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  1. #1
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    Default Debating if I need a red dot

    Morning,
    I am a newer shooter who began training with a pistol in January of 2014, and have since ended up on the action pistol circuit to get used to the platform. While I do have a bone stock AR sitting around, I've been encouraged to focus on pistol first as it's my everyday carry and being a civilian is the most realistic. My carry piece, competition piece, and nightstand piece is a Gen 3 G17 which a step-cousin gave me for my 21st birthday as his department allowed him up switch to a different duty pistol. I spend half an hour a day drilling with a SIRT laser pistol which is exactly a G17, carry in an Archangel because of this forum. Yesterday, I stopped by a factory shoot and took a minute to examine the new MOS 34 because I'd never handled a red dotted pistol. I didn't shoot it but watched how it transitioned between a couple spots on the floor. It got me wondering. Truthfully it would cost me more to upgrade to a red dot than my gun is actually worth, plus I'd need a new holster as well as sights. For a newer shooter, would I even notice a difference or am I better off sticking with irons and saving my money? As it stands I'd need to be saving for a few months, for the time being this is not an impulse purchase.

  2. #2
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    Need or want? If you want a well made, worth the price red dot, the offerings here cannot be beat. If you need a red dot, you need to check out some of the threads on red dots on WT and you just might discover just how much you want one. Just sayin'.

  3. #3
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    You do not NEED

    1). A hot wife
    2). A fast car from Germany or Italy...or Britain
    3). A big perfectly appointed house on prime real estate
    4). A high paying job
    5). A high end education that matters
    6). A tier one Omega or Rolex
    7). A physically fit body that women look at on the beach

    But we WANT these things.
    The "subsistance" dudes on TV living in the weeds are fools that made shitty choices.

    My advice...at nearly 55 from a man that has most of what he wants - banish the word "NEED" from your life. It is the real "N" word.
    Gabe Suarez

    We cut our enemy's throats with Occam's Razor

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  4. #4
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    Since ability to search and study has been diminished these days, and the collective attention span is less than a drunk Italian general...

    Red Dot Pistols Are Not For Everyone

    Posted by Gabe Suarez at 01:56:14 PM in GABE SUAREZ ARTICLES, RED DOT COMBAT PISTOLS

    You heard me...err...read me.

    Just like a college education, a high degree of physical strength, good taste in wine...and in women, the ability to recite poetry, to speak another language, to speak in public extemporaneously, to do those things which are remarkable and uncommon...are not for everyone.

    But those whose self-image and self-standards include being uncommon and being remarkable and seek who excellence in all that they do, whether it is one of those things we mentioned, or shooting a terrorist in the eye from across the room, yes...the red dot concept fits perfectly there.

    Recently there was a write up elsewhere about our red dot installations. I tend to stay away from common blogs as they not only offer nothing in return for the exposure, but are also populated with the followers of that Greek Malingerer - Mediocrates. You know...the purveyor of low achievement and as his name indicates...mediocrity. Their job seems to be to populate a blog post with all manner of comments of dubious value in order to improve ratings or something.

    Its funny because those people will never buy anything of any quality or value, nor attempt anything extraordinary, whether they can afford it not. That notwithstanding, it is interesting to read the comments nonetheless, and the excuses about why one should not put a red dot on their weapon.

    1). All gunfights are close and you will point shoot: Well, any study of gunfighting will show that is simply not true. If it were we could simply have bare topped slides, and not have ANY sights at all. Never the less, these same people will put big dot sights and such on theirs. If the gunfight is close, the red dot won't change a thing for you. But if the gunfight requires precision and all you have been doing is polishing that elbow-up/down crouch, or your weaver stance, it will quickly be realized how much it sucks to be you...right before lights out.

    2). Its expensive: Yes it is. Not everyone can afford it. I got that and that does not make the speaker evil, only honest. Sadly the trend is to attempt to disuade others from recognizing the value and benefits of what the speaker cannot afford. "Disdain that which you cannot have" is dishonest and self-defeating. I see that with cars, with watches, and with jobs. Why not with small arms?

    3). Its a fad: Hmmm. Maybe, but after four years of these, I disagree. Funny, they said the same thing about red dots on rifles, plastic pistols, cell phones, airplanes, cars, computers, and modern surgical medicine. In the end, the world is not at all flat.

