» Going to the “Dark Side” Red Dot Pistol Sight

By on April 11, 2020

So another year passes…and we are now in a new decade…still no flying cars. Now this is a good thing I think, as folks still have issue figuring out who goes first at 4 way stops.

As it happens, even tho I’m probably in the best shape of my life, it’s been a past few years of dealing with the repercussions of a “misspent” youth. Personally I had a lot of fun met some incredible people who are still my friends today, did some crazy shit and lived to tell about it (got the scars to prove it), traveled not as much as I should and even knocked something off a bucket list I didn’t even knew I had!

Unfortunately heredity blindsided me, almost literally. Turns out I have glaucoma in my family history…and didn’t know about it! Thanks Mom! I used to get eye exams like most folks, on a yearly basis, but shit happens, life gets in the way etc etc…

As it happens I was adjusting some Gen 3 night vision…and couldn’t quite get it right…my eyes didn’t seem to be cooperating…long story short, 50% vision loss in my left eye due to the way the nerve goes into my skull from the raised eye pressure. Right eye, while very high pressure minimal damage. I now have to take 4 different eye drops 3 times a day. For. Life. Unless it gets worse, in which case surgery is required. That, or slowly go blind. Not an option in my opinion, which in this, is the only one that counts. Unfortunately laser eye surgery WAS required to lower the pressure. Thankfully, in my case, it worked! Right eye back to 20/20!

Needless to say this has impacted my shooting. Luckily I’m right eye dominant which is actually part of the reason I didn’t really notice in the first place that an issue was happening.

While my shooting has actually gotten better, I have been having a fairly hard time focusing on the front sight. I mitigate this with having a fluorescent orange insert in the front sight. Great. Yet not so much as the other issues of aging crops up: reading glasses.  Fuck. Yeah the head bobbing with bifocals to find the focal plane.

So I was told I should consider a red dot sight. I’d played with one on a FN Tactical I had a while back, but found it awkward as the pistol itself was on the large side for my hand even with the smallest grip panel on.

So I consulted with my old friend Ben Simonson of Boresight Solutions and he pretty much convinced me that it would be a good option.

Now, ever being a do it your self guy, and having been a gunsmith once, but long ago in my gun shop days, I decided to put one together myself.

Base pistol would be my 3rd Gen Glock 19.

Since this was going to be a project, I decided to be a little fancy instead of just getting a bargain basement slide from Brownells. The quality is there, but they don’t have much visual appeal and I wanted to look a little “cool”. Ok…a LOT cool…

After looking thru quite a few sources on the web, I settled on Norsso (www.norsso.com) and their Reptile slide with a bronze tungsten finish and RMR cut slide. I chose RMR over other optics due to the fact that I could also use a Holosun sight as they have the same screw pattern placement. Norsso has some very cool options and it was an interesting time choosing. I ended up with the reptile slide from their clearance page and as Black Friday was upon us, even got some extra off as well! If you have a Sig 320 they make some cool slides for them too.

Next was to find an optic. Honestly I was not even going to look at the Trijicon’s due to the price, I could get a Holosun for less than half the cost.

However…after buying the slide, I was kinda on the broker side. ($$ talks!) So I remember what I used to do…wheel and deal! See if I could find a used one on one of the forums I frequent and see if a trade was viable.

AS it turns out, I was able to find a 1st Gen Trijicon RMR and work out a deal to trade an old Aimpoint rifle optic I had that I wasn’t using. The guy I traded with had just recently had it refurbished by Trijicon and included the paperwork. Worked out!

Now sights. Since the RMR would be in the way and batteries have a way of running out when you most need them, a set of suppressor height sights was in order. Originally I was looking at the Night Fision brand but couldn’t find the color combo I was looking for on…Amazon.

Why Amazon…I had gift cards there, that’s why.

But AmeriGlo DID have what I was looking for on Amazon…and for under $70!

What was left?

