Reflex sights are becoming increasingly popular additions to handguns. They have been proven accurate in competition and can greatly aid target acquisition and situational awareness in self-defense.
What is a reflex sight?
A reflex sight is simply a zero magnification sight that reflects a reticle on a pain of glass.
Red dot sights are the most common form of reflex sight. The term red dot sight is often used interchangeably with reflex sight, but actually refers to a specific configuration that uses a tube to reflect a red dot reticle. They tend to be brighter, but may offer a smaller field of view than other types of reflex sights.
Why should you add a reflex sight to your handgun?
You should consider adding a reflex sight to your handgun if you want to maximize speed and accuracy.
Properly installed and zeroed, a reflex sight can be extremely accurate. Unlike iron sights, the shooter does not need to change focal points when targeting with a reflex sight. This can improve accuracy and make target acquisition much quicker. This also makes reflex sights great for older eyes.
In addition, reflex sight allow the shooter to keep both eyes open, which improves situational awareness.
Reticle Type – The most common reticle type is a red dot reticle, which is exactly what is sounds like: a single red dot projected onto the target. Other common reticle options include crosshairs and starburst.
Reflex sight reticles can also come in green. Although some shooters prefer green, red is superior for target acquisition because it is easier for the eyes to pick up.
Brightness Settings – The ability to adjust brightness can be an important feature. At times you may want to reduce the brightness to save battery life or reduce reticle bleed, otherwise known as astigmatism. At other times, you my prefer a brighter setting to improve visibility.
Magnification – Most reflex sights are not magnified and we do not recommend magnified sights for use with handguns.
Profile – Unlike a rifle, you will often holster your handgun. It is important that the size and profile of the reflex sight does not impede the function of the gun or your ability to draw quickly. While smaller can be better for reducing snags, small sights may be not be as good for target acquisition. Many reflex sights for pistols are labeled ‘mini’ or ‘micro’ sights.
Weapon Compatibility – As with any accessory, not all reflex sights work with all guns. Make sure the sight you purchase is compatible. In many cases you will need to purchase a mount for your gun separately, so make sure the mount is compatible with both your gun and the sight.
How to Mount A Reflex Sight to your Pistol
There are two options for mounting reflex sights to your pistol. The first option is use a mount (usually sold separately) that attaches to the rear sight slot of your gun. This option is inexpensive and is not permanent, so if this is your first pistol reflex sight, it is a great option.
The second option is to slide mount. This involves cutting your slide to fit the reflex sight. This option is more expensive and will permanently modify your gun.