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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spokane County Sheriff’s Office getting new red dot sights for handguns

The Spokane County Courthouse and jail are seen in 2019. Sheriff’s Office deputies are getting new sights for their Glock handguns.  (Jesse Tinsley/The Spokesman-Review)

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office is getting new sights for its handguns.

The County Commission last week unanimously approved the purchase of 120 red dot sights for the Sheriff’s Office’s Glocks. The county will buy the Trijicon-brand sights from Clyde Armory in Athens, Georgia, for $53,000.

Undersheriff Kevin Richey said many law enforcement agencies throughout the country are transitioning to red dot sights.

“We’re modernizing our weapons platform to be consistent with what modern technology is,” Richey said.

For hundreds of years, handgun users have relied on iron sights. They aren’t fancy. A shooter simply lines up the metal markers on the front and rear of the gun when pointing at a target.

Iron sights work, and many shooters prefer them even when red dot sights are an option. But Richey said red dot sights are better in several ways.

With a red dot sight, the shooter looks at the target through a transparent lens, a bit like how a photographer looks through a camera’s viewfinder.

A small, battery-powered light shines a red dot onto the lens. When the shooter peers through, the dot is superimposed on the target.

Richey said red dot sights make it easier for deputies to continuously keep their eyes on threats. With iron sights, deputies have to periodically refocus on the tip of their gun’s barrel.

“Since the dawn of time in shooting firearms in law enforcement, the training for marksmanship has been to focus on the front sight,” Richey said. “If you’re focusing on the front sight, you’re not focusing on the threat, so the threat gets blurry.”

The Sheriff’s Office has allowed deputies to use red dot sights in the past, but the agency is only now issuing them to officers. Richey said deputies may stick with iron sights if they prefer.