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Red Dot for SD Carry Pistol?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Accessories, Holsters, and Optics' started by Craig_VA, Oct 12, 2020.

  1. Craig_VA
    • Contributing Member

    Craig_VA Contributing Member

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    Please help me understand selection of a red dot sight for a carry gun. Specifically, how do "instant on" sights turn on when you draw, and which models have that feature? Or are they really "always on?"
    I wanted to test red dots with minimal initial investment, so I recently put a Bushnell TRS-25 on my 10/22. A single session to zero it convinced me red dots are cool. I already have a second TRS-25 for my M&P-15 Sport, just waiting for the Piccatinny riser to install it. That brings me to my M&P 2.0 9.
    I've had enough advanced carry classes and pseudo-IDPA competitions to understand pausing to turn on the dot when drawing is a non-starter. The just released 4 MOA dot Bushnell RXS-250 with a list price of $250 has me intrigued. It claims 50,000 hours of battery life, but no indication of an instant on feature. The details on the linked page also claim it is designed for duty holster use. At 8,760 hours per year, that would mean a nominal 5 year battery life if left on all the time. I guess you would extend the calendar life by turning it off when not actually carrying the gun.
    [Side note: Amazon is asking $290 for the sight, quite a premium over the MSRP.]

    I appreciate any education y'all can add here.
     
  2. Telum Pisces

    Telum Pisces Member

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    Love my Shield sight on my Springfield Hellcat. Due to it's tiny size, there are literally three red dots that fit on it and they are not cheap. I got the plastic molded version which shaved off $100. But I can't imagine not having one now. Quick target acquisition and you don't have to stay perfectly aligned in that stressful moment. The bullet goes where the dot is!

    This one is always on and has a light meter on it. Bright light around you and in front of you and it's a bright dot. Pitch black and the dot goes down to the perfect brightness too. Magic if you ask me. If stored in a dark location it can last up to 4-5 years. Average use though claims 2-3 years. I'll be changing the battery ever 2-3 years.

    They do make other ones that are shake on basically. The moment they sense any movement, they come on. Some have manual brightness adjustments. I prefer not to have to full with anything and why I went with the Shield sight. Always on and seems to be always the right brightness. No fuss no mess. But you pay for it!

    All cuts and mounts are not equal for pistol style red dots. So pay attention to that.

    IMG_20200718_141944651_HDR.jpg
     
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  3. MrChicken

    MrChicken Member

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    I have a Sig Romeo Zero on my Hellcat. It's a shake awake with manual brightness adjustment.
    If you set it for a dark house, it's too dim in full light.
    If you set it for full light is too bright in the dark.

    They're is a middle ground but you are really having it not quite bright enough in the light and just a little too bright in the dark. If you have young eyes this may work very well for you.

    My solution is bright enough for full light or daylight and an Olight Mini2 Valkyrie weapon light. The red dot works fine with light on.
     
  4. herrwalther

    herrwalther Member

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    I got a Holosun 507c as my entry into carry gun optics. It is the V1 with the green optic. Advertised battery life is 10 years where it wakes itself up on movement and turns off when sitting still. It has worked really well so far.
     
  5. browningguy

    browningguy Member

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    I know all the Sig's are shake to wake, not sure about the other brands though. Most of the mid and high end red dots now offer battery life in the 30-60,000 hour range, even the ones that are always on. I just got a Romeo 7 30mm tube red dot for my PCC and it claims a 62,000 hour battery life off a single AA battery, amazing what electronics can do. I also have the Romeo 0 on my Sig P320RX from the factory, I bought it when they first came out so I suppose I'll need to change the battery in a couple of years.
     
  6. 340PD

    340PD Member

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    They are all the rage and personally, after playing with a buddy's P365 with the Romeo and shooting my Ruger MKIII with a Vortex Venom, I cannot imagine how I would ever turn into a supporter for my carry gun. At my age, with small guns, I train to keep my eyes on the threat, and seldom do I ever see the sights at all. Looking for a dot through a glass that may be fogged, wet, or bloody is not something that intrigues me.

