Red Dot Sights are about as new as they are old. They have been around for decades and first saw use during Vietnam, though I can’t find the source I read about raids on POW camps with special operators using Red Dot Sights. The results were incredible.
They were probably used even earlier for larger weapons; Like the aircraft gun systems that inspired the Eotech HWS units. With great success and rising popularity, the RDS and HWS became the standards. Which is why they are now everywhere.
No doubt, some are better than others, especially the battery life, size, and the weight of the optic but the principles remain consistent. Red Dots and Holographic Sights are easy to zero, easy to acquire, and easy to learn how to use. Especially compared to iron sights; Which can take some practice and are not very forgiving if you are in an unusual shooting position. Iron sights work great in the prone on a bag, or squared up with a target. But the RDS, or Red Dot Sight, and the HWS, or Holographic Weapon Sight are kings of speed shooting for a reason.
The recent proliferation of pistols with red dots has proved this time and time again in competition and in police use.
Should you learn to use iron sights? Of course. Especially if you have military spec iron sights for the correct ammo and barrel length. That is the only justification I will consider. You can make some great short, medium, and long distance shots with a proper iron sight and red dot combination. Obviously, a red dot doesn’t help you much past the intended distance zeroed, like a 25/300 meter zero on an M4 style rifle. But you can practice your holds at certain distances at home without firing a single live round. Simply observing the offset and making a mental picture of where you should hold based on the distance to target is important.
Very important. Because the less you think about where to hold, the faster you can return fire accurately and reliably. Certainly an LPVO, PRISM, Scope, or ACOG are superior for a multitude of reasons. But we all know you have a red dot mounted on something. Somewhere. And probably with a tactical light mounted in tandem too.
I do. My home defense rifle is ready for that exact scenario as well. Home invasion, Hostage, or Street Fighting.
Iron sights also do not “wash out” like a red dot and holographic image do under bright lights or when you are attacked by a tactical light. And neither do ACOGS, LPVO’s, or PRISMs as the reticles wire or etched glass.
Red dots are, most importantly, excellent night fighting optics. It’s probably their greatest strength, but as all things, this is also their great weakness as well.
For example, if you are shooting at a vehicle that is fleeing at night and the driver of the vehicle has his foot on the brake. The red light from the vehicle’s brakes combined with your red dot, which was very likely dimmed for night time use, will wash out the red dot and you are gonna lose your gunsight in the heat of the moment.
This isn’t a good thing to have happen, because you aren’t gonna find it…
Try that in reverse against the headlights? Good luck…
The same thing happens if you get hit with a tactical light. And this is much worse because you get the purple floating dot in your vision from the attack and this is caused by the rods and cones in your eye flipping around. Which can be uncomfortable, sometimes painful, and can(will) cause some confusion and disorientation and considering how close you are to the threat, you are going to have some serious problems VERY FAST.
By “serious problems” I mean you are gonna get shot in the face…
First man to hit the other guy with a tac light wins.
Don’t believe me?
Go to a “Lights out” indoor Airsoft range and you will be absolutely destroyed by junior high and high school kids with no formal combat training.
They will absolutely annihilate you and your “team”.
Why? They know how to use their tac lights and have practiced. And you, simply put, have not.
You’ll notice pretty quick that you are seriously outgunned and can’t seem to hit your target and stay on target. Panic sets in under the tac lights and you will flinch.
So what’s the solution? The front lens cover that came in the package with your RDS.
This allows you to run your weapon without fear of the sight being washed out during a tac light attack; Or any other light pollution.
Don’t believe me? Sit in the dark for 30 minutes, dial your RDS to the low setting, aim for the lamp on the desk across the room, have someone hit the switch for the lamp on the book shelf…
The RDS sight disappears right? Of course it does.
The same thing will happen if you get hit with head lights, a motion sensor light, a tac light, or you are running and gunning in an urban setting with different degrees of lumen. Even some environments are bright, shiny, and wildly brilliant to the naked eye. Too save your battery, assuming you didn’t chose the Aimpoint brand, you can use your front lens cover to keep the battery use to a minimum.
Imagine bubba hitting you with his 100,000,000 candle power spot light? Imagine being surrounded by Chinese soldiers with armored vehicles using spot lights? You are 100% going to need your front lens cover. If you don’t have it, you are useless as a night fighter. It’s that simple.
Now try the same thing with your front lens cover on.
That’s why you have and use your front lens cover. ALWAYS HAVE IT AVAILABLE!
AP HIGHLY suggests you keep the tac lights off of your G-Rifle, or Guerrilla Rifle. You will accidentally turn the light on in the woods. But for that rifle I know you have in your house for home defense that is rocking the super bright tac light. You will lose the RDS during a proper engagement. And this isn’t safe or satisfactory in any way.
Put your damn front lens cover on and shoot with both eyes open. In places with bright sun or a highly bright and reflective background, like the desert or a modern city with lots of glass during high noon, you can, should, and will want to consider putting your optical lens cover on.
Again this will mitigate the need adjust your brightness depending on your terrain, angle of attack, and time of day.
This is also good practice to teach your brain how to collate two images. Which will train your eyes to handle using night vision better. And, thus, in turn, the muscles in your eyes can grow stronger with practice and training. Which helps with using binoculars, spotting scopes, and gun sights for long periods of time.
You do know that the muscles in your eyes get tired right? You gotta work them out.
Thanks for reading,