Getting Used to Your New Red Dot
A red dot optic enhances a shooter’s precision and speed while allowing him to keep both eyes open, giving him a wider field of vision to engage his next target. This is perfect in competition shooting, where only the fastest and most accurate shooters take home the prize.
There is, however, an important caveat. A red dot is not a plug-and-play device. Since these modern optics are so different from traditional iron sights by design, they require their users to make small changes in the way they shoot. While transitioning to red dots on a pistol is not as alien to an iron sights shooter as transitioning to a riflescope, the process still takes some getting used to on the part of the shooter.
Getting the most from your optic requires time and practice to familiarize yourself with its fit and features. For example, logic dictates that it is easier to find a single focal point on a sight rather than aligning a front sight with your rear sight posts. However, transitioning from traditional iron-sights to a red dot can be like switching from stick-shift to an automatic. Both are effective for transportation, but the driving experience is drastically different. If you’re a shooter unfamiliar with your new red dot pistol optic, it will take some time to get used to the head and firearm adjustments needed to land your reticle on target.
Since adjusting your head can ruin your form, most shooters opt to adjust how their weapon is held and train their muscles accordingly. When you find a position comfortable for you, holster your weapon and draw it again to achieve the same position. Repetition of this exercise will train your body to lock itself into this new “red dot stance.” It may also help to use the thumb of your supporting hand to act as a guide. When you aim with your pistol in the firm grip of both your strong and support hands, point the thumb of your support hand at whatever you intend to shoot and align your weapon accordingly.
With a red dot on, the weapon may now need to be held slightly lower to compensate for the sight’s height, which is why a smaller red dot is preferred. An optic like Sightmark’s Mini Shot M Spec M2 Solar would be perfect for any pistol since it doesn't exceed 2 inches in height. As expected of a compact red dot optic, the M Spec Solar series are also very light, with the M2 weighing 3.9 oz, the weight of three AA batteries. Since this mini red dot is so light, it barely affects the weight of your pistol slide, making it perfect for repetitive draw drills.
Once you are familiar with your grip, it’s advisable to zero your pistol red dot, just like you would with a rifle optic. While some may have the steady hands and keen eyes to zero their rifles free-handed, using a brace can ensure precision accuracy with consistency.
The Solar, true to its name, is powered with both a traditional battery and a solar panel. As long as there is any form of ambient light in an area, whether natural or artificial, the M Spec Solar’s secondary power system can turn it into energy. It also provides automatic brightness compensation for its reticle in the form of a variable dot, which grows to 3MOA from its 1MOA low point according to brightness. With 20,000 hours of brightness through its main power source, there should be little reason for the optic’s display to fizzle out even on multiple-day hunts or long range patrols.