Red-dot sights on rifles used to be considered expensive, fragile gimmicks with no place in real-world combat. Today, military, law enforcement and hunters have accepted these sights as tough, dependable and, most importantly, effective. Both military and law enforcement mount them on rifles and shotguns. Pistols, however, have lagged behind. But all of that is beginning to change.

Like many things in the tactical world, red-dot sights on pistols started in the competition arena, but the early models weren’t standing up fully to the abuse. Now manufacturers are making sights tougher and smaller. Several companies recognized that traditional pistol slides need to be changed to mount these sights on tactical guns. One of the leaders in this revolution is a small company out of Houma, Louisiana, named Unity Tactical. Unity Tactical was founded by Trent Zimmer. The company’s first project was mounting an Aimpoint Micro onto a Glock slide. This project culminated in its ATOM mount.

The first red-dot sight mounts on pistols hooked into the frame and created a “shelf” above the slide where optics could be positioned. Besides being bulky, it was extremely difficult to do an immediate action after a jam, the design complicated one-handed reloading and holsters had to be designed with the optic completely unprotected. To streamline everything, rear sights were removed from pistols and the optics were attached via a dovetail. This fixed a few problems, but you no longer had iron sights available as a backup if your electronic sight failed, and one-handed manipulations still required you to hook the sight on your belt when trying to rack it or clear a jam.

The Future Is Here!

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The ATOM slide is modified with a large dovetail to contain the adapter.

Unity Tactical started with the Glock slide and Aimpoint’s Micro sight. After looking at all of the requirements for a tactical pistol, the company made a few changes. The first change was an approximately 2.1-inch-long dovetail shelf that was cut into the rear of the slide. This is the heart of the ATOM platform. Any number of dovetailed mounts can be slid into this shelf and secured with a screw from the left side. Currently, Unity’s mounts can accomodate Aimpoint’s Micro, Leupold’s DeltaPoint, Trijicon’s RMR, Insight Technology’s MRDS, Docter’s Red Dot Sight or Burris’ FastFire II. Unity Tactical even makes a mount for normal Glock iron sights.

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The ATOM platform allows red-dot sights to sit lower. The mount system can be adapted to sights that haven’t been invented yet. Unity Tactical keeps close tabs on the optics community, and if a new sight comes out, Unity can be ready with a mount almost immediately. The second major change is the dovetail with a normal iron sight directly behind the ejection port. The iron sights are taller so they can co-witness through the bottom of your red-dot optic. The red-dot optics are not quickly removable, so being able to look through them and still see your iron sights is highly important. The iron sights also protect the optic during one-handed racking and jam clearing. Other small changes include forward cocking serrations for press checks and a lowered ejection port for increased reliability of ejection.

Field Test

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I used an Aimpoint Micro H-1 and a Leupold DeltaPoint for this evaluation. Both sights performed flawlessly. I tested the ATOM slide on several trips to different ranges. I also put it in the hands of shooters ranging from novice to highly experienced. The learning curve was quite a bit greater than with a rifle. The dot seems to jump around more because you are trying to look at it, instead of looking at your target. Forget the dot. Concentrate on the target and “push” your pistol into it. The sight appears on your target and you press the trigger. If you do not hold the gun and extend your arms the same way each time, this system is probably not going to work for you. If you have spent hours on the range and practiced good presentations, you are going to be amazed. Shots are fast and accurate. There is a reason that every time you see an Open-class IPSC (International Practical Shooting Confederation) shooter they have a red dot on their pistol. They work!

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I ran a lot of drills with the ATOM. My final one was putting up some 8-inch Birchwood Casey Shoot-N-C Targets at 50 yards. Using military surplus 124-grain 9mm ball ammo, with winds gusting over 30 mph, I was able to hit with four out five rounds both times I tried. Basically, I was doing headshots at 50 yards in high winds. Try that with your iron sights.

Ready To See Red?

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A new trend in pistols is about to explode. Shooters are trying red-dot sights on pistols and walking away amazed in the same way they did with rifles 15 years ago. Unity Tactical leads the revolution with its Atom slide. It has addressed the incumbent problems of putting electronics on a hard-use, tactical pistol and come away with a product that is durable, dependable and fast. Try it! Big leaps forward in the firearm industry don’t occur every day. Mark your calendar—one is happening right now.


For more Information

Unity Tactical




Insight Technology

Docter USA


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