The Essence of Mastering the Red Dot Presentation

The primary obstacle that most handgunners face when transitioning from iron sights to a red dot is “finding the dot” on presentation.  After spending a lot of time shooting a dot equipped pistol this past year I have obtained consistent and fast acquisition of the dot on presentation.  There are a number of techniques that are often taught to help people accomplish this task, such as raising the muzzle and sweeping it down in a fishing motion at the end of the presentation so that the dot drops down from twelve o’clock, or lifting the gun in an elevator type presentation out to extension so as to see the dot earlier.  I initially found that an intentional pointing of the muzzle towards the target, guided with your natural ability to point, aided in the initial acquisition of the dot as it worked to align the muzzle with your eye.  However, after acquiring this skillset though a significant amount of work, particularly in dry practice, here is the key:

In order to find the dot quickly and consistently, you need to ingrain the “feel” of the correct hold on the gun when it is aligned with your eye so that the dot is visible in the middle of the glass.  How you get to that point in the presentation really does not matter; ending up in that specific and consistent grip and alignment is what matters.  This requires a lot of repetitions, but that can be done almost exclusively in dry fire.  Then, with this perfectly repeatable grip and alignment of the gun, simply look at the target and place the glass of the optic on the target.  That’s it.  Once you have the correct grip and wrist alignment embedded in your sub-conscious when presenting that gun, just look at the target and hyper-impose the optic on the target in presentation.  This is, essentially, all that you need to do.  the convoluted techniques of fishing the muzzled down from an elevated position or lifting the gun in an “elevator” technique, etc…, might help you get started but it is ultimately unnecessary.  Once you ingrain the correct grip and alignment of the gun so that you always see the dot, just put the glass on the target. 

Finding the dot seems difficult at first, but once you put in the time you realize how simple it actually is.  Like all things related to shooting, it is simple in theory, but it is not easy to do. 

See the video for a brief demo of this technique:

2 thoughts on “The Essence of Mastering the Red Dot Presentation

Add yours

  1. Great video Salvatore. Like, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice. Practice. Practice.”

    However, something to add here is other old saying, “Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.” Those “literally thousands” of repetitions need to be performed perfectly each time. To do this, they must be performed slowly and smoothly. Just like learning to draw a pistol from a holster, you have to do it slowly, perfectly, over and over and over in order to build those cognitive pathways that eventually allow us to think ‘Draw’ and find the gun in front of us. This is the exact same thing, only instead of finding the gun in front of us, we find the dot somewhere in that little window.

    “Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.”


    1. Great point Frank, the reps need to be right. Thus, there is a compelling reason for those new to the dot to train with an instructor that knows it well as there are some particular nuances to it.


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