Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Optical Sights on Duty Pistols

I've noticed over the past several years that I have trouble picking up the front sight on a duty pistol.  I ascribed it to aging eyes, but last year I was diagnosed with a mild case of macular degeneration, which a dimming of the central part of the retina.  The central part of the retina is where the center of your vision lies, and that part that we use to pick up fine detail, like the front sight on a pistol.

This past June, I noticed that my pistol scores had diminished. I still managed to qualify, but my score dropped several points.  I was immediately concerned.  So, I asked my younger son to give me some advise, concerning old eyes and police firearms.  He came through like gang-busters.

As it turns out, there is a metric butt-ton of information available online.  One article that he sent me distilled the arguments here.
Most people around the age of 40 start to experience an age-related vision problem called presbyopia that makes it more difficult to see things close up. This is why most older people use reading glasses or bifocals, and it's also why you'll sometimes see older shooters push their handguns out as far as possible in an attempt to see good sight alignment.
Reflex optics on handguns can make it easier for these officers to shoot well. Brown says one state agency he works with has numerous older officers and has been very receptive to the Glock MOS models. "Before we launched the MOS models, they were sending their guns out to have the slides milled for mounting optics," he adds.

Glock makes pistols with slides milled for optics.  They call it the MOS system. 
Safariland makes duty holsters that accommodate red dot sights.

I probably need to go talk to my firearms instructor and see just exactly what our policy says about red dot sights.


The Displaced Louisiana Guy said...

I'm glad that I was able to point you in a direction that may prove helpful. I'd be prepared to hear "NO!" from your firearms instructor, and be prepared to present a good argument on why you should be allowed to use one.

My experience with instructors, even the good ones, is that their default answer is no, to keep silly stuff to a minimum. A good instructor may be receptive to having their mind changed with a very good reason, though.

Pawpaw said...

Sometimes it is easier to gain forgiveness than permission.

Jonathan H said...

I'm not of your age, but I do wear strong glasses, and many traditional pistol sights hard to use. There are sometimes options besides optics. Some of 'old school' alternatives I have seen that may or may not help you here are: 1. bigger, easier to see sights, some of which are marketed as 'suppressor height', 2. Some fiber optic or tritium sights can be helpful, even in daytime, by being lighter or brighter instead of black, 3. Looking through a small hole has the effect of improving vision; I like peep sights like those offered as an option on the Hi-Point pistols - I find they help me be more accurate and to acquire the target faster than with 'traditional' pistol sights.
Just a few thoughts - I find that when I look around, I can find multiple ways to solve a problem.

Theother Ryan said...

I concur with the RMR option. A MOS Glock in whatever size/ caliber you prefer with a good RMR on top is the answer. Failing that I would look at a front sight that catches the eye a bit better. Fiber optic and tritium would be the combo I think if that is available.

Don't think suppressor sights would help, I think they are just a bit taller than normal sights.

I have a set of Hackthorn sights where the front is a big orange ball with a tritium insert. Easy to pick up.

Dwan Seicheine said...

hey Paw Paw
are you raindogblue?
this is fritz, aka leaperman, aka dwan seicheine.

The Displaced Louisiana Guy said...

Dwan- they are two separate people. I'm PawPaw's son, and I've followed RD for years. They are both veteran beat cops, cut from the same cloth. They have a lot in common, and I would bet that they have seen a lot of the same stuff at very similar crime scenes over the years. They don't make peace officers like Pawpaw and RD anymore, but coming from someone who knows one of them, they are definitely 2 different guys.

Cheers to them both. Cheers to a breed of cops that are Peace Officers, rather than Law Enforcement Officers.

Aesop said...

Welcome to late middle age.

The ammopocalypse and presbyopia cut way back on my SASS shooting, because there was nothing to shoot, and the pistols were aimed purely by muscle memory; I see 20/15, as always, except now, it starts about 4 feet away. Arms aren't that long.

With long arms, a peep sight (like on an M1/M1A/M16 series)solves the problem, but open tang sights might as well not be there.
Bright inserts and tritium helps, but only red dots solve the problem, short of bi or trifocals.