Red Dot On A Handgun: Range Report

I had a chance to test out a buddy’s Masada with a red dot optic mounted on it back in September (Link). The red dot was not properly set up and we were out in a field shooting a steel gong. That was fine to collect some initial observations and determine that I wanted to look further into this type of configuration and test it out a bit more thoroughly.

Instead of the Masada I used my standard bedside gun, the Glock 19. Instead of spending a couple hundred dollars on a slide machined to mount a red dot or $500-600 on a G19 MOS that comes with a slide machined for a red dot from the factory I used some Christmas money and found a slightly cheaper option.

I already had a spare Glock 19 in the safe and to mount the sight I bought the TRUGLO Red-Dot Sight Mount. This mount presses into the rear sight dovetail and replaces the rear sight. Since this will be for testing purposes only I am OK running without a backup iron sight option. If needs change I still have the rear sight and can replace the optic mount in a matter of minutes. I topped it with the same Vortex Venom that was mounted on the IWI Masada I played with. This is probably not the optic I would run with if this was to be my self-defense weapon but for testing it is fine.

Glock 19 with TRUGLO Sight Mount and Vortex Venom

Finding the dot…

I don’t recall having any issue “finding the dot” on the Masada. It could be that I did and don’t recall. It could be that I was unused to the platform and so didn’t have any habits to unlearn. It could be that the sights helped me locate the dot more quickly on the Masada. It could also be that the optic sits much higher due to the different mounting system. Or, it could be a combination of all the above. The bottom line is that it can be pretty tough to locate that pesky little dot. This is something that can be trained for though.

Range Time

I spent a few rounds getting the optic zeroed but it was actually pretty quick and easy. Once it was zeroed I shot another couple of dozen rounds getting used to it and trying it at different distances. Then came the two real tests I wanted to perform:

1. Shooting a dot drill at fairly close range (7-10 yards).

I didn’t have my timer with me but based on gut feel (we know how accurate that is) I didn’t notice any significant difference in either speed or accuracy. With that said, although I am no speed demon I am faster than most folks on this type of drill. So, being on par out of the box (so to speak) is definitely not a negative thing. I think for a new shooter they would reach my level of competence much more quickly using a red dot optic.

Next time out I would like to try the same drill at a longer distance.

2. Shooting a six inch target at 35 yards.

Now this was where the red dot came into its own.

Six Inch Target At 35 Yards

With iron sights I can hit torso of a B-27 target pretty reliably at this distance with iron sights. I call my performance at this distance minute of bad guy. That’s better than most people but no Jack Wilson.

Now switch to the the optic and the game changes. I was able to put all five shots within the six inch target (mostly) on my first try. Not only was I able to dramatically improve my accuracy at this distance but was able to do so in significantly less time than it would have taken with iron sights. I will be very curious to stretch this out a bit and see how far I can make shots like this. Could I hit a man sized target at 100 yards? Maybe.

This was just a quick range session to test out the equipment. I can’t wait to get a little more trigger time with this setup and put a timer on things.

Take care and God bless.

3 thoughts on “Red Dot On A Handgun: Range Report

  1. An observation from one who once got caught out.

    Electronics, rather like optics, cannot answer, “What do you do when the shiny toys die?.”

    To drop ‘the toys on top’ and swap to iron in a firefight is usually impossible without tools or QR fittings.

    That could leave you point shooting at best with both hand iron and long guns.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey thanks for the response.

      While I removed the rear sight from this particular pistol I would not do so on one I was depending on for defending my life or the lives of my loved ones. This is for testing and training only. I would probably go with a red dot that is a little more tested and proven than the Vortex if this were a self defense tool rather than a range toy. If I “go into production” with a red dot, especially on a pistol, it will have iron sights of the appropriate height.

      With that said, the reason I am testing this configuration is due to my deteriorating eyesight. I can see the target or I can see the sights. Increasingly, I can only see one or the other of the sights. A red dot addresses that issue. At some point having irons as backup probably won’t matter because they won’t help any more than point shooting would! With rifles, due to the longer sight radius, I am just about there already so I have a strong dependence on optics for long guns (electronic or not).

      Again, I appreciate the feedback.

      Take are and God bless.

      Liked by 1 person

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