To put a red dot scope on a handgun used for personal protection and/or concealed carry is growing in popularity. But is it really an improvement? Is there something to be gained, beyond Instagram likes and “cool-kids points”?
In 2015 & 2016 KR Training partnered with the Texas A&M Huffines Institute to jointly fund and conduct an academic study comparing shooter performance using iron sights, green lasers, and slide mounted red dot sights (with and without backup iron sights).
Karl is finishing up publication of the complete study, but he’s been freely talking about the key points from the study. He just wrote up an article summarizing the key points, and it’s well worth a read if you’re considering a red dot.
I was one of the participants in the study. I’m not a red dot shooter, and for sure it was a different beast to shoot with the red dot than irons. I spoke with other participants and they all echoed similar sentiments. One thing that truly surprised many of us was how well we all shot with the laser. I had poo-pooed lasers in the past, but after going through this I feel a laser is going to wind up on my gun one of these days.
Me personally? I don’t see myself getting a red dot any time soon (tho again a laser is a different story). However, don’t just go off my preferences. Give Karl’s study a read, take in the data, and seriously consider his final 5 advice points. And if you don’t like what you read, replicate the study perhaps adjusting for variables you have a contention point with. That’s what science is all about: one study isn’t the final word, merely a starting point.