The Case for Irons:
“The optic is just another hanging off that gun that makes it harder to conceal”
It’s very much a red dot world these days. Even very small carry guns, like the GX4 are now coming from the factory ready to receive a red dot. But that doesn’t mean there’s no place for iron sights in this day and age. In fact, there are still some pretty significant advantages to irons.
For instance, if you’re running fixed iron sights, like on a revolver, once you find the right round for your gun, you never have to mess with them again. It’s that easy, just confirm your point of impact and you’re done. You have to zero a red dot, and then if you change ammo zero it again. Some red dots will shift zero if you bang them against a solid surface, like a table. Iron sights? Not going to happen.
That durability and reliability is also a good reason to go with iron sights. Yes, red dots are tougher than they’ve ever been. But a properly mounted set of iron sights is just physically tougher than a red dot. Plus, you’ll never have to change the batteries in your iron sight. I’ve seen a lot of shooters over the years have their red dot sight die in the middle of a match or a stage. That never happens with iron sights. In fact, even if you’re using a fiber optic iron sight and the fiber falls out, the sights are still good.
Lastly, a compact gun with iron sights is going to be a lot easier to conceal. Even when you fully apply the Phlster Concealment Principles, that extra bulk from the red dot is going to require more work and effort to conceal. Iron sighted guns don’t have this problem.
That’s why I prefer irons for concealed carry. Less effort, less fuss, more durability and easier to conceal. That seems like a pretty solid (pun intended) choice.
The Case for Optics:
Those are all good points, but the one I agree with the most is “it’s a red dot world.” Because it really is. If we’d been having this discussion 10 years ago I’d have agreed with you that red dot sights weren’t the best choice for concealed carry, specifically because they weren’t reliable enough. But times have changed, and now even some brands of “affordable” red dot sights are reliable and durable enough for every day carry.
Before we go to the obvious advantages of a red dot sight, and there are lots, let’s deal with some of the objections. First off, batteries. Yes, you need to change them. However, most quality red dot sights have a battery life measured in years. If you want to avoid problems, just change the batteries when you change the batteries in your smoke detector. You do change your smoke detector batteries twice a year, right?
Now, let’s talk about the specific advantages of red dots. The biggest advantage is that they’re easier to use. No more “equal height equal light” and trying to do a geometry problem at high speed. Put the dot where you want the bullet to go, and press the trigger. It’s as simple as that.
Plus, for defensive use, red dots make more sense. Think about the history of weapons for a second. Right up until we invented guns, if you were fighting someone, where did your eyes focus? On the threat. Didn’t matter if you were swinging a sword, stabbing with a spear, or shooting a bow. You’d keep your eyes on the threat. A red dot sight puts your eyes right back where they belong.
Lastly, think about how young shooters are getting introduced to shooting and firearms. It’s not from family members with their dad’s 30-30, it’s from video games. What do all those guns in games have in common? If you’re thinking red dot sights, you’re right. That means it’s easier to introduce youth shooters to the sport with red dot equipped guns like the Taurus TX22 Competition.