For Self Defense: Red Dot vs Iron Sights

Discussion in 'Optics Talk' started by Alexy, May 16, 2019.

  1. Alexy

    Alexy New Member

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    All,

    In the context of self defense use; what are the pros and cons for using a red dot on a pistol when compared to iron sights? I am considering purchasing a red dot.

    Cost
    Conceal Carry
    Drawing
    Batteries/Battery life
    Speed
    Finding the dot on draw
    Changing Lighting conditions

    Thanks,

    Alex
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
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  2. Pbj ak

    Pbj ak B Supporting Member

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    On a red dot you “look through” the red dot and focus on the target only. With irons you have to switch your focus from rear sight, front sight, and target over and over again. IMO the red dot wins no comparison. Same advantages as on a rifle.
     
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  3. SDIVER2006

    SDIVER2006 SDIVER2006

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    I like plane Jane sites for now it’s what on my carry g19..

    My wife has a Burris ff3 on her bed side glock17

    In the future I’ll prolly get a Trijicon

    When peepers go bad
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
  4. Zbizzle911

    Zbizzle911 Charter Freedom Lover Charter Member Supporting Member

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    With a red dot you’re threat focused. This means the threat is in clear view. With irons your supposed to focus on the fs and the target will be a bit blurry. Hands down for self defense a red dot is the way to go. The hardest thing to do is to get used to finding the dot on presentation. But if you dry fire and follow the instructions of some of the guys who teach Ed’s classes you will be fine. Aaron Cowan from sage Dynamics is a great resource for rds pistol information. He has a white paper about it on his website https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/7dc128_0ce3f826e1264cff964d64079552b640.pdf

    Plus he has several videos on YouTube about the topic.

    #DotLife


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  5. Beef15

    Beef15 B or somesuch

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    Pros: precision, and speed at distance.

    Cons: battery dependent (not a huge deal), durability (you usually have no warning), makes weapon bigger. Some particulars learned in a shoot house: auto adjust from several reports is super slow, manually bright enough for daylight can blow out your dot in a dark space and make precision a joke.

    Inside 7-10 yards there is very little speed difference for me the dot gun will usually have a little better hits. I don't start getting a front sight focus til probably about 15yds unless it's a very small/high risk target. In those situations the dot becomes faster.

    Me for SD, not worth it.
     
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  6. Stick Man

    Stick Man Armed Infidel

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    My answers in red.

     
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  7. Catfish

    Catfish E Pluribus Mendacium Charter Member Supporting Member

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    It depends.

    Cost: more
    Conceal Carry: harder to conceal
    Drawing: no difference
    Batteries/Battery life: depends on what you buy
    Speed: no difference with adequate training. arguably faster follow up shots.
    Finding the dot on draw: No difference with adequate training
    Changing Lighting conditions: depends on what you buy
    Reliability: depends on what you buy. None of them are more rugged than iron sights (ignoring plastic OEM crap of course)

    And the entire concept depends on your eyesight. If you can see a red dot, go for it. People love shooting with them. If you have astigmatism red dots aren't even a thing.
     
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  8. Majicmike

    Majicmike Overweight lover Benefactor

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    I'm not a optic guy, do you always have to turn a red dot on or does it just stay on and cut offs when there is no motion??
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
  9. Stick Man

    Stick Man Armed Infidel

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    The triji's stay on all the time unless you turn them off.

    Sent from my LM-Q710.FG using Tapatalk
     
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  10. Me.

    Me. Active Member

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    It doesn’t matter. You’ll never actually use your gun in self-defense.

    {blah balh blah}



    EDIT: oops... sorry Alexy. I shouldn’t be a grump to someone new, asking a legit question.


    EDIT again... my post was silly and not fitting of this forum. I have edited it out. If you want to read the original, it is quoted below. I apologize.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
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  11. Catfish

    Catfish E Pluribus Mendacium Charter Member Supporting Member

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    Since when has it ever been about statistics?

