But in all seriousness, the red dot has a place on the modern rifle and that place is mounted without the interference of iron sights. The first known use of a red dot sight in combat was the Son Tay Raid in 1970. The Optic was a Single Point Occluded Eye Gunsight and for 1970 they were the cutting edge in communist shooting optics. Its also interesting to note that the OEGs were used for props in Star Wars, which makes them hard to come by now days.
|who wore it better?|
|get to the point.|
So what is co-witnessing? Well its basically having fixed rear/forward traditional sights with the red dot optic in the middle. Why is it bad? The advantage to a red dot optic is simple; it reduces the number of focal planes needed to shoot accurately. With a red dot I superimpose the dot over my desired point of impact, use my mechanical fundamentals and boom, four more and I get a drone strike (well, it was a drone strike in my day, I don't know what the kids are getting these days).
When using iron sights I must focus on the rear, align it to the front, confirm my POA on the threat, then go back to focusing on the front sight, thats three focal planes. When it comes to shooting, 2 is better than 3.
By placing the rear sight forward of the optic you will still have use of the iron sights if they are needed but you are able to pick up the dot in the optic first, as the optic is the first object your eye will track to as the pistol comes into your field of vision.
So if I am co-witnessing, what am I really doing? Using 4 focal planes. I have a rear, a red dot floating in the middle, a front sight post and then my target/'threat. While I can ignore the rear sight reasonably well, that front sight is still in my field of vision and the entire package makes the eye work way harder than it should.
|Yes, Xibit, you are on now.|
Back up iron sights are just that and should be folded down when not needed. This isnt an epidemic, as the newer generation of shooters who may have never used a fixed sight rifle are coming up with the red dot being the primary experience (which means their iron sight skills may be less than adequate but that's a conversation for a different time).
Now, we have become confident in the red dot sight for rifles just in time to not trust them on handguns. The red dot is becoming more popular for range toys and as a realistic carry option for your EDC, however the co-witness problem is ever present as the common configuration places the red dot right back between two fixed sights.
|AYFKM? I thought we were past this.|
When a slide is milled to accept a reflex sight (red dot) the pistol generally needs suppressor height sights to make use of the iron sights possible. that rear sight is not only much more pronounced and in your field of vision, it is also something we are hard wired through years (or decades) of pistol shooting to pick up on unconsciously.
|The common configuration, beard not included.|
|Like so. its hipster because you probably havent heard of it.|
This rear-sight-forward configuration is given sideways glances by some because they feel as if they are sacrificing a great deal of sight radius and therefore accuracy when using the irons. It is true that you are giving up alot of sight radius, a Glock 17 in this configuration has less of a sight radius than the compact Glock 26, though does it affect accuracy that much? In my experience, no, it doesn't. Practical accuracy remains unchanged and the average shooter can still get respectable accuracy at distance, though realistically do you really think you are going to need your irons for 100 yard self defense shooting? Highly unlikely. The Reflex style red dots popular for handguns are durable, none more (in my opinion) than the Trjicon RMR. I have been using the RMR on pistols and rifles for a while and have yet to break one despite running my guns pretty damn hard.
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