I haven't come across any relevant threads in any forums I frequent, so I'm starting one here.

Recently I've developed a fascination with the use of red dot sights for self defense shooting after having seen Kelly McCann use one on his Glock in one of his video series. His assessment was that they make pistol shooting almost like cheating, provide commonality with the optic on his carbine and make it easier to rack the slide offhand. Obviously, the interest in these optics outside of competition appears to be marginal so I'm asking you guys what your opinions are on this subject.

Are red dot sights useful and/or practical for your self defense or carry pistol? Do any of you have one installed?

Tutu Lee

Original Post
Well I think its a holster issue at this point or we would see more ppl running them. That being said looking at my serpa I could probably make it work. Biggest drawback I see is IWB would be nearly impossible or at least uncomfortable. Their is a discussion about this at M4carb, with photos of a M&P/dot combo, looks friggin sweet.
I saw the Kelly McCann (or Jim Grover) video series as well and albeit it was made in the VHS era (do people even have those still?) I was wondering about the validity as well. I stopped by the JP booth during shot 08 and they had a Glock 17 with the "melted in" Doc Optic. It was very appealing and low profile similar to the FN picture posted in the link above. I think it comes down to an issue of battery life. I haven't found anywhere where they post/advertise the Doc optic's battery life.

One thought i had mentioned to a friend while discussing this is that if the optic went down/ died/ etc it would be nice to have a co witness like maybe a notch in the rear of the Doc optic so that if you had to you could line the rear notch with the front post (similar to what you would do anyway).

I know the system has flaws but I would be willing to try it.
"He teacheth my hands to war; so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms." - 2 Samuel 22:35
Yeah not sure of battery life on any of them. This was the one mounted on the M&P, I like the "Forward looking sensing" meaning as you bring the gun from the holster lvl to target the led comes on and shuts down when re holstered or pointed down. I'm curious to know how fast the dot comes on, battery life etc, I'm waiting for a reply from the company.

Yes I realize the name is the ghey.
http://www.rapidreticle.com/sopscauto.htm
I thought I remembered reading a thread some time ago where one of the Mods mentioned running one of these small red dots on handguns. I'm not sure, but I think it was M4Guru or Timmy. Perhaps whoever it was will stop by and enlighten us.

Jason -------------------------------- "Consumer, how many times have you hankered for vegan mayonnaise only to realize you're not man enough to open the jar?" -- Bucky B. Katt

I have a G34 with a Docter on it. I could take it or leave it. It is fast and their are no sights to align, but I feel this develops bad shooting habits as well as sometimes it is hard to reacquire the dot during recoil.
M4Guru, I assume you are running your Docter with an adapter. What kind of adapter are you using? Also, would you (could you?) conceal carry this setup? I heard varying reports about the durability of the lens cover as well, but I was conflicted because I've seen it used for slide racking as well.

Tutu Lee

I have thought about putting one on my G35 and the FN model with the backup iron sight is a real inspiration. I've got one of the Burris Fast Fire mini red dots floating around and it would be easily adaptable. I'm thinking the slide could be machined down just a bit to lower it and then drilled and tapped for the two screws that hold the sight to the base. The slide becomes the base. I think it could be mounted low enough that stock sights might be visible for a co-witness. The problem then becomes accessing the screws on the rear for zeroing.

I think that it could work for CCW with a low mount. With the dot on an auto setting and the gun concealed, it would actually cause the dot to shut off, similarly to attaching the cover. If the holster has a slightly low cut front, it should clear.

The red dot also appears to solve the problem you may face with a suppressed gun as well where the diameter of the suppressor causes it to block the iron sights. With a standard height, the dot should easily be visible over a suppressor.

-------------------------

Mark

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I think this is an emerging technology trend. The battery life on these is getting longer and the size is getting small enough that they can be shoehorned into many holsters. The battery life on many of these is around 6 months or so now, though they don't necessarily last that long and sometimes the auto-adjusting brightness feature leaves a little to be desired. I do not think these are quite advanced enough yet.

