The pistol red dot fad is no longer a fad, but a way of life for many. What was once considered to be idiotic and a trend that would eventually go away, is now cemented into the defensive pistol industry.
We’ve already discussed whether or not putting a red dot on your pistol was a good idea. This time, we’re going to expand on the pros and cons.
Before we get to that, let’s discuss how we got here and why the red dot ready pistol is here to stay.
Almost all of the newest pistol releases are red dot ready and this is a growing trend.
These are guns like the following:
They all have the option for, or come from the factory with, the ability to mount a red dot optic on it.
Some of them also have the option to have the dot mounted at the factory. Here are what I consider to be the best red dot ready pistols.
More Red Dots:
This can also be seen with the abundance of red dot manufacturers as well. It used to be that just a handful of companies made red dots for pistols.
Now, even gun manufacturers are slapping their names on some because they want an even bigger piece of the proverbial pie.
And of course, none of this would be happening without massive amounts of support from the holster companies.
In this current timeframe, holster companies who don’t make products to accommodate red dot optics will get left behind as most of their competition is already doing this.
Now that we’ve discussed the simple fact that red dots are here to stay, let’s focus on the pros and cons if you’re still on the fence.
Pistol Red Dot Pros:
- Easier target acquisition
- Easier to shoot once mastered
- Shooting further is easier
- The dot and target are together
- Great for bad eyesight
- Great in low light
Now let’s take a quick look at each pro —
Easier Target Acquisition
You’re given a big-ish window to look through and when you look through the window there is a red dot on your target. Already. You don’t really have to do anything else.
Because you’re given this window to look through, you don’t have to focus on your front sight. All you have to do is find the dot, put it on your target, and pull the trigger.
In other words, you don’t have to shift your focus from your your target to your front sight.
Easier To Shoot
This one can be subjective. I’ve been shooting for many years and have a pretty good amount of experience shooting a pistol with a red dot on it. I still sometimes struggle to find the dot.
I assume the reason why is because I don’t prefer this method of shooting and don’t practice with it enough. I’ve spoken to some folks who confirm that it does get easier over time.
I just always go back to my sights.
Shooting Further Is Easier
It is much easier to place longer distance shots on target using a handgun with a red dot. Because there aren’t any sights to line up, just putting the dot on the target works.
Dot and Target Are Together
This one goes hand in hand with easier target acquisition above, but is different enough that it needs it’s own section.
Because the dot and the target are together it makes it easier to shoot. I can’t stress enough how good this is for the above listed pros.
Great for bad eyesight
This one is subjective, because there are certain eye conditions that are not good for this type of sight.
However, if you’re just a victim of getting older, having a red dot optic on your pistol could be a great thing because the sights might be hard to see or focus on. With a red dot, just putting the dot on the target is enough.
Great in low light
If you plan to use a pistol for your home defense or in any low light scenario, having a red dot mounted on it makes sense. The dot is always illuminated and you should always be able to put it on your target, just as long as you can see your target.
Pistol Red Dot Cons:
- Can be hard to “find the dot” until mastered
- Technology can break
- Batteries can die
- Might lose zero
- Can be slower
- Can be rough for certain eye conditions
Now we get to the pistol red dot cons. Let’s take a more in depth look.
Finding the dot
This is where I struggle, as do many newer red dot pistol shooters. When your seconds count and you can’t find the dot, that’s clearly not a good thing.
I always know where my front sight is and I can always find it.
I do want to say that this is something that can be trained away.
Technology Can Break
This is obvious. Anytime technology is involved it can break. I’d also like to point out that your sights can also break and the technology is constantly getting better.
Batteries Can Die
This is another obvious one that could technically be included in the previous section, but is different enough that I thought I should give it its own.
Batteries can and do die. However, you can still use your sights or setup your pistol so you can still use your sights if the batteries do die.
And, once again, tech is constantly improving and the batteries are lasting for a lot longer than ever before.
Might Lose Zero
This is a problem I’ve heard some of the cheaper red dots having. There is a reason why I have the above Delta Point Pro, and it’s one of the recommended red dots I tell people to buy. It’s good to go and has a proven track record.
I’ve had it on several different pistols now and am getting ready to put it on another one. It hasn’t lost zero for me yet and I’ve had it for well over a year now.
Can Be Slower
When seconds are paramount every tenth counts. It may take you just a tenth of a second longer to find the dot than it would to get your sights and sight picture lined up.
That being said, most defenders don’t practice enough anyway, and for the average shooter this probably won’t matter much.
And in fact, I’d wager that if you were really bad with your optic and okay with your sights, that you would practice with the dot more until you got the point where you excelled with the dot.
I have an astigmatism in my dominant eye and the dot is actually not round, but a little red blob. I hadn’t realized this was a problem at first, until one of my friends looked through it and mentioned how crisp he thought it was.
This isn’t the biggest deal and can still use the dot, it just isn’t as clear as I’d like it to be.
The pistol red dot is a good option for certain people, but I’m not convinced that it’s for everyone. What did you settle on? Is there a red dot on your pistol? Let me know in the comments below.