Law Enforcement Technology

JUN 2019

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14 LAW ENFORCEMENT TECHNOLOGY JUNE/JULY 2019 C O V E R S T O R Y How does it work? In its simplest form, a RDS uses a lens or mirror to project the reticle onto a half-silvered mirror which lets you see the target with the reticle appearing on top of the target. Many different reticles are available from dots and circles in multiple sizes, to reticles with tick marks which can be used to gauge sighting at distance. Large dots are easier to see in bright light and close range, while smaller dots are better for low light and longer distance targets. I've consistently hit metal plates at 60 yards in windy conditions from a handgun with a 3" barrel using a RDS. Try that with iron sights! The first RDS were red because they relied on the light emitting diodes (LED) that were available at the time. Just like firearm lasers, modern RDS are available in red or green and the color you choose depends on the mis- sion. Green dots might get lost in the forest while red dots might get lost in a sea of tail lights and light bars. Besides LEDs, which require a power supply, RDS can be illumi- nated using fiber optics and tritium. Some sights use one or more of these methods. Again, which illumination method(s) to choose will depend on your mission, and all officers might not need the same type of sight. In the early days of using RDS on pistols, they could not withstand the g-forces involved in the slide's recoil, and the weight of the sight would affect the cycling of the firearm, caus- ing failures. Competitors found ways of building frames which would hold the RDS just above the slide but mount somewhere on the pistol's frame, such as the grip or rail. As RDS manufacturers started mak- ing more robust sights, firearms manu- facturers, such as FN, GLOCK, SIG, and Smith and Wesson started to make "optics-ready" platforms with cuts in the slides ready to mount your favor- ite RDS. As of this writing, a pistol mounting standard doesn't yet exist, but many pistol and sight manufactur- ers sell adaptor plates which allow mounting almost any sight onto any pistol. For example, GLOCK sells four different plates. Are RDS just a fad? SIG Sauer's Tom Jankiewicz, executive vice president for Law Enforcement Sales & Suppressors tells us, "In the 1990s no one had optics on rifles, now no one does not have them. RDS are going to happen on pistols faster than they did on rifles. Everyone will be moving to them. A substantial num- ber of very large agencies on the U.S. West Coast are working on training programs and should be coming online in the next 12 to 14 months." W hat if you don't have an optics- ready pistol and you want to mount an optic on it rather than springing for a new pistol? W hile GLOCK GmbH may exchange your existing slide for a MOS (Modular Optic System) slide in Europe, they do not sell them in the U.S. However, several companies do make aftermarket slide kits for GLOCK . Just add all the internal parts, mount an optic up top and head for the range. Because of the modular nature of the SIG P-226 and P-320, you can buy a Caliber X-Change Kit already mounted with their Romeo1 RDS. What if you need an optics-ready slide for a sidearm that doesn't have one available from the manufacturer, or you don't want to buy a whole new slide? Deputy Sergeant and Rangemaster Robert Pronske of the San Mateo County Sheriff 's Office (Calif.) and Christopher Galli, the officer responsi- ble for firearms training with the Santa Cruz Police Department (Calif.) note that many officers in their departments found machine shops that would make the cuts required to mount a RDS on their personally-owned duty weapon. Unfortunately, in one example, an offi- cer went to a machine shop and came back with a hunk of metal that was once a GLOCK slide. Let me explain. As you can imagine, the g forces acting on a pistol slide are tremen- dous. Upon firing, the slide unlocks from the barrel, slams back compress- ing the spring, picks up a new round, and slams forward putting the pistol back into battery. If you have a RDS W Debuted at the 2019 NRA Annual Meetings, the modular-optic ready G45 MOS comes with several mounting plates to accommodate the most popular reflex optical sights. GLOCK Inc. " RDS are going to happen on pistols faster than they did on rifles. A substantial number of very large agencies on the U.S. West Coast are working on training programs. " — Tom Jankiewicz, SIG Sauer

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