|D&L Sports™, Inc.|
Long gun optics have proven to dramatically improve shooting performance for decades. Optic developments in more recent years have allowed for miniaturizing sight size and making them rugged enough for handgun applications. Handgun optics allow for improved speed and greatly improved precision for handgun shooters. Many iron sight shooters have difficulty getting good hits with iron sights even at close range. Shooting well from 0 - 200 yards with a handgun is not difficult once the iron sights are replaced by an optic.
Handgun optics eliminate the need for shooters to line up the front and rear iron sights on the handgun, then align that sight package with the target, and hold everything in alignment without disturbance throughout the trigger press. With a dot optic it is simply a matter of holding the zeroed dot on target throughout the trigger press to achieve hits. Once a shooter is well practiced, he can shoot with both eyes open and stay focused down range on the target. The dot will appear superimposed over the target and ready for the trigger press. No more need to shift the eye's focus back and forth between target and sights. This saves time, and allows shooters to stay focused on the target's activity, rather than iron sight alignment. This is a huge benefit for defensive / tactical shooters reacting to aggressive target activity. This is the same advantage an optic sighted carbine has. If a shooter is well trained on an optic sighted carbine, then an optic sighted handgun will allow for commonality in training and operation.
The handgun optic is also a huge benefit to shooters with weaker vision and or older eyes. Many people find that they need reading glasses for good up close vision, i.e. aligning iron sights held close to the shooter's eye. However those same reading glasses do not allow the shooter to see well at distance. The same shooter may have excellent corrected or uncorrected vision at distance, they just don't have sharp uncorrected vision up close. There is no more need to try to brighten or color the iron sights on the handgun to make them easier to see, because with the correct handgun optic, good up close vision is not required. The optic dot appears to be superimposed down range on the target with good color contrast in almost all situations.
What about low light and bright light? The higher end mini handgun optics automatically adjust for existing lighting conditions. That means they brighten the aiming point in brighter light, and dim the aiming point in lower light to stay in the good performance zone.
Optic mounting is a critical issue, especially on a handgun. There are many cheap options for mounting an optic on a handgun. Too often these poorly designed mounts locate the optic too high on the gun to achieve good speed and the best bullet trajectory pattern. Too often poorly designed mounts will not withstand the rigors of thousands of rounds fired through your handgun, they won't hold zero, and end up falling apart. An optic mount and position should be designed with reliability, durability, and practicality as top priorities. This means mounting the optic sight as low on the slide as possible, and between recoil shoulders machined into the slide.
What about battery life? Since the sight stays on all the time, or turns itself on at the slightest movement, the sight is on a lot. Different sight makers make different claims about battery life. Battery type is typically #2032, so they are cheap and commonly available. The D&L suggestion is to change the battery out at the half point of advertised battery life, and doing it without fail. This should keep you well within reliable battery life. And, of course, always have the spare batteries / equipment you may need.
Overall; handgun optics have become a viable option for shooters looking to improve their shooting performance.