Handgun optics for CCW

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by .38 Special, Aug 3, 2022.

  1. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    I am strongly considering adding some type of reflex/red dot to whatever my new EDC auto ends up being, but don't have much experience with the newer models. I would love to hear from anyone with experience, not only about advantages and disadvantages of various models, but also with carrying and using them defensively.
     
  2. Buzznrose

    Buzznrose Member

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    I have been very happy with Swamp Fox red dot sights on my pistols. I have several but specifically on carry guns, a Sentinel auto adjust on a Glock 43X and now a Glock 48, and a Liberty on a G19 MOS

    I’ve had the Sentinel on the 43X longest, probably 4 years now. Still going strong after at least 3K rounds. Never adjusted it since initial zero.

    If you are concerned with total ruggedness, order the aluminum shroud.

    I would NOT say it’s as good as an RMR-C. But I’d put it up against a Holosun…not necessarily better but as good in my experience.

    If you are a first responder or military they offer a great discount.

    I just put a Leupold Delta Point Pro on a new Sig P320C X, but mainly because it is specifically cut for that optic footprint so I avoided buying the proper plate. Seems fine but I don’t like how you adjust brightness.

    My first pistol red dot was a Vortex Venom. It now sits on my Ruger Mk3. I won’t carry one.

    Battery life is a big deal to me. Shake awake is good feature to have. Auto brightness is also great.
     
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  3. Buzznrose

    Buzznrose Member

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    Another thing, your new carry gun will determine what size optic you’ll get, a “standard” or a “micro”. For example, a Glock 19/Sig P320 would use a standard size optic, while a Glock 43X/Sig P365 would use a micro.

    Unfortunately, there are a few different “footprints” used, which sucks! But you can usually find a mounting plate that will allow you to use most optics on most guns. I prefer the optic mount directly to the slide but that’s not always possible.

    https://tangodown.com/products/optic-items/pistol-red-dot-sight/

    All things being equal, I prefer the “RMR” footprint for standard and Shield/RMR-C for micro.

    That said, I’m looking at a SA XDm 10MM and strongly considering an Aimpoint ACRO2 for it.

    https://www.shootingillustrated.com/content/first-look-aimpoint-acro-p-2-red-dot-reflex-sight/

    Some good info here:

    https://optics-info.com/footprints-on-red-dot-sights/amp/
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2022
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  4. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

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    I like a good dot--Romeo Zero factory installed on my SIG 365X
    IMGP0841.JPG Was not like the holosun HS503G carbine sights I was used to, so the difference took some getting used to.
    IMGP0845.JPG
    But, now seems perfectly normal to co-witness on the irons (dot is right above the front sight).
    It works for me. now that I do not expect the dot to be centered in the glass. So, it's like all my other, iron-sighted pistols in that regard.
    Shake-awake is a handy feature.
     
  5. bangswitch

    bangswitch Member

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    Just curious, but why do you think you need an optic for a concealed carry, aside from the standard front blade and rear notch? Most any armed confrontation you might have would be well within an effective range of the "irons"; and closer in, practiced instinctive shooting would negate the need to waste time aiming at all in a defensive situation. Plus, raised optics require holsters made to hold a gun so equipped, and make concealment more difficult. Your gun, your money, your time, so....
     
  6. Buzznrose

    Buzznrose Member

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    Most shootings are close range, but not all. The Indy Mall shooting showed a scenario that required armed citizen to place hits on target at 40+ yards, which he did 8/10 times. We can argue all day about if he should or should not have gotten into that gunfight, but lots of folks are glad he did. I have no idea if he had an optic or not, but he has 22 year old eyes, and I have 60 year old eyes, and can tell you red dots on pistols are freaking awesome!

    Beyond 5-7 yards, an optic on a pistol is a benefit, and the farther out the more impact it has.

    If I have to be in a gunfight, I want all the advantage I can get. An optic is a clear advantage. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t be used in competition.
     
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  7. Nuclear

    Nuclear Member

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    I've had good experience with the Holosuns, not so much with the Vortex or Burris (although it has been a while since I used a Burris FastFire, maybe they have improved over the years?).

    If my current EDC was cut for a red dot, it would wear one. It will be a criteria for my EDC's replacement.
     
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  8. slicksleeve

    slicksleeve Member

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    Most holster makers offer this as an option now. And if he hasn’t bought the gun yet, he can order the holster optic ready.
    Not at all.
     
  9. slicksleeve

    slicksleeve Member

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    I’m carrying a Glock G48 MOS for about six months now, with a Holosun 507K. Both appendix in kydex and OWB leather pancake. I carried for a little while without the optic. After mounting, I can tell zero difference in concealment or handling, but I would rather shoot with it than without it.
     
