What does Co-witnessing a Red Dot Sight Mean and How to do It

There are tons of benefits to using a red dot. For one, you can acquire targets much more quickly. On top of that, you don’t need to worry about “parallax error.” In other words, moving your eye won’t change where a red dot points, which is not the case with irons. But what if we told you there was a way that you could make your red dot sight even more reliable? As a matter of fact, there is: cowitnessing. In this post, we’re going to look at what co-witnessing a red dot sight means and how to do it.

What is Co-witnessing a Red Dot Sight?

When you co-witness a red dot, you’re trying to put it in line with the front and rear iron sights of your firearm. There are several different benefits to co-witnessing a red dot. First and foremost, co-witnessing allows you to use your iron sights as a backup in case something happens to your red dot. Sure, red dots are reliable and durable. But if shit really hits the fan, you don’t want a piece of broken equipment to be the difference between life and death.

It’s important to note that you don’t actually need to cowitness your red dot sights. That would add another level of complexity to aiming your pistol. You’d have to line up not just the front and rear sights, but also the red dot as well. One of the reasons red dots are so useful is that you can acquire a target quickly. So don’t worry – if you haven’t co-witnessed your red dot, you can still use it to aim.

Staccato XL

How do I Co-witness a Red Dot Sight on My Handgun?

Co-witnessing a pistol isn’t the same as co-witnessing a rifle. Pistol red dots are still a fairly new innovation, so there’s significantly fewer purpose-made parts for co-witnessing a pistol than a rifle. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done, though.

For the most part, any red dot that you add to a pistol will be too high up to allow for co-witnessing with standard pistol sights. In general, you can approach this problem in one of two ways.

Custom Milling

First, you can send your slide to get custom-milled. There are tons of companies that will do this. Just tell them that you want to mill a footprint that’s low enough to allow for co-witnessing. You’ll also need to tell them exactly which type of red dot sight you’re planning on using.

Staccato P

Suppressor Height Sights

While that may be one solution, it’s not the best choice for some of us. For example, say that you bought an optics-ready pistol. It’ll already have a footprint for a red dot, but it won’t be low enough for co-witnessing.

To solve this problem, you could add suppressor-height sights to your gun. These are similar to typical iron sights, except that they sit higher up to give a shooter a sight picture over a silencer. In a happy coincidence, they’re also high enough to provide a co-witness for pistol red dots.

Staccato P 2011

One other thing to think about when adding a red dot to your pistol is your holster. Chances are, you’re going to need to pick up a new custom gun holster to fit your shiny new red dot. That’s where Southern Trapper can help. To learn more, check out our complete line of holsters here.

Staccato 2011 Holster

Shop All Holsters Here