Red Dot Sights

Red Dot Sights and Holsters

One of the problems some modern handgun owners run into relates to finding carry rigs that accommodate a red dot sight. Red dots, or reflex sights, add bulk to the top of a handgun. If you don’t get a holster that has been specially made for it, you will find the gun will not fit.

Red Dot Sights

So, what is a red dot sight? Put simply, a red dot sight (RDS) is an optic that creates a red aiming point on the target. Unlike a laser that sends a concentrated light beam to the target, a RDS uses two panes of glass or plastic that a red dot “floats in”. That red dot is visible to the shooter, but not to a bad guy who is down range.

Hellcat with red dot sight

Also known as reflex sights, red dots can be bulky and stick out a bit from the top of the slide. Some guns, like the Springfield Hellcat, allow for direct mounting of the optic onto the pistol to reduce the overall size of the package. Other guns require large mounting plates; these are not ideal.

Do They Work?

Do red dot sights really improve your shooting? Yes, but you still need to train. Like any shooting skills, you need to practice with the red dot sights on your pistol. Otherwise, the optics are not of much use.

In the research on red dot optics and the Springfield Hellcat, a man was able to conclusively show that shooting performance was improved by roughly 14% in accuracy and nearly 25% in time to first accurate shot.

I don’t know about you, but I consider those to be very solid improvements. Improvements that I’ve started to pursue by changing how I train and what I carry. While I can’t say I’ve hit those gains yet, I can feel them coming.

What About Holsters?

This is where we come in – concealment holsters. Some of these red dot sights – like the Trijicon RMRcc – really stick off the top of the gun substantially. You need to have a special cut or design of the holster that will fit around the sight.

When you holster the pistol, the sight needs to be relatively protected but not blocked from being drawn. Leather and Kydex rigs can usually be retrofitted or modified to work with a red dot sight.

Red Dots on Pistols

Red dot sights on pistols is not a new thing. Competition shooters have been using them for about 40 years. However, they have not become a staple for defensive handguns until the past decade. It’s only been during this time that the sights have been miniaturized and ruggedized to the point that they can be used.

During the 21st Century, the U.S. military proved that reflex sights and red dot optics were effective in combat. While the military used the sights – most often the Trijicon ACOG – on rifles, citizens in the United States followed the lead of competition shooters and began using them on handguns. The effect is the same: increased accuracy and speed. The end result is bad guys are hit more often and faster than good guys. Also, they reduce the possibility of stray fire hitting an innocent bystander.

Flying with Guns

Flying with Guns on United Airlines

Laws regarding taking guns through an airport and onto a plane have changed over the years. In the modern era, many law-abiding citizens run afoul of these confusing and ineffectual restrictions.

It wasn’t that long ago that traveling with firearms wasn’t considered a big deal.


Cowboy Shooting Holster Tips

The gunslingers of the old west always had some trick or method they used to gain an advantage over an opponent in a gunfight. Sometimes they worked…other times they did not.

Back in 1962, George Virgines wrote an article on the Gun Tricks of the Old West. In it, he specifically addressed the insider tricks of the trade to improve your odds of survival in the outlaw days.

Here is an excerpt from the original piece that talks about cowboy holsters.


Classic Rigs: JC & G Combat Special Holster

Way back in 1965, there was a company called JC &G Limited. Started by Jack Couper, a cop and entrepreneur, the company made a revolutionary new duty holster.

At that time, nearly every police duty rig was made of leather. Couper, on the other hand, developed a rig made of thermoplastic. While not as robust as today’s Kydex, thermoplastic was one of the tougher materials of the time.


The Original Bra Holster

Bra holsters may seem like a relatively new innovation, but these bosom buddies have been around for a long time.

Did you know that Safariland – the premier duty holster maker – got its start, in part, by selling bra holsters?

It’s true. The following is a story from the July 1965 issue of Gun World.


Bianchi Holsters: Emphasis on Quality

This article on Bianchi Holsters comes to us from 1968. Enjoy!

“My idea of a good gun scabbard is easy to sum up,” said John Bianchi. “It must be simple, comfortable, fast – and made of the best materials available.”

John Bianchi sitting in his office
Policeman-turned-holster-maker John Bianchi in his office.

This notion of holster-making has propelled John Bianchi’s one-time hobby into an enterprise that will soon do a million dollars worth of business a year.


Welcome to Blue Ridge Holsters

Welcome to Blue Ridge Holsters. Our developers are hard at work pulling the site together for us.

pizza for the Blue Ridge Holster programmers

I’m headed out now to pick up pizza and Mountain Dew to keep them motivated!

See you all very soon!