Monday, May 15, 2006

Simmons 42mm. Red Dot Sight

Simmons 42mm. Red Dot Sight on a Smith & Wesson Model 422

Adding a red dot sight to your handgun, rifle, or shotgun doesn't make you a better shooter, but it sure does allow you to shoot better, particularly if your eyesight isn't quite what it used to be. When I decided to give a red dot a try, there weren't quite as many different ones on the market as there are now, but I still had a fair number to choose from. My first red dot sight was a Simmons 42mm. In fact, although I have four or five of them, the one in the picture may well be the first one I bought.

One of the first things you will find out when you try a red dot sight is that they don't work like telescopic sights. Technically you could argue that calling a red dot sight a scope is a misnomer, as there is to "telescope" to it at all. Red dots have no magnification. Where a telescopic sight has a vertical and a horizontal line (The crosshairs) a red dot sight has, well, a red dot! The crosshairs are always in the same place when you look through a scope, with the cross-point right in the middle of the circular field of view.

The red dot, on the other hand, can be anywhere in the field of view. In fact, if you don't have proper sight alignment with your eyeball, you can't see the dot at all! It's easy to spot a new red dot shooter, as they raise the gun to the firing position, then swivel it around until they find the dot. They even have a name for this activity, "The C-More Shuffle", named after a red dot sight commonly used in some types of competition. Just as it takes practice to bring up a handgun and have the sights aligned, so it is with a red dot sight. The smaller the red dot sight, the harder it is to find the dot. A small sight on a rifle may be just fine, but on a handgun it could be frustrating.

For my first red dot sight I figured the larger 42mm. size of the Simmons should make it easier to get used to finding the dot, and that proved to be the case. The larger diameter does make parallax more of an issue, but that's not a big problem. After using the sight for a while you get a feel for how much to correct your point of aim.

One common bit of mythology with red dots is that wherever the dot is, that's where you are aimed. Not true! You should always try to have to dot as close to the center of the sight as possible, both when sighting in, and when shooting. As you move the dot towards the edges, the dot is no longer exactly the same as the point of impact. The closer you are to your target and the larger the diameter of the sight, the more pronounced the effect.

The Simmons 42mm. red dot sight has a lifetime warrantee, which is nice. There are several different models numbers with slight variations. Model #800880 is the one I've had the best luck with. The Simmons has a 4 MOA dot size, and 11 different brightness settings. The only other true 42mm. red dot is the BSA, and it is a 5 MOA dot. It's personal preference, but a 4 MOA dot is plenty big!

One feature of the Simmons that I've not seen on any other red dot sight is the mounting system. Where most red dot sights are made to fit the standard Weaver sight rail, on the Simmons you can turn the mounting brackets over and it will also fit directly onto a .22 rifle sized rail. That also means it will fit directly onto the SIG Trailside, which has the narrow rails.

The Simmons 42mm. Red Dot sight is available from a lot of different places, but the best deal I've seen, short of e-Bay, is at Natchez Shooter's Supply where they are showing it for $35.95.

If you are looking for a red dot sight, particularly for a handgun, you can't go too far wrong with the Simmons 42mm. model #800880.

I just ordered another one yesterday..............


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