Optics on carry pistols??

Many of us here are "men and women of a certain age." Those who aren't... aren't far behind us! Read on!

MRDS (micro red dot sights) have been gaining in popularity. Yet, some of us cling to the old school, proven, low-tech ways. I totally get it. Part of the fundamentals of marksmanship is the use of iron sights... learning sight alignment and sight picture. I still think it's VERY important. And I will never give up iron sights entirely.

HOWEVER....

There are some significant advantages for pistol-mounted reflex sights.
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First... those of us whose eyes have aged and need "readers" (aka presbyopia), have noticed that we can't focus on that front iron sight very well. I have resorted to getting some "top focal" eye pro, which have a "bifocal" magnifying lens at the TOP of the lens on my dominant eye. I change the lens on the left side to a "bottom focal." That helps with any administrative firearms handling at the range bench.
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And, it works a CHARM! At the range. I highly recommend them. But, what about out in the "wild?" I wont' be wearing my top focal glasses, eh?

"Dot" optics don't require corrective lenses. In fact, they go blurry with readers.

Here's the other BIG advantage: "Dog forbid" you're ever forced to defend yourself "in the wild," the MRDS allows for a "threat-focused" sight picture. Both eyes open. Focused on the target. Super easy and very intuitive. Just superimpose the dot over the target.

Consider the time it takes to shift your point of focus from the target / threat to your front sight, even if you have "good eyes." With a "red / green dot," there's no shifting. You focus on the threat and STAY focused on the threat.

Caveat: I am also trained in "point" or "instinctive" shooting. At close distances, I won't likely be using sights at all. But, that's ANOTHER whole discussion, mmm-kay?

The only "trick" of the whole thing with MRDSes is getting used to "finding the dot."

Ah... but, here's another thing: You don't want to "find the dot." That's right. If you have to look for it, precious fractions of a second are ticking away in a SHTF moment. No bueno!

The KEY is to present the gun consistently such that the dot finds you. It's just there. Every time. You bring the gun up, and there's the dot. You learned how to do it with iron sights. You can learn how to do it with an MRDS.

This takes some practice. But, I promise you will get there, and it will happen faster than you think.

That said... Holosun has come out with a new reticle callled "Vulcan ACSS." It's pretty slick. It projects a LARGE outer ring that isn't there if the "dot" is in the center of the field of view. But, if you're "off," the edge of the circle shows up in the sight window and tells you which way you need to correct the orientation.
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I've got one of these new Holosun sights (with green reticle) on the way for my new P80 "EDC" build. You'll notice that it has a chevron rather than a dot. We'll see how I like that!

I've got two other MRDSes in my "stable." I mounted the "gold standard" Trijicon RMR (RM07) on my home defense FNP-45T years ago. It has a 6.5-MOA dot.
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More recently, I put one on my first P80 build, a G34 clone intended as a range toy. This is the Holosun HE507C-GR X2. It has a 2-MOA GREEN dot. I like the green color better, I think.
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But, this will be the first time I put one on a carry piece. This Polymer80 PFC9 G19-clone:
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As my eyes have changed, I am experiencing a newfound appreciation for MRDS optics. But, I also appreciate the ability to stay threat-focused even as I transition from instinctive to sighted fire.
 
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You are correct, sir. For example; from inside my shop, looking towards bright daylight outside - there's not enough ambient light to illuminate the plastic fiber optic rods strongly enough to contrast against the brighter target/ background.

This doesn't render the pistol inoperable, rather, it presents more as blacked-out iron sights with goal post rear/ post front - which may come as a surprise if you're looking for the green dot(s). I am seriously considering pulling my front sight and applying a high contrast paint around the fiber optic in order to help the front sight stand out in such situation.

/K
I have the TFO on a few of mine and have a similar the same thing when sighting from my workshop out into the rest of the basement. Not a showstopper, but noticeable. Not sure that the Trijicon tritium fares any better under similar conditions.
 
Here’s those two pics…(outdoors) it was darker outside than the picture illustrates…View attachment 9019View attachment 9020

Those pics were taken just after 5pm here in the PNW two days ago, and it was much darker than my iPhone rendered the images. The only post-processing was cropping, and nothing else.

I haven’t had your experience but I have a hard time thinking they will more or less “wash out” as you seem to describe, as the Tritium in these that backlight the FO vials is pretty hearty. These sights are about a year old. As always, YMMV
I may not have explained clearly - I'm not referring to being in low or diminishing light such as outside in the open. I'm referring to being in a dimly lit area, looking into a more brightly lit area - and with the pistol held at firing position.
I have the TFO on a few of mine and have a similar the same thing when sighting from my workshop out into the rest of the basement. Not a showstopper, but noticeable. Not sure that the Trijicon tritium fares any better under similar conditions.
Agreed - not a show stopper, just a heads up that these situations could readily change the expected sight picture. The Trijicon/ factory GLOCK nightsights that have the white circle surrounding the tritium vial are highlighted for this exact situation - not dark enough for tritium to be effective/ visible.

