An FN 509 Midsize MRD / Photo by Jack Shepherd

Optics have become a standard component of most Americans’ arsenals. Almost every gun owner owns at least one optic and those that don’t have probably used one at a range, in a class, or with a friend. Optics help inexperienced shooters learn how to shoot, optics help hunters catch their prey at long distances, professionals use optics to win shooting competitions… the point is optics have become mainstream, there is no going back to irons only.

With the use of optics on the rise, many companies have released guns that are ready for optics right out of the box. These optic-ready guns have become quite the fad, and many of these guns come with a sharp increase in price. With this, all in mind, are these optic-ready guns worth the price?

First let’s address that price difference. When it comes to the FN 509 Midsize, the standard version has an MSRP of $679 and the optics ready version has an MSRP of  $799. This difference in price is fairly standard across several brands so we will use this particular handgun as an example. 

This is a price difference of $120 and the optics ready variants will come with some extra tools and adapters for various sights. Understand that this handgun does not come with an optic, only the adapters. With that in mind, understand that you will be spending an additional amount on a pistol optic of your choice which can run you well over $200 and the adapters your gun comes with might not be the right ones, so you might have to go out and buy an additional adapter from the aftermarket. That $120 price difference will certainly expand once you start putting everything together. 

What are the advantages of these optics that might justify this price difference? Optics are great for a variety of reasons, but simply put they are better than iron sights in most scenarios. For handguns in particular, most people can reach longer ranges more accurately while using an optic but this is not the end all be all for handguns. 

Handguns are meant to be used in close quarters or at shorter ranges, you don’t need to hit the target 50 yards away with a handgun because there are other guns that are better at doing that. Optics also add to the bulk of a handgun, not by much but the same holster you use probably can’t accommodate an optic. If you conceal carry, this needs to be taken into account. 

Is the price worth it? 

Simple answer is no, but for some it might be a consideration. If you want an optic on your handgun that can be removed easily and installed easily, while keeping your iron sights on the firearm, an optics ready handgun is probably right for you. If that description doesn’t match up to your needs, but you want to try out an optic on a handgun, you find adapters online in the after market that accomplish something similar for a reduced price. 

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