Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
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    Default Pistol "optics" recommendation for S&W M&P 9MM

    For an M&P 9mm.

    I have two units, one stock, one with some variety of tritium sights on it.

    I'm looking for recommendations for "optics", not too budget conscious. Suitability for concealed carry preferred, but can be persuaded into whatever.

    I'm a total novice in this subject area.

    Self-install options preferred.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Pistol "optics" recommendation for S&W M&P 9MM

    I've been using handgun optics now for about 2 years. After going through a few different brands I finally settled on Holosun. I have the Holosun 507C-X2 red, on a Canik TP9 Elite combat a Holosun 507C-X2 green on a Zev/Glock 34. I have been pretty hard on them both with lots of rounds through the guns and they have both held zero and not come lose from the plates. They both have the choices you can cycle thru of a 2 MOA dot, a 32 MOA circle or both the dot & the circle. Its nice because depending on what you want to do that day you can change the dot really quick. I use the circle for plate shooting and it helps get it on the plates quickly. Like anything everyone has something they like for their own reasons. The reason I like Holosun is that neither one has failed me yet, knock knock knock! I could not say that about the cheaper other brand options I started with.

    https://holosun.com/index/product/detail/id/104.html

    I am considering the Holosun SCS for my carry gun since the other two have been so reliable.
    https://holosun.com/products/reflex-...scs-carry.html

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Pistol "optics" recommendation for S&W M&P 9MM

    Are your M&P pistols optics ready? I.e, do they have an optics mounting plate? If so, I too recommend the Holosun 507C, but the 507C-GR-X2 with the Primary Arms ACSS Vulcan reticle. The Vulcan reticle includes a large circle and a chevron aiming point. The circle serves to let the shooter know right away if the sight is out of alignment. A common issue for shooters who are new to red dot sights on pistols is it's sometime difficult to find the dot. The ACSS reticle practically eliminates that. I have them on two of my M&P pistols and I haven't found anything better. When I take new shooters to the range I will usually let them shoot one of my M&Ps with an optic and so far everyone has had no problems getting used to the dot almost immediately. I prefer red reticles because green works better with astigmatisms, but you can also get the sight with a red reticle and save some money.

    vulcan_acss.JPG

    Speaking of saving money, Primary Arms runs a 12% off sale almost every month. They will probably have one close to Memorial Day.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Pistol "optics" recommendation for S&W M&P 9MM

    One is bone stock.

    The other has has tritium sights installed.

    I don't think either are "optics ready" if something is needed for that. I will need information on whatever is required to make them "optics ready".

    Additionally, I have another question, relative to my 1911 thread. That question is, is there any point in putting optics on a pistol that will not be used for more than 10 years? Would it be better to just leave such a gun stock, on the theory that whatever is available in 10+ years will a better choice than anything available now? Or does the technology not really change much at this point?
    Last edited by free; May 19th, 2024 at 12:33 AM.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Pistol "optics" recommendation for S&W M&P 9MM

    Quote Originally Posted by free View Post
    One is bone stock.

    The other has has tritium sights installed.

    I don't think either are "optics ready" if something is needed for that.
    In that case, you would need an optics mount that replaces the rear sight, or pay to have the slide milled for an optics plate. The former is about $50 and your time to replace the rear sight. The catch is you lose the rear sight and you still have to buy the optic. But some optics have built in rudimentary iron sights as backups in case the optic fails. The other caveat is the optic mount will set the optic much higher on the slide than if the slide were milled for an optic. Basically your iron sights are useless with a rear sight optics mount. It's not ideal, but it would get you an optic on your gun for a reasonable price.

    Milling, depending on options, can easily set you back a couple hundred dollars or more.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Pistol "optics" recommendation for S&W M&P 9MM

    I would actually recommend not going for the ACSS Vulcan style of reticles at all; I think they impart a very negative training scar. They “allow” a new RDS shooter to present the firearm poorly and then “find” the center dot/chevron… this is not a good thing. Practice your draw & presentation. The shooter shouldn’t be looking for the dot; it just appears over the target as you never break sight & focus with the target…

    Another negative is the Vulcan trains the brain to go back to that front sight/reticle-focus rather than target focus. This is actually a huge mental switch, because the new RDS optic shooter typically has been ingrained to be “front sight focused” for years before transitioning to RDS optics. If alternating between carrying pistols with RDSs and irons, I always have a dry fire session to ensure my brain is in the correct mode. After a while with practice, it switches quickly… kinda like running action shooting drills/CQB with an LPVO on a rifle then switching to a true red dot or going irons… if you do it enough, your brain switches more quickly.

    Now that I’ve just pooped all of that ACSS Vulcan gimmick… lol..

