Courtesy of Breach Bang Clear

Speed & Precision: Pistol Red Dots vs. Irons

by Paul Gardner; 📷 by inimitable Taylor Lange

Red dot sights on pistols are becoming ever more prevalent with each passing year, as the benefits are huge. I’ve personally been shooting some brand of red dot on a pistol since 2011, when Trent Zimmer, CEO of Unity Tactical, gave me a Glock 19 slide with a prototype cut milled in it that would become the ATOM. I ran an Aimpoint T-1 on it in a Magpul Dynamics Pistol II course with Steve Fisher, and wound up taking top shooter in that class with the setup. I knew then that red dots mounted on handguns would eventually blow up. Over the past few years, they most definitely have, and for good reason.

However, many people are still hesitant about running red dots on their pistols for a variety of reason. Two of the biggest often sound something like this:

“Red dot optics are slower than irons to acquire a sight picture in order to place that first, most critical shot on target.”


“Red dots are slower than iron sights up close, where the majority of gunfights take place with pistols.”

I recently attempted to address these assumptions with some (admittedly unscientific) testing of my own.

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Photo courtesy of Breach Bang Clear

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