Rob Pincus

Red-Dot Sights on Pistols

Rob Pincus
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Duration:   7  mins

As of early 2021, Rob Pincus has officially changed his opinion on red-dot sights on pistols for those just getting started in defensive firearms skill development.


For many years, instructor Rob Pincus believed that red-dot sights on pistols were not a good option, especially for students in handgun training, new concealed carry permit holders, and other beginner-level defensive shooters, stressing that he didn’t like them in general for several reasons.

His objections to red-dot sights on pistols were numerous and had existed for decades. Here, Rob explains when he used to consider cons to red-dot sights and how his thoughts have changed.


Up until a few years ago, a red-dot sight would double (or more than double) the cost of a defensive pistol. These days, the price points have dropped significantly.


Many red-dot sights were not able to withstand the pistol’s recoil or were not reliable when being carried around all day. They could also be unreliable when used during a full day of training, especially force-on-force training. Today’s red-dot sights are tougher and more durable.


Open-emitter red-dot sights were and are cheaper than the enclosed-emitter type, but also had more failure points, which include being much easier for dust, dirt, water, and other debris to get caught inside the open-emitter. This could cause the red dot to be blocked or refracted. With enclosed-emitter red-dot sights, it’s very easy to just wipe off the front or back of the sight to clear it. This type of sight is now in the $400-500 price range.


There is a learning curve when using red-dot sights if a shooter has been using unsighted fire or traditional iron sights. Some instructors, including PDN’s Don Edwards, have been working for years on developing quick and efficient ways to teach people how to use red-dot sights.

While he still may not think red-dot sights are necessary on defensive pistols, Rob is no longer opposing them as one of a shooter’s self-defense tools and accessories on a first pistol. If you use or are considering an RDS, be sure to get a high-quality sight at a fair price and train with it appropriately.

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