Red Dot Pistol Training
I have been shooting handguns for over 45 years; 35 of those as a law enforcement firearms instructor. Entering the law enforcement field in the mid-1980s, it was all iron sights even on carbines, though red dots had been around since the mid-70s.
Eventually red dots (some are actually green dots these days) became common on the law enforcement carbine and I readily embraced the concept.
Then came red dot systems for pistols, initially and rarely on competition pistols in the mid-70s to 80s, I balked like a mule. Admittedly I did not really see a dot-type optic geared for a law enforcement pistol until around 2010. At that time, it seemed like every one of these sights that showed up was problematic in its use.
Without a doubt, red dot optics built for handguns today are getting better and better. Companies like Trijicon, Leupold, and Holosun to mention but a few, all provide quality dot systems for pistols.
Pulling myself out of the dark ages, I finally realized it was time to get on board with a dot-sighted pistol. More and more students requesting training for their personal red dot systems made my decision even more necessary.
Being an advocate of good training, I looked to another trainer and acquaintance, Michael Green, founder of Green Ops a private firearms training company. Mike served over 15 years in the Army Special Forces and is a Modern Samurai Project-endorsed instructor.
I registered and attended a one day “Practical Red Dot Pistol Skills” course with Green Ops in October of this year. I was fortunate that Mike was on hand as well as another instructor, Matt McGuire, also a Modern Samurai Project-endorsed instructor.
The course, hosted in Granbury, Texas, was well-attended with around 15 students. According to the Green Ops website, the course is “designed to provide students with the necessary skills to properly transition from using standard pistol iron sights to mini red dot sights (MRDS) for self-defense or duty use.”
I completed the entire course with my stock Gen 4 Glock 19 with a Holosun Model HS 507C-X2 (green dot). The was slide custom cut to match up with this specific MRDS. I utilized a Spetz Gear pancake style Kydex holster.
Although I ran the course from outside the waistband, many students and one instructor used IWB systems.
As with any professional firearms training course the instructors began with an overview of firearms safety and emergency medical protocols if one should occur on the range.
The basic order of instruction was organized and followed a logical progression, with segments as follows, distilled from the Green Ops website:
- A discussion of use of the MRDS and the recommendation to keep iron sights on the gun that will co witness through the dot window should it go down.
- Understanding the MRDS, theory and various features to include an awareness of hand/eye coordination and that the dot is really a threat focused sighting system
- Understanding mechanical offset and holdover/advantages and disadvantages of MRDS
- Zeroing a MDRS to point of aim/point of impact with at 10 and 25 yards
- Applying the Fundamentals of Marksmanship with a pistol MRDS including an in-depth discussion of stance, grip and trigger control along with the importance of dry fire
- Initial sight acquisition (seeing the dot in your vision while focusing on target) and dot tracking… including how to change from front sight to target focused shooting
- Use of MRDS at close quarters, 5 yards and closer to include alternate aiming techniques
- Engaging multiple targets/threats
- Strong hand and support hand only shooting with the MRDS
- Advanced drills for improving skills and defensive ability with the MRDS
Much of the course was oriented towards getting your defensive pistol on target as efficiently as possible and then slowing down for a spilt second to make accurate hits. Participants were required to do all of this while utilizing the MRDS and in conjunction with a shot timer.
Michael Green describes five take aways or “Pillars of Success” as he puts it when it comes to any firearms training:
2. Train with a shot-timer (dry & live)
4. Compete in matches (USPSA and/or IDPA)
5. Video feedback
Personally, I would classify this course as certainly practical but more intermediate as compared to a beginner’s level. Without any hesitation I can say I left with a greater understanding of the MRDS and higher confidence in my ability to use a dot system.
I appreciate the fact that the instructors demonstrated every drill and technique before asking the students to perform said drill. This course was a solid day of instruction and I have every intention of attending another Green Ops course in the future.
The fact that I am at least five years behind in acquiring this knowledge, just points out one truth…you can teach an old dog new tricks.