/K
 
Very interesting, brothers. Thanks! Maybe not coincidentally, the sights I have coming for the new slide are NOT the TFO's (for future RDS reasons) but they are tritium surrounded by a highlighted circle...white rear, orange/red front (and it seems to be pretty bright) we'll see how they look to the necked eye when they arrive in a few days. Cheers!
 
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Yesterday I was checking-out the Amerglo IDOT sights that I'd recently installed. The front blade has the fluorescent RED/ORANGE circle surrounding the tritium vial; the rear sight has a single (narrow) white circle surrounding its tritium vial.

Thinking about the comments above in this thread regarding sight issue while transitioning from low to bright light situations while sitting at my worktable and the sunlit day was streaming into the room, I sighted towards the window and yup, the brightness washed-out all but the profile of the irons themselves. Thought the iron sight profile was ultra-clear, I could not see either the red front circle or the rear white circle surrounds of the tritium vials, respectively.

Fortunately, the front blade is just slim enough to as to allow the background & light show the blade as clearly defined in the rear iron "U" channel for alignment. I'm not sure what the answer would be except perhaps some bigger white dots ala Glock OEM sights (if one wants to see dots). And maybe that front sight's width that doesn't fill the rear sight picture, is all you need. I certainly didn't have a problem seeing them and properly aligning them. YMMV.
 
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I've become a huge fan of Carry Optics. Between aging eyes and a desire to be able to accurately place my shots I'm putting these things on everything I intend to use for anything meaningful. Side by side with my Unlimited Class IPSC/IDPA pistol my Max9 is almost as fast and maybe -3-4 for the same course of fire. I still need to swap a few front sights to have available cowitness sights available when batteries or electronics eventually fail.
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I still need to swap a few front sights to have available cowitness sights available when batteries or electronics eventually fail.
I have come to the conclusion that the so-called "co-witness" is simply a fairy tale intended to assuage the fears or objections of those opposed or initially hesitant to using optics.

There is no need for co-witness. Ever. Yes, a bold statement. :)

First there is a fairly common misconception that the shooter will use BOTH (as "confirmation") or use the iron sights as a way to "find the dot." This is a REALLY bad (and very slow) way to do it.

Furthermore, the notion of batteries failing is also a big stretch... if you merely replace the battery on an annual basis. The WORST of the optics on the market rate battery life at 20,000 hours. The better ones are up to 50,000 hours. So, at worst, you're looking at a 2 year battery life. OK... replace it regularly at 1 year and the chances of the battery failing fall to nearly zero. Just like your smoke detector batteries. Schedule replacement on the same date every year. Use a quality battery, of course.

As for electronics failing... don't buy cheap shit, and that is very unlikely to happen. Any of the major brands (intended for firearms and not airsoft), and you should be good to go.

But, let's say that in the VERY unlikely event the optic craps out in a defensive scenario. First, at close distances, you're likely point-shooting anyway. But what if you look through the optic and there's no dot?? OMG! OMG! Put the target inside the window, and you're STILL probably going to make an impact.

The more experience I've had, the more I realize that there's really no good reason to co-witness... and maybe even some reasons NOT to. A "full co-witness" of iron sights can take up / block a LARGE percentage of the view in the optic window. In other words, it's only CLUTTERING up the sight picture.

An optic sight picture is TARGET / THREAT focused. So, you shouldn't be "searching for the dot." You definitely shouldn't be using the iron sights to help you "find the dot." With proper training and practice, with your eyes focused on the target / threat, your grip and presentation should result in the dot appearing (almost magically!) over the target.
 
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I have come to the conclusion that the so-called "co-witness" is simply a fairy tale intended to assuage the fears or objections of those opposed or initially hesitant to using optics.

There is no need for co-witness. Ever. Yes, a bold statement. :)

First there is a fairly common misconception that the shooter will use BOTH (as "confirmation") or use the iron sights as a way to "find the dot." This is a REALLY bad (and very slow) way to do it.

Furthermore, the notion of batteries failing is also a big stretch... if you merely replace the battery on an annual basis. The WORST of the optics on the market rate battery life at 20,000 hours. The better ones are up to 50,000 hours. So, at worst, you're looking at a 2 year battery life. OK... replace it regularly at 1 year and the chances of the battery failing fall to nearly zero. Use a quality battery, of course.

As for electronics failing... don't buy cheap shit, and that is very unlikely to happen. Any of the major brands (intended for firearms and not airsoft), and you should be good to go.

But, let's say that in the VERY unlikely event the optic craps out in a defensive scenario. First, at close distances, you're likely point-shooting anyway. But what if you look through the optic and there's no dot?? OMG! OMG! Put the target inside the window, and you're STILL probably going to make an impact.

