Old Sounds New Sights!

The steel shooting range designed and built by Bill Rogers

After lunch I met with Mark Wheeler at the range to sight in a couple of new MOS pistol sights. “MOS” stands for Modular Optics System, also known as Reflex Optics. It is an optical sight that attaches to the top of the pistol slide near the rear sort of like small scope. It has buttons on the side of it which you can turn the sight on or off and adjust the brightness of the illuminated reticle inside the sight. The sights can also be activated by a “shake awake” system in which the sights “turn on” when the gun is handled. The illuminated reticle inside the sights were bright, one was red and one was green. Optic sights are becoming more popular with competitive shooters as well as home defense and target shooting. These Optical Sights allow for faster target acquisition, faster target transition, and improved accuracy. I have spoken to Police Officers who have been through the new MOS Pistol training and they are sold on the new technology. They have spent days learning and training with these new sights, have qualified with them and now carry them on the street. I’ve been told that the key to these new sights is to focus on the target and bring the reticle up and through your peripherial vision you pick up the illuminated reticle and when it gets on the target you pull the trigger. With the traditional iron sights you focus on the front sight, not the target. Totally different than anything I have shot before. Although I have seen and read about these new sights I have never shot one until today. They are quickly becoming increasingly popular with the law enforcement community and I can see why. They are quick and accurate. I can see where many shooters would want to venture away from the standard “iron” sights and outfit their pistols with this new technology. Having spent 36 years as a law enforcement Officer and 22 of those years on a SWAT Team I’m not convinced that these new sights are right for me. I will explain more later.

A Glock handgun with a new MOS sight mounted on the top of the slide.
Mark Wheeler shoots the new MOS sights on his Glock handgun.
This is the new MOS sight.
When shooting steel targets it is a good idea to shoot “frangible” rounds. These bullets are made of clay and disintegrate when they strike the steel target. They are regular bullets and just as deadly. They pack a hard punch when they hit the target.
A shell casing is ejected from the gun as Mark fires a shot at the target.
This tactical rifle also has an illuminated reflex sight on it. It too is fast and accurate.
Mark dials in on the falling head plate.
Mark drops behind cover to reload. Old habits have served him well.
A close up view of the MOS sight. The sight is sturdy, you can work the slide using only the sight.
As the shot is fired the gun cycles and the head plate drops.
Holsters have to be designed to accommodate the new sights.
The new MOS sight.
Old vs New

Today was an interesting and educational day for sure. Although I have seen and read about these new sights this is the first time I have shot with them. I liked them and I know with time and practice I would become proficient with them. The Officers I know who are carrying them on the street speak highly of them. They are the future. However, I have some concerns about them. As I mentioned above I have been a cop for a long time. In a perfect world these sights will be great but this ain’t no perfect world. What happens when they fill with rain? What will happen when the battery goes dead when you need it most or when it shorts out. What happens when an Officer is fighting on the ground or crawling in a ditch and this sight fills with mud and dirt? What happens when an Officer doesn’t maintain his equipment like he should and the sights fill with dust and grease and whatever else falls into it? What happens when an Officer is shot and the sight fills with blood? These are real concerns and again…this is not a perfect world. If it can go wrong it will at the most inopportune time. These will be bugs that will have to be worked out. I’m not a cop anymore, I’m out of the game. I haven’t attended transition training, been qualified or taken classes to teach me about these sights. I haven’t read policies pertaining to these sights and have no idea what the rules on maintaining them will be. I can only hope that the Officers who carry them will maintain their sights and maintain their proficiency with them. I like them, I really do. I enjoyed shooting with them today and if I were younger I would challenge myself to be the best shot I could be with them. However my ship has sailed. I’m an old iron sight guy and always will be. Best wishes to all of you who transition to these new sights. I’m sure in the future we will see more and more Officers carrying MOS sights. We can only pray that whatever sights they choose to carry that God will keep them safe.

Any day at the range is a great day!