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You have a small optics window to deal with and the open sights just eat up critical real estate.
This is why the OP’s question is complicated as it depends on the pistol, depth of the optic cut, height of the specific optic, and thickness of any adapters which may be required. The backup irons should be the minimum height necessary to clear the body of the optic which will put them somewhere north of factory sights in height, but lower than true “suppressor height” or 1/3 co-witness sights.

I run a Holosun HS 407K X2 on my Gen 3 G-19 (no adapter), with a .125 deep optic cut, and use a black Wilson Combat U-notch Battlesight .245 height rear, and an Ameriglo Pro-Glo .220 height front. Irons are just visible above the body of the optic, but don’t take up more of the window than necessary. For reference, I believe factory G-19 sights are .175 high rear and .160 high front above the slide.

It took me a LOT of searching on the interwebs to come up with that combo since most manufacturers put out products that trend with suppressors or the ever-popular 1/3 co-witness beginning around .315, so I hope sharing this saves time for others.
 
Last Edited:

DizzyJ

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This is why the OP’s question is complicated as it depends on the pistol, depth of the optic cut, height of the specific optic, and thickness of any adapters which may be required. The backup irons should be the minimum height necessary to clear the body of the optic which will put them somewhere north of factory sights in height, but lower than true “suppressor height” or 1/3 co-witness sights.

I run a Holosun HS 407K X2 on my Gen 3 G-19 (no adapter), with a .125 deep optic cut, and use a black Wilson Combat U-notch Battlesight .245 height rear, and an Ameriglo Pro-Glo .220 height front. Irons are just visible above the body of the optic, but don’t take up more of the window than necessary. For reference, I believe factory G-19 sights are .175 high rear and .160 high front above the slide.

It took me a LOT of searching on the interwebs to come up with that combo since most manufacturers put out products that trend with suppressors or the ever-popular 1/3 co-witness beginning around .315, so I hope sharing this saves time for others.
My thought was the height wouldn’t be an issue (too high) if one was shooting with both eyes open. Is this not the case?
 
My thought was the height wouldn’t be an issue (too high) if one was shooting with both eyes open. Is this not the case?
It's all about height.
Too high and you blot out the dot.
Even absolute co-witness (see pic above) is too high for many (clutters sight picture).
 
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On my OZ9, the RMR sits low enough on the slide that the factory non-suppressor-height sites will co-witness.
Shadow system MR920
Lowest optic cut. No plates used.
Co witness with stock sights.
This is exactly why I said the OP’s question is complicated. It varies depending on the individual components of each setup, and the totality of the system. Then you factor in personal preference and experience, and, well, you know…
 
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I'm new to red dots on pistols but am pretty much ignoring the iron sights on the guns. I run red dots on rifles with no iron sights, or backup iron sights, but don't use the two combined.
 
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Well, I just got my gun back from the smith today getting the optic mounted. The optic I picked - the Holosun 507Kx2 - was said to be able to cowitness with factory sights, but it was intended for smaller guns. I mounted mine to a Gen 1 M&P 9, and while I can sort of cowitness the sights - it's like lower 1/10th. Eventually I will get around to replacing the sights with suppressor height, but the optic has a good enough reputation that I don't anticipate a failure. If it does - at defensive pistol ranges, the optic window becomes a giant ghost ring of sorts - put the target in the center of the optic window and go to work.
 

CHLChris

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Except for pocket pistols and revolvers, all of my pistols sport a red dot. I've been running red dots for about 5 years and have almost all of the setups as far as iron sights go.

1) Suarez International sells a suppressor height sights package that works great with my RMRs, and fit well with their milling options. I believe they even have a taller version for Glock MOS.

2) For a couple guns with DeltaPoint Pros, I use their modular rear sight with Dawson front sights. It required one of their tallest front sights, though.

3) For some competition guns I didn't bother with iron sights at all. Doing some reading on the competition forums looking at "carry optics" you'll notice that there are only a few optic choices that are actually dependable.