    I have and I know a handful of forum members here have lived through scenarios where use of a gun was (or would have been) appropriate. What are the odds of that?
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
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  12. Alexy

    Alexy New Member

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    Hi Me.,

    Agreed, ... it is unlikely that I would ever need a weapon for self-defense. But I like to shoot, so why not do something that I like in a way that may someday prove useful? Secondly, I would like to point out that there are a few people in the US that are alive today because someone else bothered to practice for a very unlikely event that in fact did occur.

    Alex
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
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  13. Me.

    Me. Active Member

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    For home, red-dot rules. Just try one out in near darkness, or when you are lighting up a subject with a flashlight. They rule. Period.

    Dot-carry is relatively new to the world of shooting. I'm sure that once it is deployed, the dot will again be superior. But is it worth the extra work...? for me, no.
     
  14. JBoyette

    JBoyette Well-Known Member Vendor

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    Reality is under 25yds no sights work just fine.

    But to your question, RDS is better than irons.
     
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  15. Pink_Vapor

    Pink_Vapor Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    With my old eyes, I can use the RD without vision correction.
    I haven’t tried the uber large orange from dot. They might be fine SD for me. I like my DPP.
     
  16. Variable

    Variable Active Member Life Member

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    RDS or GDS. I prefer green now. I am a changed man. You can shoot multiple targets faster with a dot than you can the irons. Especially when you open the distance up to say about 25 yards. Its easier to see without glasses too!
     
  17. Howland

    Howland Your daily dose of snark

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    I have or have had EDC pieces with stock iron sights, trijicon sights, RMR and Crimson Trace.

    My opinion is Crimson Trace hands down. In the dark, you might not even be able to see iron sights. An RMR requires your eye be in line. So do trijicon sights but they need no batteries and are visible in total darkness. Crimson Trace with grip activation are on demand, batteries last years and as noted above, you can keep both eyes focused on the threat. They can give away your position but so would a first shot. Plus, the intimidation factoroutweighs any negatives. A close #2 are the trijicon sights.

    When I took my CWP course (ten and a half hours of my life I will never get back), our thirty something instructor told us how terrible Crimson Trace sights were because they will fail for sure the first time you really need them.

    Well, I've been carrying daily since he was in diapers. I moved from a state with shall issue within 14 days or there are personal con$equences for the CoP, $10 for five years, and no stupid $75 class, $50 application fee and 90 day wait time if we can be bothered to get around to it. They have since gone to CC.

    He's entitled to his wrong opinions. When he grows up and is a little wiser, he'll come to the realization that his eyes don't focus from near to far and back again as quick as they once did. CT all day long.
     
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  18. Stick Man

    Stick Man Armed Infidel

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    I'll be right back, gonna need some popcorn, lol.

    Sent from my LM-Q710.FG using Tapatalk
     
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  19. Derek8404

    Derek8404 Plank Owner Charter Member Supporting Member

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    Sometimes all you can do is just shake your head and laugh..
     
  20. BatteryOaksBilly

    BatteryOaksBilly A SHOOTER Benefactor Life Member Supporting Member

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    I am still on the fence. I have debriefed shooters that were in gunfights inside 15 yards. For the reasons they gave me, I have held off. I am still going to shoot Stick Man's pistol when he's back this way. I at least want to be familiar with the concept. I have a Ruger .22 pistol with a red dot and nothing instills confidence in new shooters like that gun. For serious work...still not sure yet. Willing to learn.
     
  21. JBoyette

    JBoyette Well-Known Member Vendor

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    To add to my post.

    A RDS is best in all conditions, night, day, whitelight and so on.

    But in close range one can point the gun and gain hits,but its pure luck on quality of shot placement.
     
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  22. dalek

    dalek Member Supporting Member

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    Expected distance to the target?

    Question (serious): if some breaks in your house and you use a pistol with red dot, would the other side claim you were just looking for someone to kill?
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
  23. JBoyette

    JBoyette Well-Known Member Vendor

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    Don't think it matters. I have many a member here on CFF that have shot with me to 550yds with a RDS and no magnifying help.

    Any Marine speaks so highly of that 500yd dog target with irons.
     
  24. B00ger

    B00ger Das B00G Charter Member Supporting Member

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    Yup...using Tulammo to add insult to injury. But that >was< with a rifle.

