Many of you have more than likely seen or fired a firearm with an MRD (Mini Red Dot Sight) mounted on it.
The History of the Red Dot Sight
Most do not know that the Red Dot (Reflex sight) aiming system has existed since 1903!
It was not originally in the technological form we see today, but a US Patent from way back shows a reflective type of sight on a military rifle!
In the 1960s, Winchester created a sight that used sunlight (fiber optic) for shotguns. The shooter couldn’t see through the sight and see the target, but it was designed for one eye on the sight and the other on the target.
This type of shooting O.E.G. Figure out what that means if you can.
Aimpoint Reflex Sights
In the 1980s, Aimpoint, a company I used to shoot professionally for, sold reflex sights using 30mm tubes with glass and L.E.D. emitters (light emitting diodes).
This was known to all of us shooters as red dot scopes. We used them on rifles, pistols, and shotguns.
As a matter of fact, I won the 1987 and 1988 Bianchi Cup using one of my Smith and Wesson 686 revolver shooting factory .38 special 158 lead ball ammo.
The advantage of using reflex sights is that one does not have to focus on the iron sights and then, put the iron sights on the target instead of just focusing on the target itself while engaging targets.
The reflex sight lets you focus on the target while keeping both eyes open and simply placing the red dot where you want the bullet to go…quickly.
As long as one still applies the fundamentals of accurate shooting by holding the firearm steady and smoothly pulling the trigger for each round, the targets will be accurately impacted.
Our military responded to the attack in 2001 with the country recovering from 9/11/01.
Many of our soldiers were being issued rifles with the Trijicon ACOG 4X scope that had the iridium-lit reticles that gave them the advantage of targeting quickly and having a 4x optic.
The military also purchased millions of Aimpoint reflex sights to mount on the rifles. The success of our soldiers using reflex sights is now history. They were able to increase rounds on target, especially in the heat of battle.
Tasco Mini Red Dot Sight
Also in 2001, Tasco, another company I shot for professionally, introduced the Optima 2000, a thumb-size MRD with a plastic body and lens. The small 1632 button battery powered the sight and was always in the on position.
It utilized a sophisticated light sensor, so the LED would turn on when the sight cover was removed and automatically adjust to ambient lighting.
Tasco sold the sight with a base that could be attached to a weaver rail.
Another well-known company, Aristocrat, designed bases for this sight to be mounted on pistols. You read that right. We’ve been shooting pistols with MRD’s for over 20 years!
PFI’s SOPS-Compact Mini Red Dot Sight
In 2004, Pride Fowler Industries, Inc. (PFI) designed and introduced our own Mini Red Dot Sight, the SOPS-Compact, that featured some major differences from other MRD’s in the market.
We added a 3-position switch to turn the sight off, on, or in auto mode, allowing the light sensor to adjust the LED brightness to ambient light. We also added a top trap door to the battery compartment to allow battery replacement without taking the sight off the gun.
Our sight was rated #1 in field tests by the Australian SAS!
Another feature is the 5MOA dot. We chose that size because not only is easier for your eyes to catch in stressful situations, but it could also be used as a ranging tool.
A 10” circular target would be half covered at 100yds, fully covered at 200yds, and if you are using a 5.56NATO weapon system in combat, the dot covering a combatant’s head and neck area would indicate the target approximately at 300yds with an impact at center mass.
Is our mini red dot sight right for your carry or sporting firearm?
The SOPS-Compact will make your pistol a formidable tool with great accuracy.
Before production, we tested our MRD on a Glock 9mm pistol at a facility in Florida. We put 10,000 rounds through the pistol, and our sight didn’t break or lose zero!
The SOPS-Compact has also been taken into combat by our troops and soldiers of allied nations during the GWOT with great success.
Our Mini Red Dot Sight was primarily used as a tandem sight to the ACOG, but many used it as their primary optic. The SOPS-Compact has proven itself to be reliable and resilient to combat conditions.
If you decide to put one of these sights on your pistol, practice as much as you can until you can hit targets with few misses, from 10 yards to 50 yards. One of the critical points about mounting MRD’s to pistols is that a knowledgeable gunsmith must mount them. If the sight is not mounted correctly, the sight could come loose and/or break.
My advice to you is to practice accuracy vs speed. I trained police officers and military personnel for over 40 years, and the bottom line in self-defense is mental coolness during an encounter and most importantly…ACCURACY!
John won 20 major matches in police competitions and action shooting. He is a 4-time NRA National Police Champion and 4-time National Action Shooting.