For handgun optic users. Is it better to use an optic plate or mount directly?
This is an interesting question to answer.
Here are some guidelines to follow:
It's always better to direct mount an optic to a handgun slide if possible to have the securest mount to hold zero.
These are form fitted slide cut for a specific optic for non optic ready slides. A good slide cut should feature index posts and recoil posts (4 points of contact) to mount the optic in place without shifting in either directions.
- Be sure to clean the slide cut and threads and surface with acetone to remove debris or oil before preceding
- Apply just a little bit of blue thread loctite on the screws
- Hand tight the screw first, then check for any loose fit
- If everything is tight, torque the screw down to the recommended torque spec
- Draw index witness line cross the screw onto the optic, to check if torque h
Note: Threaded posts or ZEV posts provide extra depth to thread the screws.
Some optic plates are great and some are not so great.
There are different types:
- Filler plate
- Adapter plate
- Dovetail plate (Not recommended at all)
- Clamp mount (Holosun 509T or Aimpoint ACRO)
A good quality optic plate should have tight tolerance as if it's fitted for a specific optic, and it should feature index posts to provide additional points of contact.
Bottom index posts lock onto the slide and top index posts hold the optic to prevent shifting.
Some optic plates are just filler plates to raise the optic ever so slightly to accommodate the screw length, but some don't lock in place and they can slip to lose zero.
Lastly, some optic ready handgun slides are simply not well designed such as the Walther PDP , where the threads aren't deep enough to secure the optic. (CHPWS offers PDP 2.0 mill cut)
Here are some good places to buy aftermarket optic plates:
- Dawson Precision
Aftermarket Optic Ready Slides
Some users prefer directly mounting an optic to the slide without the hassle of sending in their OEM slides to get milled, and wait 4 - 6 weeks.
As the content creator of badassoptic.com, My background in the firearms industry and shooting sports gives me the experience to recommend tried and true products and keep away subpar ones.