29 May 13
More on pistol optics, from several colleagues in a position to know:
Going back ten years, first-generation MRDSs (micro red-dot sights) were small enough to mount on pistols, but were not sufficiently rugged for serious purposes. Some Operators have even mounted Aimpoint’s T1s on pistols, but the T1 is really too bulky and heavy for that purpose, albeit plenty rugged, and wonderful on rifles!
Trijicon’s RMR is the only MRDS that, at least currently, is holding-up adequately to recoil and other aspects of a severe environment.
A liability common to all “open emitter” MRDSs (RMR, DR, JPoint, FastFire, Insight, DeltaPoint, et al) is that dirt, debris, soot, and mud that gets in front of the emitter will block the LED that projects the dot onto the screen. At present, there is not much that can be done to address that issue, so cleanliness must be emphasized to all who choose to go that route. The Aimpoint T1 doesn’t have that problem, because it is an enclosed system.
Another colleague reminded me, “Do not install, along with your MRDS, co-witnessed BUIS (back-up iron sights) with tritium dots, as they are a huge distraction!”
Most argue that the best position for the MRDS is all the way to the rear, with the BUIS rear sight directly in front. This can get expensive, as it requires much precise machining, but the result is that nearly all options are preserved. As I mentioned in the last Quip, sight radius is thus shortened, but BUIS are still eminently useable.
In asymmetric/awkward shooting positions many find the red dot annoyingly occluded by the rear BUIS sight when it is mounted to the rear of the MRDS.
Another issue: MRDS technology is evolving rapidly, and footprints of future units will likely be markedly different from that of current offerings. So, when “melted” into the slide, the MRDS will likely not be readily “updateable” to new units when they become available. Thus, milling your slide to fit a particular MRDS will be a one-way/irreversible event. When, in the future, you decide to update to a newer MRDS version, you’ll probably need to buy a new slide (as well as a new MRDS).
Best way to go currently is ROBAR’s Unity Tactical “ATOM” Mount. It offers the greatest flexibility in the long run . You can still get your MRDS low on the slide, but because the ATOM uses a universal floor-plate, it allows you to switch/upgrade MRDSs without having to buy a new slide.
The ATOM is so new, it is not yet in ROBAR’s Web Page yet, but you can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 623 581 2648.
Installation of MRDSs is possible on most Glocks, M&Ps, 1911’s, and SIGs (with solid slides; SIG’s old, two-piece slide is not adaptable)
Other pistols are less adaptable, and some are not adaptable at all. For example, SA/XD slides require a special adapter, because of their narrowness. H&K pistols don’t work at all, due to the location of internal components within their slides. Walther pistols share the same problem.
With the foregoing, recommended installation, special holsters, or holster modifications, are usually not necessary.
There are many fine gunsmiths who can correctly do this installation, but ROBAR is at the top of the list!
I’ve personally resisted going with an MRDS on my carry pistol, and there are still significant concerns, mentioned above. But, I may have to give it an honest trial, as many believe it will be widely-accepted, indeed universal, before long!