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Red-dot sights and mini-red-dot (MRD) sights are hugely popular — and for good reason. Manufacturing efficiencies have made them relatively inexpensive while still retaining excellent build quality. And there is no easier way to make a firearm fast and accurate than to drop one of these sights on top of it.
Iron sights used to be king for fast and accurate shooting at close distances. The problem with irons is that the shooter needs to have some training on their use to be reliably effective. The process of sight alignment and sight picture is simple to explain yet difficult to execute well.
Think about it, the shooter’s eye has to see the target, then focus on the front sight to put it on target, then focus briefly on the rear sight to check alignment before one last shift to the front sight before squeezing the trigger. It takes a fair amount of practice to get a new or mediocre shooter to stop looking at the target and really focus on that front sight.
Using a red-dot sight is like hitting the Easy Button, and for that reason alone, some folks will hate them. That’s OK. The rest of us can enjoy just how simple they are to use and how easy it is to make huge accuracy gains!
The firing sequence when using a red dot is to look at the target while moving the red dot onto the target and then squeeze the trigger. There is no need to shift the eye’s focus to multiple locations.
Under stress, the red dot has the advantage because those unfamiliar with highly stressful situations will focus solely on the threat and will likely never see their sights. A red dot doesn’t fight this phenomenon because a red-dot sight wants you to always be looking at your target anyway. (It’s similar to using a laser-aiming device.)
Red-dot sights are also a boon to aging eyes. Those with seasoned eyes have difficulty focusing on iron sights due the sight’s close proximity. Bifocals can also cause problems. However, a red-dot sight allows you to shoot accurately at anything you can see clearly. It eliminates the eyeball gymnastics required when using iron sights.
Enter Crimson Trace
The latest red dots to hit the market are from Crimson Trace. Their MRD family consists of the CTS-1200, CTS-1300 and CTS-1400 sights.
MRD sights are in demand, but it can be hard to tell what makes one different from another without seeing the options in person. Unlike magnified optics with lengthy specification charts, there is little quantifiable information to compare when considering various sights. For me, the hands-on assessment provided some valuable insight into these new optics.
An easy way to spot a cheap MRD is by examining the housing that surrounds the viewing window. All Crimson Trace sights have aluminum housings. There is no plastic anywhere in the sight’s exterior, which is a good indicator that the viewing window won’t crush, dislodge or crack the first time you drop the optic.
By Guns & Ammo - February 07, 2019