Duane “Buck” Buckner, Aimpoint’s US Director of Training, discusses the advantages of using a red dot sight.

He covers working with your biology to stay threat focused, confirmation versus aiming, and presenting a red dot.

Making the Most of Your Tools
By: Duane “Buck” Buckner

The greatest value of a tool is its ability to extend the efforts of the user.

It’s interesting how often we, as the user, complicate an implement past its ability to do that.

Red dot sights are no different than any other tool in that sense. It’s possible to use them in such a way that increases our presence “at the gun” versus “at the target.” I’m referring to threat focus here. This is our very natural tendency to concentrate whatever perceptive powers that we have remaining…on whatever it is that’s causing us alarm or fear. Imagine a tiger emerging from the long grass. Everything in you would be concentrated on that danger.

Making the most of your tools

Iron sights require us to abandon that deep biological urge, so that we can develop an accurate aiming solution. Red dot sights allow us to maintain threat focus…if we agree to it.


When a shooter mounts a weapon fitted with a red dot sight and reflexively focal shifts back to the dot itself, they are converting (at least partially) the dot into a set of iron sights. What they are doing is likely responding to a trained habit that requires them to “negotiate” with the gun to achieve a spatial solution (aiming the gun).


Not only is this not necessary, but it also reduces one of the greatest attributes of the tool.


Red dot sights are designed to do much of that very taxing work for you. So, in essence…the dot focused shooter is doing the work that they hired someone else to do. That should resonate with all of us.


Let’s talk more about how taxing it is. As we discussed above, the human brain doesn’t want to look away from the danger. We want to fixate on it so that we can use what information we find there to make a very simple (and hopefully quick) decision. There is a reason shoot house role players wear thick gloves. Very often the shooters focus on the gun in their hand and shoot it…and their fingers. That is our biology. Working against it takes a substantial amount of training and sometimes…as in our red dot sight example, it doesn’t do us any favors.


In order to make the most of a red dot sight we have to work less. This should be an easy sell for most of us then. We have to let go of the negotiation that we are accustomed to and concentrate on the target. This is where the decisions are being made anyway. Not at the gun. The red dot equipped rifle or pistol should then be presented as neutrally as we can or as close to that as we can achieve. This will bring the dot over the target and tell the shooter…very simply…that they can shoot.


This is using a red dot sight to its greatest effect as a tool. It simplifies rather than complicates and removes work from the user…as long as that user cooperates.

Author Bio

Duane “Buck” Buckner

Duane “Buck” Buckner

After spending 25 years in the USCG, Duane “Buck” Buckner is now the U.S. Director of Training for Aimpoint. The Aimpoint Training Division conducts training courses for military and law enforcement agencies up to the Federal level as well as for the prepared civilian. Buck is widely known for his emphasis on brain psychology as it relates to combat and survival.


Posted by Duane Buckner, Aimpoint US Director of Training on Mar 31st 2022