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Red Dot Sight Review (4)
All of the sights tested were rugged enough to be attached to a 12 gauge shotgun and were able to withstand the recoil. All were installed on an AR platform for testing (Armalite, Doublestar and Rock River carbines). Several of the micro and mini sights, Sig Sauer and Safariland SOPSC-2 for instance, required the addition of risers to be able to clear the front sight tower. These risers may be in addition to the Picatinny rail mounts.
Most sight manufacturers sell mounting hardware as well. Users should remember to use Locktite® Blue when installing. It is a wise idea to put pen marks on the mount and upper receiver of your carbine after installation. This allows you to place the red-dot back in the correct place on the rail if you have to remove it. This theoretically means you are back on zero (it’s always worth confirming with a fired group to make sure).
Back-up iron sights (BUIS) are mandatory because all electronic or mechanical devices are subject to malfunction or failure. I like BUIS that are in the lower one-third of the collimator sight field so that your field of view is not cluttered.
Zeroing and Use
All of the red-dot sights were easily zeroed. To make things easy if co-witnessing is possible, a rough alignment can be done by using the iron sights and placing the dot or chevron on top of the front sight. I use a 50 yard zero for my 5.56 carbines. Most of the sights tested had half MOA adjustments, which means that at fifty yards one click move the impact point ¼ inch. With most of these sights that would mean one click equals ½ inch at 100 yards. Remember to check the owners manual to verify.
As a carbine instructor, I am amazed at the number of students that don’t understand that the red-dot is used alone and does not require alignment with the front sight for shooting. Once the sight is zeroed, keep both eyes open and place the reticle where you want the bullet to impact. Once trigger control is learned, it is quicker to align three things (target, red-dot, your eye) than aligning four (target, front sight, rear sight, your eye).
Will the use of a red-dot make a poor shooter a better shot? No. Should students still be taught to use the iron sights? Yes. But once the basics are mastered, using red-dot sights can reduce time to target and that in a shooting situation is a good thing. Red-dot sights are indeed getting smaller and lighter in weight while still providing a solid aiming point.
Kevin R. Davis is a full-time police officer with 27 years experience and is assigned to his agency’s training bureau. He is a former team leader and lead instructor for his agency’s SWAT team. Kevin welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his Web site at www.advancedtacticalconcepts.com.
Published in Law and Order, Jan 2010
Rating : 10.0
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