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Discussion Starter #1
The question is simply: for a red dot, do you choose a compact barrel length or a full barrel length and why?

This is not about carry, maybe more about range shooting, but certainly about aging eyes, recent cataract surgery, and a couple of other factors, including this is my first time with red dots.

The platform is a P320. I have a Compact readily available. My Compact slide has contrast sights which I've been wanting to change. In looking at how to try a red dot for the first time, I could modify that slide. By the time it's milled, new suppressor sights installed, a red dot purchased the costs are adding up.

There is maybe another option, I really don't like the contrast sights and for this FCU a full slide would give me more options at the range. A long slide range gun and a compact bedside gun. If I explore those options there are conversion slides available with and without optics. That means another barrel and recoil spring. That adds up.

So if you've gone to the trouble and expense to improve sight radius on a firearm, why choose to put a red dot on it?

I've tried renting red dot fitted P320's at the local range and frankly it was a PITA. The guns were totally over worked. Dirty, and a bit questionable for use and the dot/witness seemed way out of whack and couldn't hit anything consistently. Maybe that's telling me something about my shooting instincts and I should just say the heck away from the red dot idea.

I currently have (in 9mm): P320C contrast sights; P225-A1 Siglites (way better than contrast day & night, but a little small for my big hands and slim on capacity).

So if you were doing this, where would you put the work/cash? I'm really not equipped to do the mechanicals of switching/fitting sights, milling, etc.

Thanks for letting me think on your time....

Roger
 

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If you have a compact ready that you like to shoot, I don't normally see the value of a longer barrel for a red dot. It's one thing if someone perhaps has ammo considerations regarding caliber, load and barrel length, but as far the barrel length/sight radius is concerned, as the guy from Sage Dynamics points out, you don't want to zero your red dot with co-witness iron sights because you're going to want to sight them in independently because they work so differently.

In fact, I am getting my P229 milled for a Holosun, and I am not going to even add suppressor-height sights to co witness them at all. If it was a duty gun for a police officer, for example, that might be a different story, but I enjoy a cleaner red dot picture with the irons out of the way (i.e. racegun configuration). If you're a civilian mounting a quality and uber dependable red dot (Trijicon RMR, Leupold Deltapoint Pro, Holosun 508 etc.), the chances of you needing to use your irons (after training sufficiently to use a red dot) are quite low. Even if the situation comes up and you can't use your irons, you can always shoot intuitively for most self defense scenarios. So in my opinion, the risk of a quality optic going down and not being able to solve the problem point shooting is so low you surely have a better chance dying in a car accident every day than losing your life in a civilian pistol fight because of Murphy's law (regarding sight radius and backup sights generally), but everyone has to weigh their aversion to risk. That said, if you shoot a particular full-length gun better than a compact and you're NOT worried about concealed carry, I would just take the red dot out of the equation and make my decision based on ballistics, shootability, etc.

Outside of life and death situations, however, if the optic goes down, you can always remove the optic and use the factory sights.
 

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If you already have the pistol and you want to put a red dot on it, I'm not sure that I see the problem.

Both of the pistols that you mention are compact models. What trouble and expense have you gone to to increase the sight radius? And if you have gone to some trouble and expense, why would that preclude installing a red dot, especially if adding a red dot would enhance both your accuracy and enjoyment?
 

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Red dots negate the sight radius advantage of longer barrels. The red dot system is not dependent on sight radius. All other factors being equal, a red dot on a two inch barrel is as accurate as on a ten inch barrel. Barrel length has no inherent effect on accuracy.

Additionally, since you’re going to use this as a range gun, there’s not need to waste your money in buying suppressor sights. There’s no need to co-witness the red dot with your irons because they are independent of each other.

A lot of co-witnessing carp came from tactical timmies advocating them. Just superimpose you’re red dot on the target and fire away. If you’re lining up all three (front and rear sights plus red dot), then you’re doing it wrong. This is the reason why you’re having a hard time shooting the P320 you rented.
 

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I have the RX compact with a Romeo 1, setup runs great. I'm building a full size and I am going to move the Romeo to this. Either will run great, if you buy a slide get a barrel that doesn't have the chamber indicator, it'll keep your red dot a little cleaner. Also suppressor height sites are great to co-witness your red dot.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
If you already have the pistol and you want to put a red dot on it, I'm not sure that I see the problem.

Both of the pistols that you mention are compact models. What trouble and expense have you gone to to increase the sight radius? And if you have gone to some trouble and expense, why would that preclude installing a red dot, especially if adding a red dot would enhance both your accuracy and enjoyment?
Sorry for any confusion. The cost to increase the sight radius was about the what if I add a full slide/barrel/recoil-spring with the sight I prefer and then also a red-dot. As others are pointing out, that's a choice about red-dots and shouldn't be tied to sights. Anyway, think I'm sorting this out.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
...if you buy a slide get a barrel that doesn't have the chamber indicator, it'll keep your red dot a little cleaner.
Great point, thanks....

Thanks everyone, there were many good points brought up here. I think I'm trying (as usual) to do too many things at once.

I've decided to hold out for a full sized P320 caliber X-change kit with Siglites and work with that on the X-Carry module. That will take care of a range gun.

A friend just offered a Vortex Red Dot to try on my SW Victory for effect.

Parts are just a PITA to find right now, so sometimes I get redirected by what's available. Should just stick to the plan.
 
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