Don Edwards

Pistol Red Dot Sights for Self-Defense

Don Edwards
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Duration:   7  mins

Are you thinking about adding a red-dot sight to your defensive handgun? In this wide-ranging discussion, PDN Contributors Deryck Poole and Don Edwards present the basics of pistol red-dot sights, from how much money you can expect to spend, to what the red dot does for your shooting, and much more.


Pistol red-dot sights are becoming more and more popular — both Deryck and Don are seeing many students come to handgun training classes with a red dot on their handgun. Deryck has had a red dot on his defensive pistol for seven to eight months, and Don has had one for about a year.

Don likes the red dot because it doesn’t take anything away from the shooter’s capability, but it does add to it. Among its advantages, Don notes that the red-dot sight is made for the shooter to shoot with both eyes open, as opposed to iron sights. It’s also very easy for the shooter to acquire the red dot, and the process fits in with how he teaches to present the handgun from the holster — flat and level into the line of sight.


Both Deryck and Don stress that no, you won’t automatically be dead after your first defensive encounter if you don’t have a red dot mounted on your gun. There’s a lot more to self-defense than what you add to your handgun. Keeping that in mind, if you do want to get into pistol red-dot sights, you’re looking at a financial investment.

Three red dots are on display here: a Trijicon, an Aimpoint, and a Holosun. You can spend $500 for a high-quality red-dot sight and another $200 or so to get your slide milled to accept the red dot, or for an aftermarket milled slide.

Deryck and Don discuss some options for trying the red dot out without a huge investment and without permanently altering your slide.


They also explain the concept of dot size and the role and types of back-up iron sights. Don and Deryck feel they’ve covered the basics about red-dot sights for defensive pistols, but if you have questions about anything related to this topic, put them in the comments and look for our reply.

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