sights based on the SMS. Since that time we have moved on to manufacture and brand our own line of optics that you’ve seen gain popularity over the past several years.

The sticking point for us has been the years of collaboration and work with major gun manufacturers to adopt this footprint, only to create confusion as manufacturers and other optics companies are naming it as their own. With the first adoption by Walther, followed by Smith & Wesson, Sig Sauer, Springfield Armory, Glock, and now Ruger, we believe that our footprint is pretty standard.  With all of the history behind the footprint and these companies now offering pistols cut with it, we feel it is an industry standard and the naming of it should also be standardized to remove consumer confusion. There is no trademark or intellectual property based around the footprint itself but the variety of names for it has created a lot of confusion in regards to optic compatibility. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and for your help in clarifying the messaging around the Shield footprint.

James White
CEO – Shield Sights


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  1. I 100% agree that there needs to be unbranded standardization of at least NAMES for the various footprints. It’d be great if both the gun makers and sight makers would pick one, but If we could take the four competing footprints and at least name them and say which format both the sights and guns support, then people could properly shop for stuff.

    • Yeah. Sorta like Ruger refusing to put “.40 S&W” rather than “.40 Auto” on their handguns.

      Perhaps in this case, however, it might be even better not to have one’s life depend on batteries…

    • What he’s saying is the footprint claimed by the other manufacturers to be theirs is really the Shield footprint as they created it in the 1990’s.

      So Shield is trying to corrcet the issue so there is a standardization of naming for the footprint instead of all these different compaies calling it the “insert-brand-here footprint” for their own brands.

  2. Yes it is way beyond time. There is enough other thing in the firearm industry that can cause some confusion. Others over the years have been cleared up and at least standardized in descriptions and some that took close to a decade to do so. In this day and mass information age it shouldn’t be an issue.
    But this article did clear up some confusion for myself.
    Thank you TTAG.

    • “…they get broke every time I try to reholstien my gunm drunk and drop it.”

      Simple – Get a big bottle of ‘Super Glue’ and apply it to the surface of your shooting paw. Pick up your gun, and you will never drop it again… 😉

  3. So, you carry in a black and white cowhide rig ?? I thought the Frog was stylin’ with his sword and pistol by his side… at least Miss Mousey was impressed .

  4. He does not suggest a standard name.
    I never heard of Shield sms.
    Since Trijicon is huge, just call it the RMR footprint after the Trijicon RMR sight.

    • Because that would confuse people further. He isn’t talking about RMR footprint used on Glock 19 sized pistols and larger. He is talking about the footprint that Shield originally made their sights to fit that is now being used on pistols like the Glock 43 and Sig P365XL. That footprint is smaller than the RMR footprint and more suitable for compact and sub compact pistols. If a RMR footpring optic is used on a P365XL for example it will hang off the sides a little bit whereas an optic like a Trijicon RMR CC or Holosun 507K that fits the shield footprint will fit much better and not hang off the slide.

      • I think it’s worse than that. The Trijicon footprint screw holes are the wisest of the bunch and on some of the narrow/ small gun slides the holes would fall part way off the edge of the slide

  5. 1-Isn’t there an industry group that can and should establish such standards. Think of the IEEE and say Ethernet or other networking protocols.
    2-If no such group exists I’d say that the military will establish a standard eventually and that’ll be the one that everyone uses.

  6. XKCD did a 3 panel comic similar to this yeeeaaarrs ago
    (1) Situation: there are 14 competing standards
    (2) 14?! Ridiculous! We need to develop one universal standard that covers everyone’s use cases. Yeah!
    (3) Situation: there are 15 competing standards

    But yeah, people just not wanting to use somebody else’s name is corporate pride at it’s stupidest. RMR and SMS will be just fine for me until somebody makes a 3rd platform. maybe for oversized guns? micro-mini-pistols? As i age into a fudd, i’m getting comfortable with plain old lasers again…


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