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Pistol Optic Selection featuring Viridian Weapon Technologies


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Viridian RFX11, RFX15, RFX25, RFX35, and RFX44
Viridian RFX11, RFX15, RFX25, RFX35, and RFX44

You don't often see dots on pistols in our videos and that's because we review guns as they come, but you may have noticed we sometimes mount a dot for a follow-up video. While I still do not recommend an optic on a carry gun for various reasons, I do enjoy them on the range and have seen how they can make learning to shoot easier for beginners and help improve performance for experienced shooters too.

                Even when we decide we want a dot, there are a lot of options out there in a seemingly ever-expanding sea of sizes and features. A while back I bought a pair of Viridian green-dot optics and after playing with them for a few months decided to try more of the line so that could breakdown some options for you in a fair way.

Why Viridian? I like their products and they have a full range to cover most needs. I’ve also noticed that their pricing is very competitive for the quality and included accessories. In short, I feel they give the best bang for the buck.

 

Things to consider:

  • ·Mounting Size. Unless you’re one of the keyboard commandos that buys a dot and then looks for a pistol to pair it with, chances are you already have a pistol and are looking for what fits best on it. Some guns come precut for a specific optic mounting footprint while others use a plate system to adapt a dot to the slide. There are merits and detriments to both methods, neither of which really matter because you already have the gun.  Find out which cut your slide has or which plates you can get and use that as the starting point for your optic search.

Both the Viridian RFX11 and RFX15 have the same footprint giving guns like the Sig P365 options.
Both the Viridian RFX11 and RFX15 have the same footprint giving guns like the Sig P365 options.

  • If you have a plate system, you’re not locked into one particular footprint, but may want to consider the dot’s total size. A dot and plate significantly wider than the slide can impact holster work or be visually less appealing if that’s a concern.

  • If you’re new to dots, these footprint names typically come from the original optic that created the pattern. Fortunately, in recent years most dot makers have begun to standardize their footprint to fit existing footprints.  Which footprint is most popular changes, but the RMR, Docter (also sometimes referred to as Vortex Venom) and Shield pattern are likely here to stay. ACRO is newer, but needed for closed-emitter dots.

  • Battery Life: I hear this being talked about quite a bit in social media. Battery life numbers are usually an estimate based on the medium or lowest setting of an optic and so may not realistically translate to real-world use. Additionally, features like the Auto Off that these Viridian optics have can extend the battery life well beyond estimates. If the dot is not moved for two minutes it shuts off but turns on again as soon as there is movement. 30,000 hours translates to 1,250 days = 178+ weeks = 44+ months.  I don’t know of many batteries that I trust that long left in their package. With these optics you don’t have to worry about battery life, just replace them annually or every other year and you’ll likely never hit the range with a dead battery. Fortunately Viridian’s dots use common 2032 and 1632 batteries.


From left to right: Viridian RFX11, RFX15, RFX25, RFX35, and RFX44
From left to right: Viridian RFX11, RFX15, RFX25, RFX35, and RFX44

  • Window Size: If you’re looking at a mounting pattern with multiple options, or have a plate system giving you options, window size and shape is something to consider.  The RFX11 and RFX15 both fit the Docter footprint but, aside from other differences mentioned below, offer a different viewing experience. Personally I find the larger windows more welcoming and easier to find the dot when pistol presentation isn’t perfect. On that note, presentation errors that result in “can’t find the dot” tend to be along the vertical axis, so taller dots can be more helpful than wider dots if you have this problem.

The plate system of the Canik Rival-S sits the Viridian RFX35 a bit high, but still very usable.
The plate system of the Canik Rival-S sits the Viridian RFX35 a bit high, but still very usable.


The primary considerations for selecting among Viridian's Green Dot Options
The primary considerations for selecting among Viridian's Green Dot Options.All are 3MOA aside from the RFX44 which is 5MOA

My thoughts on these models:


Viridian RFX11
Viridian RFX11

RFX11: The smallest and lightest, thanks to polymer construction, of our selections here. Weight is a factor not necessarily in carry comfort, but in how much mass is being added to the slide of your pistol. The lighter the better and that’s where the RFX11 shines in addition to its small overall size. Auto-adjusting red dots can be great on the range, and help keep the optic small and light, but are not my choice for defensive use. During a training course at Thunder Ranch, I was able to experience scenarios in which an auto-adjust dot can cause a struggle if there is a mismatch in ambient light between the dot’s location and the target location. If the dot is in a bright area and target in a dimly-lit area the dot may be too bright and wash out the target. In the opposite situation with low light on the dot, but bright light on the target the dot may appear too dim to easily identify.  The chances of this are amplified if you also include a light in your defensive gear setup. Notable items included in the box are a rubber optic cover, battery, picatinny mount, two sets of screws, and necessary tools.

Pricing as of 21FEB24, click links for current pricing.




Viridian RFX15 shown on an Arex Delta Gen 2 M OR, Sig P365 X Macro, and Kimber R7 Mako
Viridian RFX15 shown on an Arex Delta Gen 2 M OR, Sig P365 X Macro, and Kimber R7 Mako

Viridian RFX15
Viridian RFX15

RFX15: The same Shield footprint as the RFX15, but with a larger window and integrated rear sights. The RFX15 is slightly wider than the RFX11 which affords bigger glass and buttons for brightness control. The RFX15 is also made from 6061 T6 aluminum to resist abuse. Notable items included in the box are a rubber optic cover, battery, picatinny mount, two sets of screws, and necessary tools.


