Right off, I will tell you that for many years I did not favor red dot sights as a primary go-to system on a handgun. I was involved in police training and never allowed my officers to rely on these small red bouncing dots of light. I trained them to use them as secondary tools.
Why? Because, there have been many lives threatened due to laser failure.
But today, pistol reflex red dots are a reality and high quality laser sights are readily available.
Or, you can say.
Red dots are “dead dots” when they work. Navy Seals, Special Operation Mother Army, and countless other professionals own and use these deadly effective devices.
Remember this please: train like you fight and fight like you train. Going home is the most important element in street war. Yes, red dots and Holographic Sights are about street war and not much of anything else.
Burris Fastfire II
Sig Sauer Romeo 1
1 CR2032 Lithium
Vortex Venom Red Dot Sight
1 Lithium Metal
Leupold Delta Point Pro
1 Lithium Metal
Crimson Trace LG-919
1 Lithium Metal
Crimson Trace CMR-206 Rail Master Laser
1 Lithium Meta
Often, the single point of red light (laser) and the holographic sights are used together.
So, this provides the basis for my discussion of these unique systems.
1. Burris Fastfire II
Burris makes a series of Fastfire red dot pistol reflex sights (HUD). These sights are simple to use.
The Burris Fastfire II sight attaches to the handgun slide. Then, you simply zero the sight for elevation and windage, put the displayed red dot on the target and turn loose of the rounds.
Using this sight feels like a video game on a little glass screen. Even people that can't shoot will hit with this system at least some of the time.
This sight uses 4 MOA red dots with no extras to get in the way of sighting. Because rear sight mounts all differ greatly, Burris offers up to 20 different mounts to fit this pistol reflex sight.
You will lose the ability to use the iron sights as a backup with this sight mounted at the handgun's rear sight. The sight is set up as standard with the Weaver style rail.
The magnification level on this sight is 1X. The field of view is 190 feet at 100 yards. The sight is parallax free at 50 yards. The multi-coated lens surface provides glass protection and light control. The unit features an all-metal housing and will withstand recoil up to 1,000 Gs.
Shoot the system with both eyes open to control the sight. Use situational awareness techniques for secondary targets.
The sight's power control is a simple on/off switch that includes a built-in battery saver system. Use the Picatinny mount/Weaver mount #300232 only. This unit also carries the Burris forever warranty.
2. Sig Sauer Romeo 1
Sig Sauer offers an advanced reflex sight that uses “Stealth ID," an Electro-Optics industrial design. This unique design features deflection armor trapezoidal surfacing that breaks up the shape and visibility of the optic.
The pistol slide serrations and grip checkering add function to form. This stuff is rocket science and Sig is into it big time.
The SIG MagView system provides a wide field of view at 100 yards allowing faster target acquisition when time and distance are factors in winning a match or winning a fight.
This sight makes use of a 6 MOA red dot image. This is motion activated to save battery life.
The commonly used CR1632 battery is loaded from the top to allow quick replacement without removing the sight from the weapon. The sight retains a water-resistance level of IPX7. A reflector controls light transmission and distortion.
Built as a one-piece unit in a magnesium housing, the sight is designed to take heavy recoil and tactical applications in the field.
As a side note, Sig Sauer builds their handguns with Weaver rails machined or molded to the grip frames of auto-loading handgun weapons.
3. Trijicon RMR
Trijicon offers the shooter the Type 2 3.25 MOA adjustable LED red dot sight along with several others in the product line. This sight represents the level of quality within this group of reflex sights.
This system is a 3.25 MOA adjustable LED RMR. The sight features an automatic brightness mode with push buttons for eight brightness levels. This includes 2 night vision settings and a super bright setting.
This unit is dependable and features special heavy-duty battery contacts. The electrical components make it ultra field tough and effective.
The housing shape is unique to this sight and is manufactured from military grade alloy aluminum. The basic housing deflects impact from the lens in combat, target shooting events or training situations.
The battery power will automatically adjust the aiming dot to conform to the existing light conditions. In other words, the sight has a brain of its own.
That's a very nice idea when you're concentrating on staying alive or winning a match. The battery system remains active for 16.5 hours.
4. Vortex Venom Red Dot Sight
This site features a 3 MOA red dot aiming point that allows for rapid target acquisition. The sight has an aluminum housing designed to be combat tough.
High-quality multi-coated lenses are a part of this optical system. Ten different brightness settings are controlled on the side of the sight.