    4). Its bulky: Well, more bulky than a J-Frame, yes. But who wants to go to a gunfight with a J-frame. More likely, the speaker is too bulky to actually carry a pistol in the waist to begin with. Again, the honesty aspect comes up. If someone told me that they were too fat to carry something that didn't fit into their pants pocket I would understand. Then I would ask them if they wanted to fix that...and then tell them how to do it - for free.

    5). Red dots are unreliable: There are always horror stories about plane crashes too, but that isn't going to make me drive to Hawaii the next time I go. Anything man made can break, no matter what it is. Higher quality things break less often. That said, most red dots have a workable warranty where if something goes wrong, they can be repaired. And the fact that anything man made can break is why we use back up iron sights that cowitness with the red dot. Just in case.

    By the time ten years have passed, full size combat pistols not sporting a red dot will be as strange as rifles not equipped with a red dot are today. And the seekers of "average" and "good enough" will still be arguing about why you should not have one.
    Gabe Suarez

    We cut our enemy's throats with Occam's Razor

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  5. #5
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    HOW TO USE A RED DOT ON A PISTOL

    Posted by Gabe Suarez at 09:57:38 AM in GABE SUAREZ ARTICLES, RED DOT COMBAT PISTOLS



    The advantages of the red dot optic on a rifle are well known and documented. It is rare to see a true operational close quarters battle rifle today without some form of red dot optic on it. The use of the same optic on a handgun is still relatively new, and there is a great deal of confusion about it, and its best use.

    In the beginning, red dot sights were mounted on handguns using the manufacturer's dovetail mounts. This was very convenient and required nothing but the replacement of the rear sight.

    The first time I saw this done was on Kelly McCann's Glock 19. Kelly was running a Docter sight on his Glock 19 in a dovetail mount, and as I recall from our conversation, he was quite happy with it.

    You can see Kelly's Glock and his explanation of it in his Paladin Press Video - Inside The Crucible.

    The issue that comes up, and that causes low dedication personnel to shun the concept is this. On a rifle, there are an additional two to three points of contcat to insure facial placement is repeatable, and thus the position of the eye in relation to the red dot is also repeatable. This makes for some very fast and accurate shooting.


    Those additional points of contact are missing on a pistol, and unless the shooter has a highly developed and repeatable grip index (offering the same head and eye position behind the optic everytime) he will find himself hunting for the dot. This will subsequently reduce his speed. New users of the system see this and immediately dismiss its real-world use. What we discovered is that by tapping into the existing skill set of visually obtaining the iron sights, we bypass that learning curve and have almost immediate skill transfer to the use of the red dot. Here is how it works.


    Consider how many repetitions you have in presenting the pistol, bringing it up to the line of sight, and visually picking up the iron sights. You can immediately discern one's level of skill in that the experienced shooter does not use the sights to align the weapon. Rather he uses the sights to verify that alignment. And it is that "last moment sight check" that we use to train the use of the red dot.

    As the eye picks up the sights, the shooter notices the red dot as well. In a properly installed system, the red dot is cowitnessed with the iron sights...meaning that the red dot and the sights are both zeroed to the same point and looking at one means looking at both.

    As the shooter notices the red dot, there is a mental "hand off" or exchange of visual focus from the irons to the red dot. With some repetitions, as the eye becomes accustomed to picking up the red dot, the irons become almost ignored and can be relegated to a back up system that is always present.

    As the shooter accepts what he sees, much in the same way he did with the red dot on his rifle, the need for the visual gymnastics of darting from target to sights is eliminated making him faster and far more accurate.

    We have not noticed the same ease of skill transfer when guys install a red dot without the iron sights, or when they install the red dot with the iron sights to the front of the red dot.

    For this to work to its utmost utility with greatest operational application, as well as quickest transition time, the sights must be in their traditional locations on the slide.

    Some questions that arise during discussions on red dot pistol sights:

    Q: Do you really need such a thing?

    A: No, you don't. If you are looking at "need" a used S&W J-Frame with lead reloads will probably work. But to shoot well regardless of the aged condition of your eyes, or to shoot with extreme surgical precision up close, or to the limit of your pistol cartridge at distance, then this will certainly be something you WANT.

    Q: Will ejected brass hit my red dot?

