Use Optic Plate Or Direct Mounting? [Pistol Red Dots]

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  • Post category:Scope Mounts
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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:

Direct Mount

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.

Optic Plate

Some optic plates are great and some are not so great. 

walther pdp chpws 509t plate

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.

fn509 ls edge optic ready slide cut

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.

springfield hellcat slide mounting

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:

  • CHPWS 
  • Dawson Precision
  • DPP

Aftermarket Optic Ready Slides

norsso glock slide

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.

Now, there are many companies making these optic ready slides that are ready to ship. Most full size and compact gun slides are cut for Trijicon RMR or DeltaPoint Pro

brownells glock 43 rmrcc slide

Subcompact gun slides are mostly cut for RMSc or Trijicon RMRcc

No sending in your OEM slide, No lead time, No wait.

Our favorite places to buy them are:

Brownells

OpticsPlanet

ZEV

Norsso 

Zaffiri Precision