Slide parts.

Now being a Glock guy and having a few of them, you tend to accumulate parts…I just didn’t have everything that I needed for a complete slide. Lowers, I could probably put together three!

Oddly enough, this was the hardest part of the whole build, sourcing the parts locally without being raped.

But thanks to my good friends at Shooting Fever and Top Gun here in Miami, I was able to get what I needed.

Putting it together was the easiest part of the whole thing. Glock’s are so modular, at least the earlier ones are, that parts just fall right in place!

I opted for mostly Glock internals for reliability sake, altho I did polish some parts like the plunger for smoother operation and used Ghost & Brownell’s springs.

The money didn’t go far enough to get a fancy barrel, so stock had to do. Thanks to my old Glock site tool with the upper adjustment part removed, I was able to install the higher suppressor sights with no problem at all.

All the slide parts dropped right in, also no problem. Norsso installs the channel sleeve, so no issues there. Norsso also provides the screws for the optic mounting, so DO NOT use the screws supplied by the optic manufacturer! Norsso’s screws are site specific so leave them in place until you put the optic on and remember which hole they came out of since one is shorter than the other.

Here is the finished product:

Looking good so far!

Everything ran as it supposed to….pistol goes “clik “ when the trigger is pulled…so on to the “bucket test”.

The bucket test is just that, a 30 gallon steel garbage can ¾ filled with sand. A thin cloth on top of the sand to stop the splatter and some old catalogs and magazines on top of that for the same. This is what I use to test fire handguns. Eyes and ears, aim straight down. 3 9mm FMJ rounds run flawlessly through!

Now to take it to the range to do an actual sight in.

So first time at Trail Glades with the “new” pistol.

I had  red dot sight lollypop’ed to the Ameriglo’s just to see how close it actually is. Just because they line up, doesn’t mean they will have the same point of impact.

Turns out that’s very true.

This is the first group at 7 yards.

Low and left. Now it was windy out that day. Forgive the target, it’s all I had on hand.

Second group.

Better, but still more low an left than I’d like. The pistol also seems to shoot a little “faster”, maybe due to the lighter slide weight.

I also noticed that I had to get used to the Glock trigger again, as I’ve been carrying and shooting a H&K VP9 for the last year + . The VP has a much nicer, smoother trigger, regardless of how nice the Ghost Rocket in my Glock 19 itself is.

So, I really wanted to fine tune the sight, so I decided to take it to Top Gun Range. Top Gun is a new range in Miami run by my buddy Steve Schack. It’s an indoor range, so no wind issues…all just me and my trigger control. Time to do some dry firing to help out the muscle memory.

That sight in session but it went VERY well! I was able to get it really tight.

First group:

Second group, even tighter!

Again, all from 7 yards.

This session also led me to want a better trigger. So I decided to splurge and get an Apex. Yes, there are other trigger out there on the market, but I like the look and feel of the Apex’s. Technically they were pretty much the first on the market with an aftermarket trigger and again, it “feels” better than the others.

So here it is with the Apex.

The old trigger is underneath.

 

Here is the proof in the pudding.

Once again, I apologize for the target…I have a few of these and don’t want them to go to waste. They serve their purpose by providing a focal point to aim at.

The center chest is rapid fire. One 15 round magazine. Point of aim was the number 25 on the target.

The head shots are single aimed shots. One 15 round magazine.

Distance is 7 yards.

Needless to say, I am VERY impressed with red dots on pistol at this point! It all came together on this pistol. I can even say it brought new life back into it. I still might get a new barrel for it in the future, funds allowing.

So the Glock 19 RDS is back in my carry rotation.

UPDATE:

All of the above happened BEFORE South Florida got shut down for the COVID-19 pandemic. Luckily, I am able to do some aspects of my day job remotely from home, something I am extremely thankful for. as of this publishing, I have been doing so for over  weeks. we will see how an where this takes us.

Stay safe!

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