    A: Pistols are designed to eject brass out and away...meaning from the shooters perspective...to between the 1:00 to the 4:00. If your brass is ejecting straight up at the 12:00 and hitting your red dot, or your face, I would consider there is something wrong with your pistol or ammunition and a malfunction is inevitable. Rather than change the position of the red dot, I suggest getting the pistol serviced.

    Q: Will the red dot glass get wet in the rain?

    A: Yes of course it will...just like your glasses and your windshield. If you have need for an emergecy close in shot in the rain, you will likely not wait for a perfect sight picture to press of the shot making the wet glass a moot point. And if you have time for a long precise shot, wiping off the water will be an easy and quick solution.

    Q: Why does the conversion cost so much?

    A: Actually our conversion is quite affordable. We charge $125 to mill your slide and mount steel suppressor sights. When you begin adding the red dots themselves is when the cost goes up. The lowest cost high quality red dot sights are still about $450 (Trijicon Dual Illuminated and Leupold Delta Point).

    Q: What red dots should I consider?

    A: I suspect in the coming years there will be far more viable optics for this application. The Trijicon RMR system is one of the best. The Leupold Delta Point has given us good service as well and I understand that Leupold is redesigning it and making it better.
    Gabe Suarez

    We cut our enemy's throats with Occam's Razor

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  6. #6
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    HOW TO USE A RED DOT ON A PISTOL - PART 2

    Posted by Gabe Suarez at 10:00:00 AM in GABE SUAREZ ARTICLES, RED DOT COMBAT PISTOLS


    All new and disruptive technologies are resisted at first, and the red dot pistol is no different. But the innovators who lead at the bleeding edge of things are always looking for an advantage and it is from them that a new technology will either make it or be discarded as a bad idea. The mass market will not make those decisions, since they are always behind the lead, and will not adopt something new.

    In the last part of the discussion we highlighted many of the objections put forth against this new technology and answered all of them except for one, that being cost. Yes...this is costly and that will not change.

    When running the dot-equipped pistols, some shooters seem to be confused by the dot. A Dot is different than iron sights. Recall that we have the iron sights in place, in part, as visual training wheels to get the eye accustomed to seeing and picking up the dot. But once you are there, you do not need to use the same methodology of visual actions.

    Shooters often attempt to focus on the dot for close targets. This is a mistake since they don't really do this with their iron sights. What they do with the iron sights is look over or through them as they press off the shots. They do not fixate on them as the speeds necessary for such problems do not afford too much sight time. With the red dot it is important to do the same thing. One is actually looking at the target or threat, and shooting from eye-sight-line, but noticing the red dot in the same way as they would notice the irons at such times...indirectly. The red dot being brighter and more noticeable than an iron sight makes this easier.

    Another thing that shooters sometimes try to do is to track the red dot in the way they track the iron sight during shooting. The red dot magnifies all your movement, and so it seems as if it is "jumping around more". In reality nothing has changed with the pistol...it is simply the eye needs to accept that the dot will not track like the irons.


    Points to consider -


    1). Run the gun the same way you always do. Just because the dot is there does not mean you have to see it in crystal clarity for each and every shot...specially at close range. You do not need to slow down if you did not pick up the dot any more than you need to slow down to pick up the sight if you did not get it at first. If you see the bad guy's body filling up the optic, press-press-press.

    2). If you suddenly require a more accurate shot, you would slow down and pick up the sights, certifying the alignment before pressing the trigger. You do the same thing with the red dot, except you do not need to align anything. With the system we use, if you pick up the iron sights, the red dot is right there all the time anyway.

    3). Just like the Aimpoint Micro on your M4, the shot will go where the red dot appears on target. You do not need to shift focus from the target back to your sights (in this case the red dot). You stay focused on the threat, notice the red dot, and press the shot.

    4). For close range gunfighting inside of 5 yards, any sights are irrelevant. You explode off the line of fire, press the pistol to the threat and press a burst into their chest. You wait for nothing and use physical indexing methods. Eventually you begin to notice the sights, but you will notice the bright red dot sooner.

    5). For indexed shooting in the grey area between pure threat focused shooting and the need for sight verification, you can use the silhouette of the weapon for indexing. We call this meat and metal (metal of the pistol super-imposed on the mass of the bad guy). You can use the corner of the RMR as an improvised front sight, or the top of the RMR at the bad guy's neck when shooting.

