Can You Add A Red Dot Yourself?

One great DIY for your pistol is adding an RMR style optic. They’re easy to see in all lighting conditions and can improve speed and accuracy. George Smith at Evolution Gun Works (EGW) in Pennsylvania offers mounts for over 25 makes of handguns compatible with Trijicon, Viper/Venom, FastFire and Docter mounting standards. Here, I’ll install a Venom optic mount on a Colt 1911 with Novak rear sight.

First, be sure to unload the pistol and remove all ammo from the work area. After field stripping the pistol, you must remove the rear sight from the slide. A bench vise allows me to hold the slide firmly while I use a soft metal drift to hammer out the rear sight. Use leather pads cut from an old belt between the vise jaws and slide to prevent damage and be careful not to squeeze the slide to point of bending. Yes, this can happen!

For the drift punch always use something softer than the sight material, like brass or aluminum. If the sight has a set screw, remove it first. Some heat may be required if it’s glued in place, but usually slow turning of the proper Allen key works fine.

Tap the factory sight out with the drift and hammer. Start slowly, then increase force until the optic moves. Once it starts moving continue until it clears the slide dovetail. The hard part is over. Since we’ll be installing the EGW part in the existing dovetail, you can always return the pistol to the factory set up so save the sight.