Optics or iron sights? We talk innovation in this week’s Shoot Safe

CUSTER, S.D. — Innovation and change are a part of every industry, and there are always new developments in parts and accessories for firearms.

One recent transition has been the widespread adoption of an optic sight (also just called a “red dot” sight) instead of an iron sight. “There’s some agencies, complete agencies switching over to red dots. There’s challenges with the red dot that our law enforcement training in Pierre address, moisture and things like that on the lens in different firing situations,” Phillip Shively, Captain with the Hot Springs Police Department says. 

He explains that, despite the challenges, the optic can allow him to keep a better focus on his target. “If I have my eyes on a threat and for whatever reason, I need to pull my firearm, my focus is on the threat, and if it comes to a point where I have to stop that threat with my tool, my focus stays on the threat,” Captain Shively says. In contrast, with iron sights, he explains that training has always been to focus on the front sight. “So there is a point that we change our focus from the threat to the front sight, so a lot can happen possibly in that moment,” he says. 

Captain Shively explains that there’s also been a transition towards smoother trigger pulls on Glocks. “We’ve practiced a lot as we draw taking up the slack in the trigger, coming back to what’s called the wall,” he says. “You can feel that wall in the trigger pull. And that wall when you hit that, you know the next bit of pressure is going to fire the weapon. The new Gen 5 Glocks don’t have that wall.”

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