The more experience I've had, the more I realize that there's really no good reason to co-witness... and maybe even some reasons NOT to. A "full co-witness" of iron sights can take up / block a LARGE percentage of the view in the optic window. In other words, it's only CLUTTERING up the sight picture.

An optic sight picture is TARGET / THREAT focused. So, you shouldn't be "searching for the dot." You definitely shouldn't be using the iron sights to help you "find the dot." With proper training and practice, with your eyes focused on the target / threat, your grip and presentation should result in the dot appearing (almost magically!) over the target.
I'm not prone to trusting any optic/electronic device implicitly. Having a flip up/lower cowitness option for my peace of mind is essential. I know they've come a long way in the last 40-50 years but I like having options.
 
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I'm not prone to trusting any optic/electronic device implicitly. Having a flip up/lower cowitness option for my peace of mind is essential.
I understand that thought process and "peace of mind." But I find it to be factually unsupported. We trust our lives to electronics in many ways... at hospitals... in our cars.... medical devices such as pacemakers and defibrillators... aircraft... and so on.

First, I am 99.99% confident my optics will not fail. Secondly, in that 0.01% situation where they do, I am 99.99% confident I can STILL hit the target... even without iron sights. :)

Train, train, train and practice even more.
 
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I understand that thought process and "peace of mind." But I find it to be factually unsupported. We trust our lives to electronics in many ways... at hospitals... in our cars.... medical devices such as pacemakers and defibrillators... aircraft... and so on.

First, I am 99.99% confident my optics will not fail. Secondly, in that 0.01% situation where they do, I am 99.99% confident I can STILL hit the target. :)

Train, train, train and practice even more.
I like fallback plans to at least PlanG.
 
I like fallback plans to at least PlanG.
My fallback plan is ultimately my skills. I've trained extensively in point / instinctive shooting. And for defensive situations, even just the optic window (without a dot) is an aiming device. Hell, the rear slide coverplate is also an aiming device. With my eyes unable to focus on the front sight without "cheater" glasses (not going to be wearing them out and about)... the iron sights are nearly useless in a defensive situation. I have them. And I still practice with pistols with only iron sights. And I can still shoot quite well with iron sights despite my aging vision.

At 10 yards with iron sights:​

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But I stand by my position that "co-witness" is a MOSTLY a psychological crutch. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with a mental crutch. Lord knows I can use a mental crutch! LOL! But, as a PRACTICAL matter, co-witnessing iron sights with an optic is folly.
 
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My fallback plan is ultimately my skills. I've trained extensively in point / instinctive shooting. And for defensive situations, even just the optic window (without a dot) is an aiming device. Hell, the rear slide coverplate is also an aiming device. With my eyes unable to focus on the front sight without "cheater" glasses (not going to be wearing them out and about)... the iron sights are nearly useless in a defensive situation. I have them. And I still practice with pistols with only iron sights. And I can still shoot quite well with iron sights despite my aging vision.

At 10 yards with iron sights:​

View attachment 15410


But I stand by my position that "co-witness" is a MOSTLY a psychological crutch. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with a mental crutch. Lord knows I can use a mental crutch! LOL! But, as a PRACTICAL matter, co-witnessing iron sights with an optic is folly.
I'll take "Point Shooting" for plan D. I have spent a few 3-4 decades running most possible drills. Using the light pattern for night shooting, laser, various optics and irons. In the dark all you have is muscle memory and a red dot would be nothing but a distraction without an illuminated target.
 
This target was point / instinctive rapid fire at COM and sighted (optic) rapid fire at head. Rapid fire = 2 to 5 round strings after punching out from "compressed ready." (No holster draws allowed at this range.) Target is ~2/3 scale.

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This target was point / instinctive rapid fire at COM and sighted (optic) rapid fire at head. Rapid fire = 2 to 5 round strings.

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Definitely a bad day for him. Most defensive situations I can foresee would be in the dark. Fortunately I can shoot in my yard and I set up various drills and can run them in the dark. Using point, light and laser. A red dot and even irons are pretty much useless without a properly contrasting target.
 
Fortunately I can shoot in my yard and I set up various drills and can run them in the dark.
Nice. I wish I could do that. But then I'd surely be out of ammo! LOL!

A red dot is pretty much useless without a properly contrasting target.
Do you use a WML (weapon mounted light)?

That's on my to do list... a low light training course.

My Home Defense piece: 15+1 rounds of .45-ACP.
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Nice. I wish I could do that. But then I'd surely be out of ammo! LOL!


Do you use a WML (weapon mounted light)?

That's on my to do list... a low light training course.

My Home Defense piece: 15+1 rounds of .45-ACP.
View attachment 15412
Get a softair and set it up like your HD setup. You can even use it in your house with just a sheet in a few doorways. All of my HD collection has a light at minimum. I'm switching to light/laser combos.
 

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