Which brings me to my point to your main question...if you shoot so rarely that you depend on your sights to find the dot then dots are far slower than sights. I have back-up iron sights that function fine on most of my pistols with dots, but I never look at them. Yes, theoretically you could need the iron sights if your dot dies at the worst time, but if you are really strong at finding your dot (because of lots of shooting), then you will be able to point within minute of man by just looking through a dot-less optic...under stress.

This is the primary benefit of competition!
 

DizzyJ

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Except for pocket pistols and revolvers, all of my pistols sport a red dot. I've been running red dots for about 5 years and have almost all of the setups as far as iron sights go.

1) Suarez International sells a suppressor height sights package that works great with my RMRs, and fit well with their milling options. I believe they even have a taller version for Glock MOS.

2) For a couple guns with DeltaPoint Pros, I use their modular rear sight with Dawson front sights. It required one of their tallest front sights, though.

3) For some competition guns I didn't bother with iron sights at all. Doing some reading on the competition forums looking at "carry optics" you'll notice that there are only a few optic choices that are actually dependable.

Which brings me to my point to your main question...if you shoot so rarely that you depend on your sights to find the dot then dots are far slower than sights. I have back-up iron sights that function fine on most of my pistols with dots, but I never look at them. Yes, theoretically you could need the iron sights if your dot dies at the worst time, but if you are really strong at finding your dot (because of lots of shooting), then you will be able to point within minute of man by just looking through a dot-less optic...under stress.

This is the primary benefit of competition!
The irons won’t be to “find the dot”. The irons will be there for backup in case the optic fails. This will hopefully be my new carry gun if everything goes well. ;)

Appreciate all the feedback!
 
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I've been doing dry fire drills a few times per day since getting the gun back - I'll still fumble a draw now and again, but I've got a couple hundred draws in at this point, and the dot is as fast, or faster to acquire generally than aligning the irons. The key is not trying to find the sight - just focus on the target and bring the gun into alignment - the dot just "appears" over the target.

You'll notice that the dot moves a lot more than you'd think, even when you're trying to hold it still. After watching a bunch of videos by well regarded trainers on the subject - this is normal. You still had the movement with irons, it just wasn't as noticeable.

The dot WILL show you any deficiencies in your technique and will show if you're anticipating recoil or pulling the muzzle off target on the trigger press - which is a good thing because its giving more feedback than irons would when dry-firing.

I was a bit concerned that the dot might make the gun a little more difficult to conceal, but at least with the holster setup I'm running right now - the hood is actually sitting behind my belt and not creating another hard point. I did have to modify a couple holsters to accommodate the dot, easy peasy. My Safariland Pro-Fit I thought I'd have to modify, but I did not. My concealment holsters did require removing some material.
 
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I got the pistol out to the range yesterday for the initial zero. Getting it zero'd was a bit more frustrating than anticipated but I finally got it done in about 75 rounds. I was afraid the optic cut wasn't deep enough - I was running out of elevation adjustment when I *finally* got rounds impacting close to point of aim. Windage adjustment was easy enough. I would shoot 3-5 round strings, adjust the dot, shoot 3-5, adjust... I was beginning to think I was having just a bad shooting session.

I'm taking the gun back to the range on Thursday to reconfirm zero and just to get more rounds down range. Local stores are charging $25 / box of 50 for 115 ball, the range was $35 a box. I picked up 100 rounds to take with, and wound up getting another 50 there - my wife was with me and shooting as well and we split the ammo 75 rnds / each. Also had a handful of loaded mags with ammo I already had, so I got about 100 rounds in total down the gun this trip.

I will say that picking up the dot on follow ups was pretty easy. Having a smaller sight with smaller sight window, the dot disappears during recoil, but pops right back into view readily. The more dry practice and more live-fire practice I get, I'm sure it'll be second nature soon enough.
 
The dot WILL show you any deficiencies in your technique and will show if you're anticipating recoil or pulling the muzzle off target on the trigger press - which is a good thing because its giving more feedback than irons would when dry-firing.
agree!
 
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