There was a time when pistol red dots were either a symbol of affluence or an indicator that a firearm belonged to a high-level competitor. Today that is simply not the case. Heck, USPSA even created the “carry-optics division” to accommodate their growing popularity and the changing eyesight of those who have been competing for decades. Let’s face it, today those “kids” in the early ’90s can’t make it to the match without stopping for a bathroom break – some even need directions again too. Yes, we’re indeed all getting old, and unfortunately, it is close-range eyesight that goes first. Luckily technology and manufacturing have provided that digital crutch for far less than we used to pay in the days of big hair and smoking anywhere we god-damn pleased.
Now, while optics engineers got right on board, it is taking the handgun folks a bit longer to standardize “optics ready” pistols. Sure, you can send your slide out to be cut but not only is it expensive, but it lays up your pistol for a while too. Installing a red dot optic doesn’t have to involve the costly and time-consuming process of milling a slide. Companies like TRUGLO offer simpler mounting options like their dovetail Pistol Red Dot Sight Mount and this makes the jump to carry optics far simpler. I decided to pick one up and install it on the new Glock 44 that I had sitting on my desk to see how the process as well as how the end product faired on a comprehensive range day.
Installation involved little more than knocking the rear sight off of the slide. After ensuring the gun was empty I pulled the slide off and tapped off the rear sight with the punch and Armorer’s tool from my Real Avid kit. If you have a sight pusher that would be the more “professional” way to do it, but my system worked just fine. Completing the install was as simple as sliding the dovetail mount in its place and securing it with some thread locker and three set screws. The version I selected fits all Docter Sights, The Vortex Razor, and The TRUGLO Tru Tec Micro. With the interest of keeping to the same brand, I decided to go with the TRUGLO sight just to see how it held up. Mounting the sight to the plate was as simple as removing the picatinny rail mount and locking the sight down directly onto the freshly installed dovetail plate. Here I also opted for a drop of semi-permanent thread locker to be sure it kept still.
My TRUGLO Tru Tec was the green dot model and offered a 3 MOA dot which my eye grabs pretty easily and doesn’t cover small targets at extended ranges (like those bastard falling plates). I wasn’t a fan of having to remove it to change the battery, but the four-post mounting system put it right back to zero in my testing. Now is also the best time to mention that the sight shuts off after four hours of inactivity, so battery swaps aren’t going to happen too often anyway.
My range testing consisted of 300 rounds spent transitioning across several steel targets as well as the firing of five five-round groups at 15 yards. During initial handling, I found that my presentation needed to be changed a bit to accommodate the higher sight picture. After a few hours it settled right back in and I was able to get out of the holster and put a round on steel in as little as 1.06 seconds. Split times on double taps were as low as .13 seconds and it didn’t take much longer than that to transition from steel to steel. These are the inherent benefits of putting a red dot on a gun and it was cool to go from the workbench to the range in less than an hour. Accuracy took a bump up as well, more honestly my ability to build a better sight picture did. My testing with the CCI Pistol Match .22LR yielded an aggregate of 2.28” with my best group measuring just 1.39”. Function was clean throughout the entire day as the light weight of the entire package didn’t impede feeding or ejection. This is a considerable mention as .22s don’t have the blowback strength of your typical centerfire pistol.
If you find yourself struggling to pull a front sight into focus, or are just looking to run a mid-speed low drag setup consider grabbing a combo like the TRUGLO pistol mount and a red dot. The best part about the whole deal is that it doesn’t require permanent modification to your gun, so if it turns out that it’s not for you it comes off just as fast as it went on. For more information visit www.truglo.com