Pistol Red Dot Optics: Optics Ready Slides or Custom Slide Milling?

Optic Ready Systems vs Slide Cuts

Several red dot optic mounting systems.

Pistol optics have become increasingly popular among gun owners in recent years, with many choosing to mount a red dot sight on their pistol for increased accuracy, faster target acquisition, or to remedy the struggles of picking up iron sights with depreciating eyesight. However, not all pistols come with the features to directly mount an optic, so end users have to choose between buying an optic ready system or getting their slide cut for a specific optic. In this article, we’ll compare the two options and help you decide which one is right for you.

Optic Ready Systems

Glock’s MOS (Modular Optic System) shown with a mounting plate ready for an optic to be mounted.

Optic ready systems are pistols that come direct from the factory with a mounting platform for a general selection of optics. These general slide cuts require an additional adapter or mounting plate to the specific optic you decide to mount to your slide, however you can always swap the plate out if you want to switch to a different optic. 

Optic ready systems have several advantages over slide cuts. For starters, they are often more versatile and able to accommodate a wider range of optics and mounting options. Optic ready systems are also easier to install, since they are ready for an optic right out the box and don’t require any modifications to the slide or frame.

Different mounting/adapter plates for optic ready systems.

Slide Cuts

RMR cut shown on a Glock slide

Slide cuts are modifications made to the slide of a pistol to allow for the installation of an optic. There are many different slide cuts available, each designed to accommodate a specific type of optic or mounting system. Some of the most common slide cuts include the RMR cut, which is designed to accommodate the popular Trijicon and Holosun red dot offerings, the DeltaPoint Pro cut, made to accommodate the DeltaPoint Pro red dot sights, and the ACRO cut, made to fit a popular closed emitter mounting system. 

Slide cuts also have their own unique advantages over optic ready systems. Slide cuts can be cheaper than buying an optic ready system, since you don’t have to pay for the optic ready mark-up, and additional mounting plates you may need. Custom slide cuts also allow you to choose the exact slide cut that matches your preferred optic eliminating the need for an extra plate and an extra pair of screws that can become extra tolerances to stack. Finally, direct slide optic cuts often have a lower profile allowing the optic to sit deeper in the slide without any additional plates stacking up.


Which option is right for you?

Both optic ready systems and slide cuts have their advantages and disadvantages, and the choice ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences. Optic ready systems are generally more versatile and can make a great choice for someone who likes to switch optics, while slide cuts require you to get your slide milled but allow your optic to sit lower and more secure in the optic cut. Whichever option you may choose, make sure you have a qualified gunsmith install your optic to ensure it is mounted correctly and torqued to spec. 

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