    As far as the topic: I agree with everyone above that says optics are the way to go.

    However...I have watched numerous self defense shootings and almost without fail they are “Oh Crap I have to shoot now!” affairs and the shooter rarely gets a good grip/sight picture/trigger pull. They are all semi-panic shots from bad breath distance.

    Again, doesn’t make having an optic a bad thing, but unlike LEO we won’t usually know that it’s about time for the shooting to start. So for a carry gun, I don’t see them as >that< big of an advantage

    For a home defense gun where you will possibly have more time to prepare yourself for the conflict, then yeah....but you should be reaching for your AR instead anyway.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  25. Graywolf

    Graywolf Member

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    I have the Trijicon MRO 2.0 The battery life is 5 years if you use it on day setting 3. (It has 8 settings) I turn mine off after firing at the range.
    As far as handguns all I want is my night sights. I personally have never been a fan of Crimson Trace but that's just my own opinion.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
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  26. Metalliman27055

    Metalliman27055 Insert title here: Charter Member Supporting Member

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    I think the most important thing is being able to speak to why the use of deadly force as opposed to why I have modified my defense weapon. A jury of my peers (usually worded “a reasonable person” in statutes) will understand that I am not “looking for someone to kill” inside my own home. However you should be able to make them understand why you would be “in fear for my life, and the lives of my family”.

    This is from a Legal standpoint. NOT CIVIL. If “Dindu Nuffin”’s family decides you were looking for someone to kill inside your Home and he was just there to spread the word of Jesus Christ and invite you to donate monies for his youth trip at 2am. They can SUE you for being the crazy gun guy who sleeps with a assault pistol with a 30 round assault clip with explosive hollow point armor piercing bullets and infrared laser beam scopes that ended their good boy that never did nobody no harms life.

    That’s why I have insurance.

    Lol

    TLDR: Buy insurance for self defense/civil matters. Modified weapons are to “allow me to be safer and more proficient with my weapon in the instance that I needed to use it for a self defense application to ensure there is no possibility of injury to innocent parties” (my words. Not legalese)
     
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  27. JT

    JT Active bullshooter Benefactor Supporting Member

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    I have been an iron sights man all my life. I would occasionally (rarely) use a scope for certain hunting purposes. I have never put an optic of any kind on a pistol. Nowadays, I see the value of red dots (have one on each of my carbines) and scopes (have one on my "long range" rifle), but the most I will do with a pistol is change from plain factory sights to night sights, and low profile ones at that. I like to keep my (close-range, defensive-only) pistol as simple and easy to handle as possible. From where I stand, that's all there is to it. Red dots definitely have their place, but with a pistol -- for me -- that place is not there. I hope this helps.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2019
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  28. RedneckFur

    RedneckFur Smith & Wesson is a religion of peace.

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    On a handgun that will be used for SD, I want iron sights. Focus on the front sight as you pull the gun up, and make sure its between your rear sights and your target. An optic on a carry gun adds bulk, and a delicate electronic device that could be damaged and will require batteries. I like simplicity in something that's going to be spending a lot of time on my belt or in my pocket.

    On my AR's, I typically run a 1X prismatic optic. The crosshairs are visible even when the illumination is turned off or the battery is dead, and all of my rifles equipped with one have backup irons that can be used with the optic still in place if needed.
     
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  29. Variable

    Variable Active Member Life Member

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    This is a non-issue. I think it is silly to think a RDS is somehow intent to kill... You can make up whatever scenario you like but that is all it is made up. You want every advantage you can have in a gun fight, to do less is inane. The question is it better or not than what you have now. What you need to do is test it and see.

    If you are older and cant see your front site without glasses the RDS is excellent. In the not too distance future they will be standard on good pistols. They are a huge improvement on irons. I'm just waiting on the new holosun elite in green and will add it to a pistol. If you shoot carbine a lot RDS are a huge improvement and the military has basically switched to them for that reason.

    V
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2019
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  30. Variable

    Variable Active Member Life Member

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    I don't know of any serious pistol shooter who uses lasers on their handguns and i see a lot of shooters. Their accuracy gets worse at distance - test it and see. Their usefulness is hard to quantify. If you cannot see your target you should not be shooting it. If you can see your target you should aim if you can - that accuracy thing. If it is so close you don't need to aim, you don't need a laser to begin with.

