Why this gun maker takes a different approach to red dot sight systems for law enforcement

Sponsored by Walther

By Victor Masters for Police1 BrandFocus

As law enforcement officers, we rely on everyone’s expertise, training and experience day in and day out to get home safely at the end of our shifts. It is therefore natural that we have confidence in this same expertise, training and experience of a company that has recruited the best of our fellow officers to develop the next generation of firearms and accessories for law enforcement. .


Scott “Jedi” Jedlinski is a professional firearms instructor and one of the elite professionals who advises Walther as part of their defense division. (Walther Defense Division)

Walther’s commitment to law enforcement directly led to the development of the Walther Defense Division. the Walther Weapons Defense Division is a group of highly trained and experienced law enforcement officers from across the country who bring decades of law enforcement experience to the team. Their expertise has been leveraged by providing Walther Engineers with invaluable input in the research and development of Walther pistols and accessories specifically designed for the rigors of law enforcement.

Police work is constantly evolving, as is the training, equipment and expectations of law enforcement officers nationwide. Gone are the days of an officer marching with a revolver, a baton and a pair of handcuffs. In their place, semi-automatic guns, TASERs, body cameras, tablets, smartphones and other technologies designed to improve speed and efficiency have become commonplace.

Many of these changes are the result of new and updated technology, which has often emerged from research and development in the military and private sector. Technologies such as gun rails, gun mounted lamps, lasers, night sights and service holsters capable of meeting the durability and retention requirements of law enforcement officers nationwide have all led to the development of red dot sight systems for law enforcement.

The evolution of red dot sights

RDS systems are by no means new. For several decades, RDS systems can be found on military and law enforcement rifles, and they have been popular with competitive pistol shooters for years.

RDS systems on pistols were primarily used by competitive shooters for their ability to increase speed, target acquisition, and accuracy. Until a few years ago, seeing an RDS system on a service pistol carried by a uniformed law enforcement officer would have been a very rare occurrence, often reserved only for SWAT operators. Today, it is not uncommon to see patrol officers carrying a service pistol equipped with an RDS system and, in some cases, entire services enforcing its use.

So what has changed for law enforcement to adapt such technology?

Red dot sights offer a number of benefits, including improved speed and accuracy, which can potentially increase agent safety and reduce the number of mistaken shots. Nationwide law enforcement agencies have recognized the benefits of RDS and have begun to switch from iron sights to RDS. Reduced liability, increased confidence in firearm proficiency, and increased accuracy for new and veteran officers are all positive results for agencies that have switched to RDS pistols like the Walther PDP.

Departments that have adopted RDS systems for the use of service pistols have taken the first step towards adopting technology that provides their officers with the tools they need to effectively protect themselves and members of the public. This change requires officers to adapt to the ergonomics of the service weapon to accommodate the red dot sight as well as undergo training to successfully switch from using iron sights to sights to Red point.

Why a suitable mounting platform, ergonomics are important

Rather than modifying the RDS to suit the pistol via modifications or adapters, the Walther Defense Division designed the PDP gun slide specifically for RDS systems. This development provides the end user with a gun specifically designed to accommodate RDS versus vice versa. The grip angle is also designed with RDS in mind to allow for a good grip to quickly adapt to RDS.

A proper gun mounting platform to secure the RDS system to the gun slide makes all the difference in accuracy and reliability. If the RDS system is not rugged enough and cannot be properly mounted on a pistol slide to withstand the rigors of being pulled from a holster, the slide rack repeatedly and components, then even the systems The most expensive RDS will become dangerous, unreliable and unusable.

Owning a gun like the Walther PDP, made with proper mounting platform and ergonomics specially designed for RDS system, can mean the difference between life and death for law enforcement officers and civilians. It can also speed up the transition for those switching from traditional sights to RDS systems.

RDS training is crucial

As with any new technology, the Walther Defense Division recognized the need to do more than just offer new and innovative products. Coaching plays a crucial role in all aspects of law enforcement. Officers switching from iron sights to RDS systems must undergo initial familiarization training and be qualified with the new system.

Training is so crucial that the National Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors Association (FLEFIA) recommends that any officer switching to an RDS system complete a minimum of 16 to 20 hours of initial familiarization training.

With the invention of iron sights, shooters moved away from the traditional form of aiming based on simply aiming their weapon in the direction of the target and focusing on the target, not the sights. The iron sights forced us to focus on our front sight, with the target being something dark and out of focus in the background. While this can be an effective way to shoot when there is time to slowly correct the alignment of your sight, in a real life or death situation where even a fraction of a second counts, the rapid acquisition of vision. target and the rapid firing of precise bullets downstream and at the target to stop a threat is of the utmost importance.

RDS systems bring us back to focusing on the target, not the sight. This transition can initially be a frustrating change for officers who switch to iron sights after years of doing the opposite. The Walther Defense Division understands this frustration and has worked to incorporate ergonomics specifically designed for RDS systems into their designs of law enforcement pistols. Walther ergonomics on pistols like the PDP are built to allow the officer to quickly acquire the target, pick up the red dot, and accurately place shells down the target, from their initial fire to their follow-up shots.

Along with this training comes the need for experienced RDS system instructors and to train the training courses offered by law enforcement instructors in Walther’s Defense Division. Departments that allow an officer to skip or film the qualification course without any formal RDS training or bridging training set up both the officer and the agency in the event of failure and potential prosecution.

As RDS is a relatively new technology for law enforcement, it is imperative that departments have a firearms cadre that includes certified instructors to teach their colleagues how to properly use an RDS system. Additional considerations include departmental policy (or lack thereof) for the use of the RDS system, the schedule for an RDS system transition course, and continuing education specifically geared towards RDS systems, such as failure drills. system, malfunction drills, etc.

Successful transition

Have a gun like the Walther PDP, specially designed by law enforcement officers for law enforcement officers, allows officers and their agencies to rest assured that they are using a high quality firearm specifically designed for RDS use for the sake of safety. A frame specifically designed for an RDS system, the specific handle angle and other ergonomic considerations have all been designed with input from seasoned police officers in the best interests of their colleagues.

The incorporation of RDS training trained firearms instructors like those in Walther’s Defense Division, who helped create the PDP for RDS systems, further ensure that the departments and officers who select the PDP receive the resources and appropriate training to successfully transition from iron sights to an RDS-ready service pistol.

Visit Walther Defense Division to learn more about the elite people who provide valuable advice and expertise to Walther.

Read more: Why this Florida agency went from a .40 caliber to a 9mm Walther

About the Author

Victor Masters is an active-duty police officer for a West Washington Municipal Police Department. He began his career in 2010 with the US Border Patrol in El Centro, California. He has served as a patrol officer, forensic artist, intelligence officer and public affairs officer. Since 2016, he has been assigned as a public information officer and recruiter

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