View Full Version : Why Not Red-Dot???

Gary H
June 19, 2000, 10:40 AM
I have had a red-dot sight (Hakko) on my Carbon 15 and find it to be an efficient sighting system. My sight is easy to use with both eyes open and makes finding the target under any and all lighting conditions a snap. I think that having both eyes open aids in situational awareness. I've heard the arguement against depending upon electronics. It was this reasoning that kept me with my manual Nikon 35 mm equipment. I have since modernized and improved my photography equipment and have found, like the red-dot scopes, that technology does make certain things better. Anyway, it appears that I can purchase a right side Weaver mount (left side for shell holder)for my 870 and use a Red Dot on my HD 870. Why not?

June 19, 2000, 12:00 PM
The arguments against having dot sights deal primarily with defensive situations. You may have heard these before:

1. Dependence on batteries. Murphy is alive and well -- your battery may die on you at a very inopportune time.

Note that the Trijicon dot sights generally do not suffer from this problem. Tritium elements are used instead of batteries. These have a life of ten years or so -- maybe you could say that the batteries last ten years.

The US Army's new CCO M68 sight (the Aimpoint Comp M-XD) has a battery life of 100-1,000 hours. Not bad.

2. Switching. To use most dot sights, you must power up the unit. If you need to get your weapon into action quickly (i.e., from slung position), turning the unit on will add more time in a critical situation.

Again, the Trijicon tritium sights do not have this problem. They're always on. The M68 sight requires that you rotate a small knob to power up the sight.

3. Durability. Generally speaking, electronic sights are more vulnerable to moisture, particles and impact.

Again, most Trijicon (especially the ACOG) dot sights are heavily armored and sealed against moisture and particles. The M68 sight is also very shock-resistant and is also submersible. Other dot sights may not fare as well under adverse conditions.

Damage to the lens of any dot sight (including those mentioned above) will damage the sight. Glass is still glass when it comes down to it. The M68 sight, by the way, comes with two rubber flip-up covers for both ends of the M68 sight.

4. Camouflage. The glint of light off the objective lens of your dot sight may alert your target to your presence. Aimpoint manufactures a kill-flash for the M68 sight which supposedly alleviates this problem.

5. Cost. There are some economical dot sights out there, but the serious ones can run you a good bit of cash.

The aforementioned ACOG can cost you over $700-800. The M68 sight is a bit more reasonable, running around $300-400. There is a version of the M68 without night-vision capability that will run you $250-350.

In addition, you may have to buy a special mount for your dot sight. Typical mounting options from Aimpoint for the M68 sight can run you $80-100 for the flattop model and $125-175 for the "scout" carry handle mount.

Note that this analysis has ignored all the benefits of dot sights and has focused exclusively on the liabilities.

For non-LE or military, dot sights on long arms can make sense. Most likely, your situation will demand the use of a long arm in stationary defense -- aiming your rifle or shotgun at the door of your safe room doesn't implicate many of the concerns above (except for the batteries, make sure they're fresh!). However, in the instance of a Hurricane Andrew (?) where you may have to "patrol" (i.e., your mission is no longer stationary defense), a dot sight may not be such a good idea, for the reasons stated above.

Backup iron sights are always a good idea if you depend primarily upon the dot. No idea if anyone makes backup iron sights for shotguns -- check out the offerings from GG&G for rifles.

By the way, for competition, there's no problem with dot sights, as long as you don't mind shooting in Open class.


Justin T. Huang, Esq.
late of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania

Dave McC
June 20, 2000, 07:06 AM
Justin covered most of the stuff, my $.02...

You COULD top off a shotgun with a red dot sight, the question is, why? The shotgun will still be an short range power tool. Even with a scope and slugs, few shooters can hit anything smaller than an APC at 75 yards or greater UNDER COMBAT CONDITIONS.

Combat shotguns get aimed more than pointed, versus sporting shotguns. A good set of sights that work for you like a peep setup or just rifle sights will give you the precision you need w/o a 3 digit price tag.Spend the money on ammo, range time, or taking your SO to dinner....

Gary H
June 20, 2000, 09:13 AM
The ability to keep both eyes open.
They are very easy to use. Not a replacement for practice.

June 20, 2000, 10:55 AM
i have been debating adding a rail to the top of my Nova, so i can mount my aimpoint comp m.

i would like to try a both eyes open red dot on chuckers


Dave McC
June 21, 2000, 04:45 AM
Good post, Erick. I quit IPSC shooting in the mid 70s, when I saw a gun I wouldn't carry on the street win. The red dot sights may be great for certain sports, but not too good for WIHTF.

The KISS Principle should be committed to memory by every shotist...

June 21, 2000, 11:06 AM
Dave McC,

IPSC was founded at the International Pistol Conference held in Columbia, Missouri, in May 1976. Did you quit IPSC right when it was started? What kind of non-carry guns were you seeing in the mid 1970's? Pin guns and compensators weren't around until about 1980. No flame, but is the date correct?

June 21, 2000, 11:58 AM
Oops! Double tap.

[This message has been edited by TaxPhd (edited June 21, 2000).]

June 22, 2000, 03:31 AM
The new Benelli M4 Super 90, now being delivered to the US Armed Forces is designed for use with the Trijicon ACOG Reflex systm of sights. It is pictured that way in Benelli literature. I don't have one on my M1, but if the money is not a hurdle, it couldn't hurt, and looks pretty cool. If you are faster on target, then it has value.

Dave McC
June 22, 2000, 05:49 AM
TaxDoc, it may have been later, but not by much. There were some informal matches in Md and Va around 1975, mostly the competitors were LEOs who paid attention to Col Cooper's writings.This was very early in IPSC.I think I had quit by 1977, tho memory dims with age.

The very first match I went to was won by a Trooper with a stock Commander shooting hardball.Another Trooper I knew had glued a pencil eraser in the trigger guard of his Model 19 and cut it exactly to where it served as an overtravel stop.

The one I got disgusted at was won with a GM set up for Camp Perry with an extended front sight, small metal pieces on the sides of the slide that added so much weight that the thing seemed to cycle in slomo, and it used some anemic target load.

As I recall, the only mods done to my Series 70 were bigger fixed sights,Herret grips and a trigger shoe with an overtravel screw.