Give it a few more years of advancement, and you will start seeing these on duty/tactical handguns. I don't think it is quite there yet, but it is close; if they had the life and brightness of a T1 in a Docter/Jpoint/FastFire sized package with a properly functioning auto-adjust for brightness levels, then you would have a viable system.
quote:
in a Docter/Jpoint/FastFire sized package


Personally, I've been thinking a microscopic occluded gunsight would be the best solution for the size involved on handguns. Replace the front sight with a dot-generating box. Just like the white dot or night sight, but it's a bright, wide-angle-visible, focused-at-infinity dot.

This would also have the advantage of working hand in hand with conventional shooting technique, so if it got too glarey, dirty, broken, etc. you can just go to irons without really transitioning, just changing where you focus.

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Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

I wish I remember the brand, but someone made a Jpoint/Dr mount that fit in the rear dovetail. It still is considerably higher than irons, but much lower than the bridge mounts.

Lonewolf (and I assume many others) would mill the slide to fit the dr as low as possible.

Either one of those will work with a SERPA level 2 or most kydex holsters, with a little trimming.

"C'mon! We're all going to die, die standing up!"

quote:
Originally posted by J. Winger:
I think this is an emerging technology trend. The battery life on these is getting longer and the size is getting small enough that they can be shoehorned into many holsters. The battery life on many of these is around 6 months or so now, though they don't necessarily last that long and sometimes the auto-adjusting brightness feature leaves a little to be desired. I do not think these are quite advanced enough yet.

Give it a few more years of advancement, and you will start seeing these on duty/tactical handguns. I don't think it is quite there yet, but it is close; if they had the life and brightness of a T1 in a Docter/Jpoint/FastFire sized package with a properly functioning auto-adjust for brightness levels, then you would have a viable system.


Agreed, with all of this.

Off-hand, has anyone tried to mount a T-1 to a handgun?

RIP, Jeff Dorr: November 20, 1963 - July 17, 2009

I'm really thinking about doing this. The Burris FastFire is 25mm wide, which happens to be the width of a Glock 35 slide. The screw spacing of the two screws that secure it to the base is 13mm, which means there is plenty of meat in the slide at those points. The slide can be milled down approx 3mm, reducing the height and the sight can be screwed to the slide, eliminating the need for the base altogether. The rear of the sight is 8mm high without the base, which we don't need. If it is inletted into the slide, then only 5mm will project into the sight line of the iron sights. Unfortunately, my iron sight are about 5.5mm above the slide so I'll need some slightly higher sights (front and rear) to clear the red-dot and allow a co-witness. Anyone know who makes tall sights for the Glock?

Mounting the red-dot forward of the iron sight position will still allow it to fit in most of my holsters. Some minor trimming on a Blade-tech. The hood on a 6004 will clear, but the front of the holster will require substantial trimming to clear the optic.

FYI, with the sight turned on and the hood in place, putting the dot at minimum intensity, battery life is estimated at 4 years. Real world use will be considerably less since you would want the sight on when it is in the holster and unless it's night time, it will draw more power.

Also checked it in a dark room with white light illumination from an M3. No problem seeing the dot in deep dark and then suddenly lit with the flashlight. So it is workable in a defense situation. If I can get higher sights. I don't want this on a defensive gun unless the irons are also instantly accessible.

-------------------------

Mark

Swear allegiance to the flag Whatever flag they offer

Never hint at what you really feel

Teach the children quietly For some day sons and daughters

Will rise up and fight while we stood still

 

Joined:  2/24/2003                          Location:  Nevada, USA

quote:
Originally posted by Dorsai:

Anyone know who makes tall sights for the Glock?



Look for high rise sights meant for use on Glocks equipped with suppressors.

http://www.ameriglo.net/weapon_site/store_pages/glock_tritium_sights.html
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Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner! Thanks Matt. Time to order some sights.