Viridian RFX25 Looking at home on the Grand Power X-Calibur Match CO and Walther PDP Match SF
Viridian RFX25 Looking at home on the Grand Power X-Calibur Match CO and Walther PDP Match SF

Viridian RFX25
Viridian RFX25

RFX25: Stepping up substantially in window size, but not in weight, the RFX25 was one of the original two Viridian optics I tried out. The large window provides a nice field of view and taller dome ample space to find the dot after recoil. This size class has a thicker “deck height” which may make cowitnessing iron sights a challenge, but also helps keep the glass up above the slide and venting gas from the ejection port. Notable items included in the box are a rubber optic cover, picatinny mount, two sets of screws, and necessary tools. The RFX25 was seen in Teya’s visit of the Grand Power X-Calibur Match CO. Notable items included in the box are a rubber optic cover, battery, picatinny mount, two sets of screws, and necessary tools.


Direct mounting to the RMR cut of the BUL Armory Axe C Hatchet allows the tall Viridian RFX35 to sit nice and low.
Direct mounting to the RMR cut of the BUL Armory Axe C Hatchet allows the tall Viridian RFX35 to sit nice and low.

Viridian RFX35
Viridian RFX35

RFX35:  The other of the two Viridian Optics that I first experimented with. Made for the popular RMR footprint, the RFX35 steps the window size up literally with a more egg-shaped window for even better dot finding/tracking while shooting. Teya first tried the RFX35 on the BUL Armory Axe C Hatchet and enjoyed it thoroughly where direct-mounting to an RMR-cut slide let the dot sit low enough to look like it belonged on the gun. Notable items included in the box are a rubber optic cover, battery, picatinny mount, two sets of screws, and necessary tools.


Viridian RFX44
Viridian RFX44

RFX44: This size pattern is new to me, but the ACRO footprint is what is mandated by these enclosed emitters smartly designed. The smartness comes from mounting the batter on top, thereby eliminating the need for optic removal to change and permitting the entire mechanism to sit lower on the gun. Sealing off the optic (and returning to the red-dot concept I used years ago in the military) helps eliminate some of the potential failures and difficulties that arise from debris blocking the emitter or landing on the back of the glass. Viridian makes adapter plates to fit this ACRO-pattern optic onto RMR, Docter, Glock MOS, Shield RMSc, and two heights of picatinny adapters. Notable items included in the box are one mount of your choice, battery, rubber optic cover, picatinny mount, two sets of screws, and necessary tools.


Do Eyes See Green Better?

Viridian tells us the color green is the most visible to the human eye. While I don't have a science or biology background, I can say that for my imprefect eyes the color green that these optics emit is very easy for me to spot and contrasts more sharply against the target backgrounds that I use. I'm aware that with dots the eye should be focused on the target and the dot overlay, but I feel more confident in where that overlay is when it stands out sharply against the target.


I hope this has helped ease selection. There are a lot of options out there and it can be intimidating. Viridian's options makes it easy, and so far they are some of the highest quality I've encountered. The green dots combined with sharper image really make a difference for me. I'm sure it's just a side effect of the curved glass, but they seem to add a slight bit of magnification to the target as well. Not enough to be disorienting, but enough to make my eye feel like it has a sharper focus on the target.


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6 Kommentare


Phillip Long
Phillip Long
25. Feb.

This actually came at a really convenient time. I recently got a Tx22 that runs on an RMSc footprint, and I have astigmatism. I got the 407k green dot, but it's just too smudged to look at. Are there any red/green dots that run on this footprint that can provide some relief for that?

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Antwort an

I don't know of anything that would help with that in the dot world, The best I can offer is the recommendation to turn the brightness down as much as you can while still being able to see the dot easily.

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Rick D
Rick D
23. Feb.

I have a Zerotech Thrive HD that I got to demo and keep (2 actually) and I use one with an RMR plate for my H&K VP9 Tactical OR. It's a nice dot but I really wanted the big open of a larger one. Now I have something else to consider if I want to upgrade

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RBMD2020 2A
RBMD2020 2A
23. Feb.

I have many RDOs. I have not yet tried any of the Viridians. I look forward to giving them a try. My most recent purchases have been the Holosun EPS Carry (Multi Reticle System with a green dot).


I don’t own any large viewing window RDOs like the Trijicon SRO. If I did, I would probably end up consigning all my RDOs and max out my credit cards to pay for the new ones.


I do like the look of the Viridian enclosed dot. I appreciate the durability and problem free nature of the enclosed ones.


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I only own one red dot, a Holosun 508T (the titanium model) which works well for me. I got it thinking I was going to be able to do an IWI red dot pistol course, then found out I needed to complete a different course first. It's basically bulletproof. That said, my issue with dots for carry is that I don't have a dominant eye, so I have to continually train myself to close an eye before raising my pistol. Otherwise, I end up losing the dot in the horizontal plane (it ends up smack dab between my eyes). That's probably the reason a dot on my carry pistol makes me a little nervous. With iron sights I can use…

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Antwort an

I'm left-handed and left-eyed, so to film videos and review things as a right-handed shooter I have to close my left eye which magically makes me right-eye dominant! Scientific miracle that whichever eye s open is dominant, lol. I understand what you mean is my point.

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