    The intimidation factor is in your head. If you are actively engaged in a deadly encounter they are obviously not intimidated by your gun or you for that matter, so why do you think a laser would intimidate them? I think the laser "sounds" good. I just don't think in real world application it outshines an RDS (see what i did there.) Also, you know people can see the laser beam? How could this be less than optimal in a self defense situation? They cannot see the RDS. I do think the laser is good for training. I like that it shows how much you move, but the RDS does the same thing. I think you have built the laser up to something it is not. If you feel better using it that is fine.

    V
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2019
  31. Zbizzle911

    Zbizzle911 Charter Freedom Lover Charter Member Supporting Member

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    This type of comment really irks me. Just because you've outfit your gun to be best suited for you doesn't mean you are out there riding around looking for someone to kill! It all relates back to intent. If you're legally defending yourself a RDS mounted on a pistol is not going to get you convicted. Why wouldn't you want the best tool for the job?
     
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  32. Friday

    Friday Polite-Knock raid Charter Member Supporting Member

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    Lasers are indeed a viable option.
    We've all seen the military vids of commando's sweeping houses. What do they use? Lasers, flashlights or both. Even though they're focusing through their weapon mounted ACOG as they move, they're prepared for a 20-foot gunfight and the laser is on.

    The laser is the only sight that can be seen using your peripheral vision. It allows you to focus on the face of the guy charging at you from 20 feet away and still be able to assure your weapon is pointed where it should be. And oh yeah...you're gonna be looking at his face. To think you can maintain cool-control with your adrenaline pumping, eyes dilated, take precise aim with irons or dots (especially from the low-ready)..taking your focus off the threat and onto your weapon..place the shot in the vitals while badguy is running and/or shooting at you full blast is optimistic as hell. You'd better have that 20 round extended mag because the first ten are gonna miss.
    But hey, maybe he's not coming at you directly and you're shooting from an advantage.
    Good to go.
    But then again, maybe he is coming at you. Not quite the same then is it?

    If competitive shooters/trainers disregard lasers that is to be taken at your own personal value of determination. This demographic is heavily laden with self-aggrandizing hero's. Little wheat and lots of chaff and if you talk with ten of them they'll have ten different methods and all of them are convinced theirs is the correct one.

    If you think you need a sight that works out to 50 yards in a SD scenario, you need a good lawyer far more than you need good sights.

    And 3, I have no lasers on any of my guns. But the value of a quality laser sight cannot be dismissed.
     
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  33. Howland

    Howland Your daily dose of snark

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    ^^^ This, except I will be watching the hands.
     
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  34. Derek8404

    Derek8404 Plank Owner Charter Member Supporting Member

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  35. Variable

    Variable Active Member Life Member

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    These are called movies. The one thing i have learned over the years as it relates to shooting is everything you see in movies is for entertainment. These are not documentaries.

    V
     
  36. dalek

    dalek Member Supporting Member

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    Shooting the messenger?
     
  37. B00ger

    B00ger Das B00G Charter Member Supporting Member

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    No, debunking a myth.


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  38. GeorgeBush

    GeorgeBush Member

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    Red dot probably wins assuming its one of those low-power ones that can be left on indefinitely. Or one of those that comes on when it detects movement ASSUMING it works reliably.

    Also, and this is just my opinion... I think red dots should use the most commonly available batteries such as AA and AAA. I am personally not a fan of coin cells or camera batteries.
     
  39. Stick Man

    Stick Man Armed Infidel

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    Only problem with the battery deal, is a rmr is too small for AAA/AA, it has to be a small coin size for those.

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  40. Chuckman

    Chuckman Senior Member Sponsor

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    I wish I could find the paper, but NSW put out a position paper on why they went with pistol-mounted RDS. The shooters' accuracy and time-on-target increased (statistically) significantly, and the risk of hitting the wrong target decreased.

    I am not one to jump on the SEALs bandwagon for, well, anything, and like to see the data, and it seems in this case they got it right.
     
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