    6). Manipulations are far easier as the Red Dot creates a handle of sorts to rack the slide. One handed manipulations are extremely simple compared to non-red dot pistols.

    7). The main difference between a red dot on a rifle and a red dot on a pistol is that the red dot on the rifle doesn't move very much when shooting, but it does on the pistol. This is simply due to the natural differences in weapons. The iron sight method of "tracking the front sight on recoil" is not possible with the red dot. This is not a problem when firing two or three shots...only when someone is trying to do a magazine dump at warp speed. That said, since the iron sights are in the usual place, you can use the front sight to get back on the red dot if you should lose it.

    8). To shorten the learning curve for red dot use, I like to use one of the RM-06 or RM-07 units where I can turn the dot completely off. Then I have the student simply use the existing iron sights and shoot as usual. By using the "ball and dummy" concept - (normally meaning I load the weapon for the student with either a live round or a dummy round to learn surprise break), I prep the pistol for the student by having the red dot on or off.

    He will go through an entire magazine using just the irons for single shots from the holster. Then at some point, I turn the red dot on for them. Their seeking of the irons instantly takes them to the dot.

    9). It's important to not over think this. The eye-brain figures this out if we get out of the way and stop trying to analyze why. Nonetheless, it is not a panacea for poor shooting skills. If anything, the red dot will shine a bright light on poor grip, poor trigger control, etc. For the shooter that is results-based and not ego-based, highlighting these deficiencies is the first step to rectifying them.
    Gabe Suarez

    We cut our enemy's throats with Occam's Razor

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  7. #7
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    USING RED DOT PISTOLS: THE VISUAL HAND OFF

    Posted by Gabe Suarez at 07:50:00 AM in GABE SUAREZ ARTICLES, RED DOT COMBAT PISTOLS


    One very important visual skill the red dot pistol shooter needs is to learn the "Visual Hand Off". This is a term we use to describe what happens with the eyes as a shooter new to the red dot system is learning to use it.

    On a rifle, the head and eye is automatically positioned to pick up that red dot as the rifle is brought into the shoulder. A pistol however, floats in space, held there by the two hands. There is no third and fourth point of contact to place the eye correctly. Regardless of the uniformity of your draw, if your eye is not in the visual cone of the red dot, you will not pick it up...nor the sights for that matter.

    The way to solve this is with the use of the back up iron sights, and we insist that they need to be placed in the traditional positions on the slide. It is best to look for the iron sights FIRST. Especially with contorted field shooting positions or from positions required for using cover - in other words "other than standard" shooting positions.

    Most shooters find that going to the rear sight happens first, even if they try to seek that front sight first. I suspect, with older shooters, it has to do with the reality that the rear sight is closer and easier to see. Then as they bring rear sight and front sight into alignments (something that happens very quickly because they have done it countless times in the past), this gets their eyes in the right place. The instant the sights come into view, the red dot is evident. This is the moment of "Hand Off".

    The eyes - and brain actually - shift from seeking iron sight alignment to accepting the presence of the red dot, and abandoning any further concern with the iron sights. The dot, being in the infinite focal plane is placed on target and the shot will land where that red dot appears.

    Now the issue comes up about whether it is best to focus on the dot or the threat. My answer is the usual...it depends. For targets inside about 20 to 25 yards, I find I can keep visual focus on the target and notice the dot on that target. For a large target that is very sufficient. I find this gives me the greatest speed of shots. Now that distance may be more or less for the reader as it does depend on the individual eyes.

    If the shot is challenging, or the target distant, I visually focus on the red dot itself as if it was a front sight and press. That red dot focus seems to give me the greatest degree of accuracy.

    Once you own the "hand off", you will find your speed and accuracy increase dramatically.
    Gabe Suarez

    We cut our enemy's throats with Occam's Razor

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabe Suarez View Post
    You do not NEED

    1). A hot wife
    2). A fast car from Germany or Italy...or Britain
    3). A big perfectly appointed house on prime real estate
    4). A high paying job
    5). A high end education that matters
    6). A tier one Omega or Rolex
    7). A physically fit body that women look at on the beach

    But we WANT these things.
    The "subsistance" dudes on TV living in the weeds are fools that made shitty choices.

