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Are there lessons to be learned from the dot?


spencergs

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I'm a fairly new shooter just finishing my first season of matches and about to break into A class.  I'm a production shooter and I want to stick with this division for now.  However, I shoot a Walther Q5, and have a Vortex red dot for it.  I tried it out in practice a couple times but not enough to get used to it.  


I have heard that shot calling is easier to learn with a dot, and I recall being able to see trigger control issues quite easily when I tried it.  Are there other lessons to be learned from the dot?  Or would I be just wasting time and causing issues with my index when I switch back to irons?  What would be more valuable to my progress in the off season...optic or no optic?  

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I switched to optics a year ago and haven't looked back since. Of course it's personal preference but for me it's just faster and more enjoyable.

I think seeing the mistakes in your trigger pull is one of the biggest benefits. The dots movement doesn't lie. With some dedicated dry fire you'll get use to it quick.

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29 minutes ago, tyman1876 said:

The dots movement doesn't lie.

Very true. RDS are great learning tools even if you don't shoot one all the time. Trigger control, shot calling, and appropriate grip are areas where you will discover any room for improvement when you use a dot. Indexing takes a bit to get used to but is no big deal.

 

One issue that comes up is where you put your attention when shooting a RDS. Obviously with irons, your attention (usually) goes from target to front sight as the gun is aligned with the target. This is necessary because our eyes are only able to focus in one  focal plane and there are three when we shoot irons - target, front sight, rear sight. To make an accurate shot, the one we use is the front sight. With RDS, the target and dot are in the same plane so where do we put our attention, the dot or the target? In an interview he did years ago, I recall Brian saying he puts his attention on the target. That is definitely the case with me, too. Speed and accuracy go up when my attention is on the target and not on the dot (which is never completely still). Attention on target, dot shows up but attention still on target, bang.

 

YMMV and, like some of the other things with shooting, RDS allow you to experiment quite a bit to find out what works best for you.

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Thanks for the replies guys.  I put the dot on yesterday for some dryfire....maybe I should just switch to Open lol.

 

I am a big subscriber to Steve Anderson's school of shooting.  I sent this question to him and he addressed it during the start of his podcast this morning: http://andersonshooting.libsyn.com/how-to-get-your-match-back-on-track

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I've been thinking of doing a carry optic rig that mirrored my production rig for just this reason. I was listening to the Shannon Smith podcast a few weeks ago (catching up, not sure how recent an episode it was) and he says that to learn to shoot production faster, shoot carry optic. The reason, he says, is because you'll learn what is acceptable and what is not faster. Thinking through it and playing around with my rimfire open stuff for steel challenge and NSSF Rimfire I do think this makes a lot of sense. I have yet to get a second m&p, one that can accept a dot, but I think there will be value in doing it. 

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43 minutes ago, Djp55 said:

I've been thinking of doing a carry optic rig that mirrored my production rig for just this reason. I was listening to the Shannon Smith podcast a few weeks ago (catching up, not sure how recent an episode it was) and he says that to learn to shoot production faster, shoot carry optic. The reason, he says, is because you'll learn what is acceptable and what is not faster. Thinking through it and playing around with my rimfire open stuff for steel challenge and NSSF Rimfire I do think this makes a lot of sense. I have yet to get a second m&p, one that can accept a dot, but I think there will be value in doing it. 

Interesting!  Any chance you could link the podcast?  I'd love to hear it.

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i'm just a nobody, but I won a c-more slide-ride optic last year at a match, so I put it on my 22 and started using it for steel challenge. I think it has been helping me acquire much greater awareness of what the sights are doing. the dot is much harder to ignore, and once you get used to that information, you start looking for it even with iron sights. I think it will be even more valuable to train with in a uspsa setting, so i just picked up a carry-optics gun to use for steel and maybe a few months in winter. 

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On ‎9‎/‎26‎/‎2017 at 11:06 PM, spencergs said:

  Are there other lessons to be learned from the dot?   

 

As an "Old Bullseye Shooter" (Hate that term), it was tough for me to speed up - You're an A shooter,

much better than I have ever gotten - but switching to a dot (OPEN) has sped me up quite a bit.

 

If you play with the dot a while, you might want to try switching your front sight in Production to

a small (0.08") FO sight, and pretend the FO dot is your Dot on your Open gun - sight it in so that

you place the small dot on the bullseye - very fast.    :) 

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10 hours ago, spencergs said:

Interesting!  Any chance you could link the podcast?  I'd love to hear it.

The podcast can be found here: http://www.shannonsmithshooting.com/category/podcast/. He mentions it a number of times, sorry but I can't remember which episodes. Overall if you have the time and like podcasts, I find his pretty good so worth listening to overall. 

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I've seen local shooters switch to open or PCC and then return to limited or production and shoot faster than before the switch. Well, faster once they got used to iron sights again.

 

This game has a strong mental element. Using a dot allows you to focus more on footwork, transitions, reloads since you are less focused on sight picture. That allows for growth in other areas of your shooting that would normally take longer to develop.

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On 9/27/2017 at 3:56 AM, tyman1876 said:

I switched to optics a year ago and haven't looked back since. Of course it's personal preference but for me it's just faster and more enjoyable.

I think seeing the mistakes in your trigger pull is one of the biggest benefits. The dots movement doesn't lie. With some dedicated dry fire you'll get use to it quick.

+1  Exactly what I was going to type.    

 

The only thing I'd add is that I think you can more easily train your vision with a dot than irons, but maybe that's just my perception.  Hehe.... see what I did there?  SEE what I did there???  Oh, yeah, I'm on fire!