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  10. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Member

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    I am very happy with all of the Swampfox optics I have. I own at least of each of their dot sights and no issues. I will say that I personally prefer the manual adjust Sentinel with shake to wake over the auto brightness version. The auto brightness version is useless in a dark room even with a weapon mounted light.
     
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  11. CDW4ME

    CDW4ME Member

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  12. ECVMatt
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    ECVMatt Contributing Member

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    I am new to both daily CCW and red dots. I have found that the red dot is not a handicap up close but works great at distance. I have Holosun 508T's on two of my CCW guns. I really don't notice it while carrying and have learned to love shooting with it. You definitely have to keep the glass clean. Mine catch lint. They still work but I like them clean.
     
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  13. Styx

    Styx Member

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    Need to know which gun you have or are looking to buy.

    I run a Crimson Trace RAD Micro Pro on my M&P Shield Plus and a Trijicon RMR on my Beretta APX.

    The Trijicon RMR is the gold standard. The CT RAD Micro Pro specs:
    1. Small footprint
    2. 3 MOA dot
    3. Ambient Light Sensor that automatically adjusts the aiming dot’s brightness to the surrounding lighting condition.
    4. A sensor that detects movement of the firearm and automatically turns the reflex sight on. The sight powers off after 2 minutes of zero movement. (Shake Awake)
    5. Has a rear sight notch cut into the back to line up with your front iron sight (co-witness).
    6. Made of 7075 Series Aerospace Aluminum, it is 30% stronger than most industry standard sights made with 6061 Series Aluminum.
    7. Water resistant
    8. 20,000 hours battery life

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    Last edited: Aug 6, 2022
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  14. Styx

    Styx Member

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    Most pistol red dots are an once or less in weight. I can't tell the difference in weight while carrying. They are also easily concealed. I never had a problem with printing or being able to conceal a red dot despite what @bangswitch claims. Plus finding a holster with a red dot cutout for popular handguns (Glocks, S&W, Sigs, Springfield, etc isn't that hard.
     
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  15. JR24

    JR24 Member

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    Agree, plus once you are used to the process optics allow you to stay target focused instead of needing to switch focus to your front site, an advantage since most of us would be staring at the threat anyway.

    My colorblindness and astigmatism has gotten me to appreciate the Holosun circle and dot reticle over a single 3-6 MOA dot, easier for me to pick up the big honking circle. So I like the Holosun 507c or k on mine. I don’t find the 507k makes my 365xl any harder to conceal, it’s pretty small and light and works fine.

    Shake awake is very good, battery life is good but I typically just replace all my batteries every year, I don’t like or use the auto adjustment for brightness because I’ve found a number of scenarios, usually dark with light behind me or with a flashlight, where the sensor doesn’t pick up the right lighting conditions and doesn’t brighten up the reticle enough, so I run mine pretty bright all the time and live with the annoyance in darker conditions.
     
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  16. DTL

    DTL Member

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    I carry a Shield Plus now, but just purchased a SA XD-s optics ready and considering a dot for it. I mounted one on my Canik Mete SFX and have been getting familiar with using one and see some advantage, for me at least.
     
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  17. Nuke8401

    Nuke8401 Member

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    I am really close to buying a Shield Plus OR and RAD Micro Pro.
    How do you like the combination?
    Does it co-witness? 1/3 co-witness?
    I'm limited to 10 round mags here in CT and will likely need a grip extension/pinky rest to get a full grip.
    How is the grip for you with a 10 round mag?
    Thanks in advance,
    David

     
  18. CDW4ME

    CDW4ME Member

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    I would have thought the same myself a few months ago, I was skeptical about a dot on a handgun.

    On a couple of other gun forums I saw threads advocating red dots on handguns.
    This person is fast, they said that they saw the dot, were using the dot in this drill:


