I know this will probably stir up a ton of comments but, I’m just gonna put it out there.
We have all heard dozens of times that the root word of concealed carry is ‘concealed’. One definition is, “Concealed weapons are weapons, especially handguns, which are kept hidden on one's person”. To me this means that the concealed carry handgun would be something small and unobtrusive with the ability to be concealed in a myriad of circumstances.
A while back, the fad seemed to be putting weapon mounted lights (WML) on concealed carry handguns. There were a plethora of reasons given for the need but, what I saw was a solution to a seldom seen or non-existent problem. As an LEO for almost 45 years, I think I can count on one hand the number of times I have needed a light co-deployed with my handgun, and probably have a couple of fingers left over. This includes dozens of SWAT operations. Having carried a handgun off-duty as well, I have never needed a light. Now, I am not saying that my experiences are the norm but, I do think more folks have had similar experiences than not.
Some proponents of the WML will say, “I’d rather have it and not need it …“ or, “I carry a small tactical light too but, two is one …” or, “I need to be able to identify what I’m shooting at.”. All valid reasons. But, if you objectively look at what your general day-to-day routine is, there is a high probability you will never need to use your WML on your concealed carry gun. Ever.
Now for the really sensitive subject. In the recent past, the ruggedized miniature reflex sight, (RMR) has gained some popularity almost to the point of fanaticism. (Full disclosure here, I do not have an RMR mounted on any of my handguns while I do have them mounted on a couple of my long guns). Again, I am referencing the concealed carry gun here, not a full sized ‘battle pistol’ or duty type handgun.
There seem to be two main plusses for the RMR. The first is speed of acquisition of the dot. While admittedly my experience with RMR equipped guns is limited, I have not seen the increase of speed when I see others shooting RMR equipped guns. The second plus would be accuracy at distance. The small red dot seems to offer a more precise aiming point than the traditional ‘post and notch’ system but at what cost?
I see two concerns. First is the extra mass of the sight. We are discussing concealed carry guns and any extra girth anywhere on the gun can hamper concealment and comfort. Second is the learning curve needed to become proficient. Everyone I have asked has said it takes some time to “get used to the RMR”. In addition, even with the recent size reduction and the ability to use standard height sights, many RMRs still need the suppressor height sights to be able to co-witness the sights. And shooters still must learn to use the standard sights in case of a malfunction.
Maybe I am a minimalist – to me, the simpler the better. When you start adding things to any gun (Just look at some AR15s at the range!), things tend to get more complicated and there are more things to break or malfunction. Now, some functional modifications (stippling, high visibility sights, etc.) can make the gun more comfortable and/or shootable but, there needs to be some thought given to how you will be employing the gun as to any major additions.
I can understand the potential need for an WML and RMR on duty/’battle’ handguns but, most of the armed public will (a) never be in a gunfight and, (b) never have a need for the WML or an RMR to make 30+ yard head shot. However, if you are happier with the extra size and weight, feel free.
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