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Red dots vs. Steel sights

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Red dots vs. Steel sights - Page 2 Empty Red dots vs. Steel sights

Post by mikemyers 4/22/2021, 9:13 am

First topic message reminder :

Hypothetical question, but for me it's real, not hypothetical....

If a person gets equally good with steel sights (let's say, sub-6-o'clock hold) and also with a red dot sight, all things being equal, is one preferable to the other?

To me, all the "advantages" go to the steel sights.  No batteries to run low, nothing changes with time, the gun is lighter, it saves potentially a large expense, and it seems to me that target acquisition might be faster.  In the past, shooters got wonderful scores with steel sights.  As a person's eyesight goes away due to age, maybe red dots represent an easy way to see well enough to shoot well again - but prescription glasses to show the front sight clearly accomplish the same thing.  Red dots should be "easier", but if so, all our shots should be in the 10-ring.

Everything else being equal, are there reasons to switch to red dots if you shoot the same either way?

(I watch Hickok45, and he seems to do both equally well....)
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Post by mhayford45 4/24/2021, 11:29 am

After thinking about this some more.. If I could get fully adjustable irons similar to what I have on my LP500 air pistol I would probably shoot iron all the time.

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Post by Jack H 4/24/2021, 2:28 pm

I like irons.  Simply said "FFFF" - Focus, Frame, Fire, Follow (through).
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Post by WesG 4/24/2021, 3:26 pm

john bickar wrote:"Steel" sights? Do you mean iron sights?

Nobody makes sights out of iron anymore. Except maybe those that shoot flintlocks ;-)

And some of the rifle sights are aluminum, plastic, or even rubber o-rings in the adjustable iris's.

But, yeah, I call them irons too. Metallic is probably a bit more correct.

To be serious for a second, and I'm actually curious: A parallax free red dot will hit to POA with the dot off center in the FOV. But what does that say about your position? Or at least your grip.

To add to the confusion, years back I'd tell people I shoot rifles at 600 yds. 'You must have a good scope for that'. We don't use scopes. 'You shoot 600 yds with open sights?' Ummm,, not exactly ...


Last edited by WesG on 4/24/2021, 4:45 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by mikemyers 4/24/2021, 3:43 pm

I looked up "steel sights" on the internet, but didn't want to argue, as it seemed irrelevant.  Lots of good things to read about mechanical sights up above.

I can't answer your question, as while my grip is better, it still needs (and probably always will need) improvement.  The recent video of John Shue was very helpful to me, seeing what he does to get his grip to where it should be.

To answer your question, in Slow Fire, and Timed Fire, there seems to alway be enough time to get things as best you can, but how about Rapid Fire.  If my dot is slightly off center (but I know that's irrelevant), should I take/use/waste the time to get the dot perfectly in the center of the sight?

Logically, since I know the gun is aimed properly, it's my body that needs to move relative to the gun (or vice versa), as it isn't my "grip" on the gun.  Again, logically, all that matters is that the dot covers the point of aim.  After that first shot, for the next four, there are things I think the shooter must do.  Centering the dot in the sight isn't one of them, unless I have time.  Am I wrong?  Is it a necessity, or a luxury?

(Maybe that's a reason why I prefer tube sights to reflex sights, as my dot gets centered more naturally in a round tube than in a "tv-shaped" window.)
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Post by john bickar 4/24/2021, 11:02 pm

WesG wrote:years back I'd tell people I shoot rifles at 600 yds. 'You must have a good scope for that'. We don't use scopes. 'You shoot 600 yds with open sights?' Ummm,, not exactly ...

Hey, I have a lot of experience hitting the 8-ring at 600 yards with iron sights.

I have the results bulletins to prove it.
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Post by WesG 4/25/2021, 12:04 am

Yeah, I've done that way too much as well. Usually straight up from the X ring after a wind call.

But reduced course isn't too bad:

Red dots vs. Steel sights - Page 2 Img_0015

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Post by dmdattner 4/30/2021, 9:02 am

Texasref wrote:Just look down the line. There will be more dots and scopes than iron.
Check out golf this week and check the woods (metals). No one plays persimmon anymore.
That doesn't mean they or you can't but if there is an advantage use it.

It's the technology and it will not/can not be ignored.
Well, except for the day for when you're shooting for Leg points. Then your sighting options are a little more limited.  ;-)
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Post by 96wa6 4/30/2021, 9:33 am

BE Mike said:

"That being said, top shooters just about exclusively use dots in a 2700, but seem to shoot extremely well with iron sights in shorter matches like EIC, President's 100, etc."

I have been to Perry 19 times (missing 2017-2020), and in the last few years when I watched the Masters line shoot (at Perry, they clump like-classifications on the same lines), of the 300-ish folks on the line, there were MAYBE half a dozen shooting irons, sometimes not even that. 

And the one Master shooting irons I asked (I think it was 2015) said, "Been out of Bullseye for 20 years raising kids. This is my first year back and I haven't gotten around to getting set up for dots yet. But I will." 

So, the top shooters — who are fighting it out at the National Championship to see who gets to stand on the podium, who know a single X could decide it — shoot dots when allowed.

Shouldn't that decide it for you?

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Post by inthebeech 5/1/2021, 6:14 am

[quote="96wa6"]

Shouldn't that decide it for you?[/quote]

No.  You gut decides how you want to approach the sport.
Want proof?  Listen to the pride when you talk to old school Masters and High Masters at matches or in their responses when they post on this site.  Even if they shoot dots now, they still value those iron sighted classification cards most.  Well-deserved. 

We all have to decide how important are points and how much we want technology and tempered rules to contribute to our average.  And unfortunately we see the answers when we look down the firing line.

Anyone else feel that we should have two sets of national records? :)
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Post by Wobbley 5/1/2021, 12:05 pm

inthebeech wrote:
96wa6 wrote:

Shouldn't that decide it for you?

No.  You gut decides how you want to approach the sport.
Want proof?  Listen to the pride when you talk to old school Masters and High Masters at matches or in their responses when they post on this site.  Even if they shoot dots now, they still value those iron sighted classification cards most.  Well-deserved. 

We all have to decide how important are points and how much we want technology and tempered rules to contribute to our average.  And unfortunately we see the answers when we look down the firing line.

Anyone else feel that we should have two sets of national records? Smile
Rifle has answered this, and that answer was NO!   Rifle has gone from 30 caliber, to 223; iron sights to optics.  The records are falling.  But so what?  Equipment changes.  The US Military haven’t used a 45 as general issue for 40 years.  The military no longer has 45 M1911 match ammo made.  The teams buy custom loaded ammo.
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Post by Texasref 5/2/2021, 8:41 am

Wobbley is correct. Scores shot in 2700 matches will become better and records will fall.
Bullseye does not change the course of fire. It's a static event. But consider this: No one has shot 2700 yet, even with all the advancements. Rolling a 300 is still a perfect game and they don't change.
Maybe one day someone will shoot 2700. Then all anyone could do is tie.
Till then, do the best you can with the best you got.

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