    I was concerned about speed with a dot inside 10 yards, that example resolved the speed question for me.
    I decided to give the dot a try; I usually carried a Glock 17 or 34 already, the 34 was MOS so it got the dot.
    Initially I was noticeably slower with the dot than fixed sights, which I read was typical for someone who has used fixed sights for decades.
    I decided to be patient and give it several range sessions.
    After a few subsequent trips to the range and about 600 rounds, my dot speed is close enough to fixed that I'm carrying the dot.
    Why?
    Whether I carried it or not, the dot cleaned up (tweaked) my draw; if I draw correctly the dot is visible, same applies to fixed sights being on target.
    Specific to the dot, it is advantageous for accuracy as distance increases past 10 yards or more; at 25 yards, the dot is definitely advantageous.
    Most SD may not occur past 7 yards, but across a church, store, parking lot, the potential is there and there is no denying the benefit of accuracy.
    Also, I'm a bit nearsighted; my glasses fuzz front sights, but make the dot clear (which is a bit fuzzed without my glasses).
    With fixed sights, I focus on the front sight (if I want to be accurate); with the dot more of my focus can be on the target, an advantage.
    The holster I was already using for the 17/34 was compatible with a dot so I didn't need a different holster and its no harder to conceal AIWB.
    I'm not trying to convince you to carry a dot but just explain why (for me), which is a question I was pondering myself a few months ago.
     
  19. Buzznrose

    Buzznrose Member

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    I found, based on my box of holsters, that most OWB holsters can be used with a red dot just fine. But most IWB holsters need to be specifically made for the dots (or modified in some way).
     
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  20. JR24

    JR24 Member

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    To be fair, that guy is one heck of a shooter. Makes a 365 look like a Shadow 2 in some of his videos.
     
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  21. JR24

    JR24 Member

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    Yeah, once I started considering a dot I just got in the habit of getting any new holster cut for an optic just in case, and it has paid off now that I’ve switched, doesn’t seem to be any disadvantage if you don’t use the dot except I think some places have a small up charge. Don’t thing Vedder does though.
     
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  22. Styx

    Styx Member

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    It fully co-witnesses. You can line up the rear and front the same way you could if the optic wasn't installed. As for the grip, I added a Pearce Grip Extension to the 10 round mag. I carry the 10 rounder with the grip extension, and use the 13 round mag as a backup.
     
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  23. Buzznrose

    Buzznrose Member

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    As far as co-witness the sights, I don’t have that as a priority. I sight my red dot at 10 yards on carry guns. That generally will end up being exactly on the stock sights anyway. But actually using those iron sights, depending on the gun, is normally not an option as the optic covers them.

    I do have suppressor height sights on one pistol that are easy to see.

    I used to worry about co-witnessing, but as I’ve found red dot sights reliable, I don’t worry about it. If the sights don’t work and I need them in an emergency, I still can see the front sight fine, and I can make it work if needed.

    YMMV
     
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  24. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    I know all the "cool kids" are getting these things nowadays, but I'm not a fan. I just prefer iron night sights from someone like Trijicon or Meprolite. That electronic sight needs to run off something like batteries. That is a potential point of failure (battery and internal electronics). Also, adding something else to a gun that is going to make it bigger doesn't make much sense to me, even less for something you are trying to hide- like a CCW piece. I've had the opportunity to handle a few of these RDS equipped pistols in the past- unless the pistol is correctly aligned, you won't be able to see the dot- at least on the ones I played with. One school of thought says this is a good thing, because it is telling you that you should not shoot because you haven't achieved perfect alignment. From my experience, sometimes you just need to let one (or more) fly with less-than-perfect alignment, or even just off a "flash" picture, maybe only with your front sight- in the interest of self preservation. I wouldn't even consider getting one of these on a pistol that doesn't co-witness with iron sights. Even when I did this sort of thing for a living, my RDS equipped M4 always had a rear back up sight riding caboose- usually it was a removable carry handle cut down, VS a flip up type. Also, $. I would rather spend it on ammo and maintaining proficiency. These things have become available in my old unit for handguns, but most of the people I know that are still over there don't mess with them. Just my 2 cents, to each his own.
     
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  25. Styx

    Styx Member

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    Those who are skeptical keep making these same statements even though those who have lots of experience repeatedly debunk them.

    1. Red dots do not really add much weight or bulk to the gun, and do NOT make concealment an issue. This has been stated already in this thread by those who actually carry these things, but others with little to no experience EDCing pistol optics keep repeating this...
    2. Red dot optics have proven to be very reliable and battery life is extremely long. The battery life last for years, though most will change the battery once a year.
    3. You can co-witness the red dot optic with your iron sights if you are worried about hitting the lottery, and your red dot that you trained with, used dozens of times, carried everyday, and has always proved be reliable suddenly stops working during the one in a few million chance that you had to use it in a gun fight. That is, if all the stars aligned and the battery went dead or the red dot that has always been reliable failed during a gun fight, you can resort to the irons as backup.
    4. I see the dot immediately when I draw every time. I can also focus on the target instead of the front sight. I'm on target faster. I don't have to align sights, or keep the sights somewhat perfectly aligned. I just put the dot on the target, and pull the trigger. I am more accurate at longer distances.
     
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