You would think that by now, these matters would be settled. But what happens is that people do not read much these days and easily forget what they once read. And various bloggers and gun magazines need something to get people's attention so they rehash things over and over until they have simply no interest to anyone (the old 9mm vs. 45 argument comes to mind). The latest involves the red dot discussion in a popular new gun magazine. As history verifies, we have been doing red dots now for nearly a decade. We have learned many things and refuted many myths. But in case some missed our work, here are a few points:
1). Red Dots have Been Around Forever: Well, yes and no. When this is mentioned they refer to the concept of the red dot used in competition, not in carry weapons. Sure guy like Jarret and others competed successfully with red dots in the Jurassic Age of the 1990s, but when they drove home from the match, that winning pistol was in a gun case and not in a holster.
As far as I can tell, we were the first to mount the specific red dot between the sights with the intent of carrying that pistol in a holster for the purpose of shooting bad guys. And that is a very wide gulf between using a game-centric sporting pistol that lives in a gun case.
2). Red Dots Break: Anything man-made can break. I said that in a class at Front Sight in 1996. In my nearly three decades of instruction I have seen semi auto pistols malfunction, seen their front sights break off, seen extractors and firing pins break (specially MIM parts). But that doesn't mean we should set aside our 1911s and custom Glocks in preference of a fixed sighted S&W Model 10.
All of these breakages were as a result of either poor quality parts, poor maintenance, or improper installation. In truth, almost all could have been avoided by operator maintenance. The red dot is the same. Issues I see today are when a prospective red dot shooter wants to get into the game and opts for an "affordable" red dot. Then that red dot fails on them and they declare the concept to be flawed. No Sherlock...you chose a cheap red dot and cheap red dots fail. It is no different than buying a tier one rifle and putting on a Tasco scope from Walmart on it and then declaring the concept of the scoped rifle to be flawed because the scope failed.
Red dots...and let me be clear...the only one I use and still advocate is the Trijicon RMR...are not all created equal. If it is cheap, it is probably not something you want on a carry gun.
Nothing is perfect and the early RMRs had a few that developed circuitry issues. Trijicon's excellent warranty aside, the new Type 2 RMRs have fixed any issues that were existing in the prior versions. And I will add that we sold thousands of RMRs and the number of issues were very few although sensationalized in the gun media (again, throwing mud at the occupant on the top of the hill sells magazines...or clicks).
3). The individual RMR has to be fitted to the slide: No. That is a myth created by guys that want to sell the buyer a specific service, ie. milling their slide for their RMR. Again, we have been doing this longer than anyone else and the tolerances of the RMR as so tight as to be a non-issue. I measured an original RM02 from 2010 and it has the same dimensions as a modern Type 2 RM07.
And can you imagine if you wanted to change from a Dual Illuminated (battery-free) dot to a red LED model? Or had to send your red dot in for maintenance and Trijicon upgraded you to a new red dot? With that logic, you have to send your slide in to be re-cut and refinished? No, you don't. A properly installed RMR cut will accept all Trijicon RMRs. Unless of course you got that great deal on "dark web" website and your RMR came from China.
4). The pistol is useless if the red dot is occluded or covered with mud: Absolutely not. When I hear things like this I know the writer is a range shooter with likely no real life street or battlefield experience. In class I take a red dot pistol, tape up the RMR so not even Superman with X-Ray vision could see the dot and go through close range gunfighting drills out to 7 yards, getting not only solid hits on the chest of the target, but at closer distances...face shots as well.
I have said it time and time again (insert image of Tony Stark rolling his eyes) the sights or dot do not align the weapon, your grip and body do. The ability to point shoot accurately when necessary is the mark of the professional. The inability to do that is the mark of a range-based duffer.
And incidentally, I have seen many more front sights fly off or get broken off in training, and on the street, than I have seen red dot problems with a quality and properly installed red dot.
The red dot concept is now mainstream and everyone is trying to get their piece of the pizza. And to accomplish that they will try to create confusion about what the best practice is or should be. As well they will try to cheap out to attract those who would never justify buying a $500 pistol optic. Everything we have discovered is here in this blog...free for you to read. It is also freely shared in our Red Dot Combat Pistol classes.
So educate yourself and don't fall for the myths...learn the facts.