When we teach marksmanship with rifles, we always stress focusing on the front sight and placing one’s cheek in exactly the same place on the stock each time we shoot. It’s not that we don’t use the rear sight, we do, but our focus is always on the front sight with our cheek in exactly the same place on the stock. If we focus on the front sight from exactly the same cheek position that we taught ourselves to use when aligning the front and rear sights, the rear sight becomes a reference point more than something we consciously look at when shooting, at least at short distances from 25 to 100 yards.
People who are good at point shooting with a pistol use a similar focus on the front sight that Massad Ayoob — a well-known and highly respected police marksmanship instructor introduced in his excellent book “StressFire” — calls “point index shooting.” When I taught the state-mandated concealed carry course in Texas, I introduced my students to point index shooting, but simply called it index shooting because I didn’t want my students to confuse the principle with the many different ideas about point shooting.
However, what if there were a sighting system that took point index shooting to the next level and only used a 1X, 20 to 30 mm window with a single two MOA red, or green, circular dot that the shooter placed on the target and fired.
Our military asked the same question, and a company called EOTech produced the one the military now uses. There are now quite a few companies that manufacture what has become generally known as Red Dot Sights.
These sights are of varying quality depending on price, but if you are willing to put down $130 to $600 for one, you can get a very accurate sight that has elevation and windage adjustments that requires both eyes to stay open for peripheral vision, that will place your shot accurately out to 100 yards. You can also get a telescopic optic that fits in front of the Red Dot sight for shots at greater distances.
Unlike front and rear sights that you are familiar with, eye relief is not an issue, and the angle you are looking through the sight is not an issue. If you can see the red or green dot, just place it on the target and shoot. You will hit the target.
The original Red Dot Sights were designed for the AR-15 and military M-16 rifles to be fast on target sights. They are now also used by coyote hunters and pest control shooters as well as target shooters.
I really like Red Dot Sights, but don’t want to pay much over $200 to put one on my new AR-15. That means that the original EOTech sight is way over my budget. I just want a really good Red Dot sight with a 2-MOA dot, that fits in my budget of $ 200 or a little less.
So what can one get for $200 when shopping for a Red Dot Sight? A pretty darn good sight with a excellent lifetime warranty if one really looks at what is available and takes advantage of sales that pop up on Amazon, Midway, and other internet sales companies. Some features you should look for are: 2-MOA red or green dot, unlimited eye relief, 8 daytime illumination settings, elevation adjustment of -/+ 40 MOA, windage adjustment of -/+ 40 MOA, water proof to 1meter immersion, and fog proof, 1913 Picatinny low mount and 1.41 riser mount, and motion-activated illumination of sight.
One of the best warranty’s on a red dot sight for budget minded buyers comes with a 4-MOA Red Dot Sight if you don’t insist on a smaller 2-MOA dot. Others can be powered by a single CR 2032 battery or a single AAA if you would like to use batteries that are inexpensive and readily available.
My suggestion is to start by looking up EOTech on the internet and viewing the features or specs sheets of the EOTechs so you know what is offered. Then look up the less expensive sights by Sig Saur, leupold, Vortex, True Glow, Aimpoint, Bushnell, Holosun, Sightmark and others to compare features or spec sheets to determine what is most important to you. I think you will be surprised at the quality of many of the less expensive models between $130 and $20.
I think I have my selection down to three, but every now and then there is some kind of special deal on a Red Dot Sight that I have to learn more about. I’m hoping to make a decision in the next few weeks, which could stretch into April, but hopefully not next Christmas.
I need to thank Don Cluff, the manager of the Pocatello Sportsmen’s Warehouse, and the guys at the gun counter for letting me take a picture of two of their Red Dot Sights. They have always been very accommodating when I have asked to take pictures of items I don’t own myself.
Smokey Merkley was raised in Idaho and has been hunting since he was 10 years old. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.