-------------------------

Mark

Swear allegiance to the flag Whatever flag they offer

Never hint at what you really feel

Teach the children quietly For some day sons and daughters

Will rise up and fight while we stood still

 

Joined:  2/24/2003                          Location:  Nevada, USA

quote:
Originally posted by Dorsai:
Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner! Thanks Matt. Time to order some sights.


Just remember to let me check things out as they progress. It had crossed my mind to try the same thing with my CCF G24, just haven't ever gotten around to it.

Might be easier to watch someone else go through the trial and error, er...... "R&D" Big Grin of getting everything set up correctly.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- [url=http://lightfighter.net/eve/logout]Click HERE for the LightFighter Emotional Counseling Department[/url]
Post pics when this project is completed Dorsai!!

You've got me intrigued to see the final result.

=======================
Forward!
Where we are, where we belong, where we should be.

  

Location: Back in Bris-Vegas, wondering at the bright lights of the big smoke

The setup I was thinking up would have the sight all the way at the rear similar to McCann's set up so that you can access the optic and adjust it. Here is the picture on JP's website. It is the one I fondled at shot show.
"He teacheth my hands to war; so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms." - 2 Samuel 22:35
I saw that one too, but that shows the difference between a game gun and one for defense. I know that iron sights will always work. So I want them immediately accessible if the batter fails, etc.

-------------------------

Mark

Swear allegiance to the flag Whatever flag they offer

Never hint at what you really feel

Teach the children quietly For some day sons and daughters

Will rise up and fight while we stood still

 

Joined:  2/24/2003                          Location:  Nevada, USA

I've thought about this for quite awhile as well, been on the back burner though.

I agree that BUIS need to be instantly available. That last pic seems to have a rear sight built into the dot sight, or am I seeing things?

______________________________________________________________________

"...because without beer, things do not seem to go as well."

Diary of Brother Epp, Capuchin monastery Munjor, Kansas 1902 ___________________________

если не я тогда, кто?

___________________________

"Suppressive fire is best achieved by ploughing bullets into the dirtbag's skull. That is really suppressive." 'Headhunter' quote from TPI forum.

 

I am the owner of Agile Training and Consulting

I like the FastFire and I ran one on top of a TA-31F as a close-in optic for a couple years or so. I had a few minor issues with it that make me hesitate on calling it ready for full-time use on a handgun though:

1) Strobing. In extremely low light (sneaking around the neighborhood at two in the morning looking for felons or clearing a building), the self-adjusting dot seemed to have diffculty deciding if it should be on or off, so it strobed a little, flickering from not visible to barely visible. It was annoying though still usable, though as soon as I stepped into a better lit area or put the white light on, the dot got brighter. I would want a steady "on" for fast acquisition.

2). Drift. It did not stay mounted as securely as I would have liked, and my zero drifted a bit. I fixed that with more loc-tite and lots of witness marks, but I think it needs a little more security to go from gaming guns to duty-ready on a holstered handgun.

3). On-Off switch. The FastFire has a switch, which saves a bunch of battery life. Since my TA-31F was always "on," it was no big deal to bail out of the car with the FF not "on." I would likely turn a FF on all shift on a duty handgun. The switch is placed on the left side, with the rear position "on." I knocked the switch into the off position many times while letting the carbine hang. I could see the same thing happening during presentations from a duty holster.

4). Battery changes. You have to remove the FF to change batteries. I can down a secondary optic on a carbine for a few days or a week without losing any sleep. My duty handgun optic needs to be up all of the time, and having to down it for several days and rezero every few months (or even six) doesn't work. There needs to be a way to quickly replace the battery without removing the sight and losing zero. Even at big agencies, it often isn't possible to pop over to range for a few hours and work on your zero without making some prior arrangements to make sure that a rangemaster is there, the cadets aren't using the range etc. That doesn't work if you battery is dead on Friday night when you show up to work the weekend shift.

