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My department offers a red dot training/certification class. In academy, we were issued brand new Gen5 Glock 17 MOS's as our duty pistols, which are able to host a red dot, but because of training time limitations and such (this was early-/mid-2020, right at the start of all the COVID nonsense, our class schedule was beyond messed up), we never got to take that red dot course and were left to try to take it on our own later on. With a few lucky exceptions, everyone who actually wanted to take the class has had to wait due to limitations of staffing and because we're the low ones on the totem pole and folks with seniority generally get first pick on training slots and such. I wanted to take the class, not because I WANT a red dot for sure, but more so to see if I actually like the darned things or not.

I've tried them here and there on my own with folks who've loaned me theirs during some range time and such, but simply finding the reticle is, in and of itself, a huge hurdle to overcome from the get-go. Totally have to retrain one's muscle memory on how to adjust your presentation when bringing the gun up to eye level and such, and I've been using nothing but irons on handguns since ... well ... a pretty friggin' long time. Not saying I'm unwilling or unable to learn, but again, that's a HUGE adjustment for me, right there.

Secondly, I hate things that take batteries. With flashlights, no joke, I carry no less than THREE of them with me on-duty: one big one, one medium, and one lil' guy on my shoulder. (I did have two medium ones, but deleted one recently because it seemed a bit excessive and I wanted to free up some duty belt space.) But I can't very well carry around a spare red dot and just slap it on in an emergency. Sure, I can also add suppressor-height sights that will theoretically co-witness with the red dot, but that's added expense on top of an already expensive red dot (we're already limited to specific brands/models approved for on-duty use, and they're all stupid expensive, like $400+ each). And then you have to buy another holster that fits the whole thing (red dot AND light), which is MORE expense. AND it adds another doohickey device to the holster that you have to train to use (the "hood" part that goes over the red dot). More and more and more retraining and expense.

I get it, for distance shooting (like, beyond 25 yards), they're supposedly quite nice. And supposedly, they're good for old eyes, which I would think I'd gladly appreciate, because my eyesight frankly SUCKS anymore. But it's kind of a point of diminishing returns thing with me still. The cost and retraining issues are big factors, and the benefit doesn't seem to be particularly huge. I work nights. Any engagements I'm bound to have are going to be limited to what I can clearly see by flashlight, and even with the Streamlight TLR-1 HL my duty gun wears, that only goes so far. And even then, with my old eyes, that also only goes so far. Can I shoot out to 15 yards with it? Sure, because I had to do so to pass the night qualification in academy, and I'm confident I could easily do so again. But 15's as far as they make it go for night qual's, and the standard annual qual only goes to 25, and that's only during daylight (or on a fully-lit range). Nowhere in real life are you going to have daylight-level lighting on the street at 2AM, and even in daylight, making a 25-yard shot on a moving subject (especially one that's possibly shooting back) with a pistol is EXTREMELY rare; doing so at night, it's simply unheard of. At night, the only cops potentially shooting at distance are using long guns, usually AR's with stupid-expensive optics (or a handful of folks with Remington 870's and segmented slugs, usually on high-risk stops or barricade scenes), because you don't shoot what you can't see and shooting at shadows is beyond stupid.

Were I to transfer to a day or swing shift, my opinion wouldn't change. I can shoot what I need to accurately enough to be practical. Would a red dot turn me from average or slightly above-average to Jerry Miculek or Bob Munden? I'm not convinced it would. Maybe, MAYBE a slight improvement, but not likely enough to truly justify it as a "need to have" accessory. Doesn't mean I don't still wanna take that class, though - I mean, c'mon, 1,000+ free rounds, more free range time, and lots of dynamic target shooting scenarios? DUH! And more importantly, getting proper training to make an educated choice on whether I really want a red dot on my duty gun or not, yes.

As far as off-duty ... absolutely not. Both my Springfield Hellcat and Pro pistols are red-dot-ready, and I have ZERO plans to add one. With off-duty, I adhere strictly to K.I.S.S. No weapon-mounted flashlights, no optics, no crazy whizbang doohickey gadgets. Just a good, easy-to-pick-up set of iron sights, a comfortable and tacky grip (usually rubberized Talon Grips), a factory magazine in the gun, and the same size or bigger mag as a backup. Priorities off-duty are different than on-duty. The mission is much simpler: stop the threat and/or get the hell outta there, depending on the circumstance. Nothing about affecting an arrest, calling in support, probable cause, search warrants, whether or not a victim desires prosecution, if the bad guy runs around a corner out of sight, etc. etc. etc. ... just basic defense, pure and simple. Inside of 15 yards, I'm golden with iron sights and, if necessary, a handheld flashlight in my off-hand. But if I'm stretching it out, making shots at or beyond 25 yards with a handgun in that context, particularly at night ... ehhhhh ... gonna be kinda hard to justify that legally as "defense", much less justify a need for a red dot and/or a weapon-mounted light in such a case. (I do, however, carry a mid-sized flashlight off-duty, always, always, ALWAYS.) I know, I know, there's the "you're in a mall and there's a mass shooter..." argument that comes up, but that's a whole other can of worms, and even then, not enough to reasonably justify a red dot for CCW (for me), and certainly not a pistol light.

Anyway. Just my long-winded $0.02 on the matter, FWIW.
 
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