    I would definitely recommend buying a slide that’s cut for optics; the adapter plates type that slide into existing rear sight notches/etc are not very robust. As already mentioned, they’re also going to raise the height of an already “less stable” optic while deleting your ability to have backup irons physically on the gun… So, not even a consideration in my opinion.

    I second the Holosun 507 C & K options in general. A cheaper but seemingly also decent alternative is Viridian’s new RFX lineup, which I actually like (ooo polymer, scary lol). Can’t go wrong with Trijicon too… people seem to either love or hate the Vortex RDSs…

    Good luck. Share your results, Free!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Pistol "optics" recommendation for S&W M&P 9MM

    Sounds like you don*t have optic ready guns. Two choices, send slide to get milled for optic of choice or get a optic ready gun.

    As for optics, that*s a personal choice, best to look through as many as possible to see what you like.

    Trijicon RMR is no doubt the most durable of them all but didn*t work for me because of the red dot, green works better for my astigmatism so I went with holosun SCS and 509t, both have green dots and multiple dot choices like dot, dot circle like an Eotech and circle, you can choose what you like and switch whenever you want, rmr is just a dot that*s available in different MOA sizes.
    Today was a good day!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Pistol "optics" recommendation for S&W M&P 9MM

    Quote Originally Posted by ScaredOnce View Post
    I would actually recommend not going for the ACSS Vulcan style of reticles at all; I think they impart a very negative training scar. They *allow* a new RDS shooter to present the firearm poorly and then *find* the center dot/chevron* this is not a good thing. Practice your draw & presentation. The shooter shouldn*t be looking for the dot; it just appears over the target as you never break sight & focus with the target*

    Another negative is the Vulcan trains the brain to go back to that front sight/reticle-focus rather than target focus. This is actually a huge mental switch, because the new RDS optic shooter typically has been ingrained to be *front sight focused* for years before transitioning to RDS optics. If alternating between carrying pistols with RDSs and irons, I always have a dry fire session to ensure my brain is in the correct mode. After a while with practice, it switches quickly* kinda like running action shooting drills/CQB with an LPVO on a rifle then switching to a true red dot or going irons* if you do it enough, your brain switches more quickly.

    Now that I*ve just pooped all of that ACSS Vulcan gimmick* lol..

    I would definitely recommend buying a slide that*s cut for optics; the adapter plates type that slide into existing rear sight notches/etc are not very robust. As already mentioned, they*re also going to raise the height of an already *less stable* optic while deleting your ability to have backup irons physically on the gun* So, not even a consideration in my opinion.

    I second the Holosun 507 C & K options in general. A cheaper but seemingly also decent alternative is Viridian*s new RFX lineup, which I actually like (ooo polymer, scary lol). Can*t go wrong with Trijicon too* people seem to either love or hate the Vortex RDSs*

    Good luck. Share your results, Free!
    Gimmick, eh? Have you actually used one? I mean really used one? Not just picked one up and glanced through it and said "meh"? Doesn't sound like you have. The ACSS Vulcan teaches new RDS shooters to present the gun consistently. It doesn't create bad habits because after only a short bit of practice they are getting the dot on target from a draw without having to readjust or hunt. It's a fantastic training tool. I've had students who struggled with traditional red dot sights on handguns go out and buy a Holosun with the ACSS Vulcan reticle after one session. Mrs Ronin runs one on one of her competition guns. Her speed went up noticeably when she switched. And she had to be convinced because she's never liked any other RDS on a handgun.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Pistol "optics" recommendation for S&W M&P 9MM

    Quote Originally Posted by Ronin View Post
    Gimmick, eh? Have you actually used one? I mean really used one? Not just picked one up and glanced through it and said "meh"? Doesn't sound like you have. The ACSS Vulcan teaches new RDS shooters to present the gun consistently. It doesn't create bad habits because after only a short bit of practice they are getting the dot on target from a draw without having to readjust or hunt. It's a fantastic training tool. I've had students who struggled with traditional red dot sights on handguns go out and buy a Holosun with the ACSS Vulcan reticle after one session. Mrs Ronin runs one on one of her competition guns. Her speed went up noticeably when she switched. And she had to be convinced because she's never liked any other RDS on a handgun.
    Yes - I’ve used one and almost went that route early in my transition to pistol-mounted optics. But then I was given the advice I paraphrased above - it’s a gimmick that results in training scars.

    Exactly my point where you mention those struggling being able to cheat they training and improve instantly with the ACSS Vulcan “after one session”…
    No doubt - 100% it will accelerate the “perceived progress” of a shooter new to optics on their pistol. But the training scars aren’t worth it - lots to undo if they desire to improve. I would avoid them if serious about training. If just wanting to plink, it probably doesn’t matter.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Pistol "optics" recommendation for S&W M&P 9MM

    I should add… I do like the chevron idea, just not the outer fishing circle!

    If it works for you, all the better. 🥸

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