The wave of the future is certainly the optics ready pistol. This in no way means that everyone needs to put a red dot on their carry pistol, but that the option is there.
And it’s not going away at any time soon.
If you’re on the fence about putting a red dot on your carry pistol, or don’t know the pros and cons, this article is for you as we answer the following question:
Should I put a red dot on my pistol?
A red dot is helpful if you’re already a good shot with irons and want to become more accurate. A red dot can also be good for a new shooter to learn on, because it’s harder to master than irons are. Because it’s harder to master, going to irons is actually easier.
There is a lot of controversy regarding this topic for newer shooters, but it has been proven to be easier to transition from a red dot to irons, as opposed to irons to a red dot.
Red dot on pistol Pros and cons
As technology continues to improve, the cons list is getting smaller and smaller. Here are a few lists of pros and cons to red dots on pistols.
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
Red Dot Cons
- Can be hard to “find the dot” until mastered
- Technology can break
- Batteries can die
- Might lose zero
- Can be slower
There are a few other pros and cons that are not as prominent as they used to be, and to address the battery life, specifically, technology has come a long way. Nowadays, the batteries can last for years. If you replace your battery at regular intervals this is not an issue.
When I say that it can be “slower” in the cons column, I’m talking about finding the dot between target transitions and even finding the dot on your initial presentation to target. It might take you a few tenths of a second longer to get properly on target than if you were just shooting with your irons.
And of course, this gets easier with practice.
Also a word about target acquisition and focusing on the target, this is huge for some people who struggle with front sight focus. When you use a dot, however, you’re not needing to shift your focus from your target to your front sight.
Looking at your dot means you’re also looking at your target. Just as long as you can find your dot during your shooting, you’ll be on target.
Because you’ll be on target, as long as your other fundamentals don’t suck, you should be able to hit your target.
Is a red dot on a pistol worth it?
A red dot isn’t going to be for everyone, but for those who want to improve their shooting, and up their defensive game, then adding a red dot to your concealed carry or home defense pistol is worth it.
If you ever need to take a long distance defensive shot, it’s much easier to do with a red dot mounted on your pistol. The place on your target you put your dot, is the place where your bullet should impact. Part of the reason why this is true is because you don’t have shift your focus at all.
You locate your target easily because it’s right behind, or in front of, your red dot. When you use iron sights, you have to look at your target and then your front sight. A red dot optic can be a great concealed carry pistol upgrade.
Red dot for home defense pistol
Putting a red dot on your home defense pistol is a good idea because it excels in this type of scenario.
For example, the red dot is a small red light that works regardless of how bright it is in your house. Therefore, if you find yourself in the dark with a couple of baddies you’ll be able to aim at them even in low light.
Just as long as you can see them, that is. Hopefully it goes without saying that you shouldn’t engage a target you can’t see.
Of course, it’s important to note that you don’t want to have your settings too bright or you won’t be able to see your target at all.
Optics Ready Pistols
We’ve already typed up an article and even put together a video on the best optics ready pistols that you can read when you click that link. Or you can watch the below video.
What I wanted to discuss here, however, is that you should seriously consider buying one of those pistols for your first or next gun, because it is increasingly a good practice to buy a gun already set up for a red dot.
The main reason why, is because there are many people who buy a gun and then later choose to put a red dot on it. If their current pistol is not set up for one with a slide cut, they’ll either need to have that work done or buy a new gun.
If you already have one that is properly set up then you don’t need to worry about it. You can just buy a red dot, install it, and sight it in.
Red dot concealed carry pistol considerations:
At the top of this article I said this was the wave of the future, and I meant it. More holster companies are releasing holsters set up for a red dot to be mounted. Those who don’t adapt will likely regret it as more consumers are moving this way.
I would like to say that you should not just mount a red dot and start to carry it without extensive training. If you’ve been shooting with your irons for a while it will take some getting used to before you’re ready to go out with this setup.
You have to put the trigger time in to become more proficient before you carry your gun.
I don’t personally carry a pistol with a red dot, yet. But I assume that I’ll be going in that direction at some point in the near future.
Leave your thoughts on this in the comments below.