And – sigh – that’s what trifocals are for?

And that’s how you know you’re getting old, I suppose.

Maybe two months ago I stopped wearing my bifocals, which I got online and truly hate, in favor of dollar store reading glasses. At roughly the same moment, I stopped being able to shoot a pistol straight and for a while I actually blamed the pistol.

Since my cataract surgery my long-distance vision is actually very sharp. I badly need glasses for reading, where I used to be so nearsighted that my sharpest point of focus was an inch in front of my eyes. I was a funny sight, rebuilding chainsaw carburetors.

So I can count leaves on trees at 100 yards but can’t count the fingers on my hand at arm’s length. And a little farther than that is where I keep the front sight on my pistol.


This morning, after a very fitful seven hours of sleep…


…and after all the usual morning Tobie-related stuff, I finally did what I’ve been promising for a couple of weeks but kept letting other things get in the way: I dusted off my bifocals, took them and a box of commercial cowboy action ammo and a paper target to my driveway target stand, and…


Sigh…it’s not the gun. It’s definitely not the gun.

Even so, I’m thinking very seriously of joining the 21st century. My model 69 will take an adapter plate for a red dot, and I’ve about decided I want one. Problem being I have no experience with mounting one on a pistol and I can just about afford to do it once. So a logistical mistake would be disastrous. Analysis paralysis has set in hard.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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15 Responses to And – sigh – that’s what trifocals are for?

  1. Ed says:

    Amateur astronomers use red dots a lot, so they can be gotten dirt cheap – every crappy department store scope comes with one…

    I’d suggest one of those and futz around with baling wire and duct tape and a hack saw, until you know what you want, exactly.

  2. Klaus says:

    I say go for it. As long as you don’t have a astigmatism your accuracy will improve for sure. My FIL put a Burris Fastfire I believe on his 629 and swears by it. Now saying that a holster may or may not be an issue for you as his is really just a nightstand gun and not carried.

  3. Joel says:

    …a holster may or may not be an issue…

    That’s the next thing, yeah, but I’m pretty sure I can cut down my current holster without much trouble.

  4. 1chota says:

    I had he optometrist let me bring in my pistol and then look the lenses to where I could see the front sight. It was 0.50 diopter. I use those and can see down range also. I still can see 20/20 with my right eye distant vision and 20/40 with the left. Makes shooting fun again.
    If you decide to go with the red dot you are going to have to change the way you shoot. The red dot is to be superimposed on the target while you focus on the target, not the red dot. it takes a little getting used to.

  5. Robert says:

    You sissies. Try a red dot with one eye. Good luck, Joel.

  6. Paul B says:

    I have both red and green. I like the green better. It is harder to keep the gun on target, but I am getting used to it. Red can be harder to see. I think the lasers are better as that puts the dot on the target. Still I am sure you will find something, but it would be better to find some who has one and try it first. Ian comes to mind but being a hermit and all I doubt you have many other people on your range.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Remember the old trick-shot cowboys, like the guy who put over 1000 bullets into 2″ pine blocks tossed into the air?
    Shoot like that and you’ll be fine.

  8. Mark Matis says:

    Perchance does your neighbor, “Gun Jesus”, have red dot experience? If so, might you be able to ask his assistance with the subject?

  9. Mike says:

    Like a schizophrenic, I’m of two minds about red dot scopes. I like them because they are easy to use, make for very fast target acquisition. I hate them because of the electronics & forgetting to turn them off. 🙂 That being said, most of today’s red dots have auto shutoffs and other wonderful do-dads that will serve you well.

    Two things to consider: if you choose a Holographic Sight, remember that the glass is exposed and will get dirty and be scratched easily, so care must be taken. And, you get what you pay for, so buy the best you can afford because your life may depend upon it..

    Mark Matis had a great idea, have a chat with Ian. With his experience I doubt he would steer you wrong and with his contacts, he may be able to get you a deal.

  10. tiredWeasel says:

    i think a Burris FastFire III would be a good choice. I know that they can handle the recoil AND they come with a goofy looking but in your case practical cover that protects the sight from dirt, dust and bumps but still allows you to use it.

    There are dozens of functional red dot sights and you can not really go wrong unless you xheap out but afaik only the FastFire has a cover like that.

  11. Joel says:

    Remember the old trick-shot cowboys, like the guy who put over 1000 bullets into 2″ pine blocks tossed into the air?
    Shoot like that and you’ll be fine.

    Shoot like that and I’ll be someone completely other than myself. Unless it’s moving directly away from me I’ve always been hopeless at moving targets.

    Perchance does your neighbor, “Gun Jesus”, have red dot experience? If so, might you be able to ask his assistance with the subject?

    Actually that’s what I’m waiting on at the moment. He has promised to get back to me on the subject but this week he’s abroad doing something interesting.

  12. DavidH says:

    Just a thought — if you have an astigmatism like I do, red dots don’t work. I’ve never mounted one on a pistol, but I had to go with a prism sight for my rifle. The astigmatism makes a normal red dot “dot” a blurry mess.

    I grabbed one from Vortex — I would caution that prisms are more expensive, but have the advantage of actually being something I can use.

  13. MikeS says:

    Mastering Jim Cirillo’s Technique For Coarse-Aim Shooting – Gun Digest
    This is worth considering as an alternative handgun skill.

  14. Mark Matis says:

    Was Gun Jesus able to help you?

  15. Joel says:

    No, he hasn’t gotten back to me yet. I’m preparing to carry on in hopes of getting it right.

To the stake with the heretic!