I may not be able to tell which pistol to choose for yourself or your family, but I can show you why our new CT RAD Micro Pro pistol optic is the best Everyday Carry (EDC) RDS on the planet.
It’s no secret the popularity of a Red Dot Sight (RDS) on a CCW and EDC is only gaining more traction. Elite military soldiers and seasoned LEOs are continually counting on an RDS to give them an edge against their assailants.
We also know that we need to train to shoot with our iron sights to stay fresh and ready in case of a technology failure. An RDS offers so many benefits over iron sights that it can’t be ignored.
Why Should I Use an RDS on My EDC/CCW Pistol?
As technology keeps improving, manufacturers can create optics that are lighter, longer-lasting, and more practical than ever before. Using the proper holster for an optic will eliminate any negative reason for carrying an optic.
I carry an optic on my Glock 19 (MOS) because I know it significantly increased my target acquisition speed with an optic. Rule number one in a gunfight is to always be faster and more accurate than the other person. Nothing gives you more of an advantage than a great green or red dot optic.
Pros of an RDS
Target acquisition:There is no doubt in my mind that tracking a red dot (or green dot) is much easier than lining up your rear sight to your front sight picture.
The ideal RDS for CCW/EDC will have a motion sensor to turn on if you draw your pistol from the holster. This ensures the red dot is always on when you need it and off when you don’t.
Side note: There are RDS optics for competition that don’t use a shake-to-wake sensor.
Shooting in low-light conditions: One of the biggest differences of an RDS at night (or twilight conditions) versus an iron sight is the distinct advantage of a bright green or red dot to follow.
I have Tritium Night Sights on my Glock 19 Gen 5, but even with the fluorescent front and rear sights, it doesn’t come close to a red or green dot.
Perfect with NVGs: This goes along with low-light conditions, but using NVGs with a red or green dot gives you a level of clarity that iron sights can’t give you.
Poor vision:Even in my late 30s I’ve noticed my eyes have gotten much worse over time.
In fact, one of the big reasons I initially started searching for a pistol optic was to help with my poor vision when looking through iron sights. I prefer the green dot much more than the red for clarity reasons, but I’ll get into that later in the blog.
Situational awareness: As most of us are being taught to shoot, we learn to keep our dominant eye open and non-dominant eye closed when aiming down the sights.
An open reflex red dot optic allows you to keep BOTH eyes open as you aim your pistol. It takes a lot of time to get used to (at least it did for me), but they increase your field of vision by exactly 50%.
If you ever defend your life against multiple assailants, increasing your situational awareness by 50% could mean the difference between life or death.
Improved accuracy: I’ve seen some of the best shooters in the world go through tough courses with only iron sights and dominate with perfect accuracy.
However, if you’re not a professional shooter with 10,000-30,000 rounds per month at the range, an optic is your best bet.
As important as it is to train with iron sights, an open reflex optic on your pistol is literally as easy as pointing, placing the dot on your target, and pulling the trigger. Depending on the MOA of the dot, you’ll see instant gains in your accuracy.
Long-range shooting: It really comes down to the MOA of the dot, but an optic has shown significant advantages over iron sights at longer ranges.
I’ve noticed when I shoot at 50 yards with my RDS, I hit my AR500 Steel 13" Octagon target at 30-40% higher rate than my iron sights.
What is even crazier, our 3 MOA red dot can give you consistent accuracy at 75- 100 yards in the right lighting.
The 5 MOA green dot is much easier to see at longer ranges, but your shot placement will be a little wider than the red dot.
Crimson Trace Warranty: All Crimson Trace optics are at least covered under a lifetime warranty for housing, 3 years for electronic components).
Cons of an RDS
Technology failures: As I’ve mentioned before, if you don’t have a durable optic, it increases your chances of a technological failure.
Training Time: I hope I’m an outlier and most other people have had an easier time adjusting, but it took me about 500 rounds to really get the hang of an RDS on my pistol.
One big misconception about an RDS is the minute you put it on, you’re going from zero to hero. Even though our business is optics and scopes, all of us at Crimson Trace still have to train with the RDS.
Training gives us time to adjust and adapt to shooting with both eyes open and acquiring the dot quickly. Adjusting your iron sights and using a custom mount will help cut down on your training time.
Pistol presentation when using an RDS vs irons is different, so there is a learning curve when you are practicing the new presentation. We highly recommend taking a course geared to shooting with RDS to perfect the presentation & improve accuracy & acquisition speed even more.
Overall Cost: There’s no getting around the fact that you’ll spend hundreds of dollars on a nice optic. If you need a low-profile mount, you’re going to have to spend even more money.
