Welcome to a brand-new episode of Worlds Collide. Tune into this series for some tips and tricks from Rob Pincus (Personal Defense Network®) and Rob Leatham (Team Springfield™).
In this episode, Leatham and Pincus discuss the application of tactical equipment—more specifically, the use of an optical pistol sight.
Irons or Optics?
Red-dot optics mounted on your favorite pistol look cool, but how much does that little red dot actually give you in terms of an edge in competition or defensive shooting?
The problem with a dot sight is the difficulty of finding it - actually getting it into your vision. That pretty little bright red dot won't appear unless the pistol is aligned just right. The "window" where it is visible is not very big - it requires the gun to be very well aligned - every time. When it is not aligned, it is actually SLOWER than pointing the gun and aiming with iron sights. And often results in shooters moving their gun around "searching" for the dot, and taking up valuable time. #TickTock
In a competition environment where you get to prepare for the stage, you can think about how to get that alignment when awaiting the start signal. And often even if initially slower, it is far more accurate and then pays off via improved points / hits.
Now, in a close-range real life scenario, the added time to find and aim that dot may take too long. Unless the difficulty of the shot would require refined aiming, being slower here may not be worth the added precision possible.
And here's the catch—in most "practical" competition events, 80 percent of the shots are easy enough that an optical sight doesn't offer any advantage over iron sights.
An optic might come in handy if your vision isn't so great and you're shooting at longer ranges. But you'll need to put in a lot of practice. Perfecting your draw to the point that your pistol is consistently aligned well enough to bring the dot into view immediately takes thousands of rounds of practice.
Even in defensive simulations, your targets are likely going to be within close range. Using an optic and shooting out to greater distances doesn't necessarily help you build the skills needed for defensive application.
Throwing one of these on your gun without extensive practice and training is not going to make you unbeatable at the next match or in a defensive situation.
The overall takeaway is, while trick and advanced equipment like optics are cool, you need to keep yourself focused on training for the right situation in the right way with the right equipment.