Regardless of how many guns we own, most gun owners have that special firearm that they keep close at hand for home defense. We want this gun to be reliable and powerful in order to best protect our families. Assuming that your firearm of choice is already reliable and powerful, we can talk about putting the best optics on it to make it tactically proficient for a nighttime engagement. The best-case scenario is that you are able to acquire an accurate sight picture as quickly as possible. There is no one silver bullet piece of optics that will do that for every firearm, but there are some great options out there.
Here’s a quick view of the available tactical optics that you could use for your home defense weapon.
Red Dot Sight
Perfect for a simple, fast target picture. Since your eye doesn’t have to be exactly in line with the rear sight, you can fire your weapon from just about any position. Useful for simple point ‘n spray target engagement. In a home defense situation, your estimated range of engagement is less than three yards, so with a red dot, you just need to line it up and go.
Since many red dot sights are about two inches tall, they can be unwieldy for placement on a pistol. Red dot sights are tactically more suited to be mounted on a shotgun or short barreled rifle.
Mounting a high-powered laser to the muzzle of your weapon is about the best way to put your lead downrange where you want it. Just point and click. The advantage of the laser sight is that you don’t have to align your eyes with the aiming reticle in order to acquire an accurate sight picture. You can aim literally from the hip and be just as accurate as if you had the iron sights lined up on the target.
At night time, a laser dot will strike fear into your opponent. You don’t have to own a laser sight to know exactly what it means to have that red dot on your chest. That can be an advantage to this optics system in and of itself.
The downside to the red dot is that the enemy can see exactly where you are as well. They just have to spot the source of the beam. Tactically, this can be dangerous, especially if you’re trying to covertly engage your target. It is unlikely that you will need to be covert in a home invasion scenario, but Murphy’s Law dictates that we should plan for that eventuality. A good compromise is attaching a laser sight to the expansion rail of your firearm in addition to a red dot or reflex site.
Laser sights are best suited to pistols since they are small and can be used in addition to illuminated iron sights, although
Illuminated Iron Sights
Most commonly seen on handgun sights, illuminated dots on iron sights can be easily integrated into your weapon system without adding the excess bulk of a scoped or laser sight. Illuminated iron sights help you line up your target in low-light environments without giving away your position. These are the best price for adding a low-light sighting option to your weapon. Illuminated iron sights could fit on any type of firearm, including tactical shotguns, pistols, and tactical rifles. As with any tactical targeting system, it is recommended that you practice with these sights in low-light conditions to see if they’re right for you.
Holographic Reflex Sights
While holographic reflex sights are similar in outward appearance and reticle to red dot sights, the physics behind them are completely different. This has an advantage over a typical LED red dot sight since the housing can be much smaller. Since they are smaller and can be more accurate than red dot sights, holographic sights are perfect for mounting to a pistol, or small tactical rifle. If your home defense weapon is a pistol, then the holographic sight is your best bet.
The question of “what is the best home defense weapon” may never be answered, but you can outfit yourself with the best optics for the weapon system you do use. While the firearm itself is vitally important to your home defense, in order to best use your weapon you have to be able to acquire your target quickly and reliably. Arm yourself with the best sighting option for your combat style and you add one more layer of protection to your family’s safety.
Travis Benson is an avid hunter and marksman who enjoys the big Texas outdoors and appreciates a good venison steak. When he’s not in his deer stand he’s working for Scopesnmore.com, home of the best deals on scopes.