The Vortex Optics Venom also provides an auto-brightness setting that uses existing natural light and adjusts to the correct setting automatically.
The 1 MOA windage and elevation adjustments make adjusting sights for varied shots simple.
This sight uses the easy to acquire CR1632 battery that is top loaded into the sight. Because of the top loading feature, it is not necessary to remove the sight to replace the battery.
The sight is O ring sealed against water or damp field conditions. This is a reliable sight as is always the case when you select Vortex optics products.
5. Leupold Delta Point Pro
The Leupold Delta Point Pro features a 2.5 MOA red dot sighting indicator that is motion activated. This sight automatically turns down the power after being static for five minutes.
The lens in this sight is a Diamond coated Aspheric product. These lenses give the shooter outstanding resistance to abrasion and provide an excellent sight picture even in tough field use.
The Aspheric Lens process increases the field of view by 56%.
In terms of power, the tool battery case is top loading and will not require sight removal for replacement.
The sight adjustments are calibrated in 1 MOA clicks making zero and additional adjustments easy.
This sight accepts a wide variety of mounting systems. And is designed, machined and assembled right here in the USA.
6. Crimson Trace LG-919
When you don't want to lose those iron sights and prefer to keep the upper on your weapon's slide free of “junk,” turning to the red dot/green dot is an option to be explored by the shooter.
These sights are not long range. You did see them being used by Navy Seals when operating in closed dark spaces. These laser generated sights were extremely effective when bin Laden went to the other side.
As noted at the beginning of this review, when I worked as a training officer, I never allowed my officers to use these red dot laser systems as standard issue.
Much of that thinking has changed today in modern law enforcement. These systems are attached to service weapons routinely.
However, the systems reviewed are under the weapon's frame or actually a part of the weapon's frame or grip.
I use these systems currently for crawling around in the dead of night looking for a wounded coyote or some other critter as in rustling a raccoon out of a treetop.
The Crimson Trace is a unit that I use with my Ruger MARK III Hunter as a grip frame mounted sight. This set up is offered by Ruger as a factory option.
I also use it on a 45 Government with an under lower frame housing (weaver rail) that carries a double unit consisting of a flashlight and a red laser targeting system.
The Crimson Trace LG-919 Master Series is a red laser designed for Model 1911 frames and most full-size pistols. This sight uses a powerful red laser featuring a 5mW peak, 620-670 nm, class 3R visible red laser.
Activation is accomplished by a single button when the firearm is held in a normal firing position.
This laser system is unique to Crimson Trace. The battery life on the unit is four hours of constant use. The power source is a single 1/3N lithium battery. I use this activation system on my Ruger MARK III.
The sight is factory sighted for 50 feet but can be adjusted by the shooter. The adjustment tool is a part of the sight package.
This sight is part of the grip frame assembly so it is allowed by law enforcement. The weapon's primary sights have not been altered by any elements that would impair the primary go-to system.
7. Crimson Trace CMR-206 Rail Master Laser
This unit emits a bright green laser generated by a 515-532nm class 3R visible laser.
This system can be regarded as a “fighting” laser because it has the ability to flash on and off to aid the shooter in a night assault. This sight may also be turned into a strobe light.
This laser features the instant on/ off that is standard in many Crimson Trace systems. This sight is useful for home defense situations where the shooter is not well schooled in using weapons in low light or no light.
The system fits most pistols when the correct mounting equipment is used. (Weaver rail installed or as a part of the weapon's frame.)
8. Ezshoot Mini Red Laser Gun Sight
Here, we have something that costs less than a bottle of low-grade wine but returns effective results when the little red light points at a target in low light or even no light situations.
This class III laser is less than 5mW. It comes with 2 sG3 batteries.
Windage and elevation are adjusted through a small hole on the top and side of the laser housing. This unit is made from high strength aluminum.
The unit features a detachable rail mount (Weaver) pattern that installs in just a few minutes.
Automatics that retain lowers (as with the one piece system) often have the Weaver rail milled or molded into the frame. This is where the laser is attached to the weapon.
This sight features an easy to operate on/off button. Battery and rail wrenches are included.
The total unit carries a lifetime warranty for replacement or refund according to the manufacturer's specifications.
This sight can be used in conjunction with standard or lighted iron sights giving the shooter two options for use.
Side note: I use this system on night hunting shotgun setups along with scopes, flashlights, and open sights.