Instead of posting a lengthy thought, I decided to write a more fluent response, as his question was one that I commonly hear, everywhere, and is just the tip of a very big iceberg. Here is my response.
Your thoughts seem to be very on track with how I would train if I were new. Stick to the irons, learn to shoot with them before you get MRDs (Micro/Mini Red Dots). You will learn with both, but it is important to learn with irons and not skip it for an MRD. Once you have accomplished this, shooting with an MRD will teach you, also, but not vice versa.twospoonsTN wrote:Oh, I had plenty of fliers I was going to use my pre 64 silver quarters for reference.. But maybe next time
Do you guys recommend getting a red dot? If so, what is a good brand? I figured since I'm pretty "new" to pistol shooting I'd stick with the regular sights for a while.
Also, if in a couple of years or so if I wanted to get into competition shooting are there any rules against red dot sights?
I guess what I'm trying to do is avoid bad habits (I got plenty of those in my golf game).
Many shooters do not want to put in the work necessary to become proficient with irons, especially when shooting competitions. They get frustrated and think that they "should" be on the same level as someone who has been practicing the craft for a much longer time and is much more experienced. This is very common in competition (and in the shooting world, in general), especially because of the male ego; they do not want to look bad in front of everyone, when they shoot. Some also just do not want to shoot with production pistols with heavier 5lb+ trigger pulls. After all, everyone knows it's much more fun shooting with a light trigger! (This is sarcasm). So they purchase expensive guns that have 1lb triggers and red dots mounted. And they do a lot better with them, very often.
But it's the shooter, not the gear (After all, it's in my signature below). Hand them a stock Glock or XD, or S&W or any production pistol and they usually can't be accurate with it at practical speed because they did not put the effort to learn the (IMO) correct way. I use competition as a vehicle to train to be proficient in practical situations, such as CHL/CCW; using a carry pistol. Thus, I shoot a stock platform with a 5lb trigger and irons. This does not mean you can't carry a pistol with a 1lb trigger and red dot sights. I know someone that I respect a lot, who does (he trained with irons, previously). But if you don't have one with you and had to shoot the a regular stock gun, it is most likely going to be a production gun with iron sights. In this situation, as we say here in Texas, "You'd better darn well know how to use it!" That is why I believe you should cross-train to be proficient with any platform.
Look at it this way. I believe it is important to learn practical skills, even in a life surrounded by modern conveniences and laziness. One of those skills is fire-building. You can always learn to build a fire with a lighter. And sure, if you own a lighter, you can carry it anywhere you go. But I believe you should learn to build a fire with nothing but sticks and other objects you can find in nature. A person who knows how to build a fire with sticks can easily build a fire using a lighter. However, a person who was too lazy to learn to build a fire with sticks and made the excuse that he would always have his lighter available can never build a fire with just sticks. And one day, his lighter will run out, break in a fall, and he will find himself cold and without ability.
I had a friend that started shooting action pistol the same time I started (2.5 years ago). After his first match, he bought a $3000 custom pistol with irons. After a month he sold that, and bought a $5000 pistol with a red dot. He told me that the $3000 pistol just "didn't work for him". What I heard was, "I'm too lazy to learn to be good with a production pistol or even a custom pistol with iron sights, and I want a shortcut". He was extremely frustrated that he could not be classified with the "top" guys in the short amount of time he shot practically. His reasoning was that he had been shooting ever since he was a kid, so even though he was knew to practical action shooting, he should be as good as the top guys.
What he did and does not understand is that you can't jump to become a proficient and well-rounded shooter in just a few matches. He does well with his $5000 pistol with a red dot, but if his gun broke and he had to use a replacement that someone lent him at the match, could he shoot it? (His gun did break at a match. More than once). As for myself, I very often borrow guns to shoot at matches, because I have very kind and generous friends that lend me their guns (Also, because I'm poor and break everything. Which is an unfriendly combination of traits.) I am able to cross-train with a variety of platforms. And I have used MRDs and 1lb triggers. They are very fun to shoot and I do well with them. But my active goal for myself in shooting is not to be the best competition shooter. It is to be the best practical shooter. This means that I have to train harder than most competition shooters to overcome the mechanical barriers (like a 5lb, long trigger pull). I want to be so proficient with a stock pistol that I am able to consistently out-shoot and out-match shooters using 1lb triggers on custom pistols (and I have). I don't just want to be "good enough" with a stock pistol.
Let me end my post with this thought;
The best shooter of our time, known to man, goes by the name of Jerry Miculek. He trains daily, with many different platforms. He has won many competitions, over and over again, consistently beating out other top shooters that are at the top of their craft, even in the world. He is the best shooter, and an extremely consistent shooter. I've seen him shoot in person, and have immense respect for him, as a person. Not just as a shooter, but as an athlete and a person. He's almost 60 years old, but goes out and works extremely hard. He is never stagnant.
He also can outshoot top shooters who use 1lb triggers and red dot sights, with a stock revolver or a revolver with a 10lb trigger pull. You say, "No way! That's humanly impossible!" But he has. Many times.
On the last stage of the LaRue 3Gun nationals on the third day of shooting, when many shooters were tired, cranky, and ready to be done with, I watched Jerry shoot his last stage, and the last stage of the match to be shot. After listening to the RO declare that he had scored the highest score and lowest time out of the entire 430+ competitors, none of us there were surprised; only in admiration. I walked up to him and complimented him, then gave him a high-five. Some top-shooters won't give you the time of day. Jerry isn't one of them. He's a friendly character and down-to-earth. I thought, "I'm just a nobody and Jerry was kind enough to talk to me + high-five?" I walked away that day with a smile and even more respect for him as a person and shooter.
A 1lb trigger and red dot can help a good shooter shoot with more ease and less work. A good shooter never needs a 1lb trigger, a red dot sight, or other mechanical advantages to take the place of skill and hard work.
Disclaimer for people who always get offended at anything I say:
Not everyone holds the same mindset as I do, or has the same goals in cross-training to become proficient. And that's fine, you don't have to.