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What I've been struggling with the most is determining what an acceptable sight picture looks like when my sights are not perfectly aligned.  With a dot, it could not be more simple.  With irons, it's like another dimension is added into the equation.  What I'm thinking right now...is that the ultimate training for this would be co-witnessed red dot and irons.  That way I am constantly ingraining bullet impact relative to my sight alignment into my subconscious.... assuming I can call my shots with a red dot (I am 90% there I think).  Does this make sense?

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4 hours ago, spencergs said:

 determining an acceptable sight picture when my sights are not perfectly aligned.  

 

This should be a matter of practice, and solid grip.

 

And, dry fire should help a great deal.   :) 

 

And, they do sell laser cartidges that tell you where you would have hit - use your iron sights

and the laser tells you if you hit the target ...

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8 hours ago, spencergs said:

What I've been struggling with the most is determining what an acceptable sight picture looks like when my sights are not perfectly aligned.

 

Have you ever tried putting your gun in a vise (so it won't move) and then physically moving to one side and then the other while looking at the sights.  Obviously it will depend on your specific sights, but I was amazed at how little of a difference it made.....ultimately that helped me realize I needed to work more on my trigger control than anything.

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6 hours ago, Hi-Power Jack said:

 

This should be a matter of practice, and solid grip.

 

And, dry fire should help a great deal.   :) 

 

And, they do sell laser cartidges that tell you where you would have hit - use your iron sights

and the laser tells you if you hit the target ...

2

I don't think I explained very well.  Standing still, and aligning the sights is not difficult for me.  Consistent grip, and lots of dry fire has helped with this tremendously.  What I want to be able to do, is have a similar sense of where the gun is pointing when I am shooting on the move, and my sights are bobbing in and out of alignment and over the target.  I want to have an accurate sense of where the gun is pointing If I don't immediately line up the sights perfectly, so I can break the shot sooner. 

 

I'm not looking for a substitute for practice...I'm trying to find the best, most efficient way to practice. 

 

I have one of those laser cartridges, and it is helpful for this.  However, if we can assume I am getting the same benefit from the laser cartridge as I would from co-witnessing irons and a dot....I would have far more exposure to the information I desire with the later.  Instead of say 50 "shots" of split-second feedback in dryfire per day, I would have a constant stream of feedback in dry fire and live fire.  

 

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++1 As others have noted, I think putting a RDS on your pistol is well worth it, particularly for training. Over the weekend, I borrowed a friend's XDm with a Leupold DeltaPoint and shot a local match with it. One of the things I've been struggling with is entering positions with the gun up and sights ready to fire. It took a few stages for me to see it, but the red dot certainly showed (to me) how jarring my entries were. I smoothed it out for the last couple of stages and shot them better than I think I would've done with my regular Limited gun. https://youtu.be/BIsnqbqyCMU

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Glad to see the positive reactions people are having to this. Been really considering it and pushing me towards it. Thanks to all who shared experiences. I have been seeing a benefit shooting my rimfire open setups so a cloned setup of my production rig can probably do wonders. 

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I made the switch to PCC and have recently switched back.  Has anyone else had the following problem.  I found that my slower precision shots where not as good with the MRD then with irons, but my faster shots had smaller tighter groups and more accurate with the MRD vs irons.  An example is when i do the FAST drill i would usually drop one shot off the 3X5 card and my shots on the A zone would be nice and tight with the RMD, whereas with irons i would have better shot placement on the 3X5 card but my A zone shots would be all over the place.  I am faster with the MRD but i have to slow way down to get the precision shots, so slow that i am actually faster with the irons, yet with irons i have a greater chance at making worse shots.  

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  • 3 weeks later...

I couldn’t call shots well with irons at all, until after I spent time running a dot gun.  Everything just opened up for me and I started seeing stuff I had never seen before.  I was worried if I could carry that new vision back to iron sight shooting, and I did have a real hard time transitioning back, because I was looking at the target and missing the sights.  Then I swung too far the other direction and was so dialed into the front sight, I was slowing down.  Things started clicking again and I realized just how much my whole visual perception had changed for the better after the dot time.  

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Read this thread when it started and couldn't really buy into the idea.  Since then (last week) I have entered the world of a dot on a pistol, and thought of this discussion as soon as I started practice.  Shot quite a bit of PCC this season and it had a positive impact upon returning to limited, but the dot on the pistol is far different.  As said previously, that thing shows you every little thing you are doing.  Good and bad.  Dry fire practice as well as live fire and my first match with it completed, and I am seeing attention to my grip, presentation to the eyes, and transition precision that I haven't paid that close attention to in far too long.  When its fluttering around, or dipping with trigger pull, I am getting immediate feedback.  When the freakin thing is gone, I know I have just done something needing attention.  Would have called shenanigans about a week ago on the idea, but the dot is an excellent resource for feedback on EVERYTHING.

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I shoot limited so no dot.  I did put one on an XDM competition i have in 9mm but could never really get it down.  I put it back in safe after three steel plate matches and pulled back out the limited gun.  With the dot after the draw I'd have to point gun what feels like down to see the dot.  This is because dots on top of my slide higher than iron sites were.  Guess my point is dot/ iron site is not an easy transition for me.  I'm my opinion I would just practice whatever your going to compete with.

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One thing I've noticed since switching to carry optics is that I have a better sense as to what I can get away with in terms of acceptable sight picture with irons. I've grown more confident hosing close targets and my follow up shots are more confident since switching. 

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