We've gone from mammoth red dots seen on handguns as early as 1980 to this: the micro sight.
When Aimpoint developed its first red dot in 1975, it was just rugged enough to endure fair-weather trips to the hunting fields or quick target acquisition on the competitive playing field. Batteries were only expected to last a couple of hours, and there was always a chance that recoil was going to shake up fragile electrical connections on the inside and make the sight unusable.
Then, tritium-illuminated fiber optic technology came along by way of Trijicon's Armson OEG in 1981, which provided a reliable alternative to battery power, in some cases thereafter augmenting an electronic red dot.
Trijicon's founder, Glyn Bindon, introduced us to the Bindon Aiming Concept, which made us realize that we didn't need to "see through" a tubular optic like a traditional scope but that our brains would supplant the image of the unit's illuminated reticle onto our sight picture when we kept both eyes open.
The only advancements left to be made were in miniaturizing these 1-pound add-ons, making them more practical for use with guns and holsters.
It has taken 40 years, but we're starting to harness all the benefits afforded to us by microchips, metal alloys shaped by computer-aided machining given LED technology, solid-state electronics and long-lasting lithium batteries.
Will optically sighted handguns become the norm in our shooting future? Here are a few options on the market now.
Aimpoint Micro T-1
With the Micro T-1, a single battery lasts five years, thanks to advanced circuitry. This T-1 retails for $691.
Burris Fastfire II
The FastFire II as the lowest price of entry and a gasket-sealed bottom. The Fastfire II retails for $209.
The EOTech mini Red Dot Sight was officially adopted by SOCOM in 2008. The MRDS retails for $499.
Leupold DeltaPoint Pro
On the DeltaPoint, a space-age magnesium-alloy housing and motion-sensor tech make this a high-tech option. The DeltaPoint retails for $499.
The Ruggedized Miniature Red Dot (RMR) is also available with fiber optics. The RMR retails for $708.