Most CCW/EDC guns won’t need the low-profile pic-rail mount and new optics cut firearms should include the plates. Another reason to do your research before you buy something.
I don’t know of anyone with an open reflex optic that has gone back to strictly using iron sights. That says a lot to me because regardless of how light your RDS is, it’s not lighter than iron sights.
Environmental Conditions: Many RDS optics are very susceptible to environmental conditions, such as rain, snow, sleet, extreme cold/heat, and fog.
Not doing your research on an optic can cost you big if your optic can’t handle water, cold, or cut through the fog.
Do I Need Iron Sights With a Red Dot on the Pistol?
I strongly encourage every gun owner to always practice with their iron sights the same amount of time as they do their RDS.
You might wonder why I train with my iron sights when my CCW always has my CT RAD Micro Pro attached? If there’s anything I’ve learned from my time in the military, technology can fail without notice.
Training is all about being able to adapt and overcome any situation you come across. Training for a Plan B is how you adapt and overcome a malfunction in the RDS.
I’m sure I’m not the only one that feels that technology fails them when they need it. For example, a night out with a friend in the winter months can zap your phone battery right before you call for an Uber.
From my experience, technology has failed me at the exact time I needed it to work. I suppose that’s Murphy’s law, though.
I can confidently say that I trust my CT RAD Micro Pro with my life, otherwise I wouldn’t carry it on my Glock 19 or my Sig P365XL.
It’s all about the purpose of your optic when choosing the best MOA for your RDS. There is a lot of confusion about Minute of Angle (MOA), but I’m not the most intellectual person so I like simplicity.
A 1 MOA means that at 100 yards, the dot will appear to be 1" in diameter. This means at 50 yards a 1 MOA red dot will appear to be 0.5" in diameter. Finding a red dot at 100 yards with a 1 MOA on a pistol will take splendid vision and dozens of hours of practice.
Best MOA for Self-Defense and Law Enforcement?
Even though a 1 MOA dot will offer more precise shooting, the dot is tiny and I have trouble seeing it at over 30 yards. A bigger dot is going to be better for the fastest draw speed. I don’t have great vision anymore, so I prefer a larger dot. I’m sure there are a lot of men and women that could use a little help to make up for poor vision.
A larger dot is one reason I chose the CT RAD Micro Pro green dot instead of the red dot version. The green dot has a 5 MOA, whereas the red dot has a 3 MOA.
From many other companies, you’ll see the most popular MOA dot is a 6 MOA. a 6 MOA is great for gaining instant target identification. However, it will be tough to hit shots past 50 yards as consistently as the smaller 3 MOA dot.
The 5 MOA green dot is like the 3 little bear’s story of finding just the right warmth for my porridge. The 5 MOA provides me near-instantaneous target acquisition from ranges from 15 yards, all the way out to 75 yards if I had to make a shot to save a life.
Perhaps the biggest reason I love the 5 MOA green dot more than the 6 MOA dot is it never obscures my target at longer ranges. Mostly, I fire pistols at ranges less than 50 yards, so a roughly 2.5" green dot on my target at 50 yards provides enough clearance around the dot to maintain positive identification.
Best MOA for Precision Shooting?
The 3 MOA is one of the best dot sizes for a pistol if you have excellent vision and want a higher accuracy. I can still see the 3 MOA red dot clearly, but my target acquisition speed is slower than the 5 MOA.
However, if you’re not worried about speed and only focused on achieving higher levels of accuracy, the smaller dot is for you.
What’s Better: 3 MOA or 6 MOA?
What are you using the optic for? Are you using it for an IPSC competition or as a CCW? Most IPSC shooters use a 6 MOA dot on their competition pistols because it has the fast target acquisition and they’re focused on getting a hit on a large target while on the move.
However, a 3 MOA dot is better for precision grouping at all ranges, at least from the little experience I have with a 3 MOA dot.
A 6 MOA is another great choice for LEOs trying to hit moving targets because the dot will cover more of the target. This allows us to lead targets easier and provide quick, accurate follow-up shots without ever taking our eyes off the target.
The 6 MOA dot size is a brilliant choice for LEOs because there is no adrenaline rush like active combat with another person. That adrenaline rush is very difficult to train for and control when you need to react to something instantly.
There are many things we can do as humans to get intense adrenaline rushes, including skydiving, bungee jumping, base jumping, skiing, etc.. I’ll never speak for other veterans, but I think nothing compares to the moments I truly believed I was going to die.
Giving our LEOs the opportunity to install a red or green dot on their service pistol could help them overcome their aggressor. None of us know how we’ll react in that moment, but I know the more tools we have at our disposal, the better chance we’ll overcome the flight or fight mechanism.
