The Ruger ReadyDot was released earlier this year around the time of NRAAM 2023 to a lot of controversy, and skepticism – and for good reason. It’s blatantly clear that red dot-equipped pistols are quickly becoming the norm within both the competitive and defensive handgun shooting world – if they in fact haven’t already. One of the major advantages that red dots offer to a lot of shooters is a better sight picture overall – especially if you have degraded eyesight. As you start to age, your eyesight tends to get worse and this is why it’s the belief of Scott Jedlinski, a prominent red dot-focused pistol instructor, that going to the red dot will be an eventuality rather than an option if you want to keep shooting as you get older. Beyond that, red dots on pistols offer all shooters a distinct advantage over iron sights in that red dots provide you with a single focal plane sight picture versus a three focal plane sight picture with a set of iron sights (target, front sight, rear sights). In short, it’s an easier way to positively ID a threat while having your sights already on the target. I tend to agree with pretty much all of this and also think that red dots are in fact, the way of the future in terms of what is “normal.” However, red dots often have a lot of drawbacks for newer or uninitiated shooters. First, they’re quite complex to learn not just how to shoot when transitioning over from iron sights, but they’re also quite complex to zero, and there are so many red dots out there that it’s hard sometimes for even seasoned shooters to know what new red dot that has just hit the market will fit which gun – enter the Ruger RedyDot. Today we’ll check out the ReadyDot and see how it performs under a variety of shooting situations to see where it fits in within the pistol red dot world.
More from Ruger @ TFB:
TFB Review: The Ruger ReadyDot – It’s Not As Bad As You Think
The Ruger® ReadyDot™ Optic is an easy-to-use micro reflex sight system designed to co-witness on Ruger’s MAX-9® pistol. It fits a variety of EDC compact handguns with Shield RMSc footprints and can be co-witnessed to back up iron sights. The profile and shape were designed to provide visual guidance for fast target acquisition and EDC capability.
Product Link: https://shopruger.com/Ruger-ReadyDot-Optic/productinfo/90742/
The Ruger ReadyDot instantly piqued my interest after I saw what Ruger was trying to do with it. As a competitive handgun shooter, I’m pretty familiar with a wide variety of red dots and my initial gut reaction to the ReadyDot is that it would be far too unrefined and probably wildly inconsistent between handguns making it nearly useless. After speaking with Brandon Trevino at NRAAM 2023, both myself and Hop’s minds were slightly changed as we learned that Ruger’s goal with the ReadyDot was to provide a worry-free simple solution to people who might want to run a red dot optic on their home defense or concealed carry pistol. With a price of right at $100, I figured it was worth a try so we ordered one from Ruger and got to work testing it.
The Ruger ReadyDot comes complete with all of its own hardware and is patterned after the RMSc footprint – basically the same as every other optic designed for micro-compact 9mm pistols like the Ruger MAX-9 of which the ReadyDot is specifically designed for – at least according to Ruger. I don’t actually own a Ruger MAX-9 pistol so I instead opted to try it out first on both my Taurus GX4 as well as my GX4XL pistols – both of which have the same mounting footprint as the MAX-9.
The ReadyDot seems to find itself just as at home as it would eventually be on Hop’s Ruger MAX-9. I took it out for a quick range session a day or two after I mounted the ReadyDot to my GX4, but my initial feelings were still that it would have some significant drawbacks simply because of how huge the dot was – it’s 15 MOA which is about the same size as a front dot on most traditional iron sights.
As far as overall footprint goes, the ReadyDot is fairly small, and you shouldn’t have any issues concealing it with any of the currently available optics-ready micro-compact 9mm pistols out there. It sits fairly low, and is also mounted low enough that it will give you a nice co-witness with either your existing iron sights or through the use of the included notch at the back of the optic which aligns with the front sight of your pistol – this also has the added benefit of serving as a redundant option in case you find yourself shooting from indoors (dark) to outdoors (bright) and therefore do not have enough light from the fiber optic coil to power the dot sufficiently. Irons will still always work in this situation.
Since I was told that the sight was meant for around 7-yard engagements, I decided to start off at that range using the GX4 and the ReadyDot. What I found is that under slow fire you could be fairly consistent and the rounds more or less would wind up hitting in the center of where the dot was aimed, if not just a bit high at a distance of 10 yards. What’s even more interesting is that based on where in the window you placed the dot itself seemed to slightly change the point of impact from the point of aim – this could be because of the spherical shape of the lens, however, impacts weren’t missed at distances of about 10 yards an in even with the dot centered in the window.
This carried over from the GX4 to the Ruger MAX-9, and for what it’s worth, Hop and I saw no significant differences in accuracy or point of impact shift when using the ReadyDot with different guns and similar ammunition – it seems that although the ReadyDot was designed to be used specifically on the MAX-9, it also works just as well on other micro-compact 9mm pistols.
At greater distances of about 20 yards or more, the ReadyDot starts to show clear signs of inconsistency and the lack of a more refined (smaller) dot makes it difficult to hit or sometimes even see smaller targets. A smaller 8″ plate at about 20 yards is roughly the same size as the Ruger ReadyDot’s amber dot making it a challenge. On a silhouette steel target, hits are still possible, you just have to either aim a little low (think about three or so inches) or simply bury the dot into the bottom of the window so that it more closely aligns with the front sight and you’ll be on target and shooting groups about 3 inches or so in size depending on your marksmanship. It seems like Ruger’s claim that this thing is designed to work at around the 7-yard range holds mostly true.
I personally would not want to carry this red dot, however, that doesn’t mean I don’t like it – in fact, I like the ReadyDot a lot for what it actually does and I could see it being a great option for those on a budget, or those who are either new or unfamiliar with red dots and want an easy way to get into the concept before deciding whether or not they want to step it up into some of the more complex options like the Vortex CCW Defender, or even the Holosun 507K series of red dot optics.
If I was king of the Ruger ReadyDot development team, I think I’d try to make a smaller dot version of this, if making a smaller dot is even possible while maintaining the accuracy portion of things. This might be impossible due to minor differences between each pistol and the 15-MOA dot choice could simply be what Ruger needed to do to ensure that no matter what, a round would land somewhere within that 15-MOA dot when aimed at a target that was about 7 yards away.
At the level of shooting and red dot understanding that I am at, the Ruger ReadyDot is far too crude of a tool for me but if it was all I had for EDC, I would at least be confident at about 10 yards or maybe even more on a man-sized target during the day or even some lower light situations – it certainly won’t win me any accuracy competitions but if your goal is to just have something that will give you an edge in a defensive shooting situation, and you’re not a fan of having to zero or change batteries on your EDC red dot, maybe the ReadyDot is the perfect budget option for you.
As always, I’d like to hear your thoughts and comments below. Do you feel like Ruger’s first entry into the red dot market is worth its $99 price tag? Furthermore, is the ReadyDot even worth considering for use as a defensive CCW accessory? Let us know what you think!
TL;DR Pros and Cons
- Very affordable at just $100
- Small overall footprint allowing it to be concealed easily with micro-compact 9mm pistols
- Mounts to any pistol with an RMSc footprint
- Extremely lightweight
- No zeroing or other setup is required beyond mounting
- Works great at typical defensive distances
- Eliminates three-focal-plane aiming allowing for better target identification while aiming
- Dubious accuracy potential beyond close-range engagements
- An extremely large dot (15 MOA)
- Won’t work in low-light situations or when ambient light is low but target lighting is high
- Can’t be adjusted to adapt for inherent bias after mounting
- Plastic housing doesn’t exactly feel cheap but I don’t think it would withstand any real abuse
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