Why you should put a red dot on your pistol
Why should a pistol wear a red dot? This is quite simply because it will make you a better shooter. No seriously, it will. They say you can’t buy skill, which is true, but this is science.
A red dot is a sighting system that gives the shooter a visual interface that is more in line with how the human eye works. In very basic terms, the human eye can only focus on one thing, or more accurately, at one distance at a time. This makes precisely aligning an object close to the eye with an object exponentially further away very challenging.
So what’s wrong with iron sights?
The tricky part about iron sights is that perfect alignment requires focus at three things: the target, the front sight, and the rear sight. Thus, an iron sight picture requires the eye to interact with things at three different focal lengths at once. However, the human eye can only focus on one at a time. That means the shooter needs to either pick one to focus on, rapidly transition between all of them, or indefinitely soft focus somewhere in between.
In reality, if we are honest with ourselves, some combination of all three is going on. It is not a perfect system, but obviously people have been adapting to it for a few hundred years. It is, however, the reason so much time gets spent on teaching sight alignment to achieve proficiency in marksmanship.
How can a red dot help?
The beauty of a red dot system is that it does not require alignment. A red dot optic is essentially anchored to the pistol and emits a reflection. When zeroing a red dot, one is essentially orienting the reflection to be true to point of impact of its host. Once zeroed, if the shooter can see the dot, they are seeing an “aligned” sight picture. All the shooter needs to do is put themselves behind the optic to where they can see the dot, and they are good to go.
Regardless of where the dot may appear on the window, the dot represents where the pistol is pointed. This both removes the potential of erroneous sight alignment by the shooter and allows razor sharp focus on the target. Essentially the dot itself is soft focused at any distance (part of the reason they do not appear like a crystal-clear sphere of red) so it is present in the shooter’s view no matter which distance their eye is focused at.
Speed AND accuracy
Removing sight alignment from the sighting equation streamlines the aiming process and makes it much more intuitive for the human eye. Red dots also make the shooter more acutely aware of the point of aim and transfer a lot more intuitive feedback to the shooter. The dot doesn’t lie.
With a red dot system on board, there are no longer hard pistol shots. There are only bad, or poorly timed, trigger presses.
Want to take a deeper dive into putting a red dot on your pistol? Listen in as our podcast team covers the finer points. Are you looking to make the transition from iron sights to a red dot? Check out this blog with three tips from our Vortex Edge instructors.
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