Reflex sights, whether rail- or slide-mounted, have become very popular in action-shooting games. That fact—plus their complex assembly of lenses, batteries, electronics and mounts—also makes them the equipment most prone to malfunction at a match.
That’s not a knock on reflex sights. However, malfunctions do happen. But a simple kit can quickly “un-malf” them.
Dirty lenses cause problems. And no matter how clean they were when we left for the match, oil or powder blow back, fogging or an errant finger during the match can foul them. A small microfiber lens cloth and a LensPen can quickly make them pristine again.
Spare batteries for each sight should also be carried. If needed, they’ll save your match.
A strip of duct tape can quickly identify the right tool, and can be a life-saver if a small wrench is dropped into the grass.
Screws can loosen, and a wobbly sight will trash a score. Appropriate wrenches and screwdrivers should be carried for all screws associated with the mount, battery compartment and sight adjustments. We could wish that manufacturers would settle on one size for all, but they don’t. That can result in a lot of tools. A small tab of silver duct tape applied to the shaft and marked with a Sharpie can quickly identify the tool you need.
There’s another advantage to using tape. Adjustments to a firearm are always performed at a Safe Handling area. These are often tables set up on the grass at the side of the range. Dropping a small, black Allen wrench into thick grass will provide a totally new understanding of the phrase “Where’s Waldo?” But, silver tape makes them easy to find.
Even with the above tools on hand, a sight can still die beyond range repair. A spare sight will let you continue the match. It doesn’t have to be the same model if it’s a Picatinny mount. The primary sight on my Steel Challenge RFRO gun is a SIG Romeo3 Max. The back-up sight is a Burris FastFire III. It’s been on the gun and zeroed. I have removed and re-installed it and there is virtually no point-of-impact shift. It keeps me close enough for Steel, and it’s quick to install. The key is placing it on the same spot on the rail where it was zeroed. A few marks on the rail with a silver Sharpie makes that easy.
Marking the rail position will allow a previously zeroed sight to be re-installed with virtually no POI shift.
With a direct slide mount, the replacement sight must use the same mounting footprint. My Carry Optics gun uses a Trijicon SRO. The back-up is a Trijicon RMR with the same mount footprint and screws. Once zeroed and removed, it’s close enough when re-installed to get me through a match.
This kit can easily be carried in a quart-sized Ziploc bag, and takes up little room in a range bag. And no matter what ails your reflex, the Rx will be at hand.