A Close Look At: Optics
Want More Accuracy? Go For Red-Dots (And Training)!
The most important element of accurate handgun shooting is a proper trigger press. There’s really no way to learn it, other than repetition, repetition, repetition … a thousand times over. Technology doesn’t replace training, but it can indeed improve performance. Nothing encourages new shooters more than actually hitting the target, and red-dot sights enhance hitting ability tremendously. I’ve seen average shooters turn into shooting machines who hardly miss, just by changing to a red-dot sight.
We’ve come a long way from those early days when red-dot sights were bulky, heavy, fragile and expensive to mount on a pistol. Today’s sights are light, built tough and durable. The dot intensity adjusts for ambient light levels and batteries last from months to years. A true handgunner should be competent with iron sights; but in terms of fast, accurate shooting, red-dots are a good way to go.
C-More has been making red-dot sights for a long time — ever since they first figured out a red-dot sight doesn’t really need to be enclosed in a tube. The RTS2 is housed in high-grade aluminum alloy. For maximum light transmission, it uses a hard-coated glass beam splitter. Windage and elevation adjustments are 1-MOA and can be locked after adjustment. It’s available in either 3- or 6-MOA, adjustable to 10 intensity levels and the battery shuts off automatically after eight hours. It comes with a rail mount for Picatinny-style rails, or if preferred, the rail mount can be removed and the sight body mounted on other base styles.
The Vortex Razor is a top-quality red-dot sight. A polished glass sight window provides a bright, crisp image. Dot sizes are available in 3- or 6-MOA. There’s also a wide adjustment range (170-MOA elevation, 114-MOA windage) with locking adjustments. The Razor comes with a Picatinny-style sight base attached. If you want, the base can be removed and the sight body can attach to other base styles. Two “arrows” beneath the sight window serve as on/off switches and to set the intensity of the red-dot. The sight automatically shuts down after six hours. A slide-out battery tray makes for convenient battery changes, without removing the sight or losing your sight setting.
This Innovative Technologies Borescope uses a tiny optical lens, along with a light and cable, to show an image of a barrel’s interior on-screen. Handgun barrels are generally easier to examine with the naked eye compared to rifle barrels, since they’re shorter and have a larger diameter. It’s nice to be able to examine a bore for flaws, or for lead- and copper-fouling. Considering its moderate price (around $300), this borescope is a worthwhile investment for handgunners who can’t shoot enough.
Meopta offers several red-dot sight models, the one shown here is the M-RAD 5-MOA, with the quick-detach base to fit MIL-STD 1913 rails. Here, it’s attached to the sight rail of my Volquartsen/Ruger. The sight body can be removed from the mount if you want to use other base options. The red-dot has five intensity levels in day mode and another five in night mode. The battery automatically shuts off after three hours, and there’s a low battery life indicator. Intended for hard-use and very well made, the Meopta M-RAD carries a lifetime transferable warranty.
Burris has two models for their FastFire red-dot sight. The FastFire II has a 4-MOA dot and automatic brightness sensor. I’ve had one on a Glock 22 for years. The FastFire III — shown here on my old Hi-Standard Victor — is available with either a 3- or 8-MOA dot and has three manual brightness settings and an automatic one. Bases are available for most popular service pistols, as well as Weaver/Picatinny-style bases — there’s also a Picatinny protector mount to shield the sight from impacts. On both, the battery can be changed without removing the sight or affecting sight settings. The FastFire sights are moderately priced and an excellent value.
The Leupold DeltaPoint 2 is a tough, lightweight and bright sight. The sight body is magnesium for both lightweight and strength. Glass lens element is hard-coated for scratch resistance and a bright field of view. Battery life has improved significantly (by 59%) over the original DeltaPoint, and batteries can be changed without losing sight picture or removing the sight. The sight is offered with dot size of either 3½- or 7½-MOA and brightness can be adjusted manually. The DeltaPoint 2 also has Motion Sensor Technology, which detects motion to illuminate the dot and automatically adjust brightness for ambient light conditions. The sight has a base for Weaver/Picatinny-style slot bases. Leupold can provide mounting base plates for most popular pistols.
By Dave Anderson