    My advice...at nearly 55 from a man that has most of what he wants - banish the word "NEED" from your life. It is the real "N" word.
    Incredibly well said.

  9. #9
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    OPTIMIZING RED DOT PERFORMANCE

    Posted by Gabe Suarez at 01:07:00 AM in EQUIPMENT REVIEW, GABE SUAREZ ARTICLES, RED DOT COMBAT PISTOLS

    Continuing with the discussions on how to optimize and enhance the reliability and utility of your red dot pistol sight I will be addressing three points in this article. The issue of rain on the RMR lens, the issues sometimes encountered with electrical conductivity (specially with older RMRs and batteries with less power..ie., older batteries), and the issues with zero adjustment dials that are loose. First the rain. Here in Arizona it rains hard. Hard like downpours of Monsoon Proportions. Will the lens of the RMR become occluded? The answer is - Of course it will. Just like your eyeglasses, binoculars, or the lens of your rifle scope. This will be a greater issue if you carry openly rather than in a concealed manner. In one of our summer training sessions, we were drenched with a refreshing but brief monsoon. The TSD RMR-equipped Glock was protected by clothing and the red dot quite visible and usable. If open carried, such as in a tactical drop leg holster, the water may pool in the shooter's side area of the lens and collect were the red diode is housed. This will make the sight picture blurry, and you will see refraction errors. Guys who experience this get flustered with the inability to use the red dot as usual, but let me put this in perspective. If you have this situation happen, and need to draw and shoot a threat right there inside of 7 yards, you do not need to use a traditional sight picture at all. That some ostensibly experienced and prolific trainers are still, at this day and age, pushing the "all sights all the time" mantra is as astounding as a grown man still thinking the earth is flat. To prove it to yourself you needn't come to one of my classes. You can simply tape over the entire red dot sight with masking tape and go through your usual drills at zero to ten yards, relying on body index and your habituated and uniform grip and shooting position. Yes grasshopper, you can hit COM on a steel target while visually focusing on the threat and not on the sights. Of course, if there is time for shots beyond the close range reactive envelope, a simple clearing of the water is possible and a wiping of the glass...just like you'd do with the Aimpoint on your M4. As well, understand that in a downpour, using any sights will be difficult, and seeing a target past close quarters environments will be difficult as well. One other thing that can be done for light moisture concerns is the use of Rain-X. This will help the water run off the glass. Its not an anti-rain product, just one that tends to keep the glass on scopes, eye glasses, and optics clear in moist environments. Is the use of optics in the rain difficult? Sure...but its not the end of the world that some guys say it is. Next, conductivity. The weak link in anything battery powered is the battery. When guys ask what to do when their RMR shuts off, I tell them the first thing to do is replace the battery. Incidentally, if you are properly co-zeroed with the irons, there is no re-zeroing necessary as the dot can be verified to be in the same spot on the irons. Continuing. Sometimes that "new" battery will have been sitting on the drugstore or hardware store shelf for months. I am not sure if batteries have a sell by date, but they probably should. Nonetheless, in addition to using truly "new" batteries, I was told of a possible "fix" to get the most from the existing battery. That is the use of conductivity grease on the battery contact during installation. Conductive grease, or electrical contact grease products have been on the market for years and have been used on various electrical units ranging from bicycles to motor vehicles. One alternative quick fix is simply petroleum jelly. These products provide antistatic conductivity, provide moisture protection, heat protection, and are effective at extremes of low to high temperatures. Used in conjunction with the insulator plate we include in our installations, it should make the red dot system work even better. I plan on conducting some tests to see how well this works. Last, the loose zero adjustment dials. In all honesty, most of the loose zero adjustment dial issues I have seen can be attributed to third world adjustment methods. But there have been a handful that have been sent back to Trijicon for repair due to dials not being sufficiently robust. One easy fix is to use RTV, or Room Temperature Vulcanizing to cover the screws once the zeroing process is complete. This is similar to old "nail polish" on the scope screws we learned in sniper school, except that this is rubber, and will seal the entire screw surface. Unlike the nail polish, it can be peeled off with some effort if a rezeroing of the RMR is needed when moving the unit to a different pistol.
    Gabe Suarez

    We cut our enemy's throats with Occam's Razor

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  10. #10
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    How'bout this: YES you do need a red dot.

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