I have been notoriously outspoken in my opinion that most concealed carriers are best served by focusing most, if not all, of their training on a single handgun platform. The fact is that from one gun to another you face different grips, grip angles, trigger pulls, ergonomics, and other changes that simply demand some cross-over training. Rather than always paying the tax in cross-over training, focusing your efforts on one gun allows you to simply progress in your training.
In the past couple of months I have violated my own advice to some extent as I have put in some work on a Walther Q5 Match pistol with a dot on it. So, this is a new gun, and a different sighting system, that I don’t have much experience with.
I have embraced the dot for a while so as to be experienced and knowledgeable in the mechanics of shooting a dot equipped pistol so that I can help others do so. The reality has been that getting used to the dot is primarily about getting your presentation solid so that you find the dot immediately when the gun comes on target. Getting up and running to a reasonably high level of skill with this new gun has demanded a lot of reps, and these have been reps that have not been going towards my Glock 19/26 platform that has been my primary handgun lineup for many years now.
I find that I quickly fall back into place when shooting my training Glock 19, even after spending most of my recent time on the new dot gun. There is no compromise for years of built familiarity. The issue becomes this: are the repetitions spent with the new platform worth taking away those repetitions from the familiar and primary platform? I suppose that depends. For myself, it has been worth it, because for the first time I am confident in my skills with a red dot pistol. However, the experience has re-enforced my opinion that exclusive focus on one platform is best for performance.
I find that the biggest difference between the two guns that requires the most adjustment is actually not the sighting system, as, despite popular opinion, the fundamentals of using a dot or irons remains the same, but rather the greater challenge is the different grip angle between the two guns. The Walther has a very 1911 like grip angle, and the Glock has the typical, notorious, more pronounced angle. So, after working only with the Walther for several weeks, where I was consistently finding the dot every single time in presentation, I did 100 draws/presentations in dry work with my Glock 19. Then, I picked up the Walther, and the dot was……..gone. Within a few minutes of reverting back to the Glock grip angle my presentation changed and the dot was no longer in my view. With some work on the Walther I was back to consistently finding the dot. This is a perfect example of why a shooter needs to spend extended periods of time focused on one platform. Putting a dot on another Glock 19 would make more sense, but I like the Walther for this application, so I am sticking to that.
I like the red dot but I am not likely to put them on my carry guns, at least not any time soon. I don’t see many down sides to it, but I am confident in my iron sights, and can see them clear enough, that I am not ready to embrace the dot for carry. The experience spent with it, however, has been beneficial as I now know how to shoot with a dot quite well and I am now well versed in the intricacies of the sighting system. So, if your path as a shooter leads you astray sometimes, it may be well worth it. However, my opinion still holds that focusing most of your training on a single platform proves most beneficial. Realistically, I am probably going to be back to training almost exclusively with my Glock 19/26 pistols soon, as that is what I carry. I put the most emphasis on the life-saving equipment.