    That said, many of my small handguns do have a CT laser which is the opposite of a red dot and to my way of thinking, far more intimidating when pointed at a threat.

    I know the red dots are popular and for most competitive shooters they offer a great advantage so they have their place, just not on my personal carry guns.
    My 2¢
     
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  7. SharpDog

    SharpDog Member

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    I have moved some of my EDC to p365XLs I have with and without RDS. I realized that the 'instant on' RDS will always be on while I carry so I decided to use the ones with RDS for HD and the ones with regular sights for carry. Both have TLR-6 light/lasers.

    I shoot a little better and prefer the RDS but I'm ok with either option. I rarely shoot with the light/lasers.
     
  8. waterhouse

    waterhouse Member

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    Keeping eyes on the threat is a major advantage of red dots. Instead of focusing on the front sight, you can put your attention on the threat, which is honestly where most shooters look anyway when presented with danger.

    I've trained with mine in the rain, and on many occasions I've gone from temperature controlled cars (either hot or cold) to humid outdoor surroundings with no fog issues on the glass, although I do treat mine with anti-fog spray about once a year. Never had blood get on them yet, but I have shot them with the front side taped over to simulate a complete blockage with mud or something. The real downside is if you get mud on the shooter side of the glass, which blocks both the dot and the sights.

    I have the Shield on my Maxim, and Bushnell Fastfires on a few .22s. My duty gun and my carry gun both have RMRs. The fastfire has a switch, the others are always on. I swap batteries every year, even though they say they last for 4 or 5.
     
  9. X62503

    X62503 Member

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    I have read assessments such as this a few times on THR and still cannot figure out how intimidation is a factor in selecting SD gear, especially at the point in time a laser beam is used. Help!
     
  10. 340PD

    340PD Member

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    I can't give you any specifics but if I am in a SD situation and I see a red dot on my chest I am going to give it a lot of respect.
    YMMV.
     
  11. Hangingrock

    Hangingrock Member

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    This applies universally "I cannot afford cheap" Its false economy. Acquire the best Red-Dot that you can.
     
  12. kidneyboy

    kidneyboy Member

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    I currently have 3 red dot sights. 2 Vortex Venoms and a generic something. They never get turned off. no issues. Once a year the batteries get changed.

    If you are looking for the dot you need more training (or maybe it's not for you). Using a red dot takes training.
     
  13. TomJ
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    TomJ Contributing Member

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    I put a Vortex Venom on a Glock 26. I use it when I'm going to be in low light conditions as my eyes aren't the best. By way of example, I'm going for a walk in a few minutes to get some exercise. It's dark out and I can see the red dot much easir than night sights. I also carried in when we went to a movie theater. I've tested it in all types of lighting conditions and can see it well, regardless of the conditions.
     
  14. Lineman65

    Lineman65 Member

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    I prefer a CT Lasergrip or similar to a red dot on a handgun. I’m a little astonished at how fast pistol optics have taken off.
     
  15. S&W620

    S&W620 Member

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    I use an RMR, which does not have an auto on/shake awake feature. Battery a buck or two, is changed once a year and it’s good to go.

    Holosun has some models that are shake awake and seem to be getting good reviews, but I have no personal experience with them.

    As others have stated, optics aren’t the place to cut cost, especially on a hard use or carry gun.
     
  16. SharpDog

    SharpDog Member

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  17. Craig_VA
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    Craig_VA Contributing Member

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    Actually, that is why I put laser grips on my former EDC, a 642 snubbie pocket revolver.
    At the range I was more accurate using the iron sights than the laser dot. Still not sure why.
     
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  18. HB

    HB Member

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    I do not own a pistol with RDS but have used them a fair bit.

    I think in 10 years every service pistol will have a light and a dot integrated.
     
    S&W620 likes this.
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