January 19, 2021
This year (2020) has set records for guns sales. According to FBI statistics, there are have been 14.8 million NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) background checks recorded as of October, 2020, and that puts 2020 on pace to beat the previous record of 14.9 million background checks in 2016.
In March of 2020 alone there were 2.3 million NICS background checks, twice the number recorded the previous month. In addition to record-setting sales, 2020 has seen a dramatic increase in the number of first-time gun owners. According to an NSSF report in August, at least 5 million guns were purchased by first-time buyers.
First-time gun owners have much to learn, including how to select the proper ammunition for their firearm, how to comfortably and securely carry their gun on a daily basis, and how to develop a clear sight picture and improve accuracy. These considerations might seem like second-nature to experienced shooters, but novice shooters may need help in these areas.
Red-dot optic sales also are increasing, and the growing popularity of reflex sights is a boon to new shooters because they are faster and simpler to use than traditional open sights. Aimpoint has long been a leader in red-dot sight innovation, and their innovative line of reflex optics makes it simpler for new and experienced shooters alike to shoot quickly and accurately in any light conditions.
The Red-Dot Revolution
Military, law enforcement professionals, and competitive shooters have relied upon red-dot optics for decades. More recently, recreational shooters and CCW permit holders have begun mounting red dot sights on their firearms, and reflex sights continue to grow in popularity. Firearms manufacturers, too, have joined in on the movement and have made it easier to mount red-dot optics on firearms. A decade ago, most red-dot-equipped pistols were custom firearms, but today there are red-dot-ready pistols available from Glock, Springfield Arms, CZ, Walther, SIG Sauer, Smith & Wesson and a host of other manufacturers. Odds are that your favorite semiauto handgun maker offers at least one optics-ready pistol.
Aimpoint pioneered the use of red-dot optics almost fifty years ago, and the company continues to produce the most versatile, rugged reflex sights on the market. Their compact Micro Series are among the lightest and most compact red-dot sights available today, yet they offer supreme durability, lengthy battery lives (measured in years, not hours or months) and simple controls that are easy for inexperienced shooters to operate. Aimpoint’s ACRO P-1 pistol sight is another great option for new shooters because it offers a large, clear sight window, a crisp 3.5-MOA dot, and straightforward controls – helping to reduce the learning curve and building confidence much quicker. It also happens to be submersible to 82 feet and functions in temperatures ranging from -49 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Odds are the average shooters will never subject their optic to that type of abuse but it’s nice to know that the ACRO P-1 can withstand plenty of roughhousing.
Red-dot reflex sights are a sensible addition to any firearm for several reasons. Unlike other optic designs, red dots offer an unlimited field of view for improved situational awareness. New shooters are particularly susceptible to tunnel vision--focusing entirely within the optic and ignoring their surroundings.
Unlike magnified optics, red dots are parallax free and offer unlimited eye relief, and the rugged, waterproof design of Aimpoint optics ensures reliable function in any conditions. Aimpoint products are suitable for military and law enforcement applications, and while the average shooter doesn’t demand that level of refinement and durability, it’s nice to know that your optic can withstand the worst conditions without failing. What’s more, Aimpoint optics don’t use any harmful materials and don’t emit lasers that could be harmful to the eyes.
Accuracy for Every Shooter
One of the primary reasons so many shooters select Aimpoint optics is because their red-dot sights are faster and easier to use than traditional, open iron sights. Developing a proper sight picture is one of the earliest lessons a new shooter will learn, but it can be very challenging for anyone who is unfamiliar with firearms. I wrote a how-to manual on basic concealed carry several years ago, and during the process of writing the book, I spoke with dozens of brand-new shooters. When asked what aspect of shooting they found most challenging, virtually all those new shooters responded that developing a consistent sight picture and firing accurate shots were their biggest challenges. And, during my own time as a shooting instructor, I also have found this to be true.
There are several reasons why new shooters have such a difficult time developing sight picture. First, we all see the world through different eyes. My vision may be 20/20, while others need prescription lenses to navigate through life. Some people suffer from poor low-light vision, others have astigmatisms, and a sizable portion of the public is cross-dominant, meaning that their strong eye and strong hand are on opposite sides of their body. Each one of these conditions presents its own set of challenges when shooting with iron sights. New shooters with perfect vision, though, must still master the technique of aligning the front and rear sight with the target while maintaining a strong front-sight focus. The process becomes second nature to experienced shooters, but sight alignment is a real challenge to new shooters.
Red-dot sights help solve many of the problems that new shooters encounter when learning to develop sight picture. The most obvious advantage to using a red-dot sight is simplicity: there are no front and rear sights to align, no steep learning curve that makes accurate shooting a challenge. Aimpoint reflex sights allow new shooters to grasp sight picture in a matter of seconds: simply raise the gun, align the dot on the target, and pull the trigger.
New gun owners catch on very quickly and they are firing accurate groups in minutes, not days or months. What’s more, Aimpoint reflex optics simplify sight picture development for all shooters regardless of vision problems. Two of the most common age-related sight issues are presbyopia (difficulty seeing close objects clearly) and reduced low-light vision. These conditions may make it impossible to shoot accurately with iron sights, but Aimpoint red-dot optics are a viable alternative for those with aging eyes. Shooters who are cross-dominant also have a much simpler time adjusting to a red dot when using a two eyes-open shooting technique. I’ve known two new shooters who were coached (poorly, I believe) on iron-sight alignment and were never able to shoot accurately. I can’t say for certain whether it was an issue with their vision or technique, but I do know that when they began shooting red-dot sights their accuracy problems vanished altogether.
The Optic for All Platforms
Rifles, shotguns, and handguns can all accept Aimpoint red-dot optics, and that makes reflex sights the universal choice for any shooting platform. New shooters who learn to use red dots on their firearms are at an advantage because Aimpoint optics work on just about any firearm. If they decide to begin shooting rimfire rifles or carbines there are Aimpoint sights that will work on both, and—most importantly—the sight picture is the same as their pistol. Iron sights don’t have that same level of versatility and magnified optics aren’t always a logical solution and don’t offer the same unlimited eye relief and parallax free design as red-dot sights. I’ve used an Aimpoint Micro S-1 on my shotgun while shooting clays and upland game, and I’ve found that it’s a great addition that helps me improve my scores.
New shooters have a lot to master, but one thing they shouldn’t have to struggle with is developing sight picture. Aimpoint reflex sights offer unparalleled versatility for any shooter on any firearm. They operate under any light or weather conditions and always offer a clear sight picture, and that’s something that every shooter—new or experienced—can appreciate.
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