That extra size dot can help keep police and other federal LEOs on target while they adapt and overcome the situation.
Everyone has heard of astigmatism, but I think you’d be surprised that millions of Americans have them. To keep it as simple as possible, astigmatism is when your cornea is the shape of a football instead of a basketball (normal).
This oblong shape in your eye causes distortion when you come into contact with light, especially very bright light. You’ll know if you have astigmatism if you look through your RDS window and the dot is blurry or if you see a starburst instead of a crisp dot.
How Can an RDS Help My Astigmatism?
Using an RDS can help if you have astigmatism because it can adjust the dot brightness to accommodate your eye sensitivity.
To prevent a starburst or blurry dot, I turn the brightness level down so the dot isn’t too bright. This brings my dot from a blurry starburst to a clean dot centered in the window. The Crimson Trace RAD Micro Pro (for compact & subcompact firearms) and RAD (for full-size firearms) have 8 daylight brightness settings with 2-night vision settings.
There are many optics with 10 settings, but the CT RAD Pro open reflex sights have our patented CT Radiant. The CT Radiant is an ambient light sensor that adapts to the surrounding environmental lighting conditions.
This light sensor is not just perfect for people like me with astigmatism, but it’s incredible for anyone shooting in the low-light of twilight or in complete darkness. The CT RAD Micro Pro and CT RAD Pro have a lockout function if you ever want to turn the auto-adjust off.
Which Guns Fit Our CT RAD Micro Pro Reflex Sight?
Gun Maker Compatibility
P365, P365 XL
M&P Shield (2.0)
American Compact Pistol, Security 9
The Best Red Dot For a Pistol
There’s no secret where my allegiance lies, but hear me out before you scroll past. The CT RAD Micro Pro is an electronic open reflex sight that’s made specifically for compact and subcompact pistols.
They manufactured our optics to be stronger because they understand things happen, and you may drop your pistol or smack it with a long rifle by accident.
CT doesn’t want its customers to spend $300 and have it destroyed after a drop in the range. The window lens in the CT RAD Micro Pro is recessed because, if you do ever drop the pistol, they protect the window from smashing against concrete. One of my biggest selling points was the thicker, more durable housing in the CT RAD Micro than its competitors.
Along with its ambient light sensor to keep you focused on your target, the CT RAD Micro Pro comes with a shake-to-wake motion sensor.
The CT Motion sensor turns on the optic if you draw your pistol from the holster, shake it in your hand, or any other movement of the pistol. We designed this sensor to conserve battery and always be ready when you need it.
How Does Co-Witness Work in CT RAD Micro Pro?
Cut a notch in the CT RAD Micro Housing to provide a full co-witness for our users. Like I said, sometimes technology fails. With the RAd Micro Pro, you’ll always have access to your iron sights.
Is Your Pistol Drilled and Tapped?
Not all pistols on our list come optic ready from their commercial stores. If you’re using a Glock, any MOS model will accommodate an optic, but older Glocks don’t come milled with standard slides.
The great thing about Glock is there are dozens of options to buy a new slide that’s already cut for an optic. Most other pistol brands, such as Sig and Walther, have customized slides to allow for an optic. However, if you can’t get a milled slide, any armorer can do it for you.
My only recommendation would be to never do it yourself unless you’re trained because you can compromise the barrel and slide, causing catastrophic damage to the gun and anyone around if done incorrectly.
Are Red Dot Sights Good for Concealed Carry?
About 10 years ago, when RDS optics on pistols became popular, there were really no options for holsters that could accommodate an RDS and light. The increase in the pistol’s profile simply couldn’t fit in the holster.
The Alien Holster for the Glock 43 X is one of my new favorite holsters because of its comfort, price, and trigger guard security features. The ability to not only accommodate an optic for a CCW, but also provide comfort and security, is a must for an EDC holster.
Just like anything in life, it really depends on what you’re looking for out of a tool. The CT RAD Micro Pro optic will give gun owners near-instantaneous target acquisition with the wide field of view of our crisp red or green dot.
If faster target identification and acquisition isn’t enough because you have poor vision or one million with astigmatism, the CT RAD Micro Pro will significantly help you see clearly.
Shooting in low-light conditions can be an enormous challenge for everyone, even the pros who shoot 20,000 rounds a month. The CT Radiant ambient light sensor eases this task by automatically changing the brightness of the dot to accommodate the lighting conditions around you.
The new technologically advanced CT RAD Micro Pro is the best open reflex sight for under $300 that you’ll ever see. It reacts to my environment and adjusts the reticle to always give me the clearest sight picture.
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