Red Dot -vs- Laser

Practice with both, but make sure to try them in different lighting environments.

I put a red dot on my Hellcat Pro and it has helped considerably. My older eyes appreciate the red-dot, but I can still co-witness with the iron sights if necessary.

Hunting for the laser dot on a moving target seems a but awkward for me so did not pursue


@Christopher405 . Welcome to the Community.

Each of us is different and you will have to try to find what works best for you.
I would say… good luck with laser. Especially for quick draw.

I’ve been observing other shooters how do they perform with red dots and / or lasers. And I never cared about line shooting, which has nothing common with reality.
Red dot is an addition that most shooters handle very well. I’ve seen people struggling with it, but majority performed very well.
Laser, on the other hand, is something that only few are OK with. I’ve seen 99% of lasers completely unusable during dynamic shooting. People were spending more time adjusting laser to the target than first time shooter would just aim and hit using iron sights.

Red dot has a big future. That is the direction every manufacturer is going.
Laser, not so much, maybe few pistols are ready for it.

The same you can see with courses and classes. You can find dozens of great Instructors teaching red dot shooting and tons training materials… but almost nothing about laser.
Laser is just something you can add by yourself if you find it usable.


Hello and welcome @Christopher405
I have tried optics and lasers on pistols which for me in a situation that would need me to draw and fire my EDC I would spend time looking for the dot(s) instead of just pointing the front sight where the bullet needs to go. Muscle memory, grip, stance, and line of sight are more important. Batteries and electronics will fail, good iron sights won’t.


Wellll, iron sights can fail as well. Everything can fail.

That’s why taller iron sights to lower cowitness with a red dot are a thing. Then you have redundant sighting systems…in case either of them fails.


Can you provide an instance please?


I have had two iron sights come loose or completely fall off of my own personal pistols. Haven’t yet had any RDS failure, rifle or pistol.

For funsies, here is a thread I started about one of them Are iron sights reliable enough for EDC? - #7 by Barry54


I’m in this camp.


For a laser, that could be a problem…because when you don’t see where the laser is pointed, you don’t know how to adjust to get it (and thus, the gun) pointed where you want. You really do have to hunt and search to try to find the dot.

Red dot sights and iron sights are very different. You know pretty well where the front sight is and where the red dot is, because you are holding it in your hand. You know pretty well where the red dot, or front sight, is, in relation to the gun, which you know in relation to your hand, which you know in relation to you arm…presenting the pistol so you can find the front sight or the red dot quickly is a fundamental aspect to training.

And if you’re off because of this that or the other, you have obvious close points of reference in your hand and the gun itself to get oriented. This is a big factor in red dots and irons being consistent, but lasers not so much


@Christopher405 ,
I forgot about this… :point_down:

This is a problem that a lot of new red dot users struggle with.
As I mentioned already, each of us adopts things differently, but I suggest to learn your NPOI (natural point of aim). If you find it, you won’t need to look for the dot for the first shot… it will be there by itself.

There are few methods of learning NPOI, but for me the best way was to dry fire with closed eyes.
Laser cartridge or SIRT pistol is very helpful.

  1. Find your target (sticky note on the wall is perfect), use distance of 10 feet.
  2. Draw and press out with eyes closed, before you break the shot, open your eyes to verify sight picture
  3. Do correction of your stance if you are off the target a lot.
  4. Once you find that your blind shots are close to the target, or within the target and they are repeatable, do the whole draw process with eyes open.

You will find how easy and precise your draw stroke is. :slightly_smiling_face:
Then do the same from 15’ and then from 20’.

Practice makes you better. You won’t need your red dot for the first quick shot anymore. :ok_hand:


In my opinion , as long as your fundamentals are correct then , red dots are icing on the cake. Aging eyes , and old ass body Use what ever works to give you an advantage


All of my weapons have lasers on them,My pistols all have crimson trace on them and as with all my rifles are all on demand and are zeroed in with the sights and that is where the round goes,I prefer the green laser as they show better to me in the daylight over the red dot


Lasers have their place, as everything else. If you are in a defensive situation where you can’t readily align your sights, a laser can help to still get on target easily. Green lasers are superior to red. Lasers that activate automatically on draw from holster are extremely quick to get on target. For me, much quicker than a red dot or irons as I can be on target, if necessary, before getting firearm properly presented to aim with those. I know that’s not ideal but it can be real-world scenario.


My advice. Get rid of the gadgets and practice with iron sights. Keep it simple. Most civilian engagements are at bad breath range and over in a second or two. They are not precision shooting.


I worked for a while with a CT laser. I found that in bright outdoor settings the dot was readily visible only at distances where a distinct sight picture was not needed for me to get good hits — say, out to about five yards. The laser dot was difficult to see against most backgrounds at greater distances in daylight.

Indoors, night, or cloudy skies are a different matter — lasers are great in diminished light. I don’t spend very much time where they would be helpful (home defense distances are too short to matter; malls and bars are too far away to matter; weather here is too nice to matter). Irons and lasers together could be useful without being in each others way since they will readily co-witness if you account for the offset. In the end, I decided that I preferred the solid foundation of G10 grip scales to the molded plastic checkering of the CT Lasergrip — and put the laser away.

Learning MRDS is still a work in progress for me, but I perceive great potential.


I also have had irons fail on at least a couple of EDC pistols that I can recall — friction and set screw dovetails. I had adjusted zero on them both, and the problem ended up being inadequate Loctite — so operator error if you like. How perfect do you need to be? I don’t have experience with plastic or screw-down sights, if you know what I mean.

With much less experience on MRDS, I have already experienced a total failure of the internal adjusting mechanism — POI drifting >5MOA from shot to shot, and clear off the backer at 15yd within a magazine. DeltaPoint is not generally considered a provider of junk LARP toys, but micro-gizmos may have any number of failure points.

If a sight falls plumb off the gun, you will know instantly what you’re working with — how are your point shooting skills? Harder problems to identify in a crisis are adjustment drift and lost dot. In a fight for your life, you won’t know what the problem is — nor how to adjust for it. You just fail to make hits.

The only method I know is to practice a lot with your actual carry gear, and hope that establishing a long statistical trail of non-failure will carry through your moment of need.


Most are beyond bad breathe range, I believe the stats say the majority are at 3-5 yards, ‘bad breathe range’ is closer than most

And quite a few happen farther than the 3-5 yard majority, as well (plus, people miss at all of those distances, all the time…)


And there is a reason you never see me recommend deltapoint. They are not considered a go-to pistol mounted RDS

And have backup irons so you have two sighting systems because either can fail


Which is exactly what happens when iron sights fail, some of the time. Look at my personal example. The front sight drifted to the side, some of those shots it was probably off enough to miss but not off enough to notice, then it was way off…it’s no different than a dot drifting.

…and if you’re worried about the dot drifting, buy better gear

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If someone needs a laser or a red dot to hit a hand-sized target at 3-5 yards, maybe that person should not be carrying a firearm.

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How is “needing” a red dot any different than “needing” iron sights?

Yes, even at 3-5 yards, you should be striving to use your sighting system.

Remember, in real life, actual factual reality, DGU and OIS hit rates run 20%.

IMO we need to get away from implying, or telling, people that they don’t have to use their sighting system to aim in order to get hits