It seems that the trend of optics on firearms has exploded in the last few months, includinghandguns, and it is an interesting trend that bears some consideration on your next gun. I wanted to list the types and their uses to help save you some heartache and money when seeing if these options are suitable for you.
These are the tried-and-true dating back to the first muskets and black powder rifles of old. Depending on the make and model, they are usually affixed to the firearm and can be fixed sight (non-adjustable) or adjustable. This configuration tends to be the standard with most pistols, as carrying an optic makes it more cumbersome for concealed carry. They offer unlimited battery life, and typically once set, are as reliable as the shooter but tend to be fixed in their ability to adjust for different ammunition and shooters.
Battery Powered Holographic/Dot sights:
What was once a field dominated by rifles, the War on Terror saw a massive increase in optics use forces abroad and thus trickled down to civilians. Red-dot sights, usually with a 2-4 MOA dot, enable faster target acquisition once zeroed but not typically precise enough for target shooting. These are a good option for handguns once they are zeroed. It is literally put
the dot on target and shoot. Holographic sights tend to be a bit bulkier and tend to remain on shotguns and rifles. Still, many have an outer ring that offers a quick reference MOA (such as shoulder width of a man-sized silhouette at a certain distance) and a dot in the middle for more precise shooting. Both options are battery-powered, and unless you leave it on constantly or develop the muscle memory to be able to draw it and turn the device on (if a handgun). Additionally, from a preparedness standpoint, that battery trail is challenging, especially if it is one of the non-rechargeable variants.
Currently, there are few of these on the market, and they tend to be the more costly option. They work off solar during high light and have tritium in the middle of the sight to retain that “glow” during night operations. Along with the sight itself, which can be magnified, some have makeshift iron sights on top (rifle models) for use during close quarters. They are pretty accurate from my testing but not the best for long-range or short-range. At my last looking, they were over $1,000, which sounds pretty steep for most of us, but as I said in some of my other blog posts….quality is worth paying for if it can save your life.
Also be sure to check out JM4 Tactical for your holster needs!
Author: Ian Bolser