ZEROING A RED DOT HANDGUN'S DUAL SIGHTING SYSTEMS - PART 1

Tuesday, December 20, 2016




We have been doing this a long time, and while many seem to copy our every move, others just don't seem to get it. A properly set up red dot handgun has two sighting systems. One is the red dot, and the other is the iron sights. Both must be zeroed. Ideally, both are zeroed to hit at the same distance and on the same target. Let me explain a little bit more.


Imagine you had a rifle with sights that could not be adjusted for neither elevation nor windage. That means that either the rifle shot at the same spot the sights were set for at manufacture, by happenstance...or the rifle shot elsewhere and you had no way to change that. So the rifle could never be zeroed using those sights.


Now you could certainly put an Aimpoint red dot on that rifle and zero it for perfection, but the iron sights would in essence the useless. They would be there for show only. A rifleman who gambled on never needing those iron sights could argue that it didn't matter that the iron sights were not zeroed. But the day would come when he needed to use the irons instead of the optic due to optics failure, due to a need to verify that the optic was still zeroed, or due to changing from that optic to another optic and using the irons to obtain a rough zero. Without useable iron sights, he would not be able to do any of those things. And while none of those thing may be of importance in the game-land of sports guns, they are essential in the world of reality where the lack of redundant systems often means death.


I can hear everyone nodding in agreement as they check their zero on the M4 and the Magpul backup folding sights. But let us take that same line of thinking to the pistol. Let us restate the obvious from the perspective of the handgun - to wit:


A pistolero with a red dot equipped handgun who gambled on never needing those back up cowitnessed iron sights could argue that it didn't matter that the iron sights were not zeroed. But the day would come when he needed to use the irons instead of the optic due to optics failure, due to a need to verify that the optic was still zeroed, or due to changing from that optic to another optic and using the irons to obtain a rough zero.



There are several red dot mounts on the market now that look great. They are well machined and finished. And they are easily mounted to the pistol. But they lack one very vital aspect which makes us wonder of the depth of knowledge of the designers. That vital aspect is that "they cannot be zeroed".




Look at this mount above - It is intended to make it easy to mount a red dot on to a 1911. Yet when you examine it, you realize that the rear sight cannot be zeroed. Sure you can drift the front sight but a front sight should not be where adjustments are made. Not good.




Look at this other one - It mounts via the rear dovetail and while it addresses the need for cowitness sights it still does not address the need to zero those sights. How do you zero that? Short answer - you cannot. How a piece of gear can be conceived and executed without this fundamental issue taken care of stuns the consciousness of marksmanship. Its like building a great car with a great engine, but no transmission!


Look at the image below. If this is what your zeroed red dot looked like, but your sights were always like this, would you consider that acceptable, or unacceptable?




MORE ON THE ISSUE OF ZEROING AND COWITNESSING IS FOUND HERE