I think the idea is ALMOST there. If they could address my concerns (and maybe make it a little smaller), I would be mostly on-board. I would also want duty holsters, mainly the 6280 or the ALS, available for this combo without having to mod anything too much.
quote:
1) Strobing. In extremely low light (sneaking around the neighborhood at two in the morning looking for felons or clearing a building), the self-adjusting dot seemed to have diffculty deciding if it should be on or off, so it strobed a little, flickering from not visible to barely visible. It was annoying though still usable, though as soon as I stepped into a better lit area or put the white light on, the dot got brighter. I would want a steady "on" for fast acquisition.


I noticed some flickering with mine, but not to the extent that I would call it strobing. Possibly I wasn't in a dark enough room (though I thought it was pretty dark) or just some individual differences in the ambient light sensor. Yours might have been more sensitive?

quote:
2). Drift. It did not stay mounted as securely as I would have liked, and my zero drifted a bit. I fixed that with more loc-tite and lots of witness marks, but I think it needs a little more security to go from gaming guns to duty-ready on a holstered handgun.

I hope to eliminate that by screwing it directly to the slide. No mount to shift in the dovetail.

quote:
3). On-Off switch. The FastFire has a switch, which saves a bunch of battery life. Since my TA-31F was always "on," [quote]tery changes. You have to remove the FF to change batteries. I can down a secondary optic on a carbine for a few days or a week without losing any sleep. My duty handgun optic needs to be up all of the time, and having to down it for several days and rezero every few months (or even six) doesn't work. There needs to be a way to quickly replace the battery without removing the sight and losing zero. Even at big agencies, it often isn't possible to pop over to range for a few hours and work on your zero without making some prior arrangements to make sure that a rangemaster is there, the cadets aren't using the range etc. That doesn't work if you battery is dead on Friday night when you show up to work the weekend shift.

That's why I want a set of iron sights with it. If the battery is dead it should be just like using the irons through a dead Eotech or Aimpoint.

quote:
4). Battery changes. You have to remove the FF to change batteries. I can down a secondary optic on a carbine for a few days or a week without losing any sleep. My duty handgun optic needs to be up all of the time, and having to down it for several days and rezero every few months (or even six) doesn't work. There needs to be a way to quickly replace the battery without removing the sight and losing zero. Even at big agencies, it often isn't possible to pop over to range for a few hours and work on your zero without making some prior arrangements to make sure that a rangemaster is there, the cadets aren't using the range etc. That doesn't work if you battery is dead on Friday night when you show up to work the weekend shift.

I think that once I get this zeroed, that won't be a problem since I'll be screwing the sight directly to the slide. Unscrew, replace battery, screw it back down.

-------------------------

Mark

Swear allegiance to the flag Whatever flag they offer

Never hint at what you really feel

Teach the children quietly For some day sons and daughters

Will rise up and fight while we stood still

 

Joined:  2/24/2003                          Location:  Nevada, USA

I reacll seeing pictures somwhere on the web of a Israeli CT squad that was carrying Glocks with a Docter type optic on their slides. C-more is supposdley coming out with a sight similar to the Docter, J-point, Burris fastfire ect that has a sliding battery tray so the sight doesn't need to be removed. That being said C-more pretty much sucks balls in my opinion. I have noticed similar setups in use on USPSA open guns. A guy shooting that setup told me he lost the dot in recoil and that it wasn't really any faster than iron sights to him. However I am curious about using one buried into the slide it seems like it could be an improvement especially as the old eyes aren't what they used to be.

Arizona      11/25/02

I ran a Taco Optima for over a year on a Glock 35. The Tasco has a well deserved horrible rep. Mine, however, never failed and I was not kind to it. I put the tallest sight I could find on the front. I was just all enough to see the tip over the body of the optic. I believe it was Millet.

I cut out a notch in my 6004 to make it fit. Worked like a champ.

The advantages you get from a red dot on a rifle you get from the pistol. Fast day/night sight alignment. I took it off in order to brush up on my iron sight shooting and the optic never worked after it was removed. I now have a Mil Spec Doctor and want to mount it on a Caspian slide that has been milled.
leehuaitu,

I don't know anyone local who has quite this type of melted into the slide set-up.

______________________________________________________________________

"...because without beer, things do not seem to go as well."

Diary of Brother Epp, Capuchin monastery Munjor, Kansas 1902 ___________________________

если не я тогда, кто?

___________________________

"Suppressive fire is best achieved by ploughing bullets into the dirtbag's skull. That is really suppressive." 'Headhunter' quote from TPI forum.

 

I am the owner of Agile Training and Consulting

Are these sights up to the battering of a cycling slide?

I shot a USPSA match a couple of weeks ago and noticed that most of the competitors that were running optics seemed to have them on mounts that attached to the frame, not the slide. Didn't ask any of them why though.

Obviously, a frame mount really changes up the holster selection issue as well.
Expanding on J.Winger's comments, I mounted a Fastfire on a G19 a couple months back. I have found it very easy to accidentally switch the sight off when using the sling shot slide release.
Also from low ready to fast shooting for a spell I really had to "hunt" for the red dot to get on target. This improved some with familiarity but so far it's no where near as fast as finding my front sight which of course I have several decades of practice at.
Thus far, I like it for running steel plates but that's about it.
Spoke to LAV abotu this last year after I had seen someone in Afghan with this setup, he had a 1911 setup he was working on - not sure if it ever went anywhere.

______________________________

Kevin S. Boland

Director of R&D

Law Tactical LLC

 

Mobile: 407-451-4544 

www.lawtactical.com

 

Joined: 10/8/03  

I just bought a Glock 17 frame to put an Advantage Arms kit on but I might have to change direction Smile

Timmy, is your Caspian slide milled so that you can co-witness the Doctor and your iron sights? If not, do you know if they'd mill a slide that way?
105,
I don't have a Caspian slide. It's on the short "to buy" list. I say Caspian because I was under the impression they could mill it. I could be mistaken on that. I thought they copuld mill it because one turned up at my local gun shop already milled. I am still kicking myself for not snatching it up.
disclaimer - civvie/hobbyist shooter here.
i had an optima mounted on the slide of my G24C, using the available mount that replaced the rear sight in the dovetail. i was using it for local steel and IPSC matches.
like some others have mentioned here, i had some issues losing the sight in recoil, and also acquiring the sight quickly from draw. this could most likely be improved with more familiarity/practice/repetition. i was using a competition open-top holster so had no problems with it being accomodated.
like other RDS like aimpoints with tubes etc, the mini RDS sights have a certain viewing angle you have to be within, in order to pick up the dot - so even though they have unlimited field of view, you still need to have your eye aligned with it to a certain degree. it's easier to get that alignment every time when the RDS is mounted on a rifle, with the consistent cheek weld, and with the sight closer to the eye. on a pistol, it's less forgiving as it's further away from your eyes, so it requires practice.
with iron sights, i can immediately see where i'm misaligned and need to move the front sight left or right, up or down. with the optima, i didn't really have a frame of reference to see where i was misaligned other than centering up the front sight in the RDS window.
i shot some friends' pistols with dot sights mounted on the frame, and did notice a difference. acquiring the dot from draw was the same, but the dot was easier to follow on subsequent shots as the sight didn't reciprocate with the slide.
with practice, i got better with time getting that initial shot off, but i didn't feel i was any faster with it with follow up shots and went back to fixed iron sights. YMMV.
Cass,
The main advanatge is low-light and under extreme stress -- two things not found at the local IPSC or IDPA match.

Both LAV and Ken Hackathorn who are big propenents of Lasers on handguns, said that if the dots where more viable, that would negate the need for the CT grips.

When I get settled into the new job, this is something I think I will try to work on on the side.

______________________________

Kevin S. Boland

Director of R&D

Law Tactical LLC

 

Mobile: 407-451-4544 

www.lawtactical.com

 

Joined: 10/8/03  

MM,
The problem with rapid dot acquisition is common. To reduce this lag I put the tallest front sight I could find on the gun. Then make a mark on the rear of the optic. This is your crude rear sight. During presentation my eye looks for the front sight first. When the front sight and rear sight line up the dot will be there too. Focus is then on the dot. Sounds more complicated than it really is.

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